The Gallery is Open

Kezzie had the idea of a virtual “art gallery” where people shared some of the art in their homes – “art” being interpreted however one felt it appropriate.

Unfortunately, despite having several days notice I left it until the morning of the Opening to do anything about it…and I have to go to work soon(ish) so my pictures – taken on my phone, because my camera is being temperamental – are not very well staged or taken. I do apologise. This will seem like a very amateurish art gallery! THe pictures are small too, being taken on the phone, but I hope that if you click on them you can biggify to see more details.

I have a lot of pictures and bits ‘n’ bobs in the house. Here is a photo of the wall behind my computer

As you can see it’s an eclectic mix of photos, cards, and other bits and bobs. It rather sums up my home!

So, due to my lack of preparation, I rushed around, randomly snapping what has turned out to be very blurry photos of various pieces of art around the house…

The reflections made this hard to photograph, but it was painted by the father of a friend of mine. His name was Eric Kilner, and Alison has been my friend since our University days. I admired the pictures she had in her home, painted by her father, so he gave me this one. It’s an abstract piece that makes me think of water weeds and ponds. I really like it. It hangs on our first floor landing.

Another reflection tricky picture is this one:

We bought this limited edition print of the Great Orme, Llandudno, in Frome, with Alison (friend mentioned above) & her OH, Kit. Unfortunately I can’t read the artist’s signature as I love this and would like to get more by the artist. We were wandering around Frome arts market and saw his stand. Mr FD & I decided there and then we wanted one of the pictures, and chose this one for its moodiness and for the fact we were in the area of Llandudno for our honeymoon. This was a wedding anniversary purchase, so it seemed appropriate.

This is in our living room.

Also with a connection to my friend Alison, we come to this picture, which hangs in our dining room:

She sent us this print for Christmas, a few years ago, and when we had adopted our big ginger boy from the street, we were searching for the right name…I looked at him sleeping, in this pose, looked at the picture and knew we had his name!

This is a corner in our living room – again, showing the eclectic mix of “stuff” (is it art?)

There is yet another link to Alison and Kit – now he’s retired, Kit makes Shaker style boxesand other lovely stuff. Please go and look at his items (and maybe even buy something!!) – they really are art! You can see the little box at the front, which was a gift. The wooden vase was made by another friend, and the thistly flowers within were given to us by Michel, a friend who died a year or so ago. The embroidery        “Home is where the cat is” was made by yet another talented friend.The cat in the photo is Manda, our first cat that we owned together – she lived until she was nearly 20, with her last five years as a diabetic. We adopted her when I won a competition, with 354 tins of Kit E Kat as part of the prize – and we didn’t have a cat!

The collection of tin and pottery stars was inspired by (yes, you’ve guessed it!) Alison & Kit…They have so many beautiful things around their home, and I always liked their collection of bells, hanging up the stairs. When we moved out here, to our home on Boulevard de l’Astrée (“Starry Boulevard” – or so we thought) I named our house Maison des Etoiles. Then I started to collect little stars. These are a few. We found out that in fact the street is named after the novel “L’Astrée” by a local author, but never mind…

Here’s an appropriate song by one of my favourite groups…

Moving into our guest bedroom we have some more pictures:

again, appallingly photographed!

The “sampler” I made in 1989 for Mr FD’s granny’s 90th birthday, and as her initialsare the same as mine, I was happy to take it as a gift after she died. The black polar bear I adore – he is Hornsea pottery, and was a gift after my grandmother died. Here he is in a complete state…

 

Unfortunately mine is broken and mended, after being knocked over by a cat. Probably Pomme who was remarkably clumsy in her youth.

The tiny picture is a Kate Greenaway print

(again, apologies for the photo!) This was a present from my sister on my 16th birthday – I remember I was thrilled to be given something “grown up” as a present! It has followed me round to every home since!

And the piece of calligraphy reads:”Every act of kindness and nurturing I show to myself impacts those around me: something “just for me” is in fact a gift to my whole inner circle who benefits in turn” This is by Angela, who ran a workshop I went to. This is another piece of her work

and this is the piece I created at her workshop

This hangs in my study. It reminds me sometimes to dare a bit more….

