Silver Crow Project

Artful Readers Club - Acrylic Solutions

I'm a couple of months behind with the Artful Readers Club so instead of giving up I'm jumping back in with this book I've been reading. I'll catch up at the end of the challenge.

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Acrylic Solutions by Chris Cozen & Julie Prichard * A book review

Acrylic Solutions by Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard

I only recently discovered Julie Prichard via Natasha's link love post and serendipitously it was at the same time as she was releasing this book with Chris Cozen. (Who I had yet to discover.) At the time the book on Amazon was £16.99 and I will admit I thought that was expensive. I searched everywhere to try and get it cheaper. (I'd like to inject here that I'm not a Scrooge just really skint.) About the same time I won £10.00 online with one of those free birthday lotteries - it seemed the Fates wanted me to buy this book. So I did.

First impressions - the book is a nice size. Hardbacked and roughly 11x9" and 127 pages (incl index etc.) The pages are spiral bound and I have found this format excellent for working through the book. It either lays flat or, if I'm short of space I can stand it on end without fear of losing my place or it falling over.

The authors both very openly admit that they purely use only GOLDEN products. They also say that's just their preference and to experiment and see what works best for you.  I have seen some reviews slamming them for this and I'm not sure why. I don't own a single GOLDEN product - never tried that brand, just haven't found any where I shop. I worked through this book with what I had on hand - this was Liquitex and the Winsor & Newton Galleria mediums, Kaiser Colour, Eco and Liquitex Basics paints plus my big old tub of white gesso. (I think that might be W&N too.) The techniques worked very well for me - so if you are put off the book because of the GOLDEN references and can't be bothered to see what is actually available to you - the book wont be for you. And it will be your loss.

The main body of the book comes in 5 chapters:
1 - The Basics: design, colour, materials and more
2 - Laying a Good Foundation
3 - Adding Structure
4 - Developing Complexity
5 - Finessing the Details

Every page of the book is scattered with beautiful examples from both Julie and Chris and there are various step by step exercises with clear pictures throughout the chapters for you to complete. Again - I didn't have all the colours they used and sometimes not all the different textured mediums. I just used what I have.

Hands up - I am still only two thirds through this book but I got to page 24 and realised this was not a book you just read. This is a book you work through.  To me it feels like a workshop in book form. So I went back to the beginning and started afresh. I still haven't finished the book because I keep stopping to try everything out. I have been 'messing about' with Acrylics for a couple of years but never got past feeling like I was just messing about. No matter how I researched I never did understand what all the mediums did. Or how to blend and get depth.  The mediums are explained clearly over and over again. What they do, how they work with other mediums, water, paint etc. Never again will I stand in The Range looking at the shelves and just... not know. I have a shopping list pages long of things I want to try, different mediums and tools. It's not all new - we all know I love my texture and drips but I've learnt new ways of incorporating them, layering them, blending them. Bringing it all together - knowing when to stop.

This book, hand on heart, has already become the most used and abused art book I own. The cover and pages splattered in paint. I no longer think the initial £16.99 was expensive - although, already it can be bought much cheaper than that. I actually think the amount of information packed in here, for me, they have been incredibly generous. 

Acrylic Solutions is a book I will refer back to again and again. It's been a game changer.

Julie Prichard's blog
Chris Cozen's blog
So what did I create? This first picture shows some of the backgrounds I've done. Using Acrylic Glazes (the pink/orange one) over a previously collaged/gessoed canvas that was sitting unloved on my shelf. The other two are canvas board and using colour blocking and colour patching.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Prepped backgrounds
This one shows what the green canvas board from above looks like now - a few layers and techniques later. Still a way to go.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Prepped Background, additional layers
Trying the techniques on paper - index cards to be exact.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Grungy Index Cards
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Mixed Media Grungy index card

And this is a small canvas I made for a friend... (Both the index card above and this canvas I was playing with the Summer of Color final colour combo which was Sage & Sepia.)
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Grungy Mixed Media canvas - In Your Heart The Key Had Survived

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Grungy Mixed Media canvas

I feel I have developed in so many ways while reading this book - bearing in mind I am still just two thirds through, I cannot wait to see what else I learn. If I were to ever meet Julie or Chris I would thank them. They've literally kicked open a door in my brain and all this creativity and inspiration is just flooding out. 

