Friday 29 November 2013


This is the last full week for November Art Every Day Month, and I can't believe how quickly it has gone.  Dev had a medical procedure at the hospital yesterday afternoon, Friday, and woke this morning feeling unwell.  We've had plenty of hospital appointments lately, including three last week, but Friday to Monday have been far from fun with rushing about to get weekend treatment for a hospital induced infection.

Normally I'm lucky to get a couple of hours in the studio on most days, but I've been so glad of NAEDM this week.  I know I wouldn't have created anything all week otherwise, whereas it has made me snatch the off half hour or hour, and given me some relaxation.


Fortunately I managed to find an hour late in the morning for a doggerel doodle while Dev went back to bed for a snooze, and Bertie Birdsong came powering in to cheer me up as I painted him.


Bert's a swimmer, full of vigour,
But even fuller in his figure.
He swims each day, this avian swimmer
But still his tummy gets no slimmer.

In shorts and goggles he's quite dashing
When he swims backstroke - with lots of splashing.
He feels his efforts in the water
Should make him slim - well it really ought-ter.

When Bertie leaves the briny sea
He'll have a nice hot cup of tea,
And several choccy bikkies too.
-Well I would anyway, wouldn't you!

This is where I ask for ADVICE, please.  I tried everything I could think of to give the effect of his body and swim shorts underwater - lifting the paint before it dried fully, painting over with the sea colour, even powdering a pastel colour and rubbing it over with my finger.  Does anyone have a way of getting a good underwater effect please?


Dev feeling more unwell, and once again I managed to snatch an hour while he returned to bed in the afternoon.  I wanted to try out my new Gelli plate, which arrived last week.  I've resisted the lure of a Gelli plate for a long time, but decided that I might be able to use it in a way that suits me and allows me to experiment.

These are my first attempts at using the Gelli plate.  I printed only about ten pieces and these were the ones that I felt acceptable.  They are all printed on fabric, in the hope that I can work on them with stitching and drawing when I have more time.

The print above was printed on a piece of fabric I prepared last week, with strips of fabric glued to a sheet of paper and painted with watercolours.

Looks a bit of a blotchy mess, but some day I want to stitch around the vague figure shape I see.

This was the second print of the same piece, which I've cropped in a bit too much.  Before taking this print I had pressed a crinkly sheet of packing plastic over the acrylic paint left on the plate.  I liked this one better and could see more possibilities in it.

The inspiration for this print, and the idea of sticking strips of fabric to paper came from a gorgeous book I downloaded on to my Kindle - "Mixed Media Master Class with Sherrill Kahn".  I would have preferred the print version, but for some reason only the Kindle version was available at just under £6.  I've been reading it by dipping in and out on my I-Pad in my coffee breaks and finding it easy to follow and jump from to place.  Very inspirational, and although only a page or two was devoted to the Gelli Plate it was enough to give me the push to buy one.

I like this bright print, and definitely see ways of developing it with stitching, hand and machine, and adding things like beads and buttons.  At this point Dev was very unwell and I had to dash him back to the hospital.  Just had time to clean the Gelli plate and everything else was left.  He was given an antibiotic to clear things up.


The hospital antibiotic gave Dev an allergic reaction later in the day, which most antibiotics do, and fortunately I managed to speak to our doctor who gave me a prescription for a different one just 5 minutes before the surgery closed.  I dashed in to town to the supermarket pharmacy who fortunately had it in stock.

Untitled - Jez
A3 Watercolour paper and acrylic paints
Before the allergy mini-emergency, I managed about an hour to create.  I chose an A3 watercolour pad containing a work in progress.  I call these my 'Story Pictures' and normally do them with black and red pens, but I had decided a while ago to try one in colour with acrylics.  There is a lot to do on it still, as I usually cover the whole page with plants and creatures.  I take my time with them and just add a little more now and them which is what I did today.

Terrible day for photographing and the page is too big for the scanner, so it's difficult to see the pencil lines I added.  Today I painted a first layer of green to the dragony figure on the left, drew the bird at the top with pencil, added a few touches of colour to the teeny-tiny figures, and drew and started colouring the big fish on the left and the three little fish near the smaller dragon on the right.  This is how I work with these paintings, very unsystematically.  Pleased to have snatched just enough time to add those few touches.


Managed a couple of hours while Dev was resting and snoozing in bed again, determined to get better as quickly as possible.

My creativity was at a bit of a low, so I picked up this fabric print I made on Sunday and added detailing with a white pen and a copper-coloured pen.  Not my usual style, but that's what experimenting is all about.

I didn't want to use the fabric print from Sunday's printing session, so I photocopied it onto cream card and drew a rough sketch on that.  The figure showed up so clearly on the second pull of the print, even though it was the result of randomly splotched paint.  You may be able to see that I carried the strap of the eye-patch across the girl's hair, then crossed it out because it should have gone under her hair.

I don't do a lot of adding text but something made me pick up my Mary Oliver poetry book and pick out two disconnected lines from a poem called 'Wild Geese', which seemed to fit the image:

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination.

