Thursday 16 May 2024

The Flight of the Dolphins

Hello Friends!

The Merry Month of Mermaid May {Mermay} continues.  No mermaids today, but some of the underwater friends of mermaids by way of a trio of common dolphins in a galactic ocean.  Inspired by Ida Andersen Lang at Drawing Magic Circle.  

I can't pretend otherwise that I'm chuffed to bits with this one, and I'm even thinking I might push the boat out and frame it.

I hope you like it.

Until next time
Stay safe and stay well
Debbie xx

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Successes and Failures

Hello Friends!

Life is full of opposites, and no matter how much I enjoy creating art, i feel that my failures outweigh my successes.  Typing is tricksy  for me at the moment, so today I'll not mince about and I shall get straight into the pictures. 

I'll begin with the failures.  This is my reference photo for everything shown today.  It was an app on Facebook, I think I wrote about it a few months back, whereby your photo is turned into how you would look as a Viking, a fairy, a princess, a Celtic warrior, and more, including a mermaid. This is me as a mermaid.  She has become my muse for Mermay.

I have to admit I am less than pleased with my first two attempts in various types of watercolour mediums.  They are whimsical in appearance.

Attempt one

Attempt two

Then I decided to swap out my medium of watercolour paint and pencils for graphite.  Here's what happened next.  It's quite a difference.

Finally resulting in this

I don't think she's too shabby at all, even if I do say so myself.  It's the first time I think that I've attempted an open mouth smile showing teeth.  I'm not disappointed with my efforts at all.  Every time I do a drawing or sketch in graphite I find myself thinking I've found my best media.  What do you think?

I have to say I really do enjoy working in graphite and mostly use a mechanical pencil with a graphite refill, along with a paper blending stump {tortillon}, a kneadable putty eraser, and a Tombow retractable fine point eraser.  I also use various graphite pencils and graphite blocks {useful for shading in big areas quickly}.  It can be messy work because the sign of good graphite is how dirty your hands get when using it!  

Until next time
Stay safe and stay well
Debbie x

Monday 6 May 2024

MerMay part 1

Hello friends,

Thank you so much for those of you who have commented on my art. Your support means so much to me. It's amazing what a difference a few kind words can make when somebody's feeling down.

This is what I've been working on this past few days for MerMay. I've pulled a few pieces of work that I've done from other projects as well, because they're relevant. One of our prompts, for example, was pearls and some of my earlier index card art seems to fit in quite well with it.

Seahorse, in this case highly stylised by way of a Dendritic print

or this interpretation of Atlantis 

This is one of the mermaids, I am rather pleased with this one

and finally for now, an image of cetaceans swimming across the Universe.  The colour reproduction is poor, it's not as slime lime green in reality but my new phone does not seem to do well on colour reproduction.

It still persists in raining most of the time here in the west, so this watery theme of mermaids for May, or Mermay, seems somewhat appropriate still!

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well
Debbie xx

Monday 29 April 2024

What is MerMay?

Hello friends!

I haven't been around very much. This Parkinson's is getting me down.  I've been dipping in and out occasionally reading your goings on.  Need to see how you all are doing.  Most days it's a struggle to type.

The weather is nothing short of depressing isn't it? How much more rain can we take?  It's the end of April and I've still got the heating on and I'm still wearing my winter weight clothes. It has gone beyond a joke now.

I can't remember offhand what I last shared with you with my painting. However, with the end of April approaching, I am now getting ready to take part in a month of art called MerMay.  I'm taking part in an online group. hosted by Ida Andersen Lang. It's only 10 days, but the whole month of May is going to be dedicated to creating art with a theme of mermaids. I am really looking forward to this.

I found these two boxes of Jane Davenport colour sticks in my stash.  Jane Davenport is an Australian artist who does her own range of stencils, stamps, colouring products and other art materials. These colour sticks are like a chunky wax crayon in lipstick form and they react with water and behave a lot like watercolour paints.