I'm undecided what I'll read and review for next months Artful Readers Club so I'll leave that as a surprise to you and me both ;)

Thank you for stopping by today.

Rocking My World Friday...

...On Saturday.Two weeks worth of positive cup runneth over with smiles coming atcha.

Evenings. Because come 8pm it starts cooling down and I can go out to my shed - which has been reading temperatures of 33°C during the day! Yes! This is England! So, cooler evening means time to play! Big smile.

A fun day at a local farm. We got the chance to hold Felicity the owl who was rather beautiful. There was a hot air balloon there and Devvie got in and turned the burners on (with permission - not all rebellious like!) You can't really see in the picture as the flame turned invisible but blimey that thing threw out some heat. A fun day indeed.
Whoopidooings: Holm Place Fun Day
Devvie had a jumper on because there was a tiny breeze in the morning - wow, did she regret putting that on! She was melting!

This book. Review coming later today. But spoiler alert: I love it. I love it. I love it.
The kids have broken up from school for the Summer. So far we have had minimal arguing and I've only nearly turned into the Incredible Hulk with rage at the squabbling. Every couple of years we head up to Scotland for just under a week. This year is that year. So my thoughts are turning North of the Border - calming thoughts, can't wait! We'll also be having a couple of days staying with Craig's Mum in Hastings this Summer which is always nice not to have to rush back in a day.
An absolute stonker of a thunder and lightning storm the other night. Made me smile on three counts. Cooled the night down enough to sleep, was AMAZING to witness, Ruby & Logan slept through it and the plants in my tubs have gone bonkers after the downpour. (OK, four counts.)

A couple of weeks ago we put a bowl of water out for the birds with a little rock in it for the smaller birds to perch on. It has amused me no end every morning when I (gently) peek out of my closed curtains to see a queue of crows waiting patiently in line to have a drink and bath. This morning there were ten of them in a straight line while one splashed merrily in the bowl. It just makes me laugh - definitely very British crows, forming an orderly queue!

Devvie has volunteered to do a two week stint as a teaching assistant during Summer School. She was the only one in her year who volunteered. The other volunteers are last years 6 formers. I'm so proud of her both for volunteering in the first place and for doing something that has pushed her out of her comfort zone again and again already. She seems to be enjoying it and I'm pleased to see that the school is rewarding the volunteers with praise, lunch and experience. (She's off to Harry Potter Studio's with them next week! Jealous much?) She said it has been great experience in helping her figure out what sector of working with children she wants to do - teaching was an option she was considering. And still is I think.

That's going to do me this week - I'm sat here melting. I'm linking up with Virginia and the rest of the Friday Rockers. Why not come join us in looking back at the week to see what made you smile.
Thanks for stopping by today - how has your week been?

Summer of Color - Fear/Delight

It's the final week for 2013 over at Summer of Color. I'd like to thank Kristin for hosting again - it really gets me thinking each week and I'm trying new things each time. I've really enjoyed taking part.

The last colour combination is Sage & Sepia.

I am still working my way through the book Acrylic Solutions. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and so this is my playing with the techniques so far.

The text isn't blurry in real life - it's just my scanner struggling with the layers I think. I chose those words because they are how I'm feeling about art at the moment. It wasn't till I was scanning it last night that I realised it could also be construed as naughty. Oops!  It's actually clipped from a Robinson Crusoe story!
Mixed Media on a 6x4" index card. (Finally got some more. Yay!)

