Paintings Prints and Stuff, a blog about painting, drawing, sketching, sketchbooks, works in progress, artists, exhibitions, art books, art classes, printmaking, digital imagery, techniques, art materials ........... and more!
What happens if at 7am you realise you've forgotten to organise cards for your class (who are lovely so not what I'd want!) - I like to give them one I've designed but I hadn't yet done it - and today was the last class of term and we were going out for Christmas lunch afterwards. 8>O
Publisher to the rescue :>)
I used on of the Sam illustrations and as I had no card left, printed it on paper and folded it twice. It worked ok :>)
Folded and signed as they came off the printer and done in time :>)
You can use word but it's not quite so easy to get the spacings right - it's really easy with Publisher. You can see the blue guidelines I set - these don't print.
I am so disorganised at the moment and juggling so many things. Juggling is not one of my talents. Hospital visiting ends today though with the patient getting parole - I'm off to collect him in a couple of hours. That should take some of the press…
I've just designed a mug for my son-in-law for Christmas with zazzle, featuring thjs digital image of my daughter.
I originally created a couple of versions of this image - one in colour and one in a limited palette. I mixed a photograph of my daughter and her belongings (much manipulated) with a section of a Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting. You can see the coloured version below. She is the one on the left.
I continued the mirror image theme, with 3 repetitions, the middle one flipped, so that it wraps around the mug.
And .... to go with his snowman book that I wrote/illustrated for Christmas, I've put illustrations from it onto an apron that Sam can wear for painting and a Tshirt.
Let's hope we like them all! I haven't ordered anything like this before - if I'm happy with the quality I may think of opening a Zazzle shop.
Sorry I've been absent for a while - family health problems cropped up again with a lot of hospital visiting - hopefully ok for now, tho…
Old tree growing in amongst rocks and a drystone wall, charcoal, carbon pencil and chinagraph pencil
I painted this tree in ink and watercolour a few years ago and decided to do a slightly larger version in charcoal. I added carbon pencil for the darkest and most calligraphic marks and white chinagraph pencil for the highlights, on a soft beige pastel paper.
I liked the way it merged into the rocks, almost part of them. The tree itself makes me think of Japanese prints, something about the gnarled branches and the pine needles.
I've been really tied up with work and family health issues so it was good to be drawing again :>)
Lindsay has just shown an exhibition, in the US, of our completed books (sent off on a wing and a prayer for safe return) and given a talk.
She sent us the printout of her words and we would all have loved to have been there - she summed it up beautifully and got across how much fun it had been, the underlying worry of each of us working in books containing such gorgeous work by the others, how we learned from each other, enjoyed discussions on our blog and privately. the buzz - and that we want to do another project together.
Lindsay has shown her contributions on her blog - as it was such a good idea, I thought I'd do the same :>)
Norfolk, changing seasons, some past plein air oil paintings, Vivien Blackburn
I'm up to my eyes in work at the moment and so paintings are going slowly. I have to wrestle with a printer in a minute - it insists there is a paper jam - and there isn't. I want to print Sam's book.
As I'm not managing to get out to sketch I thought I'd write today about the downside to console myself.
Like ................... - the winter trip to sketch when the wind howled straight off the sea, usually we could shelter in the dunes and somewhere we'd be able to get out of the wind. Not that day. The top right hand sketch was done in a tiny 6inch square sketch book in oils. It was the only thing I could hold still enough - a larger book just kept flipping in the wind and my hand with it, every time I got the paintbrush near. It's about the only thing I managed that day for a long day out, 200 mile round trip and hypothermia. - a bitterly cold day with uninteresting ligh…
I;ve only had a very little time this week for painting and I haven't photographed it yet.
Here for the time being is a slide show of Sam's Christmas present book - the cover and illustrations in order.
As before, the blue lines and dotted lines are publishers guidelines and text boxes, which won't print or show in the final. My printer is having a nervous breakdown and I haven't been able to print it yet.
NB It's a screenprint, the guidelines and text boxes obviously aren't in the final print
I've been working further on 'the book' - sheesh it takes some time - scanning and then building it in Publisher - and the working out with a little torn pages mock up just how the pages work and what number is opposite/on the back of which. A definite left brained activity and not my strongest point!
The writing is provisional and needs polishing - I definitely need some more practice at this.
I decided to only show Sam. their cat and the snowman, Mum and Dad feature as off stage voices only. It kept a simplicity to it and concentrated on the main characters. What do you think?
Sam ready to go out in the snow, illustration in pencil, watercolour, coloured pencil and with a digital border.
I've been working on the illustrations for the book for Sam for Christmas. I had to wait an hour at hospital yesterday and made a start on the line drawings, adding some more this morning and adding colour this afternoon, after scanning them (in case I made a pigs ear of them when adding the colour :>) ).
line drawing done whilst waiting at hospital
and watercolour + coloured pencil + digital border - ready to add to book
Their cat weaves in and out of the action throughout.
Now I have to start assembling them and brushing up on the storyline in Publisher. After this I may get the current painting finished - I hope.
I've thought of a couple more ideas for Sam for Christmas to extend the snowman theme
an illustrated story about him building a snowmanfuzzy felt snowmen (- and cats and dogs) I bought a little travel fuzzy felt set off ebay and the felt shapes aren't particularly exciting (it was cheap so no problem) - the tin and board are nice though. So, I thought with some felt pieces I have somewhere in the deep dark recesses of some cupboard or other ( where????) I could cut some snowmen shapes and hats and scarfs and stuff and some cat and dog shapes to go with them. Interchangeables ears and eyes and bodies?
