Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thank Goodness For Dottie Angel.

Help. Have just spent way too many hours on an unsuccessful painting - a self portrait for tonights class. I don't think there are enough hours in the world to save this one. I can barely stand to be in the same room as it let alone post it up here. I honestly don't think I have ever been so mortified by a piece of work and it's not just because I painted myself with Soccer Mum arms. I keep going away and coming back to it in the hope it's not that bad (some times that happens doesn't it?) Nope. Still bad. Doesn't help either that I've let the house fall into dissarray in the meantime. Sigh.
Will post a couple of lovely photo from Dottie Angel to cheer myself up!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crush On Yellow Continues Unabated.

This week in continued devotion to yellow I have:


Bought a great Elk bracelet up at our local florist ....


...sprayed an old mirror yellow and hung it up in the hall...


...drank from my favourite glass, a gift from friend Jodie...


...wished badly for a wall done in this flocked wallpaper!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Erica Tanov.



Whenever I find something on the web and fall head over heels in love with it it's always so hard to chose which pics to put up here. I want them all. Like with designer Erica Tanov whose clothes are so lovely. But much credit to the photographer Erica Shires. Look at the way the green in that coat  picks out the green moss on the wall behind. Such inspiring colours. The olivey greens and the bright orangey reds.... And those green leather knee high boots...Drool...

Amateur Self Portrait.

Here is a very amateur self portrait. Myself and the other students were given some charcoal, twenty minutes and a mirror and asked to do our most accurate attempt. Despite all it's flaws I wasn't unhapy with this effort but it is hard to say whether it looks like me. Am I really that stern looking (a boy at high school once described me as having angry eyes)? Feel free to give your opinion. I have had some already. From my partner "You've made yourself look Eastern European / Were you meant to do a caricature?" to my Eleven year old "Wow Mum, you really got your glasses".
One things for sure: in my next self portrait I will be trying to bring out my inner Glamourpuss and Party Girl. Watch out for that one.

The next exercise we were given were self portraits again but listening to some 'evocative' music. We had to draw really quickly and freely, without thinking much and then start another. And then another. I think I ended up doing eight. The idea was that these did not require accuracy but were to bring out something of our inner world. Who are we? That was the night's question. I've put my favourite two here. First is one of me holding Ruby as a baby. This came out easily as only the night before I had dreamt of her as a little girl again and me lying in bed unable to care for her. I'd then spent all day longing to go back and make up for things lost. Grieving too I suppose that my babies are growing up now. Truth is I'd spent the day a bit teary so I was ripe for some art therapy in it's truest sense.
Likewise this last one came out all too easily and is a reference -I am guessing - to either a) a chronic lung disease or  b) an incredibly ugly jumper. True I was not well that day and I am tired of living with chest pain and just wearing the whole thing silently (drawing it, to my amazement, does bring relief) but obviously I am secretly glad to have produced a work with some depth. (Why, I just know the other students were intrigued. eg Why has she portrayed herself in such a hideous jumper? Such depth!! ).
After all this I am itching for a little free time to embroider some babushskas and so forth - make stuff just because it is cute and fun. Have my eye on this little project below straight out of Kelly Dousts lovely book "The Crafty Minx". to do next. So many projects, so little time.....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Learn To Sew Project: Bag No. 4.


This is the final bag I have to show in the whole getting comfortable with a sewing machine endeavour. It is also the one I have struggled with the most. It started out as just sewing a little T shirt with the most beautiful but fragile coral pink raw silk. Having done that I felt obliged to build a design around it. (I really need to get over that!). It must have had something going for it because my daughter claimed it for herself before it was finnished (on spec you might say) but truly I  think it's the little cat buttons which make it (found here on etsy). That and the gorgeous fabrics used. All linen, lined with the most beautiful rose (I just couldn't capture the colours well enough with the photo) and an olive polka dot wool for the backing.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Learning to Draw.



A few weeks in now with the studying and loving it. The fundamentals of drawing and design are being covered and we are expected to keep a visual diary in which we regularly sketch away practising at what we've learnt. So that I don't inadvertently and frivolously doodle away with girls in fun outfitsand find myself at the end of the year with a sketchbook full of them (How Embarrassing) I force myself to attempt interesting and challenging subjects and then reward myself trying pics from Vogue!

Here are my first real efforts of the year. Have decided to brave public scrutiny as I personally find shame to be a fine teacher and excellent motivator. Joking. More like hoping to share here the learning process and with any luck - and lots of hard work - prove (to myself at least) that drawing is something which can be learnt. After all that is what they say....

A couple of years ago I just despaired of my drawing. I had always been the 'good' drawer at school but then done little of it for a long, long time. Then when I did try to draw I was discouraged/disgusted at what I saw and gave up. A year or so ago it occurred to me that all the illustrators I admired, had actually worked hard and studied to get where they were despite their natural talent. Reading an interview with Julie Verhoeven was like a light bulb going off. Oh! You actually have to practice! Someone as gifted as Verhoeven was describing drawing as hard work! I dont know why this wasn't obvious. Why would they have art schools if artists didn't need to learn and practice? And anyway I am always preaching the virtue of practice and putting effort in to my kids. I guess I just didn't like the idea for myself.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Christina Romeo.


I found these mixed media artworks on etsy by Christina Romeo and I think they are lovely. Not only do they feature the yellow I'm crazy about at the moment but I love the fine pencil work in the faces and the combination of machine stitching with hand stitching. Art and craft. She also has a blog if you would like to see more.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Favourite cushions.

My favourite corner of the house at the moment. My beloved red lounge with a Roddy and Ginger cushion and the puffy red cushion I inherited from my grandmother (which always fascinated me when I was little - so typically fifties!). Feel a bit of  a virus coming on so just veged here this morning looking out the window...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Vintage Duds For Little Dudes.



This is what you might be wearing if you were a little dude in 1960s England off to church on a Sunday morning. You would need to team it with a buttoned up shirt off course and some very long socks to stay warm. Possibly even a smart cap.
More clearing out of Grandma's house has unearthed this little suit that belonged to my partner when he was the same age. Do you think I can coax him into wearing it for Grandma's 90th birthday party???

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Death by Drone.

Here is a crazy/cool/funny site. Death by Drone consists of two illustrator/designer friends Tiff and Deb whose wild illustrations adorn their fashion creations. Despite their illustration subjects (dark/humorous allusion to decay, vomit, crooked trees, folklore, babies being trampled by unicorns....)  the clothes are absolutely beautiful. Check them out.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Warning: Disturbing Vintage Themes.


With my mother in law down scaling her possessions to move into a smaller place I was recently the lucky recipient of some vintage children's books. This one of the Pied Piper (1961 I think) particularly appealed. As a child I would have spent hours poring over these illustrations, the black and white more graphic ones appealling the most.

Knowing my youngest had never heard this story before I  grabbed him aside so we could enjoy the book together. I few moments in I remembered the upsetting ending (warning: themes of child abduction and disabled children  being labelled with politically incorrect terms coming up). But we soldiered on and when it came to the Pied Piper luring the town's children away to ensconse them inside a mountain - and then a "lame" boy being left behind - he didn't bat an eyelid. I personally remember finding it  more than just a little unsettling.
But which message to leave him with? Always pay the piper (and keep your promise)? Or never go off with strangers? (Particularly ones with pipes. Especially if it's a pan pipe -they're a bit creepy. And if he's wearing a half red half yellow suit with a crazy cape and hat run and tell a teacher..........