Friday, December 31, 2010

Teapot - Trace Monotype & monotype

Trace monotype with chine collé 18 x 24cm

Monotype 18 x 24 cm

Trace monotype is an excellent process for anyone who wants to try printmaking but doesn't have a press.

For the first print I pasted some pieces of different coloured paper on to my printmaking paper then I rolled oil based etching ink (your can use linoprint or other relief inks - water-based or oil) on to a piece of plexiglass of the size I wanted the finished print to be. I then laid my paper face down on the inked plexiglass plate and used a graphite pencil to sketch a still life from objects lying around in the print studio. I then peeled off the paper and there was my print on the back of my sketch. I love this method because the marks are so much more painterly than I can achieve drawing and my work is much looser because I don't get hung up on the drawing.

I was about to clean the ink off the plexiglass but I quite liked the ghost left on the plate by the pressure of the pencil through paper so I strengthened some of the marks by removing some ink with a brush or a cotton bud; sprayed a little mineral spirits for added texture and ran the plexiglass plate and a damp piece of paper through the etching press. Two prints for the price of one!

This blog has been rather neglected for the past months but I always appreciate your visits and comments. Thank you.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and all good things in 2011.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Handyman or Artist?

Living as we do in a little Italian medieval hilltop town where attacks by the walls of narrow streets are par for the course, one doesn't invest too much in a car. Our second-hand Mitsubishi Space Star was only meant to see out our planned two year extended holiday in Italy. Five and a half years later, Space Star isn't a pretty sight but a more loyal and reliable motor you couldn't find.

Space Star only came with one key, the rubber head of which was already perishing. Over the years it's been patched with Superglue but it finally lost its head entirely the other day.

HWEM loves a handyman challenge. My suggestion was a novelty eraser with a slit cut into it, into which could be inserted the wrong end of the key and a generous dab of Superglue. HWEM opted for the Hardware Shop Solution.

Do you think Tate Modern would be interested in acquiring the result? Or perhaps Mitsubishi would like it for their motor museum.

Anyway HWEM headed off a little while ago to take Space Star for a spin with her new key. He's just returned. She won't start. There is obviously a limit to what Space Star will tolerate.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Iris Watercolour

Irises 6x6" watercolour

This painting of irises is an exercise in working with the brush without benefit of a preliminary pencil sketch. I surprised myself and have built a little confidence for the future.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hoopoe & Feather in Gouache

Balance - Gouache & collage 29 x 29cm
This is the third in my series of gouache and collage.

Editor's Note: I've replaced the image to get rid of the grey colour cast.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cat and Gerberas gouache and collage.

Tippi & The Gerberas - 28 x 28 cm gouache & collage

Some of my favourite Sydney things. My model is Tippi, my daughter's much loved cat.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A few of my favourite things - gouache

Gouache & Collage 29 x 29cm

Ducks, feathers, eggs, lavender, butterflies and the Tuscan landscape are some of my favourite things. The hidden favourite is the inspiration of British artist, Mary Fedden.

The idea for this painting has been stewing ever since I was sitting admiring a host of butterflies around a lavender bush and along came a duck - chomp!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Monotype and a Blogger Visit

Con Sale 15 x 16cm monotype

It's been a busy week. Joan Tavolott Watercolours by Joan made a whirlwind visit from her holiday base in Venice. We walked in the hills and painted in town. Joan completed a beautiful postcard-size watercolour of a Castiglion Fiorentino alleyway. I didn't complete my painting of an old door - too busy talking! Next day I travelled as far as Florence with Joan in order to introduce her to my favourite art shop, Zecchi. Unfortunately they had closed for the August holidays. We compensated ourselves for the disappointment by buying Lamy Safari pens.

Joan also got a taste of printmaking while she was here. I found the monotype above where I left it drying weeks ago. It's a rare departure into the abstract for me.

Joan has been painting Venice at the rate of two pictures per day for the past month so her blog is a feast of little watercolour gems. Inspiring!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Sunflowers and A Winner!