A few days ago, I got these mica powder pallets. I like the colours, and I think they will be very useful for the MerMay project.

Anyway I've been itching and twitching to get going on the project and I reached the stage where I couldn't wait any longer with impatience. So over this past weekend I started dabbling and dipping my toe into creating mermaid art.

A while back, I used one of those Facebook apps that converted a picture of me into various things such as a Viking, a Celtic warrior, a fairy. One of the options was a mermaid. so I took one of the images and used that as my reference image to give me inspiration for the first piece I did.

Then I decided to draw a tail. Think of a mermaid that is just dived. It started out more as a doodle, so I haven't invested a lot of time and work in this piece. However, it's left me with a lot of inspiration and ideas for things I would like to explore during the coming months.

I obviously added scales on one half of it, and I painted it using metallic paints to try and give it a shimmery oceanic effect.  I also added a sort of seaweed border.

There'll be quite a few more pieces of artwork coming in the following month, I think. I hope so anyway.

until next time.
Stay well stay safe.

Sunday 7 April 2024

Going Back To Bed

Hello Friends!

Ohh deary deary deary me. I really shouldn't watch the craft shopping channels. I really shouldn't but I'm not having a good day, so I'm just sitting here watching a demonstrator make one mistake after another. I'm wondering how they get away with it.

Truth be told, I'm not having a very good time of things at all. My tremors are getting worse. I'm doing everything I can not to let it get me down but it isn't easy to keep one's spirits up as one's health and mobility deteriorate, knowing that there is no returning to how things used to be, and things will just continue to worsen. There is no help coming from any quarter. I've been on Social Services waiting list now for over a year. Just this week they told me there is no sight of me getting help for a very long time to come. I really don't know how much longer I will blog for, unless they find me something to reduce the tremors.

Back to the presenter with her mistakes. I don't claim to be an expert, but I have studied the history of patchwork and quilting and have a fairly extensive knowledge base of methods and practices, in many countries, but in particular the origins and names of block patterns. I have given talks and demonstrations on the subject and have taught informal classes, so to sit here and watch a relative newcomer to a craft that is millenia old virtually rewrite the history books is painful to say the least. Not to mention that she is giving out the wrong instructions which will inevitable end badly for some.

I have no energy, I don't have the focus this morning to read, so I was harmlessly {as I thought} channel surfing and came across the craft shopping channel HobbyMaker where I've just witnessed a so called expert/demonstrator who has just renamed at least two traditional patterns {Churn Dash and Tippecanoe}, giving them new made up names. She has also redefined the definition of patchwork as the stitching together of squares of fabric. Explain that to the school of English Paper piecers, or exponents of Victorian Crazy Patchwork stitchers.

I am about to despair as she now recommends stitching your patchwork together with rounded corners. How on Earth are you supposed to achieve those crisp pinpoint corners for accurate pattern placement? Accuracy is probably the single most important factor in producing a good, clean lined pattern. The human eye will swiftly pick out those mistakes in a repeat pattern. A 1/8th inch error if repeated multiple times will result in a much larger or smaller block than planned, or garment if you are making clothing. Think of a 4 panel A line skirt. One eighth of an inch to either side of the stitching line on each seam = 1/4 inch variance per seam = 1 inch over the entire garment. I shall stop now before I get too technical but an inch is an inch and can make that skirt waistband too tight or too slack.

Moving on . . .

I drew this rather lovely {if I do say so myself} hare with the moon in graphite with gold paint.

I have started a second one with three rabbits which I will share with you very soon.

If the debacle with the patchwork and quilting "expert" wasn't enough to drive me back to my bed, the weather most certainly is! Gale force winds, another named Storm {Katherine} with torrential rain falling on already sodden ground, and thunder and lightening. Heigh ho!

Until next time
Stay safe, Stay well


Saturday 30 March 2024

Easter Blessings

Hello Friends!

Happy Easter
Pasg Hapus

above decorations made by me on my Scan and Cut machine

Please eat your chocolate sensibly.  All in one sitting.

