Saturday 29 October 2022

Spot the Spider

Hello friends

No, not a game, that's its name, Spot the Spider.  LoL.

Those of you who know the size of the Sycamore seeds will appreciate the miniature size of Spot the Spider who appears in the first photo.

Both of these photos are very pleasing to me because they have that natural bokeh effect which I enjoy and it's all the more rewarding when it occurs naturally as it does in these two images.

My latest online art course is another one hosted by the brilliantly accomplished fine artist, Ida Andersen Lang, from Denmark, who specialises in using watercolour pencils in her art.

I think I'm going to be a little while longer before I finish this piece so I'm sharing a snap of it in progress today. I'll be doing a more detailed blog soon, when it's finished, showing more of the detail and obviously the finished piece. It's a real challenge for me and one of the reasons why it's taking me a lot longer is it's my first A3 piece. 

I have had some very positive feedback on this painting, not only from my peers but also from Ida herself!!! I confess when I read what she said I had a bit of a squee moment!!!

The weather here in the west continues to be abysmal. We are constantly getting winds now of 40 miles an hour and we have had torrential rain, sufficient to mean that a hose pipe ban was lifted on the 25th of October, mind I can't see anyone wanting to use a hose pipe to water their garden at the moment with all the rain we've been getting. It's gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

To try and keep warm without turning up the thermostat, I have just bought myself one of those oversized hoodies in a teddy bear fleece. It seems to do the job. Last night I actually got warmer than I'd been in a long time. However, the downside is I do look rather like a pink version of Uncle Fester. Then, if you're keeping warm, do you really care what you look like if nobody else can see you? However, before anyone asks, I will take the jump on this and say no, there will not be any photographs.

This morning I had my flu injection so will be taking it easy for the rest of the day and sitting mostly at my painting desk.

Until next time
Stay safe stay well
Debbie xoxo

Thursday 20 October 2022

Return to the Garden and the Magical Eye of Ceridwen

Hello, friends!

I am between art courses at the moment. The next one starts in a week. It's a 10 day long course by Ida Lang Anderson. We work on one piece of art over the 10 days. It's going to be an interesting project for me because I am not a patient person in that respect. I like to see my results quickly.

In the meantime, I had help, as I mentioned previously with my garden. A lot of clearing has been done and now the garden is resting in between seasons and recuperating its strength. Clearing debris meant a lot of space freed up so that light could get in between the plants again.  I could not resist half an hour in the garden, walking round, capturing the lovely sunlight with its unique autumnal qualities.

Native Fern

Bramble leaves in sunlight

Rosebay Willowherb seed heads

Late flowering rose on the rugosa.

Rosa ragosa hips.

Spider web in the camellia.

Japanese wind anemones

Cosmia Lucifer, seedhead.

The Magical Eye is a warm up exercise for the next art course I am doing which is called Wish Upon A Star. Hosted by Ida Anderson Lang.  
I don't have a fine gold pen at the moment, so I've left the wording off for now. When I do add it, it will be named after Ceridwen, the Welsh Enchantress.  
Looking at this now, I can see I really do need to work on eyelashes! But then again, I've only been doing faces of any sort. for a couple of months. It will come in time, I'm sure.
Practise! Practise! Practise!

Since I last wrote, I have had a thorough asthma and respiratory checkup. This is the first one I have ever had that has been so thorough, it lasted an hour, is to be followed with a review in a month, and I have to have blood tests to try and find out what my trigger is.  I've come out with completely new medication, and I'm really hopeful that we might shortly discover the cause behind the worsening of my asthma.  It was generally agreed today that although I have only had my official diagnosis in 1999, it is most likely I have been asthmatic since I was a baby at age 6 weeks old when I had my very first attack of bronchitis.  I've gone from two medications, {one to be taken twice daily, one to be taken as needed} to four different ones, now taken very differently. Fingers crossed this new regime will work better and I will see an improvement in my respiratory system.  Shake me and I rattle!!!

