Thursday, October 23, 2014

{tap} {tap} ... is this thing still on???

Blimey, it's a long time since I was last here!

I've temporarily come out of bloggy retirement after my pals over at the spookalicious Weird Scissors site asked if I had something that I could contribute to their daily Halloween countdown

As luck would have it I was just about to embark on making a lil' Halloween something, so all I had to do was take photos along the way.

So - here is a dead simple - DEAD simple, geddit? - way to make yourself a piece of skully wall art to contribute to your Halloween decor

You'll need a cheapo box canvas - I used a 12"x12" from the Range - and some old offcuts of decorative papers in dark, foreboding shades, a large background stencil, and a selection of heavy bodied acrylic paints and big chunky paintbrushes

Also useful, white transfer paper (available from Amazon), white gesso and spray paints

First step, roughly paint your canvas black, I used spray paint but standard acrylic paint or black gesso would do the job just as well.

And then audition some paper scraps until you find a few that would make a good border

Next step - not pictured - rip and glue the paper scraps around the edge of your canvas - and once the glue is dry, sand the edges of the canvas where the paper ends to give a more finished edge

Use your large background stencil next, I used spray paints but you can use anything that will show up over the dark background (spray inks won't work, but standard acrylic paints sponged or pounced through the stencil would be fine):

Now it's time to find a copyright-free photo of a skull on the internet, and print it out at a size where it will fill up your canvas pretty well.   And this is where that white transfer paper will come in handy if you have some:

In the top photo, the skull picture is on top of the transfer paper, the prepared canvas is underneath - you just need to trace over the main features of the skull with a sharp pencil, and the result is the white outline you can see in the second picture.  Very handy if you are not comfortable drawing the skull freehand.....

Next step is to roughly paint in the lighter areas of the skull with white gesso or acrylic paint:

We're aiming for plenty of texture in the finished painting, so leave lots of visible brush strokes....

And now it's time to add colour, lots of colour!

Dig out a selection of nice, bright, heavy body paints, and big chunky brushes:

Make sure that you have a good range of tones - from light colours through to dark

And now the fun part - splash that paint on with abandon!

Start with the lighter coloured paints and put those roughly where the lightest parts are in your printed skull photo, then move through the mid tones and finally to the darkest areas.  Use big brushes, paint quickly and leave plenty of visible brush strokes.  You don't have to be precise, you'll be amazed how good the end result looks with absolutely no artistic genius required!

(I couldn't resist giving him shiny chrome teeth, he's a little bit gangster ;) )

Now all that's left is for you to hang it on your wall and wait for it to be admired by all the visiting trick or treaters next week :)

I'm donating this canvas to Free Art Friday Truro for their Halloween drop on the big day - so keep your eyes peeled for it if you happen to be in the area....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Can he swing from a web? No he can't, he's a pig

The Simpsons kind of ruined the Spiderman theme tune for me, I can only ever hear the Spiderpig version in my head now :)

But anyway, the reason the tune is in my head at all is that I have spent the afternoon racing to finish this:

which is my submission for Summer of Colo(u)r Week 5

As soon as I saw the colours for this week - red, royal blue and a splash of light blue - I had Spidey stuck in my head, and I couldn't dislodge him

So here he is on an 8"x8" canvas, the background is collaged with black and white comic book pages, knocked back a bit with a messy swipe of gesso.  Spidey himself is painted in acrylics with all the black details done with an extra fine Pitt pen

I'll be sending him over to Gloucester in the next couple of weeks for their big free art event at the beginning of August

And in other news, the BeStitched fabric circle journal that I have been a part of for the last 7 months or so, is now sadly drawing to a close.

The last theme that I had to work on was "rainbow".  The CJ owner wanted us all to make an 8" square mini quilt that would be soft enough for children to as this one is aimed at kiddiwinks I didn't do anything too arty farty - instead I had fun bringing a cheeky little leprechaun to life, revelling in his end-of-the-rainbow pot of gold:

The background is hand quilted in the ditch, made up from strips of fabric I already had in my stash, I was pleased I managed the whole rainbow.  

The leprechaun, based on some ancient clip art I had on my computer, is painted with acrylics onto heavy muslin and outlined with a sepia extra fine Pitt pen

I'll be sad to see the back of this CJ, I've really enjoyed it.....but I'm looking forward to receiving my own one back!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Racing to catch the deadline for Summer of Colour week 4

Phew!  This has been the busiest week I can remember in a long time.  I really didn't think I would be able to fit in an entry for Summer of Colo(u)r this week, but managed to grab a couple of hours just now to have a little scribble....