Just popping back to the living room, there is this picture

a print of a Heaton Cooper. This blog post tells you more about it.

And here is another blog post about this picture which hangs in my study

https://fatdormouse.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/img_0172.jpg

 

and finally another blogpost about this picture:

https://fatdormouse.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_0069.jpg

which is a sketch of a scene in “Nicolas Nickleby”

I do a lot of art myself – zentangles particularly, but I dabble in other things too – here is a link to the “artwork” part of my blog should you be interested.

A Rockhopper penguin zentangle, by Yours Truly

If you visit Bev’s “gallery”,  open today, you’ll see a couple of other zentangles that I’ve done. If you go to this page you’ll find the links to all participating galleries

Also, anyone who is on the list of participating “galleries” and would like me to do a zentangle for them, leave me a message in the comments saying who you are, your site and what you’d like a zentangle of. I can’t promise when it will arrive, but I hope it might be before Christmas 2021!!

And if you are just visiting, as they say in Monopoly, thank you for coming! I hope you’ve enjoyed my blurry photos, and please leave a comment! As Kezzie says:

Art galleries like to keep a track of visitors so it would be lovely if you could comment on the posts of those you visit- even if it was a ‘Thanks for sharing’, let’s make the effort to show our appreciations, even if the art was not to our taste. Of course, more detailed appreciative comments are also welcome!
Also, I don’t need to say this as everyone who accesses this blog is kind (except for stupid people who share their random spam links- you can get lost!), but even if you don’t consider something to be ‘art’, perhaps don’t say so!

Poems VIII (and a picture too)

I hadn’t envisaged my “Poems” series going any further than last week, but some of you have sent me poems – thank you – and others have mentioned poems in the comments section. So I will share those too, but I’d like to share a poem and a picture, both of which were on FB

This poem is beautiful, and captures the feeling of this “Locked Down Easter” perfectly. I won’t post all of it, but I urge you to click on the link to read it.

EASTER 2020

by Malcom Guite

And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?

Not lost in our locked churches, anymore

Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre….

 

The other is this powerful painting that was also posted (follow the link to see it)

Good Friday 2020′ by Polish Jesuit, Vyacheslav Okun

An interesting debate (or rather, couple of comments) followed the posting of this painting

A: What so many people do not realse realise is that even of there was a state of the art resus team at the foot of the cross….. he was DEAD!!!!!! There is absolutely no dispute about that…. what happened next? Aaaaahhhhhhh that’s question that so many people want an answer…. but if they read the book!!!!

B: that’s really interesting take on the picture. I took it completely differently that the medics were ‘being Jesus ‘ and Jesus was all of the people who were sick and dying from this virus

What’s your take on it? I think I saw it more like the second commentator – Jesus suffering as those who suffer from the Covid-19, and the medics as those sorrowing friends who took Jesus from the cross, little understanding that there is more to Life than death.

Various bits of art…

The verse from Proverbs that kicked off 40 Acts:

On Sunday I enjoyed playing with tissue paper and glue, creating this piece. I was planning to calligraph the words, but felt that this was a more harmonious way of adding them to the piece. I’m quite pleased with it.

This is a card I made for someone in Mr FD’s office. It was her birthday and Mr FD wanted to arrange something special for her. The “C” is because her name starts with a C, not for any random reason to do with crocodiles. I was a bit annoyed to find that my expensive white calligraphy felt pen had been left open, and so had dried up. The “Joyeux Anniversaire” is on a little blackboard, but unfortunately the writing was horrid, due to the aforementioned dried up state of the pen. So I had to do something different…

This is a piece I drew for friends from church who are going back to the States. Tom & Sheryl have been utter stalwarts and have really demonstrated Christianity in action. They will be surely missed. I wanted to give them something that was “of” Clermont Ferrand, and there is nothing more iconic of the area than Puy de Dome, the mountain that can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

So that’s what I drew.

Who let the dogs out?

A few months ago, Julie, one of my Dear Readers, asked me if I could draw a zentangle of her mum’s dog as a gift for said mother. I agreed (not knowing what kind of dog it was) and Julie sent me a photo of the dog.

