Sunday 30 March 2014


Last week was taken up almost completely with unmissable appointments, giving me little time for creating anything new except the "Egg Family" of my previous post.  So here are a few of the drawings and paintings I've posted on Lynne's Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens blog recently, where posts are constantly added every day - check it out for the work of many fantastic artists.

"Pine Cone' - Jez
Pitt Pens on Cream Card
"Red Breasted Goose at Martin Mere" - Jez
Pitt Pen in A4 Sketchbook
The Goose Drawing - colour added on Photoshop - Jez
The rest of the drawings and paintings shown below are from one of my "Garden Sketchbooks", all drawn or painted in the garden of our last home.  Lynn kindly let me post 'old' sketches because of time constraints.  Only two hospital appointments (so far!) next week, so I hope I can create some new works.

"Aster" in A4 'Garden Sketchbook'
Pitt pen - Jez
The sketch of the Aster blossom measures 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches.  I was really pleased with it at the time , and am even more pleased with it now I look back a few years.  It's one of those "Did I really do that?" moments.  Do you ever have those feeling about something you drew a while ago?

Watercolour in A4 sketchbook - Jez
This page, like the Aster and the following sketches, is from my A4 'Garden Sketchbook', all sketched in the garden of our previous home a few years ago.  There were many old trees in the garden, and all around, as well as the wood behind the property, and little seedling trees grew absolutely everywhere.  The poem at the left is "Home Thoughts From Abroad" by Robert Browning".  I learnt this at school over sixty years ago and it is one of my favourites.

Watercolour in A4 'Garden Sketchbook' - Jez
As children we called these Sycamore seed pods 'Propellors' and would throw them into the air to watch them twist their way down through towards the ground.  I know other people have different names for them - what did you used to call them?

"Papaver Orientale" - pencil and watercolour - Jez
Poppies, whatever their size, are my favourite flowers, particularly the red ones, and most people seem to love them.  When I was a young teenager we lived in the country and I worked on the farm next door whenever I could.  The fields of oats and wheat would be dotted with the scarlet splashes of wild poppies.  So lovely to look at and a treasured memory.

Check out Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens to see the work of many artists taking part in this fortnight's theme of "Gardens &Parks", and from the start of April the new theme of "Away from Home".

Linking to Paint Party Friday, Paper Saturdays, APR

Wednesday 26 March 2014


The theme at Take A Word this week is 'Eggs'.  With a busy week of hospital appointments this week I didn't think I'd have time for any challenges ……. but there are advantages to long waiting times.  On Monday I was able to sit and sketch the drawings, and yesterday I managed to add colour with aquarelle pencils and a water-brush.

Pitt Artists Pen and Aquarelle Pencils
- Jez
So meet the Egg Family

Added to that, my check-up after 2 years since the cancer operation was said to be fine, though more blood tests and another CT scan to be double-sure are booked.  So all in all, Monday proved to be not a bad day.

Hope you enjoy the Egg Family, and you are probably quite glad they don't live in your street!

Tuesday 18 March 2014



Two weeks ago Dev and I went to a Cyanotype workshop at the Atkinson Gallery with cyanotype artist  Sian Hughes.  Very exciting, and we produced quite a number of different images during the day.  There were only six of us on the workshop which gave us plenty of opportunity to ask questions of Sian, who was very generous with both her knowledge and materials.

I've chosen my favourite pieces from my day's output to show you.  The camera didn't seem to like the colour of the cyanotypes which come out with a deep, rich blue, even though the colour seems to vary in my photographs.

A5 Cyanotype with dried weeds and weed seeds
4" x 5.5" - Jez
Sian explains the process on her website better than I could.  She writes:

      This camera-less photographic process was developed in 1842 by the scientist John Herschel. Paper coated with a light sensitive solution turns green. When this is exposed to sunlight or ultra violet light it changes to a rich indigo.  Objects placed on the paper, blocking the light, leave precise white photographic images

A5 Cyanotype with dried stem fragments and honesty seed
4" x 5.5" - Jez
Sian had prepared paper for us in advance with the light-sensitive chemicals, and all we had to do was follow her instructions and demonstration.  We placed our prepared paper with the items chosen for our image into a vacuum bag, like the ones you store clothes in, and extracted the air.  We put it in the light box for several minutes, then took it out and placed it in water for another few minutes and then dried it on the window-sill.  

                                     Cyanotype with feather, butterfly image
                                      on acetate, and small plant form
                       5.5" x 8" - Jez
2" x 7.5"
- Jez
Because we made our own choice of materials from the table full of dried plants, flowers, leaves, seeds, and other materials, everything was an experiment.  Some pieces turned out well while others were not as successful, and that was a good way to learn.  I'm showing you the ones I was most pleased with.

Cyanotype with map on clear acetate
5.5" x 4" - Jez
I can't remember exactly, because we were all working at such a speed and with so much enthusiasm, but I think this map was printed on clear acetate sheet.  I chose it to experiment with because I was intrigued by the idea of using something other than plant forms.  It came out really well (and it is the right way up), and at home I mounted it on a piece of blue paper to frame it.

Cyanotype with text printed on
thin plastic wrapper
4" x 5.5" - Jez
I picked a crumpled piece of plastic wrapper for foam cups out of one of Sian's boxes, spread it out as carefully as possible and laid it on the prepared paper, plus a paper-clip that I saw on the table, ready to put in the light box.  Lovely clear print.