<==== This week's colours are Apple Green & Pink with a splash of Dark Green

My mind went a complete blank on this combo .... all I knew was I wanted to use the funky little green fridge magnet frame that I had in my pile of "interesting frames to put something in"

So I sat down with some Posca pens in the right colours and quickly drew the first thing that came to mind:

I'm not sure what that says about me .....maybe just that I have been watching too much Hannibal!

I did cheat a teeny bit and use two different shades of the lighter green, just so that I could differentiate her face from her antler cowl - and I used my 'splash of dark green' to add shading

This little madam will be joining some other bits and bobs and going over to Gloucester soon for the big free art drop they have planned to coincide with the upcoming Paint Jam Festival

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer of Colour week 3 and the Free Art Friday machine rolls on.....

So our colourful summer continues :)  This week's :palette in the Summer of Colo(u)r is Lavender & Grey, with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Plum:

It's a lovely colour scheme but a bit out of my comfort zone, that's always a good thing though.

Jay had a really good idea for this one, to do a boxer's face in greyscale, and use the purples for bruising and a big black eye, but I couldn't find a reference photo that I thought I could do justice to, so I reverted to the relative safety of "pretty girl"

So here's what I ended up doing:

(the colour-perfect frame was a Poundland find!)

She is based upon this gorgeous photo reference from Paint My Photo, photographer is Alex Lee Johnson :

I love that swipe of blue paint in the original photo but I'm not sure if I prefer my painting with or without it (here's without):

But it's too late now anyway, she's been swiped :D

I'll be donating the finished, framed piece to Free Art Friday Swindon   (if you have time, please click through and check out our photo album 'Art for the big launch drop' - around 150 arty items have already been submitted, it's an amazing selection, I've been overwhelmed with everyone's generosity!!)

Also in the Free Art Friday pot are a few more of my little Day of the Dead canvasses - since last weekend I've tried out a couple more designs of those:

That's me done for this week - see you back here for week 4 of Summer of Colour!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer of Colour week 2 and some more Free Art Friday goodies....

So it is week two for the Summer of Colo(u)r - and the colour scheme we've been given to work with this time is dark teal and coral with a pop of white...

I thought this would be a good excuse to practice my portraits, and went hunting for a reference photo on the excellent site Paint My Photo that would work well with the colour scheme (thanks to Carmen for tipping me off about this site!)

I found this piccie that looked perfect .... the photographer is Alex Lee Johnson

And I did my best to bring her to life, mixed media stylee (acrylics and oil pastels on a collaged base)

I am donating the finished painting to the Free Art Friday Swindon cause, I hope whoever finds her, likes her!

And talking of Free Art Friday, I was playing around the other day and made a little sugar skull canvas on a matching spray painted easel - it's tiny, the canvas is only 2" square:

I wasn't sure if it would work for Free Art Friday or if it was too small, but I asked my peeps on Facebook and they reckoned these would go down well (even if the finders will need to be extra eagle eyed!) - so I made a couple more :)
That's all for now, see you next week for week 3 of SoC!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

a Circle Journal catch up - Free Art Friday - and more Lost Dogs

Phew - I've been busy recently, here's a little round up

First of all, two entries in the fabric circle journal I'm taking part in over at UKScrappers - there's only one more after this month, pity, I've really enjoyed it:

This one's theme was vintage fashion.  Not my usual kind of thing, but that's what I enjoy about circle journals, they sometimes push me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone!

I was originally going to use an image transfer technique for the focal image, but, well, this is how it turned out!  Oops!
So I painted her instead, and she turned out pretty cute.  In fact I think I would have left the piece like this if I was keeping it for myself....

...with no further embellishment than the frayed edges on the fabric.  But it wouldn't have been enough for the circle journal requirements, there needed to be at least a little bit of needlework in there, so I added some lace and ribbon and other frou frou in line with the theme :)

Next up, this month's theme was Wings, and I was torn between an angel, a death's head moth, or Icarus.  As you can see, Icky won out in the end:

Again a combination of a painting (acrylics) and embroidery on fabric, which I've done a few of now and I'm enjoying the combo.

This is also my entry for Summer of Color 2014, week one.  The colour palette we were given this week was aqua blue, and yellow, with a pop of hot pink.

Not sure if you can spot the hot pink, so here's a close up - it's the thread around the wings:

Now moving on to another circle journal - the Stay-At-Home CJ over at Collabor-ART ended this month - and sadly so did the site itself, I've decided to wind it down as it has gone deathly quiet there over the last year as we've all moved onto other creative endeavours.

I'll be sorry to see it go, but at least it bowed out with a really great project - the S@H CJ has really been a lot of fun!

