Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas countdown

With just a short time left until Christmas day I thought I should post my pics from Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas before it's next Christmas. As for many people who play along, there was a lot of improvising from hand cutting my own shapes instead of using dies to creating my own vintage paper from copyright free images. But the fun is in the playing along with hundreds, if not thousands, of people all over the world. After all, the gift of giving comes in a million different guises and you can't get better than that during the holiday season. Wishing all my readers a wonderful festive season.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Challenge Gillian - November

The finish line is in sight now. One more month of drawings to do and I will have completed my challenge for the year. Phew! It's has been a slog. Although I enjoy painting and drawing very much, when you put yourself in the position of having to produce new works without a brief it is exhausting. never knew how much life got in the way either. So much pops up when you least suspect it. The question is whether I will do it again next year. There is a new blog that has been started to encourage people to use their sketchbooks more. You can find out more about The Sketchbook Challenge here but participants basically follow a theme in their sketchbooks for a month and they have the option to post their work in a Flickr album. It's not just for fine art though. Anyone who wants to have a sketchbook, even if it is just for doodles, can take part.

Anyway, last month's paintings were done in a flurry of activity. I was trying to produce work for the exhibition but due to heavy snow I couldn't get to the drop off and had to withdraw. I was very disappointed as it means more exposure and usually money in my bank account. Still, at least I got some painting time in. The first is my neighbour's cat enjoying the scenery through a Gothic window. He looks nice and cozy.

Then we have the nuthatch that comes to visit my garden.

The snail visits too.

And finally a little snowy cottage - just because it was so snowy here. This was actually taken for a painting exercise in a book but I changed it a little.

So, one more month to go. I already have a picture of a rottweiler to work on and I suspect snowy paintings might figure strongly too if the weather reports are anything to go by.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Catch up

I hadn't realised that it had been so long since I posted anything to my blog. With 20 inches of snow to deal with over the last two weeks I guess things got away from me - again.

So what's been happening? Well, lots of Christmas card making so I have added some photos of them here. Then I signed up for an online class with Carla Sonheim. It has been brilliant fun. We are making journals and purses from fabric scraps and I have re-discovered my love of my sewing machine. If you want to find out more you can read about it here. There will be a second presentation of the class in the New Year and I can heartily recommend it. So far I have made two scrap journals and am in the process of making my scrap purse. The final lesson arrived yesterday so pictures of the purse will follow soon but here are a couple of pics of my journals. I have adjusted Carla's instructions just a little when it came to binding them. I used a binding technique using cotton perle thread and beads instead of stitching the page in. That way I can add new pages later if I want to.

I also mastered basic crochet. Now, this has been an issue for me for a long time. I learned to knit when I was little but never really took to it. Crochet, however, was a mysterious hobby. One hook and magnificent forms could be created. Could I figure out how to crochet? Nope! The illustrations in books were always useless but by chance I came across a tip from someone who crochets - the internet. This will sound very obvious to most of us. I use the internet to research nearly everything but it never occurred to me that it would be of any more help than the books I had used. Wrong! I had forgotten we are in the age of video classes. NexStitch is a crochet site that had a number of videos for beginner and it revolutionised the way people learn crochet. Me included. So far I have just played around but I have embarked on what I hope will be a scarf. The plan is to have grey ends that will be embellished and a coloured central panel. So far it is slow going. I might be 60 before I get this finished but I am having fun learning new techniques.

And marbling! I bought a couple of bottles of a marbling paint by Marabu called Easy marble and it actually works! In the past I have bought all the alum, size and inks and produced the ultimate in ugliness. So it was a lovely surprise when this stuff actually worked. It is a solvent based ink that floats on water (if you are using something smaller than A5 paper or wallpaper paste if it's bigger than that. So far I only have the blue and yellow so my colour will be limited but I feel a shopping spree coming on next week.

And, of course, there has been Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas and I have been taking part but I will post the photos of those later.

Other than that, there has been little drawing going on. I had an essay to write for my mythology course which took me longer than I expected. The snow meant much snow shovelling and Christmas shopping has been keeping me away from more productive work. But I hope you have enjoyed this catch up on my creativity. My Challenge Gillian images will be up soon too.