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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Holiday Journal No.6

This is my last journal entry.  Some of my favourite scenes of Plettenberg Bay made to look like a pencil sketch.

Time to get back to the reality of winter in England!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Holiday Journal No.5

My next stop was Plettenberg Bay which is one of my most favourite places in the whole world.  We stay in a golf complex called Goose Valley and fall out of bed and onto the golf course.  It has beautiful beaches and some special places to eat, such as the Look-out Restaurant which is a casual restaurant right on the water with excellent food and service.  Then there's Emily Moon which has the most stunning vista and decor and even though the food can be quite average I just think it's worth it for the atmosphere.

There is absolutely loads to see around Plett and two of my favourite places to go to are Monkeyland and the Birds of Eden.  I never tire of going to them.  Monkeyland is a sanctuary for monkeys who have been pets and are reintroduced into the wild and Birds of Eden is the largest free flight aviary in the world being a two hectare dome which again houses birds which have been brought up in captivity.  In Monkeyland you can only tour around the sanctuary with a guide to protect the monkeys and each guide has wonderful and interesting stories about the monkeys that are there.  Birds of Eden is situated in a gorge of indigenous forest and has wonderful canopy walkways.

So for my next collages it had to be the monkeys and the birds:

  For the bird picture I have tried to choose birds of South Africa with the exception of the Hartlaub Turaco which comes from north-east Africa.  The picture includes the Knysna Turaco (left-top: indigenous to this area), the Grey Crowned Crane, the Spotted Thick-knee, Hartlaub's Turaco and in the middle the Cape Glossy Starling.  The three highlighted birds are the one's we have seen in the wild as well during our holiday.  Being a golfer and a lover of birds is a marriage made in heaven.  Golf courses are wonderful habitats for birds and the birds become use to the sight of people and are less timid.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Holiday Journal No.4

As an avid golfer, there has to be a picture somewhere in my holiday that depicts golf and one of the most spectacular courses that we played was Pinnacle Point.  Here is a picture looking back at the clubhouse with me, my hubby and brother-in-law.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Holiday Journal No.3

My holiday is over and I did not get as many journals done while I was away as I had hoped but now I am catching up and here is my next one:

Next on my travels was Stellenbosch and Paarl which are the heart of the South African winelands.  Many of the wine farms, as well as having wine tasting, have lovely restaurants and eating areas.  La Motte is no exception but they also have an art gallery/museum, a farm shop and a hiking trail!  One of the exhibitions on show when I was there were modern tapestries by a French artist called Jean Lucat (1892-1966).  Wow, I thought they were amazing.  We had a fabulous meal at the restaurant, Pierneef, which is named after the South African artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef.  The museum contains many of his art pieces (drawings, paintings and linocuts) which mainly depict South African scenery and architecture.  I was really inspired by his drawings which are often white drawings on a brown background.

Here are two of the tapestries by Jean Lucat which I absolutely love:

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Holiday Journal No.2

Here is our next stop, a little boutique hotel called Camps Bay Retreat.  The hotel has 3 resident dogs – Wanda is the spaniel in the collage.  You walk down through the gardens and down a little path onto the wonderful Camps Bay beach in Cape Town.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Holiday Journal No. 1

I’m on holiday at the moment in South Africa and decided that as I go along I’m going to make a collage journal of the places I have been to.  My first stop is my sister who is a naturopath.   Three of the things she loves are flowers, buddhas and cats.  Also, photographs around the house are put into beautiful frames so I went around the house taking pictures and this first collage represents my view of her and her house:

Friday, 11 November 2011

Picture Collage

I have been giving a two day beginner course this week and it's really exciting to see the wonderful stuff my students have produced.

This has spurred me on to practise my vintage collage techniques which is an area I want to improve.  Here is my latest attempt:

Friday, 4 November 2011

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

The theme for this week's Photo Friday Art was to get out of one's comfort zone and try a technique that you have been wanting to try for sometime.

I have a wide screen design Trust Pen Tablet and I seldom use it although I know that it would give me so many more opportunities if I did, so I decided to use it to do this week's art photo.  I wanted to somehow use the tracing and sketching possibilities of the tablet to give a photo a painterly effect.

