Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A morning in the Dublin Mountains and Glendalough

An action-packed few days... It was maybe twenty years since I last was in Glendalough!

One day in Connemara

With the motorway to Galway, it is actually now possible to go to Connemara for one day! You won't get to walk through the landscape, but you will see a lot of beautiful countryside all the same. And enjoy a pic-nic on the pier in Oughterard, a bit of shopping in Joyce of Recess, the seafood platter in the pub in Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, and an ice-cream in Roundstone

And if you're thinking of that song, you will find the lyrics here.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Bushy Park - Watercolour III

Learning a lot - this rougher paper is better for the rough edges. And I didn't put in too many rough edges this time, so the eye can travel around the painting a little easier. Composition-wise, I think I need to move things more off-centre. Phthalo Turquoise, Quinacridone gold and a touch of Sennelier Opera Rose worked wonders in terms of colours.

Bushy Park - Watercolour II

Getting closer to the look I want. Experimenting with rough edges. A few too many in this painting. Stopping the eye from moving around the paper. But I like the colours and textures.

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Documented Life Project - Week 20

Week 20 Challenge: Use a Rubber Stamp in a New Way - I wouldn't say this is a new way. But I had fun in the process.

First of all, I carved this circle stamp myself. There is something very personal about creating your own stamps, no matter how imperfect they are. And it is so easy. I applied Ranger archival ink (Jet Black) to it and stamped it on a colourful newsprint page (I know I know, newsprint is my new favourite thing!). Then I cut around it and applied the resulting circles to a colourful page (again, using one of my favourite techniques, a page on which I've rolled my brayer while doing Gelli prints - I'm not re-inventing the wheel here!)

That's it? Says you. But it's pretty, says I.

But that was only my journaling pages. I continued in the same vein for the flap. I know I know, the flap is supposed to be the page where you explore the weekly challenge. But I love my stamped circle so much that I applied it everywhere. My flap is a simple piece of card, gelli printed in plain black and gold on one side, and cyan and gold on the other (with sprayed ink and other detail). On the black and gold side, I glued a piece of newsprint that I love to bits - doodles, paint remnants, Adirondack spray, watercolours, stamped shapes, Distress Stain (tarnished brass), Silks Acrylic Glaze (African Jade and Honey Amber). The whole lot covered in my circles stamp (Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black). I love it so much I could frame it! But maybe first I should find out how long it will take to deteriorate, as newsprint is not archival.

And then every flap has a reverse, and I can't leave that blank! That side is the cyan and gold one. I applied a stencil (yes, from my favourites in Artistcellar) and sprayed Adirondack ink all over.

Here is how it all looks when put together (and in case you're wondering, yes, I did buy a few more rolls of washi tape from my favourite Irish online arts supplier, Evans, this one in gold

Can't wait to fill those pages. I'd better make sure I get the dates right this time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I love trying out new colours

Bushy Park - Watercolour I

My watercolour attempt didn't really work out - I just applied paint without thinking it through. The waterfall itself isn't bad (done with oil pastel). and the wall too is ok. The tree I could live with. But my water is awful. Will have to try again!

Bushy Park - Pastel II

Here is my second attempt at this view of Bushy Park. I think it's better than the previous one, although the waterfall is right in the centre of the picture.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Happy Stamping

Remember the lovely round outline stamp I carved a couple of weeks ago? Well, it's definitely become my favourite stamp! I applied it all over the newsprint paper that I use to protect my desk (I've only discovered newsprint recently, so my desk is way past protecting, but it's never too late!). The paper is full of splatter and colours from my many art projects, and with the outline stamp in black, the result is very striking. I'm going to use this a lot in future journal pages.

My only concern is that newsprint is non-archival. I don't know how long it will take for the colours to fade or change, or indeed if there will be an impact on the page to which it is glued or the facing page. But I'm not expecting future generations to be interested in my art journals, so, as long as there is no immediate impact within the next few years, I'm not too bothered. Plus I'm pretty good at photographing and blogging more or less everything I do, so I'll always have a record, as long as Google don't go bust!

The Documented Life Project - Week 19

RAK - Random Act of Kindness - Week 19's challenge was to document a random act of kindness by me.

From the very start, that was a difficult challenge for me - I couldn't think of anything I've done that would qualify as such. Not that I am an unkind person. I would like to think of myself as kind-hearted. But random acts of kindness? No.

So who better than my other half, BB, to exemplify this virtue!

A couple of weeks ago, we were driving home from the park with Dog (I can't remember why we had decided to drive, maybe there was rain forecast?). BB spotted a brown dog on his own on the other side of the road. So he pulled over at the next chance, got out of the car and brought the dog to our car. I rang the number on the dog's tag and left a message. He seemed like a friendly dog. So we decided to bring him to our local vets to check if he was micro-chipped. He got into the car no problem and happily sat beside our guy in the back. The two of them were quite a picture. When we got to the vets, we attached the leash to the dog's harness, and, again, he happily followed BB into the building. The vets checked his micro-chip and confirmed that the dog was local, that his name was Coco and that he was a regular escape artist. They made contact with the owner, who was at home, and a few minutes later Coco was re-united with his owner.

So, here is to Coco! Visually, not my best page, but this is a lovely story that I will remember for many years. No doubt we will see Coco walking our roads again!

Dublin Maker Fair

BB presented his project, the Doggy Internet Treater, at the Dublin Maker Fair yesterday. It was very well received. And all agreed that our dog is the cutest!

Meet the Maker

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bushy Park

Documented Life Project journals are great to keep the artistic flame alive when you don't have much time on hand. I do miss my watercolour projects. But they do take time to think through and plan. Time that I don't have at the moment. Still, I've got a painting in mind. There will probably be a few iterations before I produce something I'm happy with. Watercolours are such an unforgiving medium, they need such a light touch, but also thorough planning, in order to look luminous and spontaneous. And they need practise too, I believe. I want to achieve an almost abstract quality, but I tend to get lost in detail.

For now, I've decided to play with pastels - another difficult medium, but much more immediate. Here is where I am:

The Documented Life Project - Week 18

Week 18 challenge: incorporate an inspiring quote!

Well, this one was staring me in the face at my desk - one of these quotes I found on Facebook and that somehow spoke to me!

But I really struggled with it. I tried watercolours. I tried handwriting. I tried stamping the words. None of those worked. 

The watercolour was discarded. The handwriting and the stamping had to be gessoed over.

I then cut a piece of card and sprayed over one of my favourite stencils from the Water Series by Artistcellar with Adirondack dye. I typed the words on my computer and printed them to my laser printer. Then I used this fantastic transfer technique, using packing tape (wide sellotape).

I picked two pages on which I had unsuccessfully doodled with my Neocolor II pencils

I cut a new stamp to outline my date circles - I'm very happy with it. But I must be more careful how I store my stamps. Yesterday, I found one of my favourite ones ripped because it had stuck to another stamp I placed on top of it. Maybe there was still some ink on it?

I sprayed more Adirondack over the gessoed page.

I attached my flap to the sketchbook page using washi tape. I only have four rolls of washi tape, but somehow they always seem to work perfectly with my projects. I wish I was as sparse with my other art supplies!!

Called it done!