(The despair is definitely the eye-patch girl's - not mine.  I try always to live in hope.)


I've been pleasantly surprised as how speedy it is to get out the Gelli plate and equipment required, take a few prints and put it all away again, with very little cleaning up to do.

These 3 prints (all I did) are my second attempt, trying the kind of approach I want to take with it.

I wanted to produce a mono print.  I cut out a mask shape inspired by a magazine advertisement and printed over it, learning as I went.  After this point I cut pieces of wavy card to put at the sides and added more blue paint.  I can see lines that show I was pressing too heavily on the brayer.

When I took the mask of the figure off I realised the paper was too thin and it tore off in short pieces.  Very difficult.  Note to self: use card next time.

Yes, the figure came out all right, but then I realised I should have started by rolling one or more light colours so that the figure was coloured.  Should have thought that one through.

Print of two giddy girls.  This time I stapled two pieces of card together and freehand cut both figures out in one go, then remembered to put the blue paint on before adding the masks.  All very simple, but I can see where I am going.


Persuaded Dev to bed in the afternoon although he insisted he wouldn't sleep.  Two hot water bottles, a pillow behind his back, and an hour and a quarter later he woke up, feeling much better!

'Cockerel' - Jez
Inktense pencils and various other brands of coloured pencil
This morning I made a giant panful of thick hearty soup, enough for three meals, and a large pan of carrot, red pepper and orange soup to be semi-liquidised for three lunches.  Some in the freezer and some to use.  Even so I managed to get time here and there to add up to about three hours in the studio.

Last week I drew and pre-painted the background for this cockerel with Inktense pencils to provide a base.  This is the finished bird, using any of my several sets of coloured pencils that provided near enough the colour I wanted.  How many boxes of coloured pencil does any one person need!

As many of you find, scanning a picture into the computer never seems to get the colours right.  The colours of my cockerel are not true to the drawing, and the texture doesn't show very clearly but it's a really grey day and there was no option.

I really enjoyed doing this, it was a great relaxer, and it came together very quickly.

'Vase' - Jez
Black and red pens with collaged vase
The week has been very worrying and tiring, and this afternoon we have a visit to yet another, different, clinic which Dev doesn't want to miss, so I wanted to create something quick, easy and soothing to do in the short time available in the morning.

Out come the pens, black and red.  I drew the outline for the vase then added the 'flowers'.  When I came to complete the vase my mind took a sideways step, and instead of adding a design with the pens I thought it would be good to add it as a collage.

When I was Gelli printing earlier this week I used a few scraps of fabric as rags to wipe up excess paint.  I photocopied them onto cartridge paper and chose a section to collage on for the vase.  I love the way it shows the texture as well as the colour, and will use this technique again.  All done very quickly and enjoyably.

As far as creating art is concerned this has been a satisfactory week in spite of life's problems because I would have done nothing without AEDM.


Yes, I know it's not Saturday yet, but there are no rules in NAEDM, and I didn't want to do a post tomorrow with just Saturday's creation.  So here, for Saturday's piece, is a quick sketch I decided not to include last week.
I look forward to catching up with blogs I have missed this week.  Have a happy weekend.

Linking with November Art Every Day Month,  Paint Party Friday and Manon's Paper Saturdays and Try it on Tuesday


  1. You've been busy, my friend and I am loving all your artwork.Time flew and AEDM is almost over.I like your art. It is always delicate and intense.Happy PPF!

  2. Oh my, you have had your share of worries and running about this week, that's for sure. And you have still been so creative, and made some marvellous stuff. Love your first attempts with the gelli plate, I hope I can get one sooner or later, too! My fave this week is Birtie Birdsong, what a gorgeous chappie! Hope your Dev is soon better, hospital infections are hard, as I know from my own bad experience!
    Take care, hugs, Valerie

  3. So much art! You are very prolific! I really love the bird swimming. He's so cute and it's such a fun illustration. I don't have any water suggestions but I think you were very successful here anyway. It's clear to me he's swimming away and it works!

  4. So much going on for you and yet you still managed to find time to create some very lovely pieces. I'm sorry to hear Dev has been so ill. These hospital bugs are ridiculous-to go in for one thing and come out with something else as well.i do hope he's on the mend. I think you did a great job of the underwater effect on your wee bird. he's so cute and that poem is hilarious. Ì hear so much about Gelli plates althoughi still don't totally understand've come up with some great stuff though and to use the collage for the vase piece was inspired.i really like that piece.i can't decide between it and the cockeral as my favorite!

  5. Wow what a wonderful body of work and with so much happening, you are an inspiration, Hpe Devs recovers quickly hospital infections suck, I had one earlier this year and they are a devil to get over, so sending prayers and hugs your way.. I just love the bird and its poem, I like it as it is, but perhaps you could put some bubbles coming from his mouth? and ripples at the top. But he is great and I would leave it!

