Sunday, 4 October 2015

Opening a window to the light

There's still lots of colour in the garden although it is looking very autumnal.

The colour combination of Purple Verbena against the gold and burgundy Cotinus with the dark trees forming the background is gorgeous. The beech trees that mark our garden boundary were big when we came here nearly 30 years ago but now they are immense.

I love the dark, dramatic backdrop they give to the garden but the canopy needed lifting to reopen the view we once had across the fields. We summoned the tree surgeon and after a long hard day sawing, logging and chipping, we are treated to the sight of shafts of early morning sunlight streaming in through the 'windows' created by removing many of the lower branches.

It was seeing the recent Supermoon through those very branches that inspired this piece. I discharged the moon shape using deColorant Plus on compressed sponge. What makes it quite effective is the fact that I used one of Laura's digital prints from photographs taken right here where I live! As you can see, the image was taken in winter when the trees were bare - I always love seeing the structure of trees and hedges when they are leafless. I intend to quilt this one with a grey Madeira Cotona 50. That will be a perfect choice to stitch all those fine twiggy lines!

I made a number of different discharge prints on tree and hedge fabrics and couldn't wait to get this favourite one under the needle of the PowerQuilter!

I'm keeping the quilting very simple by following the spiky lines of twigs and thorns with free motion stitching using a pale Madeira rayon thread. Taking the lines of stitch across the moon should in theory make it recede a little so it appears to be behind the branches not in front and the sheen of the thread looks like moonlight!

I'll let you see the panel again as soon as it's finished.

Have a good what's left of the weekend! Linda x

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Blood Moon Rising, Pat's vase and more time frittering

I've been working in my art diary with the super moon theme and am content with how it's going.

Here's a night sky of fluid Liquitex acrylic inks just waiting for its big moon to be added as soon as it's completely dry.

I've even started several small quilted pieces using some of Laura's digitally printed fabrics. This moon was discharged with de Colorant plus. It's a product that takes out the original colour and replaces it with another. Coppery red for this special Blood Moon obviously!

If you subscribe to DMTV you may remember this quilted, embroidered and painted textile vase I made recently to wrap around a glass cylinder.

I have to thank Pat for showing me the vase she was inspired to make after seeing the video!

Completely different techniques but just as effective!

If you have time to kill and don't mind sitting in front of a computer screen all day, have you heard about the Felix Dennis auction? It's a 3 day event and there's 2 down and 1 to go. I've spent hours watching the bids online today. Quite compulsive viewing - if you like auctions that is. Fortunately the time wasn't completely wasted as Laura and I had the embroidery machine doing its own thing in the background. It's good to multitask! The auction continues tomorrow so it looks like another lost day!

Thanks for dropping by. I'm off to the workroom to see if any of the stuff I did today is dry yet!

Linda x

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sometimes insomnia is a good thing

Did you see the moon on Sunday night? We've been having spectacularly lovely weather and perfect clear skies so I saw the Blood Moon in all its glory. My middle of the night wanderings are usually fruitless but this time I was rewarded with an amazing view. Apparently this particular alignment won't happen again until 2033 so I'm pretty pleased I didn't miss it!

Laura and Jamie took this photo on his iPhone just as the moon was rising above the horizon. Later that night the shadow of the earth totally eclipsed the bright moonlight although you could still see them entire shape of the coppery coloured moon - I kept awake long enough to see totality but gave up on waiting for the light to reappear.

I've made a quick start on a page in my art diary. The Liquitex transparent acrylic inks I like so much flow in a way that I hope looks crater-like. Laura came up with a clever way to suggest the approaching shadow - I shall experiment and see if it works!

With the fine weather continuing, we escaped to a local National Trust property, Dudmaston Hall today. I know I'm always predictable when it comes to autumn foliage - I photographed this very same Actinidia this time last year!

But can you blame me when it looks like this?

We do our best to install an appreciation of nature in our little granddaughter but to be honest the giant chess set was more of a hit today. I see potential in that checkerboard of black and white though - it would make an excellent partner to a drawing of the Actinidia leaves on a page in my book. By the way, DMTV viewers will be getting an update on how the diary is shaping up very soon. It's bulging now and will soon be impossible to close but that's exactly how I like it.

The trees at Dudmaston are laden with fruit ready for their celebration of all things apple related next weekend. Our own trees are heavy with fruit too and we look set for apple pies and crumbles every day for the foreseeable. Bang goes the diet again.

But our priority right now is tomatoes! I've been roasting trays of them every day and the freezer is almost full of tasty pasta sauce to last all winter. Apples will store but tomatoes won't be ignored for long!

Thanks for dropping by - Linda x

Thursday, 24 September 2015

More Art Diary

It's official - keeping a visual diary is an obsession! I now live my life through the pages of my sketchbook and can't go anywhere or do anything without wondering how to make a record of the event. Fortunately we've had a busy week with lots of things presenting themselves as food for thought.

During a visit to a local farm on Tuesday I took time to make a 5 minute pen sketch of this obliging ram. He seemed quite happy to pose for me.

At the same time I resisted the impulse to draw this creature. He's so ridiculous I don't think you could avoid making him look cartoon-like!

On Wednesday Laura welcomed students to the first of her autumn workshops. This is an ongoing class in Art Quilt Adventures and is more about developing creative design ideas and composition than actual technique. Throughout the day she demonstrated various processes including a few ways with mono print - it looked so exciting I just had to join in!

