Sunday, September 28, 2008

Illustration Inspiration

I said I would use these lovely umbellifer trees on another drawing and here it is. I don't think the deer shows up as well as with the red version, but on the whole I prefer this one I think....although the red one is nice.
This is quite a humorous image in pen and ink with a couple of dabs of digital colour. I love drawing figures with birds on some part of their anatomy.
This was produced by cross hatching with Staedtler fibre tipped pens. I loved drawing this piece. It has a very organic shape and I love the colours. I will definitely do some more of these. Cross hatching has to be the most relaxing art technique there is.

You can see I have been going through my red and black phase this week. This is a semi abstract drawing of tree forms and can be read either way up. It is partly painted but I think it would look a lot nicer when coloured digitally which is something I will probably do next week. I like the graphic quality.
This is the red painted version of the stylised deer and the original copyright free artwork from my motif book.

The following images are the work of illustrator and writer Christina Balit. They are from the books "The Lion Bible" and "The Twelve Labours Of Hercules".

Well, the new computer seems to be working well. Unfortunately the old computer decided to crash its hard drive before I had completed the removal of all the files. Everything was backed up to one month ago but the drawings I have done in the past month were lost sadly. I have hard copies of them but no image file. Some of them were too time consuming and complex to repeat and there are always so many new things to draw and paint that I think I will just write off the loss and carry on. A lesson well learned. Always back up your work.

I was musing today about how much inspiration I gain from things around me. I just have to catch a glimpse of a combination of colours in a magazine or, often, a particular pattern on someone's skirt. I try and memorise it until I get home and can commit it to paper. I have never yet approached anyone and asked to take a photo of an item of their clothing although I have often wanted to. I am not too sure how it would be received. I was looking through a book I borrowed from the library today with a picture of a red deer leaping in a snowy woodland scene which had been painted on 1930's china, and that gave me the inspiration I needed to produce my deer in landscape images. The actual deer artwork is from my dearly loved motif book with copyright free images. I often use images from this book as the basis for my drawings and paintings. I have posted a picture of the bird and animal motif book but I would like to get the plant and flowers book in the same series.

My multicoloured leaves drawing was also inspired by a retro china plate. I did the leaf motifs too large to get many rows in. I may well do it again and make the motifs small so that I can get all the colours of the rainbow in the picture. That would be more me.

My featured artist this week is Christina Balit. She is an English author and illustrator, primarily of childrens' books. She has an enchanting and vividly colourful style which is part naive, part contemporary with a little bit of folk thrown into the mix. I love the way she renders her trees and the hair of her figures. She uses masses of colours but her artwork never looks overdone, although it is very decorative. She doesn't have a personal website and it is difficult to find any of her artwork that is not just book covers on Amazon etc. The best way to appreciate her work is to buy the books she has illustrated. I have two which I have shown in the post. Both are full of the most amazing illustrations even if you don't want to read the stories. Her illustrations which I have posted are all from these two browse and enjoy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Alison Wagstaffe and Charming Ladies

I really enjoyed creating this piece of artwork. It is pen and ink which has been digitally coloured. I love the effect you get when the colour doesn't fit into the space provided for it. I restricted the palette to just a few colours and I think it works quite well. You may need to click on this image to get a clear picture of it. I liked it so much I thought it deserved a special title so it is called "In The Forest Of Perfect Happiness".
This is entitled "Conversation Piece" although I think the bird is probably doing most of the talking. Not quite sure where the inspiration behind the unusual headgear came from. I think it originally started life as a flower but it seemed to morph into something much more spectacular. I love red, white and black as colour combinations.
The Bride - This image was originally just going to be pen and ink but I decided to add a bit of colour to the background because her nerves were making her too pale and wan. I quite like the way she turned out but she doesn't look very happy.
The Meeting Place - I love the umbellifers masquerading as trees in this picture. I think they may be appearing in a few more artworks in the future.
The following images are all artwork produced by UK artist and printmaker Alison Wagstaffe. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.

Well, the new computer isn't quite up and running yet. There is a lot more to installing and getting one ready than you would think. All the old programmes have to be reinstalled and, if the old ones are considered obsolete, new ones have to be bought. It also turns out that Vista doesn't like old scanners like mine so that is going to have to be replaced too. The main thing that has to change though, is that we now have to have a modem to get access to the internet. This is due to be delivered on Tuesday, and perhaps then I can use the new computer. As my brother explained to me, when you buy new technology, it won't necessarily work with the old technology....hmmm. Well, my "old technology" was 6 years old and I don't consider that ancient, but then what do I know.

On a more positive note: my featured artist this week is Alison Wagstaffe. She is an English artist and printmaker living in Norfolk in the UK. Her work is primarily printmaking, producing etchings and collographs. She then uses watercolour, oils and silver and gold leaf to add colour and texture to her work. She is very inspired by angels and they feature in a lot of her work. I love her plump and charming ladies and mermaids as they have a deliciously naive quality about them. Her choice of subject matter reminds me of my own artwork in many ways.

I have illustrated some of her images in this post but if you want to see lots more of her lovely work go to her website here. I think we are very lucky in this country to have such a wealth of talented artists and printmakers.

I hope next week to tell you that I am enjoying using my new computer but perhaps I shouldn't be tempting fate just yet. So until then have an enjoyable week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My New Scarf and My New Computer

This is Mitch wearing my lovely new scarf which I won in Phyllis's giveaway on her blog Spin, Knit and Life. Very warm and toasty....I am not sure if Mitch will hand it back.

