Sunday, 13 December 2015

Art Class - Mono-print Christmas cards

During the last three weeks of term we have been having a go at mono-printing.  I was able to take in my Gelli-plate and use that rather than the acetate sheets that the others in the class had to use.  Using acrylics rather than printing inks meant that my prints dried almost instantly.  This was good for some effects but others, like drawing into the ink didn't work too well.  The aim was to make some prints that could be used for Christmas cards.  For most of the cards I have made, I took photographs of the original prints and resized on the computer before printing out.  This meant I could work into them with colours pencils, add glitter etc without spoiling the original print.  We had great fun doing the printing and it was so interesting seeing how different people's cards turned out. It is difficult to remember exactly how the prints were achieved but I will try to give brief outline instructions for some of the cards I made.

Card above (my favourite)
  1. Roll blue and yellow ink onto the plate. 
  2. Mix a bit but not so much that you just get a plain green
  3. Place fern leaves on the plate and blot with copier paper
  4. Quickly remove the leaves and take another print
  5. When print is dry add blues with Spectrum Noir colouring pencils
  6. Stamp on the deers (Claritystamps)
  7. Add some glitter glue.

  • As 1-3 above with the addition of some sequin waste over the ivy leaves. More blue than yellow paint this time
  • Emphasize greens on ivy leaves with pencils
  • Add glitter.
  • Backing paper is also a mono-print

  • This one was the first (scrap!) print of a fern leaf on copier paper. (step2 above)
  • It left a blank space where the leaf was and I drew the tree into it with a black pen
  • Add a horizon with the pencils
  • Stamp the deer and sentiment 
  • Add glitter of course.

  • I think for this one I took a print of ivy leaves as step 2 above
  • Let this dry then printed on top with the leaves in different positions
  • Enhanced edges with pencils and glitter on some of the leaves

  • Photo not very good as this one was printed on glossy card and the flash bounced off it
  • Another version of ivy leaves and sequin waste

  • These three were all printed in the same way but decorated differently afterwards
  • I made a foam stamp Christmas tree and pressed this onto the paint on the plate.  (Kids foam sheets from Hobbycraft)
  • Remove the stamp and take a print.
  • These were quick to do and the correct size for my cards so I just decorated the original prints.

Really had fun and it was a quick way to produce some original Christmas cards. Art class is over for this term.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Diana, my Art tutor.

Lesley x

PS. Does anyone know how to get three pictures together on one line?

Monday, 7 December 2015

Balloon Pop-up Card

Inside of card

This is a card I made for my grandson Forrest's first birthday in November. This is the inside of the card and it is a 3D pop-up (which doesn't show very well in the photo).  Sorry no step-by-step photos for this one.

Dies:      Card Scallop 3D(Pop-up) by Sizzix, Large Die Balloons by XCut, 
Stamps:  Happy Birthday Wooden stamp by Anitas, Letterbox kit by Claritystamp
Ink:        Versamark, Archival Black
Other:     Embossing Powders various colours, Background papers

  • Stick background papers inside card.
  • Die cut pop-up frame and balloons in various colour card.
  • Attach pop-up frame to the inside of the card with strong glue. I used the strong red double sided sticky tape for this.
  • Stick a thread to back of the balloons before attaching them to the top tab of the pop-up.  .  
  • Draw 1 on a balloon and stick to the background paper.
  • Using the Letterbox kit, stamp birthday name onto card, cut out and stick to the bottom tab of the pop-up.
  • Add a strip of matching red with 'happy birthday' stamped onto it at the base.  Not sure of the make of this stamp.
Front of card
  • I kept the front of the card very simple.  Stamped 'Happy Birthday' block stamp in Versamark and sprinkled with various coloured embossing powders before heat embossing. The spare powders can go back into a little pot for a new mix of colour.
  • Edge with a Sharpie pen and then mount on red card also edged with black pen.

