Wednesday, 31 October 2012

On All Hallows' Eve

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Even though my wife and I are not American, we have certainly got into the Halloween spirit this year. Being us, we did not want to do a run of the mill Halloween. We wanted it to be a bit art and crafty and we were inspired by taking Margie Rommney-aslett's, Spooky Spark 3 day workshop.

Margie talked about decorating your home and mantle with all sorts of small, spooky, fun filled projects, which I have to admit were great fun... The only problem was, we do not have a mantle so used the landing window instead.

The Nieces and Nephews get a little crafty treat this year, each one 'chock' full of treats 
(excuse the pun!)


They even get glow in the dark stickers, cookies, straws and a giant fluffy spider each!

I also managed to get my hands messy. Horrah! Using Mod Podge and an old book I decorated a paper mache skull from my local craft store

I have nick-named him Boni, from a character in a TV show I used to watch as a child, called Trapdoor. But, that is not all, the spider from that show also made an appearance this year       
I saw this giant paper spider and could not resist him

And I just couldn't resist picking up a Sharpee pen and drawing this Raven in my sketchbook.

I hope you all have a Spook-tacular Halloween. Be back soon! 


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Whats new in my cabinet?

Hello everyone,

I have been working on my 'Cabinet of Curiosities' and here are some more of my recent images. I am really enjoying expanding on the story of evolution in my sketchbook. It makes me think straight away as to how it relates to my ever growing collection of objects and the time it takes to nurture it.

This is only a small selection of my objects!

Sharks teeth!

These are some of my bugs (insects) mixed media images:

The above two drawings started life as mono prints, then collage and a Sharpee pen added.

I could not resist painting this bug. Trying to get his colour just right was a bit of a headache but layering the colours works perfectly.

Please check the Sketchbook Challenge website out. It is very interesting to see everyone's take on the theme and the varying art materials used. Time for me to place my artwork on the Flicker page and join in the group activity. Look forward to seeing you there. Are you joining in?

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.


Monday, 29 October 2012

The final week of the Bloom True E-course!

Hello everyone,

I am really saddened that the e-course has come to an end. Through it, I have met a amazing community in the Facebook group. I feel I have had an amazing journey and Flora has inspired and supported us to use our inner belief (self). She believes that there is an artist in everyone just waiting to come out. How quickly the five, intense weeks have gone by.

Due to illness, my painting had to take a back seat and I have only now caught up on the last week's lesson. That week was about adding the finishing touches and details to our canvases and to still challenge the areas that require more work. It is time for us to Bloom and trust the process as to when to stop!

Here is canvas 1: still needs something, but I am not sure what?

Here is canvas 2: I am really excited by this canvas. It is finished. Hoorah!

Title: On gossamer wings 

Also in week 5, we were asked how we have 'Bloomed' and whether the initial goals of what we wanted out of the course, came true? The answer is a definite yes, and more. Here is what I got out of the course (gems, Flora calls them):-

1) Overcoming the challenge of painting on a large canvas (which I have not done since my uni days).
2) Discovering my own personality (voice) in a canvas.
3) A new approach using abstract painting techniques.
4) Staying playful and being brave! (Being the student again, learning a new skill.)
5) Enjoyment in using my fingers and naturally enjoying the mark making and textures I can create. It makes me feel free within that moment of time.
6) This course has made me paint boldly and discover a colour palette which I wouldn't necessarily have chosen.

I would really like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me and left wonderful comments on my blog, and on the community Facebook link. I look forward to catching up with everyone's progress over this Half term.

I am still working on canvases 3 and 4 and will post about them as soon as I paint more layers and details. 

Wishing you a great, healthy and artistic week. 


Friday, 19 October 2012

Cabinet of Curiosities

Hello fellow bloggers,

Since seeing this link on Rinda's blog - a brilliant and inspiring website - I have been inspired to join in my first ever on-line challenge. I love the thought of not knowing what each monthly challenge will be and what ideas I can generate to meet those challenges. It is an opportunity I don't want to miss. 

As you may well know from past blog posts, I have a great fascination with Natural History and when I saw that the sketchbook challenge was a 'Cabinet of Curiosities' how could I resist?

I used the same theme to inspire my work at University, the idea that an explorer travelled to the far reaching places of the world, brought back curios and assorted natural paraphernalia and placed it together as a collection. This is a brilliant concept and still inspires me. Cabinets were the precursor to museums; imagine what the world would be like without them!

I have a large collection of different natural objects placed around my home and I began to wonder... how would I display them in a cabinet?

Here is a list that I have come up with:

Shark teeth
Dried plants and crystals
Shells and stones
Tree branches and feathers etc.

Great explorers also sprang to mind, like Charles Darwin and David Attenborough, and my favourite, and the first museum I ever visited as a boy, The Natural History Museum in London. (I will need a large Cabinet to fit all mine in!)

I was also reminded of a school project that I did with Year 8, two years ago. Here are a few images from the sketchbook I created to show them examples of a timeline.

The students produced a fossil timeline using collage, print and different painting techniques.

All of this has sparked off my excitement to create a 'Cabinet of Curiosities' and I hope to be able to document this over the next couple of weeks, before the end of October. I have always been intrigued by the story of evolution and the tree of lifeHere are some of the pages I have done so far.

"Life will find a way" Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park

Looking forward to joining in with the Sketchbook Challenge at the end of this month and seeing everyone's creative Cabinets.  

The large canvases for Flora's class have had to take a back-seat this week due to illness. I lost my voice (imagine that for a teacher!) but I am now on the mend after a rare visit to the Doctors. I am hoping for a creative weekend ahead and will post them soon.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  


Friday, 12 October 2012

What's working in week 4?

Hi everyone,

I have survived another extremely busy week, just... Work always builds up before half-term. During last weekend, I found the time to paint and also celebrated another family birthday. 

This week's course lesson is about analysing what you think is working in your painting and what isn't and I have been spiraling in and out, having lots of coffee breaks, so I can view the work in a fresh sense. I feel I am going through another 'awkward' stage. Oh! that teenager self, but I am going to keep rotating my canvas and find what it's trying to tell me, be less critical of myself and remember to breathe!

Here is canvas 1:

Here is canvas 2:

Canvas three's journey is naturally progressing and growing into a finished piece. I just need to add some finishing touches, maybe one last layer, and then I will be able to share that with you.

One final piece of news is that I have started a fourth canvas, which I hope will be a pure abstract one, with an ethereal appearance. We will have to wait and see how it progresses. This will be a whole new challenge for me.

Introducing canvas 4:

How is your week going? I am hoping for a quieter weekend after school ends today and to post again soon. We are heading towards the end of Flora's course. I can't believe it!


Friday, 5 October 2012

About Inspiration ...

Hi everyone, 

Here is a photograph I took last weekend while standing in a corn field. I love the textures on the maize husks and the natural skyline behind. It was a beautiful day, and I can't wait to use this image in a future project.

Last Monday, as I was driving to work, I noticed that where the crop of corn had been, it was now barren earth. I am so glad I had my camera to hand last weekend. 

I am still working on last week's course instructions that are about getting back to nature, recording your thoughts, sketching, taking photographs and collecting natural elements. If you read my previous posts, I really DO have an ever growing collection.

We were asked to answer some thoughts on 'What enliven's me?'

So here is my list :

1) I am inspired by insects; trees and fossils; birds and their natural song; old, unusual antique finds; stunning landscapes and wonderful sunsets; nature as a whole. 

2) I collect stones and pebbles that have certain markings or have natural holes in them; shark's teeth; crystals; fossils; shells; tree twigs or branches; dog fish cases. I have a fascination with old keys and maps (especially when the maps say "Here be dragons!"). To me, they conjure up many different ideas. 

3) My two favourite places in the UK are West Wittering Beach and Kingley Vale. Both locations are in West Sussex, near my mother-in-law's house. I love to visit these places in the school holidays and top up my creative flow and... collections!

4) A windy day on the beach makes me feel alive as I listen to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

5) I love to read and usually have a couple of books on the go. I love food (I am a man!) especially lots of different cultural flavours. I have a sweet tooth. My sweetheart knows me all too well as she baked me cupcakes last weekend. Yum Yum! And last, but not least, my sweetheart.  

6) Friends say I am happy person and have a smile on my face and a bad joke ready to be told. I always have a pen and paper to hand, sketching away in my own world.

7) Favourite colours are all the shades and tones of green. 

8) Drawing everyday makes me feel at peace.

9) I am in awe of David Attenborough. A life time of working with nature is, in my opinion, enough to inspire anyone. This is a quote from Nature's Great Events that I think about when I am walking in woodlands or on a coastal shore-line: “Vast movements of ocean and air currents bring dramatic change throughout the year. And in a few special places, these seasonal changes create some of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.” 

10) I am curious about old, ancient trees and their history; their story (if only they could whisper it). 

Here is the progress on two of the updated canvases.

Canvas 1: 

Canvas 2:  

How is your week progressing? I am eager to get painting again but due to a manic week and late nights, I will have to wait until tomorrow before reaching for those brushes again.

In another post, I am hoping to share some of the resources I am working on with my students. Would you be interested in seeing those?  

Until the next time, take care.