31 March 2011

The Blogging from A-Z April Challenge is about to begin!!

I only stumbled across this challenge the other day, but it sounds like a great incentive to keep up my blog and to make me think of some fun new content!

There is still time to sign up if you also have a blog - just take a look here!

So come back tomorrow for my first post beginning with the letter A!

The 365 Scientist - Days 231-234

Day 231

When I told the 365 Scientist that England were playing today, I think he got the wrong end of the stick and turned up to watch the rugby match with a football! To be honest, I think we both wished it was football instead as neither of us understand this sport at all!

Day 232

The 365 Scientist and I went for a walk in the woods today and he brought along his bubbles. He had a great time blowing bubbles while I was taking some photos!

Day 233

The 365 Scientist and I went to the Nike Factory Outlet this evening and we treated ourselves to some posh running socks. I think I'll be the one wearing these the most though - they are a little big for him!

Day 234

The 365 Scientist helped me out today by folding up the washing, and I didn't even need to ask!

29 March 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 227-230

Day 227

So, which one is the real 365 Scientist - can you spot him?

Day 228

The fabric I ordered for my shop arrived today and the 365 Scientist couldn't wait to open the package and look at the rubber ducky fabric! Now he wants me to make him something out of it - he does love rubber ducks so it is perfect for him!

Day 229

The 365 Scientist helped me choose the right brushes for my painting assignment today. Is there anything he's not an expert in?!

Day 230

When I told the 365 Scientist this morning that I needed a haircut today, I think he got the wrong end of the stick! This is how I found him when I got home - scissors, hairclip and comb at the ready, bless him! Unfortunately I had already had it cut by a professional - he was a bit disappointed but I made it up to him by letting him eat the last Jammie Dodger!

21 March 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 223 - 226

Day 223

The 365 Scientist and his new friend, Basil!

Day 224

The 365 Scientist had a go at mini magnetic darts today. He was pretty good but didn't quite manage a 180!

Day 225

With all the cold damp weather we've been getting lately, the 365 Scientist has had a bit of trouble with his chest, so the Dr gave him this new inhaler to use for a while. Poor thing.

Day 226

The 365 Scientist scouring the TV guide for something to watch tonight - not much on as usual!

12 March 2011

Get Your Paint On - Week 5

The final assignment was pretty open - just to create a painting using knowledge we'd gained during the course. Well I realised just how much I had learnt when it came to planning this one.I worked out my subject matter from the list I made of things I like and am drawn to - namely for this one, tea, pretty china, clouds and the sea! I knew I wanted to paint one of my female figures, so she's sipping a lovely cup of tea by the coast - having a moment of calm before the impending storm! I took a photo of me holding a teacup in the right pose so I had a reference to work from.

The main thing I've learnt from GYPO is use of colour - I don't use any straight out of the tube anymore, and I try to think about the temperature of the colours. So, for this one I worked on the composition principle that either warm or cool colours should dominate, and used mostly cool colours, with less warm colour added in for interest. I thought about focal point by cropping the image offcentre and placing the face on an intersection of the rule of thirds. The painting is 16" x 20".

I'm really pleased with how it turned out and as I said, it made me realise just how much I've learnt from this course - thank you Mati and Lisa!

For anyone interested here are a few photos of the work in progress:

Get Your Paint On - Week 4

I tried a different style of painting this week. I wanted to paint something very realistic, and as I used to love drawing birds when I was younger, I got out my British Birds book and chose the bullfinch. The assignment this week was to chose a composition principle or 2 to incorporate into the painting and I chose 'focal point'.

The bird is obviously the focal point of the paintng, and I made it bright and sharp. I originally intended to draw a flying bird in the distance in more muted colours and fuzzier, but now I think that would actually ruin this painting. I also follwed the rule of thirds for creating a focal point and placed the bird on an intersection.

The other principle I followed was to keep the elements varied in space - I placed the bird off centre and the twig/wire cuts the painting in 2 but not symmetrically.

I haven't painted anything like this for so long I think I surprised myself with it! Will definitely be doing more like this in the future - perhaps birds in unusual environments to make it a little different.

09 March 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 9/52 - Express Yourself

Within a few minutes of reading this weeks theme (Express Yourself), I had a vision of the photo I wanted to take. For some reason, it was me (well, it would have been some other female if I had someone to model for me!) in the woods, wearing bright red accessories, spinning around and blowing bubbles!! I can explain some parts of that vision - one of the places I love most in the world are woodlands, and I love wearing bright accessories when I'm feeling brave! The bubbles idea came from some experimental photos I've taken before with them. Put it all together and you've got a great way of expressing me!

Lots of photos were taken on the burst setting, and I waded through them to find the best ones. I chose this one because you can clearly see (I hope) that I'm spinning around, and you can see a few bubbles too.

On Picnik afterwards I added some cross processing and then used the CinemaScope function.

Here are some reject shots:

Thought this one was a little too blurry, although I preferred the pose.

Cross-processing effect applied using Picnik. I like the colours here but just thought it lacked something. Also, it might be misinterpreted as just me turning away, rather than spinning around.

Sixties style effect which looked OK - just not dramatic enough.

This mosaic effect shows that I'm spinning, but it just doesn't have the wow factor I wanted! I just subscribed to Picnik Pro and am exploring all the extras - think these mosaics will come in very handy at some point!

08 March 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 219 - 222

Day 219

The 365 Scientist having a contemplative moment in the garden while cloudwatching.
Day 220
While I was painting this evening, the 365 Scientist helped me out by passing me the right colours. I made sure he didn't get any paint on his white coat though!
Day 221
After hearing on the local weather that there was a very slim chance of seeing the Northern Lights tonight, the 365 Scientist quickly reached for his binoculars and headed outside. Unfortunately all he saw was blackness - not even a star was on show because of the pesky clouds.

