Sunday, 26 June 2011

Liberate your Art ...update

You may remember a while back I discovered that Kat from Kat Eye View blog was running a project called Liberate Your Art which involved sending off 5 postcards with prints of our own original artwork on them. Well, they need to be posted to Kat to reach her by 15 July and as I don't know how long things take to get to America these days, I thought I had better get them sent off now to allow a good couple of weeks postage.

Kat had asked each participant to write something on the back of the postcard - this could be a greeting, a quote or perhaps some words of encouragement.  As this was an art project I decided to see if I could find some art quotes to put on mine and once again Google came up trumps (what did we do when we wanted to learn stuff before the invention of the internet? ah yes, good old Encyclopaedia Britannica!)

My handwriting isn't the best and I was going to try to print the quotes onto the cards but as I already printed most of the pictures upside down I didn't want to take a chance on getting the print wrong as well, so apologies to whoever receives my cards - I did try to write neatly!!

These pictures aren't very clear - sorry about that so if you can't make them out, the quotes read as follows:

The Earth without 'Art' is just 'Eh'! - Unknown

Every Artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures - Henry Ward Beecher

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time - Thomas Merton

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable - George Bernard Shaw

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it - Robert Motherwell.

I'm looking forward to receiving postcards from 5 of the other participants plus 1 from Kat herself and it'll be interesting to see all the blog link ups once we've everyone has received them all.  I'll keep you posted (no pun intended!)

Friday, 24 June 2011

Cars, Keys, and Crackle Glaze...

Patchwork Orange - Twisty Town

So, nothing to do with art but I feel the need to car failed its MOT on Monday and so S kindly dropped me off at the train station yesterday morning and then left my car into a garage for repairs.  He then got the ferry over to Scotland yesterday afternoon to bring his wee boy back over to Ireland for a holiday. I got a taxi back from the train station yesterday evening and it was only as I was reaching into my bag for my wallet that I suddenly realised that my house key was on the same key ring as my car key - which was in my car at the garage! Cue sinking feeling and mounting sense of panic as I realised S wouldn't be home until after 11pm that night!

Luckily my only friendly neighbour (its like a soap opera round our way and we're usually just the viewers!) was home and so I sat in her house drinking tea and wondering what to do.  I phoned S for the name of the garage to see if I could get my door key from them - he then informed me that actually he took my car key off the key ring and then hung my door key back up in the key box in the hallway - hmm, not useful!  

We contemplated smashing one of the small windows in the kitchen and getting in that way but not being keen on having broken glass everywhere and a great big windy gap where the window used to be, I rung round several locksmiths instead.  I was met with phones that just rang out unanswered or 'sorry, we don't have any engineers in your area' or 'yes, I'm a locksmith but it'll be tomorrow before I can get to you' - seriously?! Eventually the last one in the Yellow Pages in my area answered and 20 minutes later he was at my door.  Literally within less than 2 minutes he had picked our lock and I was £40 poorer (and I still haven't found out how much my car's going to cost me yet!).

Moral of story - keep door key and car key on separate key rings!

Anyway, rant over and this is after all an art blog and so here is my contribution to Paint Party Friday for this week. I've been working on building up some stock for my stall at the style fair in August and after a disastrous attempt to replicate a Walkies picture on canvas (all either 4x5, 5x5 or 4x6) with acrylics (I'm going to stick to watercolour for those) I decided to do a series of Twisty Towns instead.  I've completed two so far:

Not as green as I'm cabbage looking - Twisty Town

I've got another 13 to go, unlucky for some but hopefully I've had my quota of bad luck for this week!

Now, it was thanks to Paint Party Friday that I learnt about Crackle Glaze and I decided I just had to have some. So, I was wondering if anyone reads this and uses crackle glaze could they give me some pointers on how to make it work.  I tried it out on a sample canvas that I don't intend to sell,  put on the stage 1 like it said and applied stage 2 but it doesn't look very crackly unless you look really closely - do I need to go over it with paint and if so which colour is best or does it depend on the colours in the painting?

Crackle Glaze

Don't forget to pop over to Paint Party Friday to see a whole host of creativity out there in blogland.

Monday, 20 June 2011

A weekend of old art and ill men...

So, we went up home to visit my folks at the weekend.  It was Father's day in the UK and we planned to take my dad out for a meal.  When we got there though, poor old dad was feeling miserable and heavily dosed with a cold and chest infection. He absolutely did not feel up to going out for dinner but, bless him, he kindly suggested we go on out for the meal without him. As the whole purpose of going to a restaurant was to celebrate Father's day it wouldn't really be much of a celebration if we left the guest of honour at home!

We ended up getting pizza and staying in instead, which is our favourite way to spend most Saturday nights anyway so S and I were quite content. 

Mind you, there must've been something in the air that only men could catch as S then ended the weekend with some kind of stomach bug. All in all not really a great weekend for the health of the men in my family.

On the upside, while I was at my parents' house, I noticed that there was quite a lot of my old art work adorning their walls (isn't parental pride quite something!)  and I remembered a series of cat paintings I had done about 15 years ago, 3 of which I had framed as a gift for my mum.  

I had originally painted them when I returned home from working abroad as a holiday rep, was completely disillusioned with the travel industry and planned a career as a greeting card designer - before a few rejection letters squashed my spirit and my enthusiasm and I put my paints away for another few years and got on with working 9-5.

