Sunday 28 June 2015

If Last Week Was Three Then This Must Be Four?

Gentle Reader ~~~ how time flies when you are having fun, and it cannot be denied that I am having fun doing these ICAD pieces. Already Week Four and where is the time flying to?

I just need to say Thank You to every one for your kind and encouraging comments. I know some of the things I'm sharing are a bit weird, but this is what ICAD is all about for me personally ~ exploring and playing with different mediums and not being precious about anything, or over thinking things.  I will say this though ~ I have produced two or three pieces so far that I definitely want to revisit after ICAD is over. The kiwi of a couple weeks ago is one, and there are two on this week's challenge ~~~ so, here we go again ~~~

Day 22 the theme was psychedelic and I really could not get in to this one at all, but ended up with this ~~~
~~~ which is lots of pearlescent ink swirled around and scratched into the card  with yet more layers of ink on top. I cut out a template for the Peace sign and then layered it with gazillions of tiny scraps of inked paper that had been hanging around, and frankly annoying me, for ages ~~~ yes, I suffer from obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder, of this I am certain. Anyway, this is what we got ~~~

~~~ Groovy Man ~~~

Day 23 and the prompt was Romantic ~~~ challenging, as I am probably the least romantic person I know ~~~ so, I took a card that was already prepared with gold acrylic paint bubble wrap pattern and I inked over with some pale pink pearlescent ink. I layered a scrap of green~shot~with~gold silk, some cream lace, a home made peel~off from my palette {ink, paint, and PVA} and added two hearts from a Martha Stewart punch that I inked and intertwined. The final topper of a rose bud is from my own photography and many of you will recognise it from my images, elsewhere, of my Elizabeth rose ~~~

Day 24 the prompt was Geometric so I divided the card into inches and just filled each one in differently using a fine liner. I put a constraint on myself not to use anything but straight lines. Not my favourite ~~~

Day 25's prompt was Botanic and Organic. Now, I could have played with these two for hours and hours but I had company so it ended up being a tad rushed. Still, the background is an organic mixed media, built up over several days using left over bits of this and that rather than discarding them. The sketch is in oil pastels which I find rather bulky and clumsy for working on this size of canvas, but it is good to persevere.

I am including several images so you can see what a difference the background and light can make to how the image reproduces photographically ~~~

For Day 26 the prompt was Exotic. I am getting rather fond of cleaning  my palette which is now providing me with a selection of PVA shapes on a regular basis, so the one that I lifted a few days ago I used today because it reminded me greatly of one of those exotic, fan~tailed goldfish you often see in ornamental ponds ~~~ so, a few bits of added fabric, metallic net, some extra dots of ink to echo the bubble wrap print and give some continuity ~~~ and a glorious, orange chiffon tail ~~~

Day 27 the theme was Academic ~~~ quite a lot going on here, despite the simplicity of the image ~~~ as a permanent student I decided to cut this back to a minimum. Gold tissue paper {symbolic of Honours on my degrees and certificates} embossed with a beautiful Austen~esque script {symbolic of classical literature}. The tape is dyed with alcohol ink {no, that is not symbolic of a glass of red wine} to blend, and the two images {symbols of study and mathematics} are stamped, hand coloured in, then cut out {fiddly or fiddly?} and pasted on with a snippet from an old dictionary that defines Academy.  Thinking about it, the symbolism is a good representation of my love of art, and the analysis of symbolism therein ~~~ am I getting too deep now?

and to round off the week, the theme was Dramatic. As many of you have seen, both on my other blog and on Facebook, I am treated to some incredibly spectacular sunsets as I live near the ocean and face west, so I decided to do a homage to a spectacular, sky on fire, sunset.  I used wet paper and gouache, keeping the paint thin and loose so it blended well. It's a bit messy, but I like it ~~~

Same one with a black frame {the computer!} to see a different effect ~~~

I actually think the lines of the card showing through add something different and adds to it, what do you think?

