Saturday, 27 July 2013

A mosaic of summers past...

When I visited Denthe's blog on Friday she had created a mosaic to show her artwork for the the six weeks of Summer of Colour 2013 and put it together with the six weeks of Summer of Colour 2012 to see the similarities and differences in her work then and now. I really loved this idea and so, apologies to Denthe for my lack of originality and pilfering of her idea, but I really wanted to do the same!!

It's funny to see the different styles I used this year and last year - on both occasions it turned out that I had just discovered a mini obsession with a particular technique which just happened to coincide with the Summer of Colour challenge and so used the same theme throughout regardless of the colour choices. Who knows what it'll be next year!

I'm linking to Sunday Sketches although I'm cheating slightly as these aren't really new sketches more recycled illustrations. 

In other news, the third of the art exhibitions I've taken part in since moving to Scotland is on at the moment. This is the big one through the Society of Caithness Artists and runs from 21 July (the preview evening where myself and Angela ran around like blue-arsed flies sticking red stickers on all the work that sold - none of which was ours!) until 3 August. I did a couple of hours on the sales desk on Friday afternoon and popped in with S today to show him the exhibition - there are 342 pieces of art and sculpture in the show this year and unfortunately at the time of going to press I have yet to sell any of my pieces :0/  hey ho, it's been a learning curve and I think next year I'll do smaller, less time consuming and therefore less expensive pieces). Still, there's another week to run so I'll try to keep thinking positive thoughts and you never know!

By the way, If you haven't read my last post then check it out if you fancy winning a free on-line art class courtesy of - the closing date to enter is Wednesday 31 August.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I have an awesome art class give away for you!!

'Keep the home fires burning'- mini-canvas

So, now that I've got your attention, let me tell you all about it! 

I recently got an email from wondering if I might like to offer one of their on-line art classes as a free give away to my readers as well as partake of a class myself.  

Well, I certainly wasn't going to turn down a wonderful offer like that so of course I said I'd be delighted to. I've never done an on-line art class before but I know many of the other art bloggers I follow do them all the time. I'm sure that someone would love to win a chance to take a free class and I'm looking forward to doing it myself. Because I've been dabbling in landscapes recently, as luck would have it there is a class in landscapes in acrylic which I plan to do!

Now, I'll tell you how to enter for your chance to win a free on-line class right after I tell you about my latest pieces of mini-art!

So, those of you who've followed my blog for a while might remember way back here (Back when my blog was still PointyPix) when I had mini canvasses and I was, at the time, a little obsessed with doing rainy window paintings. Well, I still had four little canvasses already painted black and I had an idea to try out my Big Skies, Little Planet series on them.  

Step 1 

I've read so many blogs that use both Mod Podge and book pages in their art work and I've always wanted to try it so I ordered myself a big tub of Mod Podge and decided to use one of my favourite books ever, Wuthering Heights, purely because it was a copy I had from school so it was falling apart and the pages were already conveniently yellowed with age!

Step 2

I then just drew the illustration and went over it with black acrylic paint before using masking fluid on the parts I wanted to show the paper through.  I then just set about it with paint and added a few toothbrush spatters for good measure.

I tried it with watercolour paint too to see if it would work with all the writing showing through the paint but I didn't really like it so I plan to re-do those with acrylics.

'Peace and Quiet' - mini-canvas

Just to show you the actual size:

Now, if you haven't already gone 'yes, yes, blah, blah tell me how to win the free art class' and scrolled on down past my show and tell for this week, then let me tell you exactly how you do enter to win!

Leave me a comment below if you'd like to win and also click here and fill out your details. The closing date for entrants will be midnight on Wedesday 31 July. Once the competition is closed, will put together the list of everyone who entered via my blog and I'll select a number at random. I'll notify the winner on Friday 2 August right here so make sure to pop back next week. 

I'm not even going to make you start following my blog or Facebook page to be in with a chance to win but of course if you wanted to that would be lovely ;0)

I'll be linking up to Paint Party Friday but wanted to post early to give as many folk who stumble by here the chance to win, if they want! 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The magnetic pull of the north...

'Sunrise and Silence' - Acrylic on Canvas 23.5cm x 30cm

This week, I've had a real urge to paint a landscape in acrylics based on the Big Skies, Little Planet idea just less whimsical but still not entirely realistic. So I had a go at creating a landscape that came pretty much entirely from my imagination but that was inspired by the real landscape up here in the far northern highlands. I made up the sky, added some hills and decided to include the ubiquitous wind turbines which are, for better or worse, part of the landscape up here these days.  They proved the most difficult of all with S pointing out, just when I thought I was finished, that they should be symmetrical, and mine weren't. Cue much huffing and puffing and trying very hard to re-do them without ruining the sky in behind them!

