Thursday, 27 February 2014

Look out! Old Women alert!!

Friday's blog a private peek, so I am writing to you from a hotel in Munich. It's a challenge piecing a blog together on an Ipad, but I so want to share this day with you!
You know, how you have a plan, but then unexpected things keep cropping up? Well, when we arrived this Thursday morning, the plan was to go into the city and just enjoy the fruit & veg market in the centre. So that's where we headed...
Many of you will be familiar with the Viktualien Market in Munich; it is open every day and pretty impressive, and today was very lovely.
Then, in the distance, we heard a lot of music and racket, and there was a tall English policeman! See him? So we went to investigate...
When we got closer, the Bobby was actually Hermann, and having a blast with his friends! And that's when we found out that it's Fasching here. Karneval. In fact, it was Altweiberfest! Old Women's Festival. Not what we expected at the fruit & veg market.
The evidence was there; we had just spaced it.
We always try to take in a gallery or museum, and today we went to the Munich Museum. Beautiful and fun, too. I liked the puppets and toys.

The mirrors made me laugh. We did look comical!
Then we decided to go see our friend, Mr Pane at the Ratskeller, and have a late lunch...
Spot the sunny day!
He was happy to see us, big hugs, and found us a table, but warned us that at 4pm the place would be taken over by crowds of people in fancy dress having a ball! Literally!
The place was certainly in party mode!
True to form, no sooner had we finished our Schweinhaxe mit Knödl, the place started filling up with loads of lively Germans - mostly women - dressed up in all sorts!
The band fired up and it got really loud!
At 4 in the afternoon??!
As we were leaving, before it got too crazy, I saw this wonderful group, and asked if I could take a photo.
They were happy to wave and pose. And then I realised something: they were all deaf. They couldn't hear a thing. No music, no singing, nothing. But they were having the time of their lives!
It shook me. We take so much for granted, don't we.
Then we finally decided to wend our weary way back to the hotel, and got on the S-Bahn, the underground.
And look at this lot! It was so comical! One minute the commuters were all just heads down, going home after a day at the office. The next, a whole crowd of women dressed like zulu warriors piled in! And they were up for it, whatever it was!!
All in all, a pretty special day. And to crown it all, as we were walking to the hotel, Dave tried to read the name on the side of a van, as you do.
"Peter Stinkhole. Not a very good name for a plumber!" I'm telling you. I nearly fell into the road laughing. What a difference a Dave makes....
Time to stop. HSE24 beckons. 11am UK time. 12 noon here.
Over and out xxxx

Love Barb x

Gelli Swirls and trees

Hello there!
Thank you for dropping by.
I am in Germany today, gearing up for the lunchtime show tomorrow, so a quick and simple project is required here!

Just because something is simple, doesn’t mean it isn’t appealing. Conversely, just because something it complex, doesn’t guarantee it will be beautiful either!

Thursday’s Blog is always BLUE,
so I rooted round in my stash of background papers and dug out a Gelli Card piece I made ages ago, using
and a brayer.

Sometimes we pull prints on a Gelli Plate, and it’s like a partial print; either we waited too long, or we didn’t use enough paint, and half the print stays on the plate!
Now these ghost prints or partial prints are BRILLIANT for us stampers. 

Just watch.....

I took a set of silhouette trees and Pine Needles Distress Ink.
I stared at the scrappy background, until I could see a lake and a valley. Sometimes this takes a while. Sometimes it’s just not there, or it is - but not for me - and sometimes I have to encourage it, like I have here.
I turn the card, look at it from different angles, 
until something surfaces.

So let’s build a scene.

Pine Needles ink is a beautiful colour.

If you stamp on top of acrylic paint with a dye based ink like a Distress pad, the acrylic paint will show through - you will be able to wipe the ink off it.
Look at the four trees here; the ones stamped over paint look like they are behind the paint.

Once I have planted a few trees, I need to add a lake. Can you see my lake here? All I did to create it was lay down a piece of paper and lightly add a little Pine Needle ink in the clearing, (in the white area) with a make-up sponge.
Then I tore a curve in the copy paper and added a shadow in the curve of the acrylic swirl, using the copy paper as a mask. 
See what I mean here?  
The hardest thing is to know when to stop.

Let’s stop and step back.
Let’s make 2 panels out of the back piece; 
it’s way too lovely to throw away.

Next I think I should make a connection between the two pieces.
Another tree and a hint of the lake’s surface.

 That’ll do. 

