Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Julie Nutting style

I've recently discovered a mixed media artist called Julie Nutting and immediately fell in love with her style of mixed media canvas. I then discovered that she'd written a book "Collage Couture" - thank goodness for Amazon, my purchase arrived about 3 days after I placed my order (not bad!)

I couldn't resist getting started as soon as I received the book - here's my first attempt at a Julie Nutting style canvas. Your thoughts/comments on how it could be improved would be welcome please

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A little card making

I've been returning to my roots and making a few cards on commission just lately. A couple of special birthdays. This one was for a lady that wanted a special 40th birthday card for one of her friends who likes a classy chic vintage style

this one for a young woman's 21st birthday

and finally a card I've made for one of my own Goddaughter's engagements

Reviewing 'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier

Oh dear! This write up is very late but better late than never I guess. We went away for a few days just before Easter and on return I completely forgot to do my write up. Anyway, Rebecca is, quite simply, a work of art. I enjoyed Rebecca from the very first famous opening sentence "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." to the very last page. It wasn't until half way through that I realised that Maxim's new wife, the narrator, remained unnamed. Throughout the entire book Maxim's new wife is only referred to as Mrs de Winter - this in itself adds a touch of mystery and made me wonder how the author managed to write the entire book without giving away the narrator's christian name. The book is described, by some, as a gothic romance but I don't really see why. You could also say that the narrator is the main protagonist if you exclude Rebecca who is actually dead throughout the novel. The characters that Daphne du Maurier created really come alive on the page; they are so real and so well written. I believe this was a very brave novel for Daphne du Maurier to have written at that time as it touches on themes of bisexuality, creating a character that went against the grain of women at that time. We learn that Rebecca was a very strong wilful woman who had a hungry sex drive for men and possibly women. As the book was set in Cornwall (and being Cornish myself) I was interested to find out if Manderley actually exists as there are several properties that resemble the description of Manderley. I discovered that such a place did exist but it's known as Menabilly. Once again I've run out of time to produce a piece of art related to Rebecca but I will follow up when I have more time. The next book I'll be reviewing on 25th April is Stargazy Pie by Laura Lockington.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Reviewing Life of Pi by Yan Martell (Book 2 of 12)

At first I didn't think I was going to get to the end of this book, I found the first half quite tedious if I'm honest. However the second half was very different and at times I found it hard to put down. The story tells of a young boy's struggle to stay alive after his ship sinks in the middle of the ocean. He has a Bengal tiger, a zebra and an orangutan for company - at least at the beginning of his ordeal. At times this story will turn your stomach with the graphic descriptions of the things a man is prepared to do to stay alive. A very exciting struggle for survival and an unexpectedly brilliant story. There is a subtext and in places I began to wonder if he was dreaming or whether these things were actually happening - perhaps he was suffering from sunstroke? It was no surprise then when, at the end of the book these questions were actually raised. Did these animals really exist? How much did I enjoy the book? I'm glad I read it, I'd give it 5/10 but, I have to be honest, it hasn't made me want to go and see the film.

I didn't get an opportunity to make a piece of art connected to this book - maybe I'll do an art journal page at some point and link it back.

The next book I'm reading/reviewing will be 'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier

Thursday, 14 February 2013

More glassmaking

A few weeks back I attended an all-day glass workshop just over the Tamar in Cornwall. We did some fused glass work and also some dichroic glass jewellery making - a very beautiful sparkly type of glass which really appeals to part-time fairies such as myself. Amanda, our instructor, doesn't run these workshops very often so I was very lucky to get a place, along with two lovely ladies, on one of her rare workshops. I would give Amanda's website details here but she doesn't have one. Amanda trades on a small basis through craft fairs part-time and the rest of the time she's a teacher in an infant school. Amanda's teaching skills really came across in her instruction method - she was very clear and encouraging. As well as providing great tuition she also provided a gorgeous lunch. The time went so fast as it tends to do when you are totally absorbed in something and really enjoying what you're doing and all too soon it was time to depart. Amanda told us it would take a few weeks for us to receive our finished articles in the post as they had to be fired in the kiln and then she glued them to the jewellery findings etc. Anyhoo .... on my return from work this evening, sitting inside my front door was a lovely little parcel - all my glass waiting to be discovered. Very often the colour of the glass changes in the kiln process so I was really looking forward to seeing how my pieces turned out. For my second attempt at glasswork I was delighted and I definitely progressed from my first attempt as I even cut the glass myself this time. The photos don't do the colours justice and the watery winter light is absolutely rubbish to take photos by in the later afternoon. Maybe I'll take more at the weekend and update them here. For now here's some photos.

