Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Season's Greetings!

I would just like to wish everyone a fabulous and festive holiday season. The last few months have been wonderful for my art with more sales and commissions than I have ever had before. So I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your support and custom this year and I hope that 2012 will bring more creativity and excitement for all of us :o)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Animal Art Resource

This new blog has just been brought to my notice. Written by a fellow Facebooker, the Animal Art Resource will become a resource filled with tutorials, advice, ideas, how to sell your art, build a website and online presence, networking, etiquette, shows, dealing with clients and the public and 'getting over your phobias'. There is just an introductory post right now but I can't wait to see what else it will hold over time. I have been painting and drawing for over 20 years and have struggled mightily with all kinds of issues regarding creating and selling my art. This resource will be a huge help for many artists and budding artists in the future.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Buttons, buttons everywhere

Crafters often have a thing for buttons. I have, I know many other crafters who have and the craft shops are full of little packets of buttons. But there is a new twist to working with buttons. Actually, it's a very old twist - thread wrapped buttons.

I was watching Create and Craft on TV a few weeks ago and a lady, Gina Barrett, came on to show us how to make thread wrapped buttons. So pretty. I was inspired, nay, hooked. So I bought her first DVD and have been making buttons ever since (well, when I get five minutes to sit down and relax). A few simple materials are all that are needed - threads (I used size 5 and 8 cotton perle, rayon, embroidery silk or floss and viscose gimp) and button moulds to wrap the thread around (I use a double layer of watercolour paper although there are proper wooden moulds available). They have wonderful names like 'Death's Head Wrap', 'Star of David' and 'Chequerboard'. Each design is a genuine button making technique from the 14th century onward. I think that is part of the reason they appealed to me so much. I love history and to be able to make something that people made in the past is a direct link to history.

I have included a few pictures of my buttons here but if you want to check out Gina's web site where she sells her DVDs and other goodies then you can find it here .

For the birds

I love painting warm and fuzzies, i.e. mammals. They are undoubtedly my favourite animals. But over the last few weeks I have been adding more birds to my stock of paintings.

My garden is full of birds, from the usual garden birds like blackbirds, great tits and green finches to less common visitors to this area, nuthatches and long tailed tits. Add to that the countryside birds like partridges and pheasants and the garden is frequently crammed to overflowing. Last week while I was out walking I got very excited when I saw a goldcrest in the hedgerow. I always wanted to see one but thought they didn't exist in this area. So I was very excited, so excited that my attempt to photograph it was stymied by my hands shaking with excitement. As a result I have plenty of subject matter for producing bird paintings. The three birds below all visit my garden and now they have been immortalized in watercolour. How many birds can say that?

I have listed these three birds on Etsy along with a few other ones so if you want to check them out then drop on by. There is also a variety of commission that I have been asked to paint over the last few weeks. Check out the 'sales' section on the left of the page to see them.

Tools and techniques

My words of wisdom are on The Altered Page today along with those of a multitude of talented people. It's all about techniques and tools so pop on by and see what we creative types think are our favourites.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Day of the Dead earrings

Yesterday one of my fabulous customers, Eri, sent me a link to some earrings she made using some of my Day of the Dead beads. Absolutely magical. The triangles are made from wood, decoupaged and decorated with glitter glue and swarovski flatback rhinestones to make individual and funky earring tops. My beads are sandwiched between gold plated rondelles with AB clear rhinestones that show them off to perfection. I always enjoy seeing what people use my beads for but these earrings really blew me away. If you want to see them in greater detail then take a look at Eri's Etsy shop, ericosmicgirl, or the listing here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Over on Billie's Craft Room...

