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Bees in sketchbook

Process: Stamp in white acrylic paint on white paper; wash of orange water colour. Paper stencils of leaves and bees cut on Xcut. Negative shape used to build vegetation and bee background shape, positive shape of bee then laid over background and paint sponged through. Final wash in fluid acrylic.

Seed pods continued.

I left the seed pod collage here, having painted and printed papers and stuck them into my sketchbook.

Here's the results. Mixed media page with printed papers, pods drawn with acrylic paint, water soluble wax crayons, pen and ink.

Sketchbook course - collage part 2

Sketchbook page based on a vase. This would transfer well into a textile piece.

Starting point - Poole Pottery vase.

Printed papers - black monoprint added when dry using caligo inks.

  • Collaging monoprinted papers into sketchbook. I'm trying to echo the sections on the vase. 

Adding some orange papers and water soluble pen.

Sketchbook course - Collage part 1

New day, new start. This blog posting is 1 of 2.

I needed some inspiration today as things hadn't been going to plan sketchbook-wise. I'm far too graphic for my own good. Something in me thinks that to paint photographically is amazing and it is certainly something that seems to wow generally. How often are we judged on whether something is a good likeness? So I try to remember Grayson Perry's words that go something like this......
If we all admire and aspire to paint realistically, and we all end up with photographic images which are perfect and the same, how do we improve and what makes art and makes our work stand out? The answer is our mistakes. It's our mistakes that make our work our own and give difference and are truly creative.

The nice thing about this course is that if you're feeling stuck or need some advice, you can visit the website and look at the supporting videos, ask questions, look in the gallery etc. Today I looked at a video on collage by Linda, so here I go, having a go.

I took a look around the house and found a vase that I like.  It's a piece of studio Poole pottery that I treated myself to a while ago. I loved the colours and shapes! There are no flowers, or animals, or a specific pattern - it's completely abstract but in a controlled way. It's divided into 6 with black lines, and some of the shapes are outlined in black too.

Next stage is to mix paints to match the colours as nearly as possible and paint some papers in acrylics to get a supply which I can cut into etc. Here's some that I have on the go. They're all printer paper, but I may mix them up with lighter papers from my paper stock pile.

Of course the idea is not to follow the vase slavishly but to use it for inspiration for my own piece of work. Copying is not very satisfying.

When they're dry, and I've had a bit more time to think about what I can do with this, I'll crack on in my sketchbook - which will be my next posting.

Tip:  I use Open Acrylics - there are several makes but I quite like the Golden brand (no affiliations). You can buy a wet palette for acrylic paints which is the tray and lid below. You are supposed to put a wet piece of blotting paper stuff in the base followed by a layer of tracing type paper. (You buy them cut to size for ease). Over a couple of days the water infiltrates the paint and it ends up as quite runny. I've found that if I use the tray as a palette without the papers, and put the lid on after I've finished painting, the Open acrylics stay useable for weeks and weeks. I put the same colours in the same places, and just top up when I run out. It's very very handy if you just want a bit of paint for something, as it's ready and waiting.

Printed circles paper in sketchbook

I really liked the circles paper I gelli printed and stuck in to my sketchbook, but may have overdone the emphasis a bit.
  • And I've bought a very useful tool for making neat holes in card etc. I want to use it when making those little ATC books. Using a bradle to make holes works fine but the reverse side of them is a little rough. 

Seed pods

I'm continuing in my sketchbook today, but in a looser way than previous pages where I've concentrated on drawing - which I love doing! I will go back to them later and add a bit of something or other to liven things up a bit.

Seed pods are always good to draw and as part of my continuing Creative Sketchbooks course I've been revisiting some early drawings of the seed heads that abound in my pond at this time of year.

I picked a handful of them from the pond (yuck, a bit slimey) and decided that rather than drawing them again, I'd print some papers inspired by their shapes which are quite simple.  Below is a gelli plate which has been rollered with blue and turquoise open acrylics, and drawn into with a small paintbrush.

Gelli plate printing is like making pancakes. The first one or two are never the best - you just have to keep going and hope there's something useable in the pile at the end.