So, onward to Week Five! We've already had the prompts and they are getting more interesting so we shall see what happens next!

Sunday 21 June 2015

ICAD 2015 Weekly Update No. 3

Gentle Reader ~~~ Week Three of ICAD 2015 is drawn to a close {did you like the pun?}  

Day 15 and the prompt was Route 66 ~~~ Yay! Road Trip! Are you packed? Do you travel light? Shall we join the circus? okay, maybe not that last one, as I am not cut out for the trapeze or to be a clown ~~~

We are also given media prompts, and for week three these are collage, paper, old books, lists, and found text. So, imagine my delight when I found, in the deepest, darkest recesses of Spider Village {aka The Attic} an old book, tattered and torn, no cover, and not in any salvageable state of repair with a map of the United States and some very usable text with the names of the states through which Route 66 winds along  from Chicago to Santa Monica ~~~

I drew the VW impression on water colour paper and cut it out, along with the Route 66 sign and cut them out after colouring in then stuck them on the 'road' ~~~

Day 16  Greeting Card ~~~ as I make a lot of greetings cards, I twisted my interpretation around and focused on 'greetings' in many languages, including a nod to one of my favourite authors, JRR Tolkien by including Elvish.

Day 17 Wabi~sabi

This was a new one on me so I had to look it up. The time needed to study this concept {as I am understanding it} would be a life time, so to grasp such a deep concept and respond to it quickly was a juxtaposition in itself.  I made a conscious effort not to over think and responded quickly, producing a very simple card.

Originally, I shared it on the Daisy Yellow ICAD 2015 Facebook page simply entitled "Wabi Sabi".  However, I noticed that everyone else was explaining theirs and mine was being completely overlooked so against my better judgement I wrote the following to explain it. Sadly, I feel that in explaining my thoughts I have defeated the purpose of my presentation.  I welcome your thoughts and input on this.

I am reluctant to explain this as I feel it defeats, almost undermines, the concept, but as everyone else is explaining their wabi sabi, maybe I should explain some of my thoughts on what was a very quick response to a very deep and intangible thought process.
This is not perfect. Only God can create perfection, yet the transmutation of what He creates becomes imperfect whether through use, damage, or natural decay, or other forces.
The flowers are missing petals, the background is loose and unfinished, as if broken in places.
Two previously pressed buttercups from my garden are simply arranged, secured to the paper where they fell naturally from my hands.
By pressing the flowers, their imperfections and beauty are not repaired, but frozen in time, or at least the decay is slowed down.
I purposely chose yellow as the background, for gold was often used to repair broken artefacts in the concept of wabi sabi.
Simple, imperfect, incomplete.

Needless to say, I am disappointed that it required an explanation, which undermines the intention of my response to the concept. Sad.

Moving swiftly on ~~~

Day 18 and the prompt was Tree House ~~~ well, do you remember my photographs last Autumn of that fungus growing from the tree trunk, looked exactly like a doorway to a fairy house ~~~

so, betwixt that and my lovely and talented friend Donna's inspirational Fairy Tree House, how could I not do a mixed media interpretation of a Fairy Tree house ~~~

Day 19 prompt was Snow Globe ~~~ yay! I love snow but what can I do that is different?

I can't get a good photo but here is what I did. The background is hand dyed tissue paper in blue because blue is a beautiful colour often seen in snow/glaciers with a high oxygen content. The lamp post stamp is partly to hide that dreadful red line, and a nod to Narnia where it is always winter never Christmas ~~~ the globe is made from pva glue that I painted into a circle and gently pressed in the golden snow flakes. When translucent and almost set I carefully lifted it and placed it on the card as a giant snow bubble ~~~ after I made it, I'm also seeing the bubble in which Glinda arrives in Wizard of Oz!

Day 20 and the prompt was Colour Wheel ~~~ so, I did one of the things I love doing best of all ~~~ just pushing that lovely, thick textured acrylic paint around on paper {or canvas} ~~~ there is something I find just so incredibly satisfying just pushing paint around and getting it to resemble what you had in mind ~~~ anyway, I blended my colours on the paper, you should see the palette!