I had to wear gymslips very like these when I attended primary school many years ago. The only difference was that mine had a belt around the middle so I resembled a sack of potatoes. This piece is called "First Day at School". The hats are pure fabrication of course.
This is a rough sketched illustration which I have coloured digitally, again roughly. She is definitely growing on me. I love the palatte of this image and they are all CMYK colours so they won't look different when printed.
Another sketchbook bird, this one is also in fibre tipped pen colours.
I originally designed this for a needlepoint I was planning but I never actually got around to doing it. One of these days perhaps....! It is watercolour at the moment but I may decide to digitalise it.
A very fancy red sketchbook bird. I have used fibre tipped pens on this one.
This is one of my favourite sun designs and I use it a lot in various pictures.

The following images are all the artwork of English pen and ink artist Seren Bell.

I received a lovely prezzie in the post the other day. I had won a hand knitted scarf on Phyllis's blog Spin,Knit, and Life. She had a giveaway and I was one of two winners. Being a non-knitter I received the already knitted item. It arrived this week and it is a beautiful navy blue wool scarf. It came with instructions on ways to wear it - thank you very much Phyllis. I love it and I will enjoy wearing it this autumn/winter. I have always been a "scarf" person. I know I have posted pictures of my old ted "Mitch" wearing it but I hate photos of myself and Mitch is much better looking. I was given him when I was 9 years old and frightened of the dark. Needless to say, he didn't help much, but he is rather lovely, if a trifle dirty and threadbare (no pun intended). So once again thanks very much Phyllis.

My main news this week is that I am now the proud owner of a couple of large boxes. What is interesting about that I hear you say. Well it is what is in the boxes that counts. It is a brand, spanking new computer with Windows Vista to replace my old XP. The screen is 22 inches instead of the tiny one I am using at the moment. I really won't know myself when it is all installed. Thanks to my brother and his partner, Lesley for sorting it out for me... and hopefully they will also oversee the installation and transfer of all my stuff onto the new model. I can't wait. It is by way of being all of my Christmas and birthday presents for the rest of my life.....!!!

My artwork this week is more illustrative. I have always been a fan of illustrations, particularly contemporary, so I thought I would start drawing some myself. I have been checking out the illustration sites on Flickr and there is so much fantastic stuff on there. I also own a couple of very large illustration tomes which are endlessly inspiring. I borrowed a few library books with images of 1950s designs for wall paper and curtains. I love the 1950s era for design. The colours are great and the artwork itself is very distinctive. So watch out for a few retro pieces from me in the coming weeks.
My featured artist this week is Seren Bell. She is an English artist who specialises in pen and ink with coloured pencil. Her chosen subjects are usually rural scenes and especially sheep. Her style is totally different from Caroline Ireland in last week's post, as her palatte is much more subdued and natural looking. I love her work. Never have sheep and lambs looked so interesting. She can be found on the internet here and here.
Now I am off to make room for that new computer.....!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Caroline Ireland and Stained Glass

I went for a slightly 20s hairdo here. The flowers are fibre tipped pen colours. Don't you just love Staedtler fine tipped pens? I am not sure if she is wearing anything apart from the flowers though...!
I like stark white trees on coloured backgrounds. Could be a bit Christmassy with a wee bit of a tweek here and there.
Pen and ink illustration of a woman and a tern. I love terns with their cute black caps. I will have to try and get my ladies to "smile". They all look far too serious for my liking. Mind you having a bird about to entangle itself in your hair is probably quite a serious matter.

Pen and ink with digital colouring. I had high hopes of this one originally but it didn't turn out as I intended. I suppose it is an example of co-ordination with nature. Oh well, you win some and you lose some.

Some examples of stained glass windows found local to my home. You probably need to click on them to get a clearer version.

The following images are of artwork by Caroline Ireland and are produced using a combination of wet watercolour and pastels. I think my favourite one is the bird in the tree. It is a magical explosion of colour.

Sunday again and time for another blog. I spent some time doing one of my favourite things this week, and that is looking in old churches. I love everything about old parish churches and even better if they are over 500 years old. I think so much prayer, meditation and thinking of others in churches becomes embedded in the atmosphere, and I must say I have never been in a church and felt uncomfortable. I particularly love looking at and photographing stained glass windows. Admittedly much of the stained glass we see in our churches today is Victorian or later. The very first churches had plain glass windows. I stand and gaze in awe at the artistry and craftsmanship of the men and women who designed and made these beautiful objects. A bit like wonderful monumental sculptures of angels in churchyards, they are often overlooked. Not by me though. A church local to me actually has a tiny stained glass window dating from the 1300s. Isn't that incredible?

I have posted a couple of my photos of windows that I have discovered in my travels. Stained glass has a unique quality of colour that cannot be replicated by any artistic media that I know of. It has a intensity and vibrancy all of its own and although we all try to replicate that, we never can. I certainly cannot anyway. I have quite a few books on stained glass which I like to browse through now and again when I am looking for inspiration for colours. I particularly like the depictions of angels with the fabulous colours and patterns of the wings and the robes.

Anyway, to change the subject; my featured artist this week is Caroline Ireland. I have long been an admirer of her work but it is not for the minimalist. Her artwork has colour in spades. In fact, I think she probably uses every single shade of colour known, in each picture. I love them for their vivid, beautiful colours and patterns and mystical subject matter. She can be found at the totallyessential website here. If you click on the artists directory at the top, then click "I" on the alphabet, it will show you Caroline's name second down on the list. Some of the pictures I have posted are no longer on the website but she has lovely work there and it is well worth a look. She does with colour what none of us would dare.

Well, that is all from me this week. Hope you enjoy my artwork. I have placed it well away from Caroline'