Monday, 26 December 2011

Wondrous gifts...

Now that the seasonal mayhem has died down a bit, it's time to show of some goodies that I've received recently.

The first set of offerings come from the talented Gwen at Foxglove Hill. We discovered each other's work during AEDM, which is part of Creative Every Day. We agreed to create something and swap items, and I think I got the better side of the deal. Apart from a fantastically textured canvas, there was also a Midwinter card, a small handmade bag of goodies, and even the original working ideas stitched together. It really was a fantastic package to receive, and the canvas is now adorning my wall. Thank you Gwen.


Next up is my Secret Santa swap from the Altered Gypsies group, and I received a fantastic package from the original Altered Gypsy - Kersten. Apart from a box full of ephemera and quirky rubber stamps, I also received this charm made from antler and home made beads.

All in all, a good start to Christmas :)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Return to plan D

Remember this?

Well, it worked. However I decided that it wasn't right for the swap, so went on to Plan E (which was a revised Plan C). Plan E worked and is now ready to be wrapped and posted. You'll have to wait for the details of that one, I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Anyway, back to Plan D. This started life as a copy of The Iliad. It's only small (7" x 4" and about ½" thick), and at some time in the past has been repaired by the local library and covered in clear plastic, so the first task was a coat or three of gesso.
After that it was covered with kitchen roll, applied with a diluted PVA glue/white acrylic mix and allowed to dry. Once dry it was painted with a layer of white acrylic and left to dry. Then another layer of kitchen roll, layer of acrylic, and so on. The kitchen roll crinkles and warps while it's wet and gives that lovely texture you can see. Also, the PVA/acrylic mix sets really well and should be quite robust. Once the final layer was dry I added the brass plaque and left it alone (managed not to overdo it for once).

The signatures were put together using various papers; registration pages, manuscript, tracing paper, etc. These were then bound together, and sewn onto a strip of fabric. The whole thing was then glued into place and the fabric edges covered with more kitchen roll/PVA mix.
I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it's small enough to carry around and work in when the muse strikes.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The swap...

Plan A

Plan B

Plan C didn't make it past the idea stage

Plan D

Hopefully I'll manage to get something worthwhile made before I run out of letters!

Monday, 12 December 2011

In the bleak Midwinter

This is a 7x5 canvas, acrylic background with the tree added in poster paint and stamped lettering.

The original design (without the lettering) was going to be a swap, but as it only took about 1 hour (mostly watching the paint dry) it felt a bit too easy. I like it but it felt like I should put a bit more effort in for the swap. I was sitting listening to Classic FM, and considering whether to add the lettering and enter it for the latest Cubby Hole challenge, (A Christmas carol) when "In the bleak midwinter" came on. 
Ok, I can take a hint. This is going to the Cubby Hole and I'll make something else for the swap.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff

If you thought I'd wandered off, never to be seen again; unlucky! I've just been busy and not had much internet time.

There has been creativity during the week; some good, some bad and some ugly...

First off, I can now show a couple of the Christmas cards that I made during AEDM for the workshop that we held yesterday at the Cubby Hole. That Woman showed us ideas for gift boxes, Carol showed us a handmade tree decoration, and I had 3 cards. It's always intriguing to see the variations that people come up with (the steampunk versions were very different).

Next up are a couple of gifts for friends. They're known as care boxes, and can be made from anything that you can wrap in a sheet of paper (one was throat lozenges, the other antacids).

That's the good stuff sorted. The bad was a couple of ideas which I've had and are great in my head, but just can't get them onto paper or canvas. not even a basic sketch. They've been filed for later in the month (or next year).

Now for the ugly. This is was a canvas for somebody. It started out light brown and green with some botanical stamping. Then it turned green, pink, gesso, back to green and is now in the condition you see before you. Mixed up in all that chameleon whirl is tissue, mesh (tulle) and gauze. It's now gone into the 'I'll come back to that later' pile, and I've started a fresh canvas for the swap.

Friday, 2 December 2011


This is another Christmas present, this time for one of the ladies at the meditation/Reiki group (I haven't decided which one yet, I may leave them unlabelled and see who gets what).

The poem is Leisure by WH Davies.

There should be another 3 canvases on similar themes over the next few days, watch this space.

