Friday, June 25, 2010

Hot Summer Days

Our weather has gone into summer mode now and is a little too hot for me. We are having around 29C at the moment. I don't mind the hot days so much if only the nights were cool. We are getting a bit short of water too with the grass turning quite brown and parched in the garden. Sadly the bright lime greens of spring are but a memory.

This is my uber favourite song on YouTube at the moment. Have a listen and see if you like it.

Tell Me Now What You See by Moya Brennan

I never watch football as I am allergic to it but I did feel a bit sorry for the English side. Such a crushing defeat is hard to take. Mind you they have gigantic salaries to take their minds off it.

This is my latest digital drawing - Scarlet And Gold

My latest flower photographs

I love this cute cat embroidery by textile and mixed media artist Jane Poulton. You can see some of her images here at the Contemporary Art Holdings site. Just click on the central image which says Jane Poulton.

The two lovely etchings below are by printmaker Will Vaughan. I find his work beautifully atmospheric and detailed. You can see more of his artwork on his website here.



I am really enjoying being out and about in the local countryside this summer. We have been busy geocaching for several months now and recently decided to hide our own cache. It comprises fourteen little receptacles and the instructions to find them will soon be published. It has been fun trying to find places to hide them and be as creative as possible. The three views below are near to where one of the caches is hidden.

I have read about Hus And Hem on quite a few blogs recently so I thought I would pop over to their site here and have a look for myself. They are a Scandinavian company and Hus and Hem means House and Home. They have some beautifully stylish designs but these two below are my favourites.

Golden Apple Dishcloths


Holly Wright uses reclaimed materials to make her beautifully quirky furniture and chickens and often the two together. You can see more of her craftwork on her website here.

I would like to wander through Sue Slack's gorgeously vibrant landscapes. She has a wonderful sense of colour. She is hugely inspired by nature and the areas around North Yorkshire where she lives and works. I particularly love her tree paintings. You find lots more beautiful landscape oils on her website here.

Terrington Series X

Sun Setting On Trees II

Rosebury Topping Series I

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moo Cards And More Etchings

I have been happily etching away this week and I am quite pleased with the results. The lower picture will need to be enlarged as it is a very long image. I just happened to have a long piece of perspex and knew I had the perfect drawing for it. The mermaid image is one I drew a long time ago and I love it but I am not impressed with the Rhenalon plate that I used in place of perspex. I bought some from Lawrences' as I thought it sounded like a nice alternative to perspex but it is very thin, flexible and very slippery to etch. Because it is so thin there is very little plate mark and the actual impression is not as sharp as I would like. I will definitely re-etch the same image but either on perspex or copper. I think my inking and wiping technique is improving too. It is really wonderful to pull the plate through the press and draw back the paper for the first time to see what the etching is like. I may use one of the two mermaid etchings I have produced to try out watercolour washes just to see what the effect is. I am also going to try out some alternative ink which is washable in soap and water and is different from the oil based Charbonnel ink. I made a terrible mess of shirt and trousers when inking up the other day. It gets everywhere....!

Craster Mermaid Etching (Craster is a lovely little fishing village on the Northumbrian coast where I am sure mermaids play)

The Tree Is Heavy But The Birds Are Light Etching

We were asked to carrying out feeding duties for the kitties at my brother and his partner Lesley's house two weeks ago. A great photo opportunity for me and I spent quite a long time with them in the garden trying to get the perfect shot. They complied with my requests a few times. Sheba, the fourth and eldest of the cats, was far too sleepy to join in the feline rumpus.

Pixie (mum) keeping an eye on the youngsters

Poppy showing off among the wild strawberries

Abby beautifully framed by the greenery in the garden

Trevor Kemp was born in 1935 and trained as a painter/printmaker in Kent and later at the RAA. He is retired now due to ill health but continues to draw and paint. His wonderfully graphic prints are displayed at the Emma Mason Gallery here but these are my two favourites.

Horned Rams

Cows Under Tree

I found out from fellow blogger Gillian of Iheartcrafts blog about the offer of free moo cards except for £3 p&p. They all have Etsy and Moo info on them at the bottom though. I thought I would give it a go as I have always wanted to try out Moo business cards and this was a cheap way of seeing if I liked them. I chose 50 of my own designs and I am really pleased with how they turned out. A lot of the images had to be cropped to fit but on the whole they look really good all together like this. Now I have seen what they are like I may decide to order some proper ones without the advertising on. The offer still seems to be on although it says it expires at the end of April 2010 so if you want to try them out get over here asap.

