Sunday, 29 June 2008


There's not much new to report here. I've struggled for this past week to come up with anything for the Found Art theme of "Collection" which doesn't involve spending money. I haven't given up on it though.

Also I have been working on another triptych on and off this week, and hopefully that will be finished today, ready for me to post tomorrow.

But what I had most fun with this week was painting these little faces and this ice-cream that I made using the left over plaster from the Footprints piece!

Don't ask me why, but my husband thinks these faces are absolutely amazing! I painted them grey on his request - cheerful soul isn't he?

I hope to find a magnet from somewhere to glue onto the back of this ice-cream. Pity I didn't think of giving it a flake too!

I had about half a bucket of plaster left over the night I made the Footprints piece. I could have made loads of these little pieces, but my fingers were becoming too wrinkly and sore!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Useful Experience

I collected my competition piece on Thursday afternoon. As I got there so early I was able to have a sneaky peek at the works of the other unsuccessful entrants, and some of them were absolutely amazing! The lady who organised the competition was there and she explained to me that not only were there more entrants than usual, but this particular year they had less space to use than usual, meaning they had room for about 20 fewer pieces than they would normally have. After seeing some of the other pieces that were rejected, I wouldn't have expected my piece to be accepted even if they did have room for another 20 pieces! But that's ok. Hey, I've only been painting since January, and I recognised some of the pieces as being works of those who I know have been painting for many years, and work professionally, painting book illustrations for example. I wouldn't say "How can I compete with that?" as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it's very early days for me yet, and I was in good company with those that had been rejected!

Also, I rushed to put my piece together in one week, and if I'm truthful I still wasn't entirely happy with it when I entered it. At least now that it's home again I can touch it up at my leisure. What an experience it was though! Working on Footprints at that pace was exhausting, but so exciting!

Of course, all this means that come the 3rd of July the theatre should be holding an exceptional exhibition of amazing works by artists from across the county - Anita being one of them! Yay! Congratulations Anita! I shall try to get some photographs of the best pieces.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Double Found Art Tuesday and Competition News

Well, today is supposed to be the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, and yet the weather is as dreary as a typical British Bank Holiday Monday! Do we care? No, because we have our own sunshine!

This is the piece for Rosa's Found Art theme of Sun last week. I've painted it both sides using kiddies paint and PVA glue. I'm not sure why I added glue; I just thought it would make the paint more durable. On the other side I have written "I got sunshine on a cloudy day" and drawn a little sun above it and a couple of sun flowers below it, but I can't seem to get a good picture of it. I cut it out of the board that was the backing for the frame I used in my competition piece. I'm not sure what the backing is called. It's quite thick and stiff, but it's not really hardboard because it's not made of wood. It's like high density card. Anyway, I shall leave a message with it for the person to put it in their window for all year round sun! Who knows, one day I might be walking down the street and see it in someones window! How cool would that be? Talking of walking...

The theme for the previous week was Walk. Again, I cut this out of the frame backing. This is one piece of card painted both sides.

And now for the competition news. I received my letter today and my piece hasn't been accepted for the exhibition. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Of course I feel disappointed. Rejected? A little. But I don't want this to sap my confidence in the same way that the Art College rejection did. I shall continue - undaunted. (After I've drowned my sorrows in hot chocolate at Costa Coffee that is!) I'm already planning my next large 3D piece.

Sun measures approx. 35cm or 14 inches diameter. Walk measures just over 18cm x 18cm or 7 inches.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Open Art Competition - Finished and Framed

It's finally done! Hallelujah for the hot sunny day we have had today, which was essential for drying out my sand, not to mention the piece itself.

The sand drying process

The finished piece, framed and ready to go

What a week that has been! Tomorrow I take my piece to the gallery at the local theatre. The best pieces will be exhibited there until the end of July, but if my submission has not been chosen then I should hear by post by the 26th June. The winners will be announced at the preview on 2nd July, but I just hope I am lucky enough to have my piece exhibited.

My artists statement about this piece reads as follows:

"This piece reflects many issues. That of littering our beautiful country, and also deeper issues such as recycling, and calculating our carbon footprints. Also, on a religious level, do we expect God to carry us (as in "Footprints in the Sand" by Mary Stevenson) even though we pollute his planet? And do we find that he does carry us, despite this fact?"

Open Art Competition WIP - Potential Disaster Two and Three

Yesterday I managed to over come the potential disaster of the plaster crumbling away around the crisp packet by applying a thick layer of PVA glue. Today, with 24 hours to go before submission, I am unbelievably behind schedule. That's my own fault...

Yesterday I glued a layer of sand to the surface of the piece and it was looking really good. Then for some completely bizarre, stupid, unknown reason to myself, I thought it would look better with a second layer of sand. This created two problems. Firstly, as I dug into my pile of sand it was damp underneath, so it stuck on in clumps and looked hideous. Secondly, it still wasn't drying by this afternoon. There was only one thing for it - I had to scrape all the sand off to start again. I did this with a useful tool known as my thumb nail.

Once the sand was off I noticed potential disaster number three. The wood has warped slightly and the plaster is cracking.

With the warm sunshine and gentle breeze that we have today, I am hoping that my new layer of sand will dry thoroughly before tomorrow, and as long as the plaster doesn't come away from the wood maybe the sand will hide the little cracks.

Tomorrow, I will either have a competition piece to submit or I won't. Due to the wood warping, I still don't know if the piece will even fit into the frame, which is potential disaster number four.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Open Art Competition WIP Update

Yesterday was another creatively busy day for me, although I managed to make time for a nap and to meet Anita for my regular fix of Costa Coffee hot chocolate! In the morning I primed my Footprints piece with gesso. As you can see, I decided to coat all of it and not just the sea area.

It took quite a while to dry, so it was quite late in the evening when I painted it.

