Filed Under (Drawing, Paper crafts/ATCs/"Art") by jennyk on 30-04-2011

I’m sorry I’m still being bad about posting regularly.  Life has continued to be difficult, but I won’t go on about that.  We did get to the drawing classes referred to in my last post, though, and we’ve booked for a printmaking class with the second tutor in August.

The March class was Creative Drawing, with Lyn Ebbett.  The description said “for those who think they can’t draw or want to develop their drawing skills”  – I’m in the first category, and DH is in the second. As expected, I was well outside my comfort zone, but that’s why I went to the class.

We started with warm-up exercises.  Lyn had brought a variety of props for us, but she started by giving us each a small object to draw. Mine was a metal button with a complex embossed design, and my drawing was awful, so I’m not posting a picture of that.

Next, she gave us each a physalis fruit like these:

We had to draw our physalis with our non-dominant hands (sorry this one is so faint), with a continuous line (that is, not lifting our pencils off the paper, with our eyes shut (really!!!) and using only straight lines. It was a timed exercise, with only 5 minutes (I think) for each drawing. Click on the following images for bigger versions, as usual:

The next exercise was to tape a marker pen to a 3ft bamboo garden cane, put the drawing paper on the floor, and (standing up) draw the same physalis again. This is my first, and favourite, attempt:

After that, we got to choose our own subject from what she had brought. For some unfathomable reason, I chose a yellow pepper. First we had to draw it with a brush and Indian ink, and then with charcoal. My charcoal one was much better, as you can see:

The final exercise was a still life group. We were able to choose from all the objects Lyn had brought, but some of my favourites had already been taken by the time I got to the table. The photo was taken from a slightly different angle to the view from where I was sitting. Lyn suggested I add the cloth at the left after I’d already started drawing the rest, but I ran out of time … and anyway, I think it was technically beyond me to make it look like a folded cloth. I didn’t finish the pattern on the jar either.

Now, for a treat, here is DH’s final drawing. He chose to use soft pastels instead of pencil. Again, the photo is from a slightly different angle:

So, those were the results of 6 hours or so of hard work and fun. I haven’t scanned the drawings from April’s class, so I’ll post those soon.

Filed Under (Ramblings) by jennyk on 20-02-2011

When you think things can’t get worse, they probably can … it took us another couple of weeks to get over that nasty virus, and then my mother got worse again, and then had a fall, and then she died almost 4 weeks ago. I try to remind myself that she was 90, she had multiple health issues, she had been ready to go since last summer, and at last she is no longer in pain. The funeral was 10 days ago, so now I’m trying to get used to life without her.

The past 18 months had largely revolved around her, and the anxiety had stopped me doing almost anything creative, but she loved to see the results of my crafting, so I know she would want me to get back to it as soon as I can. We went to the spinning & weaving guild monthly meeting today (Saturday – though strictly speaking it is Sunday here now) – more of that in a later post, probably. I’ve also signed up for two drawing workshops, one next month and one in April. That’s scary!!!

[Edited to split into two posts; personal stuff moved to the next post.]

What have I done since I got home from today’s guild meeting, other than a bit of Indian cookery for dinner?  Well … a so-called ‘friend’ bullied me into submitting something for the All Things Unity challenge #24 - {FAVORITE stamp or set}, though it ended up being one heck of a rush to get it done before the deadline.  Fortunately, I do have a few Unity stamps.  I think my favourite is Linden Branch.  I decided that since I was so short of time, I needed to keep it simple, so I just made a bookmark.

I used fairly thick glossy cardstock, stamped the branch using Ranger Clear Resist, then used a piece of crumpled paper towel to rub Impress Old Rose dye ink over it, leaving the branch almost white.  Next I stamped it again using a no-name brown pigment ink.  I’d have liked to use a darker brown, but that is the darkest I have.  Then I went around the edge of the bookmark with the Old Rose dye ink to give it some definition.  Finally, I punched the hole and threaded pink ribbon through it.  It’s the wrong shade of pink, but again it was all I had at hand, and it was past midnight, so no chance of getting any more.  I’ll try to get something better before I send it away, and perhaps even add some beads.

[As usual, you can click on the picture for a bigger version.]

Filed Under (Fibre and textile crafts, Journalling) by jennyk on 01-01-2011

I had good intentions for today. I always have good intentions for New Year’s Day. They rarely work out. Last year ended as badly as it started, so instead of having spent the past 2 weeks getting this place organised enough that I could start journalling today (or this coming week, even) and start catching up on overdue craft projects, we have both spent the past 2 weeks hacking our lungs up, and we are still coughing. So, this is more about aims than achievements. Never mind, it was always supposed to be about the year, not just one day.

Other than catching up stuff, my main plan for this year is to make a serious attempt at journalling, so I’ve signed up for a series of Visual Journalling online workshops. Fortunately, they don’t have to be done at particular times, so I can pace myself. One of the tutors is Roz of Roz Wound Up, and as she is my biggest single inspiration for doing this, that makes me happy. Her blog and website have a huge amount of information on so many art-related topics – materials, methods and more.

