Friday, 27 February 2015

Fabric contest, more neckwarmers and the motorway mermaid

Strange sort of month, not the best so pleased it's nearly done.

I very quickly knocked up a fabric design for this weeks Spoonflower contest as I've not joined in for ages, the subject was Cubist Cats. Loads of entries as cats are always popular, here's mine.






More neckwarmers have been crocheted as it's still blooming freezing in the house and you can't have too many neckwarmers!






Another flying visit north and a quick shot of the motorway mermaid at Cumbernauld, like the colours on this one compared to shots I've had of her before.


And finally, a little treat out with a birthday meal and a belated Christmas meal for me and my friend. We tried a new Italian in Beverley and it was very nice. Like the colours lighting the bandstand in the market place. Makes it look sort of icy and it certainly was a chilly night.



Friday, 13 February 2015

What a grey day!

I usually like Friday 13th's but today it's so grey and damp and chilly. 

So here are some colourful brooches I've been making, bit too late for Valentines but I'll list them as Mothers Day gifts in my shop.







We still have a bit of icy slushy stuff hanging around here because there are some parts the sun never shines on the driveway and it's an even bigger mess than the previously muddy pictures I've shown.
Some renovation work is going on, not to the house, no that would be far too practical, but to some disused sheds! The builders and their digger have chewed things up to a state it's virtually only passable in a 4WD, good job I don't have visitors. I try to put people off calling as it's so awful, slippery and dangerous. It looks like a building site with no health and safety taken into account.

Here's some mud, and the landlords expect us to drive up and down this daily, our car is permanently brown, and I have to wade through it to drag the bin up about 100m and it doesn't wheel very well through mud and all the ruts and potholes. It's just disgusting.
We were told the drive will be sorted when the builders finish, I reckon that will be months.






I will finish with a very nice tree. This tree is a marvellous specimen which grows outside my hairdressers and I finally captured a pic of it yesterday when I went for a trim.
One of it's branches, on the left, stretches fully across the path towards the road like a bridge for you to walk under.





Monday, 2 February 2015

Thirty year old school artwork

A friend nominated me to join in the #ArtChain challenge were over a stretch of 5 days you show and tell with 3 images of art a day. I'm sure some of you have been doing this also.

I decided to start the challenge in some sort of arty chronological order which started with work I kept from school days. When I was in the fifth and sixth form art was the only subject I really enjoyed, which is probably why I still have my old portfolio with quite a selection of work in. It does smell rather fusty and musty from being in parents attic and now living with me for 7 years in damp, cold, rented properties and the fact it is over thirty years old now.

Anyway whilst I was digging through the fusty old bits of paper I took the opportunity to photograph some of my favourite pieces before moths or other such nasties eat into it which is always a danger with living here.

For my own record I am displaying the pictures here with a brief description.

Pencil drawings were always a big part of art lessons and there was much encouragement to get contrast and different line thickness in there. I used to love collecting a good range of HB pencils for doing my drawings. I didn't particularly like doing the 2 pieces below, rather boyish subjects of tools and an old engine but I persevered!



I was much happier drawing plants.



Or trying to do something a bit more surreal, I did a study of a shoe first and then had the idea to do a shoe coming out of a gramophone, it's a bit rubbish but there must have been a reason for it!



This was quite a large painting I did, 4 sheets of A2 stuck together and the idea was to explore human form and we also made ceramic figures to go with this project.
I've never done much in the way of figurative work since.


Something else I haven't particulary pursued since school is working with pastels, for no other reason than it seems too messy in my already messy world.
Going from the dates on these, I completed them just as I left school in '83.

I used to enjoy doing pastels in a limited colour palette, the first pic is the Market Place in the Old Town, Hull.
Next we have rooftops in a German village from a holiday snap and lastly Piccadilly Circus. 
I do still have a soft spot for the naive charm with these.




Moving on to work which I suppose we call mixed media today. I've always been and still am a big fan of collage. You can see my musical taste of the time with this top ensemble.


My work started to take a more graphic approach in the sixth form as I took images and deconstructed them and reconstructed patterns, probably a hint that I would end up doing graphic fabric designs today.
The bottom pic is a red pepper, I seem to remember doing something similar with a tomato but that hasn't survived.



Finally, to finish off with, this is a piece of work from '82 which I still quite like and it took absolutely ages because all the colour is made from tiny ripped up pieces of colour magazines. It is a scene around the marina area of Hull, looking across the dock to some old warehouses.


Thursday, 29 January 2015

A weekend on Skye

It's a long way to go, 9 or 10 hours drive up... hit the hay for a few hours had one full day meeting up with people and doing things, then drive all the way back the next day. We must be mad but we love it.

Not many hotels open this time of year so had to opt for something a bit more extravagant than our usual bargain basement accommodation. We stayed in a lovely suite in the turret of this hotel, the Cuillin Hills.


The hotel does indeed look across the bay to the Cuillin Hills, this is the view from the dining room, it's early morning so a bit bleak and misty looking but you can just see the colourful buildings along Portree harbour.


I like this hotel, they have a proper full veggie breakfast on the menu and it comes with veggie haggis, yummy :)


I also liked the hotel because it had that one thing I always long to find in a country hotel in winter, a roaring fire. I can honestly say this was the warmest I had been for weeks, maybe months and I didn't have to wear vests and long johns for 2 days! Plus, they have a most interesting and extensive whisky menu.


Now I'm no connoisseur but I do find the tastes and smells of whisky as interesting as single estate coffee. Just look at some of the prices per glass, we are talking rare and unique drams.Talisker is the local Skye whisky, we have some origins and tasting notes here



This is the cabinet of all those rare spirits.


There was a nice dusting of snow on the mountains with a windswept and interesting view around every corner.





I just had time to visit friends in Skye Batiks who I'm currently doing some more design work for and I picked up a square scarf with my design on. They had some patchwork packs of batik remnants, not the hand loom fabric, and I think you got 1.6m worth of fabric for £10. I think they had some hand loom fabric to buy per metre but I didn't actually see it which was a shame, I forgot to look, I was so engrossed with their other lovely clothes.


Back here and back to the cold conditions, hope it's not too cold or snowy where you are this week.