Here is the result.  It reminds me of an old dark oil painting:

Here is the original cropped picture:

Here are the pieces of the picture that I traced and filled in using my pen tablet.  The blue lines were on a separate transparent layer and once I had drawn them I used the smudge tool to make them softer:

This is the background layer.  I changed the hue and applied a cut-out filter:

I blended two layers of the drawn lily on top of the background layer and added a free texture by Shadowhouse Creations (man, I love his stuff!):


I used another of Jerry's textures to create these two alternatives:

Hmmm, not sure which one I like best.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Picture for Photo Art Friday

I'm feeling a bit miserable today because I have a cold so thought I would submit a picture to Photo Art Friday before going back to bed...

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Making Jewellery with Polymer Clay

I'm still busy with my online jewellery course and I have some pink beads that I wanted to use but no focal bead to use with them so I got out the old polymer clay to see if I could make something suitable.  I liked the hearts and beads that I made but they didn't really suit the beads I had - or maybe I'm too fussy.  I find it hard to put together the right beads to make a necklace look stunning.  Maybe I will just make a plain necklace with my pink beads with a couple of silver beads and findings around them.  Here are the polymer clay hearts I made:

Friday, 14 October 2011

A Busy Week

I've been enjoying giving a training course this week but I do find it difficult to find time to fit in anything else and I am looking forward to spending some time this weekend doing something crafty.

I had a very distressing moment yesterday morning when I was taking my husband to the station.  It was 6.30am and still dark and I was concentrating on the road I was driving along which is flanked both sides by forest.  The next minute a small deer leapt out in front of the car.  It was that quick I hadn't even braked by the time it hit the bumper.  My husband said that he saw the deer standing just a little back from the road a split second before it jumped:  it must have been spooked by the car.  I killed it instantly.  I still have this image in my mind of this beautiful creature leaping into the headlights.  It was good that I was giving a course because it didn't give me time to mull it over.  Of course the whole bumper was taken out but I was lucky that it was quite localised.  I haven't seen deer in this part of the forest before because it isn't very dense but maybe they frequent this area at night.

So when the course was finished today I just felt like doing something calming and relaxing.  Here are the some pictures I manipulated before going off to pick my husband up from the station in his car...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday at the Show

It was back to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (affectionately known as Ally Pally) in North London where I did a quick workshop with Bobby Britnell.  I suppose I already knew most of the mixed media techniques she taught us but it was still fun.

Looking around the exhibitions a young designer whose work I thought was quite delightful was Alice Wolfe.  She totally modernises machine knitting and her latest project is this wonderful collection of birds:

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Knitting and Stitching Show

I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show on Friday and I'm going again tomorrow to attend a workshop by Bobby Britnell which I am really looking forward to.

There were some really interesting texile artists showing their work.  Unfortunately many of them don't permit photography so I couldn't show it here.  However, one artist that I really liked was Barbara Jepson.  Her pictures are so well designed, bright but natural.  She reminds me of the fabric version of Angie Lewin, a printmaker.  She does a batik background and then appliques the flowers on top.  Just lovely.

Here are two of her appliqued pictures:

Monday, 3 October 2011

Doing an Online Jewellery Course

Is it really almost a whole week since I posted last?!  I am giving quite a few courses this month and needed to refresh some of the content.  And yet what have I done, signed up for yet ANOTHER online course in ANOTHER craft.  All those people who say that they wouldn't know what to do if they gave up work - I would have no problem!  I would just create stuff all day.

SO, I have signed up for a jewellery course given by Deryn Mentock called The Build Zone:

I love different, striking or vintage type jewellery and so looking foward to putting something special together.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Having Fun...

Took one of the backgrounds I created in Sketchpad and added a layer from my Royal Holloway visit and some adjustment layers in Photoshop Elements:

Creative Internet Sites: 4

So this next site is not a painting tool BUT it is a valuable tool for an artist.  The Color Scheme Designer is a great tool if you are looking for colour combinations.

At the top left you have the different kinds of colour harmonies that you can choose from - I have chosen Complementary on the example above.  At the bottom you can select different hues and values/saturation (Adjust Scheme).  You can then see the list of colours that it produces (Color List).  You can enter your own value by changing the RGB value just above the Color List. 

