Tuesday, 29 December 2009

collage on canvas - ding dong merrily on high

Hi, hope you have had a great christmas, I have had a couyple of great family days and then a night at our favourite hotel in the Cotswolds. Just chilling out for an evening ( great live music) and then retiring to a comfortable bed with no worries about getting home.

Today I decided to do a little crafting. A challenge on PDA was to create a piece of art with the theme of your favourite carol. Here's mine;


It was made using a stretched canvas ( approx a4 size) as the backing. The top is actually a christmas wrapping paper and the lower portion uses teal tissue paper. All images are downloaded from the collage group on Flickr. The text is hand written. It is not completed yet and (horrors!!) the glue has stained the backing paper. I need to do something about this even if it is only to paint the whole surface with the same glue to even out this unwittingly created effect. I needed to post this in the challenge to meet a deadline, so decided to post here as well. I do always say that I will post the turkeys as well as the art I like. I am sure that I can do more with this and will post the piece again when I consider it improved ...... I do like the contrasting colours tho', need to work on this
BTW a happy new year to all my readers and friends

Monday, 21 December 2009

More hand-made christmas decorations

I have a few more photos to share. My son has made a christmas wreath for the front door, and a star for the christmas tree from bits and pieces he collected from a walk in the fields across the road from us.

For the star he collected a few straight twigs, de-barked them ( not strictly necessary) and useed rafia to create a five-pointed star. This was then wrapped in red and green ribbons.

For the wreath he made a basic shape by tieing willow twigs into a circle and then layering this with holly, ivy, laurel and some mistletoe ( which we had to buy); finishing off with a red ribbon bow.


I also thought that I would show you some gingerbread biscuits which I,me, myself baked. I was quite proud of this, my very first attempt. I am a dab hand at breads and things like stews and fry-ups but these were my first biscuits. Sandra is going to ice these today before they are hung on the tree, which will more or less complete the project. Next year we will probably do the same again but give ourselves a little more time.


Ok, that's it for today, may be back tomorrow with a few more pics.
BTW, we went out last night to see the 40th anniversary tour of Steeleye Span and they did not sing Gaudete - what a let down. However, we did enjoy ourselves. It was a very icy night, so I did not have a drink in the interval (I don't do soft drinks) but enjoyed a pint of my son's christmas ale. A recipe using cinnamon to give a festive flavour to a very enjoyable pint; he is becoming a very expert home brewer. Cheers!!!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas comes but once a year...

thank goodness!

What a busy couple of weeks. My wife really gets into the spirit of Christmas but does it take some organising? She runs herself (et moi!) ragged with buying all the food and trimmings, presents, cards, organising this and that and generally getting quite stressed out. I'm a laid back sort of guy, but if I value my bits and pieces, I have to get involved. It's not that I am a scrooge, but I believe most things would take care of themselves... if allowed to.

Anyway, we visited Baddesly Clinton recently. It is a National Trust property, and for those of you from across the water; this being the UK organisation which looks after our national heritage. Grand ( and some not so grand) houses, mansions and castles, etc and huge swathes of our countryside. This year for the first time, they had opened this property at christmas as it had been decorated in a victorian style. It was really a spledid sight. The volunteers who man the property had done a wonderful job. We were so knocked out with it all that we decided to try something similar at home this year.

Depsite mountains of decorations in the loft, it was to be a hand-made theme throughout; apart from the lights and a few items like candy canes, etc. So, being seen as the crafty one, I was set down to creating decorations for the tree. A couple of paper chains ( I remember making something like this at school, I am sure) and vintage style tags. Well I was making a few of these things anyway, so what's a few more. Thought you might like to see the results of my labours.

Here are a few of the tags and a partially decorated tree; it still requires in this photo some gingerbread biscuits and a star which is to be made from holly and ivy from the garden. Will try to get another shot posted when completed.








Well got to go and dig the car out of the snow now, beginning to look like a real Christmas. Hopefully back very soon with more crafty creations for Christmas.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Still ATC'ing, just in case you wondered.

I looked back over the last few posts ( which seem to have taken me back a little while...) and noticed that I don't seem to have posted many atc's recently. I am still collaging, even tho I have taken to showing off and reporting on the progress with my watercolours. I thought I would just slip in a few atc's just to prove a point. If you know my Flickr photostream, this is not a point of contention but for those of my readers who know me via this blog it is a bit of a catch up.

Firstly, two cards created for a challenge swap on the group Artful Ideas , the theme was to involve an image (victorian ladies) transfer onto fabric. Transfer on to fabric seemed to be something new for many members, but some marvellous work came out of this challenge.

lady with fan

I used an acrylic medium as the transfer agent for my ink-jet prints. I brushed a thin layer onto the image and also onto the fabric, brayered well to achieve a close contact, waited until the medium was dry ( overnight!) and then wetted the ear of the image slightly and rubbed gently with a finger tip. A little water as the paper seemed to get too dry and continual rubbing soon cleared the paper and left two quite clear images for these atc's. I used flash on this photo so the B&W image seems a little washed out and the sequins have taken on a wonderful multi-coloured appearance. I was going to re-shoot the photo but haven't got around to it; maybe tomorrow?

lady with dragon fly Photobucket

The fabric with the images was loosely cut out around the said images and bonded to a backing. This comprised of another complementary fabric wrapped around a card to provide the backing for the atc. I found some little used bits and pieces for adding detail, including the dragonfly for the second card. Don't ask how this fits the theme, it just seemed to look good. A devil to pack for posting out though! However, I was very pleased to receive this award from Nancy for this particular atc - thanks Nancy!

Secondly, a couple of cards created for a challenge swap on PDA. The theme this time was a vintage christmas. This is a newish site and only the second atc swap, so not too many entries but hoping for great things. I used images of Father Christmas from Suzie Que on Flickr and made a couple of straightforward collaged cards.

a christmas carol

bearing christmas gifts

Well there you have it - atc's are definitely still on the menu. I don't think I could give them up if I wanted to ... I have found so many friends in the process of swapping cards, I know I will carry on making these cards for as long as I am able.

You may be interested in the FREE images offered by Lisa Vollrath in her christmas countdown, why not check it out. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

sketching again

Recently I have been starting to paint again, and this has resulted in my taking a sketchbook out with me. I have to admit that this is something I haven't done for far too long. I do enjoy sketching but there doesn't seem much point when I am mostly making art by collaging and other similar pusuits. BUT painting, now there is a reason for carrying a sketchbook. I always preferred working from my own sketches.

I have been away for a couple of days ( a yearly treat before settling down to the rigours of christmas) and came back with a few entries in my sketchbook. I was particularly pleased with this sketch as I always considered that long distance scenes like this were "not my thing". The view from our hotel window however was so inspiring, that I just had to have a go. It is a view across the front of the hotel which is situated on Cleeve Hill, near Cheltenham. The village of Bishop's Cleeve is just below the escarpment and Tewksbury is just the other side of the M5 motorway, not seen in the mists. The Malvern Hills form the backdrop of the scene. On this particular morning the tops of these distant hills were standing out from the heavy mist.

cleeve hill double page spread from my sketch book

I also include here a watercolour sketch in which I am trying to use the techniques I have been practising. The scene is largely out of my head.

Winter Tree Line

I am quite pleased with it however and will be carrying on with this technique until I am happy that I have got it taped.