Thursday, November 9, 2017


The latest window dressing in the One Craft Gallery features bugs!  About 10 years ago I made them for an installation entitled 'Swarm'.  I collaborated with a fellow artist in the South West Textile Group.  It was for an exhibition at the Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust in Gloucestershire.  We hung loads of our insects - her's were a different, but similar design using wire and plastics as the main materials.  We hung them with fishing line from a grid attached to the ceiling.

My bugs were made from foam, polystyrene balls, pipe cleaners, straws, raffia, muslin, plastic and wire.  As they were languishing in my attic, I brought them out to use and sell! I did make quite a quantity, so I have packaged bugs which can be sold and not disturb our window design.  One sold to a young boy the day after the window was done.  He wanted to decorate his bedroom with a creepy bug!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


I find starting completely abstract work daunting, because, unlike realistic or work with a subject matter or theme, there are no references to guide you and it is all about you making decisions - the colours to use, the shapes and lines to create, what composition to aim for etc. I therefore find it helpful to have a starting point which provides some guidelines.

Looking through Seth Apter's book, The Mixed Media Artist, I found this tip from mixed media collage artist, Laura Lein-Svencner - "Using magazines, scissors and a glue stick, I like to give myself assignments in my collage sketchbook.  I start with ten pages torn out of a magazine and make five collages in thirty minutes.  I find that each time I do this, new compositional arrangements make themselves present, which I then use as sketches for larger works."

This tip interested me so I decided to have a go!  I managed four A5 samples - see above.  As I wanted to cover up all the white paper, it did take me 45 minutes...  I was pleased with the results but they did feel a bit busy, so I photocopied them and then cut them into smaller units - see below.

Two of the slightly more complicated samples were cut into smaller units - see the pictures below...

I feel that there is plenty of reference material here for me to create a series of abstracts. I may need to cut the samples up further.  There are pointers for composition, colour and even texture and mark making.  Once I start, things will change, as they always do, but there are some brilliant starting points...


Sunday, October 22, 2017


Here are the latest cards that I have produced in the studio.  Like the set before, my starting point was some colourful abstracts that I painted - see left.  
I cut these up and then looked at each individual piece to see what sort of imagery they suggested to me. I then collaged on shapes or letters, and added extra embellishment with marker pens.  Some of the shapes were made with punches.  I have quite a collection of punches in all sorts of shapes - from simple circles to flowers... 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


The above abstract papers were created by layering paints and doodles.  I started by priming three sheets of A5 paper with black gesso.  When I had finished messing around, I tore each in half and looked to see how they could inspire me to create some more cards...

Here are two such cards which were created by collaging images, letters and more doodling...

And here are four more which were cropped and mounted onto square cream card stock.  I added some colour to the black and white backgrounds using the collaged papers, gel pens and some paint.  I had no preconceived idea of what subject matter I would choose.  I looked at what the backgrounds suggested to me and looked around my studio for suitable images.  In some cases, such as the clock faces, keys and tree shapes, I photocopied objects that I have saved for assemblages!  I find the photocopier a very useful tool for creating collage papers...

Sunday, October 8, 2017


At last I am back in the studio! One way to get back into artwork again is to start small.  A couple of family events warranted some homemade cards, so I have made the two shown above using text as the main design element.

Stamps and collaged elements were used for each one.  The pink letters were cut out from fluorescent pink paper.  I have a box full of wooden letters which I played around with until satisfied with the design, and then I used them as templates.

It was good to get back to creating.  I find art calms the soul...

Thursday, September 14, 2017


The last few weeks I have been unable to do any artwork, due to family circumstances, so, to keep my hand in, I read the above books.

I bought 'Abstract Painting' by Jane Davies as I love her work.  Those of you have followed my blog know I have done several on-line courses tutored by her.  Visually it is stunning.  It is not a book for those who want advice on techniques and materials.  It makes you think and analyse your own abstract paintings and list what factors to consider when working in an abstract way.

If you want information on mixed media techniques and materials, 'Contemporary Landscapes' by Soraya French is the book for you.  It is full of wonderful colour and beautiful artworks.  It has given me inspiration for colour combinations to use when I get back to working on my own mixed media landscapes.

For those, who like me, are reluctant to do detailed sketches as preparation for your artwork, 'If you can Doodle you can Paint' by Diane Culhane, is a great book.  It is less intimidating than traditional sketching books. I found it very encouraging and has some useful exercises that I am going to practice as soon as I get back into my studio...


Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Many years ago I was producing cut-out wall plaques painted on MDF.  I discovered an old one in my mother's utility room, which had stencilled daffodils and a crackle finish. It was looking worse for wear, so I took it away and produced a vase of roses instead!

This time I used painted papers as well as acrylic paint.  All the rose heads were layers of cut paper with extra embellishment, using a white gel pen and a black marker.  The finishing touch was a splattering of gold paint and some protective clear varnish...