Saturday, 31 March 2018

Art Elements March Theme, Nests, Reveal.

 The first themed challenged for Art Elements, since the change from Component of the Month announced in February, was set by Cathy Spivey Mendola  and it was Nests.

I spent a few weeks going round and round with birds, nesting... birds... Spring but nothing was right for me.  I searched Pinterest for ideas and again was coming up with birds, nesting...  I was getting frustrated.  Then like all good ideas this one happened as I was doing something completely different and the idea of 'leaving the nest' came to mind.  

It is a bit of a standing joke in our house that I tell my 'grown up' kids that they need to leave home as I need an indoor studio - my studio for glass is out in the garden a purpose built shed studio and I love it but I need somewhere for my paints, my paper... I need a studio in the house and the only way I can have that is if one of them leaves home....  for now I use the kitchen table!

I 'knocked' this up literally within about 20 mins.  I found a little box, some watercolour paper, grabbed my pen and paints, my new set of block letters to print - of which I get covered in ink! - and whilst waiting for some potatoes to boil I created this and stuck it all down with glue.  It amused me and so I put it on the mantle above the fire in the kitchen and really didn't think more of it.  As far as I was concerned this was the beginning of my thought process for this months challenge.  

How amused was I when I got up the next morning and my 'grown up and still at home 24 year old son' had added to my 'art'.  It has amused me so much that it is still like that now, a reminder that neither child is going to leave the nest anytime soon!

I have a love of words and puns and a chance remark from someone over on Facebook inspired this shadow box design.  I forget whom it was but on some of my doodles this person had commented that I should sell the doodles to give me a nice nest egg... I ran with the comment.

I am still smudging my printed letters, I am too eager to cut it out and stick it down I need to leave it to dry!  I wanted to layer this piece and contrast the greens of the money and background but still give a reference to leaves, nesting, trees... so used some yellow card to create the front layer of leaves which I then painted over with a light wash of green watercolour.  I rather like the contrast and effect.

To see more of the entries in this months challenge, follow the links below.. I am intrigued to see how others have interpreted the word nest.  

Guest Participants-

 AE team members-

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Art Elements Rune Reveal with Niky Sayers

This month is the last month of a Component of the Month with Art Elements as from next month we are trialing a new themed challenge to incorporate all forms of medium and that is something I am really looking forward to!  

But before we head into new waters we had the pleasure of working with a wonderful piece designed and created by the very talented Niky Sayers from the team.   A rune.  My rune was Algiz the rune of Protection, of the all seeing into other worlds and represented by Odin the God of the Gods, known for his ability to walk in other worlds amongst the living and the dead.  Odin is the God of War and is accompanied by his wolves Geri and Freki.  It is said that Geri and Freki struggled to find food so Odin gave to them the gift of sight in the form of two ravens, Huginn and Muninn who would fly high and find the prey for Geri and Freki.    The antlers from Odins helmet represent the antelope which is the animal normally associated with this rune.  I took most of my inspiration from Norse mythology but it is sprinkled with the stories from other cultures. 

I love myth and folklore and magic.  I had my runes read when I was in my late teens, I won't share the experience from that as it was quite dark - my life was very dark at the time and not just with teenage angst!  

This is the rune Niky created. It is so beautiful that I knew if I tried to create a wearable piece of jewellery I wouldn't do it justice so instead I used it to inspire me to draw.

My finished piece is not quite finished or quite right.  The mount is the wrong shape but it was one I had already!  This is the first time I have used acrylics as a watercolour, light washes and layered, but I wanted the vibrancy that the acrylic colours give as my first attempt (no photo) was too dark and heavy that I created with a different medium.  In this finished pieced I 're-styled' the ravens to give them more of a illustrative look, something more in keeping with my style and I turned the wolves around and made them howl.  This worked better than my original design (below) which was leaning too much towards realism and I lost the quirky narrative style I like.

In the original sketch Odin was too dominant and the ravens too 'real' compared to the more illustrative look of the wolves.  

