Showing posts from December, 2007

New Year Resolutions

Casey, Charcoal sketch. Vivien Blackburn Other bloggers are starting to make New Year Resolutions, something I normally give a miss! this year I thought maybe I ought to, so that I have targets set. I'll be covering a colleague on maternity leave and my time needs to be a bit more organised so that I get time to paint and have work ready for upcoming shows. I'm definitely organisationally dyslexic so this is tough ! I'll continue to work in series The waterways series : looking at local rivers, streams. ponds and reservoirs - one for when the weather is a little kinder to my arthritis, though I do have sketches to work from now. The coast series - I have lots of sketches and research to work from Local landscape series - ongoing to do more work in the flowers series doing more research and more large canvasses sketches of new grandson Sam as he grows :>) sketches of the cats - simply because I like sketching them a new series of totally abstract paintings , incorp

Abstract painting and Abstraction

Swithland Woods by Vivien Blackburn. Watercolour and mixed media approx 12 ins sq Tina Mammoser has written a really good blog post today on abstraction at - do go and read it. It gives a good insight into the way she thinks and the preparatory sketching that goes into her lovely abstracts of the English coast. I like working on the edge between abstract and representational, sometimes slipping into total abstraction and sometimes working more representationally. The work evolves from observation and sketches, which are essential to me to understand the subject matter, the colours, form, composition I want to work with, perspective and tone. Sketching plein air in the local woods led to the first painting shown here - a watercolour/mixed media done from memories of different days working there over a long time. Sometimes I find I work best this way - lots of studies done over time but then putting them away and relying on visual memory. Degas believed in t

Happy Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

No snow PLEASE!

This was last January - I do hope we don't get snow this year - it may be beautiful but it makes the journey to and from work a nightmare. We had freezing fog this week - beautiful as it coats the trees in white and turns the world into a misty fairyland - but so COLD. It kept freezing on the windscreen until the car really warmed up which was fun ... not. I'm now into the last of the Christmas food shopping, presents all organised and it will be a relief when the shops shut and whatever is forgotten ... it's too late.

Nicola Bayley, illustrator and favourite books for children

The Patchwork Cat written by William Mayne and illustrated by Nicola Bayley Nicola Bayley did the beautiful illustrations for the Mousehole Cat, talked about in an earlier post. I did a search to see what else she had illustrated and ordered this one, The Patchwork Cat. The illustrations are every bit as gorgeous. It tells the tale of Tabby, a 'patchwork' cat who loves her patchwork blanket. When it's thrown away because it's old and dirty she inadvertently lands in the rubbish cart (because she'd crawled in to the bin to sleep on her blanket) and has to try to find her way home - carrying the blanket. Just look how well NB has caught the fear in the face below - she's like Beatrix Potter in being able to show the feelings of an animal whilst still being true to life and not Disney-like. All, luckily, ends happily as , lost and very tired as she drags her blanket, she comes across the milkman who takes her and her patchwork blanket home. Look at that bl

quick mixed media winter scene

Birches in the Snow - Vivien Blackburn - mixed media 8 -12 ins approx It's cold and though it isn't snowy like this it feels cold enough to be! Mixed media - watercolour, oil pastel, coloured pencil, conte pencil and tippex. Travelling to and from work through the countryside the best views are always where it's impossible to stop :( so I look hard and try to remember the light. We did have a dusting of snow one day - which was worrying as we never normally get snow until January. I hope we don't have a hard winter.

digital images, artists books, fine art degree and telling a story

Ravelled Sleaves: artists book copyright Vivien Blackburn There isn't any painting going on at the moment. I have to get on and finish Sam's Christmas present book and I've been busy present buying as I've been totally disorganised this year .... ok ... disorganised as usual. I'm nearly there :) thanks in part to Amazon and Ebay! I thought I'd show you some old digital work - an artists book I made during my degree . I'd chosen a module called Integrated Imaging , which was about photography, video (I gave that a miss) and digital imagery - not that the tutors had a clue about digital imagery or photoshop! they were a painter/photographer and a film maker. I had already started using photoshop and playing with digital imagery and saw it as an ideal opportunity to explore it further. The rest of the group worked in photography or video. I was working part time, doing the degree part time and my daughters were at senior school so life was really hectic. The f

The Christmas Card design for this year

The Christmas card design for this year - digital image from mixed media sources Vivien Blackburn You can't see it very well here - but that is a star shining through the trees. I decided I'd better get a move on with the Christmas cards as I've hardly even thought about Christmas yet apart from a few presents bought online ....... and a few things bought for me while I was searching! oooops - I was supposed to be searching for presents for others I'm still doing horribly long hours - yesterday involved leaving home at 7.30am and getting home at 10pm - teaching morning, afternoon and evening. :( and I'd rather be painting. Do you make your own cards? for everyone? just for family and close friends? originals or prints of your own designs/work?

Visiting galleries with a critical eye, sketching and David Prentice

David Prentice a watercolour of the Malvern Hills Yesterday I had a wonderful day in the Cotswolds at the opening of the new John Davies gallery in Moreton in Marsh. I travelled down 60+ miles from the midlands and Katherine travelled 80 miles up from London and we met for a coffee and a day of galleries, lunch and art-talk :>D = the first image is from the Cowleigh Gallery in Malvern, where DP lives. It's a lovely friendly little gallery with some great work if anyone is in the area with a knowledgeable, friendly owner. David Prentice English Air - Black Cap Pastel