Friday, 30 May 2014

In memorium

Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.
Maya Angelou
It came as quite a shock to learn that Maya Angelou had died,  she seemed to touch so many lives.  Her work will live on, so it is sad that Michael Gove sees fit to axe her work from the syllabus, this man is a literary luddite! 
I've been working on canvas all week and I've been enjoying myself.  Well, okay, I did get frustrated with this picture the other day,  I tried something and it didn't quite work.  I left it and came back to it the next day with an idea of what I wanted,  namely the arch, but had no idea what I'd put inside it!  Then the news came of Maya Angelou, so this then became my tribute to her, the diamonds are making up an abstract lotus.  The arch is a bridge, as we must build bridges across all manner of things,not least between different creeds, cultures, genders,  purple is for spirituality and wisdom, the lotus for rebirth and purity.   
I've now begun work on a 3rd canvas!   It is drying at the moment, just got the base coat down,  lots more to do before it can be viewed.    Tomorrow is the start of my landscape painting course,  feeling a little nervous,  no make that a LOT nervous!    It will be a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning,  and I'll enjoy the learning process.    Will report back over the weekend.   
Enjoy whatever you're doing this weekend. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

To drill or not to drill...

What has a drill and some wire got to do with my crafting?   All will be revealed shortly!  I've had two lazy days,  two lie ins and just a whole load of nothing, and it has been bliss.  I'd really overdone things on Friday,  I felt so stressed on Friday evening that I had an anxiety attack,  and struggled to get to sleep.  So Saturday I just took it easy,  went as far as the paper shop and that was that.  I then tried again with the canvas and made a total mess of it, so it is to be deconstructed.  So back to that drill....

Well best begin with this,  my second canvas.  This was sort of inspired by some work I'd seen on Friday at the open day.  I took what was left of my modelling paste, mixed it with some iridescent paint and slapped it on a canvas.  I then worked it with an old afro comb until I got a pattern I liked.  Then all I could do was let it dry overnight, and plan what woud happen next.  That's when I had to go and look for my hand drill... it was lurking at the bottom of the tool box.
Today I began drilling the holes.  I had this idea for using geometric patterns, as I used to do at school,  to thread wire or cotton/string,  since I was using canvas board the drill was necessary.   Still got more to do, but it is coming along nicely.  I was going to use the wire, but it was proving too difficult, so I went looking for the cotton, then I had to find a needle! 

I want to still use the wire for another project, so I need to find a way of threading it without getting into too much of a tangle.  On my rummage in the toolbox I came across a load of dowels, which will do nicely on another canvas.   I just feel like a change at the moment, feel I was getting bogged down with the craft, so as they say, a change is as good as a rest.  Have to go get some more modelling paste and metallic paint tomorrow. 

The other reason for my laziness is that the French Open has started,  there is good coverage on ITV 4,  next will be Queens and finally Wimbledon!  

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Can the sun come back?

This canvas has been bugging me for over a week,  just not sure what to do with it.  I'm happier,  but it still isn't right.  I put the magpie on, stencilled in its body, then used modelling paste to add the detail through the inner stencil. I'm liking that.   May leave it alone for a few days.

Yesterday was a very busy day.  I went to an open day at a local community based arts centre. I had a lovely time,  lots to see and sign up to.

There was also free tea and coffee, plus a free lunch!  I'd have been quite happy to pay,  and think that they should have charged something as they are raising money for more projects.  We saw lots of fantastic work,  some of the studio spaces had been opened,  I was getting lots of inspiration.  Then we had some good news, or my friend did.  She'd put her name down for a studio space a few months ago,  and yesterday she found out she'd got one!  I was so happy for her,  she lives in a very small flat with no room for her art stuff. 

Hence the desire for a studio.  Not sure how she contained herself, well she did, but only just.  To calm her down we went off to the animal sanctuary, I'll not say which one as I wasn't impressed.    I found the whole experience very stressful.  When we arrived there didn't seem to be any organisation,  finally I spoke to the receptionist,  we filled out our form, then we waited,  we had no idea what was going on, there was nowhere to sit.  After about 20 minutes we were taken round to the cattery,  lots of moggies but all on their own, no staff in sight.  They were all healthy, well fed,  but they all looked bored.  I had said that I wanted a house cat, quiet, an adult and female, the assistant then showed me a very young and very timid cat,  she was lovely, apparently she'd come in with her brother, and so they'd separated them!  Dumb thing to do as she was obviously missing him.   I did look at the cats, but  none were really suitable so we left.  Not sure I want to go through that againm  I felt ill last night, my anxiety levels were through the roof,  so I am looking elsewhere.  I know the right one will arrive at the right time. 

