Monday 25 February 2013


This week there's a colour challenge at the Artist's Play Room - to create an image using 'blorange', in other words blue and orange.  It's all explained on the A.P.R. blog.

This is my response to the challenge, a 'blorange' love affair:

This was a combination of digital and Pitt Artist's pen.  Sadly, the scan has not reproduced the bright colours well, but that's the way it goes some days.

I always enjoy the striking combination of these complementary colours, blue and orange, so it was no struggle to use them.  After all, they do belong together.  

What was more of a struggle was deciding what my image should be, and when the flash of inspiration came I wanted to combine digital with drawing.

Quite pleased with the result, and my little lovebirds -  Belinda and Bertram - can live happily ever after in their bright blorange birdland.

Friday 22 February 2013


This week's challenge for the Artist's Play Room was 'Books and Bookmarks'.  

I had ideas for four bookmarks, but life being what it is I only managed to get one finished.  I can enjoy myself another day making the other three.  Here's the one I did manage to complete:

I was trying out Bristol Board because I found a nice A4 sketchpad in Range which has a really white, white finish.  In the nature of experiments I found my Inktense watercolour pencils did not like the surface, so there is a mixture of pen, Inktense and 'ordinary' coloured pencils.

The bookmark is quite large (for large books!) and I made a  little tag of the same image to hang from the bookmarked page.

This is an unusual day today because today coincidentally is the deadline for posting to the Artist's Play Room and the Artful Reader's Club.

So my Artwork and Book Review for February were posted just before this one - and I hope you might be interested in a really good book to put on your wish list.


My February book for the Artful Reader's Club was 
The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow,
read on my Kindle for 99p - a bargain for such a good book.


And for a bit of relevant history, this is the actual telegram that my mother received in 1942 when my father's ship was sunk in WW2 (but with the personal details blanked out).


  • Um ..... um ........ um ...... um ..... can't think of any negatives

  • I loved every page of this book, informative, emotional and true to life, well-paced, with believable characters, and very well written
  • The WW2 background is about events I lived through, which gave it a special resonance for me, though the war is not the main focus.
  • I learnt things I never knew, or things I hadn't realised or given thought to previously, so it kept my interest going all the way through
  • Reduced to basics it's about silk, silk manufacture, love, prejudice against those who are 'different', and, I realised at the end, about how WW2 gave women the opportunity to move towards greater emancipation
  • The silken thread that holds the story together is love of many kinds, including the tenderest of love stories whose quality pervades the whole of the book
  • No romping, steamy sex passages, just a beautifully crafted story that rings true on every page
  • As the end of the book approached the tears flowed fairly regularly, not really because the events were sad, but because of the tenderness with which the story is told
  • I often find the conclusion of a book disappointing, but The Last Telegram sustained its quality right to the very last page, and the author's comments at the end were just as interesting
  • Husband enjoyed it just as much
  • I gained so much from reading it, and I hope you are encouraged to add it to your Wish List.

Such a full book that I wondered how I would find one image that picked out the central focus of the story for me.
As I finished the last page, this image jumped into my mind and I just drew it straight away.
I had to resist frequent temptations to 'improve' it 
because it just felt 'right' to me.

Pitt Artist's Pen and Inktense Pencils


Sunday 17 February 2013


I love Zebras, almost as beautiful in shape as a horse, but with the appeal of those amazing stripes.

The thing with zebras is that they are so appealing that their black-and-white striped images appear so often in paintings, on carpets, on clothes - almost anything you can think of - and perhaps sometimes their impact can be diminished.

So, having drawn up the sketch of the zebra, I decided to paint him with blue and brown acrylic paints. 

Not a very good photograph, sorry, the left-hand side is too shadowed - but I know you nice people are not critical about non-professional photography.  Added to which, I never remember to take shots as the painting progresses.

Acrylic paint, Pencil and Pens    -   Jez Eden

When it came to deciding on an appropriate background I was flummoxed, but then had the idea of contrasting the stripes with curlicues.  Originally my idea was to add colour to them, but I decided that would overwhelm the zebra image, so I left them as drawn.

As always, I love taking my artwork into Photoshop and seeing how it can be changed - sometimes a success, sometimes not.  This is the first of three colour-change alterations.

I am pleased with the orange/turquoise one and with the yellow/blue version.

This green/red one, perhaps does not have quite the impact I was looking for, so perhaps she is a serene, peacemaking member of the herd.

