Small canvas

Been busy lately with Life Book 2014. Great fun and highly recommended. I have noticed that I am initially reluctant to do some exercises; “It’s too easy/hard/complicated/simple…” but when I knuckle own and get on with it, I find myself challenged and engrossed. Some of my results have been a little… well rubbish. Others have turned out better than expected. For more see my blog, Art Journaling.

This week’s exercise was presented by Alena Hennessy, and I enjoyed it so much, I grabbed a small canvas this afternoon and produced another one.

Intuitive painted canvas

Materials: modelling paste, stencils, collage, acrylic paint, gesso, Neocolor 1s, charcoal.

Not abstract – watercolour snow scene

Gift production is in full swing here. I was a little stumped over what to give my (separated) parents this year. They are getting on a bit and there’s nothing in the way of ‘stuff’ that either of them need. I know that my Dad likes traditional snow scenes so I thought I’d give it a go. I haven’t a great deal of confidence with watercolour used in the ‘regular way’, so I needed a bit of hand-holding. Luckily, I found it here: Snow Scene Part 1.

Had a trial run, saw where I’d got it right and where it went horribly wrong, and then painted this, without the video.

It’s not brilliant. It’s a sort-of copy of someone else’s work, which I’m not crazy about, but I think it’s okay. Palette was mostly limited to ultramarine, burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre and light red. I used a pen to add details.

Dads snow scene

So, flushed with success, I found a beautiful photograph of another scene (I know – just a photo, but it’s not snowing here – yet) and produced this one all by myself.Mums snow scene

I’m not sure which one is going to which parent yet. I think the windmill one might be destined for my mother.




Abstractedly altered box

I have a friend who adores good quality packaging. Nothing makes her happier than a nice, strong, well-made box. She got a real habit going last year, ordering stuff from Harrods’ online store just so’s she could have it delivered in posh packaging.

Altered box

As you can see, she spread her gifts around and I was the delighted recipient of a bottle of ‘special’ wine in a Harrods’ box. So for this Christmas I thought I’d return the favour so to speak and give the box a makeover, stick a nice bottle of vino in and wrap it up for her.

Here’s how my altered box went…

1. Two coats of gesso.

Winebox makeover

2. Sprayed over stencils with Liquitex acrylic paint (the caps are behaving themselves as long as they are getting their hot water rinse right after use. They live in a cup of water until I need them).

Winebox makeover 1

3. Rough doodles – and I mean, really, really rough. It’s quite hard to draw on a box.

Winebox makeover 3

4. Colour added with markers and watercolour paint.

5. Gold outlined hearts and lots more doodling with black and white pen.

6. The magic charcoal rub and a little gold acrylic rubbed here and there.

7. Gold 3-D paint dribbled over the lettering.

8. Sprayed with semi-gloss varnish.   Winebox makeover 5 Winebox makeover 6 Winebox makeover 8 Winebox makeover 9 Winebox makeover 10




Doodle gifts

One good thing about making art is that it is a simple thing to produce a personal gift for a loved one. Especially if you bear in mind the other person’s preferences or home décor. Over the weekend I prepared some backgrounds ready for some fun doodle paintings – hopefully one or two will be perfect Christmas gifts. I also bought some lovely sturdy frames to show them off.

I have a loved one, who has very similar tastes to my own, and I know that she will appreciate anything I make for her :) In fact I painted two doodle-ies, one of which was this one:

Abstract doodle painting

Acrylic spray painted backgrounds – and boy, I just found out how clogged up Liquitex Spray Paint caps can get. I soaked and scrubbed and soaked and scrubbed until, eventually, they worked again. I now know to take the caps off and put them to soak in hot water immediately after use. Liquitex do sell replacement caps but, y’know, I already bought the paint… where was I?

Yes, so I spray painted over stencils. Coat of clear gesso. Doodled some of those seed heads, coloured with everything within reach; coloured pencils, markers, paint, pastels… oh anything that looked promising. One thing I have discovered with clear gesso is that pens which are usually waterproof become un-waterproof when used on gesso. This can work to your advantage if you know what to expect. However, it can cause a horrible mess if your black doodle ink seeps into your glorious turquoise!




