Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scraperboards and Bluebells and Blossom

I really enjoyed the two giveaways I have just completed even though they were quite a bit of work. All but three packages have been posted now and two of those will go on Tuesday (Bank Holiday on Monday). The third one is just waiting for an address. I know some bloggers have already received their prizes but please let me know if anyone doesn't receive theirs.

This quirky little piece is Bird Guardian

I was browsing in a local art shop on Saturday when I came across some scraperboards and tools and I decided to buy them and have a go. I have been meaning to try this technique for ages but haven't actually got around to it till now. I must have been one of the very few school kids who never got to try this out. I think perhaps our art master Mr Woods didn't like scraperboard. It took a little while to get the hang of the scraping tools but I am very pleased with the result considering I am a complete novice. I think perhaps I should have made the bird and the girl's face whiter but the scan has made the whole thing greyer than it actually is in reality. Perhaps a photo would be better. The tools were very cheap as I didn't want to spend much until I had decided whether I liked the technique. I have decided that I do and I will invest in something of better quality. It is a very similar process to linocut in that you are carving white lines and therefore you need to plan your work much more carefully than you would a drawing. I think it will be quite a little while before I can produce anything remotely like the Cathie Bleck artwork below mine...haha.

White Bird

Here are some seriously professional scraperboard images by American artist and illustrator Cathie Bleck, although Cathie uses a slightly more complex technique by using layers of ink in her work. She is truly a master of this medium with so much detail, energy and graceful lines in her work. Cathie has her own website here with lots more black and white and coloured images. You can also see lots of her work on the Enid Lawson Gallery website here.


With The Wind

Polar Bear's Dilemma

I found this delightful childrens' poetry book in a charity shop the other day. It is a collection of poems compiled by Nicola Baxter and illustrated by Cathie Shuttleworth.

Cathie is an English artist and illustrator who hails from Suffolk. She has illustrated many books over the years and her style is wonderfully delicate and detailed watercolours. These are just the sort of illustrations that I loved as a child. Cathie has also branched out into very clever paper sculptures and you read all about that on her website here.

I couldn't resist uploading a couple more cherry blossom pictures. All the blossoms are fading away now, especially with the very wet weather we are having this weekend.

I like Jill Stewart's quirky and decorative metalwork a lot. She lives in the north of England and creates lovely clocks, mirrors and jewellery among other things, using differently coloured metals. Her work is very decorative with etching and texts and she obviously loves birds and forms of nature. You can find Jill's website here.



We found a wonderful bluebell wood whilst out geochaching last Sunday. The bluebells weren't out properly that day but I made a return visit later in the week and captured them in all their glory. There were two shots of the wood but Blogger, in its infinite wisdom, decided to delete the other one and as you all know you cannot fit anything into the post once it is uploaded. Still, not to worry as I have lots more bluebells to come

and these are the individual flowers that make up those gorgeous swathes of blue

I love Karen Birchwood's beautifully delicate and fresh approach to painting. Her work is filled with colour and light. Karen originally graduated in textiles but has now moved to painting in the Kent area of England. She takes her inspiration from the landscapes of "the garden of England" and is also inspired by the likes of Mary Fedden - another favourite of mine. She has lots more lovely artwork on her website here.

Red Mug

Garden View II

Wild Flowers, Romney Marsh

The lithographic images below are the work of Czech graphic artist/printmaker Marina Richterova. She was born in Russia and you can see that influence in her work. I love the intense detail and the melancholy of her art. You can see masses more images of her work on Celebrities on the Web here. If you click on the images on the right sidebar and then click on the image again you will get an enlarged version of the picture.


Donna 2006

Butterfly Dreams

The Pilgrims

Portrait In Red Chemise - In Honour To My Father

Sunday, April 25, 2010


This is my latest offering - The Hen Collector


At long last I have the winner of the lovely Miss Read "Pass The Book" giveaway. I have been very naughty and kept the book far too long but it is now ready for the next stage of its journey along with a few of my goodies. I had such a lovely response to the giveaway (thanks to Carolyn of Love Stitching Red) that I decided to have six runners up as well and they will each receive a print of one of my drawings. Sorry it has taken so long to post this but you would not believe the time it takes to photograph everything, put all the names into my little basket, visit websites to check names, do the links and then take out all the myriad of spaces that Blogger seems to think I need in my blog...I don't. Anyway enough excuses.