It's also another entry for CED

The fairy image is from Stampotique / Jo Capper-Sandon,

Thursday, 1 December 2011


This isn't a new piece. It was created a while back for the last Cubby Hole challenge, so I've been keeping it on hold until it had gone on the Cubby Hole Blog.
AEDM may be finished, but I've signed up to CED and I'm hoping to keep going with something most days. Last night was some basic prep work on canvas and tags, so nothing to show at the moment. Providing my current flare-up goes away I'll get something finished tonight.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

AEDM D30 - The End

 Well, its the last day of AEDM, and its a weird feeling. Its been a fantastic month of creativity, sometimes easy, sometimes frantic, but always fun. Ive painted, sketched, recycled and even written.
Along the way Ive been inspired by some amazing artwork, laughed at hilarious posts and even gone awwwww a couple of times.
Ive had comments and compliments from people whose work is truly wonderful, and whove challenged me to match it, and my side bar is now packed with some wonderful blogs; if you thought you could escape, unlucky I know where you blog!
Its going to be strange not blogging every day, but Ill be signing up for CED to keep me on my toes. 

Finally, before I say farewell and wander off into the quiet little corner again, I have an offer to those who have inspired me, and kept me going. Anybody who would like a 4x4 mini canvas/canvas-board, can email me (Freebird at and I’ll send you one. The three Ive posted here are available (first come first served) or let me have a theme/colour and Ill see what I can do.

Look after yourselves, and Ill see some of you at CED or in your comments box.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


I bet you didn't expect it to turn out like this did you? Well, neither did I.  
I was aiming for something bright & bold tied in to threads and history, and instead finished up with something industrial. Maybe I should have listened to Mozart, not Motorhead :)
It looked ok last night, but in the cold light of day I think it's heading for recycling and a layer of gesso.
One more day to go, and then I'll have to find something else to do each day - maybe I'll make a start on the Midwinter/Christmas stuff.

Monday, 28 November 2011


No idea where I'm going with this, probably something to do with history but who knows. It was a spur of the moment thing. Let's see what tonight brings to it.....

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Following on from Day 19's clown piece and request for chicken quotes, we have another small canvas; this one for the lady who keeps chickens.

It's more colourful in reality, but it's too late to get a photo in natural light, and the flash washes it out a bit.

One more to go; "This little piggy" :)

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Following on from yesterday's words, here's the journal page. I'll add the words later, handwriting is a slow process for me.

Friday, 25 November 2011


Late to the party again...

There has been creating, but nothing to post (workshop demo piece which is staying under wraps) and bits of prep. So instead I'm going to do the writing thing again (it seems that people actually like it!).
This may be a journal page by the end of tomorrow - watch this space.

It was still dark outside, but some of the birds were already awake. I staggered downstairs to make a brew, and stood by the open door, listening to the dawn chorus.
No man made noise, nothing but the sound of the birds preparing to welcome the coming day.
I went and sat with the patio doors open; tea in hand and the dog by my side, listening to the change in the chorus as the sky brightened beyond the trees.
At first all I could hear were thrushes and blackbirds, each trying to outdo the others, but as the light increased so did the volume, as one by one other voices were added to the line up.
First the robin, punctuating the vocal duel with his call from the depths of the shrubs.
Then the doves and pigeons adding their bass line from the fence.
Still the thrushes could be heard from the tops of the birches, but now new voices were added, as the rooks and the crows roused from their slumbers in the old oaks.
Finally the first rays of the sun shone out, and with them came a crescendo of noise, as the less talented singers joined in, the sparrows chirping from the gutters, starlings bickering on the TV aerials and the magpies squawking on the lawn.
I sat at peace with the world, enjoying a symphony of celebration for the coming day, knowing that nothing man-made could ever match mother nature’s own sound and light show.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Why Now?
Why not later?
It's too early, too soon.

The light dims, then flares,
One moment flaring brightly, vibrant, strong,
The next subdued, cool, quiet.

For a moment there's years of life; remembered, to be lived,
The next; 10 minutes, looping, repeated.

The energy returns - sparks fly, struck from each other,
Then the frustration, the tears; the fear.
But all too soon it fades,
Leaving only the looping conversations.

And again I ask,
Why now?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Didn't think I was going to have time to do anything today, but managed a quick sketch before I head back out for meditation (it's not cancelled this week - yet).
I've even added colour!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Nothing has been created today, but something has been assembled.
I spent last night looking after somebody who is ill, so only had a couple of hours sleep. As a result, today has been tired (and covered in dog-hair) so creativity wasn't going to be much. However...
Earlier this year we had a workshop at the Cubby Hole with Sarah Anderson where we made a field journal from old book covers, cardboard, string, napkins and other scraps. It became another of my UFOs; so today I dug it out, finished off the cover and another page and tied it all together.