Enjoy what is left of the bank holiday, let's hope the weather improves.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Mandala Fiesta

Today was the final day of our mandala project, and everyone finished!   That was quite something, in fact it is the first time it has happened since I've been on the course. 

This one was made by my friend V, sorry can't give names.  I love this because it really developed organically,  with the buttons, then shells being added.  The middle bit is a concoction of mod roc, shells and small gems, plus a huge dollop of PVA glue!  She broke up a few necklaces, so it is a really personal mandala.

Love it.

This is by N,  it was his first attempt at anything like this,  and it is a brilliant effort.  Love the colours,  and some material was also used for the centre.  It was fun watching this come to life each week,  some of the detail is very intricate.

This is by S, again another very personal mandala, made up from bracelets, stones, crystals and necklaces.  There are also skeleton leaves, and lots of glittery paint.  This just seemed to keep on evolving on a weekly basis.

Now to K,  he was a bit like me, he kept changing his mind.  We all loved his first design, but he wasn't happy with it so he painted over it and began again.  He is a natural with colour.  This also has real depth to it, more so in real life than in the pic.

And my own, well the second one.  I completed it yesterday,  used card candi, and swapped the large paper butterflies for the smaller silver ones.  I felt that the big butterflies upset the balance.

I took in some paper and a few stamps to keep myself amused, everyone was fascinated by the stamps.  I am so used to being amongst crafters that it seemed odd to find myself explaining what mirri card is, and how you stamp.

So now we have a two week break,  tomorrow I'm off to an open day at a studio space,  and hopefully to sign up for a landscape painting course.  I've also enrolled on a development course,  wasn't sure,  so spoke to my friend about it who'd done it, she had enjoyed it, so may as well give it a go.  I will also, fingers crossed, have some other news to bring you tomorrow!  Just something I've been thinking about for a while.

All for now...

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A bit of pottering

It was time to give the garden a much needed tidy up. Several things needed an urgent trim,  and the empty pots required plants!   I spent a couple of hours outside yesterday, trimming and turning over the soil in the pots,  last job was to give the place a good brush.  My poor back wouldn't take any more so I retired to watch the FA cup final. 

Today, after obligatory bacon butty, it was time to do some planting.   Now the pots are all filled, oops, no I have one still empty, and I got a new fuscia.  The lavender is doing well, I topped up its compost and gave it a good feed.  The St Johns Wort has also recovered,  it had been looking very sorry for itself,  but it has now perked up.  Clematis has rewarded me with a lovely flower show. 

Not been around the craft desk much this week, haven't felt like it.  I finished my mandala in class, although still have a few gems to stick on it.  Today I was fishing for an idea for my swap,  now I have a few ideas,  but none have yet to come to fruition, that means I don't much like any of them.  I'd got a set of stamps out from Get Stamping, and felt like making patterns.  So I made a grid on a piece of 12x12, then set about stamping using the Chinese set.  It was so relaxing.  This was a dummy run,  will do a couple more tomorrow, this time taking a bit more care!  

I have been enjoying the sunshine,  decided to use shanks pony yesterday to go to the High St, it was a very sensible idea as there were some emergency road works, the traffic was backed up in all directions.  A few impatient types decided to ignore the cones and try to break through, stupid, really stupid, one silly woman mounted the kerb to get round them and nearly knocked over a man on a ladder!   I had the last laugh, as I sauntered along I saw the woman again, this time caught up in another snarl up!   So much for her short cut.  I was on my way to our cheap plant shop, tray of plants for £2!   Can't beat it.  I need to replace a bush that is well past its best,  it is all straggly and needs to be put out of its misery. 

Watched CnC, and yes, Cricut have now caught up with the cutting machines,  it is a bit like the silhouette, sensibly they've enabled the new machine to use the old cartridges.   A different coloured ebosser,  does the colour make any difference?    I think not.  I can see the sense in the ebosser,  I'm not at the stage where I am unable to use my calibur, but I am starting to have problems with my wrists, so an automatic machine may come in useful in the future. 

Well that is all from me, time to give the rest of the garden some water.  Have a lovely week.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The downs and ups of life...

