Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Happy Couple

Britain has gone Royal Wedding mad this week and tomorrow Prince William and Kate Middleton will be getting married in front of a worldwide audience.  The home where my Mum is living is having a Royal Wedding party and watching the proceedings on the telly followed by a garden party lunch so I will be going along to share the party with my Mum and the lovely ladies.  I've been rooting around for something red, white and blue to wear without much success so I shall just have to content myself with waving a small flag or wearing DH's velvet Union Jack hat.

I don't like to confront politics and such like on my blog but I do think the Royal Family work very hard for this country and with all the pressures of living in the public eye I would wish the soon-to-be-newly-wed couple a long and happy life together.  Britain excels at pomp and circumstance and everyone is getting very excited so I'm sure tomorrow will be a colourful spectacle which I will enjoy on the telly (I have kept away from all the prequels airing on the tv all week).  If you're getting into the spirit and enjoying a street party or family get together, have fun!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sketchbook fun

Only, I didn't call it a sketchbook because that word scares me so it's a workbook. :-)  I took some supplies with me to St Ives (well, quite a lot actually) with the intention of playing and we hadn't been in the flat long before I set my stall out,

I started off a bit tentatively as I haven't played about much with mixed media for ages but eventually I got going and really enjoyed myself.

This first rather ragged effort was sparked by the bath mat and as you can see I made a mistake at first and had to adjust to give a double line break between the large bubbles.  I can see this transferring to fabric fairly readily.
This is collage with scraped paint and stamped circles.

I had fun with this little indian block stamp and added some watercolour and  the lyrics of a very old song that came to me (Burl Ives sang it I think.  Oops! No, it appears it was Frankie Howerd)

On a theme of fishes I came across some dried beech leaves that I'd forgotten about and, as they reminded me of fish shapes that's what they became, along with some foil sweet wrappers.

I had seen a painting in the Sloop Inn in St Ives by Doris Lindemann, a local teacher I had had a workshop with several years ago and thought I'd have a go at something similar.  This started out with an orange base colour and then I worked very quickly over the top to get the energy of wave movements and tried to scratch through to reveal the colour underneath.  I wasn't altogether successful as my acrylic paints dried very quickly. After this I had a hankering all the holiday to work in oils.

I've forgotten exactly what I did here but it involved rubbing a metallic wax crayon over a molding mat, painting over, adding graphite and glueing on some of the beads that Carolyn gave me.  I stitched the page to the next page adding beads as I went and added some collage on the right.

This was a Sharpie doodle in front of the telly.

I was quite pleased with my little sketch of St Ives out of the window and I love my doodle on the right.  Much better than the first one I did that I'm too ashamed to show you.

This is an exercise I've done before and concerns edges and hard and soft marks.  It works quite well turned so that the layers run horizontally like a landscape too.

Not wonderfully successful but these two above were fun.

This page was really fun to do.  I wrote instructions on small pieces of paper and then put them in bowls and picked out one piece at a time and did whatever it said on the paper.  I did structure it slightly by grouping the papers so that I chose base instructions first (collage, paint, stamp, resist, print), then colour and finally embellishment.   Of course, I assumed paint or collage would come out first but, oh no, resist! was the first instruction.  That made an interesting start.  Then stamp, so the feet went on in 'blue' which was the colour I picked randomly.  'Paint' resulted in picking a choice 'complementary' from the papers and then collage followed.  Other instructions picked out were 'draw' and the implement picked out was a Sharpie.  Finally 'Spray' came out of the embellishments bowl.  I really enjoyed this way of working and I will definitely do it again.

This is my next favourite page.  I worked from an exercise in Jae Maries book, Contrasting Elements, and it is collages made up of paper napkins, monoprints on various surfaces from Sally Maccabe's workshop last year, hand made Indian papers, paper lamination, wrapping paper, fabric, scrim and some meshy stuff that I've forgotten the name of.

This is my favourite page.  I have long fancied doing a fun portrait in fabric and I had a whale of a time putting this page together.  The background is some fancy tissue paper I bought at Paperchase in London.  The face is some paper lamination that I did some time ago.  The doilly hair and yarn eyebrows came from Carolyn's gift as did the 'necklace' and the mouth and body are batiks.  I think I really must have a go at this in fabric, maybe as a Journal Quilt.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Back to Eden

There seems to be a conspiracy to keep me away from blogging just lately.  First Blogger won't post my photos, then our internet connection repeatedly keeps dropping out (should be sorted tomorrow......or else!) and on Saturday sadly our dear friend Grace, who is 99, was suddenly taken very seriously ill so we have spent a lot of time at the hospital.  Happily today she has surprised everybody by turning a great corner and is bouncing back yet again.  The medics are astounded that she is pulling through.  Fingers crossed that she continues to make progress.  She is laughing and joking with the nurses today when only yesterday we were summoned at 8 in the morning as they thought she was not going to survive a crisis.  She is one remarkable lady!