You might have noticed there is a little white area around the crisp packet corner. This is a potential disaster area. The plaster is quite thin over the top of the crisp packet, and it's been threatening to crumble away (there isn't a whole packet under there by the way, just a corner, to give the impression that the rest of it is buried). I have applied a thick layer of PVA glue and I am hoping that when it eventually dries it will hold it in place. So I wait, with bated breath.

Next step (I hope) - apply the sand!

Thursday, 12 June 2008


Yesterday was an incredibly creative day for me. As exhausted as I was after mixing all that plaster and applying it to the wood, I had the urge to do some drawing last night too.

This is Seaneen. Isn't she beautiful? I love her little face and big eyes.

Ok, so maybe my first portrait wasn't a fluke? But I still only have the confidence to draw them in my little sketch book. Looking at my drawing now, I can see things that I should have done differently, but every new piece is part of a learning process and I'm sure/I hope I'll improve with practice. I think what I need to work on next is hair - I'm so lazy when it comes to the hair!

Back to the Footprints piece tonight. I shall prime the sea area with gesso and decide what to do about the sand area.

Edit, Friday morning: Well I didn't do my gesso-ing last night; I was too exhausted. But I decided to give Seaneen some shoulders instead of leaving her head floating around on the page!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Open Art Competition WIP

Remember this piece?

At the time of posting it I explained that it was a prototype for a larger version on wood, and that I wouldn’t start it until the following week because I was waiting for materials. Well that was over two months ago! The larger version is supposed to be my entry into the Open Arts Competition run by the local council for our area. Seeing as the entry date is this coming Monday I decided to pull my finger out and get started on it!

I got the piece of wood out on Monday evening, ready to make a start, only I noticed it didn’t quite look “right”. I got the tape measure out, and sure enough the piece of wood was wider at one end! This is a problem because I wanted to get the piece framed, and I don’t know anywhere that makes wonky ones! The other problem I had is that I was running out of time and I wasn’t sure if the framers could frame it before next Monday.


I decided to buy a ready made frame and then buy a piece of wood to fit that! You can imagine my delight when I went into the shop and stumbled across a frame with broken glass in it! Seeing as I didn’t need the glass I thought I would try my luck at getting a discount – and I got it for half price!

Next step was getting a piece of wood to fit, so I took the board out of the back of the frame and took it to a timber yard to get a piece to match. I got home and tried it in the frame… success! So far so good!

I primed the wood this afternoon with PVA glue, and this evening I have mixed and applied the plaster (remembering to leave a gap at the edge so that the wood will still fit into the frame), and moulded the contours. I have made an incredible amount of mess but I have had so much fun!

Now I wait ‘til tomorrow for it to dry. I’m undecided whether to prime the plaster with gesso and then paint it a sandy colour before gluing on the sand (in case some of it comes off in time), or whether to just glue the sand straight onto the plaster. You will no doubt find out tomorrow!

This is how it looks so far:

It measures 50cm x 75cm - or 19.5 inches x 29.5) I now wish that I had put the footprints at a slightly different angle so that I could fit more on! (They look like weird footprints - but they're mine!) The rubbish in the sand is the "modern twist" that I had mentioned previously. Both the Coke can and the corner of the crisp packet sticking out of the sand have a logo on them of a person putting rubbish in a bin. The other piece of rubbish sticking out is a polystyrene box.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Found Art Tuesday

Ok, I realise that this is an incredibly lazy piece of found art, but please don't be too hard on me - I've been feeling poorly and I've had a very busy day! (I drew this yesterday, so my busy day has nothing to do with it, I just want some sympathy!)

This was for the "Forget" theme a couple of weeks ago. I knew instantly what I was going to draw, I just hadn't got round to doing it. How did I come up with this idea so quickly? Because it has actually happened to me! Thankfully I hadn't shut my front door behind me before I realised that my legs were a bit chilly, because I didn't have a key to get back in!

By the way, that's "Tuesday" written on her pants!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008


I’m having a slightly paranoid moment, so please bear with me with this post.

In my post about my first life drawing class I said that I have never been able to draw faces, and this is true. When I wracked my brain I remembered that I had drawn a few faces previously, but these were very quick sketches drawn in crayon or chalk, and it was so many years ago that I had completely forgotten about them. But I’ve never been able to draw faces in pencil. This is why I chose to draw my first portrait in my little sketch book, rather than a larger, separate piece of paper, because I didn't expect it to be any good.

It’s not unusual for me to feel excited about a completed piece of my own art, especially when I feel I have accomplished something new that I didn’t know I could do. Often this feeling wears off later when my eyes are opened and I realise it’s not actually that fantastic. So when I completed my first portrait, although I was very pleased with the outcome, I wasn’t sure if it was really any good or not. This is why I asked if anyone could recognise the person.

In the mean time I have shown the picture to a few people who have recognised the person straight away. This has left me worrying that people who read this blog may conclude that my statements such as “I can’t draw faces” and “can you tell who it is?” are displays of false modesty. Let me assure you, as pleased as I was with the outcome of my portrait, I am genuinely shocked that it is good enough for people to recognise who it is.

Now I’m too scared to do another drawing in case it’s not as good!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Practicing Faces – Guess Who?

Last week I spent my time meeting up with a couple of friends who would usually be at work, so I spent no time being creative at all. I have, however, been studying pictures of faces as that is something I need to work on, and a couple of days ago I bought myself a set of pencils, ready for my next life drawing class. Last night I decided to have a little go at drawing a face – can you see who it is?

(My husband told me "That's really good, I could see straight away who it is - it's Popeye isn't it?" !)

Actually, I've just realised this is my first proper drawing of a face, ever - I've just impressed myself! :)

Drawn with my shiny new 6B sketch stick, in my pretty little sketch book!