Anyway, the pictures are hanging in my parents' bedroom and so I took some photos but, again, you'll have to forgive the quality, as they are behind glass.  I'm going to try to replicate them for my Purrfect Nostalgia series which I'm working on for the Style Fair so maybe they'll end up being sold as greetings cards after all - just 15 years later than intended!!

Friday, 17 June 2011

A party within a party....

Pointy Portrait - Pen and Ink, Stippled

The birthday girl
Apologies for the weird angles of the picture but I stupidly forgot to scan it before getting it framed so had to try and photograph it in the frame whilst trying to get as little flash reflection as possible!

The Invite and my source of gift inspiration!

Well, once again it's Friday and I find myself at the end of another week not having produced any wonderfully witty blog posts (not sure I ever do, mind you!) and not having produced any new art work either. I have come prepared with a reason/excuse however...last Saturday I flew over to St.Albans in England for the summer glamour party of the year! (And I've sort of been taking the rest of the week to recover - I'm so not a party animal any more!)

It was Farley (a nickname from school which has stuck even into middle-age!), my friend's, 40th birthday and she threw an amazing bash to celebrate. This was the same friend that I decided to do a portrait of, as a gift, as I simply didn't know what I could buy her that she wouldn't already have.

Anyway, it was a brilliant weekend that saw me in a dress and high heels (an extremely rare occurrence) and afforded me the opportunity to spend some time with my oldest friends from school who I don't get to see as often as I would like these days, what with us being scattered all over Northern Ireland and England.

We drank Pimms, sparkling wine and spiced rum at the private function room in a lovely restaurant which although a good size was only just big enough to hold the large number of folk who turned up and later a few die-hard folk (strangely that included me!) went to the VIP suite of a nightclub in a big old country estate and celebrated that last of our gang reaching that milestone birthday with more champagne and a few vodka cranberries!

I had hoped to post a few photos of the night on here but unfortunately I left my camera sitting on our kitchen table (I've a head and so has a pin, as my mother would say!) and I haven't managed to get any copies from the other party-goers yet.

That was the Saturday night and Farley's actual birthday was on the Sunday so a select few of us went for lunch and loaded up on carbs to soak up the alcohol of the night before at a very lovely Italian restaurant in town.  

Farley opened a few of her many, many presents before we left which included my portrait of her.  She seemed really surprised and pleased I had done something so personal for her (at least that's what I'm taking from her expression when she saw it and the hug she gave me afterwards!)

In the frame

Now, I really need to get cracking on stocking my stall for the Style fair - August won't be long in coming round!

If you fancy seeing a load of brilliant artwork from the corners of the globe then head on over to Paint Party Friday although I warn you - it's getting so big it's taking me all week to get round all the other blogs!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Paint Party Friday...My first official commission!

Although I dabbled in art with the odd caricature and watercolour landscape over the years, there is one person in particular that I am grateful to for encouraging me to seriously think about making more of my art.  This lady, who we'll call H, was my office manager in my last job and she is now someone that both S and I consider to be a very good friend.

During one of many conversations we had about work, I'd mentioned that I loved to paint and that it would be my dream to be able to make a living at it (she always knew office work wasn't my first choice of career!)  This led to her asking me to do a portrait of a chocolate Labrador she had owned and that she missed very much. When I gave her the portrait it brought tears to her eyes - which, thankfully, was a good thing! It was actually the illustration for my very first blog post nearly a year ago. I later did a portrait of her daughter's cat as a surprise birthday present.

Since then I've discovered such a love of pointillism/stippling and have created a few more pointy portraits of pets and people. Obviously I started the blog which has helped motivate me and thanks to the world wide web I've come across so many other projects and ideas to get involved in, not to mention how much I love meeting like-minded folk from all over the world.  I honestly believe it was all down to H asking me to do that first pet portrait.

A couple of weeks ago H asked if I could do a portrait of a beautiful Golden Retriever she had many years ago when she lived in South Africa. She is moving away at the end of the month and really wanted to get it framed before she left so I worked on it every spare moment I got and I finished it on Wednesday night.  I gave it to her last night.  I'm pleased to say she loved it.

Thank you H for giving me the push to try to make my dream a reality - baby steps but I might just get there!

This is Copper:

Copper - Pen and Ink, stippling

Now, don't forget to pop over to Paint Party Friday - it's getting so big its turning into a weekend long orgy of artistic delights!!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Patiently Waiting for Walkies... (Paint Party Friday)

This is another in the Walkies series although it originally started life intended for the Purrfect Nostalgia series. I completely messed the background up initially and ended up cutting around the woman and dog, glueing them onto a new watercolour page and adding a brand new background around them, so I suppose you could almost call this a collage of sorts!! It isn't an ACEO this time either as I wanted to do a sketch the same size as the mini canvases I bought, so I could hopefully then replicate it in acrylics, so this one is slightly bigger at 5 x 5 inches.

I started with an idea of a woman looking out a window with a cat at her side but after I drew the woman's victory roll hair-do a cat just didn't seem to belong so I found myself adding a dog instead.  As it went along it evolved into the idea of the women passing time on a park bench, patiently waiting for her love to come back from war while her faithful spaniel is patiently waiting for her to take him for a walk!

Patiently waiting for walkies!

This is my contribution to this week's Paint Party Friday which is my favourite time of the week for blog-hopping and discovering all the amazing and diverse artwork that each person brings along to the party!


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