... I am the artist of the month. Billie came across my work thanks to Seth Apter's Pulse project and very kindly asked me if I would contribute to her blog. I was more than pleased to be asked and wrote a few of my thoughts down for her to publish. It has been such a thrill and a great pleasure. If you want to take a look and find out a little more about me then drop by her blog and say hello.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Hare update

I thought I'd just give a quick update on the hare sketches. The hare by the wall is already reserved but the other two are on my Folksy shop. This does not mean I am moving my sales to Folksy. I was finding that I was posting paintings to both Etsy and Folksy but they were always selling on Etsy. So I had to dash off to Folksy and cancel my listings there - which is a waste of money and Folksy isn't cheap to sell on. I'm going to try and rotate the paintings so they get some time on both web sites (if they don't sell first). But if you see a painting in one shop and would rather buy it through the other one then I am happy to list it there for you. I know that some British buyers are charged by their bank or credit card company for making purchases on foreign sites so it is no trouble to move a listing across to Folksy. Just let me know, either through the comments here, Twitter (I'm called GMcMarts on Twitter but the link to me is on the right at the top of this page) or Facebook.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Hare today...

Just a few hare outline sketches for today. These are destined to be paintings at some point in the future. Three of these hares live in one of the fields near my home and can frequently be seen in the spring, boxing, running and jumping. I met the fourth hare on the road one day when I was out walking. It came so close to me, just running down the road, oblivious to my presence. It is those moment that are truly magical. They are beautiful animals and I am lucky to see a healthy population locally.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Hot cakes

It seems I haven't been posting as many of my watercolour sketches as I thought I had. Do you ever have those times when you are sure you have done something only to discover you haven't? Well, I seem to live in those moments all the time these days. Anyway, I put some of the sketches on Etsy and they are selling really well. It is a little confusing for me as I have spent 23 years trying to create art that I am happy with (to see some of my favourite pieces see the link 'Recent Art' on the right of this page, under the Twitter button) but people love my quick sketches. I have been asked to paint several commissions of both pets and wildlife since I started listing the sketches too. It is lovely that people want to buy my art though. I have sent them all over the world recently and it has been such a thrill. Here are a few images that I have been creating. If you want to see more, go to my Etsy store and click on '277 sales' on the left of the page, under 'shop info'. You'll see foxes, hare and otters, to name but a few.

Friday, 23 September 2011

From the mad scientist of beads

I have been experimenting like a mad beading scientist this week. I got very messy, very covered in glue and my eyes were filled with glitter. Well, maybe not 'filled' exactly but there was glitter in my eyes on several occasions. Let me tell you, it's not something I advise. It nips. However, from these experiments came some new style beads. Silk paper beads to be precise. I got some wonderful colour combinations and am very pleased with them. I have added a few sets to my Etsy store but I really must find something wonderful to do with some myself. Mmmm. What to make?


My beads have been featured in another blog. This week it is 'janettalk' which focuses on paper goodies, in particular paper beads. Janet, who writes the blog, has been showing how to make paper beads - from the basics to some of the problems you might enounter during the process. She has used my beads as an example of other ways to make beads and I am very pleased and honoured that she thinks my beads are good enough for that purpose. You can find the actual post here but why not take a look at the other posts too and maybe learn something new.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Apart from having the best blog name on the planet, Artfully Ooglebloops has been sharing some treasures with her followers. One of those treasures is a journal made myself and I am very pleased to include the link to the post. Why not pull up a chair and a cup of tea and have a read here.

But the excitement of my items being shared is not over. Last Friday one of my paintings was also included in a woodland theme blog post by Ello Design. You can see more here.

I am so very pleased to have been included in both these blogs this week. When you work so hard to make things that people like to look at it is such a thrill when other people tell the world just how much they like them. It is times like these that make the whole thing worthwhile.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

More publishing news

I just got the news today that some of my words of wisdom are to be published in a new book by Seth Apter from The Altered Page. What a surprise! Seth's book is being published by North Light Books next year and incorporates questions and answers from a wide variety of artists alongside artwork prepared especially for the book. I did not submit art but I did submit answers to the questions and those answers have been chosen for inclusion in the book. It is very exciting and such an honour to be included alongside so many other talented artists. No doubt more information will be forthcoming in the future and I will let you all know as I find out more.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

More pendants

These are the three completed pendants from the photo yesterday. The photo isn't brilliant but they look lovely in real life.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Pendant Project

I'm giving making my own pendants shot. After seeing a few blog posts and videos on YouTube I figured that I could print out some of my own paintings to a small size then stick them into pendant trays. So, it called for a trip to Ebay to pick up a few essentials.