I'm showing you this portrait shot of the same image because the light went a bit off on the top and it looks rather heavenly ~~~ serendipity!

Day 21 The 1970's

What didn't happen to me that was a milestone in the 1970's? I came in to the decade as a newly formed teenager and went out of it as an old married woman of two years!

It was not my favourite decade, but what I do remember about it were the colours and patterns. I adored Mary Quant and Biba {all swoony now} and I had the most gorgeously coloured clothes and wallpaper. I found a Sheena Douglas embossing folder that is so evocative of many of my clothes and 'that' wallpaper, so I just played and played with it.

Gentle Reader ~ I should warn you, there are now many images as I take you through the many cards I made for the 1970's ~~~ so why don't you take a moment to make a cup of tea and fetch a slice, or two, of cake?

Okay, everyone sitting comfortably?  Then, I shall begin ~~~ there wasn't much I actually liked about the decade ~ the music was, by and large, cacophonous and loud; I cared little for the movies; I loved dancing but did not like discos as everyone was smoking and ended up drunk {shudders} and the following morning I reeked of smoke and could not hear properly; I hated the constrictions of school; my list of dislikes of the 70's could go on and on. However, it wasn't all bad. I was a free spirit, still am, and I spent a lot of time on my own, which suited me because I could read, walk in nature, and spend a lot of time bobbing about on the ocean blue sitting on our boat. I did adore the fashions of the day because they were odd, colourful, and quirky ~ although did I really love tank tops, elephant bags, and teetering platforms? Ye Gads! We all thought we were the bees knees! I loved long flowing maxi skirts and smocked tops, long silky scarves and big chunky ethnic jewellery. My favourite colours were aubergine, and all those clashing colours of orange, pink, and lime green. I loved the daisies and floral patterns that abounded everywhere and I had an eye shadow with which I fell deeply in love. It was one of those dreadful cream ones that slid everywhere and contributed to the Giant Panda look that was sported by so many teenagers back in the day ~~~ it was purple and shimmery. In one light it was the palest, moonlight silvery purple, but change the light and it was the deepest, moodiest, sultriest colour I have ever seen and I was smitten both by it, and all things purple.

Last night, I found a Sheena Douglass {very talented and absolutely lovely lady} embossing folder that had a distinct 70's feel to it and in many ways reminded me a lot of my clothes and 'that' wallpaper, so off I went and put my trusty Cuttlebug {mine is pale green ~ swoon ~ and I love it the most of my die cutting and embossing machines ~ the only reason I bought a Grand Calibur was the convenience of embossing A4}

Oh, I'm digressing now ~~~ back on track ~~~ I took the embossing folder and just started running my index cards through ~~~

This was the first off the presses ~~~ I stamped a daisy directly on to the index card, then I put a sheet of hand dyed tissue paper on top and ran the two layers through the Cuttlebug. I traced the daisy through using Spectrum Noir alcohol pens and ended up with this ~ not likey ~~~

so I tore off the tissue paper and got this ~ likey ~

of course, you turn things over and you get this ~ likey lots!

I was playing with different lightings too, so here is another one ~~~

So, this one I used the embossed side of the card and using soft pastels in very 1970's colours of orange and pink, I did a sort of wax rubbing to highlight the raised sections. Then, I used an alcohol pen in lime to fill in the de~bossed areas ~~~ very 1970's I think ~~~

Same image, different lighting ~~~

This is a reverse image of the next process {below} and I like the way the colours bleed through the cheap quality index card ~~~

Everyone is saying this looks like an embossed leather ~~~ it is red acrylic paint mixed with PVA glue to coat the card, embossed and then areas picked out using alcohol pens again ~~~

Close up detail ~~~ you can see the lines of the index card!

Another one using wax resist but leaving the areas in between white.