Dichroic pendant on black

Earrings on black

Fused Glass Lightcatcher

Necklace and earrings set
Fused glass coaster
Fused Glass Pendant (with dichroic glass)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Reviewing "The Best of Times" by Penny Vincenzi for the ARC challenge (Book 1 of 12)

This booked begins with a crash on the M4 motorway. It tells the stories of those involved in the crash and the lives that are changed forever as a result of this devastating event. Throughout the book Penny reminds us how life can be changed in a split second. However much we like to think we're in control of our own destiny, life can throw the odd curve ball and nothing will ever be the same again. There are many characters in this book but the author helpfully provides a list of characters and their main relationships at the beginning of the book. I found I referred to this list a couple of times, but not as much as I expected, given the amount of characters involved (a credit to the author I think).

As the story unfolds we begin to discover what brought the characters to be on that motorway, on that day, at that exact moment. We learn that some have secrets they don't want revealed and will go to any lengths to ensure they stay hidden. Others have waited a lifetime to meet a long lost love and journey to the airport to be reunited - now they fear they will never meet again. Everyone in the crash has a story, a poignant reason to be there - we learn how life for all of them will never be the same again. Penny Vincenzi weaves a detailed and rich story about the intertwining of lives and how in one second an event so catastrophic can turn your world upside down. Penny's book is well paced and makes you want to read on to find out what happens next. Slightly predictable but not so much that it becomes boring. I'd give this book 6/10.

Here is the art that I created inspired by this book. It's an ATC and it represents the intertwining of the lives of the characters in the book. I decided to use some zentagle type patterns in reverse (white on black instead of the usual black on white).

Next month I will be reviewing "The Life of Pi" by Yann Martell on 25th February.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Lifebook 2013 - Week 1

Been catching up a little on Lifebook in the last week as well as trying to get some reading done too. Lifebook in the first week was all about anticipating the year ahead, setting some mild goals and acknowledging our blessings that will help us to achieve these goals. Our mission should we have chosen to accept it, was to picture ourselves on a journey using any mode of transport we liked (mine had to be fairy wings - what else?) I chose to do my painting in the style of Lisa Sheldrake an artist I really admire for her simple but effective style. Here's my effort ...

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Artful Reading

Thought I'd give Darcy's challenge a go as I really need to get back into reading - I have a massive pile of books and I need this nudge to get on with it. The arty bit happens when create a piece of art, in any form we like, to the book we've just read and reviewed. The review and a picture of our art will be posted on here (on our own blogs) on the 25th of each month. I'm expecting most of mine to be in the form of art journal pages but at this stage, who knows?

We are to choose/read 12 books, 1 a month. Here are my 12 (in no particular order):

The Ringmaster's Daughter - Jostein Gaarder
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
The Best of Times - Penny Vincenzi
Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Rebecca - Daphne Du Murier
The Pickle King - Rebecca Promitzer
A Vintage Affair - Isobel Wolff
Mind Chi - Richard Israel
Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks saw the trailer for the film tonight at the cinema and it looks brilliant)
Beautiful Creatures - another trailer I saw at the cinema this evening - the glimpse of cinematography looks fascinating, strange but oddly beautiful. Could end up being another Twilight type yawn but we'll see.
Stargazy Pie - Laura Lockington
When God was a rabbit - Sarah Winman

The first book I'll be reading is Penny Vincenzi's 'The Best of Times' as it's the biggest so I thought I'd go for it while I'm enthusiastic. I'll have to get my skates on to blog and create the art on the 25th though.


Hi peeps I just wanted to share these wonderful videos with everyone as I've learned so much about blending and using acrylics from this chap. If you want to learn or improve your technique with acrylic or abstract art I would recommend this guys technique - it's fabulous.