Here's my final entry - the theme was cogs, wheels and rust:

It's a bit busy!  It looks better in real life really due to the metallic embossing powder behind the heart and the patina in it....  you'll just have to take my word for that :)

And here are all my pages together for the full 9 months of the project.... idea what I'm going to do with them now .... maybe I will donate some to....

Free Art Friday

how's that for a seamless link?

Because I have somehow found myself "volunteered" to organise Swindon's very own chapter of Free Art Friday ..... how did that happen???

All the details about our launch event and how things will shake out in the long term, are on the Facebook page : - please do check it out, I'm currently in crazy recruitment mode trying to persuade all my creative friends to join in :)

I've also been making lots of work myself to contribute to the big launch event - including 6 more "Lost Dogs":

And, for the kiddies to find, some stencilled My Little Ponies:

There's a ton more in the pipeline too, I'm hoping to contribute 20 or 30 more items to the cause - either for the Swindon drop itself or to swap with other artists and Free Art Friday I'll continue to be busy busy busy!!!

Wouldn't have it any other way, though :)

Thursday, May 08, 2014

the Lost Dogs are born.....

I really enjoyed making the postage stamp head Artist Trading Cards a week or so back – I fancy making a few more - but in the meantime I came across these two Polish cat head stamps which are a little too large for ATCs, and thought they might work better on small canvasses

So here you go – they are on 5” x 7” canvas board, the backgrounds are a combination of spraypaints and gelli-printed acrylics – and the cat bodies were painted with acrylics and edged with water soluble graphite

I think they work well together as a pair, but whether they stay together or end up in separate homes depends on how eagle-eyed the finder(s) are – as these two canvasses are being Free Art Friday’d next week :)   Happy hunting, Swindonites!

**edited a week later to add two more :

These two are currently on the wall at Gallery 87 in Bristol - the gallery owner has bagsied the cat :)  but the dog is waiting for someone to take a closer look at which point they will be gifted him, Free Art Friday stylee

I've come up with a name for these little critters, the Lost Dogs (and yes, I know so far 75% of them are cats :) )

You can follow their antics on their own Facebook page:

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Catch up time

Just a few bits to catch up on this month, first up, here is my entry for the April installment of the Stay At Home CJ .....

The theme this month was "art in my heart", and this was the background we had to work on:

I went for the broken hearted angle on the theme, as I wanted to play with my lovely purple Bombay ink to make those lush drips :)

You can see the full gallery with everyone's interpretations of the theme over at Collabor-ART

Something else I've been having fun with over the last couple of weeks is making "missing" juice boxes for Free Art Friday style drops.  

These two:

were the first couple I made.  I really need to work on neatening up my lettering!  And the whole concept would probably work better with milk cartons than juice cartons - but I don't drink milk :/    Other than that I think they work :)

These were dropped at the St. Athans Boys Village in South Wales:

I hope whoever found them enjoyed them!

(for those of you who are interested, there are lots more photos of this amazing place in this Facebook album from piccie #141 onwards)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

First ATCs I have made in an age

I forgot how little and fiddly they are :)

These are for a postage stamp based Artist Trading Card swap over at UKScrappers

I've really enjoyed making these, I only needed to do 5 for the swap but I can see myself carrying on and making more as they were a lot of fun

So if anyone fancies a direct trade for something similar, let me know!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Catch up time

I have really lost the knack for this whole blogging lark - as in I have no idea what to actually WRITE - but here are some pretty pictures of stuff wot I have been doing recently....

First of all, over there on the left, I'm pretty proud of this one.

It's a painting of Matthew the Raven (from the Sandman comics) - he took me months as he’s a big old fella (about 5 feet tall, see blurry pic of me below for scale) – and I thought I might never get him finished.  But I got there in the end – yay! - and I have proudly hung him at the top of the stairs.

Next up, a couple of circle journal pages:

This first one was for the Stay At Home CJ over on Collabor-Art – the theme was Mermaid Tales ….. you can see the whole gallery of everyone else’s entries here

And the second was for the Fabric CJ I’m a part of over at UKScrappers.  The theme, as you might have guessed, was cupcakes.  Very much not my usual style this one!  But I enjoyed the needle felting element, it’s always fun to get stabby!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Day of the Paintbrush

Well, it's a long long time since I last took part in a UKScrappers swap - but the challenge "take an old decorator's paint brush, stick a face on it, and decorate it Day of the Dead sugar skull style" was just too tempting to pass up!!

So here's an in progress pic:

(the skull was sculpted from air dry clay)

And here, after many hours doodling with my trusty Posca paint pens, is the end result:

This will go in the post this week, I hope his forever owner likes him and doesn't find him too creepy!