Day 222

I bought this fab book the other day on Street Art and grafitti, and the 365 Scientist wanted to check it out for himself. I've warned him not to go out around town with a spraycan of his own though!

07 March 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 8/52 - The View From Here

I just realised I haven't posted my Project 52 photos for the last couple of weeks so here is a catch up of week 8!
This was the only idea I had this week, but I still managed to have loads of different versions to sift through!

I eventually chose this one because you can see so many reflections, and it emphasises the many 'views'.

My intention was to take a photo with the camera held in front of my face (as I don't like my photo being taken!), but I ended up liking this one more!

I added some cross-processing and a slight vignette using Picnik. I was torn between this colour version or a black and white version, but decided to go for some colour this time as quite a few of my Project 52 photos are black and white or lacking in colour.

03 March 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 215 - 218

Day 215

I had to do my homework for my Get Your Paint On course, so the 365 Scientist helped me set up my work area.

Day 216

After completing my painting assignment yesterday, the 365 Scientist spent today analysing my creation. It is an abstract based on the artist Cy Twombly, so I can understand why he looks a little confused!

Day 217

While in the middle of my Project 52 photoshoot, I turned my back for a minute and the 365 Scientist was gobbling up the chocolate hearts! I guess I can't blame him - they are pretty yummy.
Day 218

This is the scene I found when I got up today - the 365 Scientist had made me a special Valentine's breakfast complete with heart-shaped fried egg, cup of tea, candle and rose petals! How sweet is that?

02 March 2011

Small Wonders: Feb/Mar 2011

After the Bid Dreams, Small Wonders ecourse, Louise Gale has set up a monthly Small Wonders feature where we can share our review of the past month and goals for the next. I think this is a great way to acknowledge what we have achieved and to think about what we want out of the coming month. So, here are my Small Wonders for March:

1) What you are most proud of/what you accomplished this month?

In my spare time, most of this month centred on the online painting course, Get Your Paint On. I spent a lot of time dreaming up ideas for paintings and then creating them on canvas. I think I needed the push to paint because it can be daunting staring at a blank canvas with a brain full of ideas but no way to express them. I also started running on my treadmill again. Running is one of those things that I so desperately want to be good at, but find so bloody hard! I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve enjoyed it, and how much quicker I can go than I thought. I have a 10k race to do in June and need to beat my time from last year (and this will be my second 10k ever), so I’m pleased I’ve started working towards that already. Another achievement has been doing so well with my healthy eating – I’m back in my jeans and determined to keep it going.

2) How you are going to acknowledge these moments and celebrate? 

When the painting course ends this week, I am planning on hanging one painting from each week in a row on my wall to celebrate – my own mini art gallery! I also want to tidy up my creating space and hang a noticeboard on the wall so I can pin up things to remind me of what I’ve achieved.
3)  3) If you had a theme for February?
      My February themes were to be motivated and creative – I made a dreamboard in my journal and most of it centred around ‘just getting on with it’ and on getting fitter and stronger, both mentally and physically.
4.    4) Any challenges you recognised?

      The main challenge was to create a painting each week for the course, and to really start analysing my work. I faced quite a few challenges with the actual painting – I struggled with subject matter, how to apply the paint, canvas size and all sorts of indecision. The main thing was I carried on, and worked through them.

5.     5) Your intentions and focus for the next month?
      My March intentions are to:
a)      Continue painting every week and creating new ideas for art
b)      Work on creating a balance between art and sewing – I tend to focus on one at a time but I need to keep both going strong
c)      Continue to increase and improve my running
d)     Start selling on Ebay from the ever-growing Ebay-pile/room, and de-clutter my creating and storage space. I have a real problem of too much stuff and not enough space.   

01 March 2011

Get Your Paint On - Week 3

The assignment for week 3 was all about colour – we learnt about mixing colours and never to use paint straight out of the tube! This was a revelation to me because I realised just how limited my colour palette had been up until now. For the actual assignment we had to choose 4 items in colours we like, and mix paint to match the colours. The subject was totally up to us.

I knew straight away what I wanted to paint – I had bought some very large canvases (1m tall by 30cm wide) for half price the other week and have been eyeing them with trepidation ever since, so I knew I had to break the fear and just start painting one of them! I knew the main focus of the painting would be my girl figure that I use on a lot of drawings, and I brainstormed to work out what else I could add around her. 

I ended up using a paint chart to find colours I liked, as I love looking through them at all the beautiful muted shades. I made a small test version of my painting and mixed up approximate colours for it. Once I’d planned it out I set to work on the scary white canvas.

I had consistency and coverage issues with painting the plain background, but after a couple of layers it looked OK. The girl and items took longer than I expected (but things always do!), and the thing I found most difficult about painting large was the awkward shape of the canvas – it was hard to work on laying flat on the table but it didn’t really fit on my small easel. Trust me to always choose the awkward way of doing things. I’m always drawn to the odd shaped canvases or paper, rather than a more normal shape – for some reason, I find it harder to plan paintings on conventional shapes. 

I really found out what it meant to follow the U-curve during a painting with this one. I hated it and wanted to give up half way through painting the girl figure. I thought it looked terrible and couldn’t work out how to position the canvas or anything, but I remembered what we’d been told and managed to work through it, so that eventually it started to come together and by the end I was really pleased with it. I will definitely work large again and it isn’t as scary as I thought. Having a plan and a small scale sketch to work from helped a lot.

I will be keeping 1 painting from each week of this course to show how much I’ve achieved, but I would love to produce a similar painting to sell in my shop – perhaps with a better background. I like the plain colour but think it is perhaps a little too plain. Backgrounds are definitely something to work on, and I’m already starting to look for inspiration and keep a scrapbook full of pictures, photos and ideas.
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