They are only just above an inch tall and I don't 'do' neat! It wasn't easy - coloured pencils didn't work well on this wood. They worked brilliantly on the Russian Doll blanks last year. It's a very different, coarser grain.
I used acrylic and felt pen and I'll give them a few coats of varnish for protection.
I hope Sam likes them. They will match his Christmas card.
The blank shapes from ebay:
Now back to finishing 2 paintings in progress :>) and heaps of marking and paperwork :>(
Dawn, the 40 inch canvas is finished but is proving a nightmare to photograph. Natural light was terrible, bleaching out the subtle yellows and ambers in the clouds. The best results were under the flourescent light in the kitchen but even then, the balance isn't quite right :>(
There is more colour in the foreground rocks - which shows ok in the detail but is lost in the photo of the whole painting - and the same with the loss of subtlety in the clouds which have a variety of yellows and amber, which is lost when photographing the whole.
This is the best impression of it I can get I'm afraid.
Zig Zag card - 'paper dolls' snowmen I played with the 'paper dolls' cut out idea for the snowmen and did the rough design above for a card for my grandson - it looks quite cute standing up, zig zagged, and hopefully should appeal to a 2 year old.
Dawn, work in progress: Finished :>)
Dawn is finished and delivered for the exhibition but the photos I took (in daylight) are hopeless :>(.
The warm colour of the clouds is totally bleached out and the blues aren't coming out right :>( I'll have another go with flash at the exhibition and see if it works out better. No amount of photoshopping will make the current ones show it anything like it is :>(
And remember the Russian Dolls I did? Well this year I've bought some little wooden snowmen to work on - I'll give them to Sam along with his card and he can add them to their Christmas tree.
I plan to decorate them rather like the card - flowing stripey scarf and carrot noses.
Do you design your own Christmas cards? or fancy doing it for the first time? If so, please post a link to your design in the comments as you design them, and I'll do a round up of your designs and a link to your blog at the beginning of December :>) - you've got lots of time.
I usually design a card for me to print out each year but also do separate hand made ones for painting friends and family.
There is something special about cards from friends who have created their own.
Tips and ideas:
160gsm card will go through most printers and is strong enough to stand up.
Collage is great for personalised cards as it's quick and the simplicity can have a real impact and a contemporary edge.
Watercolour paper is of course perfect for those wanting to use w'col.
Doodle ideas in a sketchbook or scraps of paper and then work out the best and simplest ways of expres…
Just a quick update on the Shirley Trevena exhibition for anyone planning to go.
It's well worth the trip. She uses paint so beautifully - lovely marks and use of colour and drama. And some new developments with a series of gorgeous abstracted landscapes from the year she spent living in the Dordogne. If you like Barbara Rae's work then I think you'll like these.
The exhibition is now actually at the Orange Street Gallery - which is only a few doors down from the originally advertised gallery space (part of the Goldmark Gallery) - so whilst the Goldmark is well worth a visit, you won't find her work there. Sadly this will be the last show there as the owner, John Gilboy, is going to spend his time painting and spending a lot of time in France.
Shirley Trevena exhibition at the Orange Street Gallery (?now Satellite)
Alert for anyone who likes Shirley Trevena's work and is near Leicestershire/Rutland - there is a an exhibition of Shirley Trevena's work starting on Saturday (17th October). I'm planning to get there but unfortunately probably not until late as I'm seeing family for lunch.
Conkers (Horse Chestnuts) photgraphs Vivien Blackburn
I stopped off on the way home to pick up some conkers to take into class. They are rich glossy browns and the husks are still a beautiful apricot inside. Some are still green on the outside, others starting to decay and turning an incredible range of colours, including purples.
and the Virginia creeper coming over my fence is turning beautiful vivid shades.
Dawn, 40 inch sq canvas, work in progress, Vivien Blackburn
This is roughed in over an old painting that I didn't like. There is more dark sky above the clouds that I couldn't fit into the photo - my arms weren't long enough to hold the camera far enough away to fit it all in. It's all wet so I didn't intend to get covered in paint trying to bring it downstairs - been there, done that, on Friday.
This is the missing top bit
It's a balancing act between getting the darkness and not making it too dark for anyone to live with. It's 40 inches square so that's potentially a big dark looming mass
It's got a way to go yet - but , I'm insane - I've committed to put it in an exhibition later this month so I have to push on with it.
Winter Pansies, photograph copyright Vivien Blackburn
The summer flowers are still going strong but it's time to think about winter - shudder. Yesterday we popped into a local nursery I like, to buy some trays of winter pansies to plant in the old Victorian chimney pots on the patio. They will be cheerful to look out on as the days get colder :>)
And very very appealing to paint. I love the little whiskered faces of pansies.
I just hate to see flowers like these in a clashing jumble of colours - the burgundies and yellows and oranges and purples all planted together. I chose soft pale yellows, blue purples and pinker purples and the ones above in the same colours as the little wild ones - they all go beautifully and complement each other. I always think that the way you plant flowers is rather like painting - you have drifts of colour and then echoes of it elsewhere in the garden to balance and link. (I only have a tiny garden and it's quite wild and tangled and o…