Just back from a delightful couple of days with friends in Todi. Their house on the Umbrian hillside is surrounded by sunflowers. Something about sunflowers reminds me of people - happy people. These remind me of all the delightful people who support this blog with loyal and encouraging comments.

Today's the day I announce the winner of my Blog Birthday watercolour giveaway.

And the winner is........

Oh dear, I've mucked up the cut and paste of the number generator so please trust me when I say it was No.6 - and that means the winner is Dominique Eichi of Dancing Strokes. I'm about to send you an email requesting your snail mail address, Dominique and then I will send off your watercolour.

Thank you all so much for your greetings - and I'm so thankful it wasn't Dermott's number that came up!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog Birthday Watercolour Giveaway

Corso Italia, Castiglion Fiorentino 17 x 24cm

I was out bright and early this morning to make my contribution to today's Worldwide SketchCrawl. This is the main street in our little Tuscan hilltop town.

Actually I thought today was the 5th birthday of my blog but checking back I see there was a short experimental post on July 8, 2005. Anyway I thought I would celebrate five years of blogging by offering this little pen and watercolour sketch to someone who comments on my birthday post.

I was going to ask Dermott to draw the winner but he really can't be trusted so instead I will use a random number generator.

There have been a lot of blog birthday celebrations lately and it's not surprising that people do want to mark the event. I have made so many true friends and received so much support and encouragement from you all. This is my way of saying I'm truly grateful.

Your comment does not have to be fulsome in praise, just say you were here. Do comment before August 8. If your number comes up I will contact you for a postal address to mail off the painting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rice Paddy Watercolour

Watercolour 25 x 35cms

I've just bought myself a Winsor & Newton Tyne metal easel which is letting me stand to paint and hopefully get a bit of free shoulder movement into my work. I found inspiration for this watercolour in the travel section of an Australian newspaper. Unfortunately I can't find a credit for the photographer but hopefully they will understand this is just a 'student' exercise.

It's been a while since I managed to quickly paint something for the sheer pleasure of it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunflower Watercolour

watercolour 6" x 6"

The sunflowers in the garden continue to delight, mostly for the birds they are attracting. My watercolour effort feels strangely lifeless. I was happier with the quick sketches I made seeking the spirit of sunflowers.

Pen & crayon sketch

watercolour & pen

Friday, July 09, 2010

Goldfinch Watercolour Sketches

Goldfinchs - watercolour in cheap 15 x 21cm sketchbook

Sunflowers for art and birds

We seem to have more birds than ever visiting our Tuscan garden. I tried in vain to feed them during the winter but none showed interest in my plastic feeder of mixed seed. This spring HWEM planted some small sunflowers for me to paint and now they are going to seed I finally have birds feeding right outside my window. I am really excited about the beautiful goldfinches and am spending a considerable amount of time watching them through a tiny pair of binoculars that were a giveaway at the Stingers launch years ago.

My Nikon 18-55mm lens isn't any good for birds so when I do get a photo I still have to do a lot of guessing about colour and detail. I'm sketching the goldfinches from a combination of photo and life, hoping that I'll become so familiar with their form I will eventually be able to make quick sketches from life.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Nesting Pigeon Watercolour Sketch

Watercolour & Gouache pen sketch on grey paper

There are pigeons nesting opposite our living room window. It's causing me a great deal of anxiety because the foolish couple built their nest on top of lethal spikes placed on the window sill to discourage such nesting and resting. Now there is at least one squab in the nest, I saw a tiny head for a fraction of a second, and I'm terribly worried about how the babies are going to get across the spikes to learn to fly.

I know many of you don't like pigeons but as I've said before I have a soft spot for them, probably because they are the only birds that will sit still long enough for me to sketch them. Nobody around here wants to give them a home unless it's to fatten them to eat.

Not much of a photo but the best I can do without a bigger lens.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Montecchio Vesponi Castle watercolour

Watercolour 20cm x 20cm

This is my second attempt at this view of Montecchio as seen from the garden of a beautiful agriturismo in the Val de Chio. Doesn't seemt to matter how I approach it, it still looks like a greeting card. Oh well, I guess that is the price one pays for living in Postcard Land.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A few more sketches

There's not a lot going right with my larger watercolours and monotypes lately so I thought I'd post a few more sketches made on my walks.