By the time I fixed them up as best I could the light had gone out of the day so apologies for these photos - they're pretty grainy.

Anyway, apart from the wind turbines, I'm quite pleased with the result. I just really enjoyed slapping the paint on and using my new favourite technique of paint spatters for wild flowers at the bottom and stars at the top.  It was refreshing to go with my intuition rather than studiously working from a reference photograph. I have assigned S with the mission of photographing cute cottages/hilly landscapes/amazing skies so that I can build up a reference library though, as I think I'd like to do more of these landscapes.

Sticking with the Big Skies, Little Planet illustrations, when I was at John O'Groats with my sister last week, after seeing the choice (or lack thereof) of souvenir fridge magnets on offer, I had a light bulb moment where I thought perhaps if I could turn my little illustrations into magnets I could maybe sell them to some of the local shops. Seeing what was currently on offer, I reckoned there was definitely a gap in the market for quirky fridge magnets and so, I ordered a bunch of blank plastic fridge magnets on-line and have made them up from 12 of the different scenes that I did.

Big Skies, Little Planet  fridge magnets

After work on Thursday, I took 12 (one of each design) into one of the local shops, Eye Candy, which sells lots of lovely and unusual locally crafted goods. They bought all 12 from me with a view to ordering more if they sell well! 

I'm going to try a few other shops as well and definitely take some up to the souvenir shop at John O'Groats that helped spawn the idea in the first place!

If you want to catch up with my other post in the last week, here they are:

                 A farewell to Summer (of Colour)

I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday and will try to visit everyone I can over the weekend.

Monday, 15 July 2013

A farewell to summer (of colour)

Can you believe it's already the last week of the Summer of Colour challenge hosted by Kristin over at Twinkle Twinkle Like a Star?

It really is my favourite challenge and I'm sad to see it end. This week (week 6) the colour combo voted for was sage and sepia.

'As man tries to harness nature' - watercolour and ink postcard
I didn't vote for this. Not because I don't like those shades, because, actually, I really do, but because I was being lazy and I just happened to have a Big Skies, Little Planet illustration completed which just happened to be in shades of aqua and pale yellow which just happened to be one of the colour combo choices! Needless to say that's the one I voted on. 

Now though, I'm quite glad that it didn't win as the sage and sepia really is a lovely combination and I think it works quite well for this wee scene (although the sage looks more like lime on my computer). 

Here's the illustration I had already done in aqua and pale yellow seeing as there are no more weeks left for those colours to get picked:

'As the boat sailed over the horizon' - watercolour and ink postcard

Thank you so much to Kristin for hosting this challenge.  I'll be linking up with Summer of Colour on her blog as well as on Flickr and Facebook. So many are taking part in this challenge that you're sure to come across them via one of those links!

Oh, and by coincidence, as well as saying farewell to the summer of colour, it seems we are also saying farewell to summer up here in the far north of Scotland.  We had a wonderful week of sunshine last week but it seems that unfortunately normal grey skies service has been resumed!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A lick of paint, some new door knobs and our week in photos!

Last sketch from the 75 day challenge - even the fish looks happy!!

So I've had a lovely week with my sister, we even had some fabulous weather which saw us on sun loungers in the garden (apart from the one day that S took off to take us up to John O'Groats and Dunnet head - then it was foggy and miserable - poor S!!)

Me and my sister at Dunnet Head - great view!!

My sister and Brodie at Dunnet Beach

Me and S - summer you say?

The rest of the week was lovely!

Reuben's sandy nose!

While S and my sister went for a run
I sat and took photos of my bare feet on the beach!

We managed to get the kitchen redecorated before my sister arrived although the flooring didn't go down until Tuesday. Here are the before and after photos - I love it - it's amazing what a lick of paint and some funky door knobs can do to change the look of a place!








Our kitchen leads off our dining room and sun room and I wanted them to all have similar colours - I think it worked pretty well!  




So, yes it's been a great week and the icing on the cake was today when we went for our usual walk from the cottage to the beach.  This time we decided to go left at Fresgoe Harbour instead of right.  We ended up on the most beautiful (if scary for those of us who are a bit freaked by heights i.e. me!) clifftop coastal walk where we saw those elusive clowns of the sea for the first time!  We've driven all over the county looking for these and it turns out they were practically on our doorstep the whole time!!

