Saturday, 23 September 2017

Two wooden plaques

It was my son's thirteenth birthday on Thursday, so I made him a non-traditional birthday card in the form of a wooden plaque. I used a piece of MDF base that I picked up on Ebay and a set of wooden letters from The Works. I stuck them down with tacky glue, added a couple of strips of drywall tape (imported from the US), gessoed the whole thing and then painted it with acrylic inks. This is what it looked like at this stage:

I finished it off with some gold Lumiere paint, that I dry brushed on top of the letters and I also added a couple of cabochons that harmonized with my colours. My son loved it and said it was the coolest thing I'd ever made for him. Awww! This is what it looks like in its completed state (it has some photos and sentiments on the back):

But that's not all! I was on a roll, so I decided to alter my husband's wooden Man Cave sign that we had bought him for Fathers' Day back in the summer. I always thought it needed altering - the original colour was an unsightly red and white - not at all manly!

I simply black gessoed the whole thing and added several shades of lumiere paints on top it. Oh, yes, before that I also added a strip of the same dry wall tape I used for my son's plaque. The results made the sign look metallic and practically unrecognizable from its original form.

 Happy weekend! I'm planning to take my son shopping today to spend his birthday money. If you want to see previous birthday projects, just click on the birthday label below this post.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

WOYWW #433: My new art room!

It's been four weeks since I last posted but it feels like four months! We were without internet for more than two weeks and I narrowly missed last week's WOYWW. I thought it was unacceptable of BT to make us wait this long, when all it took was a flick of a switch to get us connected, but they redeemed themselves by providing reasonable speeds - we're up and running now, so I'm happy!

We've settled into our new house nicely, though it was a bit of a shock at first and very tiring. Most boxes are now unpacked and the cardboard taken away. Even I (being a hoarder of reusable materials) couldn't have reused all that cardboard in a lifetime!

It took me a couple of weeks to set up my art room - I thought I'd give you a little tour today. These are the three main storage areas of the room, using bits and pieces of eclectic furniture salvaged from our old house:

At first I thought of putting my desk (our old dining table) against the back wall, where it would have fitted quite neatly, but then I decided to place it so I can still look out the window sideways. I will cover that grey feature wall inherited from the previous owners with gelli prints. I've already started on it:

Oreo has been unsettled by the move. He's definitely more needy and doesn't like to be left alone, which is becoming a problem at night. We used to lock him in the conservatory in our old house and he was always fine with that. He now makes a racket trying to get out and has even managed to open the door somehow! Then he goes gallivanting around the house at night disturbing our sleep. We'll have to find a solution soon! Installing a cat flap might be the answer, but we haven't let him out yet. Here he is discovering that there are bunnies in the garden! Hopefully, he'll leave them alone.

That's it in a nutshell. I could go on and on but I don't want to keep you up when you have all those other desks to visit. I will go around visiting as soon as I can, though it won't be until later in the day. We couldn't get our son into the local middle school for Y8, so we're homeschooling for now, while waiting for a place to become available. It's hard work and takes up most of my time, but hopefully it's just for a few months. See you soon! 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

WOYWW #429: We are packing!!!

Many of you were horrified last week that we hadn’t started packing up the house yet. Well, we are well and truly packing now as you can see from the photo. My work desk for WOYWW is buried somewhere underneath the boxes and clutter. Our move date had to be postponed again until Tuesday 29th due to some outstanding legal matters. At least it will give us the bank holiday weekend to tie up loose ends, but it had better not fall through now as we have half our stuff packed into boxes already.

There are two things I have learned while packing: a) I have more acrylic paint than I will ever need and b) my hubby is just as much a hoarder as I am (only most of his stuff is stashed in the garage and the attic)! Here’s a photo I took of all my acrylics packed in a box – and it’s a very deep one - it weighs around 12 kg (almost 2 stones)! All of them fitted in this one box perfectly – how neat!

Of course, Oreo is on cloud 9 with all these boxes around and likes to get into the one that you’re in the process of packing. I just left for a quick tea break to return to this:

There you have it - possibly my shortest WOYWW post ever, but I wanted to let you know what's happening. I expect I’ll be off grid next week, but I will be around for the rest of this week to visit your desks. 

