Friday 24 January 2014


Mixed Media on Watercolour Paper
- by Jez


Fliss, as you can see, is not a happy bunny
She made her own hat and it took a lot of time and money.

She made it to her own design.
- I don't like it, but she thinks it's fine.

She loves the feather and all the flowers,
And making it passed many enjoyable hours.

But then Fliss had a great surprise
- She really couldn't believe her eyes.

A garden, some posts and washing she sees,
And a girl hanging clothes out to dry in the breeze.

This invasion by that squatter of minimal size,
Means our Fliss now has no chance of winning the prize.

That's why she looks grumpy, as grumpy can be,
Though I think the hat's improved, and I'm sure you'll agree.

When I make a collage I work directly by cutting and sticking onto the paper or card, with no sketching and with little or no pre-planning about where it is going.

I thought I would try a different approach for this piece, starting with a sketch, adding some collage elements, continuing with more sketching and then colouring.  The A3 sheet of watercolour paper I used already had splodges of pink watercolour on it.

Next I cut out the hat shape from Docrafts 'Papermania' paper and free-cut the flower shapes from magazine pages.  The flowers that look black are in fact purple, but the colours on the photo have not come out very true.

So this is how it looked when the collage/sketch was done - my entry for the Take A Word  challenge of "Hats-N-Things'',  for Creative Every Day and Sketchbook Challenge "Sketch and Collage".

'Radiant Leaves' - Jez
Watercolour on Watercolour Paper
For Collage Obsession we were asked to use Pantone's Colour of the Year - 'Radiant Orchid' - as the main colour or as an accent colour.  Radiant Orchid is a pretty name for light purply-mauve, and an attractive colour too.   I've used the nearest I could get to it for the four light mauve leaves at the top of the leaf picture.

'HAND' - Jez
Acrylic onWatercolour Paper
Word and frame added on Photoshop
I was pleased with the simplicity and colour of this painting of my hand-print for my offering to the Three Muses challenge of  'Choose a Word'.

Also linking to Paint Party Friday,  Artists Play Room, and Paper Saturdays

Monday 13 January 2014


When I read the theme for January's Art Journal Journey, I had to think hard about how I could create an artwork about an abstract concept.  Then I realised that we are only conscious of Silence as a contrast to Sound, and my inspiration came from that.

Mixed media - Jez
I drew a thrush as my songbird because I have always loved his song best, more than the blackbird or the larks I used to see and hear so often during my childhood.  When I drew the thrush, it reminded me of a poem by Robert Browning I learnt at school.  Although it is called "Home-Thoughts from Abroad" and I had lived in England from the age of three, it's evocation of the English spring made it a favourite.  Browning's lines about the thrush made me listen more carefully to its song and realise how observant the poet was:

                                   "That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
                                     Lest you should think he never could recapture
                                     The first fine careless rapture!"

I used my favourite poetry book to check that I had the words exactly right, a Christmas present from my dear mother almost 59 years ago.  It has a blue cover in soft leather, and it has been used so often that the back cover has broken off.  Fortunately it slides into a blue card case that holds it together.  I looked back at the inside cover for my mother's dedication, and the years rolled back:

She wrote: "To be new born when thou art old"

For Sunday Postcard Art we were asked to create a postcard (6" x 4") in monochrome, and I have made two postcards on the theme.

A little while ago Dev and I went on a one-day workshop with a talented and individual local artist called Pam Potter  to learn some of her techniques, and the two watercolour paintings below are the result of recent experiments at home with one of those techniques.

Blue Mountains
Brown Hills
To create these simple landscapes I followed Pam's method - applying watercolour paint directly from the tube onto the paper and then using a piece of old credit card to spread the paint down the page.  It certainly produces unexpected effects, and from time to time I try to improve my skill with the technique.


Next,  the theme of "MOON" has been chosen by the Take a Word team this week.  I wanted to do something a little different and out of the ordinary to challenge myself.  It has been a while since I have made a collage from my stock of unwanted photographs so I went hunting through the box of old discarded photos.

The snaps I used to create this imaginary 'planetary collision' were so old that they had been developed and printed from photographic film in a high street photo shop years ago, and it made quite a change to go back to this type of collage.  Each element has been cut out with scissors and stuck down with PVA glue.  It looks fairly complex, but it comes together quite quickly.


This picture records that terrible night when, in the Ziluvian Galaxy, the red moon suddenly dropped out of the sky and landed on the planet Zogg, creating havoc and leaving only one home standing.  As the Ziluvian sun rose the next dawn, the magnitude of the disaster was visible to the surviving Zoggonians, and a great deal of sniffing and snuffling ensued (Zoggonians can't weep and wail!).

Full details and loads of video footage will be available on Zogg Sky News later this evening and repeated for the next two weeks on every single hourly bulletin.  Bet you're glad you don't live on Zogg.

Linking to Art Journal JourneySunday Postcard ArtTake a WordArtists Play Room

Thursday 9 January 2014


The challenge on Inspiration Avenue  this week is an interesting one - 'Altered Ancestors', with a choice about using real ancestors or 'instant' ones borrowed from some other source.

