Friday, 27 January 2012

Anonymous Roses

So today one of my flatmates was very excited as she received some gorgeous flowers...but the card that came with them had no name on it! All very mysterious. Anyway, they are lovely so I took some photos so that you can all appreciate them too!

Aren't they lovely?! If only we knew who they were from....

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bird Sketches

I have moved on from peacock feathers now into a more general area of garden birds- more specifically, English garden birds. I have a vague idea of printing the 'drab coloured' birds in the vivid colours of parrots and birds of paradise etc.
This of course, requires more drawing, and I thought you might like to see some of my sketches.

Some of them came up a bit funny in the scanner so I apologise for the random black bits down the sides and so on. I am particularly proud of my blue jay though, and the sparrow (bottom image) is becoming quite a favourite too.

My work space is looking a little bit like a wilderness with lots and lots of drawings of birds, moodboards, feathers etc. All quite exciting really. (Don't be alarmed by the scary cygnet drawing at the bottom of the photo)

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!! (For Monday)

Did anyone celebrate Chinese New Year? I realise I am a little late in wishing you well, but I have been quite busy. Myself and my flatmates did take time out of our busy schedules to have a Chinese takeaway to celebrate- although three of them then got suspected food poisoning from egg fried rice which dampened the cheery atmosphere slightly.
I got one of those red envelopes filled with chocolate money from my Mum, who had left it secretly in my luggage when the parents dropped me off at university after Christmas. It was hidden in an envelope with  'Don't open until Monday 23rd January' written on it- all very mysterious. I stayed up until midnight on the 22nd so that I could find out what was in it!!

A very lovely dragon on the front there. It is of course, the year of the dragon!!! So I hope you all have a fantastic year!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Felted Cacti

I went out and bought my new copy of Mollie Makes magazine yesteday, and was casually flipping through when I spotted a pattern for felted cacti pin cushions. It was love at first sight and by the end of the day, I had made both of the patterns!

 They are designed to go into small flower pots, although I have yet to find any around here so they will just have to look pretty on their own- at least they stand up by themselves! The felt 'flowers' are pinned into the main cactus so there isn't even any fiddly sewing.

And of course, you can choose how spiky you want your cactus to be with the amount of pins you stick in it!

Friday, 20 January 2012


For Christmas, I asked for some pot plants to brighten up my room, and my cousin very kindly gave me an amaryllis to look after. I was a bit dubious at first but they are very easy to look after and it seems to like my windowsill as it has shot up and already flowered. The flowers remind me of lilies and are white with deep pink flecks.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Funky Seed Pods

Whilst shopping in a garden centre over the Christmas period, I came across these funny looking seed pods (which are now pride of place in my mosaic bowl on the window sill). They have big crater-like things on the surface, which I assume held seeds at one point, and look like a frilled mushroom on the back.

Cool aren't they?
They remind me a bit of a plant I saw in Kew Gardens over the summer- maybe it's the same kind, I have no idea!

A Cold Snap & A Frozen Canal

I saw a funny sight this morning on my way back from lectures- sea gulls hopping around on the surface of the frozen canal!! They obviously couldn't understand it, and kept pecking at the surface; some of them pecked so hard they broke the ice and fell into a hole of their own making- hilarious for me, embarrassing for them!!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Ian Davie & Painted Feathers

I thought I would share with you the work of one of my artist references- mainly because I am completely in love with what he does. His name is Ian Davie and he paints beautifully intricate scenes of wildlife onto swan feathers.

 I especially love the ones where he paints a scene across several feathers.

Whilst researching his work, I discovered that there are many artists who paint onto feathers, a popular one is Julie Thompson aka the Feather Lady.

There's even a website with lots of videos which teach you how to do your own feather painting!

Inspirational Moodboards

So, our latest task has been to collect as many images as we can that relate to our themes and to make moodboards from them (which we will draw from and gather inspiration from later). According to my tutor, my first moodboard wasn't very inspirational, although it had interesting ideas for colour.

 I have developed my idea from peacocks to feathers and then to different kinds of birds, looking at the colour of the feathers and how they are layered. Although for a print project, I think I will need to concentrate more on the shape of the bird as a motif- a few peacock feathers might creep in there though!

So bearing in mind what my tutor said , I came up with this moodboard, which doesn't have the vivid colours, but does have textures and artist referencing and some photos of complete birds.
(Personally I still prefer my first board, but doing two in one session looks good anyway!!)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wire Feathers

Leading on from my previous post, I have been experimenting with making wire feathers in different coloured wires and then overlapping them to see if they give any ideas for pattern making or developments.

 I have also tried reverse colour photocopying them which produced an interesting result.

Peacock Feathers

For several weeks now I have been working on a drawing project based on the idea of peacock feathers. I thought I would show you some of the techniques I have been using. I have tried to be quite varied with my methods, ranging from wire pieces to simple pen drawings.

 So then, starting simple and with some pre-prepared backgrounds, the above sketches are done using watercolour pencils (left) and fine line colour pens (right).

 Some black and white drawings: Using a marker pen and some dots (left) and a really quick mono print over a wax rubbing.

 I really like these examples as I think they look spontaneous and were quite fun to make. Taking some cut out pieces of card from the below drawings, I stuck them randomly back together and flicked coloured ink over it, highlighting some of the paper shapes when dry with a fine line pen.

 This is a layered piece, with the colour coming through from the page underneath. Peacock shapes were cut out of one page and the eye of the feather highlighted on the page below with copper ink and black Indian ink.

 Photocopies are a really nice and easy way of generating lots of work quite quickly. These are reduced scale copies of a wire feather I made, printed onto tracing paper and glued over a tea stained background with straw blown ink. The right hand image is just the negative version of the left- to get the slight variation in colour I simply turned the tracing paper over for a more misted effect.

 String prints are a great way of getting different effects and colours quite quickly. I have found them very useful when experimenting with layouts as you can repeat your motif as many times as you like. These have been printed onto a kitchen towel background with a slight watercolour wash in some areas.

 Again, on the left hand side, we have the string prints, although this time worked over some quick ink and stick drawings. I have simplified the peacock shape by selected which areas of the string print to coat with ink. On the right hand side I have drawn around a peacock feather, then gone over the pencil with masking fluid, painted over that with ink and then when the ink was dry, rubbed off the masking fluid to get a relief pattern.

So these techniques are really simple, although they can be worked into with stitch or developed further, maybe using several techniques on the same drawing. You could bleach or rip up and collage etc