These next two are the hand dyed tissue paper on its own showing the two sides embossed and debossed ~~~

and finally {did someone say 'phew'?} this one is very simply an index card roughly painted with left over paint from the Colour Wheel card, dried, then run through the Cuttlebug which seems to have lifted some of the colour leaving useful white highlights ~~~

Well, there you have Week 3 of ICAD 2015 ~~~ I don't think I planned to write half as much, but I wanted to share Day 21 as I found myself doing what I should ~ working through and producing a lot of samples rather than just the one finished piece.  Much fun was had ~ although there was a lot of clearing up too! {giggles}

I hope you won't be put off and will come back next week! Thank you for dropping by and I'm looking forward to reading what you think, what you like, what you don't like, in the comments!

Sunday 14 June 2015

ICAD 2015 Week Two

Gentle Reader ~~~

Well, here we are with Week Two of the ICAD 2015 challenge.

I'm not sure how much I will stick to the prompts this week as they are all juxtapositions of fruits and vegetables. Could be interesting, but, frankly I find seven pairings of fruit and vegetables rather unimaginative.

Anyway, the paring prompt for Day 8 is Cherries and Grapefruit.  It was a bit of a hectic day, lots of phone calls and distractions so I was looking to do something quick, under 20 minutes if I could manage, so I reverted, once again, to bad practice and drew a threesome of cherries from memory. Still, when you have eaten as many fresh cherries as I have, drawing from memory isn't that hard {this is the bit where we all laugh over our tea and cakes}

So, here is my ICAD Day 8, "Cherries" a quick study in oil pastel on an acrylic background ~~~

Day 9 the prompt is Carrot & Lemon ~~~ ugh! Sorry, I am just not enjoying, dare I say relishing, the fruity vegetable themes that we are set, and after this I think I'm just going to do my own thang ~~~

So, we have a lemon ~~~ which looks more like a daisy than a fruit but in the spirit of the game, I published it anyway. Oh, it was my umpteenth attempt. I am struggling with too large brushes on the smaller sized 'canvas' ~~~ brushes

Now, I could point out to you everything that is wrong with this, but I promised myself at the start I'd do my very best to stop pointing out my flaws so I am going to keep quiet.   What happened here was I decided to load my brush and paint, and keep loading without rinsing the brush, only adding more paint as needed, so it is quite thick and textural.  Now, I think I need that G&T I mentioned in the writing ~~~

Day 10  I went with the prompt of Aubergine and Ginger. I went with the colours as Aubergine is my favourite colour and I wanted the challenge of mixing the colour fairly accurately out of my boxes of tricks. I'm not unhappy with the colour, although the photo has altered it slightly.

Lots of things happening behind this, yet the image itself is simple and very quickly done.

First, this morning I took this photograph of a dandelion that was sparkling in the morning sunlight and this has influenced my card today as I responded to the morning's photograph ~~~

I base coated the card with silver acrylic and painted my mixed aubergine over then lifted it using small bubble wrap and a brayer to make a pattern.

I stamped some dandelion clocks on gold tissue and highlighted the clocks with a little gold Nuvo Crystal Drops which is my interpretation of the photo I took this morning.  I loosely tore the paper not being precious ~~~

It is probably the most immediate response of all my cards, to something that happened today, and although simple has much purpose and meaning, so I stamped the little text saying to drive home that I MUST *stop* my over thinking.

So, here we are on Day 11 and I did stop over thinking! Yay me!!!  The prompt is Melon and Lime so again I went with the colours rather than shape or textures.  I made a base card with acrylic and a bubble wrap print, then painted two more cards in gouache {making it's first appearance on my ICADs} using the prompt colours and ripped the paper while still wet. I let it do its own thing and ended up with lots of edgy bits. I wove them together, and then I used fineliner to write the words Melon, Lemon, Limes, and Smile to make another layer in to the pattern. Simples!

