Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Feeling Cross But Christmassy Too

Well the gallery only accepted one of my pieces for its Christmas exhibition - the mixed media honesty seed heads. The reason I'm cross is that they rejected my linocut reduction because of a scratch on the frame. Now I know that when I handed the picture over to them, the frame was absolutely pristine ( I've past experience of their fastidious approach to framing and displaying in general - not always my cup of tea but don't start me off on that one), but I have no proof and that's why I'm cross- I do so hate injustice! To distract myself from this wrong doing, I just had to add snow to my blog. And here's a picture I took this morning when I was up well before the sun (thinking ruminating, bad thoughts about someone damaging my frame...)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Oh That Old Thing!

With an exhibition looming and needing to submit 3 pieces for maximum value, I couldn't think of what to do that was suitable (see 'Doodling' post). So I'm offering my snowscene oil painting and Hemlock Hedgerow lino reduction, but was lacking in inspiration. My friend happened to visit and noticed a picture hanging on the wall upstairs. She asked if it was one of mine and said how lovely it was (thankyou Louisa), to which I replied: "That? I did that years ago". She pointed out that it had a bit of a wintry feel about it and thought it would go well in a Christmas exhibition. I smiled politely and thought her soya milk had addled her brain somewhat (sorry Louisa); but a seed had been sown. It was in an awful clip-type frame which didn't do it justice, so I took it to my newest friend, the lady at The Frame Game. together we picked a dark blue mount and almost black frame. This came to £34 - which is why I hate to get things framed that then go into an exhibition and I have to pay commission on top. However, my new friend offers artists a whopping 25% discount, bringing it down to £25.50 which, for an A3 size picture is very reasonable. I've just picked it up and I'm really pleased with it. I might just keep it after all...

I just had to stick this cereal packet in my 'resource' sketchbook. Apparently the company commissioned a linocutter to produce the imges on their cereal boxes. If I ate cereal, it'd have to be Mornflake for me so that I could admire the beautiful packet every day.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Er, Mayo Anyone?

Whilst making my mayonaisse today, I deviated slightly from my usual ingredients. Instead of using white wine or cider vinegar, I happened upon my bottle of balsamic. Now I love balsamic vinegar in a big way, so much so that, blinded by this love, I forgot about its deep rich colour. This is the finished product:

(The PVA wasn't an ingredient, by the way, I was multi-tasking and trying to combine artwork and cookery). The mayo tastes delicious even if it looks more like a latte.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Life's a Beach

I've been struggling with this painting for a number of weeks now. It's a commission of a seascape and I must admit I've ended up painting something that isn't really me; in fact I've grown to hate it. I've now realised how tricky commissions can be. Previously, I've done portraits and they're fairly straightforward if a bit nerve-wracking, but a nebulous commission is one to be avoided at all costs. I'll post the progress of the picture just so you can see why I'm so fed up of it.

At this point, I'm quite pleased with the sky, the sea's coming on but not quite dramatic enough for me (the customer wants calm) and I'm really struggling with the colour of a beach at night. Living so far from the coast, I can't go and have a look, and I don't have much reference material, so I'll just have to use artistic license.
I've now realised in my adjustments, the skyline isn't level -aargh! After much fiddling (which you're not supposed to do if you're a proper artist), I've popped it into its frame and I'll let the customer decide.

After this fiasco, I need some artistic soup for my soul, so have spent some time looking at other creative blogs. One Pink Goose has some inspirational stuff featured in her blog and I loved the cushions from Rustique Interiors so a shifty around the local charity shops' bargain rails produced the following:
...a selection of skirts, shirt and trousers to be cut up and made into something to rest my weary head upon. That's if they turn out ....

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


With a chance to exhibit in our local gallery fast approaching, I'm struggling to decide what to offer. People of Hinckey are, shall we say, careful with their money and have an eye for a bargain. So far I have sold linocuts and collagraphs through this gallery, but to be honest by the time I've had them framed & taken off the gallery's commission (35%), I'm getting paid a pittance for the work that's involved. So I decided to experiment with doodling on top of hand marbled paper:

This was the paper before I doodled on it. I looked for shapes within the marbling, and then accentuated them with Inktense crayons:
I could see celestial beings in this one

..and a horse / flames in this one.
I'm not happy enough with them though and I'd still have the cost of getting them framed AND it's Hinckley, not Glastonbury.
I've shied away from my medium of choice: oils, because I tend to paint on large canvases and the cost of the finished product with or without the 35% commission would be too high for most Hinckley folk. But I had an image in my head that I thought would be perfect for a small canvas. It only took about an hour, so if it's dry by next week, I'll submit it for the exhibition.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Linocut Reduction

Having seen fab stems poking out of the top of cornish hedgerows during the summer, I knew I wanted to represent them in some way using linocut. I thought this would be a good opportunity for my first (and possibly last) attempt at a linocut reduction. A reduction is simply a way of printing more than one colour. As a picture paints a thousand words, it's easier for me to show you what I did.

The first impression is printed with the lightest colour. here is the carved lino with ochre rolled over it.

This shows where I'm starting to carve away more of the lino. The bits carved away will remain white or yellow.

The next two impressions were a dirty green (sounds great doesn't it - I'm so technical!), followed by more carving and a final printing in a very dark blue.

Here's the finished product: