Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life Drawing

I've always wanted to be able to draw people but have always been pants at it when I've tried, give me an inanimate object and I'm well away, but a person? Eeeek, run off and hide! LOL However last week I went along to a life drawing class at the studio of my artist friend, Richard Savage. I decided to use charcoal as I'm much more comfortable with it than pencil and didn't fancy using pen as I wanted to work BIG! So, here are my first three drawings:

This was my first drawing and my favourite of the week! The hands and feet aren't brilliant and I couldn't tackle the face but otherwise I was thrilled with my first effort!

I usually have problems with foreshortening so I was pleased with this apart from the shot putter shoulders I seem to have given her!

Didn't get the leg shape right here and her neck seems to have disappeared!
Encouraged by this first session I went again on Monday and this week we had a nude model which I found rather more difficult but am still pleased with the results:

My first effort at a nude....the hands and feet aren't right and I much preferred it before I added the head and hair but even so I was pleased with the result.

Found this pose really challenging! The hands aren't right again, I didn't capture her position very well and then topped it with an ET head! LOL

This is my favourite of the evening! The model was talking about how your hand is the same size as your face and how alot of artists draw hands and feet too small. Once I made the foot bigger it did look better.

What do you think of them?

Overall I'm loving this new venture and plan to keep at it! ;o) I'm very pleasantly surprised at the drawings I've made so far and really wish the sessions were longer as by the time we reach the end of the two hours I'm getting in the groove and ready to motor on! I think I need to focus on hands, feet and faces at some point but for the moment I'm happy just trying to capture the human body in all it's beautiful glory. ;o)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Washed Up Sneak Preview!

My work made from the stuff I collected on the beach while on holiday in the summer has been photographed by Rob and I can now share a few little snippets of it with you. ;o) I also owe Rob for the title - Washed Up! -as that was his idea too! ;o)

So, here we go with some little teasers:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

V & A Sketches

On a trip to London yesterday I managed to grab an hour at the V & A Museum and headed to the jewellery galleries for some bling inspiration! ;o) I bought a Hand Book Artist Journal in the summer and thought it was time I christened it so I thought I'd share a couple of my first scribbles in it with you.

I loved this beautiful chatelaine. It's cut steel and made in the 1850s. You can see it in all it's glory here. I love the idea of creating a modern day chatelaine!

There were several Papal rings on display and they were HUGE! Bling isn't a recent invention!! This one was really chunky, gilded bronze with a milky greeny coloured stone. I get comments galore on the ring I made with the circuitboard from a low energy lightbulb (see this post for a reminder) and, inspired by these Papal beauties, I'd love to go chunkier with some new rings!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beach Collection

Following on from my previous post I can now tell you all that this afternoon I hit my target of making 20 pieces of artwork from the collection of beach detritus I found on holiday. ;o) The pieces are off being photographed by the lovely Rob but I'll be able to give you a sneak preview later this week. All the pieces are raw and simple, hopefully allowing the materials to speak for themselves with just a few added words on each by way of a comment on my perception of what we are doing to our oceans.

In the meantime, check out these topical links:

World Beach Project What a great idea! Art everyone can join in with! ;o) In association with the V & A Museum, artist Sue lawty's project is all about making stone patterns on shorelines around the world and sharing the photos online.

Fran Crowe I really admire Fran's work, her 46,000 Challenge is fantastic. Fran spoke at a workshop I attended earlier this year and I found her really inspirational.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Found Art

As part of the Open Studio event at the end of the month I've decided to create some work using all the detritus I picked up on the beach while we were on holiday in Scotland over the summer. Here's my materials:

There's a host of things from sea worn glass to driftwood and bottle caps to fishing line. This was just selective collecting as well, it's a fraction of the garbage to be found on our coastline. You can also see, in the photo, the two big oil cans that Kari procured for me from the local Chinese takeaway while we were there ordering dinner!

I will use other materials but I'm aiming to use as much of the beach finds as I possibly can in the artwork I create. This evening I made an assemblage piece using the paintbrush which you can see just to the left of the oil cans in the photo. It's quite a simple piece, I feel alot of the work may well be. I have conflicting emotions over the use of these materials, some of the objects have a raw beauty which I want to enhance and celebrate but at the same time I feel so sad that my tiny collection is representative of the terrible way we treat the world's oceans.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Beach Inspiration

This afternoon we went to the coast for a bracing walk along the beach! The tide was coming in and around a little spit of sand there was lots of foam forming gorgeous patterns:

The patterns were constantly changing and the light on the foam brought the ripples alive, I could have stood and watched for hours!

Art Every Day Month

A few days ago I signed up for the Art Every Day Month Challenge. As I race towards the FenVAC Open Studios event at the end of the month I have to try and maximise my studio time to enable me to make enough work to exhibit and I'm hoping AEDM will give me some extra inspiration. Although I haven't been posting about my work this week I have been hard at it! I've been working on clearing some outstanding altered book art commitments. This is a spread I worked in the Alphabetica book of my pal, Claire. I, of course, chose to work Z for zebra! ;o)

From here on in I intend to post about what I'm doing on a daily basis so beware! LOL

Friday, November 07, 2008

I have returned!