And now, I'm off to sleep, perchance to dream...

Monday, 21 November 2011


And now for something completely different.
There has been a little bit of art today but it's just prep stuff, inspired by one of my very infrequent poems which I was reminded of in a recent email conversation. It was written a while back, but will hopefully take on a visual form soon.

Storm Front

“There’s none so blind” the saying goes,
They’re too concerned with all their woes,
A storm is coming, the sky’s turning black,
“How will I get home, how will I get back?”
They’re too wrapped up, they cannot see,
The beauty that’s in front of me.

As I watch through the window,
From my desk way up high,
I see the clouds gather and darken the sky,
Away to the south, hidden from view,
Where skies are still clear, the Sun shines through,
Bathing the land in it’s clear golden light,
Opposing the clouds, as black as the night,
Glistening and glinting, off rain filled pools,
How can they not see it, these poor worried fools?

Away to the north, shimmering bright,
A large flock of gulls revel in flight,
Wheeling and turning, as though they were one,
Fading then shining, caught by the sun,
From behind the trees a vision emerges,
Down where the wandering stream converges,
Dazzling white against the black sky,
A beautiful swan starting to fly,
On powerful wings, with poise and with grace,
Why can’t they see what’s in front of their face?

And framing this vision, this visual feast,
A glorious arc from the west to the east,
From red through to violet, the colours so clear,
Cast onto the clouds as they slowly draw near,
This beautiful vision, a sight to behold,
One to remember, even when I grow old.

I grab someone’s arm, “Tell me, what do you see?”
A cursory glance, “looks like rain” says he,
Then back to his work, his screen and his phone,
In this room full of people, am I alone?
I look at the faces, don’t they care, don’t they see?
The beauty of nature, is it just me?

The vision is gone now, washed away by the rain,
But here in my mind it will always remain.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


There has been crafting today, including making Christmas cards whilst listening to Christmas songs. (Those who think the world is about end can relax - it was a one-off to raise somebody's spirits, normal humbug level has been restored).

Aside from that, the outside of the book has been finished (I think). The cover now includes an image of Skaði, some winter ivy, and more ice. I'm not 100% sure about the focal piece - I may try and break up the straight edges a little.
The inside is still blank, as I'm still looking for the right idea, but it will hopefully be done before the end of AEDM.
The image of Skaði is courtesy of Google. I had a better image, but it was copyright and I couldn't contact the original artist. This one appears to be PD as it crops up left, right and centre when Googling and there's no clue who first created it. It's a shame there's no originator info, as it's a fantastic image.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Late to the party again....

But at least it's a finished piece for a change.

This is for a friend at work. We're only a small team, and at Christmas there is a tendency for hand-made goodies. Last year was personalised recipe books, this year it's small art works.

The lady this is going to loves clowns, so this was a chance to illustrate one of my favourite opera pieces - "Vesti la giubba" from Pagliacci.

Next I need to come up with something for the lady who keeps chickens. Anybody know any chicken quotes/sayings? Preferably light hearted.

Friday, 18 November 2011


Another small offering today as time is limited.

There was some work on the book last night, but it didn't work out (don't worry, the book is unharmed).

This was another quick pencil sketch, but with the added bonus of added colour. I've called it "Northern Skies" as it was inspired by the track below - another section of my musical education, courtesy of the little one. In return she was subjected to Hazel O'Connor "Will you?"

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Unfortunately last night's meditation was cancelled as everybody else couldn't make it. Good job I didn't rush then ;)

So instead there was more creativity, and extra work on the book.

The tissue at the top was given several coats of clear UTEE to build up a nice thick layer, and then the heat gun turned up full blast so that it melted and ran.
Top Tip: keep your fingers out of the way, because when it drips it's not only hot, it sticks! A bit like cheese does when it's toasted.

Once the top was finished, the bottom received a few layers of embossing - Winter Wonderland and Kaleidoscope, and then a dusting of Kaleidoscope to give some sparkle to the rest of the cover.

Now that I've done all that, I'll cut a hole in it. Hmmmm....  Planning?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Today is going to be a wee bit busy. Customer meetings all day, and then rushing off to the Wednesday meditation evening, and it's my turn to be the taxi.