Credit: S

Credit: S

Credit: S

Credit: S

Credit: S

Credit: S - Fresgoe Harbour

Credit S: we discovered a new wee beach at Fresgoe Harbour 

Credit: S - I love that we can walk here from our cottage!

Because there is actually one sketch in this entire post, I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches!

Monday, 8 July 2013

A sandcastle kind of day...

This is already week 5 of Summer of Colour and this week's colour combo was candy apple red and yellow. I have to admit that I really struggled with this one. I don't really like primary colours. I do like vibrant colours, like jewels, jade, aqua, cerise, turquoise, vibrant earthy oranges, velvety purples, midnight blues and sapphires and deep wine red - all of which work wonderfully with my wee Big Skies, Little Planet illustrations. But bright red and bright yellow? Not so much. I pondered this conundrum for a while this morning, in between doing the housework and hanging out the washing on this the second glorious summer's day in a row and then it came to me - Sunny days, yellow sandy beaches and building sandcastles with bright red buckets!

'A sandcastle kind of day'  - watercolour and ink on watercolour postcard

It isn't my favourite colour combo so far and I think I may have been a bit heavy-handed with the paint spatters. I also had to include a little bit of blue for the sky and sea but other than that, I guess this is my submission for Summer of Colour Week 5! This will be going into my Etsy shop soon along with all the others from this series of illustrations. 

Pop over to Kristin's blog, Facebook or Flickr to see all the other ideas folk had for this colour combo.  There are so many participating in this challenge and it's amazing how many different ideas people have!

I'm off now to go get my sister from the train station - very excited to see her and I hope this wonderful heatwave lasts for the week!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A dog called Goldilocks..

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I got a request for a commissioned dog portrait via my Etsy shop.  Here she is:

'Goldilocks' - commissioned dog portrait in stippled ink 8 x 10 inches

The real Goldilocks - what a beauty!

The last stippled ink portrait I did was in November 2011 of LeRoy and I'd forgotten how intense yet therapeutic it actually is. It took me 12 hours and a squillion dots of ink and I got her packaged up and sent off to her new home in Texas on Tuesday. 

In other painting news, S and I have been redecorating our kitchen this week. It was quite dated when we moved in and in the spirit of make do and mend (and being broke) instead of ripping it out and getting a brand new kitchen, we're giving it a once over, re-painting the dated wooden cupboards instead and adding some new funky door knobs. I'll post the grand reveal next week once the new flooring is down (although the floor man was supposed to ring within 3 working days and it's already been 5 so it may just be another one of those things that operates on Thurso Time.

Anyway,  it occurred to me as I was happily slapping paint on the walls that when we see woman redecorating their homes on TV adverts they usually have cute little denim dungarees with a little white vest top often with a little daub of paint on the end of their perky little noses. Something like this:

Source: Fayette Woman Shutterstock

Whereas I was wearing an old pair of MC Hammer style tracky bottoms and an old top with a rip in that I used to wear to work. Oh, and a pair of crocs. Far from looking like I'd just stepped off the catwalk to do a spot of redecorating, I appeared to be channelling Waynetta Slob who, if you aren't familiar with her looks like this:

Source: still from a YouTube video of BBC show

I suggested to S that I needed to buy some cute clothes to redecorate in. I'll let you guess his reply!

In non-painting news, my sister arrives next Monday for her first visit to our new Scottish home and I can't wait to see her (and see her face when she sees just how remote we really are!!)

I'm linking to Paint Party Friday and I'll endeavour to visit as many folk as possible over the weekend.  

Monday, 1 July 2013

A New York State of Mind...

The Summer of Colour Week 4 colour combination as voted for by us was charcoal grey and pale pink. I've voted on this colour combo since week one so I'm delighted it finally got selected!

'A New York State of Mind' - watercolour and ink postcard.
This week I've been listening to Billy Joel a lot and so I was in a New York State of Mind when it came to an idea for a Big Skies, Little Planet illustration - a little different from the normal countryside scenes I've been doing so far. 

I also drew this New York scene as a wee gift for the funniest woman I've never met - Carol King who hails from New York and who's become a good virtual friend ever since we met on-line during the Sketchbook Project in 2010/2011. Carol kindly sent me a very New York house-warming gift when we moved earlier in the year and I wanted to send her a little something back. I'm hopeful that we'll meet up for real at some point if we ever make it back to New York for a holiday but in the meantime, I'll continue to laugh at her stories (whilst reading them with a broad New York accent in my head!)(Sorry to ruin the surprise if you happen by here before the postie happens by your apartment, Carol!

I'm linking up to the Summer of Colour Facebook page and to Kristin's blog where she is kindly hosting the challenge again this year.


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