Madonna del Bagno

Friday, May 14, 2010

Indian Woodblock

Indian woodblock - artist unknown

Embossed print on Fabriano paper

Black etching ink on Japanese Ho-Sho paper

My artist jeweller friend, Margaret Kirkwood, has recently returned from a wonderful trip to Rajasthan, India. I asked her if she would keep an eye out in the markets for an old Indian fabric woodblock. Bless her, she found this lovely peacock and it arrived today.

My plan is to try to incorporate the image into some of my own printmaking. Not sure exactly how yet but in the meantime I couldn't wait to print it. Thanks Margi!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Watercolour sketches

Moleskine watercolour sketchbook

The weather is still very changeable but there were real patches of sun this morning so I headed out to sketch a tiny detail of the valley we overlook from via Dante.

My local painting group is getting together again on Wednesday afternoons. This time everyone is trying watercolours rather than oils. I've been carrying around a photo from a trip to Venice. It's a beautiful old building full of decaying detail. With limited light and time, I restricted myself to sketching one of the doors.

Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Relief Print - African Birds

18cm x 15cm relief print

This print was inspired by a beautiful photograph of birds in Africa taken by a wonderful Italian photographer, Carlo Landucci who lives right here in Castiglion Fiorentino and does inspiring aid work for children in Africa.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Biro Sketch

The weather is very changeable at present but on the good days spring is gorgeous here in Tuscany. This apple orchard was buzzing with bees whose hives were planted among the trees.

Biro sketch from my morning walk.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A few sketches

A picnic lunch beside a little canal.

On a shopping trip for C&F's new table.

View from a restaurant overlooking Lake Trasimeno

April has been a wonderful month in that we've had a lot of friends staying in town. Not much painting got done but just to prove I'm still around, here are a few sketches I managed at different locations.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sketching Cats and Birds

Egyptian Goose I

Egyptian Goose II

Not following through on any art plans at present, just fooling around with whatever takes my fancy - today it was cats and birds.

The two geese are proof that practise doesn't always make perfect - I prefer the rough first sketch to the more considered second.

Doodling Cats

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Half a Cat Sketch

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and a restless model

I had such plans for February - then my back went. I saw out the month on a cocktail of drugs and am still afraid to sit still for too long. I hope to find my way back to painting soon, just as I hope some Spring weather will find its way back to Tuscany.

Many thanks to all of you who expressed concern at my disappearance. Look after you backs!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bantam Rooster

Gouache on Clairefontaine Papier Kraft 90gms

Pentel Brush Pen on watercolour spatter

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

This is the little bantam rooster who lived a short but happy life at my favourite olive farm.

My darling daughter bought me the brush pen for Christmas and of course, since Roz Stendahl inspired my passion for a brush pen, it's not surprising that my first inspiration was to draw fowl, which is something Roz does so brilliantly.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tuscan Landscape Gouache

Tuscan snow 13 x 12 cm
Gouache on Terraskin

For this gouache landscape I was drawn back to the samples of Terraskin paper Jeanette Jobson of Illustrated Life gave me to test. I really love this ground because while the gouache goes on looking very patchy it dries velvety smooth.

The inspiration for the painting was a photo I took on my morning walk after our first snow just before Christmas. Having joined Katherine Tyrrell's new project The Art of the Landscape I figured I had better get cracking and paint some landscapes, even if I'm finding the weather too miserable to get out and paint.

Happy New Year everybody. I've been very lazy over the festive season. I didn't even make any resolutions for 2010 except a promise to myself to FOCUS. It a challenge for me to stop dashing in all directions; trying every new craze; following every Pied Piper of the Palette and instead, to focus on a couple of main areas of artistic expression. Painting in gouache from a combination of life, photos and imagination is one area of focus, my printmaking is the other. Let's see if I can stay on track.
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