So I've started the day with a quick 10 minute art break.

The fairy image is from Stampotique / Jo Capper-Sandon, with a quick bit of sketching thrown in.

Depending how the meetings go I may add more to it, or just leave it nice and simple.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


The book continues.

For those who can see a face, sorry to disappoint you but it's just a trick of the light (even if I can see it too).

Today I've added some extra 'texture' to it at top & bottom. It's a favourite medium of mine - tissue or kitchen roll, dipped in diluted PVA and slapped on the page. You can mix paint into it of you want, but I haven't bothered as it will be painted over, embossed, and more. It's messy, but fun :)

Busy day tomorrow, so it's got plenty of time to dry.

I expect tomorrow will be a ten minute art break.

Monday, 14 November 2011


Well, it's nothing much to see, and not exactly a brilliant photo either, but the book is coming on. I've added another couple of paint layers, and started to bring in some texture.

I'm hoping to have this finished in a few days, so it will probably be New Year in reality ;)

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Nearly at the halfway stage and still going strong, although Blogger is trying its best to make it awkward.

3 things to show for AEDM today.

First up is a project for a friend. The lady in the photo is her grandmother, and she wanted the picture mounting in a frame. She didn't mention that the frame was round!
Fortunately BoBunny have a couple of round 12x12 sheets, including the clock-face featured here. there's also a little bit of burgundy paper & ink to lift it slightly.

Next up is the canvas from Day 7, now with some detail on the figure. I'm quite happy with the way it has come out, apart from the face (what a surprise). One more step and it will hopefully be complete.

The last item is the painting from from Day 6 & 8. I've given it another green wash around the stones to try and tone down the blue, but I think I should have diluted the ink more, it's gone too dark, and a lot of the detail has been lost. I'll probably have a play and see what I can do with it, but I have a feeling it may end up being recycled into another piece of art. Oh well, live and learn :)

Saturday, 12 November 2011



I had hoped to get plenty of art done today, but it wasn't to be. We had a Play Day at the Cubby Hole, but for me it was more of a Play afternoon, and a fairly short one at that.

On the plus side, I have managed to make a birthday card for my youngest's girlfriend who, like me is a Coheed & Cambria fan. Whilst mooching around the shop I found the dragonfly stamp* and the pewter charm, both of which fit in with C&C's imagery.

I've also covered an old book with a layer of paint, and start hacking my way through the inside to make a niche.

Hope you're all having a good weekend.

*Stampendous CRP119

Thursday, 10 November 2011

We will remember them


Another flying visit to post another quick sketch. There is another piece that I created today, but that will be posted in the morning (for reasons that will become apparent then).

Last night was a wonderful evening, spent with two special friends, full of laughter, but tinged with sadness. In a few days time one of them will be moving to the south coast, and she will be missed by many. For the last two years she has hosted our mediation evenings, and guided us on our exploration of the healing art of Reiki.
This piece is in response to last night, and the last two years.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Another 10 minute art break.

Inspired by a magpie this morning.

I'm now off home to get changed before heading out for a meditation session.

I'll stop by later and see what else is being created - if I haven't fallen asleep ;)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Another day of running around like a loon. Dinner was at 8.30 - a bag of chips!

The good news is, I still managed to get something arty done.

The Calanais stone has had it's first ink wash, followed by a whitewash for the sky.

Still a way to go before I'm really happy with it, and maybe next time the pics will be in focus!

Monday, 7 November 2011


Phew, managed to scrape in before today becomes tomorrow.

Another hectic day today, and not much sleep last night, so the intended artwork didn't happen - that can wait until I have a day where I can concentrate.

Instead I went back to one of the canvases from day 5. I've added the background of the focus of the idea and the red has been toned down, and the edges darkened even more.

Right. I'm off to see what wonderful works are out there.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Well, today has been more productive :)

I've been making Midwinter/Christmas cards ready for a workshop at the Cubby Hole. unfortunately as they are demo pieces, and some of those attending have been known to read my blog I can't show them yet.

So, rather than have a blank post, I'll add yet another 'Work in Progress'.
This is a tone painting based on now of my photo's from a trip to Calanais stone circle in the Hebrides. It's a technique I learnt at the Cubby Hole, and it's a great way for non painters like me to get the bare-bones of a picture laid down. It's produced with 3 acrylics (yellow, blue & umber) with one or two spots of white highlights.
The next stage will be an ink wash, but as I only have black left it will need to wait until I restock.