So I took the caramel colour that I used with the flowers in my previous blog and was interested to see that I had pretty much used it's complementary colour without actually realising (the blue):

Most of the people who use this site, do so to pick colour schemes for web sites and if you select Light Page Example or Dark Page Example which is an option at the bottom right, you can see what your web site might look like.  However, I think it's a great tool if you are doing collages to get good colour combinations.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Creative Internet Sites: 3

Sketchpad is a great little online drawing tool which gives you a lot of stuff that you can't find in other tools like this.

It does take a little time to work out and I couldn't find any help but if you persevere you can learn a lot by just experimenting.

Here are some examples to get you a bit interested:
Let me go through the parts which I think are an added bonus and to get you started.

Here is the interface:

The menu on the top right hand side contains the equivalent of Photoshops panels.  So if you click the History option it will show you the History panel.  The Swatch panel enables you to switch between solid colour, gradients and patterns (great fun!).

So let's start by changing the background.  Make sure the colour panel is open and select a colour.  If you want white, drag the first 2 options and the last option to the right and all the rest to the left as shown above.  Now select the bucket tool which is the tool that looks like a bucket!  Click anywhere on the painting area and it will turn the page to white.

Now let's have some fun.  Follow the steps below to create a patterned butterfly:
  1. Open the Pattern panel so you can see what pattern is selected.
  2. Go to the Swatch panel, click on patterns and then select a pattern.  There is also different pattern 'sheets'.  I have selected the Dinpattern sheet:
  3. Now go to the Tools panel and select the Stamp Tool which is the 4th tool down on the right.
  4. Select the butterfly sheet from the options panel and select a butterfly.
  5. Now click on the page and it will create a butterfly in the pattern you have selected.  Each time you click a new butterfly is added.  If you just want one size butterfly go to the diameter option on the option panel and drag the min and max together at the size you want.
  6. To save your picture, click the icon on the top right that looks like a disc.  It will bring up a new tab or window.  Right click the picture and select Save Image As..  Then save it to a location on your computer.
Happy Playing!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Creative Internet Sites: 2

My next site is Scribbler Too.  I find that if I have something in mind when I go to these sites then I can often produce an interest drawing.  Yes, start scribbling to practise (and something might and often happens) but if you find that it is just a mess try and think of a structured doodle.

I decided with my drawing that I wanted to produce a rectangular box to save as a pattern and once I started I did pretty much improvise as I went along.  I set the background to black and the foreground to white with a bit of colour here and there.

This is the result:

I then created a pattern from it (look here for how to do this) and this is the result:

I blended a colour layer with it:

But when I added a pattern tile I photographed at a church, I was really chuffed:

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Creative Internet Sites: 1

Did you know that there are quite a few wonderful internet sites which enable you to draw and paint and create?

This week I am going to go through some sites that I use to add to my collages and pictures.  The first site I have chosen is Wordle.  This is a fun site which rearranges words and creates a collage of words.  You can change the fonts, colours and layout.  By clicking the randomise button you can just try a random mix.

The first thing you do is go to Wordle and add the words you want to use.  I took one of my holiday pictures and decided to make a scrapbook page.

Here is the Wordle screen.  If you repeat a word a number of times, this word becomes more prominent in the grouping so here I have added holiday 3 times and relax twice:

Now click Go and see how it arranges the text for you and each time you press Randomise it will give you a different arrangement.  Here are some of mine:

Now getting the arrangement into Photoshop Elements is a little tricky because there is no way of saving the result.

So here are the steps for getting it into PE (I am afraid this is for the PC - search online to see the process for getting a screen print on the MAC):
  1. Make sure the internet page you are viewing is the one you want to copy and is maximised.
  2. At the top of your keyboard there is a key called Prt Scr.  Press this key.  It makes a screen print.
  3. Now open Photoshop Elements and select from the menu File>New>Image from Clipboard.
  4. Crop the image to just the words by selecting from the menu Image>Crop and then resize the box to include only the text.
  5. Voila, you can now save this.

These are the picture files I used to make my scrapbook page.  Instead of a flower I could have used cut out pictures of me and my husband:
Here are some sample pages I created with this:

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Something from Nothing..

One of the things I do on my course is to show people how easy it is to make amazing patterns with very little.  Here is an example.  The original files:

The results: