Saturday 28 November 2020

Monoprinting with stencils

I love using my gel plate for monoprinting, but it is veryaddictive.  I usually get out a range of different types of papers - cartridge paper, deli paper and printer paper usually.  I limit myself to around 15 sheets of paper because otherwise I would just keep going.

Two reasons for keeping to a small number:
1.  I don't have enough room for a large number of papers to dry.
2.  there's only so many things I can think of to do with the painted papers.

Actually there's a third reason:
I've found the best prints are those that have several layers so even with 15 pieces of paper I might be pulling 45-50 prints.

This time I knew I wanted to play with my text stencils.  Here are some of the results.

I frequently photograph or scan my monoprints.  This is especially useful if you put another layer on one you really like and don't like how it turned out.  In addition, if you have scanned one you really like, you can use it multiple times.

The other useful thing you can do is change the scale of your print on your computer - larger or smaller - and use the print out for collage.

Next time I'll show you what I did with these papers.

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Advent Studies

Advent starts this coming Sunday and continues until Christmas Eve.  It's a time to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.

Mary Brack has again set up an Advent study called Advent Words.  You can find all the information on her blog: Found on Brighton.

At church, I have been involved with a series of blog posts which starts this Thursday and takes us through the Christmas story, right through to the arrival of the Kings at Epiphany in January.  Actually all I've done is transfer the amazing blog posts and schedule them onto the church website.  Alongside the written posts, there is a series of videos for children made by our children's worker.  In addition I designed a craft activity for children with adult help.  But there's nothing to stop adults joining in.

The series of seven blog posts is called Light in the Darkness.

Thanks for joining me today


Saturday 21 November 2020

More Sketchbook Challenge pages

I have really enjoyed playing in a sketchbook.  I haven't done all of the ideas Laura suggested but I'm happy with my progress.

Painted papers

Painted papers and some papers found in the magazine Somerset Studio

Painted papers and stencilling

A photo of Venice painted out a bit!

Photo of my textile pieces cut up and collaged in

Paper from Somerset studio, a black & white photos of Venice, a photo of a neutral bit of my textile work and a turquoise monoprint


A mixture of sources.  I love the fact that some of the paint on the left peeled off onto the right when I closed the book.  Now sealed with matt medium to be sure it doesn't move again!

The next exercise is to draw!!! Here's a couple of the photos I've taken of glass items we brought back from Venice.

Fortunately the suggestion is we start with tracing the image.  I can manage that!

Thanks for joining me today


Tuesday 17 November 2020

Negative Space

I first came across the term negative space in relation to scrapbooking.  Although mostly it was called white space which was a bit confusing because it didn't have to be white!

According to
Negative space is the area surrounding the main subject in a photograph which is left unoccupied. Put simply, it is the space around the object itself that helps define the positive space (or main focus). When used creatively together, negative and positive space can communicate the composition of your photograph.

Once we had agreed what negative space is, we chose it as our latest theme for Snapshot Girls.

The first few I took at the beach.

I think the sky makes and easy way to find negative space.

 The next two I'm not so sure about.  Do they fulfil the brief?

The backgrounds aren't particularly distracting, but I'm not totally sure they represent negative space.

What do you think?

Thanks for joining me today.



Saturday 14 November 2020

Sketchboook Challenge

I haven't done much with acrylic paints lately or done much in a sketchbook just for fun.  So when I saw Laura Kemshall's Sketchbook Challenge I signed up straightaway.  There are 8 sessions and she has just released session 3.

Firstly we had to take parts of pages out of a sketchbook and stick some painted papers back in.  The second session involved adding colour based on the paper that had been stuck in.

Part of session 3 was about stencil rubbing.  I practised on some of the paper I ripped out of the sketchbook.  I'm not thrilled with the stencils so I will have a look through to see if I can find anything else.

Laura used circle stencils in her sketchbook.  However all my circle stencils - and there are quite a few - are locked away in the studio at church.  Maybe I could do squares instead!

Laura is an excllent teacher.  I suggest you check out the Sketchbook Challenge.  It's a work at your pace challenge so it's not too late to join in.

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Reviewing my Word of the Year 2020 Journal

Last month Valerie Sjodin published an excellent post with a video on her blog.  Do go to her website to view it.

It got me thinking about 2021 even though it's 2 months away!   Valerie recommended a journal and I immediately bought it.  I know that she will have done her research so why not take advantage of that, saving me the time.  Mind you, I do have lots of time.  But that's not the point. I immediately ordered a Wordsworth & Black Journal with a turquoise cover.  To be honest it may well have been the availability of the turquoise cover that settled the matter.

In my last post I showed you how I have used this year's journal.  I'm not a bullet journal sort of person - it's somehow too rigid for my purposes.  I have begun to feel that even what I have been doing is slightly too rigid - quartering the page and recording what I do.  Most of the recording has been to prove to myself that I have done something each day during this very peculiar year!

As you read this, England is back in lockdown.  Not quite as severe as the one in April & May but not far off.  So plenty of time to consider how to record 2021.  And maybe try out some different page layouts in the rest of my 2020 journal.

Way back in 2011 and 2012 I was following Julie Fei Fan Balzer's Art Every Day and used a Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook to record my days.

Looking back at it now I am amazed I kept up.

I don't think this is what I'm looking for in terms of next year's journal.  It needs to be somewhere inbetween.  Not as free and easy as the AED journal but not as rigid as this year's.  I haven't been able to work out what that looks like yet.

I went through this year's journal and looked at what themed pages I had used and which worked well and which didn't.

Some pages I'm going to ditch like the 2022 calendar at a glance, and the list calendars which showed 6 months at a time.  In this year's journal I had 2020 at a glance and 2021 but hardly ever looked at them.  I think I've become too reliant on my phone.  At the beginning of 2020 I had bought a vertical planner so I could see easily what I was committed to.  I had done the same in 2019 and it was really useful even though it didn't ever make it onto a wall, which had been my intention!

Some of the pages like the gratitude log and descriptions of booked workshops I think I will incorporate into each month rather than have separate pages for them.  Always supposing I get to any workshops!

Looking back at this year's journal I was reminded that it took me the first 12 days of January to decide what I was going to do with my journal and had to play catch up.

So maybe it's just as well that I've already started thinking about next year!

What about you?  Are you going to keep a journal next year?  If so, what format works for you?

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday 7 November 2020

A walk along the canal

On Wednesday we went for a walk along the Stratford Canal from Bearley to Stratford upon Avon.  We were supposed to start at Wootton Wawen but we couldn't find a parking place.  I was pleased because it cut a bit off the length of the walk.  It was still 6 miles along the canal and a mile to get to the bus in Stratford and from the bus stop to the where we had left the car.

We had lunch in a pub.  Last one for a month as we're now in lockdown again.  It haad clouded over when we came out.  I took the next two photos into the sun so they are a bit different!

My promised post on reviewing my journal and what to include for 2021 has been postponed until Tuesday.  Walking got in the way of my reviewing!

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Another Journal Update

I haven't posted about my journal for a couple of months.  Life has continued much as before, apart from our trip to Norfolk.  My calendar is mostly empty apart from zoom calls.  Each month I have drawn out the calendar on the page.  Previously I would have written in what was going to happen but in the last months I have filled in the calendar at the end of the month with what actually occurred.


I tried a new layout with a to-do list and a done box.

I went back to quartering the pages.


Well done if you've waded through all those photos.

Now, to have a go at answering Valerie's questions about how the journal has worked this year.

I hope to share my answers with you in my next post.

Thanks for joining me today