A beautiful river which runs through a nearby town. One of my favourite places for walking.

I love these beautiful pieces by textile artist Karen Young. She has lived on Somerset's lovely Levels since 1986 and you can see that a lot of her inspiration comes from the area. I think the depictions of Glastonbury Tor and the pollarded willows are very evocative. The Tor is one place I am determined to see myself one day. Karen uses her own photographs, dyed fabrics, painted papers and stitchery to create her lovely works. You can see more images of her work on her website here.

Grey Green Tor

Somerset Rape

One Man, One Wife

Aren't these quirky wooden mechanical toy figures gorgeous? They are by maker Jane Ryan who studied Fine Art at Chelsea and then moved to Cornwall. They are made from reclaimed wood and are beautifully decorated. You can find these at the Janet Bell Gallery here.

Man And Dog

Love Machine With Three Gulls

Rigby Graham is a very well known painter/printmaker who trained at Leicester and originally became an illustrator and muralist. He is now known as one of the foremost landscape painters in the country. I particularly love his beautiful graphic woodcuts, four of which are illustrated below. He has always had a particularly strong connection with Ireland which has inspired a good deal of his work. There are also two books about his work which can be found on his website here along with a huge array of his art.

Doneraile Goat

Tretower, Powys, Wales

Brighton Pier

Annaghdown Castle

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Flowers And Pretty Crocks

Really enjoying the summery weather at the moment. Not too hot and plenty of rain to keep the gardens looking nice. Lots of beautiful flowers to photograph and the countryside is looking spectacular.

I have now taken delivery of my etching inks and copper plates etc. so I am hoping to be able to get down to some serious etching.

Bit of a summer flowers theme going on at the moment. This is the first digital drawing I have done for some time as other things have intervened. The colouration was inspired by a very pretty skirt I saw in a shop. I had to try and memorise the colours until I could get home and commit them to Photoshop.

I love hares and deer in any shape or form and I have always kept my eye out for any brass models in charity shops etc. I found the lovely long haired beastie on the right a couple of days ago and the one on the left I have had for some time. I know the right one is definitely a hare and I had thought the other one was too but now they are together I am not too sure. What do you think? Hare or rabbit on left.

These beautiful paintings below are by talented English artist Helen Tabor who now resides and works in the Scottish Borders. She paints mostly figurative and landscapes in oils with collage elements. Her work is beautifully textural in appearance. You can find more of Helen's work here at Thompson's Galleries and here at Morningside Gallery.

Girl With Doves

Girl With Goose

Pretty In Pink Dogrose


This picture below is of an elm tree. It is a very young one because as soon as they reach a certain height they are killed by the elm bark beetle. I, among millions of other Britons, mourned the demise of 30 million elm trees from 1960 onwards. They probably epitomised the English countryside more than any other tree and were very common in hedgerows etc. Their loss changed the landscape for ever. You can find small and young bushes today in lots of hedges and they are lovely to see but now someone has claimed to have introduced a disease free strain of the common elm. I hope he is right. It would take many generations to introduce them back into the landscape but wouldn't it be wonderful?

I found this wonderful childrens' book in a charity shop the other day. It is a series of poems selected by Anne Carter and is illustrated by Reg Cartwright. I find the illustrations very graphic and naive in style but really lovely. Just what I would have enjoyed as a child (and still do!).

Night Heron

An epitaph On A Robin Redbreast

First Sight

Collective Nouns For Animals

Don't you just love reading lists of collective nouns for animals. I found this one here the other day. Some of them are hilarious. I love the "prickle of hedgehogs" and the "clutter of cats". We have all heard of a "murder of crows" but there is also a "storytelling of crows" - I like that one.

The chinaware below is by very talented maker Alice Garland who lives and works in Suffolk. These images are from her BigCartel shop site which you can find here.

I stumbled upon painter/printmaker Anne Smith quite by chance but was very pleased that I did. I think her work is very beautiful and I like the themes she chooses. The wonderful images below are all etchings which she often colours by hand. Anne was born in the UK but has lived and worked in Australia since 1971. Much of her work seems to be inspired by plays, stories and theatrical or operatic productions. You can check out her work here and here at the Falls Gallery or here at Frances Keevil Art - both Australian galleries.

Queen Of The Night

The Flight

Papagena I

The Juggler