Front cover of book
Dried leaves
A4 watercolour paper - Jez
Towards the end of the workshop Sian said that we were each going to make a book with several blank pages so that, back home, we could stick our day's work in it as a memento.  We each prepared a cyanotype front cover and a back cover with A4 watercolour paper and our own choice of material for the image.  I found these delicate fern-like dried leaves among Sian's supplies.

The image above shows the front of my assembled book, with slender bamboo sticks tied with blue ribbon to hold the book together, and I think the image is really stunning.

Back cover of book
Dried plant stems
A4 watercolour paper - Jez
The finished version of the back cover shown above included the addition of some pen drawing and water-colour paint to form 'flowers'.  I found that the dried plant material I had chosen for the back didn't produce a clear image as you can see below, and there wasn't time to make another one. 

This was the result of the cyanotype image when I made up the book, but at home I used a Pitt Artists Pen to turn the blotchy shapes into 'flowers' and painted them yellow, which I think improved the image greatly.

Just two more examples:

Cyanotype with scissors, strips of card
and gauze ribbon tied loosely in a knot
4" x 5.5" - Jez
As we packed up at the end of the workshop, Sian gave each of us two pieces of prepared paper, wrapped in kitchen foil to keep out the light, so that we could make a couple more images at home.  I wanted something completely different, so I used a pair of nail scissors and two strips of card that were on my desk, plus the small piece of ribbon.

I simply placed these items on the prepared paper, no vacuum bag, just the paper and the chosen items.  Then I put it on the window-sill for a few minutes on what was fortunately a sunny day.  As the sun moved across the sky, it threw the shadow of the scissor handles in slightly different positions, which makes the scissors look almost 3D.

Cyanotype with 'tree shape' cut
from thin card, plus star sequins.
4" x 5.5" - Jez
My last piece was my favourite, with a mask shape cut quickly from thin card, and sequins added for stars or flowers.  Exposed on the window-sill like the scissors image.

Such an enjoyable and productive course.  Making these reminded me that about 12 years ago I bought some 'Sun Print' paper to use with my youngest granddaughter.  We simply put the papers out on the path with our chosen material on top - a feather, dead leaves or flowers.  Then we left them to let the sun turn the unexposed paper blue, like the cyanotypes, though it is a different process.  I also remembered that I had kept the unused Sun Print paper wrapped securely in black plastic, and I even managed to find it.  I shall experiment to see if it still works.  Just Google 'Sun Print Paper, and you will find companies that sell it if you'd like to try it.

Thursday 13 March 2014


"ONE OUT, ALL OUT" - by Jez
Watercolour, Pitt Artist Pen,
Wall and floor colour added digitally
It took me quite a while to think of a way to meet the So Artful Challenge of 'Dress Forms', then in my mind I saw a row of them standing in line and wondered what they were doing.  Well, as you can see, they are going out on strike, and I don't blame them.

It's also my Fantasy idea for the Art Journal Journey challenge this month, and I hope that at Opus Gluei they will agree with me that it fits the theme of an Alphabet Letter - the letter D for Dress forms.

Linking to So Artful Challenges, Art Journal Journey, Opus Gluei, and Paint Party Friday

Tuesday 11 March 2014



Watercolour in A4 Sketchbook - Jez

I've always found it difficult to work with a looser sketching style.  It comes naturally when I am doing silly doodle drawings, but when I have tried with 'proper sketching' I've felt I just made a poor drawing.    This year I am determined to move forward on this front, as well as my usual drawing style, and extend my abilities.

I was quite pleased with this PEPPER PROBLEM sketch, even though someone had used half of the pepper I was planning to draw.

I've been able to start creating in this way with more confidence because I found a wonderful blog of Lynn Cohen's called PAPER, PAINT, PENCILS AND PENS!, with a new theme every two weeks.  The current them is 'Kitchen' and seeing the work other members have created has encouraged me to show work that I would otherwise keep hidden in my sketchbook.  Check out the PPP&P blog and see the work of lots of wonderful artists.

Coloured Pencil in A4 Sketchbook
I couldn't think what that middle implement was called when I was drawing these kitchen implements, nor could Dev.  Then in bed I suddenly thought of it, and said loudly "FISH SLICE" and he said "Fish Slice".  End of conversation.  After over 56 years we don't need to make lengthy explanations!

I had intended to draw just the spoons and fish slice, but when the sun suddenly shone in brightly the shadows gave such vitality and depth to the image.  I'll keep trying.


Friday 7 March 2014


I've had very little time for art this week, and it has taken most of my spare moments to create this montage of 'faces' for the 29 Faces theme in February.

In February I created more male faces than female - 15 male, 12 female, one mask and one bird.

I thought I'd include the montage I made for last September's 29 Faces challenge as a comparison.

For the September challenge, last year's montage shows that I created 14 male, 14 female and 1 mask.  I was surprised on counting up that each time the male/female ratio is so balanced, certainly not intentionally.

I only managed one more piece of art during this week, the collage below:

Collage and digital text
'Bus Gets Lost' is a collage I made for the Sunday Postcard Art challenge of 'Newspapers'.  Once I saw those three words in a newspaper headline the collage made itself - mainly because I couldn't find a suitable image for a red bus.

Tuesday 4 March 2014


Collage with text added on Photoshop
Green Bus photo from Wikipedia.
The challenge from Sunday Postcard Art this week is 'Newspapers'.  I grabbed an old newspaper, and as soon as I saw a headline including the words 'bus gets lost', I knew that was my starting point, and the image somehow assembled itself from there.