After something of a gap I'm back to blogging! ;o)

Over the next few days I'll be tinkering with my blog, updating it's look and adding bits and bobs so bear with me if it looks like a building site at any point!

So, what's new I hear you cry? Since I last posted I've been involved with organising a FenVAC exhibition in mid October. We combined forces with another local art group to put on an exhibition of apple and orchard themed artwork as part of the Wisbech Apple Festival celebrations. We spent some time at a local heritage orchard to glean some inspiration and I was rather taken with the rotting apples that had fallen on top of a little rusting shed in the corner of the orchard:

I used a close up of one of the lovely rotting apples as the basis for one of the pieces I made for the the exhibition:

The base is a book that I carved a niche through and then added the photo to. I used acrylic paint and spray ink on the book to make it speckly. I hammered the title into piece of old wooden ruler and attached it with copper nails. The gorgeous green drawer knob was found loitering at the local junk stall and liberated! ;oD

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Individuality Reclaimed Exhibition

So, after all the studio time, preparations, stress and tears my exhibition finally came together and opened on Tuesday! ;oD

My photographer friend, Rob, came along to the opening bash to take some photos for me so I can relive the evening with you right here! LOL

My very first exhibition! The glass display cases hold 24 pieces of jewellery each. The display stands work really well. Standing in front of each case there is only one piece of jewellery that can't be seen without bending (bottom shelf, back stand) so I was really pleased about that. The boards on the racking were made from mountboard with a woven fabric. They're emulsioned and then grunged up a bit! they were too clinical and clean before that! LOL

Close up of one of the shelves. The display stands are cut down plastic drainpipe and the tops are made from the same mountboard as the display boards. The mounts were hot glued onto the drainpipes. Some pieces needed slots cutting in the mounts and all the pendant displays has a hole drilled in the back of the drainpipe so the chain or cord could be tucked neatly away.

Eleanor and me being silly!


More guests!

Yet more guests!

From the outside looking in!

My thank you gifts, wrapped in French financial newspaper, tied with string and with a hand written tag on each.

I felt it was essential that I was wearing my own jewellery for the exhibition so I made myself this coiled zip pendant and the ring below on the day of the opening!

The moment my husband gave me this circuit board from an energy efficient lightbulb I knew I wanted to turn it into a ring! The added words art, life and sin just amuse me no end! LOL It has attracted alot of comment!

The opening evening was a wonderful occasion, I was so pelased with the turn out and very much appreciated the support and enthusiasm of those who attended. I was even more thrilled to make three sales on the evening! Some of those who came along had no idea what I do so I really hope I was able to express my passion for my artwork. I have always believed in my art but often in the past have let other's negative opinions of it or me drag me down but this week has proved to me that I have nothing to apologise for, just everything to go for! No one can stop me from following my art path, I love what I do! If you haven't already realised, I'm still flying high from Tuesday! LOL Yippeeeeeeeeee!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Exhibition News

Hmm, drainpipe! What on earth has that got to do with a jewellery exhibition I hear you ask? LOL Yesterday my long suffering husband chopped up a couple of lengths of black plastic drainpipe into a variety of sizes as the bases of my little jewellery display podiums! Each stand will have a piece of oval mountboard attached, painted red, black or white according to which is the best colour for the jewellery piece to be displayed against, and they will stand on the glass shelves of the display unit. I had originally thought to use ruffled fabric over the display stands but have decided I need a minimal approach and the fabric would make the lower shelves of the display quite dark. I have 54 of these babies to make up over the next week which is why I've started now!! Back to the studio....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Summer Art Journal

Having been concentrating my efforts on jewellery for my exhibition I haven't got much art to show but thought I would share some little snippets from my current art journal. It started life as an old road atlas and I spent some time before my holiday prepping some of the pages so I could use it as my holiday journal. When we got back from our holiday it became my summer journal and now it's just my current journal! LOL Anyway, here we go:

Each of the sections are a little part of different spreads.

Come join the party!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


My latest obsession! Zips! As part of my mission to create 50 pieces of jewellery for my exhibition I have been using zips for some pieces! ;oD They have to be the old fashioned metal toothed ones as in the pic above. This is one of the pendants and one of the brooches I've made:

This is a coiled zip combined with vintage tin and a little metal coil.

This is flat zip encased in vintage tin again with a little bit of dangliness.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


As you all know I'm currently working on jewellery pieces for the little local exhibition I'm having in September. My plan had been to have all the pieces finished by the end of August but that has gone slightly awry to say the least! LOL However I am about halfway towards my goal of 50 pieces and I thought I'd share some of them with you.

