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Loving Painting!

Loving Painting!

At Designmatterstv we’ve been focussing on Laura’s 31 Days of Art Journalling course lately and I have loved working along with her prompts into a little sketchbook but it has meant that my other painting has been neglected. I’m not sure if it’s the return of spring and all that means in the garden but I have been inspired to get the canvases out and get stuck in! Our magnolia blossom has been gorgeous during the early warm, sunny weather but sadly, with the return of frosty nights, the delicate petals have suffered – not before I had time to try and capture their loveliness in watercolour though. That’s the beauty of a painting – the flowers will always be perfect! The still life shows a few of my favourite possessions with the orchid from Marks and Spencer that my mom gave me for my birthday nearly four years ago. It’s getting a bit unruly but flowers its heart out every year.

Part of the rekinding of my passion for painting has been the discovery of a watercolour ground that means almost any firm surface can be prepared to accept watercolour paint. I understand this product has been around for quite some time but it’s been a complete revelation to me and I’m always up for new experiences! The manufacturers say it can be used on wood, cardboard, plastic and even glass but I’ve applied it to canvas panels and I’ve loved experimenting to find out how similar or different it is to painting onto paper. We’ve added a little video about it over on Designmatterstv if you’re interested to hear more details but essentially, the ground is applied to the canvas and allowed to dry – the surface will then resemble the texture of watercolour paper. I’ve used the course ground made by Schmincke but lots of manufacturers have their own versions. One of the advantages of working this technique is that a canvas panel that has been primed for use with acrylic or oil becomes receptive to watercolour paint and of course, a deep edge box panel doesn’t involve the cost of framing. As long as the finished painting is sealed with cold wax it’s protected and ready to hang without the need of glass or frame. I’ll definitely be making more of these paintings on canvas but there is always room for traditional techniques and the two paintings of jugs of flowers sitting on lace cloths shown here are pure watercolour on watercolour paper. I’m not decided yet which I prefer as the paint reacts differently on the ground to how it works on paper – only way to decide is to keep painting I suppose. At the moment I love both!

Bye for now,
Linda x

PS If you fancy owning one of these original paintings all of the above are available to buy in my Shop!

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Totally Obsessed!

Totally Obsessed!

Since I last wrote about being loaned an embroidery machine by Husqvarna Viking scarcely a day has gone by when I haven’t embroidered something – no old quilt or scrap of hand dyed fabric is safe! You can see here a small hanging I’ve made where the branch and some of the leaves are digital embroidery and the lemons and extra leaves are fabric painting. The close up shows how I’ve free motion quilted the background fabric in angular lines of cream on cream and finally created dimpled texture in the lemons with tightly spaced circles or meanders.

I’ve done a similar thing with the olive branch but in this piece I hand worked tiny seed stitches around the motif where the raised surface of the digital embroidery meant I couldn’t get in close enough by machine. The leaves in this design are meant to be cut back to create the texture of velvet pile but I’ve decided to leave them uncut because I prefer the lustrous shine of the threads. (I’m using Madeira threads gifted to me as brand ambassador for all the embroidery). You can see, I’ve also made another  version of the lovely fern design I showed you last time but I’ve painted into this one with a coppery metallic fabric paint mixed in with a little of the olive gold. I think the copper complements the variegated colour of the embroidery thread and also contrasts well with the colour of the fabric. I’ve also painted bunches of grapes and extra leaves into a fourth piece that’s worked onto a digital print of flaking paint on a building. I really like to layer pattern on pattern. Most of these pieces are yet to be completed but I get so excited I have to start another embroidery while I’m still painting or quilting the last one! There’s great satisfaction in multi-tasking – picture me carefully painting as I sit next to the embroidery machine as it whizzes away on the next piece! The final photo here shows how I’m stitching out more leaves and branches ready for more painted fruit. I can’t imagine this obsession ending any time soon but I’ll let you see how I get on!

Bye for now,
Linda x

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New Year – New Machine

New Year - New Machine

First of all although a little belatedly, Happy New Year! I hope you are all rested and refreshed and raring to go in 2022! I don’t want to sound like a complete misery but I’m always pleased to get back to a normal life as soon as the decorations are down. This year particularly so because, as a Brand Ambassador for Husqvarna Viking I’ve been loaned a top of the range Epic 2 embroidery machine. It arrived 3 days ago and has hardly been idle since then. It’s so exciting getting to know what this beast is capable of and I am really impressed with what I’ve discovered so far. It’s early days and I’ve only tried the tip of the iceberg but I hoped you’d be interested to see my first forays.