I won't be doing any more to this piece, I enjoyed the process and have ordered myself some acrylic inks - watch this space! - as I love the vibrancy of the colours.  I need to concentrate more on not straying into the realms of realism, I prefer my work to be quirky although I have to admit the ravens in my finished piece do make me chuckle a little more than maybe I should!  

I hope you like the inspiration for my piece maybe one day I will execute it a little better.

I hope you will follow me and hop over to the other participants in this fabulous reveal.


Art Element Members:

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas decoration challenge with Art Elements

I have had this snow globe since last year.  I brought it in a clearance in Hobby Craft round about this time last year and it has sat in a box gathering dust ever since, but in the recent 'tidy up' that my daughter insisted we do to all the cupboards in the house, including my art cupboards, we found it again.

Art Elements member Lesley offered up a challenge back in November to create a Christmas ornament.  Click HERE to read the original blog post.  So I decided to finally use the snow globe.  

I am not completely happy with how it turned out, it was a challenge working in such a confined area, usually I just 'go with the flow' whether it is with glass or illustration doodles and the size is immaterial until I am finished so starting with a defined space was something I had to get my head around. 

Back in October I created this 'bad Santa' in glass and he melted - forgive the pun - the hearts of many so I carried on with the same image for my snow globe.  

I have always loved those layered pictures you used to see when I was a child so I decided to create my snow globe Santa in that style.  At the moment he looks a little too stark, maybe he needs a background?  I am hoping to explore this style of illustration in 2018 so not only did I finish (sort of) a project that was gathering dust but I gave myself a new arty idea to persue next year.

Here are the others that took part in the challenge, hope you take a minute to look at their creations for Christmas.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Ugly ear ring blog hop.

I don't make ear rings, I don't make any jewellery as a rule but when Diana suggested a 'tacky' ear ring challenge I thought, why not?  my jewellery making skills are limited to simple techniques so what more do you need?

Turns out that you need more than a few skills, making ugly pieces is quite hard, so I settled for just grabbing a few bits I had found in a recent 'tidy up' and went from there, so there it is, my tacky, ugly - but actually not that bad considering they are 'bits and bobs' -  mish-mash earrings!

If you fancy a bit of fun and seeing how others create tacky and ugly then hop over the blogs below 

Laney Mead - this is me!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October Component of the Month with the Art Elements team.

This month, October, was the turn of Art Elements Blog member Niky Sayers to host the Component of the  Month and she created these amazing coin clasps.  Each one features a hare and has been hammered into shape before attaching the clasp fastening.  It was love at first sight.

Before it even got to me I knew what I wanted to do.  Life has got in the way a bit (when hasn't it just lately!) of experimenting and playing but in my head this was much bigger than it became and of course it is un-finished but I am working on it still.

I knew mine would be a story of a hare.  It was around the same time that I walked my dogs, as normal, down at the river in the morning but we were early one day and as we quietly - for a change! - entered the fields there sat looking across the river and into the early morning sunshine was a bunny rabbit.  He sat there for what seemed like ages and luckily my dogs didn't notice him so I could watch and be reminded of all the Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit stories from when my kids were little. 

I wondered what he was thinking.  

When I got home I quickly doodled him into an illustration and that was as far as I got for a few days.

The days became weeks and before I knew it I had a few days left and so I made a very simple concertina book.  My plan is to do the illustrations and text on separate pieces of paper and glue them on to the pages I have created, both covering the ribbon I have used to attach the clasp and bulk out the 'book', which is why the clasp is currently a bit more loose than it should be.  Fingers crossed it will all come out right. 

You can find more of Niky's work on her blog

I am looking forward to seeing what the others created with this clasp and you can click below to follow the blogs with me.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

May 2017 Component of the Month with Art Elements... the Reveal

Back at the end of April Lesley Watts from the Art Elements group announced her component for the month.  A selection of delightful ceramic cabs with gorgeous rich colours in the recesses of a mold she made from a section of shell.  To read the full blog post of the original article click on the link above.