Vintage tin and vintage crystal beads. The red on the tin pieces rather groovily appears when it's sanded! I've made several other pieces with it as well and love the way it looks.

Perspex heart, found bottle cap and tin. The perspex isn't quite as dayglo pink as it appears, it's just because I scanned it with white paper behind I think!

Vintage brooch altered with dictionary text and tiny washers. It was incredibly fiddly to do but I love the result!

Vintage tea caddy tin, brass name plate, vintage jewellery piece and beads. The word says "warrior", not very visible in the scan.

Vintage tin, mica, text and beads. I've used spacers to hold the mica away from the tin which isn't really apparent in the scan.

Catching Up!

Helloooooooo! No, I haven't fallen off the edge of the planet after all! LOL So, after a lovely long holiday and some PC problems I am back to catch up with everything!

Firstly, my apologies for taking so long to do this but many thanks to Kathryn and Seth for both awarding me the

I was thrilled! It's so exciting when fellow bloggers enjoy what you're doing and want to share it with others. ;o) I'll be posting my nominations later.

My thanks also to everyone who commented on my RA and first sale entries, both here and by email. You were all so encouraging and supportive and I very much appreciate it. I'm catching up with replying to everyone so bear with me!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

RA Summer Exhibition

Somewhat belatedly, I thought I would share my RA adventure on my blog! ;o)
Back in January I decided to plunge in and submit some pieces for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. I duly downloaded the necessary documents and then pondered for a good long while before deciding to definitely submit!

The maximum number of pieces artists can submit is two and I decided I would do this to maximise my chances! For my first piece I wanted to use the flattened tin cans I'd had in my studio for a while. I envisaged a pyramidal construction but as I went along it all changed, of course! LOL This is the finished piece:

Ths base of the piece is a home made sieve found in our outbuildings. The frame is painted wood and the sieve part is zinc nailed onto it. The metal object wired to the base is a vintage cast iron cobbler's shoe last. I wanted to layer the tincans and decided that pop rivetting them together was the way to go. All the cans were collected already flattened from car parks and gutters, the only work I did on them was some sanding as I didn't want any brand names to be prominent. The piece is about the way we treat the world and I wanted to add pertinent words to the cans. I considered stamping them directly onto the cans but they didn't show well enough so I used the brass and copper metal tags instead. I stamped the words and used dark brown acrylic to bring the text out. I pop rivetted the tags on as well which added to the overall strength of the piece. Once I had the can section finished I made a hole in the right place, held my breath and rammed them onto the last! LOL The title of the piece, Every Possible Mistake, comes from the lyrics of a song that was a big favourite of mine at the time I was constructing the piece. So, that's the first piece and here's the second:

I initially wanted to make a piece using lots of stacked up vintage cameras but whilst rummaging about in a cupboard I came across this metal box and knew I wanted to use it for the second piece. I became incredibly stuck on this piece and at one stage was thinking I would have to submit only one piece because it just wasn't happening. After a while it dawned on me that the reason I was stuck was because I was trying to make a piece that I thought other people would like! Once I abandoned that idea I was off and running and the piece came together really quickly! Being stuck was a blessing really as it turned into the basis of the piece's theme. It's entitled No White Flag and is about not surrendering to negative opinions towards my work, the mirrors and camera are about reflecting what people think of the piece back at them. So, the mirror tiles are attached directly to the box with a super strong adhesive and the camera is screwed into position from the sides, simple as that.

So, that's the pieces, now back to the submission process. The rules for submitting sculpture changed this year and the first round of judging was by photos. Any artist who gets work through the photo round is then asked to deliver their work to the Royal Academy. My photographer friend, Rob, took lots of fantastic photos for me to choose from and I duly submitted my entry and waited. The making of the pieces and going through the submission process were amazing, they were a great learning experience and a real boost to my artistic belief. At that stage, it really didn't matter what the outcome would be as it was just such a blast to have submitted. So, jump forward to late March. It's my birthday and I arrive home from lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, warm and fuzzy from a couple of glasses of wine and the company of good friends, to discover a letter from the RA! The contents revealed that Every Possible Mistake had been shortlisted for the exhibition! ;oD If I thought submitting was a fantastic experience then this was like the icing on the (birthday!) cake! So, the next step was to deliever my piece to the RA one dreary rainy day in April. I got soaked getting it there but it was totally sunny inside me! LOL It took me longer to unwrap it than it did to hand it over but I was an extremely happy bunny! Ok, so now the story takes a slight downturn as I heard by letter at the end of May that my piece hadn't made it into the exhibition after all. I was a bit disappointed for a while but it was a fabulous experience and I'd definitely do it all again! I'm proud of what I accomplished and as the rejection letter said it was a "fine achievement to be shortlisted". The moral of the tale, in my humble opinion, is to never stop believing in your artistic abilities, never let anyone tell you you're not an artist, just get out there and DO IT! There's nothing wrong with failing, it's not taking a risk, not trying, not persisting, they're the things we must all avoid!