I still like the original acrylic painting the best, even if I do enjoy the colour-changing and manipulation with filters, as with these last two out-takes.

Thursday 14 February 2013


I know it was only yesterday that I posted my take on the Valentine's challenge for the Artist's Play Room but somehow the idea is still running round my mind.

This little doodle was drawn on my I-Phone using the Brushes App, and then I added a border on Photoshop.

Hope you enjoy - and if you haven't seen it yet, take a look at the one I posted yesterday:

Wednesday 13 February 2013


Valentines, chocolate and roses for 14th February have never figured in my life - when we were young it was not a 'special occasion', nor commercialised as it is today.

But we've always had plenty of love every day, 
so the other things have never mattered.

So when it came to  the Love, Chocolate, Roses and Valentines as this week's challenge for the Artist's Play Room, I was rather stumped.  But I'm a 'trier', so I told the back of my mind to think something up by the next morning and put it out of my mind. 

And the following morning a spark of an idea came to me and I scribbled it down in my 'rough' sketchbook.

If you've never tried this technique of telling the 'other part' of your mind to come up with a solution to a problem then I recommend it - it has served me well all my life.

Here's what developed from my spark of an idea - 'MY HEART MELTS FOR YOU' - includes Love, Chocolate, Roses and a Valentine.  

Not marvellous, but I'm fairly pleased with it.

Sunday 10 February 2013


This is a tribute to my brave daughter Carol - she is the bravest person I know.  And I want you to know this is NOT a 'misery' blogpost, it's a happy one because she is so lovely and courageous.  

She came to visit us yesterday, bringing me a silk scarf she had dyed on her second visit to the Hospice craft afternoon this week.  Beautiful colours, which she knows are my favourites.

And not just that, she gave me a second gift - a canvas that she had painted at home in her well-stocked craft room.

The scarf and canvas mean so much more than just a scarf and picture.  I see love and persistence, determination and bravery in every square millimetre - because Carol has had a rare brain tumour for a long, long time, and has recently been given only a few months to live.  Medical estimates like this are often wrong, and we hope that is the case for Carol.

She also brought along the craft work she has been doing at home in the past few weeks ..... in the short periods when she is not sleeping.

From being a young child Carol has been both practical and creative, secretly making a marquetry chess board for us when she was only 11, her own canoe when she was 15 and lovely pottery sculptures at school with an inspirational pottery teacher. 

And at 14 she and Dev worked together to build a dormer roof and window on our house to create an extra bedroom.

Since then she created beautiful works in embroidery, quilting, machine knitting, painting, doll-making .... you name it she did it, and did it so well. 

Since the tumour was diagnosed her life has been one of having to give up the things she loves to do, starting with her career as a dentist, and then driving and her beloved car which had given her freedom.  

As the tumour progressed she found it impossible to take part in one after another of her beloved crafts.

But instead of giving up, as each craft was taken away she set to with a determined spirit to find something she was able to do.  And all the time she laughs, and smiles her beautiful smile.

Her blog  shows the type of art she was able to do just over a year ago, and the sketchbook page above, and those I show below, show the way she has re-invented her approach to art.

Now you may think 'Well lots of people use stamps and paint to produce lovely images like these'.  

But perhaps you may admire her more when I tell you that she can no longer walk unaided, cannot use her right (dominant) hand, is pushed in a wheelchair, can only sit in a chair with arms, and has a hospital bed in the room her wonderful husband and children have decorated and furnished like a calm oasis.  In addition she gets tired very quickly.

Carol gave me her permission to tell you all this, and to show you some of the paintings she brought down.  Both Dev and I admire and love her so much, and I see in her my dear mother's determination not to be beaten by whatever happened in life.

I've written this tribute now so that she can read it while she is here with us, and know how much she is loved and admired - and I'd like you to celebrate with us her wonderful spirit and loving heart.

Thursday 7 February 2013


This week's challenge for the Artist's Play Room is What's In Your Pantry.

This left my mind absolutely blank.  Drawing a tin of beans or a glass jar of pasta really didn't ring my chimes.

It was only this afternoon, Thursday, that I suddenly had a 'right brain' moment, and realised I didn't have to be quite so literal.

So this is the idea that flashed into my mind and just came together in a couple of hours.

Hope you enjoy.  (And it isn't quite empty really).

Monday 4 February 2013


The image above is a small section from a larger encaustic collage.  swirly girl and Sarah, were interested in my methods for wax painting, and particularly wax collages.  A good excuse for spending spare time on Saturday and Sunday experimenting to make a few new images.   Some were failures, and some I was more pleased with - you don't get to see the failures!.


