Saturday, October 31, 2009

snowmen - the book!


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.

c&c welcome :>) and any advice

Friday, October 30, 2009

more snowman ideas .....

I've thought of a couple more ideas for Sam for Christmas to extend the snowman theme

  • an illustrated story about him building a snowman
  • fuzzy 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?

Now off to finish a painting ......

Monday, October 26, 2009

snowmen

These are the snowmen blanks painted.

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 :>(

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dawn, work in progress, finished


detail

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 :>(

details



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.

Friday, October 23, 2009

paper dolls snowmen card and Dawn finished and delivered :>)

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.

I found the blanks quite by chance on ebay.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

a new challenge: design a Christmas Card


old Christmas card design, Vivien Blackburn

Christmas Card Challenge

I thought it might be time for a new challenge?

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 expressing them.

Do you want a religious theme? a non-religious but seasonal theme? Cold weather scene? Cartoon? warm by the fire cosiness? glitter and shine? contemporary/abstract? realist scene? Impressionist snowy landscapes? Photographs? cute? edgy? more gravitas?


Photoshop or other graphics programmes are great to play about with images and text for printed cards. You can design a card totally within the computer or scan/photograph elements to combine and play with creatively - no limits :>)


With cards any and every medium can be used, no worries about archival quality :>)

For collage collect scraps of gorgeous hand made papers, tissue, fabric, metallic shiny papers, sweetie wrappers - and hand painted papers (much more interesting than colours cut from magazines) - then play!



links to some of the cards I've previously shown:

Digital image

Collage cards


Are you going to join in ?

update:

see the comments - ideas are rolling in already :>)

and check out the paper folding ideas on the youtube links on Gesa's blog they look as though they'd be fun to play with

Shirley Trevena exhibition

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.

I'm now off to finish that large canvas .....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shirley Trevena Exhibition

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.

Don't miss it!

Gallery website


see her work here - it's wonderfully vibrant and fluid and lively.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dawn, stage 3, work in progress

Dawn, oil on canvas 40 inches square, work in progress

This is where the painting is now. The sky is a little paler and less yellow/orange.

Nearly there. I'll just about make it in time! I have to deliver it on Friday morning.

The edges of the cloud above the cliff need tidying up when it dries enough and other areas need looking at - like the dark/light on the horizon.

The canvas is a deep gallery wrap one and I'll paint the edges in a greyed blue to tone with the painting.

any c&c?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dawn, work in progress 2

detail

detail


Dawn, work in progress stage 2


This is where the painting is at the moment - the warm lamplight is greying the blue a bit but as I've got a busy day and evening tomorrow I thought I'd settle for the light and post this update.

I concentrated mainly on the clouds with just a little work elsewhere - bringing the horizon down a little and adding touches of the warm glow on the rocks that show above the water.

c&c?

Monday, October 05, 2009

autumn - conkers and virginia creeper

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.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

work in progress - Dawn - oil on 40 inch square canvas

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.

Feedback welcome :>)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Next project - roll out a larger canvas


I haven't worked much on large canvasses for a while and today I have the house to myself as OH is at hospital for the day.

This is a digital 'play', combining, cloning, adjusting, changing sketches done plein air. I wanted to catch the very early dawn light - lots of mystery and half seen shapes but the glow in the sky.

I'd like to have a go at transferring it to a large canvas and I'm determined to make a start today and let the dust bunnies live on :>)

Off to dig out the canvas .....

you will find the original sketches here