I also read today on a friend’s blog about the Sketchbook Challenge, which seems like another good idea.  Again, there is no pressure involved, just a theme a month and a chance to look at other people’s work (and upload your own if you want).  I recognise the names of a lot of the people who will be setting the themes – in particular, Diana Trout.  Her book Journal Spilling is one I have been planning to use to help guide me through this journalling experiment.

Well, those are my intentions/aims/goals, but whether anything much will come from them remains to be seen.  Watch this space …

[PS.  just because I want to try journalling, that doesn't mean I won't also be doing other art/crafts during the year, so watch for some of those too!]

Filed Under (Fibre and textile crafts, Ramblings) by jennyk on 09-09-2010

I’ve been following Melanie J Cook’s blog, The Onion, for quite a while. I love some of her ideas in today’s post about Moo cards. I’ve been considering trying to put together enough photos and/or artwork to order my own Moo postcards, but now I think I need to order some stickers and mini-moos too when I get around to ordering.

I hadn’t realised it has been so long since I last posted here. My mother is out of hospital again, but things are not going smoothly, so I still don’t have the mental or physical energy to craft much. I did finish that pair of socks from the yarn I dyed, though I haven’t got around to photographing them yet, and I’ve nearly finished the first one of the yellow and orange pair, but I’m hungry to do a wider variety of crafting again. First I need to finish some things I owe other people, then I want to finish a shawl for myself which I started … um … I’m not going to admit how long ago. Most of all, though, I want to make more books and start journalling, which brings me to the new button which just appeared on my right sidebar …

For quite a while I’ve been following Roz Wound Up – a wonderful blog about book-binding, art journalling and art in general. I have learnt so much from that blog, and it has helped keep my urge to journal alive over the past few months, even though I know my journal(s) will only include my first baby steps at art, nothing like Roz’s sketches. I can still aspire to reaching something near to that level one day, though, with enough practice, and meantime it will, I hope, at least chart my progress.

Roz has embarked on a project to get herself sketched in as many other artist’s journals as possible. To that end, she has started a contest with her handmade books as prizes, which will run for over a year. You can read about it by clicking here or on that new sidebar button. For Phase 1, entrants have to sketch her from life, which rules out those of us who don’t expect to be in Minneapolis or any other place she might visit over the next year, so she has kindly created a secondary contest for us. Also, Phase 2 will give anyone who wants it an opportunity to sketch her from photographs she will post online. Check it out – even if you don’t enter the contests, you could probably learn a lot by browsing her archives and her pages.

I have done very little crafting since my mother came out of hospital, as she has been taking up a lot of my time and energy, though I did make a few books which I will post about soon. I still haven’t finished the second sock using the hand-dyed yarn which I posted about in May, but she is back in hospital again, so I expect my sock knitting to speed up again as I’ll be knitting while travelling and sitting with her. I already have my next pair planned, in a subtle (cough) sunshine yellow/orange space-dyed yarn. They are for my DH and it was his choice of yarn and colour. I’m not too happy about it, as 100% merino is not my first choice for socks, particularly for someone who is tough on socks.

I also want to get back to paper crafts and a friend pointed out an amazing giveaway on The Stamping Boutique blog, which includes 36 Copics. I love Copics! I don’t have enough of them, though. :-(

Filed Under (Fibre and textile crafts) by jennyk on 19-06-2010

The local guild of artists has its annual studio tour this weekend, and we decided we could spare a few hours this afternoon to visit some of the venues. The quilters guild had fewer quilts on display than in earlier years, and they were heavily dominated by one particular artist, but she is very good and I loved looking at her quilts. There were some interesting printmakers and one portrait artist had some very good small pencil portraits but she also had some large pencil drawings of other subjects from her trip to Kathmandu – some of her older work is on the trail web site. I particularly like when the artists have their sketchbooks or notebooks available for us, as I often learn much more by looking at those than by looking at their finished work.

We bought some books, cards and a poster from local publishers Two Rivers Press, and some cards from one of the printmakers, but our last purchases were examples of a different art …

Filed Under (Dyeing, Fibre and textile crafts, Knitting, Socks) by jennyk on 11-05-2010

I’ve been knitting socks while visiting my mother in hospital, and I continued while sitting with her after she went home, as I couldn’t do anything complicated.  I did the second sock of the blue pair (Opal yarn), and then I couldn’t resist starting on the yarn which I dyed at the workshop in February.  Both were knitted on 2.25mm Brittany dpns.  Here is a detail – click on the image to see the whole photo.

Filed Under (Ramblings) by jennyk on 03-05-2010

We were driving home from visiting my mother in hospital this afternoon when we noticed this cherry tree with an amazing carpet of petals beneath it. We just had to stop and get some photos.

As you can see in the first picture, there is still a lot of blossom left on the tree, so it seems surprising that there can be so much on the ground, but the flowers are double, so there are a lot of petals per blossom!