Here's the full collage, A5 size as most of the ones on this post are.

Here's how it developed. I took a scrap off-cut piece of tissue paper that had been crumpled and painted with various colours of wax.  I wax painted a background on card, and ironed the scrap wax piece over it with the craft iron.  Then I used a block of gold wax to highlight the creased areas by scribbling over the surface, and mounted the finished result on card.


The clock face was simply placed on the card, and the wax ironed over the whole card with a swirling movement.  I cut a few words that appealed to me from a magazine, and stuck them on with PVA glue.


The idea of numbers appealed, so I cut random numbers from magazines, placed them on the card and ironed wax 'splodgily' over them.  Then I 'blobbed' wax dots all over it (note the technical language here).  The text was temporarily added on Photoshop, and I'll write the words on next time I get back to my desk.  The words just formed themselves in my mind as I looked at the numbers.


This card is almost A4 size, mounted on black card.  In my 'bits' box I found a large circle of what I thought was tissue paper, with a circle cut out of the centre.  I placed this on the background card and painted a chaotic background right over it.  Fixing the tissue circle with the wax proved difficult because it turned out to be covered in some sort of wax-resistant coating.  

I like clock and watch faces, and the idea of cutting out just the circle of hour numbers appealed because I had a clock face image just the right size.

Once again, from out of no-where, the text jumped into my mind.  I wanted to finish all the wax element to the cards and time was short, so I added the words in Photoshop.  I intend to print out the words on tracing paper to stick inside the circle of the clock numbers.  

A strange thing struck me about these three time/life related cards.  I looked at the them on the desk and realised that the seemingly random choice of words reflected the reaction I was experiencing to some bad news we had just been given.  Very psychological.


I paused in my artistic efforts, and enjoyed a reviving cup of tea.  Then it was clearly time to change direction.

This collage shows how I always prepare myself for working with a hot iron and even hotter molten wax, even if I'm painting out in the garden!  I keep my feet warm and dry by standing in a box.

The background was painted on card with blue, green and yellow wax as a landscape, and the image and text stuck on before mounting it on coloured card.  The word 'time' still wasn't quite ready to be abandoned!


One of my favourites.  I started with a card already painted with purple wax found in the 'past failures' box.  The wax painted yellow piece is a section torn from a larger sheet.  

The larger sheet was made by crumpling up photocopy paper, flattening it out, and painting several colours of wax over it fairly randomly with the craft iron.  

I liked the yellow section as a contrast to the purple background.  The result was just the right size for the glamorous young lady trying on the latest style in daring headwear.   


I found the words in the muddle on my painting desk, already cut out just asking to be used.  In the 'bits box' were two pieces of metal found in a car park, just right to form the object - the 'blade' of the sword shape that emerged is separate even though it looks attached.  I hadn't tried sticking found objects on wax before, so this was a real experiment.  

The wax painted background was another 'past failure' and looked just right.  I had originally painted the card then placed something, perhaps a paper towel, over it while it was hot to remove the wax and add texture.  Can't remember what it was.  There were 3 off-cut slivers of wax-painted card, which I stuck on, and then mounted the finished piece on card.


This is not really a collage, but an experiment in trying to draw on the wax background.  Another piece I found in the failures box and decided to experiment with.  

I used a silver pen to draw the fish on the wax, and the silver shine appears or disappears depending on how the light hits the card.  It didn't seem to need any text, and even though it's rather ordinary I was pleased with the actual experiment, which shows promise for the future.


Although it's not a collage, I added it here because it was the last piece I made in this bunch of experiments.   I noticed on my desk a scrap of cartridge paper, on which I had at some time scribbled a silhouette figure of a cloaked lady.  Cartridge paper is very absorbent, and therefore it takes a lot of wax to get any kind of 'painted' surface with the iron, so it was worth an experiment.

I painted the blue wax sky first, sliding the iron right over the ink-drawn lady, and used lots of black wax for the ground and the looming shape behind the figure.  Because of the paper's absorbency the result was a nice variation of colour and texture.  

Finally I added a small red blob of wax for a flower which turned out to be a large blob, a big white blob for the moon - which you can see slipped a bit - and a tiny one for the star.  I like the hint of menace in the piece, and I'll definitely try combining a drawing with wax on cartridge paper again.

Enjoyed these adventures in collage immensely. I hope you do too.