Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Mixed Media Scavenger Hunt for Christmas

We have a group called "Mixed Media Scavenger Hunt" on Freeing Your Wings for which we create a mix of pieces each month using 6 items listed for the hunt. For our November/Christmas hunt our words were: berries, bracken, evergreen, frost, rosy cheeks and mittens. Last Friday my little grandaughter and I made this little montage for my garden on the front step! You should be able to see all the items but just in case you are having trouble finding the frost .....Rose glued some icy sparkle onto the roof of the house and the rosy cheeks and mittens are on the snowman!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Brighton Pavilion Christmas Ice Rink

How lovely to see the Christmas open air ice rink back in place for 2011 outside the beautiful Brighton Pavilion. It really brings good feelings to see such a festive picture, don't you think?

Friday, 18 November 2011

A beautiful find.....

I had such a nice day with my dear friend Carol today. It started off with coffee and a croissant and then we went onto the Brighton MADE Fair which is held every year in November and which we go to together every year too. This is a wonderful "fair" as it is a gathering of extremely talented artists of every walk of "arty/creative life". This year I completely fell in love with one particular artist whose work is shown above. This lovely lady, Angela Davies, was so sweet and let me take a photo of her beautiful work to put onto FYW. Photos are not allowed in the exhibition because people often copy ideas but I explained to Angela about FYW and those of us on here who love to "art journal". For me, her stand was art journalling in 3D. It was fabulous and my photo does not do it justice. It is just a small part of what was on display. She makes lots of "book art" which I know many of my fellow art journallers would love. You can see the range of her work on her website which is Anyway it was, as always a lovely day out and, as we always do, Carol and I bought each other a small present each for Christmas. We have been doing this for years and I have a wonderful little selection of arty bits and pieces that we have chosen together at one or other of the Christmas Art Fairs we go to! If you are a local member, the Art Fair is on until Sunday and well worth a visit.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Live with Art - It's good for you!

I remember just before I got ill in 2002 and had to retire from my job as a primary headteacher, that I was asked to give a lecture to newly qualified teachers on the importance of art within education. I remember compiling a whole page of wonderful quotes to this end and it was one of the handouts I gave to the attendees. It was a really successful and enjoyable session and I remember it very fondly as so many of the young teachers came up to me afterwards to say that they were now inspired to not just teach art but to teach "through" art, that I had opened their eyes to something they had not thought of before. Mostly this was because they thought they were no good at art themselves. How did that happen I wonder?? Well we all know the answer to that.... Anyway, this was one of the very last things I did as a headteacher as only about a week later I was so ill with my (at that time unknown) cancer that I was no longer able to go to work. Some weeks later my deputy sent on to me a batch of letters from these same students saying what a difference to their teaching that day had made. I still get a thrill from that for I was a passionate believer in all the creative and expressive arts as a teacher. Art, in all its forms, does so much for young children and at the time I got ill, it was being sidelined out of the curriculum to such an extent that newly qualified young teachers had no confidence to teach it. I was certainly carrying the banner for the arts at that time and I was leading a series of lectures on art, dance and drama in particular as I was going downhill fast with my illness. But, now 11 years later, those last few weeks of my career still linger in my memory because the funny thing is that I never had any confidence in myself as an artist either. Art journalling and the wonderful people you meet through doing it, brought my inner fears right out and tossed them right away for me. So..... I still believe in the joy, the healing, the flying high that we can get when we express ourselves through art and I am so happy I have others still to share this with. Tags:

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Four Angel ATCs

I painted these four angels ATCs yesterday for the Christmas ATC Swap on Freeing Your Wings. (You will find this swap in the "Trading Treasures" group on the site - beautifully and lovingly organised by Angela). I am always disappointed when the photos of my paintings show up what I consider to be blemishes even when they are not evident on the real thing. Today I have come to the conclusion that it is because I use cold pressed water colour paper which has that ridgey effect. I use neocolour II water colour crayons and it seems to me that unless you blend them in with a touch of acrylic, they possibly don't cling to the surface perfectly. It has never struck me before but looking at this reproduction I think that could be the case. In "real life" the colours blend absolutely fine but I suppose that is just what the light is showing me as in the photograph I can see places where it does not. I am not going to do any more with them as I was fairly pleased with them particularly the profile angel with the dark brown hair and being so small, every altered brush stroke has the potential to make a huge difference. Still, I can really see the learning potential here in taking a photograph of my work each time. I know that my art guru Tam, always recommends hot pressed paper which has a smooth finish and I am guessing this is why. If she wasn't 4 days overdue in having her second baby I would ask her but I suspect she has other things on her mind. Maybe one of these angels I have painted is looking after her and her baby just now. I would like to think so.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Leonardo Exhibition