I have no photographs of real ancestors because sadly almost all my parents family photos were destroyed.  That left me free to use an instant ancestor, and I chose my Auntie Andromeda, though I've lost count of how many 'great, great, great, greats' there are before her name. 

Auntie Andromeda (or Auntie Andie as we call her) was a bit of a rebel, always getting into scrapes and usually being rescued from disaster just in the nick of time.  Here she is, with 'before and after' photographs.

You can see that she took her penchant for tattooing to extremes, and the photographer firmly refused to take a shot of the front view.  Whew, thank goodness for that!

Actually, at the time of the tattooed photograph Auntie Andie was stuck in the middle of one of her latest escapades, marooned on a rock in the ocean and at the mercy of a vicious maiden-eating sea monster.

You probably remember that in Greek Myth, Perseus travelled to rescue Andromeda from a terrifying sea monster.  Valiantly he wasted no time and plunged straight in to tackling and killing the monster, even though it enmeshed him in its coils.

Unfortunately for Auntie Andie, when Perseus turned and saw her, the tattoos were such a turn-off that he changed his mind, departed suddenly, and left her to the mercies of any other sea monster that might come along.  And history (or at least myth) was changed.

Credits:  Original painting: 'The Doom Fulfilled' by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, sourced from Wikipaintings.

Linking to Inspiration Avenue

Monday 6 January 2014


Coloured Pencils and Pitt Artist Pen - Jez
At So Artful there's an intriguing challenge which appealed to me instantly - "A Little House with Something a Little Bit Different".  Various ideas whizzed round my head including the kind of 'Crazy House' that you see at funfairs, and 'The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe', but that has been illustrated zillions of times.

Then I thought that perhaps a young woman today might like to live in a shoe house with elegant 4" high heels.  I would have liked to create the house from a shoe with 6" high stiletto heels, but this would have meant that the stairs to the upper floor would be too steep even for a young person.

Co-incidentally, over at Take a Word the theme this week is "Home" with the note that 'any home will do'.  Well, even an odd little house can be a home, so Chooshoe House is my entry for the challenge.

When houses in the UK are advertised for sale by developers or house agents they are never referred to as 'houses', they are always 'homes'.  You have to admit, there is a subtle difference in the feeling you get from 'house' and 'home' ……… and 'home' wins hands down with its warm and welcoming feel.

So 'Chooshoe House' is now being marketed as a unique and individual 'home'.   It's new on the market, so if you fancy viewing it and making an offer, put in your bid soon before the celebrity rush starts (I hear Victoria is showing interest).

Linking with So Artful ChallengesTake a Word, Paint Party Friday, and Paper Saturdays.

Friday 3 January 2014


Watercolour - Jez
This is my first entry to the Three Muses challenge, where the topic is COLOUR ME HAPPY, and these are the colours that make me happy - yellow and orange.  There is some grey in there because we have to accept that into each life some rain must fall, and without a little sadness we wouldn't know what happiness is.  But it's happiness that keeps the wheels of life turning.  Painted in watercolour, and the border was added on Photoshop.

I couldn't resist trying a couple of digital colour changes - interesting, but I much prefer the vibrant yellow and orange, those are my happy colours.

It's also my first entry to Moo Mania where the challenge is BIRDS, and drawing or painting birds is something I really enjoy.  Here is my sketchbook page of Flamingos:

I don't know if you've ever spent time trying to draw flamingos from life.  If not you've missed a treat.  Flamingos have an attention span of about 3 seconds, which I swear they reduce to 1.8 seconds as soon as they see a sketchbook and pencil.

They're in constant movement, twisting, bending, preening, feeding, squabbling and generally having a go at any other flamingo who dares to come near.  At Martin Mere there are two separate flocks of flamingos, one group is Chilean flamingos, and I don't think I've ever noticed where the others are from.

I'm fascinated by their knobbly legs, flexible curving necks, and 'mud-pie' nests - and in the spring their fluffy grey chicks on their long skinny legs.  I just wish I could capture a good image of them, but it's a question of scribbling down at least part of a posture and hoping they might just take the same position once or twice more, so it's a matter of jumping from one part-sketch to another.

Apologies for the dark photograph, because although we've had some gorgeous sunny days and blue skies over Christmas and New Year it's not been quite good enough for a decent photo.  We've been so lucky over the holiday period with our weather in this area of North West England.  Over great areas of Britain, coast and country, there have been huge winds, gales and rainfall and people have been flooded more than once, and without power for days on end, even on Christmas Day because so many power lines have been down.  On this morning's farming programme, which we listen to in bed at 5.45 am (very early risers!), the farmers said the fields are so waterlogged that the rain which was forecast again for today and another few days  has nowhere to go - it can't drain off the fields because the rivers have already overflowed and just can't take any more water.

So my thoughts are with those whose Christmas, New Year, lives and homes have been so terribly affected, and if anyone reading this has suffered from those problems I do hope things start to improve for you a little soon and will be thinking particularly of you.

Linking to Moo ManiaThree MusesPaint Party Friday and Manon's Paper Saturdays