  6. Your beautiful artwork and writings are a blessing to me, my friend. I love all the beautiful pieces you've created with your gelli plate and the interesting ways in which you've enhanced them through your drawing. I was especially amused at the lady with the eyepatch that you saw in the print, since I had seen a young boy with a stick horse. That's what's fun about this type of exercise. I also LOVED your rooster. For some reason I'm very fond of these beautiful animals and have used them in a couple of my pieces too. I pray that Dev is doing much better, and that the Lord gives you the strength, courage and wisdom to continue to care for him.

  7. Lots of beautiful work and love your gelli plate analysis. Happy PPF, Annette x

  8. Dear Jez, you have had so many emotions and trials going on lately. I pray for you and Dev that your pain and burdens be lifted. It's wonderful that you are still able to create such beautiful art and I'm sure it must be helping you through. I am so addicted to the gelli plate-great prints! Wish I could help with the underwater dilemma though I don't see a problem with the effect you've achieved. XO

  9. I think this is your most creative week yet jez! So much to see, and yet you have been so busy with appointments, hope Dev is feeling better. You have taken to the Gelli plate brilliantly, I tend to use it just to make paper to then tear up, you have made beautiful finished pieces. Loving the monoprint girl series! As for dear little swimming Bertie, what a star, you need no advice on the underwater shorts as I think the tone you have used works very well.

  10. Dearest Jez I am sending love and light for dear Dev. I hope he recovers quickly. Seems so many people pick up infections in the hospitals more today than in the past.Sad. Your geli plate artwork is fantastic...I see the figure you want to stitch around and it's beautiful. I am amazed at how versatile and interesting all your work is. Have you ever considered getting together your little characters with the poetry and making a childs book for future great grandchildren? I think it would make such a fun childs book. Little poems with imaginative characters as a bedtime story would be awesome!! You could even make it online to see how it turns out!! Take care my friend...

    Hugs Giggles

  11. Hello Jez. Sorry to hear about all the health problems and hope things get better very soon. Bertie Birdsong is fabulous, the poem and the art, very clever. What a good idea making the vase a collage, that is very effective. I love your naked lady with the eyepatch and the very fine hairdo, and enjoyed seeing the results of your adventures in Gelli plate printing.

  12. Wow! So much wonderful artwork to look at! I love all the different styles and seeing how your inquisitive mind moves from one technique to another. I can just imagine you thinking 'I wonder?' while you create :) Your positive attitude is so inspiring Jez, I do hope that Dev is feeling better soon :)

  13. Oh Jez, I'm so sorry to hear about all the health problems and worries you are going through. I really hope Dev will be feeling better very soon! And congrats on finishing the challenge, despite all the running around! It's true, challenges like this force you to do something, even when you're not really feeling like it, and then you still get a good feeling from doing it. I love Bertie and the poem. I think you did a great job on the underwater part. Maybe add some ripples? Or you could try using glazing liquid. I'm rediscovering it, and it's so easy to make something transparant when you use this. I love what you're doing with the gelliplate. There are so many possibilities, I love the silhouettes you did, and the tip about using crinkly packing plastic. Gotta try that out! Great work all of it! Take care! ♥

  14. Wow Jez, I don't know where to start. You have done SO MUCH. I really really like what you're doing with the prints, and adding to them.....It sure is a learning process, and I love seeing what you're discovering.

  15. Lovely prints, drawings and paintings. Your poems are awesome, the Bertie's Birdsong one made me chuckle! Hope Dev is feeling better. I've popped by from Paper Saturdays :)

  16. Gosh Jez I am taking my hat of to what you have created this week and there I thought I had done well with my envelopes for Paper Saturdays with this poorly body. Maybe I should stop complaining:) I am hoping that I will be able to create much more this week I am not completly well but you are giving me the push to get on with it.

    I hope Dev is feeling better. Hospital visits are no fun and then getting ill through them can't be any fun at all. Hugs for you Xx

  17. Your little bird's story made me laugh - what a whimsical guy and a great illustration! Seems like a great way to keep your spirits up during a difficult time for your family! Hoping your load lightens soon!

  18. Jez, you surely made the most of the little time you had this week. I love the bird in the water-I think it does look like part of him is underwater. I'm attracted to all of the wonderful experiments you made this week! You're an inspiration!

  19. Oh my goodness Jez, you have been busy!
    What gorgeous must be thrilled. I can't imagine doing a challenge like this although I suppose that's what a challenge is all about.
    You did so brilliantly. Well done ;D
    You're such an inspiration!

  20. Wow you blow me away with your range of artwork in a week...fantastic. I just wanted to say also that I thought your underwater effect on Bertie was just fine it got the idea across perfectly well.

  21. while I'm thinking about it - a little tip if you cut a mask from thin paper again - before you cut out the shape, coat both sides in sellotape and then cut it out. Strengthens the mask and it can just be wiped clean of the paint :) I love my Gelli Plate - you can't really plan can you? You have to go with the flow of what you see. Am so pleased you got one :)

    Hope Dev is better now - and I'm afraid I am no help with the under water question.


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