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well

Debbie xx

Thursday 21 March 2024

Cards for Easter and More . . .

Hello Friends!

I'm afraid I haven't felt much up to blogging lately, but I thought I'd share with you some cards I made recently.

I've used a mix of Mirricard, matte metalic card, and American Crafts card. I made them using the Entwined Cross collection of dies by Leonie Pujol. I have had them for quite a while. They were still in their sleeve, unopened, when I went to use them this week. They were a bit fiddly and faffy to stick down, but I got there in the end.

They started out as Easter cards. However, looking at them, they would make suitable cards for baptism, first communion, sympathy, even wedding cards. As a result, I've decided not to put a sentiment on them and to leave them blank inside. It's always useful to have multi purpose blank cards on hand.


This one had a slight mishap while glueing in place . . . 

so I resorted to the old trick, if you make a mistake stick a butterfly on it . . . 

The top card here didn't cut out quite good enough so I trimmed it to even it up and to make it useable.  After all, Mirricard is not cheap!

The crossbar should have the same flourish as the top and bottom
but if I hadn't pointed it out, would you have noticed?

As always, I am well behind in posting, so must get a wriggle on today!

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well

Debbie xx

Friday 8 March 2024

Horsing Around

Hello Friends!

Just popping in quickly with the latest outcome in my online art group Drawing Magic Circle.  

Graphite pencil, graphite block, tortillon paper stumps for blending, and subtraction using Tombow fine eraser and kneadable putty eraser.

If you had told me two years ago I would be competently drawing and painting animals on a regular basis I would have laughed in your face!  Just shows what you can achieve with regular daily practice.

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well

Debbie xx

Thursday 29 February 2024

In Celebration of Saint David's Day

Hello Friends!

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus
Happy Saint David's Day

Today, March 1st, is Saint David's Day. David, or Dewi Sant, is the Patron Saint of Wales and today he is celebrated throughout Wales, and across the world where many Welsh communities exist.  I have written previously here and here if you would like to read more.  Typing is wearing me out these days, so I apologise for the brevity and for referring you to previous posts.

Here is a selection of photos from my library in celebration of Saint David and of being Welsh.

Two pictures of the Shrine of David, restored, at St Davids Cathedral


The Bishop's Blessing on the Cross Square 14th century prayer cross.  The then bishop, the Rt. Rev Wyn Evans is giving the Blessing, ably assisted by the then Dean, the Rev. Jonathan Lean, the then Mayor, Cllr. John George, and finally the then Canon Dorrien Davies who has just been consecrated as the 130th Bishop of St Davids.  This year it will be Bishop Dorrien leading the ecclesiastic celebrations. 

Two views of the Cathedral in the Valley of Roses where David established his monastery and it has been a centre for faith and pilgrimage for 1,500 years.  One only has to set foot inside the cathedral and the energy of one and a half millennia is palpable.

Various views at St Non's where David was born

Shrine of the Blessed Virgin

Healing Well said to have sprung up when David was born

Stained glass depiction of Saint Non in St Non's Chapel by the Sea

St Non's Chapel by the Sea, early 20th century chapel at St Non's Retreat

Stained glass depiction of Saint David in St Non's Chapel by the Sea

Chapel interior

Early Celtic Cross

Examples of traditional Welsh woollen tapestry, Dyffryn Mill

Tapestry cape Melin Middle Mill

Hand knitted Welsh costume doll

Tapestry floor rug Tregwynt Mill

Some Welsh souvenir textiles 

Our Dear Friend Tiny Tartan from Across the Pond also celebrating the day!

A copy of a rare treasure, the highly sought after Twr Y Felin Guide, second edition, and a vintage pamphlet on pilgrimage to St Davids

No celebration would be complete without daffodils, the national flower of Wales!

And now for tea time treats!

Bara Brith

Welsh Cakes

and finally . . . 

editing to add that two of my photos were selected for the Western Telegraph's St David's Day online edition HERE!!!

Until next time
Stay safe, stay well

Debbie xx