If I layer it on a dark blue, that will make the blues in the background jump out. 

Yes, I like that.

What do you think? Dark Blue?
An ochre would look great, too. 
These are one-offs. Originals. Think about that. 
Could it be that we are actually creating pieces of ART?

If you haven’t explored the Gelli Plate yet, all I can say is this:
it has changed my life. 
My whole approach to art and craft has shifted.

Do yourself a favour though. 
Don’t get caught up with products that tell you they can do the same thing as a Gelli Plate. 
You will waste your money.
Worse than that, mediocre results will affect your confidence. 
And that’s what bugs me. I don’t care where you buy a Gelli Plate; I DO care if you get conned into thinking you can work the same magic with other mats. 

But I must dash, said the Mexican....

Wish me luck here in the Fatherland!

much love.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Looks like Culross...

Hello there!
Thought I would take you on a trip down Memory Lane at the same time as making an arty piece today.
Mel drew this brilliant Town stencil for us, 

and as soon as I saw it, I thought of Culross, up near the Forth Road Bridge, where my good friend Monica and I often went, when she lived in Bo’ness, over the river.

What an enchanting place!

Not so much the Grangemouth Oil Refinery in the background, but hey! Let’s just focus on the architecture!

So today, I thought I would get arty with it, and get the feel of that town. It’s very lovely on a sunny day, but it’s also quite gritty, quite wind-worn and rain-stained, if you know what I mean. When the wind whistles through those narrow lanes, it whips up a ghost, I can tell you!

I decided to opt for the wild, raw Culross...

I used
An embossing machine
Talcum Powder
Paint brush

Smear the Black Soot Distress Pad all over the stencil,

lay the white card on top of it, and run it through your embossing machine. 
I invested in an E-Bosser a while ago. I would recommend it to anybody who is thinking about getting one.

The tighter you make the fit, the more paper you squeeze through the mangle with the stencil, the blacker the lineart. 
Here is the transfer to the card.

I wanted a distressed, rather blotchy one. 
Which is just as well - because that’s what I got!

Erhem! I am still talking about my artwork here by the way!
Not Dave!

Next, attach the stencil to the artwork with Low-tack masking tape.

This is so easy!
Start with the grassy area in the centre of the picture. Squish the Versamark Ink pad into that area.

Now, using a paintbrush, dust the gloopy area with Forever Green Perfect Pearl Mica Powder.

Using your Versamark Pen, 
add gloopy Versamark to the windows, 
then paint with Forever Gold.

Now comes the arty part. 
Pat and squish your Versamark ink pad all over the rest of the stencil/artwork. Over the sky and the houses.
Literally paint your picture, using Forever Blue and Smokey Blue in the sky, mixing White Pearl in for clouds.

Don’t get hung up on overlapping into another area. 
That’s what makes it look screen-printed. 
Use your finger to work in the powders, too.
Looks like a right happy mess.

When you lift away the stencil, this is what it will look like. The shimmer of the Perfect Pearls when the light catches it, is pretty unique.

Let’s tone it down and dry it out a little. 
Sprinkle the artwork with talcum powder.

I used one of my big Stencil brushes to literally 
sweep the picture clean.

Let’s get in closer...

Trim the black edges of the artwork back.
Mount on muted colours.

To get the chimney smoke, take your paper towel and lightly wipe across the sky with it. 

Actually, I nearly had a cardiac when I lightly wiped the sky and this happened. Thought I had wrecked it. Then, once I took a close look, I turned it around, and thought, Yay! Chimney smoke! There’s a lot to be said for this Free Spirit kind of artwork!

Depending on how the light hits it, there is still a shimmer from the minerals, the mica powders.

But all in all, I am very pleased with this.
Another one for the gallery...

Wednesday’s Blog is something new, and the stencil is new!
So, let’s have a look at what I have used and have a 
Wednesday Blog Sale!

There are 2 different sets of 7 Mica Powders on our Website, 
which are already a good price.
I used SET 1.

If you buy either of the 2 sets of Mica Powders, we will send you the NEW Town Stencil FREE.

If you buy a Pack of the Square white Gelli Card, we will
give you the Versamark Pen FREE.

So you can either call the office on 01732 868215, or order online.
And don’t worry about looking for the deals on the website; 
Jan and the crew will know to just include the FREEBIES!!

This offer will last until Midnight Friday, 28th February 2014. xx

 Maybe we should have a Blogsale every Wednesday.... why not!