Lesley creates beautiful pieces in ceramics and in metal clays - you can see more of her work on her Facebook  page.   Lesley does favour the more organic style of work, compared to my wacky designs but I did fall in love with these pieces as soon as I saw them.  There were several colour choices to choose from but the green glaze really appealed to me.

I chose one of the round cabs and when it arrived I was not disappointed, these pieces are rich in colour and really tactile, I did have it on my work space in my 'kitchen studio' - very posh sounding corner of the kitchen dinning room where I keep all my drawings and pencils for when I take over the table!  I kept it out on the dresser so I could just pick it up and touch it, in the right hands this would make a really lovely tactile brooch or pendant but I saw dragons.  My first idea was a dragon drawn with scales using the colours of the cab to guide my choices but then I went on Pinterest searching for a quote that appealed to me and found this one...

'Never stop looking up'.

What a lovely positive saying and I immediately thought of giraffes and was cross with myself for choosing a green cab rather than a giraffe cab that would have gone with this idea better.  For a few days I mused over this and stroked my cabochon until my husband commented on some other drawings had I done, I was lamenting (again!) about being quirky and cartoony and as far away from my realism portrait days as is humanly possible, when he said to me 'don't stop being different that is what makes you you.' (once in a blue moon he can be quite sweet, usually ruins it by then telling me I have got a big backside compared to when we met 25 years ago....  such is married life!)

So I modified my saying....

I am still really new to Art Journalling just for the sake of it, I doodle and draw each day but have to commit to the Art Journal idea and experiment with mixed media which I still struggle with but lo and behold, my cabochon became part of my giraffe and lets face it... never stop looking up or being that bit different is not a bad way to live!  

For more creativity using Lesley's work please follow the links below.... 


Art Elements team

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Art Elements April COM challenge

Sounds of time, like waves that flow
Endless hours that come and go.....

This month's COM for Art Elements is from Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions and was a beautiful swirly lampwork glass bead that reminded me so much of the sea and it inspired just a few quick lines of creative writing as I sat down to write this blog.. they have been in my head since the arrival of the bead.

Unfortunately for me this month has been one of the crappiest in the longest time as we lost our beautiful, young Simmy Cat...

... he was just a year old and leaves behind his sister 'Mudgy who has really struggled with his passing and of course our Gordy with whom Simmy used to play 'proper cat fighting' games but he was so good with Gordy who was brain damaged at birth (for those that don't know) and although he is 4 now Simmy being a big boy at such a young age could play with a cat that has no 'gentle button' but no malice.  Between him and 'Mudgy they helped Gordy in ways I could never have imagined or expected.  He is sorely missed by all of us and of course this impacted on the last couple of weeks, my creativity disappeared down a deep dark hole and is only really just coming back out....


When I first saw this beautiful bead and heard the sounds of the sea in my head, I reached for my bookcase and my rather dusty book of Chinese Knots - I love knots!  I had a small clean up in the studio and found my limited stash of silky cord.  

Now I love reading, everything and anything, although I do have a penchant for animal stories and like most people now I have the digital device for reading books downloaded BUT my most favourite thing in the world is holding a real book, smelling the pages and touching each leaf as I make my way through the story.  I lose myself in a good book.  As a result I love bookmarks and each bookmark I own can tell a story of their own.  I wanted this bead to be the 'anchor' of my bookmark - I don't know about you but for me objects can hold memories and although I didn't create this bead it instantly reminded me of standing on the beach, the wind blowing in my hair and the smell of the sand, the sea... I lived near the beach several times as a child and I love the solitude, the reflection of memories, it seemed a good fit to my recent loss.

Unfortunately  my concentration has been so intermittant that I have only managed the 'concept' of my bookmark but I like it so far, I will be finishing this at some point, there is always a book that needs a bookmark!  

Don't forget to blog hop around those that joined in this challenge to see what everyone else has been creating.

Guest Designers:

Sarajo Wentling

Deb Stewart

Art Elements Team:

Sue Kennedy

Laney Mead

Lesley Watt

Claire Fabian

Karen Totten

Cooky Schock

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Caroline Dewison

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Niky Sayers

Lindsay Starr

Jen Cameron