Triptych trip

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I have begun work on a new abstract in oils (the Snow Trees is still drying, needless to say). This one was inspired by some artwork I saw in a pop video and I’ve been trying out some rough ideas first. Here’s one of them. It is going to be a set of three, which apparently is called a triptych.
 
I’m firmly in the run-up to the art group’s exhibition now, and trying to make sure I have plenty to put on show, and that I’m exhibiting stuff that’s worth buying. Soon I will be deciding which paintings are my best, and ordering mounts for Elizabeth and myself (we’ll share the postage costs). Elizabeth doesn’t have a computer to order mounts, and can’t use the group’s mount cutter, as she gets arthritis in her hands. I have difficulty getting good results myself. It costs about the same to buy ready-cut mounts, as long as they are not too big, and will give a better result.

John came out with one of his classic jokes at art group this week: “What do you call a woman who is able to unfreeze cows? Thora Hird” Ha ha. Kevin continued to work on his moody Whitby seascape in oils, and Karen had begun a lilac coloured rose with a dark background. She was ready for a change from the leopard she’d been doing. Sue was using some real ivy to complete her painting of an owl in a gothic arched window, and Gill added glitter to her theatrical masks painting, to good effect. One of the masks she’d been painting did have actual glitter on it.
One of Sue Packer's portraits, taken from Worksop Library's events leaflet
I visited Worksop library’s exhibition space this week and there was a collection of pet and owner photographic portraits by Sue Packer. She aims to show the rapport between the person and animal. It often takes a few sessions for them both to be relaxed enough to be photographed. Sue’s exhibition is also on at the Harley Gallery at the same time, from 5th Feb-22nd March. All the photos I saw were black and white, and most did show the owner’s face, although the emphasis was on the pets themselves.

A romantic tiger?

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I spent Valentine’s day evening in the company of 20 men. Stop looking at me like that. I was one of 6 women at the Clowne Enterprise Business Forum evening, and went to listen to the four guest speakers. First was craft baker Clive Wormall, who has over 40 years experience. He runs courses on creative baking, and makes decorative bread baskets and wheat sheaves to commission. Clive told us about world records he’d broken, such as helping create the world’s biggest trifle, on the Forest Recreation Ground at Nottingham. Catering students from Clarendon College helped, “…. and we used a cement mixer and a swimming pool, and people came along with their own dishes to try a sample. And that record still stands”.

He showed us a cuddly “Tigger” toy, and asked us what this reminded us of. Yes - it was “Tiger bread”, which he’d invented (amongst other bakery products for supermarkets). Wikipedia defines it as a bread made with sesame oil, with a rice paste crust on the top, which creates a distinctive “tiger” markings pattern as it cooks, and a crusty top. Here’s the link to Clive’s site: http://bakerycraftconsultants.co.uk/index.html#.
This week, I have gone back to my snow trees oil painting, and made the foreground snow whiter, adding more snow among the branches, and some blue shadows. It is reaching the stage where I am playing about with it, to see what looks best. I will soon be adding some small animals to the foreground. At art group, Gill had begun a new painting of a glittery black mask, on a silky pink background, while Kevin continued with his moody oil seascape of Whitby – he has added the Abbey to the cliff tops and was putting the beach in. Everyone else was continuing their existing paintings. I might do a triple canvas abstract next. I have never done a triple one before, and don’t often do abstracts, but I like to push the boundaries of what I can do. It’s time for a change from trees.




No Wildebeast

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Last week, I decided to paint another tree silhouette scene but with a bit more advanced technique for my colour wash, involving a few clouds instead of clear sky. I did this by adding some grey streaks while the background was still wet. See previous recent posts on how to do a colourwash.
This week I have been adding the silhouettes, and also I added an owl and hedgehog to the previous picture – if you look closely, you can see the hedgehog in the grass. If you can’t see it, it’s on the far left …
At art group, most people have finished their pen and ink paintings now, and are back onto their oils or pastels. Madge was doing a grassy prarie with mountains in the background, “And I’m not putting no wildebeast in it”. “I’m not putting none in either”, I said, becoming aware of the grammatical contradiction. Mind you, my trees are from photos taken of Cornwall anyway, and the nearest you’d get to a wildebeest is probably a cow in a field. Maggie has been making some decoupage cards using photos of paintings she has produced herself. Some are for friends and family but she might have some on sale at our Easter exhibition.

