Have gone in for grunge in a big way with the collection of 5 Christmas cards created using recycled paper and prints from my original lino cuts. Each iconic image of a Venetian landmark has been treated with a distressed effect to give the finished image a weathered and old, grungy feel to it. They make a change from the usual images if someone is looking for something a bit different. Every card is different for the simple reason that each of them is printed by hand.
As usual, please be aware that the colour reproduction on the site is not perfect so the photographs are intended as a guideline only.
They actually take quite some time individually as the mixed media all dry at different speeds (inks, acrylic and tempera) meaning that I only manage to do one print at a time and then have to wash the lino and brushes – dry everything before moving on to do another print.
But I just love the muted shades which emerge for each print. Every single one is always different as it is impossible to produce the same effect every time. They really are unique and always a surprise, however well I think I know how the colours will combine!
Now I have to put them all inside their ivory coloured cardstock frames…
Still no time to cut any new lino, but I already cut about 15 different subjects, so there is quite a good selection of local monuments for people to choose from…
I mentioned some salvaging I had done – or rather – my husband had done on my behalf – of display items which had been thrown out by a local store – they never actually went in the garbage by the way! Well I have a dozen of them sitting in my craft room, and this weekend I decided to put one of these boards to the test with paints and heavy colouring treatment to see how well it survived.
I’m actually quite pleased with the results even though I consider this to still be a work in progress as I am not 100% satisfied with the painting – there are still a couple of areas I will be giving my attention to – a few more details to be added. I have included an image here anyway so that you can see for yourselves the direction the work is taking.
I knew I was going to be using metallic paints and inks, so I wanted the base/background to have a sort of grungy copper type effect with a touch of ‘verdigris’. That was achieved using an earthy/orange coat of paint and a dark umber, both of which were brushed on with a large brush in a very irregular manner. I then used my brayer wrapped with randomly wrapped string to add streaks of turquoise. When everything had dried nicely I used a background stamp for adding minute gold details.When all the upper layer 3D details (created using my hot glue gun) were dry and painted, I sponged the whole painting with black shoe polish and quickly rubbed away some areas to reveal the gold details below.
Great fun, though very smelly! Make sure you keep your windows open if you try this.
Might seem a little bold and osé, but give careful consideration to a thorough rummage through the dustbins of your local clothing (and not only) chain stores.
It is common practice for them to change the store display quite frequently, and most of the old display will end up in the dustbins. It goes without saying that an awful lot of what they chuck out will be of very little ‘aesthetic’ interest, but just a small percentage bears giving a second thought – and in many cases, a second chance.
My hubby works very close to a well-known clothing store which has just changed its display and thrown out a couple of dozen large, cardboard based, photographic images. Each of them is about 70 x 50 cms. My daughter has already taken away a couple that she likes for the bare walls in her new apartment, and I am waiting to see what others hubby brings home from the collection to make a final decision about what goes up in the studio.
What’s left over I will offer to neighbours and some students across the way. I reckon quite a few people will be pleased that we went garbage picking!
NB. You would probably be wise to ask for permission to ‘rummage’ so as not to infringe any laws on privacy etc. Better still ask the manager to give you the stuff before they throw it in the bins!
I may have mentioned that for a number of reasons we have been downscaling our home. One reason was the need (albeit theoretical) to pack our 30 years of marriage into a barge. A more immediate reason has been my daughter’s 99% move away from home. By my calculation, the remaining 1% can be put down to her dirty washing which still finds its way into my washing machine all too often.
So sorting through her mountains of ‘must-keeps’ I came across this old scrap of cardboard dating back to her ‘Gothic period’, a very trying time for both of us. For her because she was going through that terrible adolescent stage of ‘I-hate-the-world-and-nobody-understands-me-least-of-all-that-idiot-of-a-mother’, whilst I, for my part, was suffering a similar sense of distress for my apparent incapacity to keep things on track.
But anyway, finding this declaration immortalised by her own hand, I somehow felt a duty to keep it within ‘eye-shot’ so to speak, just to remind me of what we had come through together.
She could hardly believe that I had actually paid to have her graffiti framed – and was gobsmacked that I had dared to hang it amongst all our other ‘art’ on our lounge walls!
Lest we forget …
I do mixed media work using upcycled newspapers with my lino cuts and here you can see the base sheets hanging outside my window to dry. When there is a breeze up I keep my fingers tightly crossed that they don’t all end up in the canal directly beneath the window!!
When these sheets dry, they then get a partial cover of gesso before eventually having the prints added on top. The prints will be my usual lino prints but will have the added attraction of the newspaper cuttings’ base – a style which is a bit more contemporary and tends to appeal to a different audience.
Here on the right is a sample of the mixed media lino cut prints…each is then framed by the textured cardstock matte frame which finishes them off really nicely. Every one comes out with a totally unique combination of colours highlighted with copper paint (or silver or gold – whichever is most appropriate for the base colour scheme). I just choose the basic colourways – usually 3 different colours and then wait for the surprise…never quite sure how the finished mix will look!
A couple more of the gorgeous colour pigments to add to my collection. I just wish I had taken a pic of the shop window to show you what a fantastic display these powders make. I was wondering around town with my photographer friend Mark, and whilst I was chatting to the shop owner and making my purchase, he was outside taking a pic of the shop window. Can’t have it all …so Mark gets the pic and I get the pigments!
Anyway, on the subject of Mark, we had a great few days wandering around town doing a couple of exhibitions and getting in a couple of nice meals…catching up with our news and meeting up with some of my old friends too. A couple of them own a lovely restaurant called “Il Covo” where Mark and I ate a delicious meal yesterday…I can hardly believe that some 40 years have gone by since I first met Cesare the owner! Anyway, if any of you are ever around these parts looking for something local to do in Venice, Cesare does cookery lessons for small groups…he has a passion for food and can make even an omelette sound like heaven!
Mark has just called me from the airport… as a travel photographer, he is off on…well…some more travels. I think the next few weeks see him in London, France, Turkey and then the States again. It’s a hard life!!
When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.