Saturday, 25 October 2008

We are off on a Cruise ..........

We are off on Monday on the last Mediterranean Cruise on the QE2 before she leaves for Dubai to become a floating Hotel. We leave home tomorrow (26th) for a stopover in the New Forest - just so we don't miss the boat on Monday!

We leave Southampton at 5.00pm and call in on Lisbon, Portugal; Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Naples, Italy; Messina, Sicily, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Zakinthos, Greece; Athens (from Piraeus), Greece and on the way back Girbraltar and Vigo, Spain, docking back at Southampton on the 11th November.

If you fancy a ride on the Bridge click here - the picture changes every sixty seconds.

I'm hoping to get lots of inspiration from this trip, so I'm loaded down with sketchbooks galore to fill up .............!

Hopefully I'll be blogging again in a few weeks time, but then maybe not. I may decide to stow away and go to Dubai ..........!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Soft Pastels Workshop with Vivien Walters

I went on this brilliant Pastels Workshop yesterday, tutored by a very talented Artist, Vivien Walters, who does the most amazing pastels of animals, and has recently added this pheasant to her tutorials. I came home with this lovely pastel that I had spent all day working on, learning all the time about how to use pastels, which was a first for me, blending colour, layering, building up the shape (he does have attitude doesn't he) applying strokes etc.etc. I can take credit for all of that appearing on the picture, due of course to a very good tutor, but I cannot take any credit for the composition! Let me explain .........

Vivien has developed a technique where she draws and paints an original picture from a photograph (taken by her husband I think!) then photographs it, puts it onto her computer, deletes all the colour and prints out a 'drawing' onto whatever type of paper her students will be using. She provides us with a printout of the original photograph for the true colour, and a copy of her original painting for inspiration, as we work.
We then start to add colour, building up gradually, under expert tuition..
feathers start to appear and his attitude begins to show itself more..
Finally we titivate and tease and layer some more on the background, never really knowing when enough is enough!
Me at my easel.......
It was a lovely day and I thoroughly enjoyed my first introduction to using soft pastels. The pheasant is actually printed onto velour paper, hence the softness to the look of it. It is a wonderful way to learn how to use a specific medium, and still come away with something to be proud of. Do visit Vivien at and take a look in her Gallery - she is an amazing Artist.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Dale's Workshops 5 and 6

Well, I didn't manage to create any 'finished' pieces, but I did manage to make a few more samples, following Dale's brilliant instructions. Here is a 'name' design, using my first name in handwriting and my surname in capitals, then joining all the lines, and filling in with colour. Can you still see my name?
This is a piece of 'fabric' I made using metallic netting with lots of scrap bits of everything layered between two pieces of netting and embellished from one side only.
This is some brown lace (put together rather like a double edged frill) that I embellished onto felt, some until it was flattened completely and some left with a bit of frill, then other fancy threads and coloured wool tops added.

This is a piece of wet felting I made when Carol showed me how last month(which to my amazement only took about 20 minutes). I then embellished this thick wool over it in a grid, hoping to fill the areas, but didn't get around to it. I will though, eventually, as I have plenty of samples I can cut up, and hand and/or machine stitch into further. It would make a super cover to keep samples in (if I have any left!)
This is an experiment I did in Lesson 2 I think, but I've put it here, as it was the technique I used for completing the postcard below, that is using the Embellisher from the back. This is a piece of black felt with a dyed piece of cheesecloth to cover, then embellished from the back pushing the black felt through to the front. (I then did some stitching on the 'trunk of the tree')
This is the postcard I made for Calendar Girls for September, and I used the above technique to get the green felt that the white hand painted silk is free stitched onto, to come from the back to the front to cover the silk. (I must add the beautiful painted flower was not done by me, but by a friend of a friend's Mum)
I've thoroughly enjoyed following Dale's Embellishing Workshop over the six week period, and understand she is planning more Workshops for 2009, details of which you can find at
I've now returned the Embellisher to my friend Janet, but she has said I can borrow it again, any time isn't that so generous!!