I can’t find it now, but it was a terrier of some kind (Sorry, Julie! I can’t remember what breed now!)  I think it might have been a Border Terrier

the most famous of which is Eccles, from “Coronation Street” as pictured above

Anyway, I searched t’Internet and found a drawing of said terrier breed. And I started my Zentangle….But it was difficult. I was worried I was getting too much Zentangle and not enough dog (if you see what I mean…) So, discouraged, I put it in a drawer and forgot about it. Then last week, I was looking through my old blog posts for something, and came across my offer to draw a zentangle for anyone, and Julie’s request for a dog for her mum. So, rather guiltily, I dug out the half finished drawing and searched t’Internet for some inspiration…which I found in this Zentangle Shih Tzu

So off I went, Zentangling mojo back, and I finished the terrier in a matter of days. Julie has it, and will be giving it to her mum, so I can show you the finished article (click on the picture to biggify it):

Finally I was pleased with how he turned out. I hope Julie’s mum likes him too!

If I’ve promised anyone else a Zentangle please do remind me in the comments…Or if you’d like one doing. Please say – I seem to be ready to do another…

Les Couleurs des Cévennes

The Colours of the Cévennes.

The Cévennes are at the south end of the Massif Central, the backbone of mountains that run from the centre (north-south) of France

Well, I say “backbone” – it’s not quite that linear, as you can see from the image. The image below shows the relative positions of Clermont Ferrand and where we were staying, at the edge of Cévennes Noir. If you want to know where we live, it’s between Thiers and Roanne, both of which are marked on the map.

While we were away I wanted to do a bit of painting, so I took my new acrylics with me – still experimenting. There was nothing I wanted to paint “from life” so on Saturday afternoon, I just tried to paint the colours that I’d seen through the week, idly inspired by the forested hillside opposite me.

Once I got home I went through a tourist leaflet from the area, tearing out words or images that spoke to me; finally using my trusty, colourful Gudrun Sjoden catalogue for other colours and images. (click to biggify)

This part has the colours of the rocks by the dry river beds, and the yellow of the diseased box hedges – there were lots of these. Mireille (our guide) explained that this disease was caused/ spread (not sure which) by the caterpillar of a tiny moth.

With this next part I tried to capture the green from the trees – it was very forested. I’m not sure I quite got some of the darkness. In places the forestation was very deep…but in other places (our walk by the river) the shade was green and dappled.

With this part I wanted to show the bamboo, so I cut out some “stalks” from the catalogue, plus some pictures of leaves (I actually think they’re palm, but they’re close enough!) There are some other images too that we saw around the area – ruined castles, for example. The river is the centre is the river we paddled across – limpid bluey-green.

The final part takes more images  from the tourist brochure that spoke to me- the flowers and bees from our walk around Nimes-le-Vieux, and also the lilies in the Bambouseraie; a guided walk, “Dites oui” (Say Yes) – to being open, relaxed, to enjoying the moment.

It’s not exactly a great work of art, but I’m satisfied by it.

Another bit of crafting…

… I mentioned a few posts back about having bought some acrylic paints and starting some crafty-painty-art-journally stuff.

On Sunday afternoon I had another session playing about a bit. I started with a colour pallette of orange/red/yellow and did some flowery shapes, just using the edge of a straight brush…followed by some green leaves. Then the trusty Gudrun Sjoden catalogue came out, with some other papery goodness and I played about with tearing the paper and sticking it down. A bit of internet trawling to find a Bible verse that fitted (perhaps I should really start with a Bible verse as my inspiration!) and I tried some different fonts to calligraph the verse.

I’m not sure the text is in the best place, but I wanted to use, as a background, the torn paper that I’d already glued into place. Never mind, it gave me the space to glue the bird, which was an afterthought.

So here it is:

A time for crafting…

I’ve been hankering after some acrylic paints, but all that I’ve looked at have been a bit expensive. Finally,  I found a set in Action (nearly as good a shop as Noz!) a few days ago, which was 20 little tubes of acrylic paint for 3,99€. So I bought them, and a set of brushes. Then yesterday I idly started brushing “waves” of green and blue across a piece of watercolour paper. That in itself was very relaxing, as I listened to some music.

