On the blog I do mention my Etsy shop. However, I try to show you behind the scenes of my creative process ~ how I go about making the things that end up there (as well as a lot of other blathering of course!) But today I want to be more blatant.
If you are planning to buy any of my paintings and drawings for Christmas presents, and they do make unique gifts for people, then you will need to do so before the middle of next week. If you are not in Australia that is. I don’t want you anxiously waiting at the letter box for the parcel, so I am giving you a more comfortable buffer.
Let me explain. Usually I allow 10 days to reach somewhere overseas. If I set a deadline of 7th December, given a good run it should reach you by 17th December. But we know that postage will not run smoothly during December, so it may take a few more days. That will take it to the week before Christmas. Of course I make no guarantees even if I post it then, but if I post it later I can almost guarantee that you won’t get it in time.
And just so I don’t feel that this is totally blatant advertising, let me say that it will be same for most online deliveries!
Now to show you a small selection of possible gifts from the shop. All shown here are originals; there are a few prints in the shop.
Click on the photo to be taken to the listing.
(The paper they are painted and drawn on is actually creamy white, not the blue grey that seems to show up in these photos.)
I started this series a year ago, almost to the day. But ‘series’ quickly became too grand a word ~ two posts don’t really make a series! So, I am starting it up again. I began with this intention:
So….I am inviting you to let us have a peek into your creative space. You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.
And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!
How will it work? Many of you join in with Celia’s In My Kitchen feature and you will know that I have taken that idea and given it my own slant. Each month I will put up an In My Studio post. I would encourage you to post one on your blog and then link to it in the comments of my my blog. Clear? As mud! Maybe this will help:
Each month you write about something happening in your creative space. It doesn’t have to be a special “In My Studio” post. I know lots of you do monthly roundups of your creativity.
Come to my blog and find my In My Studio post.
Leave a link to your post in my comments section. Then others can follow the link to have a peek into your space. [Sorry, I am not as clever as Celia, and it may take me some time to get the blog roll down the side.]
You don’t have a blog? Put something on Facebook or Twitter or wherever and give us a link to that.
Hopefully the monthly routine will stand up this time! If not, well, it will happen when it can. 🙂
So, In My Studio this last month……
….has been a timid effort at cleaning up my work space. When I came back from the trip it looked like this
Now it looks like this…..
Not a lot of difference, but I know that most many things still around me are things I need.
My clean up also included my palette. Again, it might not seem clean to you…..
While pottering around in Spotlight (one of those super craft/art/material/homewares type of store) I found this LED lamp. It was marked down to $15 but at the till I only paid $10! It is battery which means I don’t have to link up leads and power points. The head tilts too.
In My Studio is an inspirational book, on loan from my friend Liz. Every page makes my finger itch to sew and experiment. It is where the idea for my samplers came from.
Stitch magic: ideas and interpretation by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn
Work by Jean Littlejohn
Here are a couple of my latest samplers, done in the caravan. The first was inspired by the colours and textures of the arid area around Menindee. The second was in response to all the water we saw on the trip.
Sampler inspired by the arid areas of inland Australia
Sampler inspired by all the water we saw on our trip
In My Studio are two works in progress….
The first is Cullen cinereum that I have been working on for quite a while!
It is close to completion, but quite a few more hours yet. There is a lot of fine detail to go, and I am working with a brush so small it is ranked as 000.
The other work is my embroidery. This is an evening project, and I love the problem solving that it requires. More on it at a later date.
So, what’s been happening in your creative space? Remember to put a link into the comments.
My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous, woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold
Carol King’s song has been streaming through my head lately. I love this first verse, and think it is a marvellous way to see my life. However, I remember that there is a bit in it about someone turning into a toad ~ I hope doesn’t apply to my life!
Still a work in progress, but nearing completion. I want to check the line of the mountain tops against the original photo. The tapestry is not a direct copy, but I need to get the perspective of the the ridges correct. The vegetation on the bottom left still needs work. If you look closely you will see how I mucked up the line on the bottom right. Annoying to have to sew one row. I may add some vegetation to the top left of the cliff. I also want to sew detail into the rock face, to build up its form.
Then there is the sky. I have light blue wool, but I think it will be too vivid. I may have to look around for a softer blue grey.
The focal point is the waterfall, and it is more obvious with the real thing. The photo has flattened out the colours. I like what I have created, and am certainly going to experiment more with the combination of weaving and sewing.
A big, warm thank you to those who responded to my last post about my brain taking time off. I am fine, but am artistically working at a slower pace. And I am so pleased to be back blogging again.