Something new — painted abstract

I have a couple of large 3′ x 2′ canvases to use up so thought I’d try something different – a bit Flora Bowley and a bit doodley. Swathes of colour, lots of drippy back paint and some pen doodling on top. With Spotify blasting out and the kids out of my hair, I had a ton of fun with this one.

Flora Bowley-style abstract

Here’s a detail…

Detail abstract videos


Another doodle flower in black & white stripy stockings

Just had to do another one. This time on leftover mountboard (matting board). More or less the same technique as the last one. Gelli plate printed then a coat of clear gesso. This time, instead of coloured pencils I used markers – Letraset Promarkers and Copics – for the seed pods. I returned to coloured pencils for the small doodled flowers. Much fun.

Gelli plate printed background

10 x 8″ mixed media on board



Mixed media invitation

A few weeks ago I received a surprise invitation to submit my work to Mixed Media Art Magazine. This is a special downloadable e-mag exclusive to iTunes. As our email correspondence progressed it was suggested that they use my art and article for a bonus issue. Glad to say, I’m almost done and have one more article to write.

This piece was created to accompany a review on the fabulous Gelli Arts Gel Plate (you can read the original article at Hubpages).

The background is a Gelli print on watercolour paper. The acrylic paint was smooshed onto the plate, impressed with stencils, which I then lifted off and took the print. Next I added a coat of clear gesso as I needed a base that would hold further media. I doodled on some weird seed-heads (got a thing about these lately), and then used coloured pencil to fill them in. Lots of white correction pen and more black scribbling. It was too ‘pretty’ so I grunged it up with lots of charcoal shadows and round the border.

Gelli print background


12 x 10 Mixed media on Fabriano Artistico 140lb HP





Abstract flower doodle on a sunny afternoon

We bought a nice wooden frame for a few pennies at a car boot sale and needed a tall, skinny picture to fit. Just the sort of project for a hot, sunny, August Bank Holiday. Not for me, queuing to watercolour abstractget into various overpriced attractions. I’d rather sit in my garden, cool drink to hand, playing with watercolours and Tombow pens.

Had no idea what I was going to do. Remembered seeing some really cool Zentangled tulip-like flowers on Pinterest the other day so went with the idea but with my own take on it. Sprayed Liquitex Acrylic Spray paint over some random stencils, watercolour washed the background, drew my flower doodles, used Sakura Pigma Microns to create the tangles. Filled the spaces with Tombow paint pens (watercolour). Used a Posca paint pen for the white bits and finished off with some chalky highlights and charcoal border and shadows.

Flower abstract 12″ x 6″

All rights reserved.

The ‘essence’ of a painted doodle

After finishing “Ruby”, I wanted to continue in the same vein. Do you ever find that one of something is never enough, artwise? I’ll probably keep painting these Doodle-pips until boredom sets in. The lovely thing about making these is that they don’t need planning and I don’t have to stick to the same supplies in order to achieve the results I want. For example, sometimes I’ll start with the word in the centre and then spray over with Liquitex acrylic spray paint, or I might water colour the back ground before adding the word. Sometimes the flowers are watercolour, sometimes acrylic and even occasionally Neocolor lls or coloured pencil. Free and easy.

This time the acrylic spray was used over a stencil ruler, some sequin waste and a fruit netting bag. Then I used a dye-based brown ink pad for the stamped text. The leaves and flowers are Peerless Watercolors, as is the background. The sequence was: outlining the lettering, spray painting, watercolour wash, detailing the lettering, doodling flowers, painting flowers and outlining them doodly before adding white pen and more doodling.

Abstract flower painting

Original mixed media flower abstract “Essence”. 9 x 7 inches on Fabriano Artistico 140lb HP. £25.00 plus shipping.



Gift for a little girl

My lovely sister commissioned this doodle-pip as a gift for a young lady. Drew some inspiration from Joanna Fink’s ‘Zenspirations’. Mostly watercolour with some help from Tombow brush markers.

I’m really pleased with it as it is ‘young’ but not overly cute. Looks really good in a light cherry-wood frame.