Until next time
Stay Safe, Stay Well
Debbie xoxo

Saturday 15 October 2022

LifeBook Taster Sessions part 2

Hello friends!

This finishes up what I completed during Life Book 2023 taster sessions. It's been a while now, since I've not made art daily. I started on June the 1st with two months of index card art. That was followed with Artful August. Then there was Ida Lang Andersen's Artist Soul Gathering. And finally, Tamara Laporte's Life Book.  It's a lot of art!

I'm still making art. I've no plans to stop now until I can no longer hold a paint brush. October is my birth month, and I will be treating myself to some new art supplies for my birthday.  I am going to get, amongst other things, some professional quality watercolour paints. I haven't decided which brand yet. I think I'd like a set of half or quarter pans rather than tubes. Some of the brands I'm looking at are Daniel Smith, Schminke, Windsor and Newton, and Daler Rowney.  I already have cheaper watercolours, student grade as their known.  Basically, while they are still good quality, they're not as highly pigmented as the professional quality. And there's also the factor of being lightfast. Lightfast means if you hang your painting on the wall, the colour won't fade in a few years. Light affecting pigment is one of the reasons many galleries have subdued lighting.

Recently, someone asked if they could buy some of my work. Unfortunately, I had to refuse, because they have been made as the result of a lesson, and copyright of the images is not mine. However, this offer is why I have to seriously consider painting anything in the future using professional quality paints.  I would not feel comfortable selling something that wasn't made to professional standards.

I have also had someone offer me NFT's for artwork. But I have no idea what these are, and I have no intention of getting involved.

The next lesson I did was Tamara Laporte's "Butterfly Queen". It got a bit out of control with brightness, so I had to knock it back quite considerably to where I could look at it without wearing dark glasses!!!  I changed the symbolism to Christian by placing a Celtic cross design on the forehead instead of the more Pagan style used in the demonstration.  This lesson came at a time of year when I mark the anniversary of the passing of both my parents just three weeks apart. The fact that it includes butterflies seemed very appropriate at this time, because butterflies symbolise rebirth.
I used Neocolours, Derwent paint pens, and Brushos.

The next lesson I did was Mindfulness Mandala, hosted by Angela Murray, 
a superb class. I really enjoyed the freedom that this gave, taking me way outside my comfort zone of not being perfect. 
Mixed media.

I have struggled somewhat with the white lines but am working through it.  So, I did a second one to test my new ideas.  I gave this one as a birthday card/small gift. It was very well received. 

I'm not altogether sure I'm done with this one yet. I wanted to do one in autumnal colours. I do like the vintage feel that the colours have given.

The colours in this one didn't turn out as I'd hoped, but it's all a learning curve. I learned two new things making this one. It's all good in the end. Not as bright as I'd hoped it would turn out, though.  i am pleased with how well the free hand drawn circle turned out.  

So my friends, that pretty much sums up as far as I got this time. I didn't do as much as I'd hoped. But then I've been busy with other things. There are only so many hours in the day, and I'm struggling to get the garden ready for winter. And that has to take priority now. Next week I start another course. It's hosted by Ida Anderson Lang. It's a ten day long course, but we only produce one piece of work, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes. I'll let you know later.

I'm hoping to start sharing work and progress on the garden soon, but in the meantime. I'm taking measures to try and improve my fitness and hope in the near future that I will be starting to go out and about on short rambles again. Maybe a mile or two with the camera. I want to get us back to normal as I possibly can, while I'm still able to.

Until next time.
Stay safe. Stay well.
Debbie xo

Monday 3 October 2022

LifeBook23 and a Garden Newsflash

Hello Friends! 

I started the Life Book 2023 taster sessions. There are a lot of lessons offered every day, from different artists who are guest lecturers, so it's a case of pick and choose which ones appeal the most. Or in some cases, the ones that I have the time to do.