Then I put them all together using this tutorial from Jasmin Studio Crafts (from where I bought the pendant trays, glass, chain, etc). This is my first attempt - my Contemplation Panda. I'm quite pleased with my first attempt. Maybe a little tweaking is required for the edges because one of them became a little ruffled and looks magnified under the glass. But overall it is a nice, simple, effective project. Ideal for making gifts for birthdays and Christmas too.
In other news - I've added new Dia de los Muertos beads to my Etsy store.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Spooky beads for Halloween

WoooOOoooo! Yes, Halloween is coming and my bead making is revolving around that season. Dark and spooky, fun and funky and downright creepy. Who wouldn't want a bead set for Halloween named Blood from the Tomb? All these sets are available in my Etsy store but I've been renewing the vintage style beads this week too.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Watercolour sketches, part 2

More pictures of the sketches in my Etsy store. Still more to come as I had a very productive weekend last week. I had hoped this weekend would be just as productive but I spent it trying to figure out Search Engine Optimization for Etsy. My head nearly exploded last night with all the information so I am going to stay well away from the PC after this morning. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Watercolour sketches, part 1

I've been busy playing with my watercolours recently. I've come up with a few watercolour sketches that I am in the process of listing on Etsy. Most of the creatures in the series live locally and I often get the opportunity to sketch them as they pass through my garden or while out walking. Each is a quick study of these animals, subtle representations done with minimal brush strokes and plenty of watercolour paint. Great fun to do and much quicker than my more detailed work.

Over the next few days I will be listing more sketches, which range from British wildlife to more exotic creatures not found here. I'll post the pictures here as I get the listings up.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sneaky peek

Just a quick post to show off my first attempts with fabric paper. I haven't had a lot of success with the glue I use but I added a goodly dollop of paint and seem to have rescued it. I made this little journal with it and decorated it with some of my paper beads.

This is a sneaky peek of some of the new beads I will be listing on Etsy over the next week. Lots of colour. In all I have 16 sets to list, including some Halloween themed ones. Plenty of choice for everyone.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Bugged out by summer

Yes, it's summer, my least favourite time of year. What is inevitable, apart from it being too hot, suffering from allergies and feeling totally lethargic, is the influx of bugs. I don't mind bugs, I have a soft spot for beetles, but flying insects drive me to distraction. So you may find it strange that I bought a books called Wire Bugs and have been making a few wire and bead bugs over the last few weeks. But these are cute bugs. They don't sting, they don't fly in at your face, they don't cause irritation or illness. They just look cute. Ants, beetles, bees, dragonflies ... they are all in the book. I even came up with a few hybrid ideas of my own. Great fun.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


I had the most amazing surprise yesterday. I ordered a book last week called Skulls by Noah Scalin, published in 2008. It is based on the hugely successful Skull-a-Day blog and shares images from the year long project to create a skull a day, fun projects to make yourself and a few fan creations. While Scalin was in the midst of his project I sent him some hand made crafty creations using hand carved rubber stamps I made from his own images. The surprise? My creations are in the book! I had no idea they had been published and it was only by chance that I went back to Skull-a-Day and found out the book had been published. Being a fan of all things creepy I felt I had to buy a copy and when it arrived and I was flicking through it, SURPRISE! Let's just say I was on cloud nine, ten and eleven yesterday. Although the book doesn't seem to be available on either or to buy new, it is available from several second hand sellers. If you like all things skully you might just love this book. The really spooky thing is that the book was published on my birthday in 2008.

In other news, I have been making new beads, indulging in some yarnful creations and trying to get work ready for the local exhibition next week. All after a week of dog sitting for my sister. No rest for the wicked.