One of the first designs I chose to try out was the lovely big fern ‘line drawing’ you can see details of above. It’s already built into the design library of the machine. I’ve worked it onto a digitally printed pastel drawing of mine which I had partially free motion quilted. I chose the outline fern because it gave me potential to add paint in the leaf shapes – you know how much I like to add a bit of paint! I’ve used Jacquard Lumiere paint in metallic olive gold for this.

The daffodil and tulip piece above and to the right is another of the built in designs which looked very sketchy and hand drawn – just like a pen drawing I might have made in my sketchbook. I stitched this onto a scrap of a quilt Laura had chopped up to make purses. It already had quite a lot of linear quilting and digital embroidery but I chose a dark thread that would show over the top of the initial layers of pattern. The design was worked in a single colour of Madeira rayon thread but once the embroidery was finished I added colour to the blooms with Inktense pencils and water.

The leafy embroidered branch on the right is looking very plain right now but my plan is to add painted lemons – I’ll let you see if that turns out as I imagine it. It’s looking great in my head but I just have to make it happen on the fabric now!

Thanks for reading this today – hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how I’m keeping busy in a cold and dark January.

Bye for now,
Linda x

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Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

There are two questions we get asked all the time – “How long did it take” and “Where do you get your inspiration”. The answer to the first is simple – as long as it needs. The second is more complicated because inspiration can come from anywhere. Unless I am working to a brief, where the theme is provided, I find mine from the every day and familiar – from things I surround myself with and love. They aren’t necessarily valuable things but they are precious to me. My paintbox is a perfect example. I’ve had it for many years and it’s really well used. As the colours run out I top them up so it’s only the box itself and the china mixing palette that’s original. (Well apart from the horrible viridian green which I hate but can never bring myself to throw  away). A few years ago I made a digitally printed quilt from a photograph of the paintbox but when it sold at exhibition and wasn’t going to come home I decided to make a second version. I don’t like to repeat things exactly so this time I started by making a pastel and watercolour painting of my box rather than using a photograph. That’s a detail of my paintbox on the right and the painting I made of it is below. I had the painting printed onto cotton fabric using fibre reactive dyes and quilted the wholecloth design with free motion machine stitch. The finished quilt is shown here on the right.

I tried to be true to the luscious pools of colour with my thread choices and particularly wanted to capture the stains on the wood of the box and the white china tray. I rarely wash the palette and prefer my colours to flow from one project to the next. The stains also provided exciting shapes for the quilting as I stitched around their contours. It’s always good to have shapes for quilting inspiration and these organic splashes and drips contrasted effectively with the more geometric shapes of the half pans and the wells in the palette.
If you’d like to see close ups of the quilting visit the Portfolio page on my website where the quilt is now listed for sale.
Thanks for reading this today!
Bye for now – Linda

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Paintbox 2

Paintbox 2

51 inches x 29 inches
130 cm x 74 cm

This is the second quilt I made inspired by my precious paintbox. I firstly painted the box using oil pastel with watercolour washes and then the painting was scanned and digitally printed onto cotton fabric using fibre reactive dyes. I rarely clean the mixing palette, preferring to let my favourite colours flow from one painting session to the next – my free motion machine quilting follows the contours of the stains and spills on the wood of the box as well as the patches of colour in the half pans and those left in the china mixing palette. It was a joyous piece to work on!

 

SOLD

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Hard to Choose a Favourite thing!

Hard To Choose A Favourite Thing

I’m one of those people who think a day is wasted if I haven’t made something that didn’t exist the day before! It doesn’t really matter what that thing is as long as I create something! It may be as simple as a loaf of bread or a tasty cake but the most satisfying creations are always ‘arty’. I sew, quilt or knit almost every day but I get the most enjoyment from my drawing, printing and painting because they are so immediate. A quilt can take me weeks or even months but I can make a drawing whenever I have a few free minutes. There are always several sketchbooks on the go – usually because I’m too impatient to wait for pages to dry before I can turn to the next. This one is a tiny square format which is ideal for quick sketches. The little bird was drawn with water-soluble pencils and then I added washes of water to diffuse the pigments. We’re working on a ‘how to’ video showing this technique for designmatterstv – hopefully it’ll be available soon. The nuthatch in the book I’m holding was done in exactly the same way but I liked his shape and colouring so much I decided to make a second version using more traditional watercolour techniques. I’ve mounted the finished watercolour painting onto a wooden panel and sealed the surface with cold wax to protect it. He’s in my online shop now if you are tempted to own the original!

It’s a cold wintry day here and I’m about to make soup! While it’s bubbling away I can get back to that sketchbook. No time to squander!

Bye for now,
Linda