{***note to self ~~~ fineliner does not like gouache}

The prompt for Day 12 is Parsnip and Kiwi ~~~ being a huge fan of kiwi fruit I decided to do a close up, Mr Demille!  Here is my kiwi fruit ~~~ painted in acrylics ~~~

I put both views in, as the lighting is slightly different ~~~

Day 13 almost brings Week Two to a close ~~~ the prompt was Blueberries and Plums, so I decided to use the colour {after yesterday, it would be hard to top the kiwi, so I kept things simpler}

I am a member of the Claritystamp Gold Club, and once a month {amongst other great membership benefits} I receive a Clarity stencil and stamp in the post.  Two months ago, I received 'Alice' stamp and a tree stencil and I used these for today's card.  I did not mask off or pre~coat the card, and simply let the Distress Ink soak in as I rubbed it over the stencil. I stamped Alice, and the little freebie bluebird, on watercolour card and coloured them in using Spectrum Noir alcohol pens, and Spectrum Noir pencils for highlight. I carefully cut them out, glued them on the card, and used fineliner for the wording. Simple, and didn't take up too much time either.

I love Alice, don't you? And, it is appropriate that she is called Alice ~ Alice in Wonderland, Alice Blue ~~~ I wonder what she is thinking, pondering, is she really feeling blue?

Finally, Day 14 the prompt was the less than inspiring Salt and Pepper. Hmmm all this did was make me hungry for a bag of chips plastered in salt and vinegar.

I did a quick 15 minute response, painting in some jars and just sticking some peppercorns and rock salt as the contents.  Very quick, but being Sunday I was also short on time today ~~~

I have decided I am going to have to work on text, as it is no good using scrawly handwriting on these ~~~
Here are close ups of the pepper and salt which have got really lovely textures and colours, begging to be reconsidered later on ~~~

So, this concludes Week Two!  See you all next Saturday when I wrap up Week Three! Gosh, this is fun and I'm really enjoying it ~~~

Thursday 11 June 2015

Papaver Orientalis "Royal Wedding"

Gentle Reader ~~~

Very little, other than nature allowed free reign, is happening in the garden, but I managed a few quick moments to capture the perfection of poppies that are bursting forth in brightly, blousy, beauty even as I type ~~~

I apologise to those of you who also blog, that I am struggling to read, never mind leave comments, on your lovely online journals, but I am hoping to get a round to doing so very soon. I know there are many lovely words and pictures to look forward to ~~~

Some three years ago, just as the plants in pots were going over at the local independent Plantsman's Garden Centre, I picked up a bargain of two pots of oriental poppies for the knock~down price of just £4.00!!! I could not resist, especially as they were Royal Wedding and Patty's Plum ~ two beautiful poppies, but then, when poppies are in your top five most favourite plants, what poppy isn't beautiful in its papery and transient delicate froth of tissue paper petals ~~~

You may remember, a week or so ago, that I shared photographs of my Coral Sea oriental, and now the Royal Wedding is coming in to rival it in all its majesty.

Royal Wedding is the most pristine white bloom imaginable, and releases from the green bud in a crumpled mass of petals that rival any royal wedding gown ~~~ the centre is deep purple and pink, with dark spots and it is one of my absolute favourites in the orientals that I grow ~~~

This was the first bloom to open, and is perfectly offest with early flowering borage bridesmaids in attendance ~~~ also, the perfect garnish for your royal Gin and Tonic ~~~

Wild foxgloves, too, adorn the garden ~~~

and I think I'm in poppy heaven ~~~

Set against a perfect blue and cloudless sky ~~~

Let us take a closer peek, shall we?

~~~in we go ~~~

Wouldn't this make a perfect hat for Royal Ascot that Gertrude Shilling would be proud of ~~~

I just love the colours and textures, so full of  movement too, in the omnipresent breezes of the Shire ~~~

and now there are two ~~~

So perfectly pristine, so glistening, blisteringly white, in the bright, early morning light as the sun climbs from the east, rising into the pristine and clear blue sky above my cottage in the Shire ~~~