The winner of the book and the items below is....GINA of Fan My Flame. She will receive the goodies in the three pictures below.

The six runners up I have chosen will each receive a print which you can see below (4th picture down) They are:

Caroline of Caroline's Studio
Debrina of Debrina's Diary
Cathie of Clevelandgirlie
Chrissie of Niminyfingers
Stephanie of Primitive Folk Art - so addresses when you have a moment ladies

Gina has won a selection of my designs made into greetings cards

three mini prints of my woman who planted trees series and an original pen and ink and watercolour drawing

and lastly the book that started it all together with one of my photographic prints of a local bluebell wood which I took a few years ago and four handmade cards. The cards and envelopes are made from handmade paper (not by me) and I have woodblock stamped a design (again not mine) and have added some little birds (mine). The inclusions are tiny blue flowers, leaves and stems.


In the spirit of good blogship I decided to have six runners up and they will each receive one of the two designs below. I intended all the six prints to be identical but my printer disagreed and would only print the first three. Luckily I had another three prints of a different design so I will surprise you with which one you receive.

The hen lady is new but the other print is an older drawing which was originally a digitally coloured sketch. I liked it so much I decided to make it into a "proper" digital drawing.

I found this tiny ladybird in its little wooden home. So sweet and bright but quite a nip if you are not careful.

I first became aware of Danish artist and illustrator Lisa Graa Jensen when I bought a pack of her designs as Christmas cards. I was definitely won over to her gorgeous colours and wonderful design sense. She is one of my favourite artists. She is very well known and an Internet search will turn up lots of examples of her work but you can find a nice selection here at Alresford Gallery and, of course, Lisa's own site here.

Pigeons Over Surrey Hills

Winter Woolies, Surrey Hills

More Than Just Friends

I popped round to my brother and Lesley's house the other day and, as usual, Poppy obliged on the photographic front. The other cats were rather more challenging to photograph. She looks almost vertical in the second photo but she didn't fall in the pond, although when they were kittens they had a couple of duckings. I bet that water tasted rank.

Sarah Noel is a ceramic artist who lives and works in Wales. Sarah's work has a fascinating quality whereby her figures are ancient looking but contemporary both at the same time. Her inspirations come from medieval carvings and European and American folk art. Her figures and families in boats are intriguing. You can see lots of her work at The John Noott Galleries here and here.

Eve I

Woman With Whistle

I have always been totally fascinated by rooks and I spent ages the other day watching a local rookery and taking masses of photos. Unfortunately the light was failing but I think it probably adds to the atmosphere. The noise was indescribable.

When I was browsing the excellent Nantais Gallery the other week I came across a wonderful artist and printmaker called Hanne Grete Einarsen. She produces paintings and woodcuts and you can see some of her woodcuts below. They have a lovely graphic and almost naive quality about them. I guessed from her name and subject matter that she is Scandinavian but I cannot find out anything else about her on the Internet. Most of the sites with her name linked are Norwegian so I would guess she is too. You can see some more of her work here at the gallery.

Fox I

Fox II

Reindeer I

Fish I

Dorothy Pavey is an English artist with an incredibly light and fresh touch with watercolour. She creates the most beautiful paintings of the English countryside and gardens and flowers. Dorothy lives in the Cotswolds which is one of the loveliest of our counties and spends time out with her camera recording what she sees on her walks, although she also visits South Africa and other counties of England. You can see more of her paintings on her website here.

Bluebell Wood

Poppies And Daisies

Garden Gate And Bench

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Pass The Book" Giveaway

This is my latest drawing and is...yes, you have guessed it...The Woman Who Planted Trees VI. I bet you are wondering whether this series will number into the hundreds. No, I will probably stop at X. I am just enjoying doing them so much. I haven't had much time for drawing lately as I have been busy making cards for my previous giveaway winners. All should be back to normal next week though.