I know that I want to blog because I am hearing that blogging voice in my head again. Not a scary voice in my head, just me composing blogs about the things I come across during the day. Most of them never get written, much less published, but I enjoy them, sort of a diary of my life. For example, as I was driving to my hairdresser, about a 20 minute trip, I was musing about how contemplative I find driving and I started to mentally write a blog post about it. I hasten to add that I was still driving very competently. In fact what I was thinking was how doing the routine driving tasks ~ changing gears, monitoring the traffic, etc ~ freed up a part of my brain to think about other things.
Do you have that blogging voice too?
In that last post, where I was wondering about my creativity at the moment, I mentioned something that had fired my creative juices.
I have always loved yarns and textiles. They have been more of a constant in my life than paints. At school I did Craft rather than Art and I remember the delight of learning how to smock and embroider, and even basket weave. So while I don’t talk about much about these projects, I usually have something involving threads on the go. I made bags for a few years and used embroidery and beading to decorate them.
You will also remember how fascinated I became with the melaleucas on Flinders Island. EllaDee mentioned that from the photos she “could see the potential for a textural approach.” Gradually that thought about using the photos as a reference, moved from the back of my mind to the front, and I started working on representations. This is one of the photos I used as inspiration
One of the early tapestries
This is the latest in the series of about four tapestries. You can see how I am much more adventurous with the stitching, and how it helps me to create texture and depth. I think it makes a more vibrant and interesting work.
Detail of the stitching (Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)
Finished tapestry (Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)
About a month ago I was trawling Pinterest and saw a weaving loom that I just had to buy. I followed the link to the Etsy shop of the Unusual Pear and bought a simple loom about A4 size.
I immediately knew how I was going to combine some weaving with the tapestry. It was the answer to that excellent creativity question “What if…..I created a rock with weaving and added that to a tapestry?” After a short practice I had a woven rock intended to be the massive rock face that was at the entrance to a valley in the national park. And I had a little feeling of creative excitement.
This is where I up to at the moment.
The white stuff are the threads for the weaving that I am binding into the back of the tapestry. It’s not quite how I envisaged it, and I think it is too tonally similar. Next time I will try for a lighter grey for the rock, and try to work more variation in it. It is very much a work in progress ~ I have to add the waterfall and the other side of the valley and the background, and I am gong to work into the rock some more. That said, I think the idea is an interesting one, and worth considering for other works.
So something satisfying has emerged from the “holiday” I have been having lately.
I have only recently added cadmium red to my palette, previously using Windsor red as my warm red. My recent rose is the first painting where I have experimented with it.
The cadmium pigments were part of the range of pigments that came into use during the 19th century, as a result of the Industrial Revolution. The Impressionists and other artists loved their richness. Monet used the cadmium colours, and I presume that he used cadmium red in this vibrant work.
Windsor and Newton is the leading paint brand, and on their website they describe cadmium red as:
…… a very strong, warm and opaque red and in the early part of the 20th century became a natural replacement for the distinctive but toxic vermilion.
The article goes on to say, with a safety message further down:
The production of modern, high performance cadmium red is an expensive and lengthy process requiring only the purest raw materials to produce the best possible colour.
Transforming the cadmium metal into a usable pigment means it undergoes several carefully controlled chemical reactions and procedures using various ingredients including mineral acids, sodium sulphide flakes, water, and selenium. Towards the end of the process heating takes place to create the pigment and it is in this heating process that the quality and hue of the final pigment begins to form. The emerging pigment is then ground down into tiny particles – these grinding processes affect the way the pigment interacts with light. Fine particles have a good diffused reflection and produce a colour that is very strong and vibrant.
Cadmium itself is a heavy metal and is toxic but cadmium pigments are not classified as dangerous for use in line with EC classification. The level of soluble cadmium in the pigments is so low that no hazard warnings are needed and they pose no greater risk after swallowing or breathing in than other pigment types. Cadmium pigments are restricted for certain applications but this restriction does not apply to artists’ colours.
The part about the EU is interesting, as apparently the use of cadmiums in paints are under review, and may be withdrawn.
I did a colour chart of sorts to work out my tonal values. (Note to self: more attention to the colours in the ext rose!)
It was a much softer colour than I anticipated. However, I was using it as a wash, and colour in a wash dries lighter. As well, I was careful not to overdo the intensity and controlled the amount of pigment I was using. Another factor could be that it was brand of paint, Holbein, that was new to me. The same labelled paint can be quite different across brands. This was Cadmium Red Light which could be another factor.
