Showing posts from October, 2007

more cards for the art and craft fair

I made a few more cards this afternoon - it's a grey rainy day and I think it crept into the colour choices and weather I was showing in them! I do like moody light at the coast though :)

these are some of the ones I did yesterday.


Art and Craft Fair

Night beach, collage all images copyright Vivien Blackburn
I'm showing paintings at an Art and Crafts fair in a few weeks and I thought I'd do some cards - most people can't afford the paintings but they can buy cards if they like.

I'll do some with prints of my paintings but I thought it would be interesting to do some small abstract collages with fabric, hand made papers, gold tissue and painted papers.

Then I scanned them and played a bit more :>) so some will be printed in their new coats.

This is a variation in Photoshop on the collage above.

This one looks better IRL because some of the fabrics have a metallic sheen, it didn't scan very well - none of the collages did :>(

These were done from memories of the beach in recent paintings.

This is collaged from fragments of an overworked painting - at least it was useful for something!

and below is a variation on it in Photoshop.

and another collage with fragments of the same painting.

For the collaged cards I cut the…

Art and Craft Fair

Art and Craft Fair

a slide show of the digital images with some new ones

If anyone is interested - I'll be uploading these to imagekind over the next few days

Digital sketchbook; images of flowers manipulated in Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro

digital images and photograph copyright Vivien BlackburnI should be getting on with the paintings of C0rnwall in progress and maybe be working on the waterways project - but I'm always juggling lots at once and I wanted to carry on with these digital images I've been working on.

They've been in and out of Corel Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop and I couldn't tell you exactly what I've done to them! They started life as photos, close ups of flowers - the rest is layers, filters, cropping, adjusting colour and contrast and levels and ..................

......... etc etc etc!

I'll upload some of these to my Imagekind account I think and will also give some thought to developing paintings from them. Some would work fantastically well in watercolour - if I'm good enough, not sure if I am though. They would involve careful layering and patience and that isn't something I'm strong on. I'll also try some in mixed media on canvas.

I think they&#…

thinking around the subject: small watercolour sketches and digital images for the Cornwall paintings

watercolour sketchI'm thinking around the canvasses I want to do and how I want to develop them. These first 2 are quick watercolour studies followed by a couple of digital simplifications - I'd like to do some more abstract variations on this view and these are a start on sorting out essential elements.

watercolour sketch
digital manipulation

digital manipulationThis last one does really catch the essence of the light without any detail - I rather like it and though it's simplified there are some nice bleeds of colour going on.what do you think?.

and another drawing of that gourd - in coloured pencil this time - and I've been tagged and have tagged my choices

I did another drawing of that gourd to show the class different materials with the same subject.

This one was done with that Lyra 'skin tones' set that I really like, plus a deep blue one to enhance the cool darkest darks. I really do like those Lyra coloured pencils.

And this ugly little gourd is fun to draw :)

and I've been tagged! by Karen Hall who does some beautiful work - take a look.

I now have to give 7 facts about me ....

1 I'm a new grandmother :)
2 Though I love the sea i live about as far away as you can get from it in England now :(
3 I have 2 lovely daughters
4 and one Irish husband
5 I have my imaginary list of what I'll buy/do 'when I win the lottery' - but very rarely buy a ticket
6 I've been lucky enough to live in some very beautiful places including Gibraltar (it was lovely then), Malta, Scotland and Cornwall.
7 I'm really tired and I've run out of ideas!

and blogs I'll tag:


sketching: a dried gourd

I've been working exhaustingly long hours lately, covering for colleagues on holiday and taking on more classes that I should - so not much time for painting :( . I'm working on the Cornish paintings as much as I can.

This sketch was done whilst covering a colleagues class yesterday - the class all had work to get on with and didn't need much input from me so I fished this brittle, dried gourd, with a hole in, out of the art cupboard and sat sketching it with a 4B pencil.

The warty strange surface wasn't the easiest but it was fascinating to draw - maybe not a beautiful thing but it was good practice at observation :)


photography: autumn macros

I was hoping to go out today and take some photos out in the countryside while the autumn colours are there and the fields are a patchwork of stubble, ploughed and pasture. The light wasn't good enough so I settled for having another play with my macro lenses. These are close ups from my garden. I like that little curl at the end of the leaf :)

The roses are still flowering - in a mild winter they carry on virtually all winter - and we've had a few mild winters in recent years. I hope the coming winter is the same, with the lousy summer could it mean a hard winter?The lens as I said before, looks like a filter and simply screws on to the front of the camera - you don't need an SLR. Best of all they are pretty cheap!