"pass the book" giveaway

Do you remember when I won the "Pass The Book" giveaway from Carolyn of Love Stitching Red blog? Carolyn's prize to me was lots of lovely handcrafted and other goodies which I was absolutely delighted to win. The book is intended to be passed on to the next lucky reader with a selection of some goodies to travel with it. It originated with Emma of Silver Pebble blog and I was the third reader. I have added my name to the inside cover. I must admit that I have kept it a bit too long but it is to be given away now. It is a lovely book and well worth reading.

My goodies giveaway will be some of my handmade cards and prints etc. Just leave a comment on this post and I will pick the winner at random next Sunday and then send "Miss Read" off to her new temporary home.

Who could resist these gorgeous Maureen Minchin ceramics? They are lovely and bright and quirky.
Maureen lives and works in the Scottish Highlands. You can see more of her work here at Imagine Gallery and here at Cambridge Gallery.

We went Geocaching again on Sunday for the first time for months. We found the first two caches easily but the next three eluded us. We must be out of practice. We incorporated the search into a lovely walk in the countryside. The weather was superb - quite hot in fact. Everyone was out enjoying the sunshine after being cooped up all winter.

Here is one of the lovely lanes we walked up

and lots of lovely green fields we wandered past

The weather has really brought the fruit trees and hawthorn into full bloom recently. They are quite superb and I cannot get enough photos of them.

and these two mischief makers were following me around on my walk this afternoon. They seemed to be unattended but they may have temporarily escaped their owner.

I love the deliciously coloured landscape etchings of Rebecca Vincent. She has a real knack for producing lovely patchwork layers of texture and colour. Rebecca is a Northumbrian artist and printmaker who together with artist colleague Carol Nunan runs the Horsley Printmakers. They produce handmade prints and undertake printmaking workshops. I wish I lived there. I would definitely take a few workshops with them. My maternal family come from Northumberland and it is a very beautiful county. You can find their website here.

Patchwork Landscape - Ploughed Field 2007

Windswept Farmhouse Card

Did anyone follow the excellent Monty Don series called Mastercrafts? Monty explored British crafts along with three people in each show who were completely new to the craft. I watched the stained glass and the weaving episodes on i Player a few weeks ago. The weaving was mind blowing. Three artistic young people were taken in hand by experienced weaver Margot Selby and taught to weave in 6 weeks. Even the setting up of the threads on the loom was incredibly complicated and that was before they started weaving fabric. One tiny thread out of place could, and did, spell disaster for the design. Two of the participants, Holly Berry and Tref Davies got the hang of it very quickly and produced some amazingly complex cloths at the end of the 6 week period, but the third girl found it very difficult to even get the loom threaded up.

Below you can see what they achieved. Holly's is on the left. I loved her design and the colours she had chosen. Tref's was also amazing and very complex. I imagined what I could produce in just six weeks and I could never have come up with anything like theirs, providing I got the loom threaded in the first place. They are obviously both natural weavers. Holly has a blog here with more pictures of her weaving. You can find Margot Selby's website here with some images of the three weavers. Margot is one of the few professional weavers in the country who are able to make a living from their craft.

Holly Berry and Tref Davies's woven fabrics.

I couldn't have an art blog without mentioning James Lynch, although a lot of people will probably know of him. He has a magical talent for portraying a glowing, light filled world that we would all like to inhabit. He is well known for his visionary paintings containing beautiful animals but recently has concentrated on the Somerset, Dorset areas. He uses a time consuming technique of egg tempera for his work and the results are exquisite. I also found out from his website here that he has produced a book of his paintings acompanied by the work of three poets. Sounds like it would be well worth getting.


Leaping Hare

Goose In A Field Of Corn

Annie Smits Sandano's website is an absolute delight to visit. Annie was born in Brazil and moves between there and New Zealand. She is a very successful artist/printmaker. She has the most wonderful sense of design and her birds are quite exquisite. I love her two mixed media figurative pieces below too. You can find her here.

Pepe Wahine Waituhi

Kura Paru Circles

Kauri Green With Tuis

Tui Tane Waituhi