I loved the softness of the rose, but it lacked oomph. The cad red wasn’t able to give me that, so I added a glaze of quinacridone magenta in parts. You can see it most clearly in the central shadow, just above the leaves. Also, it was difficult to get an intense dark.
I was pleased that red washes helped to cut back the intensity of the yellow that you can see in the middle photo. The glow is still there, but not quite the eerie alien glow it was before. That tells me that it is possible to fix up mistakes in watercolour!
I was delighted at how well the paint mixed on the paper. usually I make up a mixture of the paint I am going to use, and I did do this for the green. However I wanted to experiment with dropping in French ultramarine to darken the red. Often, on the damp paper I washed in the red, dropped in some French ultramarine and then more red over the top. I think it worked well. It allowed the watercolour to do its magic.
Yellow will be my next rose colour. I do very little work in yellow, which has a reputation as being a very difficult colour to paint. So, more learning ahead!
We are now 12 members, and have members in Europe and the United Kingdom. So our little sketchbook will be travelling around the world!! That’s exciting news. Adding to the members from last time we have:
[Apologies to Sandi and Constanze if you have blogs that I can’t find to link to. Also Chas, can you send me your postal address?]
So, I am going to work on the sketchbook this week. I did ask about more than one sketchbook, but I think that we will keep it at one for the time being. We can always send around another if we are having too much fun for one! Then I hope to launch the Sketchbook next week, send it off to visit the first person.
If you have joined the Sisterhood ~ and there is still time ~ later this week I will send you an email with the list of addresses and emails, and more detailed info about the project. This might be about as much structure as the whole thing gets!
I have been thinking about the finished sketchbook. We obviously have ages to decide what we would like to do, but I am wondering if we raffle/auction it and donate the money to an organisation for women’s health…… I suppose I should get it made first!
On a completely different note… there is only a few more days for you to use the coupon code in my Etsy shop, AnneLawsonArt. It gives you 10% off your purchase and is valid to the end of April. Just use the code APRIL16.
The joy with watercolour is the glorious colours you can create. Pigments interact with each other as weak as the water to create the most marvellous effects ~ well, that is the hoped for outcome. It is easy to end up with a mud~like mess. I have painted with watercolour for a number of years now, but still feel as if there is a huge amount for me to learn. So, I signed up for Helen Burrow’s workshop on colour mixing.
I have been to some of Helen’s workshops before, and love her teaching style. I was not disappointed with this one, largely because she structured the three days so that each exercise used skills from the exercise before. She encouraged us to play ~ it’s only paint and paper. As adults we rarely allow ourselves to experiment. It is so easy to let the end product dominate, forcing ourselves to stick to the tried and true.
The very first activity was playing. After drawing circles on the paper we dropped in paints of different colours. None of them had to be perfect, they were simply pompoms. It was wonderful to see how they ran into each other and produced new colours. You really loosen up when you are doing seven, eight, nine of them. While the original vibrant colours are stunning, look at the colours that are mixed where they meet. There are some interesting purples and neutrals here.
For the next exercise Helen directed us to draw three “petunias”, to which we added specific colours. The first triad was cobalt blue, aureolin and permanent rose, all transparent and clean. The second triad was alizarin crimson, windsor yellow and phthalo blue, again transparent but rich and jewel-like. The third included opaque colours, cadmium red, cadmium yellow and cerulean blue.
Do you have a favourite combination of colours?
At last, I was developing a deeper understanding of the different colours. It is important to know how the qualities of paints [transparent, warm/cool, staining, their bias etc] to know which ones to use when. For example, transparent colours will create darker hues than opaque ones.
Our last activity for Day #1 was to choose our own triads and experiment. I especially loved the combination of quinacridone gold, viridian and my own purple (cobalt and quinacridone magenta). The mix is in the bottom left corner. BTW the four big blobs in the centre and right are wet on wet, the three down the left side are wet on dry. The last photo is of our show and tell at the end of the day, showing great diversity between artists.
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)
Day #2 and we were raring to go. There was more colour mixing as a warm up. Then Helen asked us to compare Windsor and Newton sepia with Daniel Smith sepia. They are probably the leading watercolour paint brands. She was encouraging us to look at the different brands because colours are not consistent across brands. Sepia is a good example. The W and N is blacker and duller than the DS, which seems to have more warmth and depth to it.
The next challenge was to create our own sepia! With some help from Helen I used burnt sienna and French ultramarine to produce a lovely soft grey.
Then we became a little more botanical, as we traced a photo of a rose and transferred the tracing to watercolour paper. Then, using our sepia mix we did a tonal drawing of the rose. The photo shows the finished tonal drawing, with a spray of yellow as I began the next part of adding a little colour to the painting.