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

WOYWW #428: Possibility

My internet connection seems a bit temperamental this morning, but I hope I can squeeze in a WOYWW post quickly - the signal comes and goes, but I'll try to work around it. My desk shot was taken on Saturday - good thing I took a photo as I haven't had the opportunity to do anything since then with my hubby off work and the house move upon us. Our date has been pushed to next week now, so we'll just wait and see. We still haven't packed anything but we got rid of our old sofa, so we have nowhere to sit in the living room, but at least we'll have some extra space to stack up the boxes. But back to my desk...

I dry brushed three colours on this page, layering them in the process, rather than blending them. I then added pieces some of my eroded papers and a monochrome gelli print from last week. Here are a couple of photos of the process:

I got stuck at this stage, until I played around with some pyramid shaped teabags and realised that the triangles could turn those tags into houses! This in turn made the skeleton leaves look like trees and the doily look like part of the landscape. It's not something I planned - it just happened! The addition of found poetry completed the spread. Don't look for rhyme or reason in the poem - it's just something random that I thought sounded interesting. Here are some shots of the completed spread:

Remember my rainy video from last Wednesday? We still had an amazing sunset that same day. I took this photo on my regular walk down the lane that evening. This is something I will definitely miss when we're gone, but hopefully, there will be other nice things to replace it.

Yesterday we went back to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard while our tickets from last year were still valid. They had this fun deck chair on board the HMS Warrior, that I thought was worth sharing:

And here's a photo of the ship itself, built in 1860, just around the time when steam ships started to replace sailing ships. I couldn't take a proper photo last year as it was tipping down with rain, but we had a glorious day yesterday. 

Happy WOYWW! 
I'll be around visiting as many of you as I can during the course of the week, if I can't make it today.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

WOYWW #427: Monochrome gelli prints

I could have titled this post 'Confessions of a pluviophile'. After our incredibly hot June/July, I didn't really expect this washout for August, but you know what - I'm enjoying it! And to match the grey skies, I decided to try some gelli printing in black & white only. Someone online suggested that they make great collage pieces, as they match all colour schemes, so I had to try!

This was the view of my desk yesterday:

I used some stencils to create patterns and later stamped on top of my prints too. Here are the finished prints and some closeups as well: (if you see any hints of colour, that was left-over paint on my plate)

I'm pretty sure it was the rain that inspired these gloomy prints - I just didn't feel like doing colour. I love the smell and sound of the rain - not necessarily when I'm out and about, but there's something so atmospheric about being indoors while it's raining outside. It makes me happy, despite the doom and gloom! I took this video to capture the atmosphere in our little garden this morning. It will be lovely to look back on it in years to come when we have moved on.

Our house move seems to be proceeding but we still haven't exchanged contracts so anything can happen. There have been some hiccups along the way causing confusion and uncertainty. We may be moving as soon as August 18th. I'll let you know when it's definitely happening. Enjoy the weather, rain or shine, wherever you are in the world! And happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

WOYWW #426: Fragile II

I got a bit panicky yesterday realising I had nothing to share for WOYWW so I quickly got down to business. My project was inspired by an old Donna Downey class called Metamorphosis. I didn't take the class, but by using some of Donna's techniques I'd learned in her other classes, I attempted to emulate a similar look. I used a piece of heavyweight Khadi paper that acted almost like a canvas board and turned out to be the perfect substrate for this project. I coated one side with a mixture of joint compound (Polyfilla) and white gesso followed by a layer of ultra matte fluid medium, which provided an excellent surface for an image transfer. My desk shot was taken during the proceedings of the image transfer. It turned out near perfect, which is not always the case!

Following the image transfer, I added and partially removed a layer of quinacridone nickel azo gold and a layer of raw umber. By adding and removing the paint, it gets into the little crevices of the surface, creating some lovely texture. This is what it looked like at this stage:

Next, I did some stencilling with Payne's Grey acrylic paint...

...and then added the finishing touches of found poetry, doodles and paint marks and splatters.

Here are some close-up shots:

The found poetry concept is a godsent when you're lost for words. (The letter 'e' at the end of 'escape' got splattered with a drop of paint - I didn't notice this until after I took the photos, but I have now corrected it with a pen. There's always a chance of that happening!) Make what you want of my poem - it can have many interpretations. My current interpretation has got to do with our imminent house move, which is still hanging in the air. Hopefully, we'll know more next week.

While we're still here though, I took this photo of a rainbow over our housing estate. It was raining on one side of the house but not the other!

Instead of an Oreo photo this week, let me share this one of a very similar looking cat I came across online (and blatantly stole it). I find it so funny!

Hope you're having a good week! 
Happy WOYWW!