My third mandala,  this is called Last Moments.  It began life with a white background and a pattern,  I didn't like it and painted over it.  I wanted the mandala to have energy,  so after I'd let the violet paint dry I then dry brushed on some silver, working in a circular motion so I could get the feel of an 'explosion'.    Next I cut the shapes from silver and purple mirri, then mounted them on mountboard.   The pattern has changed a few times over the week, now it is all glued down.  No idea what I'll do at next week's art therapy, may ask for another canvas as I have yet another idea for a mandala.

It's been a sad few days,  I have one friend facing the first anniversary of her dad's death,  and her mum is becoming increasingly stressed, and another friend whose mum is slowly dying,  she is in the end stages of dementia, not taking food or much liquid.  Life can suck at times.   At art therapy I noticed two of my therapy friends weren't their usual selves,  both are usually the lively ones, but not today.   I'd also been noticed by the tutors,  they'd picked up on my downer,  it is scary how observant they both are!   Yet it is also very comforting,  just to know that they care,  most of us are just too busy with our own lives, problems etc to observe others, we often fail to see when someone is in need of a kind word, a friendly smile or even, and most importantly, a hug!  

I'm dealing with my own rubbish,  yesterday the sun was shining so I took myself out.  I had to change a pair of trousers,   right, one pair of trousers, so how come I came home with two T shirts and another pair of trousers, and some slouchy pants?    Though I exchanged the trousers for the T shirts and slouchy pants, so it was a good deal.   I badly needed some summer trousers, found some nice linen trousers in the M&S outlet store,  really comfortable,  and was short on T shirts, in fact one T shirt has gone missing...  no idea where it is, and I really l liked it.

The forecast is for more sunny weather, so I am going to take advantage of it.  Been cooped up here a bit too much of late.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Clear the decks... I need to craft

This is how my crafting begins... first I have to clear the desk!   It wasn't too bad today due to the tidy up yesterday. You can see the mandala piece,   this would be how I'd present my desk if I did take part in that Whats on Your desk thingy...   called 'reality'. 

Anyway once the bits and bobs were cleared away, the overflow put into place it was time to peruse the new piece.  What to do with it, it needed a focal point, but what?  I toyed with a few ideas and didn't like any of them.  Had a look on line to see if I could find any pictures I could use, I did find a couple, tried them and, well they weren't quite right.  Back to the drawing board, or rather the kitchen to make a cuppa.  Then I had a thought... 

I decided to add two pieces of the modroc, or plaster bandage.  I love its texture, and that, once wet it stretches and frays.  I was happy with that, it had narrowed the focal point.  I dabbed some distress ink, blue (no idea what its fancy name is) around the edges of the modroc. It was looking good!   I had a few torn bits from the decopatch paper, so I played with them, then gave them a coat of the distressed ink. 

This is were I got up to,  still playing, so nothing is stuck down.  It is a blue and silver theme, think you can kind of tell...    I am wondering if I can stamp onto the modroc?  Never tried it, so will have to do a test tomorrow. 

I had a break then, used my sky sports pass for my Now TV box,  to watch the footie,  hoping that Man City would win the title, well I am a blue,  not a light blue, but an Evertonian.  Was also delighted to see that Man U could only scrape a draw... 

And nothing to do with craft but the lovely pinks that are causing me to smile.  They all opened yesterday and are guzzling water,  but they look so pretty.

Still suffering with the back,  it has caused a lot of problems this week.  I really don't want to go to the doctor,  I've had enough of doctors and hospitals.  Just made my list of 'things to do' for tommorrow, top of it is to send a birthday card and a present, oh and get some onions, how could I forget to get onions yesterday?   Beats me, I had my list,  though they weren't on it because I forgot to check if I had any. 

I did get myself a delightful notebook, have been thinking about keeping a journal,  spotted the notebook and it just appealed to me, it is quite quirky, not just a load of white paper, I'll have to take a photo as I don't think I could describe it.   I've committed myself to maintaining the journal.  Well I've managed to keep this blog!  

Well time to stop,  have a good week, and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

All neat and tidy.

A tidy desk!   This was the 'after picture...  it had reached the point of not having enough room to move, so something had to be done.  So I put a few things away that I wasn't using, it always helps.  Then I had a clean up,  put things where they should be,  even had a blitz with the hand held vac.  Fresh bag in the bin,  card tidied up and put away,  paints put away,  bits and bobs put in bits and bobs box (which now needs a tidy up). Paintbrushes cleaned and put away, pencils sharpened,  scissors cleaned...  a desk to be proud of, until tomorrow!