Auditioning papers in my sketchbook. I'm going to cover this with many layers of other things, so this isn't in any way resolved yet. BTW, I like the way the light tissue paper crinkles when you stick it to the page as it makes lovely texture when you cover it with other things and then scrape back.

I think he loves me.

pencil sketch on cartridge paper showing expression in eyes.

2b and 8b pencil sketch on cartridge paper in A4 sketchbook. Part of my sketchbook course..


sketch of ami in 8b pencil on cartridge paper. bellabow.studio

This year, I grew ammi. It was quite a struggle to keep them alive and stop them being eaten by slugs and snails when they were small. They grew quite slowly and then when they were nearly fully grown they began to either turn yellow or collapse. A bit of staking and pruning later, and they've now begun to flower. They have large white head made up of clusters of smaller ones, in turn made up of clusters of tiny white flowers.  To be honest, I don't think they were worth the effort and think plain simple cow parsley might have been less fuss. However they are interesting to draw! Sketchbook, 2b and 8b pencils on cartridge paper.

Yesterday I also made the Liesl & Co Maritime Knit Top. It looks like a simple stretch jersey type tee, and it was simple to make and the instructions were easy to follow. Trouble is, either it or I must be a very peculiar shape. The shoulders were large, the bust ok, but the fit over the hips wasn't good. There are side vents but they don't really help with what is essentially too little material over the hips. Granted, these days I'm more like a lollipop in shape, but other tops fit ok. Whatever, it's ended it's life in the bin. What a waste of lovely fabric.

Berlin Jacket finished, and 2 more tops

I suppose because I've noticed that the nights are drawing in very slowly, my thoughts have turned to autumn and the chance to make some slightly warmer new clothes.

The Berlin Jacket (Tessuti fabrics)

I really, really like this one - something I don't say that often! I especially like the way the collar sits proud of the neck.

A really simple, quick make - the only problem being getting my head around the fact that the seams are on the outside; a first for me.

The instructions are printed in A4 format with a lovely lady modelling the jacket on the front cover. The fact that she looked a similar age and shape made me think this might do for me. I've posed in my sunglasses and in the same sort of way for fun.

The pattern itself is printed on large pieces of good quality white paper with multi-sizes with black lines. The layouts for cutting are on the back pattern piece. Because the seams show on the outside, you can only use certain materials that don't fray, and mine is a beautiful orangey boiled wool.

Take great care when pining the fabric and use lots of them as the line you cut will be the line that shows. Go slowly and try and avoid jumps or nicks or you will get a lumpy edge to your seams. There are no notches for the same reason, they would show on the outside of your coat. Pattern markings - and there aren't many - have to be chalked on.

The pattern instructions were very good indeed with lots of photographs to help you identify the right and wrong sides and how to piece together. Seams were made by marking 3/8" on one edge with pins, and laying the other pattern piece up to the pin line. The sewing line was in the middle of the overlap. I found myself getting confused occasionally and would have been at a bit of a loss if it weren't for the excellent photos.

As an extra I added free machined lines to the pocket tops, the front edges and the cuffs. Definitely worth the time to make the coat a little different.

The other 2 tops I've made are below. One pattern is of my own devising and is in a lovely cherry red linen, and a blue striped cotton top from Sew Over It (the Whitley top). The latter pattern didn't seem to have a great deal of ease in it so is a close fit. It's ok but may have been better in a more drapey or thinner fabric. A big plus though is that they will print the pdf download for you and it includes pattern pieces for different sized busts. Brilliant.

Slow sewing

Slow sewing involves a few cups of tea, the odd biscuit or two, and a bit of embellishment. I've been making a few tops for my autumn wardrobe and found this lovely deep pumpkin coloured wool. Great for this coat/jacket as it doesn't fray. The seams will show so this pattern is only suitable for similar fabrics. I'll do some more pattern reviews shortly so do visit again if sewing is your thing!! Great to find another use for free machining skills. 

Little books

Spent today making some of these books. Perfect if you don't mind a bit of blood on the pages. (Sharp needle, bumbling hands).

Small books made with ATC's for covers. Simple binding with cartridge paper pages.
With thanks again to DMTV (link in sidebar) for this brilliant little make using spare ATC's