29 March 2011

Chinese Papercutting: Dragon

What a surprise in the mail today; this wonderfully ornate paper-cutting. It is made of cardstock, and has pinhole mountain and valley folds, to keep it standing so easily.

This paper-cutting measures 42 cm long x 20 cm high (or 16.5" x 8" ... and I still think in the imperial measurements myself).

28 March 2011

Celebrating Autumn with Purple ... Tibouchinas

It's tibouchina flowering time starting again. These had been heavily pruned mid last year and now will be flowering pretty much perpetually until their next pruning. It is always hard to know quite when to jump in and get that job done because they've always got flowers on them.

Suffice to say, purple is such a fun and inspiring colour for me, and see, I have it everywhere....including fallen petals all around the pathways! Still it just adds to the mulch when I get to sweeping. This becomes a regular event now but it's worth it. I don't mind being out in the garden when the weather is much nicer than those dreaded heatwaves of Summer.

Years gone by these plants, a native of Brazil, were known as lasiandras. Nowadays there's various varieties of this flowering shrub and in differing heights, some only growing a metre high. There's pink flowering and a white flowering variety; though in this region, purple is most certainly dominant.

I just wanted to share a little of what I get to enjoy on my side of the world.

27 March 2011

Welsh Cakes in the making

...here's a recipe I've never made before, never tasted, even. My Mum (85), found her hand-written recipe the other day when our chat raised the topic. She said the Welsh cakes reminded her of the Johnny cakes her Mum used to make.

My Nan's family of eleven, with my Mum being the last, obviously just enjoyed their Mum's recipe over the years and as happens, no-one ever thinks to keep track of the one they enjoyed so much.

Today I thought I should try then, this Welsh cake recipe.

2 cups self-raising flour (I used wholemeal)
113 grams (4 oz) butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup currants

Rub butter through flour to resemble breadcrumb consistency
Add sugar, then mix
Add currants, mix again
Beat eggs; add to mixture
Stir well into a dough.

Place dough onto floured board and flatten with palm of hand (you can place piece of baking paper on top of dough first if preferred).
Cut flattened dough with pastry cutter; place these into a pre-greased and heated frypan.
When browned on underside, turn to brown the other side.
Place on cooling rack.

Best served with butter spread on top.

These are unlike anything that I've made before really, a lovely wholesome texture, probably more so having used a whole-meal flour. I'm used to making pikelets (a batter consistency), in the pan and these were certainly quite removed from those. Very tasty, and is a keeper.

22 March 2011

some overnight rains .. and mushrooms

Lovely soaking showers bought along some little surprises in the garden, like this...

and these in a tub, where I've some basil seedlings growing.

I'd hoped to also include here some mushroom prints from these, but they proved to be too moist I think, and with next to no colour showing in the gills, the print result was most dissapointing. Messy, looking like damp pollen.

I have done this in years gone by with good results, but not with these type fungi. I call them mushrooms ... I guess they are? When I lifted them gently from the cardstock this morning, they looked like floppy little pancakes.

Not daunted! From this image ...

Some fun graphics play. Inverted, erased the retainer wall backdrop, and airbursh-cloned the remaining space overhead.

Then to creating some "objects" .. the little clothing items and pegs on the line. Bunny is a partial silhouette image taken from a Dover clipart cd. This is really, a little reminiscent of a paper-cutting I did a couple of years back .

Look to Brian Garthwaite's blog Fire Would Burn Me, for his steps to taking mushroom spore prints here. On reading through Brian's notes, I find I may well have had some success if I'd used a black cardstock .. though I really think they were simply too full of moisture to have made a good print. Next time I will be more choosy.

20 March 2011

...watercolour garden

this in my 'visual art diary' all new territory .. painting, and I realize after the event, that I should have started on a page in my brand new watercolour pad instead.

Zentangle-inspired-art, over a water-colour background, using water-brush.

The flowers and leaves filled in with this same water-brush, picking up colour from the tips of Faber-Castell watercolour-pencils.

Oh, I did look for a stronger yellow to paint the centres of the flowers and went for a brush-marker to do this after having used a lighter yellow watercolour first up. I've learnt that the marker is more opaque, not especially what I wanted there afterall, but no backing out of that one.