So, by Day #3 we were ready to do a rose painting. It sounds daunting, but as Helen’s previous activities had lead us to this point, we had the confidence!
It was time to put the knowledge from the previous two days to use ~ looking at the photo to see what colours there were, understanding the value of those colours (was my selection enough of a range of values along the grey scale?), thinking about warm and cool colours, complimentary colours. Then to mixing. You can see by the colour chart that I had to work my way through a few mixes. The new gamboge and permanent rose, top right, was the first mix, then I worked my way to quinacridone gold and magenta. It is the quiz gold that gives the painting its glow. There are other mixes too, a cool, soft blue for the cast shadows and the warm quinacridone magenta and sepia mix for other shadows.
A new piece of paper, a new tracing of the rose and I was in heaven, gently moving around each petal to let the paint and water work their magic.
There’s still a way to go, but I know that the colours are working and that I have put down a good foundation. I think I like painting roses!
Did you think that I had abandoned the idea of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook? After I was so enthusiastic about it last week? Of course not. However, I have been doing a colour mixing workshop this week, and I haven’t been able to get back to the Sisterhood.
I am going to post about the workshop very soon, but as a tease I am showing you my rose painting in the header photo. While I am distracting myself, let me I remind you that I am offering blog readers a 10% discount on any of my art work in the Etsy shop. Simply use the coupon code APRIL16 for the discount before the end of April. To look in my shop click here AnneLawsonArt
To get up-to-date with the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook, have a look at my last post, here.
So far the Sisterhood is up to 7 people, but you are quite welcome to join. We have
Kate, who began the idea, and lives in Mackay, Northern Queensland
If I have missed you, I am sorry. My emails are a mess at the moment, and I may have mistakenly overlooked one. Just let me know in the comments that you would like to be part of the fun.
As you can see from the list we have Australia and sections of North America well covered ~ but always room for more. It would be great if our little sketchbook could head to the UK and/or Europe, South America, Africa…..Any one else like to play?
Do you think we need more than one sketchbook? I am happy to send one to each of you, which could be sent around. That means each person would be adding to seven sketchbooks and passing them on, at different times, of course. Would it be too complicated? It has the advantage of each person having their own sketchbook at the end of the project. Let’s have a chat about it in the comments.
Also, I did originally say that there were no rules……but there has to be one. Your contribution can’t include plant or animal material [no feathers 😦 ]. Australia has very strict quarantine laws, which ban the importation of such things.
So, any one else like to join the Sisterhood? Send me an email to email@example.com I promise I will sort out the mess before your email arrives! Chas, can you send me an email with your postal details? And Sue too, as I haven’t kept yours. I got your town from the wonderful mug mat you sent me!
Etsy is getting a make over. If you have a shop there you will know this and have been to see what your shop will look like. If you, don’t then it is to be rolled out this week. More on the look in a little…..
To celebrate the new look, which I like, I am giving my wonderful blog readers an exclusive coupon code. Using the code will give you 10% off my drawings and paintings. It’s simple to use:
Head over to my shop AnneLawsonArt and buy a painting. You can buy more than one, and only pay shipping on the first.
When you go through the checkout you can add the coupon code APRIL16 for a 10% discount.
Wait for the drawing to come your way.
Too easy! The coupon will be active for April and it is only available to blog readers.
As for the new look, it is designed to be more mobile friendly. My front page used to look like this (and it still does if you check it out today)
After Tuesday it will look like this (minus all the editing tools, of course!)
You navigate by scrolling, and information should be easier to find. I have been astounded by the hysteria generated by the changes. The common reaction seems to be “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”. Then sellers sometimes go on to say “That’s it! I’m leaving!”, which is, of course, their choice. However, just this week I read wise advice that said, “Never make a business decision based on fear.” Make the decision based on reality ~ dropping sales, decreased views, hard statistics.
Apparently overall sales and views have been dropping anyway, so it will be interesting to see the impact the new look has.
I like the clearer, more minimalist look. I have always found Etsy easy to use, and with one exception, I think this will continue. The exception is the ability to rearrange my shop. This is the way to move items around the pages of the shop. The old way wasn’t perfect as it involved a lot of clicking. However there are no pages in the new way and so is harder to navigate. But after time I am sure I will work it out. (But I do feel for those sellers who have hundreds of items in their shop to rearrange.)
Pragmatically, just like the changes to Instagram, these Etsy changes are happening. I have no control over that. I can only control what I do and how I do it.
Remember, the coupon code APRIL16 is there for you to use until the end of April. The link to the shop is AnneLawsonArt