Monday, 20 March 2017

Girl Series

This post has been a long time coming. Most of the following drawings have been completed or started in July of last year and I only now got to finish them. They remained unfinished for so long in part due to time restraints; there is always a lot to do but only one of me. And also partly I dreaded coming back to them because this series came to be during a very difficult phase in my life. 
The last year was emotionally and mentally quite tough for me, it took me a while to get out of the swamp of negativity I found my self in.
I was so glad to find that I was able to translate a few of the issues into my art, actually giving my other half a good scare in the process. All he knew of my art so far was that it was... nice and... pretty and -well- harmless. Then I learned how to draw whimsical human faces; the endless possibilities that lay ahead now...
The first girl kind of started the whole series, I made her using only Caran D'ache Neocolor watersoluble crayons simply because I had just bought them new and wanted to try them. About two days after drawing her I got a very bad tonsilitis, when I went to see the doctor about it I had to write everything down because I could not talk at all.

I really love this girl, she is so creepy and scary and so tormented.

The next girl you might already be familiar with if you hang out on, I am using her as my avatar there. She is very different to the Shroom Girl because she is pretty more so than creepy. She very beautifully illustrates what my mind felt like over the summer of last year. A boiling and fiery mess about to overflow and explode.
To make her I used Inktense Pencils, acrylic paint, iridescent medium and glitter glue.

This next girl I tend to call Golem Girl, but that is not what or who she is, she does not need a scroll with secret writing placed in her mouth to tell her what to do. She ties in very closely with the first two girls, dealing with the need but inability to communicate what is going on inside of her. She -to me- personifies the martyr aspect of the Queen of Swords in the Tarot: a very brave and passionate person that just deals with whatever is thrown at her and happening around her without whining about it. This can be driven into the extreme as seen here in her martyr aspect.
Again I used Inktense Pencils, acrylic paint, iridescent medium and (this time home made) glitter glue. The glitter really emphasizes her crackling clay surface, revealing the heat within.

And so far the last girl in this series, the Gooey Thoughts Girl. My guess is we have all had the feeling of trying to think in quicksand at some point in our lives. Sluggish reasoning, not getting any decent thinking done, not being able to focus... thinking in quicksand. While at the same time looking at a diseased, pestilent world and not even being close to having any solutions for our own problems, let alone societies. Seeing things around you turn to sh** and being aware that you are watching "history" unfold... You know, "history", the stuff you heard about in school, the stuff you thought modern society had learnt from and risen above...

These last two girls are the ones that still needed finishing, and they have been waiting very patiently. I am glad and proud I made them, I find them all beautiful in their intensity and also in what they represent for me. 
Hopefully you aren't overly shocked about them, they are in each and every one of us to some extend or another, they are extremes that need to be faced. Facing them makes us stronger.

There will be more of them.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Coconut Shrine

This post is just going to be a really short one. A while back I was attending the preliminary festivities for an indian-irish wedding, it was my husband that attended the wedding itself. The couple gave out wedding favours in small golden fabric bags and I was very fortunate that he was so considerate as to bring one of these baggies home with him. He had seen some chocolates inside, what he had missed was the brass Ganesha figurine that was tucked away in the bag under the chocolates.
For a while Ganesha found a new home on top of our computer/tv screen, in a prime spot overlooking our daily family life. Unfortunately he lost his neat home when we had to get a new screen and the new flat screen is so flat, Ganesha can't perch on top anymore. He needed a new home, and what better way to give the patron of new endeavours, new life and the arts (!) than to art him one.
I used half a coconut.

I started by painting the shell all in black acrylics, then I filled a mylar cone with some copper acrylic paint and did a leaf garland around the rim inside a d also on the outside. Behind himself I painted an Om symbol because Om is the sound associated with him. When we hung his shrine coconut it kept twisting sideways, facing away from the room, so to stabilise it we twisted an LED christmas light around the rope and into the shell, backlighting the little figurine as you can see in the next picture.

And this is how Ganesha found his new and hopefully permanent home, overlooking our daily family life again. 
With this small project I found I quite enjoy making a little shrine, I also liked to use the coconut shape and paint the interior to reflect the purpose of it. I might be making more of these, I have a few more coconut half shells ;-)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Birthday gift for my wonderful husband...