Many thanks for stopping by today :)

Summer of Color - Cheating Fruit Flan

So this weeks colours over at Summer of Color (it confuses me spelling that two ways!) is Candy Apple Red & Yellow. The only thing I could think of, that has been sticking with me all week - has been Snow White's poisoned apple with a drippy yellow skull. 

Then time ran away with me. 

So I made this mango and peach fruit flan today...
 And the colours matched... I know it's cheating... 
But I'm sure going to enjoy a cold, cool slice of Cheating with evaporated milk tonight. 

Mmm. Mmm.
It's been so hot here, my shed is like an oven. By the time the evening cools down I'll get a half hour to an hour out there before I'm called in to see to bubs... and I've been working my way through a book (Acrylic Solutions over there on the side bar.) Time literally did run out but I will come back to Snow White's apple now that the seed (geddit?) has been planted.

Next week is the last week of Summer of Color for this year - it's gone so fast and I've really enjoyed it. A few of us are talking about carrying on with the poor unused, unloved colours that didn't win the vote each week. Am hoping we do!

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Rocking My World Friday...

...on Sunday. let's see if we can squeeze this post in before the weekend is up :)

So this week I've loved smiling about...

Ruby riding her bike one handed. Following on from getting her stabilisers off last week. I noticed her swishing her hair this week while riding her bike - asked her if she realised she was doing it? Answer - no. But she's all smug now because she can do it and her little friend who's a couple of years older cannot. Though he is determined to beat her now ;)
Whoopidooings: One handed bike riding

And talking of the Ruby. Let me introduce you to her alter ego. She had her face painted at the school fun day. On the way home her little friends wave and call goodbye. She waved back and then whispered to me "they think they're waving at Ruby. They don't know I'm really Wonder Woman who saves the day!"
Whoopidooings: Wonder Woman
Whoopidooings: BubblesWhoopidooings: BubblesWhoopidooings: Bubbles
These two daft boys. They're like this every time Logan gets on the floor.
Whoopidooings: A boys best friend

Whoopidooings: A boys best friend

Whoopidooings: A boys best friend

The dragonfly who keeps visiting us in our living room. I like to think it's the same one.
Working my way through the Acrylic Solutions book - a half hour to an hour a night. I started reading it and quickly realised that (for me) it's a book you have to do, not just read. Loving it so far - review will follow. Going to sneak it in as an ARC book so I can catch up :)
Whoopidooings: Working through the Acrylic Solutions book by Chris Cozen & Julie Prichard
Whoopidooings: Working through the Acrylic Solutions book by Chris Cozen & Julie Prichard
The surprise hat that Logan received in the post from the lovely Sian. Thank you Sian - it's gorgeous. Mummy is going to look after that card for him ;)
Whoopidooings: Modelling skully hat
Whoopidooings: Modelling skully hat
Whoopidooings: Skully hat & card by Sian Fair
My baby went to her prom - she looked so grown up and beautiful. Seems not so very long ago she was the size of Logan.

Her dress was a bargain in the Jane Norman sale, the ring was my Mum's, the bag was a very generous gift from a total stranger. A Facebook friend of mine put a call out on her page for anyone who made bags. (Devvie wanted a funky fur one.) This lady had bought this one from Folksy, used it once and offered it to Devvie. How lovely?
Whoopidooings: Prom night.
Now you all have to compliment her hair - why? Because her old mum did it and as you all know, girly I ain't. (How my girls turned out so feminine I do not know!)  It's the first time I've curled hair - Devvie had to teach me but it turned out not to bad eh?
Whoopidooings: Prom night.

And that, as they say, is that. Think that's a pretty good week don't you? :) Thank you for stopping by - if you'd like to join in reflecting on your week why not stop by Virginia's and join us.
How has your week been?

p.s apologies for the weird spacing on the blog today - can't seem to fix it - blogger must be melting in the (horrible) heat we're having here in England at the moment.
p.p.s - ANDY MURRAY! Can't believe I forgot to include him in my Rocking week. But Yay! Not only did he win Wimbledon but he managed to get Craig to stop work to watch him play! Not many can achieve that these days!

