Saturday, November 29, 2008

coming soon ..........

An old painting I'm afraid, of the curious striped cliffs at Hunstanton, as I'm up to my eyes in Christmas cards and stuff rather than fine art but it's relevant .......
.... as I'm getting ready for an exciting group project which will launch this Monday, 1st December - so watch this space :>)
More information and links to follow - but there is a clever hint here:
from a fellow conspirator :>)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

childrens books

Way back I started thinking about doing a book for Sam but family health issues ate up my time and it got put on a back burner.
Are these images easily enought read by a small child do you think? I quite like the freshness of the original scribbly sketched ideas and played with adding colour on the computer in glazes.
all images copyright Vivien Blackburn

what do you think?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Painting Russian Dolls 3

Hand Painted Russian Dolls: Sam. Vivien Blackburn

Ok, that's one Christmas present nearly done :>) I've finished making the Russian Doll of Sam so the family is complete.
Hand Painted Russian Dolls: The Family. Vivien Blackburn

I decided to skip the next size down as it was too big in proportion. The next one down from that looked just right.

Hand Painted Russian Dolls: Sam. Vivien Blackburn

Other than these I'm totally unprepared for Christmas and have barely given it a thought!
Someone wrote that they had put their tree up already - eeek! - I never put mine up until a week before Christmas. When the kids were young it was 2 weeks before. Do you put your Christmas tree up early or late?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Painting Russian Dolls 2

Some of my family as Russian Dolls, Vivien Blackburn

Not 'Fine' art but fun! here is the progress with painting the Russian Dolls - I've now nearly finished the one of my daughter.

I am going to need to add a little white in the eyes and on the cat on this so will use acrylic.

I let the lines get a bit too heavy on the hair :>( - to leave or to paint in white acrylic to regain the light and then recolour? not sure yet as I think that might jar and not fit in.

Back to 'real' painting soon!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Painting Russian Dolls 2

I've made a start on these as planned. They are based loosely on the card I made when my daughter had her first baby last year - I did a cartoon of the small family as Russian dolls and it suddenly occurred to me last week that it would be fun to paint some 3D ones for Christmas. I found some blank, unpainted wooden dolls on ebay and they arrived a couple of days ago from Russia.

Painting Russian Dolls - one down and 3 to go :>)
and before it was coloured
Thank you Sarah for the great tips on how you would tackle these :>) - I liked the idea of a felt pen, something I rarely use as it's too graphic for most of my work, but for these, perfect.
I decided not to prime them to start with as I really wanted the wood to come through in places - I like wood :>)
I sketched it out roughly in pale coloured pencil - it was to hand! and rather liked the way it worked on the wood. It can also be erased. Then I outlined freely in the felt pen and filled some of the hair in.
At that point I decided that rather than go for paint or ink, I'd continue in coloured pencil, building layers of different colours to add interest. It was possible to build quite intense colour.

I will finish it off with spray varnish after using fixative - I think that should keep it ok.
As you can see I'm not a planner! I have a rough idea (lots of sketches of different ideas) of where I'm going, options and possibilites and things evolve. I think partly because my left brain is probably atrophied and I'm totally right brained and partly because if I know exactly where I'm going ....... there's almost no point bothering, the journey to completion just isn't as interesting and can become a chore rather than a challenge and a pleasure.

Also, working in 3D has extra problems to solve. like back and side views.

what do you think?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Painting Russian Dolls

I had a great idea for a Christmas present for my daughter - she doesn't read this so I can tell you!

When she had Sam last year I made a card based on her, her husband, new baby and cat as Russian Dolls.

Sketch planning a card for my daughter and new baby, Vivien Blackburn

I've decided to paint some Russian dolls based on this for Christmas this year and the blank, unpainted dolls arrived this morning :>)

I don't normally work in 3D so this will be a very different challeng

It will be a couple of days before I can start on them. I hope it works! Should I use acrylic paint on the bare wood? prime or varnish it first? what do you think? has anyone done this?


Saturday, November 08, 2008

The sketchbook exchange - my book is Home!

A slide show of all the gorgeous work in my book :>) - hovering the mouse over an image will show the name of the artist

My book is home :>) and the sketchbook exchange is almost over :>( , I'm putting the finishing touches to Ronell's book and will post it on Monday I hope. Sorry I was a bit slow with this one Ronell.

Look at all these fabulous images and imaginative ideas.

The challenge that I set for my book was landscape/your surroundings, in any scale - huge vista or tiny detail - and to draw/paint a feather. I enclosed a pigeon feather and my book came back with several lovely feathers including one irridescent capercaillie feather from a military hat in Italy :>) So that's some feather sketches coming up soon!

I love the different twists and original ideas that people gave the themes - the bustling French market full of character being drawn by those feather quills (Ronell), the tumbling Italian towns, glowing fruit and irridescent feather (Robyn), the very original change of scale with the feather and figure and the lovely use of pattern in the background (Nina), the murky pool of fish that echo the feather shape (Glen), the vivid waterways and linoprint feather (Lindsay), the experimenting with collage, stamps and paint integrated into a landscape of houses (Casey), I simply couldn't pick out any one person's work - it's been great :>)

It has been so good to see peoples work in real life and have time to study it before sending it reluctantly on - and know that I would have several pieces of work from each participant at the end in my own book. It has given me ideas for my own work, looking at the way others use materials - nothing negative at all!

For how it worked, just look at the tags on the right of this blog and select sketchbook exchange and you can follow it through from the start - or go to our website to see more:

Has it made you want to set up a similar exchange?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

exhibition next week

I've got an exhibition next week with some friends at a local gallery. These are a few of the paintings I have going into it.

Life is a bit hectic with the exhibition, inspections at 2 of the colleges I teach at and family health problems continue :>(

This is also a try out of the slide show Casey Toussaint told me about, that she used to show her book in the FPP exchange so effectively - I''ll use it to show you my book if this works OK. Here is a link to see Casey's gorgeous book - not to mention a great blog :>) so do take a look.