I usually start my blog entry with a short introduction to the theme I am writing about. This time is a little different. I decided to start my entry with this beautiful picture my husband took of the quilt I made for his birthday. Ok, I admit his birthday was a couple of months back, but in my defense I am a busy woman and I am only about 2 months late finishing the quilt, so I am not doing overly bad. I started working on it about this time last year, and I could have finished it a lot quicker had I not wanted it to be a surprise, so I had to work in secret, only one evening a week when I was out at a patchwork group meeting. I know, I am sooo romantic ;-)

Next up is a close up of the tree trunk details and some of the snowflakes, too. The picture really doesn't show up the detail all too well but the light situation in the room is a bit on the shady side. 
The quilt background, the snow flakes and the tree labyrinth are made from raw silk, the tree trunk and the moon are made from a collection of different coloured cotton batiks and prints. I made the trunk by drawing a rough guide on some paper, so I would know where the labyrinth starts and how I wanted the trunk to be shaped. I then chose my fabrics and roughly cut out random strips, only taking care about the shape when it came to cutting out the branches. I then pinned all these bits onto the background and under the labyrinth/tree crown and proceeded to appliqué them with an ordinary running stitch with my sewing machine.

For the snowflakes I used cream and white raw silk. You can't see it on the pictures, but I used the cream for the snowflakes that fall further away behind the tree and the white for the flakes in the foreground in front of the tree. I wanted them to have a dimensional quality so I only appliquéd them on with a circular seam, leaving the edges rough and slightly raised, this goes through all the layers of the quilt and was done with a gold metallic thread.

I used a batik cotton fabric for the moon. The fabric has a design that was already sporting a "crater like" pattern. A friend from my patchwork group "The Schoolhouse Quilters" was so good as to let me use some of her metallic iron on effect foil to give the moon some extra bling, and also making the whole piece a mixed media piece really...

I wanted to bring out the craters a bit more and quilted star shaped lines going out from the crater centres as shown in the next picture. If you look closely you can see the gold thread I chose to quilt the moon and the snow flakes. 

In retrospect I find it fascinating how this quilt came into being. It really started that I thought I wanted to make my husband a nice, easy and quick quilt. Maybe only using two colours, appliquéing the labyrinth onto the burgundy silk background. As soon as  I had the continueous lines pinned I thought it looked like the crown of a tree. But how to make a halfway realistic trunk? So another evening was spent just layering and pinning the tree trunk onto paper, and another repinning it onto the burgundy background. Yet still something was missing. I was thinking I might add leaves and a friend (the same that gave me the metallic foil to use) suggested making it a tree in winter; I take it she wanted to make it easier for me. 

This whole piece kept growing over the months and I can say I am very happy with how it turned out. I hope himself likes it, too :-)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A special award for a special friend

I have been making a lot of Henna art lately, and I really do mean... a lot! So this post and possibly the next post will be dedicated to art with Henna or just Henna inspired art. 
todays post is about a project I started (and finished) for a friend of mine in Canada. We have been trading here and there for a while now over on, and also we have been giving each other a lot of encouragement over the last year so I decided to make her a little birthday present. That said I should mention that her birthday was in December, but hey, these things take a while, and as long as I get stuff done eventually all is good in my book. 

So for my friends project I needed a container or a box to ship it in, and as I was basically plastering Henna all over the place I decided to go for Henna inspired art with acrylic paints. In the first picture you can see all the stuff needed for some acrylic Henna art, the (still plain) barrel box I was planning to use for my project.

I will mercifully spare you the gory details of toiling over this barrel, paint cone in hand, quietly swearing under my breath with every stroke that is not 100% "perfect"...
Instead I give you a nice all around view of the finished vessel, I used a dark violet acrylic for the main colour and a copper acrylic in the paint cone for the mehndi art.

Of course this lovely barrel also has a lid...

After all the acrylic paints had dried I used a waterbased clear satin varnish to seal everything. The varnish tends to raise the unpainted woodgrain a little bit but I could not really sand it back to smooth, I was afraid I might damage the black rims around the painted details. Instead I opted for several varnish coats to make up for it.

And inside was the proper surprise and (very) late birthday gift, my friends very own little award, a tiny polymer clay dragon cradling a needle felted oak seedling and acorn, who knows, maybe the beginning a mighty tree of life? 

And even if it was just an ordinary oak, how could anybody resist this cute little dragon?