I took my 3D drawing book along this week (which was a Christmas present) and began to read it towards the end of the session. It told me to draw some caricatures or cartoons, and I did. Of the group members – so I can’t put them on, or I’ll be in trouble! Next week, l’ll be using the special 3D compasses to try and produce some pictures that way, although if I want to show them at the exhibition, I’ll have to leave the 3D glasses out for people to use, and they might get pinched. Perhaps on second thoughts, I’ll stick to completing my oil painting, now it finally seems to have dried.
Below is a link to a blogger who has recently featured a link to my blog on hers. “Parenting reinvented” is – well - about parenting. It’s an American blog, and many of the articles are aimed at Americans, but the “Angry Birds” shown can be ordered in the UK at Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Limited-Angry-Birds-Plush-Toy/dp/B004N7QMZI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1297531788&sr=8-2S
http://parentsreinvented.com/


Romance Writing vs. Writing about Love

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There's a HUGE difference between romance writing and writing about love. When writing about love, you keep in mind all the details of what the beloved said, what he did, all the concrete images that flash into your mind. Romance writing is full of stock phrases such as "ecstacy, moans, throbbing..." During a walk, I was listening to a Sandra Brown thriller once on tape. I couldn't find my headphones, so I just listened without them. Just as a man was approaching, out of my tape recorder came, "He thrust his throbbing member into her." You should have seen the guy's face. You should have seen mind. Oh, that cured me of romance writing forever. Be cured.

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My Sheffield-born friend Heather Dewick (a bookbinder) has got herself in the Sheffield Telegraph this week, with her choice of interesting places to visit around Sheffield. I blogged about her work last year: http://jewelsartyblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/progress-with-clowne-painting-and.html.

Some of Heather's books
Here's her Flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heatherdewick/ - also, a link to a link to the bookbinding workshops she is running in Sheffield: http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/bookbinding
And finally an unfeasibly long link to the article about her “favourite things”, which is on the Telegraph website as well. http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/favourite_things_heather_dewick_who_is_running_a_workshop_as_part_of_off_the_shelf_s_history_weekend_books_in_with_her_pick_of_the_region_1_3038044

Pen and Ink Trees 2 - still in progress
I have continued my second pen and ink tree painting. I’ve made the middle lighter, where the light shines through the trees. To begin with, I did this by diluting the black ink, but found that it didn’t come out pale enough, and also the lines from the pen showed. I therefore touched it up with grey watercolour for a smoother finish, but I now think it needs to be made a bit rougher on some of the trees, to suggest the bark. I also felt I should have made the sky darker around the outer edges of the paper to emphasise the sun more. At art group, Karen thought I ought to incorporate some wildlife, which is a possibility.

Maggie's water lillies now with added dragonfly
My snow trees oil painting is still drying (three weeks on, which must be a record). I used a low odour painting medium to mix the oil paint - turps and linseed oil next time – or perhaps I ought to stick to doing oils in summer. For non-artists, you have to dilute your oil paint with something - it’s very thick when it comes out of the tube.

Maggie has recently added a lustrous dragonfly to her existing painting of water lillies. She likes to paint watery scenes, and her lily paintings are very popular. This painting is on the selling website above, here’s a link to the painting itself: http://www.artistsofderbyshire.co.uk/MR11.html

Kevin was drawing a castle/manor house, in pen and ink, with a deep orange sunset behind it. Pen and ink is a medium he often uses anyway, especially for buildings. He’d got the shadow on one side beautifully (if you want to see these paintings, you’ll have to come to our Easter exhibition, but for those of you who are further afield, I’ll try and photograph a few to show you).