Beech Leaves - these dry up but stay on until spring. The leaves come out later than most of teh other shrubs/trees in my little garden and I always worry that the frosts have killed it as it sits there covered in last years brown leaves.

I thought the squ…

photographs of waves and surf and rocks at Mawgan Porth

Eureka! the slide show worked. It must have been blogger playing up because Gesa said she had problems too recently - and today it worked straight away :)

If you subscribe by email you'll just see the photobucket icon and a friendly little icon saying 'get your own' !!! if you bring up the blog you'll see the slideshow there :)

I think the slide show helps add a little sense of movement to what were crashing, powerful waves.

I took the photos to help me remember the patterns of the waves as they curled and broke and crashed against each other and the rocks - watching huge swells coming in and trying to time the click of the shutter to get the spray as the wave hit the cliffs or the curling foam coming from left and right to meet in the middle and the glassy underside of the wave before it crashed down.

I'd love to get down to photograph the winter storms when the surf is awesome and terrifying.


Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, Watercolour and Mixed Media

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall copyright Vivien Blackburn watercolour, charcoal pencil, coloured pencil, oil pastel

This is a lovely beach on the north coast of Cornwall, just a couple of miles from where I lived as a child. The light on the wet sand and pools is beautiful and constantly changing. A small stream comes down the steep valley and joins the sea here, skirting the edge of this cliff. Steep - very steep - narrow roads lead up each side with hairpin bends making driving interesting when you meet a bus or lorry :)

This is the morning light - the cliffs opposite were lit with a honey/amber glow in the mornings. In the afternoons they were shadowed and darker, almost silhouettes where the rocks are dark. The cliffs reflect in the pools.

Down near the low water line there's a pattern of pools very close to each other and quite deep - up to 2 feet deep - carved out by the crashing waves. I remember these well from childhood - when paddling you could suddenly find the water that had been …

surf, waves, rocks, photography and painting

While I was in Cornwall I took zillions of photos, including sequences of the movement of the waves and the waves crashing on the rocks to help me understand the confusion. I also did very quick rough sketches

I did a slide show of waves in Photobucket - but photobucket and blogger don't seem to be talking to each other at the moment :( and now the edit screen is going crazy and not giving me the options I need - I'll try again later.

macro flowers

images copyright Vivien Blackburn
I've been playing with my new 10x macro lens in the garden - autumn and there aren't so many flowers but I'd like to use it on some autumn leaves next.

I like osteospermums, they are so generous with their flowers and carry on flowering for such a long time. I've got 2 or 3 slightly different ones - the only problem is the way they close once the sun goes behind the clouds. They really don't like shade at all.

This geranium plant is huge and has survived at least 4 winters, left outside in its pot - an old Victorian Chimney Pot. I hope it survives again as it flowers and flowers - right through the winters it kept flowering on, the flowers were small but continuous. It isn't meant to survive the winters! I suppose I should really take some cuttings in case the horrible summer we've had turns into an even worse winter.

The lens is a cheap screw on filter-sized magnifying lens. I bought a set that range from 1x to 10x.

subjects to blog about and inspirational teachers

Barney Davey on his blog gives a long list of things to blog about and I thought it was a pretty good list and worth quoting here:

52 blog topics for artists - Courtesy of Art Print Issues

1. Why I support xyz charity
2. The most inspiring art teacher I have known ..... good one
3. How I came to know being a professional artist was my career path ... talked about this a bit
4. Why I love working with xyz medium ... done that :>)
5. What you can learn from the traveling exhibit at the abc museum ... done that :>)
6. Four galleries I would love to carry my work and why
7. Five contemporary artists whose works inspire and inform me done that
8. Clues to the subtle messages in my work
9. My color palette is (nature/technology/environment) driven and why
10. Ten things they don't teach you in art school
11. How being in the business of art affects my art
12. When I paint, I like to listen to Guns n' Roses/London Philharmonic/Enya/Toby Keith
13. Ho…

sketching in oil paints - Cornwall

copyright Vivien Blackburn

Across the beach, Mawgan Porth 14 inches square, oil on canvas paper
A sketch in oil paint done from our window in Cornwall, looking across the beach as the tide was coming in.

Done using Griffin Alkyd oil paints - I really like these for plein air sketching as they dry faster. It was done in a Cryla sketch pad - Cryla pads have a canvas like texture and are designed for acrylics but are just as good for oil paints.

At the moment I'm working long hours so painting time is really limited :( I need some of Maggie Stiefvaters organisational and time management skills. I'm sadly lacking in both :(