Anyway, back to Eden.  Needless to say I always have my eyes open for pattern and texture when we are out and about and Eden was no exception.

This beautiful skeleton leaf caught my eye.

I think this is a leaf of a banana tree. (remind me to come back to the banana)

 "Follow the yellow brick road".

These wavy lines were a non-slip surface.

This was the shadow thrown onto the quarry sides by the roof panels.

On the subject of bananas we saw this catchy little sign

I'm easily amused ;-)  They had a display area where children and any adults who fancied it, could press buttons and get music to play and I had a lovely time dancing around to a little number entitled "Bananas in Pajamas" had to be there!  Actually I Googled it for you and found a clip on Youtube but I thought I'd spare you. ;-)

I had a really lovely day meeting up with my dear friend Carolyn who many of you know already.  We swapped some gifts and as usual Carolyn was sooooo generous and I have come home with some beautiful goodies to play with.

These goodies include Carolyn's eco-dyed fabrics, lots of beautiful threads, some of her yummy hand made beads, commercial beads and a beautiful heart shaped beads in my favourite colour, turquoise.  I have already used some of the threads in some artwork that I did on holiday.  

A bonus gift was these lovely fingerless mittens that Carolyn had made for both of us.  Fingerless to leave DH's fingers free to use his camera and mine to leave fingers free for picking up treasures on the beach.  Carolyn knows us too well!

We had great fun opening up Carolyn's bundle for the Erosion Bundle Project and there were some gorgeous treasures to be found.

Can you believe that these Sycamore seeds actually germinated inside the bundle?

Carolyn tells you more about the contents of the bundle on her blog but she achieved some wonderful colour bleeds through the various layers. 

I shall look forward to seeing what is eventually made from all the different pieces of the bundle.

We rounded off our day by visiting a couple of art galleries in St Ives.  Porthminster Gallery just below our flat had an exciting and varied exhibition of paintings and ceramics by several artists including Matthew Lanyon, Tony Scrivener, Margaret Lovell, Sarah Perry and Jenny Hirst.  My DH particularly liked a painting by Jenny Hirst called 'Estuary'.  I very cheekily took a photograph of the windows which I hope they will forgive me for showing here (I figure you could stand in front of it and look at it from the street so a photo should be ok).

I was fascinated by the Mathew Lanyon paintings which had so much texture in them and so much to look at.  Many of his paintings were inspired by flights in a glider (he was a glider pilot) and reflect aerial views and impressions.

Jenny Hirst's painting 'Estuary' is in the centre of the photo above.

My DH made us lunch of cheese on crumpets (pyklets to some) and generally spoiled us so we had a great day.  Sadly it was over all too soon and we have to wait another year for our next get together.

Well, I'd better save the rest for another day or I'll have nothing to bore you with.  Next time I'll share my holiday workbook.  It's not a wonderful work of art but at least I did something and I had fun!

Many thanks to all of you, especially the no-reply commenters who I sometimes forget to mention, for all your lovely and supportive comments.  I do appreciate every one or them and the fact that people take the time in a very busy life to say a few words.  This is a great community!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Bet You Can't Guess

where we've been?  The header's a big clue!  We got back last weekend from a two week break in beautiful St Ives which never disappoints and never ceases to recharge the batteries.  We decided that after all the worries with Mum, and now that she is settled and happy, we would have some time out in our favourite place.  We rented a flat overlooking the town and the harbour.

What do you think?  Isn't it a gorgeous view to look out onto and watch the world go by?  I love the colour of the roofs in St Ives.  The lichen changes colour depending on the amount of moisture in the air.

The flat was very high up so we kept very fit walking back up the hill every time we went out.

The flat is pretty much in the middle of the pic above and is stuck on top of the white horizontal block in the middle. (X marks the spot).  If you click on the photo you should be able to see that it looks very unprepossessing and quite ugly from the outside but inside it was roomy and comfortable and the view was to die for!

We had a view of the town towards the Tate Gallery,

Across to the left to some attractive town houses,

Down to Fore Street, St Ives' main shopping street, strangely quiet in the late afternoon sunshine,

Across to the harbour and the Island,

And out to St Ives Bay and Godrevy lighthouse.  The view in my header is almost the full panorama from our window.  Stunning!

We didn't go very far during the holiday, preferring to spend time pottering on the beach, watching the tide come in, watching the tide go out, going for a few walks and for me, playing in my sketchbook!  (More of that later).  One excursion we did take though was to The Eden Project which we last visited a few years ago with my Mum).  The Eden Project is built in the bottom of an old china clay pit and every visit is a different experience.  We usually go into the tropical biome first as it gets really hot and humid in there and then go round the temperate biome.  


You can get some idea of the size of the place from the photo above.  If you click on the image you should be able to see a platform high up in the roof with a walkway going towards it.  This is new this year and at times the temperature up there gets above 40 degrees with very high humidity.  Did we go up there?  Definitely not!  It was hard enough keeping going round the main part in the humidity there.

Oops!  Blogger won't let me load any more photos!  To be continued..........