Monday 31 January 2011


Miffy and the Books
What started as just reorganising my brushes, pencils, pens and little pieces of equipment so they are kept together and easily reached, turned into an all day epic of sorting and tidying my book shelves. Now, as far as possible, my books are organised into types-such as interiors books, craft books, doll books etc. It looks good-for now! I can also now walk down my side of the bed again as the carpet is revealed from under its book layer. Miffy is on a copy of a reproduction children's book about Mittens the Kitten. This area of the shelf is devoted to old children's books, which have developed into a collection. (In addition to the collection of modern children's books!)

Tulips and Pastel

The sun came out today, so I went a bit mad photographing lots of things when I got in. (At lunchtime-afternoon PPA hurray!) When I looked at my photos, the colour of this pastel sheet and the tulips seemed to go so well. This is a page prepared to then do a transfer drawing as mentioned the other day.

The drawing on the other side of the sheet, paired with a white monoprint over iridescent watercolour paint on black paper. These paints are lovely. They were really cheap in one of those reduced price book shops-a bargain!

Andy's boots and Tiger in the sunshine

I love the way Tiger is looking up at me with such a sweet face, and I like the colour of these boots.

Brushes and Medieval Lady

The brushes all tidily sat together in their pretty jug. I have moved the printer onto the floor to make room for my tools and it is working so far! The pastel transfer drawing is of a medieval lady carrying bunches of leeks. It is from the book I am reading at the moment-each chapter is about a different medieval character-peasants, minstrels etc. Very interesting!

Saturday 29 January 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday

This is from a couple of weeks ago but I saved it for such a day as today when there was no sun. Cassie is sitting above Lily wondering whether to get her or not. On this occasion she didn't. It is so sad, she bullies Lily mercilessly at times, even though Lily was the one who kind of looked after her at first, defending her from the even bigger bully Tiger! Cassie's worst crime is to silently rear over and then jump on Lily and attack her when she is sleeping! She gets told off but it makes no difference. The only time Lily feels confident to get her back is when Cassie is inside a bag-a favourite pass time! Cassie loves to sit on top of a tall thin little book case my brother made me-it is at the front window in the bedroom. Recently Lily has decided that she wants to do this too-I do wonder if it is to annoy Cassie! I might be anthropomorphising (that made my brain ache spelling that-and it may not be right!) too much but I think not. To look at Cassie most of the time you would not think she was capable of such bad deeds!

For more shadow shots from around the world, visit HeyHarriet here!

Friday 28 January 2011

More Experimentation

This is a mono print-done by laying a piece of paper onto rolled out ink, and drawing onto the back of the paper. I have painted around the image with watercolour once it was dry. Another idea from my book. It was quite a messy process! I used the plastic lid of a storage box as I don't have a piece of glass. The surface started to reject the ink, making interesting little circular shapes in the two following pictures where I just lay another piece of paper onto the impression left by the print.

From this I got the idea of using oil pastels in a similar way. I coloured thick areas of oil pastel on one page, then drew on the back of this area to make the impression on the next page. The advantage of this in my mind, is that it is not a mirror image as in the print, but the same way round as you draw-so more of a transfer I suppose. This makes it good for doing writing. I have not tried this technique before and have not seen it, though I am sure it has been done! Tonight I carried on trying it out and then added watercolour. Another thing I liked about these in comparison to the prints, is the water resistance of the pastel as opposed to the solubility of the printing ink. This is sounding more and more like a science experiment!



(These drawings are inspired by a book I bought at the weekend-a brilliant book-about patterns for dolls clothes. It has so much information in it and great line drawings of the clothes and body patterns.

My first page of experimentation.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Forest School Conversation

I had another post ready for today but have decided to show you this instead. This was a lovely moment of my day. We were at Forest School, and the two boys doing the talking were busily digging at the bottom of the biggest tree we have. They were both looking for treasure and had found a stone that was hard to dig up. They were also finding lots of little roots. One of the boys intends to dig up the tree so he can move it somewhere else! The other little conversation about the onion was when another child showed me a daffodil bulb. I placed the camera on the floor as I didn't want them to realise I was filming-I was trying to catch their conversation as I couldn't write fast enough! If you point the camera at them they start posing and stop doing what they were doing so you have to be subtle! As it is just their feet I thought it would be ok to show.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

First Felt Tree Sale!

My little badger has been sold! I am always quite surprised when someone buys something-pleasantly of course! I was only thinking about him yesterday and how I might try to make a fox to go with him. But now I will have to make another badger to go with the fox!
Bye little badger!

Tuesday 25 January 2011


A photo from about 7.30 this morning as the sun came up. Just trying an experiment-with different amounts of pixels per inch. After advice I tried different widths of banner photo-12in fits. 72dpi


Watercolour circles-first exercise from my book-this one would be a good one to do with the children Leenie!

Monday 24 January 2011

A conversation and insomnia tags

Circus girl's woolly friend is finished, so she invited her round for tea. They talked about all sorts of things, not least what had lead to the decision to grow a moustache. "Well", said Woolly lady, "I saw that Coco Rosie video and thought -"why not?" I can always remove it if I get bored!"

This piano was discussed as a possible purchase. They had never seen a piano with red keys before and thought is would add a certain something to the parlour.