And this is what I call the overflow!  A table that sits at the right hand side of the desk,  to store paper trimmer, all the plates for the grand calibur, long scissors, some card.  Then after a while more stuff gets bunged on top,  I shall sort it out tomorrow as it is now resembling the tower of Pisa.

Not a good week mood wise or back wise.  The latter is giving me jip,  and it doesn't seem to be easing off.  It also stopped me from going to a workshop today.  I would have gone had it not involved a longish drive,  even the short drive to the supermarket is painful.  Mood wise I've gone down hill,  though today I seem to be back on the up.  I think I over reached myself, had too much planned for a short space of time,  in the end I felt overwhelmed and very anxious.   It also occurred to me that I'd not had any R&R this week, been on the go pretty much.  So just chilled out and did a spot of crafting.

This is the start of an mixed media piece.  I got some canvas board yesterday,  it is easier to stamp on to.  I prepped the background, roughly spread some modelling paste on,  let that dry, then added the paint, white and Payne's grey,  dry brushed it on.  Let that dry,  and started to prep some bits,  I noticed that the modelling paste was also starting to crack nicely, an added bonus!   Got the modroc ready,  and some papers.  No idea what it will look like,  just going with it.

This is my art therapy mandala, number two.  In fact the first one has gone to a good home. I took it into class,  and my mate Sandy loved it, then she asked if she could borrow it for her daughter's first communion, I said that she could.  As the afternoon wore on I knew that the mandala no longer belonged to me but to Sandy's daughter, so I handed it over at the end of the class and Sandy began crying!   The new one is called Burst of Life.  I painted it violet, then dry brushed some silver onto it, trying to work in a sunburst pattern.   I'm using the diamonds again, this time however they are mounted on foamboard, which I patiently cut out!  It is far from finished, but I will leave it for class,  otherwise I'll be on Mandala number 3.

The weather has gone down hill,  it chucked it down yesterday, which didn't help my mood.   Same thing today, and it is definitely cooler.   I just hope it improves soon.   Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Lost and found...

I think this should be seen in all its glory.  And it is a minor miracle that I have the pictures.  I thought I'd lost the camera,  I asked everyone at art therapy if they had seen it,  then I inquired at the reception if it had been handed in.  I'd given up seeing it again, then lo and behold it turned up yesterday. 

This is our group mandla,  made with all manner of things, fresh flowers, sand, shells, pebbles, lentils.  We had no plan, we just started and went from there.  It was great fun.

We did have one or two discussions during the building.  This is the gang, or the current gang, including our two wonderful tutors, whose patience we must exhaust at times.  It was a really nice thing to do as we had two new students, so it was a good ice breaker for them. It was John who cobbled together a large compass, one long piece of wood, nail at one end, pencil at the other!   He drew three circles, then we divided it into sections.  A mandala should be circular,  and have an intention, mine for this was for healing.

I'm now tackling another mandala, well two to be exact.  I am still at the thinking stage, which is code for - I'm stuck!  I'm also trying Modroc,  one of our tutors brought some in last week, it is a plaster bandage,  but great for modelling and for mixed media work.  I got some today from Hobbycraft, not Modroc, but their own make, and for a £1, yes it takes longer to dry, do I care?  I've already experimented with it. and can see me having lots of fun!

Yesterday would have been my mum's birthday.  I felt out of sorts,  but it wasn't too bad.  I think because all the dates tend to come one after the other I feel a bit punch drunk.  This was taken last year shortly after the funeral.  My nephew had the crazy idea of putting her dressing gown on one of the iron men, everyone wondered if we'd do it, well we did knowing that mum would have fully approved.

I did keep busy yesterday, I didn't want to sit in the flat and brood all day.  I even managed to get some clothes, a miracle,  I finally found some linen trousers that I liked and which are really comfortable.  I also got a camera, because I thought my old one was lost.  The new one has a more powerful zoom and more pixels so I may just keep it.  It's the same make, a Lumix, which I think are the best cameras around.  It also has the same layout, so no difficulties in using it.  The plan for tomorrow is to tackle the mandala!  I need to be adventurous,  I'm being far too safe at the moment,  time to start thinking outside of the box.

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend, lets hope the nice weather continues.