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Thursday 30 June 2011

Scanning in Bits and Bobs

It's amazing what you can do with stuff you have around the house to include in PE collages.  If I have a piece of fabric which I have dyed or painted which is really good, I scan it into my computer knowing that I may well use it in something else.

I use acetate sheets for monoprinting and the patterns that are left on the sheets are often better than the monoprint!  Here is one I did a while back:

Another fun thing I like to do is scan in scraps of fabric and then use it as a background:

Combine that with this picture of a zebra I took at a game reserve in South Africa:

And you have this:

I'm looking forward to the embroidery course I have just signed up for which is starting in a week's time - could do something great with this I reckon!

Tuesday 28 June 2011

I have the gadgets long before I need them

Do you buy craft stuff in an enthusiastic/inspired moment and never get round to using it?

I don't think there are many crafts out there that I couldn't start tomorrow what with everything I have in my cupboards!

Anyhow, I love hand embroidery but have done very little in the past and probably shy away from it because it not something I know alot about.  I know it would make a huge difference to my work and I am so inspired by other people who do it.  I bought Janet Edmond's book recently - From Print to Stitch and realised how you can spice up an ordinary piece of dyed fabric with a little bit of stitch witchery.

So I was walking in one of my favourite towns today, Guildford, and popped into the local needlework shop.  There was a fantastic embroidery stand there - a real beauty and it took all my willpower to walk out of the shop without it under my arm.  It wasn't cheap but it was the best!  But come on, Ann, you haven't even started embroidery yet!

Sigh.  It did mean that when I got home I was inspired to see if there were any online courses coming up and lo and behold there is...hmmm maybe I'll buy that stand after all.

I also found a brilliant website for learning stitches.  Check out Mary Corbet's site.

Sunday 26 June 2011


I am lucky I am very much an ideas person.  I have millions of ideas milling around my head and mostly get them down on paper but not always.  The problem arises with the execution of the ideas.

As a person with no formal art training, I find composition quite difficult.  Is this true with many of you out there?

Also, as a person who has spent most of her life honing technical skills, my work is often too ordered.  I would love to be less restrained but easier said than done.  So today I wrestled with putting a collage together.  Too much, too little.  I don't know I am my own worst critic.

Butterfly Collage

Wednesday 15 June 2011

From Techie to Artist

In my short life as an 'artist' (I'm not sure when one is entitled to call oneself an artist!), I have realised that even if the work one does is mostly computer based, much of the best work I have seen starts off as a drawing or painting which was scanned in and manipulated.  It seems to make it more arty.

So, I decided that it was important to learn how to draw and that painting would help me to learn how to mix and combine colours.  My first foray into watercolours was in March this year when I did an online course.  I think these online courses are a great start for a beginner.  I felt as if I was chucked straight into the deep end but actually it forced me out of my comfort zone and it forced me to produce work constantly for 6 weeks.  I learnt alot not just from having to do it myself but also from looking at what everybody else had done which was inspirational.

I discovered recently that a well-known watercolour artist, Jill Bays, lives just 15 minutes away from me and gives watercolour classes twice a week.  Unfortunately her classes clash with my golf days but I am able to go now and then and I find the classes restful and meditative.

I still can't get myself to put down enough paint and she is constantly saying to me 'more colour, darker, Ann, darker'.  What is wonderful is that she does the same painting as we do and when I am half way through, I am pretty pleased with what I have done and then go over to see what she has done and realise how it REALLY should be done (sigh)!

So here is today's attempt.  It is not finished yet - still got the background and shadows to do.  Will I finish it?  Actually I quite like the unfinished look.

Monday 13 June 2011

Linocuts in Photoshop

I went on a 2 day beginners course earlier this year on creating linocuts.  I think this sort of printing is just beautiful.  My favourite artists are Angie Lewin, Robert Gillmor (amazing), Pam Grimmond, Thelma Sykes and Andrew Haslen.

Also, some of my favourite fabric artists use linocuts. Yet another area that I would love to get into - there just isn't enough hours in a day!

Anyhow, as a challenge I thought I would manipulate a picture to look like a linocut.  Here is the original pic taken by my husband:

Here is my linocut impression:

Next time I hope to do the real thing!

Friday 10 June 2011


There are so many wonderful art packages out there.  I have decided to stick mainly with Photoshop Elements because otherwise I wouldn't get anything else done!  However, I sometimes play around with ArtRage and I would love to know Corel Painter better than I do.

ArtRage has this wonderful tool which enables you to 'trace' over a drawing with watercolours and it picks up the same colours as the original drawing.  Here is the original frog which my husband took in Costa Rica which I 'cut' out with Photoshop and then took into ArtRage where I used this tool.

Here is a snail I did: