Monday, March 17, 2014

Janet Matthews wildlife drawing workshops.

Two years ago I posted photos here of the workshops I did with Janet back then - the first one on drawing owls, and the second on Rainbow Lorikeets.  I did another one last year, but as I hadn't finished the drawing when the workshop ended, I didn't bother posting anything here.
Today I took my fourth workshop with Janet, and we learned how to draw Superb Blue Wrens.  I managed to finish my drawing, and was so chuffed that when I got home, I pulled out last year's drawing of a Green Tree Frog and finished it!  Here they are, complete with the photos we based our drawings on.  The frog looks like it is done on pink paper.  It isn't - I don't know what happened when I took that photo tonight - I took the other one a minute later, and it isn't tinted pink!
  If you want to see the exquisite work that Janet herself does, you can see it on her website here.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another CSV workshop, February 2014

I did another workshop at the Calligraphy Society of Vic. with my friend Val. This one was a lot of fun, and greatly enjoyed by the dozen people who participated. To start off, the tutor showed us how to tint watercolour paper using diluted acrylic inks. To add interesting effects, we did things to the paper while the ink wash was still wet. Dropping salt crystals on the page. Putting gladwrap over it and leaving it until it dried, creates lovely marks. Pressing bubble wrap on the paint and lifting it off. Sprinkling drops of water over the painted area. Here are a few of my example (the gold leaf is explained below):
The page below had salt rock crystals dropped into the wet green paint, and when it was dry I wrote the alphabet at random with a calligraphy pen.
 The blue page here (which was one page later cut into sections) had gold leaf adhered to it, and when dry, this was sandpapered to allow the blue paint to show through.  I wrote the word in calligraphy pen over the gold. 
The above page was the first attempt at adding colour to the paper.  I was going to leave the gold capital R on its own, but went over the top and added the other writing and slashes of colour.  The gold R was done by painting the inside of the outline with acrylic gold size and laying gold leaf over it.  When it was dry, the excess gold leaf is brushed away to leave the letter.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cards using paint sample swatches

Don't you love going into home decorating stores and seeing the wall of paint sample colour swatches!
I have often felt like taking a bunch of them home, for no particular reason, but I've resisted that urge until now.  I discovered a blog that shows what you can do with those little colour cards.   I went searching the internet for more ways, and found there are dozens of neat things you can make!  But I don't have time at the moment, so I just helped myself to a dozen sample cards at Bunnings, and made three Christmas cards with some of them.  Here is the link to the site with the details of how to make them.
Sorry about my shadow over the cards - I would have taken another photo, but the camera battery was flat and this was the last one I took before it 'died'...:-(


Experiments in painting.

Last Sunday I did a workshop at the Light Factory in Eltham.  It was run by Lynne Lund, and was advertised as a 'fun class in which to learn about a variety of mediums'.  There were only five students, which was good for us because we all got more individual attention than if there had been more people.
Lynne spent the morning demonstrating how to use oil, watercolour, acrylic and pastels, then we had to make up our mind which medium to use to paint a picture in the afternoon.

I chose pastels along with another student, as I've had very little experience with them and wanted to learn more.  The other girls chose various paint mediums.   Lynne set up a still life of white flowers in a blue and white vase, against a black background.  She wanted us to stick to one or two colours, to make it simple, but I found it very difficult using pastels, so she suggested that I bring more colours in to my work.  After an hour struggling to draw something that resembled  a vase of flowers, and failing miserably, I called it quits, and turned to oil paint.  Within half an hour I'd done a painting using just one colour, and everybody was most impressed!  But I was able to achieve that because I'd previously had classes in the technique.
 
The other girl who was using pastels was also having a hard time of it, and I said to her my pastels were going straight to the opshop next week as I can't see myself using them again!  Lynne overheard me and said 'Don't give up so soon!  If you took some more classes which focussed only on pastels, you would probably find it easier and more enjoyable".  She's right, and I was only joking about taking them to the opshop, as I would like to have another go with them, as I really like the effect of pastel drawings in art shows.
I like water colour too, and failed in my attempts using that last year, but want to try again.  Maybe next year I'll find some classes where I can focus on learning those two mediums.  Not one day workshops - a six or eight week course is much better.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Calligraphy workshop.

Last Sunday I spent most of the day with Val at a workshop put on by the Calligraphy Society of Victoria.  Most of their classes are held at Melbourne University where they rent a room for their meetings, but this time the lady running the workshop had it at her studio behind her house.  There were six of us and we were drooling over M's studio, which had been a garage, but converted to the studio after she outgrew one of the bedrooms in the house.  What we could all do if we had unlimited funds and unlimited space!

The workshop was actually a two day one, but Val and I hadn't wanted to commit ourselves to two days in a row so M. very kindly invited us to pay half the fee and just attend on Sunday.  The workshop was all about Christmas.  M. showed us how to make an insert for a plastic coaster and a key ring holder, how to put your own writing on a candle, and how to write on those metallic Xmas tree decorative balls.

Val and I had lots of practising to do before we got to the stage of writing the words to be used on our items.

  See the two really beautiful scrips in boxes?  That's not my work - M did that as an example for me to follow.  I think she was having me on....

I wasn't feeling well (had a cold coming on) that day, and after I'd spent all morning on this piece I decided enough was enough, and gave it to M. to scan and reproduce for me to cut up to put into cards or coasters.

The candle was an interesting exercise.  We wrote a name on a piece of tissue paper which was then burnt on to the surface of the candle with a special burning tool.  (That is a simplified explanation - it wasn't that easy, but will do for the purpose of describing it for this blog).

These decorative balls were tricky to do.  We had to write a name on the ball with a tube of glue, and while it was still sticky, dip the ball into a tray of sparkly stuff, which stuck to the glue.  By this time in the afternoon, I was feeling so ill I could hardly concentrate, so I packed it in and went home, feeling disappointed with myself.  If I'd been feeling my usual self, I would have done a much better job of all these little projects!  But it was a fun day.

This is an example of what the other students were doing.  They were all long term members of the society and attend most of the workshops.  They told me that the only way to keep improving is to keep doing the workshops, and they were right.  I just don't get the time, but it's my own fault for having too many hobbies!


Friday, November 1, 2013

More origami from Val.

The last time Val came over to my place, she brought some little bags she'd made from wall paper. She asked if I knew of anywhere we could get some wall paper scraps, and as we are having our house painted at the moment, and have been getting sample paint pots, I asked the shop if they had any wall paper offcuts or sample swatches, and they gave me a bundle of bits. So when we got together again last week, Val was able to show me how to make these little gift bags. I used a scrap of black and silver wall paper with a silver grey ribbon.

Knowing how much I love little tiny things, Val made me another one of her REALLY tiny books! You can see just how small it is by the second photo showing it beside a fountain pen.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Val's origami.

Val finds such interesting projects!  I love seeing what she has found and made herself.  These two little boxes are made from greeting cards.  The front is used for the top part of the box and the back of the card is used for the bottom half.   Val found the tutorial on YouTube for the owl box, but she made the kitten one in traditional origami style, just folded, with no glue.



Another of Val's little treasures - a tiny concertina 'book' with a message inside. I put the pen beside it so you can see how tiny it is.


Hand made Christmas cards.

Val showed me a quick and easy way to make cards - she discovered it on YouTube and as I have to make nine cards for a website exchange this year, I got busy!
The first five are made from card stock and Xmas wrapping paper.

These four are made from patchwork fabric scraps.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oil Painting workshop.

It has been so long since I've done any painting or drawing.  If I've done any craft at all lately it has been needlecraft or patchwork and quilting.   I had been booked into three painting workshops at the Light Factory in Eltham earlier this year, but they were all cancelled due to not enough people enrolling.
Finally I got an email saying they were going ahead with an oil painting for beginners workshop on Saturday, and did I want to attend.  Did I what!   I've accumulated four boxes of oil paint tubes that have been at our opshop over the past year or so, but I didn't dare play with them because I didn't know enough about how to use oil paints.
The workshop on Saturday was with Vicki McInnes who is a well known artist around these parts.  I've have been looking forward to doing classes with her, and I wasn't disappointed.  There were only three students - me, a man and his son, so we got all Vicki's attention which was great.  She is an excellent teacher, and I learnt so much about using oil paints, it really inspired me to use them again soon.  I enjoyed using them more than I did acrylics or watercolours when I first started learning to use those.  I still want to do more classes using those media, as well as pastel, and Vicki told me she runs classes in pastel, so I'll be looking out for those in the future. 

Vicki spent the morning explaining how to use oil paints, and demonstrating her techniques.  In the afternoon we did one painting ourselves, with Vicki overseeing our efforts.   We did still life indoors rather than go outside, and my choice of objects was an old brass plate with a rose, on a background of white damask cloth.
It got smudged today when I picked it up to have a look, and didn't realise it was still wet!  Ooooh, naughty girl.  Vicki did warn us that oils can take days or longer to dry!
I won't have time for any more painting for a few weeks, as I've committed myself to a swap of hand made Christmas cards - nine of them. I'll do some with paper, and some using patchwork fabric.