Last night I think I drank too much tea myself and so couldn't sleep, even though I was in bed at a sensible time.
So in the end I got up and painted the next four tags. I only have four left in the packet now so maybe it will end there for a while. I have been reading this book, (which is great) so already had my watercolour paints out.
I took photos just after doing them and deliberately blurred some-I like this one of the paint box and the one below where I moved the camera up rapidly. It could represent insomnia!

This one is my favourite of this batch.
P.S. Can anyone help me with why my header picture is coming out tiny? It happened when I changed the picture tonight and they are all doing it. I have no idea why-something blogger has done no doubt as it has always worked fine before. Also now I have a peachy pink header which will not change despite telling it too! I am going to find out how to move to typepad!

Saturday 22 January 2011

A Walk in the Woods and Shadow Shot Sunday

We went to Nap Wood today. It is ages since we last went. I want to go in each season as it is interesting to look for the changes. Springtime visit here. The weather was overcast and cold. I found tiny shadows in amongst tiny plants. See other shadows from around the world at HeyHarriet here.
Large bracket fungus with my hand for scale.
This was on the massive fallen tree we found.
(See animation at the end of the post)
A dark pool with reflected trees.

The arrow is pointing to the deer we saw in the distance-honestly it is!
We could see it for ages running around the edge of the wood.

Small shadows in the moss and fungus.
Small shadows in the lichen and leaves.
I love this lichen green.

Shadows behind some loosening bark. Doesn't it look just like a mask?
You can almost make out an eye behind one of the holes.

make avatar

Now you see me, now you don't!

Thursday 20 January 2011

Tag Mania

Tags are taking over. I did do a little bit of work when I got in tonight, then some boring washing. I wasn't going to do any arty things but the tags were prepared and the pens and pencils were out. I decided to try to base the faces on actual faces rather than make them up. I like making them up, though I feel they do all come out very similar. It is difficult trying to draw smiling mouths, hence some strange looking girls. They didn't look like that in the magazine! This one is my favourite as she is the most like what I normally do, so I feel she came out the best.

Tomorrow night's tags ready prepared! I love Friday evenings with the weekend still to come. I have Monday off as I missed my PPA this week so am owed two next week. I would like to get all my work done on Sunday so Monday can be for more fun things. This may or may not happen but I will try! Hope you have a good Friday!

Wednesday 19 January 2011

All My Journals Part 2

The moon was full over Sainsbury's tonight. I was wondering what magnification my eyes have, as it looked much bigger than this with them, and only this big through the 5 megapixels and 4x optical zoom camera!

You would think I spend all of my time at Sainsbury's! Tonight it was a catfood and litter run-but I should have coordinated with Andy as he was at Asda doing the same! I am glad he went to Asda though, as he bought the most delicious pudding-banana and chocolate sauce-mmm!

Below is another one of my journals. This is a very new one-a Chrstmas present from Andy's sister. Thanks Helen! I have decided to use it to collect pictures I like, from magazines I want to recycle, rather than keep. So far I have done about 8 pages-some just have the whole page stuck in, maybe next to another page of similar theme or colour. Some others, like the horse and plant below, have been cut and stuck in a certain way. I may use it to write some things in as well but not really to paint or draw. I wonder if I will keep this one up. Time will tell!

Tuesday 18 January 2011


Thanks for the good luck wishes and sympathy yesterday! I thought of you all this morning and it helped me along. I got a tick (ha ha-my teaching was judged as good-an official term don't you know from ofsted. I don't know why I worry really) I am looking forward to a normal day tomorrow. I did a few more faces on tags tonight. They were inspired by the book I am reading at the moment. I am back with the Tudors again-I can't stay away for long!
The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
Above are Lady Jane Grey and Queen Mary I
Lady Jane was Queen for nine days-from the 10th to the 19th July 1553. The poor thing seemed to have been used by all around her-her father in law the Duke of Northumberland being the main culprit. She spent her reign in the Tower of London. She was very scholarly. I remember one of my friends at secondary school wrote a lovely short story about her and I was really jealous and wished I had written it!
Above are Princess Elizabeth and Hannah Green-the fool of the story.

Below are the faces with water added-I used inktense pencils-they are lovely soluble ink pencils. Last night I used watercolour pencils. The inktense colours are deeper I think.

Monday 17 January 2011

Face Tags

When I got in I needed a distraction from work stress. I am being observed tomorrow (by my headteacher and coordinator-who I feel does not know anything I don't know-younger, and has been teaching less time-but enjoys leadership roles which I do not-this is negative I know, but as I get older I resent these things!)-a regular occurence which I am used to but still don't like. Though who does? I go from what I see as a competent and fairly entertaining teacher to a grinning nervous wreck who does not behave in a normal way at all-at least in my mind. I think I have developed techniques over the years to hide this but it is how I feel. So roll on 10.30 tomorrow-the end of the observation! Anyway, my hometime stress relief was drawing/painting little blurry faces on parcel tags. (With prepared gesso ovals) I love these kind of old fashioned tags-their great brown paper colour and little strings.

All slightly mishapen and a bit lumpen-and-apart from one, quite miserable-my kind of girls!
Off to knit and watch "Silent Witness"-a programme only for the strong stomached!