La Belle Ferroniere
Lady With An Ermine The National Gallery has really pulled off a coup with the Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition which has just opened in London. I hope I manage to get there but in the meantime have at least been able to watch the Sky Arts programme which in itself is mesmerising. I must admit to knowing nothing really about the two paintings above and did not realise they are held to be so revolutionary in that they were the very first portraits to "break the mould" of profile portraiture which had been the traditional way of recording the rich and famous up to that point. Both ladies are rumoured to be mistresses of the Duke of Milan, although some sources believe La belle ferroniere may be his wife. These portraits are considered to be perfect examples of Leonardo's desire to show the personalities and emotions of his sitters, to really get inside them and to bring them to life in every sense of the word. It is interesting that the National has arranged them so that La belle ferroniere seems to be glaring at the woman with the ermine.....which led the presenters to add to the speculation that she was the duke's wife and the other his mistress!

A piece of very good advice....

To have a whole day in which I am free to paint is ....despite the fact I am now retired.... still a rarity. But.. I have one today! Happy me. :-)

Friday, 11 November 2011

A little more autumn......

A little more autumn indulgence..... I so love this season and I also really love this piece of music! I hope you enjoy it too.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Two Christmas arty challenges

We have two Christmas arty challenges just posted on my social network site Freeing Your Wings The first is in our "Trading Treasures" Group which is an ATC (Artists' Trading Cards) Swap, organised as always by my dear friend, Angela. Our Christmas theme is "Angels." This is a really lovely group and if you enjoy swapping small pieces of art, why don't you join FYW and join us in the Trading Treasures Group? We don't work under pressure, always time to complete without a panic as we have members across the Atlantic who always join in. Angela makes each "Swap" arrival a joy as she parcels up our little cards just like the beautiful gifts they are! Secondly in Freeing Your Wings we have a Christmas challenge in our "Mixed Media Scavenger Group". Usually any creative piece is fine, anything from a painting, poem, story, montage, collage, photo etc etc. This time I have asked everyone if they will join with me to create a little montage in the don't need a big garden, mine is tiny only comprising of a verandah and a few steps. A windowsill would do! Create a montage using : Berries Evergreen Frost Bracken Mittens Rosy cheeks. I did one last year for example using snowflake, fir cone, angel, Christmas tree, bird and star. Here it is to give you an idea:
I was very lucky really as I had bought the little snowflake ornament as you can see but then it snowed for real! Join in if you would like too please! And....please check out our site if you have not done so yet. We have a really special group of lovely people on it! Go to

Feeling pleased...

Over the last few days I have "met" a few lovely new people, thanks to Tam (Tamara Laporte) showing three pieces of my artwork on her site Willowing. (A fabulous site if you are an art lover by the way I was just reading the great artblog of a new friend Pippa who I have met because Tam did this.....such a lovely way to meet new people and find we have such similar interests. A reminder of the good side of the techno revolution...I have met some lovely new friends through art sites and blogs. Anyway, like Pippa, I felt really chuffed that Tam had chosen three of my pictures to highlight too. So perhaps I will enjoy it a little and pop them on here as well. Anyway here are the ones Tam chose....
This is part of a faerie on canvas I painted during Tam's Magical Mythical Makings course.
This is the face of my goddess which was also painted on canvas on the same course.
And this was a pencil drawing I did ..... I posted this recently I know but was so pleased Tam picked her too. Forgive me if I have posted them all before. If I had hundreds of paintings to choose from, it wouldn't happen....but I am learning so the choice is restricted! Anyway....thank you Tam ....not just for highlighting a bit of my work which really has done my self esteem the world of good....but also for introducing me to new friends.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Life's simple pleasures

Twice a week I walk my two eldest (not exactly old being 3 and coming up for 6) grandchildren to school and nursery in nearby Steyning. Every time I am there the beauty of being in the country hits me like new. Instead of walking out of my house into a busy main road, I walk out of my daughter's house into a beautiful little village and we make our way through a series of twittens to the local school and then on through the churchyard, park and across the "faerie" bridge to nursery.No matter what the weather we are always accompanied by birdsong and, now in the autumn, all along the way we pick up acorns, pine cones and conkers scattered along the ground. It is is joy to be up early in the morning with a purpose again on those days and even though I have to wait at the bus stop in the dark, my bus stop is right next to the sea and on several occasions lately, I have watched the sunrise over the water as I have waited for my bus. Sometimes we are reminded so beautifully of how lucky we are and never more so than when we stop to take in the natural beauty around us. Wherever we are in the world, Mother Nature paints her own pictures and as I get older, I notice even more details within those paintings. One of the things that I am so grateful for is the opportunity to share these simple joys with my grandchildren, knowing that they will grow up appreciating the simple pleasures of life and the beauty of the natural world. It does wonders for days when we get tired and stressed with all the electronic barrage going on around us all nowadays, don't you think? Let's all try and find a little time to enjoy the beauty around us, wherever we are in the world, this weekend.