Some of the lessons appear to be very short in length, however, for a novice artist there's a lot of stop and pause the video to catch up on the piece you are working on. The professional artists can work at speed. I cannot. I would guess that for every hour of video clip I watch, I'm doing at least two or even three hours work.

I chose to do Tamara Laporte's Blessings of a Feather. I decided to quit while I was ahead. I made the mistake of pausing the video to work on an area and I blithely carried on working forgetting to turn the video back on. It just kept getting darker and darker. I reached a point where I thought if I don't stop now, I might just as well rip it up.  My spatters aren't perfect by a long way. They're not as easy as you'd think they are. It's all about getting the paint to the right, consistency, and then having the courage to shake the brush by tapping it against your hand over the painting to get all the lovely spatters. It's also all about knowing when to stop. I'm getting there.

Next I did, in the style of Toni Burt, "Memories". I enjoyed this immensely and took what I learned from the lesson and applied it to one of my favourite arch combinations in the Bishops Palace, St Davids. Drawn from my own original photograph.

Then began the dry spell and nothing grabbed my attention in LifeBook for a few days. All the lessons were way too long for me to think about doing. I was given a big bag of pumpkins the other morning. So inspired by one of them, this is my art for today.  Acrylic "watered down" with gel medium.  I really should have put something in to give it a bit more context. But I was tired. And ready for bed.

Something I'd like to share with you is the importance of lighting in your photography. This is the first first photograph I took of my painted pumpkin.  It's hard to think that the photo above and the photo below are of photographs of the same image.

It was taken in the evening under electric light with a flash. The one above was taken the following morning in daylight with no flash, the difference is incredible. The one taken in natural daylight without the flash is by far the better photograph and represents better represents the pumpkin painting. The second one taken under electric light is flat and the colour is completely different. It is nothing like the original painting. The following photograph closeup shows the shading. There wasn't a lot of shading on it in the original reference photo, and this is reflected in my painting as I tried to remain true to the original photograph.

Reference photo.

This is as far as I can take Andrea Gomoll Wunsche's lesson "In Tune With The Moon" because I don't have a printer and her finished piece includes printed text. At some point I can handwrite everything out and finish it. I found it didn't work out well using acrylic paints but it was a decision made because I have a lot of white acrylic paint, and I'm getting low on watercolour. However, it was drying out far too quickly and didn't blend as good as I would like it to. Still, it's a learning curve.

Song of the Selkie in the style of Lucy Brydon I really got a lot out of this lesson. Painting skin tones in greens and blues was quite a challenge as I've only just started painting portraits a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed this lesson immensely. I've learned quite a lot as well.

At the moment I'm at a grinding halt with LifeBook, which in general is not appealing to me at all. I have enjoyed doing the pieces that I have shared in this blog. It is my intention to pursue those further. I have seen two other guest lecturers work that, again, I would like to pursue but each one will take me a full day of sitting at my art table, and at the moment I just don't have that kind of time to spare. It is a shame they are presented so intensely for a taster session. Speaking to my fellow artists, there are many of us who share this opinion.

I still have lessons by the following artists that I'm hoping to complete. Melanie Rivers. Ida Lang Anderson. Tiare Smith. There are two or three others, but I can't remember their names right now. We also have another the week to run on this taster session, so I'm sure there will be a few more names added to my list.


I am hoping that I have found somebody to come in and help me with the garden. We have a volunteer group here called the Befrienders who help people who need help They might do things like shopping, or they might do telephone befriending, or they might just pop in and have a chat and a cup of tea You put your request forward to them, and if they've got somebody interested or able to help you, they come to your aid.  I asked them if they had anybody who might be able to come in and help me clear and tidy up my garden, because to be honest, since my diagnosis, the garden has run away with me. I am quite ashamed of the state it is in and hope that with the help of these kind people I can get it back in some sort of semblance of order, if nothing more than getting it tidied up to put it to bed for the winter. And productive, of course.
Until next time.
Stay safe. Stay well.
Debbie. xo