This was a bit of a change in style for me, but I don't have many stamps suitable for young children's birthday cards. Creating the pop-up was quite fun and really easy using the Pop-up die.

Lesley x

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Claritystamp Challenge - A Christmas Story

This month's challenge is 'A Christmas Story' .  I'm sure many of you have already made this year's cards but I am way behind so I thought I would go for a design that didn't take too long to make.

Stamps: Claritystamp Pear Tree and Small partridge.
Stencil:  Claritystamp NDSC13 Various Pots
Ink:       Archival Black, Adirondack Stream, Butterscotch and Cranberry
Other:    Versmark pen, Gold embossing powder, Black pen, Colouring pencils and pens

  • My background paper for this is a shaving foam offcut from my box of 'might be useful someday'
  • Make masks for the small partridge, pears (drawn freehand) and the pot (using the stencil) on sticky-notes.
  • On background paper stamp the partridge using Black Archival ink and cover with it's mask.
  • Draw the outline of the pot using the stencil and a black pen and then cover with it's mask.
  • Position your pear masks wherever you want them.

Apologies for the blurry image.

  • Stamp the Pear Tree using Black Archival ink and then remove the masks.
  • Draw in the pears and the back of the pot with black pen.

  • Place stencil back over pot and using a makeup sponge add colour using Adirondack Stream, Butterscotch and Cranberry.
  • Colour in the leaves, pears and Partridge using whatever you prefer. I used some waterbased pens with a fine nib for the leaves and the brush end for the pears. A touch of white pen for the highlights.
  • Add some more shading to the pot with colouring pencils.

  • Trim and edge.  I first went round the edge with an alcohol pen but this didn't work very well on the shaving foam.  To retrieve this I went over it with a Versamark pen and added gold embossing powder and heat set this.
  • With the embossing powder out, I couldn't resist adding gold to a few leaves, a tiny bit on the pears and the stripe on the pot.
  • Add the impression of a table with pencils to ground the pot.
  • Mount on blue and gold card before attaching to card blank.
  • Final touch. Add a small tag made from a scrap of card. Write on 'Happy Christmas' message. Draw string with pen.

Hope you like my design and feel inspired to have a go at the Claritystamp Challenge yourself. 

Lesley x

I tried this design again without the shaving foam background to give a cleaner image. It was even quicker now that I have all the masks cut out. Glitter glue instead of gold embossing.  I like this version better.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Art Class - Half term homework

Prince and his Tutor

We have been doing life drawing, a first for me, and I'm not sure what the rules are on sharing life drawings without asking the sitter's permission, so I thought I would post my homework instead. The task was to enlarge and interpret a black and white photocopy of part of a painting by Gerrrit Dou in our own colours. I have tried portraits before in acrylic but they weren't very successful so for this I chose soft pastels for a change.  I found getting the detail difficult with the pastel sticks, even using a blender tool, so there is a bit of graphite pencil work on the eyes.  This did not photograph very well as the light bounced off it.  If anyone knows how to do details with soft pastel I would love to hear from you.

Lesley x

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Art Class - Roman pots version 3

This is the painting I had in my head when I took the photograph back in September.  It is painted in acrylic on a paper with a slight texture. By using lots of dry brushing the texture of the paper breaks up the colour creating the effect I wanted on the pots.  I have used colours that are much brighter than the original pots. Thought you might like to see the other versions together with the photograph. 

I would welcome your comments and perhaps you could let me know which version you prefer. 

Lesley x

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Art Class - Zentangle Pots

This is another version of my Roman pots that I posted on 4th November.  I printed a small copy, about 5" by 7", of my Patrick Caulfield pots for my sketchbook. I traced the outlines of the pots onto some cartridge paper and then just doodled inside them with a black pen. This is quite relaxing and doesn't take very long, unless you are a perfectionist.  I did do another version that I coloured in but I prefer this monochrome one. I have also made a start at painting my original enlargement of the photo, which I will post when finished.

Lesley x

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Art Class - Impressionist Chrysanthemums

Still life
Another still-life, this time incorporating a 2D picture (front of the book) with 3D objects.  Not over enthused by the topic this week but thought I would try to paint in an impressionist way to keep in the style of the painting on the front of the book.  I am quite pleased with the flowers but still have trouble with my greens ending up too bright, even though I mix the colours rather than using green from a tube. This is painted in Acrylic with a bit of white pen work for the text.

Lesley x

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Art Class - On holiday in Italy

Roman Pots
A week in Italy on the beautiful Amalfi coast. Back in class the others were doing exercises in enlarging from pictures, so I was set the task of taking lots of photographs while on holiday so that I could enlarge one when I got back.  So many beautiful views to choose from but most I would sketch freehand without having to scale up.  However, one of pots, taken in a Museum at a Roman villa in Minori, I thought would need more accurate drawing. (I did ask for permission to take photos, and it was OK as long as no flash was used).

Back home, having scaled up the photo, it reminded me of a painting of pots by Patrick Caulfield.  My daughter studied his work for her A Level Art and we had taken her to an exhibition of his work back in 1999.  She still had the exhibition book which I have borrowed.

Pottery - Patrick Caulfield
Having already enlarged the photo onto a textured Acrylic paper I decided to trace it and transfer the image to some smooth Mixed Media paper.  It was then just a case of going over the pencil lines with a black sharpie pen and colouring in with bright acrylic paint.  Still took me an hour and a half to paint, though it was quite therapeutic. The original enlargement I intend to paint in my own style at a later date.  

Lesley x

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Claritystamp Challenge - Clean and simple

A very simple card from me this month.  I made this card for my son-in-law's birthday.  The inspiration was a family day we spent together on my grandson's birthday earlier in the year.  He was given a kite for his birthday and being only 2 needed his Dad's help to fly it.  We couldn't stop laughing as he ran across the field, youngest son on his shoulders, trying to get the kite to catch the wind, his 3 year old son copying his mum and shouting "Faster, Lee, run faster".  It was a great day, and yes, Lee did manage to get the kite to fly. I will put the quote inside the card.  

Stamps: Claritystamps Man and boy from Wee Folk 1 set, Wrought Iron kite
Ink:        Archival Watering can
Other:    X-cut die for bows, Black pen

No step-by-step photos for this one as it is so simple.

  • Stamp Wee folk and kite straight onto card blank using Watering can Archival ink and the kite again on some card covered on back with double sided tape.
  • Draw a line from the kite to the man.
  • Cut out kite from the card and stick on some thread for the kite tail before placing over the stamped kite on the card.
  • Die cut bows, or make your own in various coloured card and stick over thread to hold it in place. The end bit is loose.
  • Add 'Happy Birthday'. I have a pre-printed sheet of card with lots of different sentiments.
  • Finishing touches. With black pen draw a box around the sentiment, add some grass for the wee folk to stand on and a rectangle around the edge of the card.
I do find making cards for men more difficult and perhaps the answer is to keep it simple.  Hope Lee will like this one and it brings back memories of that day in July.

If you want to enter the Claritystamp challenge this month it couldn't be simpler.  Looking forward to seeing all your entries.

Lesley x

Monday, 26 October 2015

Art Class - Cezanne

Homage to Cezanne  Forest and Rocks
Cezanne again.  I decided to do my own version of one of the paintings we had been looking at rather than another still-life.  I lightly sketched the composition and then, using Acrylic paint, added the blue for the sky.  The trees and rocks were then built up using quite dry, loose  brush strokes working from light to dark.   I am much happier using Acrylics and managed to finish this painting in the studio time.

Lesley x

Monday, 19 October 2015

Art Class - Another term

Cezanne Still Life

Art class has been going again for four weeks now but I haven't got round to putting up any of my efforts.  I will try to catch up over the next week or so.

For the first couple of weeks we were looking at the works of Paul Cezanne.  Our tutor set up a still life in the style of Cezanne and we started by doing quick sketches in our sketch books.  We then had to choose a composition and do a larger painting in watercolour.  I still haven't got the hang of watercolours  and tend to overpaint as they always dry much lighter than I expect. I am also not very patient when it comes to letting them dry naturally and do their own thing. Next week I will revert back to Acrylics.

Lesley x

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Claritystamp Challenge - Stencils

Silk Scarf

This month's Claritystamp Challenge is to create something using Clarity stencils.  I promised something a bit different from my usual cards so I thought I would share my first attempt at a Gelli-printed silk scarf with you.

Stencils: I used Chinese Lanterns, Pods, Honesty and Seed Heads from the Flower head stencils set.  You can buy them separately as well but the set is better value.
Other:     Ready made silk scarf 30 x 112 cm, 6x6  Gelli plate,  7x7 Mega Mount, Brayer, System 3 Acrylic Paint Purple and Zinc Mixing White, System 3 Textile Medium.

This silk scarf was given to me as a present many years ago along with some silk paints.  I did dabble with the paints on some scrap bits of silk but never felt confident enough to actually attempt to paint the scarf. Last year I experimented doing some Gelli-prints onto fabric which didn't turn out too bad so my idea this month was to combine the two and use the Gelli plate to print the scarf.  I only have the one scarf so it was a bit of a risk.  

Silk paints are too runny to use on the Gelli-plate so I mixed some Acrylic paint with Textile Medium in a 1:1 ratio. This turns the acrylic paint into fabric paint which is supposed to be able to take about 20 washes.  Throughout I only used the two colours, mixing in different proportions to get different shades.

Apologies for not taking many photos but my hands were pretty sticky at times and I was trying to work quickly.

  1. Mount Gelli Plate on Mount.
  2. Mix paint with medium and brayer onto Gelli-plate. You only need a thin layer.
  3. Place stencil on top of Gelli-plate
  4. Lay the silk scarf onto the plate. Lay a piece of copier paper on top and press down.  Later on I didn't bother with the paper, hence my colourful hands. The paint goes through the silk.
  5. Lift scarf and let it dry. Doesn't take long, in fact by the time you are ready for the next print it is dry.
  6. Lift stencil and use some copier paper to take a print and clean the Gelli-plate at the same time. Don't worry if it is not completely clean, unless you want to completely change the colour. These prints will come in useful another time. You can also press the stencil onto some paper to make another print.

I used the method above to first print along the centre of the scarf and then went back and did the edges.  For some of the edge prints instead of blotting with copier paper in step 6, I blotted with the scarf getting a reverse print. Examples on top right and top left of photo above.  

I tried to vary the shades and didn't worry too much about getting an exact fit as you can see.  It doesn't show when wearing and gives the scarf that hand-crafted look anyway.

Not sure if you have to, but I ironed the finished scarf to fix the paint. I know I used to do this with silk paints.  The scarf is still silky and the prints look just as good on both sides, in fact I can't tell which side is which. 

I am pretty pleased with my first attempt at silk Gelli-printing and will start thinking how else I can use this technique. Maybe cushions covers? If you have some ideas please let me know.  Oh, and just to check I did wash the scarf and not a bit of colour came out. 

Looking forward to all your stencil projects.

Lesley x

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Claritystamp Challenge - Shaped Card

Another month has flashed by and it's time for another Claritystamp Challenge. This month the challenge is to make a shaped card, no squares or rectangles. I was determined not to leave it to the last minute this month, and maybe because I still had last month's design in my head, this one has turned out very similar. Next month I promise I will do something totally different.

Stamps:  Claritystamp Character Silhouette set, Douglas and Lily, Words from the Birdcage set, NDC82 Cherries
Dies:       Tim Holtz On the edge Distressed Doily, Sizzix Thinlets Decorative trim #2
Inks:       Adirondack Stream and Denim, Black Archival
Other:     A4 pearly cardstock, Blue card, Blue Watercolour marker

  • Using the Doily Die cut the top front of the card. Fold the card in half and cut the back with scissors freehand slightly higher than the cut out doily. (If I was doing this again I wouldn't cut the back until later.)
  • Cut an oval from some background card previously created with shaving foam.  I used a template and cut round by hand but if I had one an oval die would have been much more accurate.  Stamp on the couple using Archival black ink and then add some shading around the edges and under their feet with a mixture of Stream and Denim ink.

  • Sorry forgot to take photos of the next few stages.
  • Mount the oval on blue card and cut around then stick to the front of the card. I had intended to have a wider blue edge but cutting by hand it got smaller and smaller. I must get some Oval dies. 
  • Decided it needed some blue card inside the card so stuck this in and then cut around the shape again. (This is where it would have been easier to cut the two back pieces at the same time.)
  • Stamp the words on another piece of the Shaving foam paper, mount on blue card and stick below the oval.

  • Finishing touches.  Make some little flowers using the NDC Cherries stamp.
  • Stamp onto scraps of shaving foam card, Go around the edges with blue watercolour marker, brush on a little water and then blot with kitchen roll, cut out. I made 9.

  • Attach 5 flowers to top, slightly shaping them, and 3 in a line inside the card (not shown). The last one might go on the envelope.
  • Draw faux blue stitching around the oval and word strip using the fine end of the blue watercolour marker.
  • Cut out two paper trims using decorative trim die and add to top and bottom of word strip.

Hope this has been some inspiration for you to have a go at this month's Claritystamp challenge.  I will use my card for an upcoming family wedding in October.  I am pretty sure my nephew doesn't read craft blogs.  Looking forward to seeing all your entries.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Flower Painting course

For two and a half days back at the end of July I attended a Flower Painting course at Wensum Lodge, Norwich.  I haven't done any other painting during the summer unless you count decorating the house so thought you might like to see my efforts from the course.

The course tutor was Toni Hayden who was brilliant and very inspiring.  Her sketchbooks and paintings that she brought in to show us were fantastic and it would take me years of practice to get anywhere near the standard of her work.  There were about ten of us on the course and an abundant array of flowers and fruit in the centre of the studio which we could select to paint.  Toni demonstrated and also came round and gave us individual help and advice.

The medium for these paintings was Gouache, something I have only tried a few times before, and watercolour paper. Everything was painted with one brush which Toni recommended, Da Vinci - Maestro No.6.  An investment as it cost more than I usually spend on a whole set of brushes. Certainly won't be letting the grandsons borrow that one!

Add caption

 This may not look much for half a weeks work but it took a lot of concentration. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and if you like flower paintings check out some of Toni's work.

Lesley x

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Claritystamp Challenge - Bingo

This month's theme has definitely been a challenge for me.  I have experimented with loads of different techniques and my rubbish bin has been overflowing but as the deadline quickly approached I decided in the end to keep it simple.

Stamps:    Claritystamp NDC Alice, NDC Round Tree, Leafy Swirl
Inks:          Adirondack Stream, Archival Black, Versamark
Other:       Claritystamp Theuva card, Sizzix Die Flourish #2, Button Die, Perfect Pearls,   Glitter, Sticky labels

  • Die cut some flowers and brush the edges lightly with some Stream ink. 
  • Stamp randomly with the NDC Round Tree, 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation ink.  

  • Stick the flowers together to make 1 flower, I used 2 large and 1 small flower with a die-cut button for the centre. (Sorry, I don't know the make of the button die.) Set aside to dry.
  • Stamp Alice twice onto sticky labels with Archival black. 
  • On the 1st Alice, stamp the Round Tree over her dress, this time with Versamark ink.  Dust with white Perfect Pearls.
  • On the 2nd Alice, colour in her face, hair and body with colour pencils

  • Carefully cut out the dress only on the first Alice and the whole image on the 2nd Alice.
  • Remove the dress from the backing and stick on top of the whole image.
  • Using a mask, I used a die-cut circle, brush Stream ink over the aperture, making it darker at the edges.  Sponge a little bit of ink where you think Alice's shadow will be.
  • Stick Alice in position.

  • With Archival black ink, stamp the Leafy Swirl twice.

    • Cut the card into a square and using left over ink on the brush, lightly colour the edges.
    • Mount on Blue card, and then a square card blank.
    • Attach flower to corner.
    • Let's check the Bingo card.  Flowers, Stamp, Perfect Pearls, Dies. Some Glitter needed to make a diagonal line (and a horizantal one)
    • Add glitter to the Leafy Swirls and centre of the flower and BINGO.
    • There is room to add a greeting at the top but I will leave that until I know who it is going to

    Phew! Just made the deadline.  Now all I need to do is put away the Shrink Plastic, Stencils, Stamps, Grunge Paste, Perfect Pearls, Dies, Glitter etc etc.  It has been a good challenge as it has made me look again at things and techniques I have not used in a while, even if they didn't get used in my final card.  

    Looking forward to seeing all your entries.

    Lesley x

    Thursday, 16 July 2015

    Birthday Boy

    Playing around with this month's NDSC Claritystamp stencil I thought it would make a simple card for my grandson's birthday.  I don't have many stamps/stencils that suit a children's card but I think this one works quite well.  

    Stamps:     Claritystamp Happy Birthday, Hobbycraft Floral Numbers (both inside card) 
    Stencils:    Claritystamp NDSC 14 Elephant
    Inks:          Adirondack Butterscotch, Stream, Raspberry, Jet black Archival, VersaMark Watermark 
    Other:        Stencil brushes, Heat-It-Up clear embossing powder, black pen, Birthday badge

    • For the background lightly brush on a mixture of three bright coloured inks.
    • Tape stencil to card and using the same colours add darker colour to the elephant with sponges.  Wipe excess ink from the stencil then dab the Versamark ink pad through the stencil.  Remove stencil and heat emboss with clear powder. 
    • For the balloons make two circle stencils. (I used my Bigshot and some circle dies) Using same method as the elephant add colours and heat emboss balloons one at a time.  Notice my mistake?
    • Add strings to the balloons with black pen.
    • Inside card (not shown) stamp Happy 2nd Birthday.  I have cut my 'Happy Birthday' stamp into two separate words to make it more versatile. 
    • Stick on badge with pads.  Because the balloons are embossed it doesn't mark them when the badge is taken off.
    Did you spot the mistake? My large balloon which is supposed to be at the front goes behind a smaller one. Start with the large balloon to avoid this.  I don't think my grandson will notice, he is only two.

    Lesley x

    Sunday, 12 July 2015

    Art Class - Final Piece

    Arum Lilies on Green/Acrylic
    This is my final piece for this term's Art Class which was influenced by the flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and Tamara de Lempicka.  We have these beautiful Arum Lilies growing around our pond and it was easy to choose them as my subject.  I wanted a more subtle background compared to my red/pink practice painting and opted for pale greens.  The leaves are supposed to be more of a pattern than real leaves.  I dry brushed on some red towards the end as the painting had become too green.  I prefer this painting, the composition is better, but the jury is out as several of my colleagues at the Art class and my husband, Jeremy, liked the red version better.  If you have an opinion please let me know. 

    No more classes until September, but I hope to keep practising over the summer so do pop in.

    Lesley x

    Wednesday, 8 July 2015

    Art Class - Arum Lilies

    A zoom in on some Arum Lilies in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe/Tamara de Lempicka.   I was aiming for a simplistic style and not realism. This is a practice piece before I do my final painting for the end of term. I have used white wax crayon as a resist on the flowers and then gone over with very diluted Acrylic paint like watercolour, gradually building up the colour. The green is more vivid than the photograph shows.  The background took me longer than the flowers as I changed it's colour several times before I was happy with it. 

    Lesley x