The broken edge 'frame' showing here is simply a graphics 'mask' I used to dolly-up my image.

Notebook cover - zentangle inspired art

Here's where I've been the past couple nights playing with some arty recreation time.

It was just a matter of wanting to do some more tangling, and so .. making a new face for a spiral-bound notebook came to mind.

12 March 2011

A recent post on Margaret Oomen's creative blog Ressurection Fern inspired me to try some ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Art) on river stones. With a source right here in my back garden, last night .. here is what I dabbled at.

Yes it was a challenge, since there's lots o' little dimples in those stones! I used a Sharpie extra fine point permanent marker only, for this little rendition on a grey stone, of CZT Carol Ohl's pattern named Puf. Be sure to visit Open Seed Arts to see Carol's tutorial.

The next pebble is a dappled oatmeal colour. Visit Linda Farmer's Tangle Patterns site to read information on the origins, and drawing of Hollibaugh pattern.

After drawing in the pattern there was no way I could've filled in with black, but then remembered I have a Pigma brush marker. This made for a more intense line as I overdrew the original lines, and the filling in, became more a painting process with the flexible brush tip.

11 March 2011

Cards: Two, very different for today

..first one uses a paper-napkin background layer. I was really surprised to find the artist's name, Kathryn White, on the back of the napkin. I have a number of Kathryn's prints hanging here at home, so no wonder the pack of paper-napkins had taken my eye.

Textured off-white paper is from Paper Source/Australia, the grosgrain ribbon was white, and dyed with stamping-pad inks. Sentiment stamp for the tag is Hero-Arts/CL140, a delightful set.

Then I put myself to the test with some zentangle-inspired-art again (since my eye surgery was only last week.. sight is good enough, but drops and ointment make it a little blurry at times).

I'd used a rubber-stamp for the kimono shape and was sure it was from a certain company, but on checking with their online catalogue it wasn't listed there; so I best not say who I 'think' it belongs to. Stamped on the reverse of the paper and cut it out, ready for some penned designs.

A paper-cutting for the inside of this card, one I'd cut at another time; was a quick fix for the inside of this card. The pattern is from Paper Cutting by Alison, Adornments package.

So these could each qualify for differing labels, cards, zentangle-inspired-art, and paper-cutting! I decided 'cards' it will be for this post.

10 March 2011

A rough pastel attempt turned into graphics play

I have written before today, that "I can't draw" but I am however, drawn to blogs that do display this creative talent. It didn't stop me stepping outside this afternoon and trying to sketch the flapjacks.

It was a bit of a hit and miss attempt, however, this is what I managed. I liked the colours a lot, but not the shapes and lack of balance. Figured perhaps this could be considered my first practice run; and the first time I've really tried something like this at all. It could easily have just gone into the bin as a non-event.

However, I was pretty happy with some added effects, after scanning...

Here's a new look, after taking the makeshift sketch into my graphics programme Corel's PhotoImpactX3, and blurring some of the colours a touch first.

Then applied Flaming Pear plug-in, Twist, with some variations to the sliders.

Now my fantasy cacti-succulent needed some thorns, so I made some of those with the line/arrow tool, and used the rotate-freely, and rotate-virtual-3D, to the finished thorn objects. Now I could have easily gone overboard with the thorns! They appeared like twinkling lights I thought, and made the image pop some.

From a little scrap of paper.........

08 March 2011

..and some more card-making

...with a little collage feature using torn papers,gel-medium, stamp-pad-inks (a sample from my Bernie Berlin experiments). Embossing folder: Craft Concepts/Dragonfly

A Chinese brush painting (unfortunately I don't know the artist/s), printed on ink-jet transfer paper with a polyester base; used for this card.

This print, and the following, had been sent to me by a friend in Wales working with a long-term textiles course.

Stamp credit: About Art Accents/Earthen Teapot

02 March 2011

Easy Cards with Paper Quilting

Needing a birthday card that looks good, but not so much 'tools and equipment' required?

The paper-quilting technique used for these cards is straightforward, and effective.

I did already have a kit from Hanko Designs with the necessary thin-foam, needed to pad out these gift boxes. It wasn't the kit with a gift-box pattern however, but the outlines are simple enough to create, to suit your card dimensions.