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…

Advertisements

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!

 

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?

Celtic Initials

One day in December, in that time which seems to be becoming named “Twixmas” (yuck!), between ChristmasDay and New Year, I was feeling rather down so I thought that a bit of concentration on some artwork would help take me out of myself.

As later in the week I was going to see a friend whose name begins with “J” I thought I would create a Celtic knotwork J for him as a gift. I used a book called “Celtic Alphabets” as a guide, and copied the Lion’s Head design – but as J loves cats, I altered it slightly to a cat’s head. It took me a fair amount of time to get right, but in the end I was quite pleased with it.

And, yes, by the time I’d finished I had been taken out of myself! I should remember this for future times…