Then this morning, I listened to the BBC Late Night Prom with Public Service Broadcasting playing The Race for Space. At the same time I tore up pieces of the beautifully coloured Gudrun Sjoden catalogue and stuck them on to the page…a bit of stamping, some cut out words from old CD inserts, and some calligraphy and I ended up with

You can click on it to biggify, if you want to see it in more detail

 

I really enjoyed my time playing about with bits of paper and paint…I managed to get over my feelings of “it must be perfect” – I look online and find amazing pieces of art journalling and measure myself with those. I have a very vocal inner critic, unfortunately!

I need to do more of this, I think! The problem is I find it difficult to have a idea to start with. I need to find myself a theme, or something to inspire me. I really enjoyed my “Desiderata” series…

I’m not sure these are in the right order, but never mind!!

C’est compliqué!

An expression used in French to mean “it’s complicated”…but it can also mean “it’s difficult” (but not necessarily complicated.) Which confuses my students sometimes.

Well, today it really was complicated – well, one thing I was trying to craft was complicated, anyway.

A few years ago, I went on a training course for the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) and one of the freebies handed out was a clever little card that opened out in a sequence of steps :

Open this like a book, and fold back to reveal…

 

Fold the top and bottom halves back to reveal…

Open like a book again, folding the two halves back to reveal…

Fold the both halves over-and-back, to reveal… Again!

It really is very clever (and difficult to describe) so I took two of them, one to dismantle to work out how it was done, and one to keep as a finished model. Yesterday I found them tucked into my craft shelves and decided to try to work out how it was made. After much fiddling and faffing, I worked out that it actually is deceptively simple, although you do need to be quite accurate with your cutting and sticking, or else it doesn’t fold easily into place.

I’m afraid I can’t really explain here how it’s done – I will try at a later date (if I remember!) to take some photos of me making one, so you can see the process – but here’s my own version made for Friend Alison’s son, who will be 16 on Tuesday.

Mine wasn’t quite as neatly folded as the model, so needed some help to lay flat. You can see Flynn’s two main passions illustrated – tennis and Fortnite!

I’m pleased with how it worked out, but it did take quite a long time! I’m not sure how often I’ll make a card like this, but it was fun to do. I like things like this that take my full concentration!

 

A Highland Coo for Sarah

During 40 Acts I asked if anyone would like me to draw a piece of Zentangle Inspired Art for them…

Sarah requested a Highland Cow. So a Highland Cow is what she got:

If you would like to see him in more detail, then click on the picture

 

Again, if there’s anyone who’d like a piece of ZIA for themselves – or as a gift – then let me know. It’s always nice to have a specific piece to be doing.

I sent a few postcards to John Grey of “Going Gently” as he was having a competition. Here’s the envelope that I drew – he has a bulldog called Winnie.

 

Two cards – one birthday!

It’s coming up to my mum’s 90th birthday! Hard to believe – here are pictures of her when she and my sister visited us in September. We went for several walks of 5 km or more, and mum was fitter than I was!! (Though to be fair, it was only three months after my chemo had finished!!)

I’m going over on Wednesday, and we have a big family lunch on 11th at a restaurant. It’s her birthday on 12th May. I have a picture that I bought in Strasbourg for her present: it was going to be her Christmas present, but sending it became so complicated I decided to keep it for her birthday. It means I can buy a frame too. I’m there for almost a week, which will be lovely – I hope to maybe catch up with an old friend from school while I’m there too.

So today I sat down to make a card. The first one I made was this:

 

I used papers from a papercrafting magazine plus various Noz embellishments. I quite like it, but it’s a bit boring for a 90th birthday card. So I went a bit more OTT and created this one:

It’s a three-fold card (which is a bit difficult to photograph) so it’s already a bit more “special” than the first one. Here it is, standing upright:

and in the second fold there’s another butterfly hidden away:

I think this one is a bit more joyous, and appropriate for such a landmark birthday. What do you think?