Have I mentioned before that He Who Gardens also plays guitars? And banjos, ukeleles, mandolins, banjoleles etc etc........... He travelled half way across the country to track down this 1956 Gibson yesterday and then spent most of last night polishing it! I can hear him playing next door as I write this - I am not alone in having obsessions!

Seemed the perfect time to make a few quick mono prints to record the acquisition. Although I worked onto a variety of loose sheets of different paper types I've already chopped them up and incorporated them into my art diary. I added a bit of colour while I half watched, or more accurately, listened to, TV last night and intend to include photos of the actual guitar too just as soon as I've printed some out.

I wasn't intending to post more DMTV members' images here again because we'll soon have a forum where anyone can share their own work and ask questions. However Bernice has been experimenting with cardboard 'etching' prints using dry paper rather than damp. She's got some lovely results so it shows it's always a good idea to question the 'rules' to see what happens. Bernice tells me she used a Cricut machine as well as the back of a spoon and liked the results from both.

Finally, I've been frittering time researching old typewriters lately. You may well ask why - it's because we have had this antique example sitting collecting dust for many years and recently decided to get rid of it. After living in the same house for the best part of 30 years we are thinking of moving and the thought is daunting. Not because I get attached to bricks and mortar, but because I think of all the stuff we've amassed over the years and what a nightmare it will be to pack it all up and relocate. How I'm going to curb my magpie instincts I don't know but I think it might be time to pare down. I'll let you know how that goes!

Thanks for reading - Linda x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

New website coming soon

and more stuff I probably don't need! I have a thing for Denby teapots and jugs so couldn't resist this find on the market last week. What you can't tell from the photo is the size - this beauty holds 8 pints! It will need to be a very big tea party to make this a useful addition to my collection. Laura suggests I take it down to the village hall for the next meeting of the WI.

I contacted Denby for some information and the very helpful customer services people told me it was made between 1948 and 1984. This example looks as though it has never been used - probably too heavy to lift by some feeble little woman when full of tea!

Back to the workroom and more printmaking. I've enjoyed making a collagraph plate from very simple materials. This one was a piece of cardboard with the addition of gesso, acrylic gel medium, coarse hessian and sticky brown parcel tape. I love the fine detail you get from intaglio printing - must be my latest, best favourite thing!

I'm integrating one of the prints into my art diary and DMTV viewers will see the finished thing very soon. I am excited by the possibilities of these prints and have asked Laura and Jamie to digitally print a couple of them onto fabric for me. Watch this space for quilts coming soon!

The Art Diary challenge that I set a couple of weeks ago has certainly fired everyone's imagination. I'm receiving lots of lovely images - here are a few from the last couple of days.

My thanks to Jennifer and Barbara for letting me share those pages with you all. In a little while it will be much easier to do this because Laura is building a new dedicated DMTV website which will include a forum. This will be a page where I can chat with members, answer questions and post occasional comments and tutorials. We are hoping that this extra feature will be a popular addition to the site. It's in testing phase right now and will go live as soon as we've ironed out any wrinkles!

Lots to do so better get on with it! Thanks for reading - Linda x

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rising to the challenges

I've been amazed at how many of our DMTV viewers have decided, like me, to keep a visual diary over the next 3 months. The latest videos about printmaking have inspired some lovely work too. Here's just a selection of some of the pages I've been sent this week;

So thanks to Bernice, Pam, Alison and Linda for sharing their work. I  shall look forward to seeing lots more!

Not to be left out I've been working in my own journal to record some recent events too. Amelie and I collect feathers wherever we find them but the gorgeous Jay feather was a special treasure. We found it just as we were gathering the last of this season's raspberries from the garden. Unfortunately, I got stung by a wasp but that's another story!

Where does the time go? Our precious granddaughter Amelie celebrated her third birthday this week.

Not that we need an excuse for a cake covered with smarties.

It was one of those typical Kemshall birthdays that last almost a week so that all the family can get together to party. The sun shone for us and I've taken some great photos which will be appearing in my diary over the next few days. Not sure yet how I can record the squeals that accompanied this particular image - just be thankful for your ears' sake that there's no audio on the blog!

Bye for now,
Linda x

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Printmaking and the Art Diary Challenge

I've been surprised and delighted by the response to the challenge that I threw out to all our DMTV subscribers last week. Looks as though the idea of recording favourite subjects and significant events over a period of 3 months appealed to lots of people and I am so looking forward to seeing what everyone produces.

Barbara sent me her first 3 pages and already she's anticipating the kind of things I was planning to suggest!

Having been invited to a Hindu pre wedding celebration, Barbara was inspired by the colours and patterns she experienced.

That led her to make a lovely embellished heart in typically vibrant reds and gold. This translation from paper to fabric techniques is exactly how I'll be treating my own diary. I'd like to thank Barbara for generously allowing me to share the images! I'm going to have to work hard to keep ahead of her and our other creative members it seems!

My own desk is beginning to look quite busy though. I'm loving the cardboard printing we've been exploring on DMTV and printmaking is definitely one of the quickest ways I know to amass lots of work.

I've returned to some of my favourite subjects and I'm sure a few of these prints will find their way into my Art Diary. I love to integrate separate sheets of paper into a conventional sketchbook so they look as though they were always meant to be there! It's also so satisfying to include lots of different weights and types of paper instead of relying solely on the original pages.

Still can't get away from my favourite birds!

Thanks for reading today - I'll be back again soon. Linda x