Summer of Color - Week 4 - Silver Crow

Week 4 of Summer of Color brings the colour combination of Charcoal Grey & Pale Pink. I have been voting for this combination since the beginning. The pale colours are not in my comfort zone but I love what many other people like Natasha White and Lynne Hoppe  do with them. And I love the colour charcoal.

I knew I wanted to do a crow - but not how I'd do it. I've been admiring Jo's Summer of Color journal - in a green with jealousy kind of way. So thought I would try my hand at a homage to her style :)
Collaged papers
Acrylic Paint (Kaiser Colour, Reeves & Liquitex Basics)
Various pens (Copic, Posca, Fineliner)
HB Pencil

The crow has a silver tint. I always seem to colour my crows silver when I start drawing them, I suspect my friend the Silver Crow has something to do with it. The journalling is some crow symbolism facts that I copied directly from here.

I'm off to link up with the other participants - just by the skin of my teeth I reckon ;) Thanks for stopping by today.

Rocking My World Friday...

 It's that time of the week again. Time to look back, reflect and see - what's made me smile this week. last couple of weeks.

Little Miss had the stabilisers taken off her bike! We thought it would take her ages to get the hang of it but we barely got her out the door and she was away. This is quite a big deal as with the older two we lived on a busy main road. They didn't get to go out on their bikes and so learned to ride a bike quite late. It's nice to see this one with so much more freedom now that we live in a quieter area. Plus - stabilisers off is a big deal anyway, right?
Whoopidooings: Stabilisers OFF!
My shed! My shed! My shed! Oh how do I love thee. Let me count the ways! My shed is definitely my most favourite place in the whole house - does it count as in the house? Who cares. The best present anyone has ever given me. I must admit when Craig was doing it and he said "you better get some use out of this!" I had my fingers crossed behind my back when I replied "of course!" I had serious mojo failure at the time - dwindled to a speck. But now, I realise - it was my crummy family and house holding me back all this time! (I jest. A bit.) But seriously, I love that thing - I even snuck out there with a cuppa and my lunch last weekend when there was a bicker-fest going on. Feet up, cup of tea, cheese and crackers, listening to birds and nature stuff drowning out the screaming. Aaaah. Bliss

I also love that I can leave things out to dry overnight and pin things up willy nilly without Craig's tidy OCD kicking in. My haven, my hub - can you tell I've been out there a lot this week? ( I wrote this last week - sod's law I haven't been able to get out there for the last 3 days! Grr!) 
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - My shed, my workspace, my haven.
Phoebe is joining Devvie in the love for home cooking thanks to classes at school. (It's not called Home Ec now, it's called Food Tech!) Which means she has been in the kitchen cooking us curried Quorn & veggie pasties for dinner. Nom. Her pastry is on a par with my Mum's - which I have never been able to achieve!
Netflix, for letting you put your account on a few devices. We tried putting our account on Craig's Mum's tablet. It worked - she's chuffed to bits - think she is getting more use of it than us at the moment :)
Devvie's continued pursuit of studies even when off school. Also she and I had a really lovely morning shopping for her prom dress. It's not often just her and me, and I'm not the biggest fan of shopping but it was nice. We went in shops we wouldn't normally go in - both guilty of judging shops to "look" expensive. As a result we found some great sales and we got the perfect dress. The perfect boots and, thanks to the kindness of strangers, a perfect bag to go with it. More on that next week.
  • The wii - keeping me mobile and not so cranky with my back.
  • Chestnut mushrooms on toast. Nom.
  • Craig, his sense of humour, his getting my sense of humour and our conversations.
  • Friends both online and off. 
  • Finally spending the clothes vouchers my Dad gave me for my birthday in February. (Wasn't fibbing about not liking shopping. Thankfully found I could spend these online to be delivered instore. Huzzuh!) Seeing as you ask, 2 new pairs of plimsoll type trainers, a pair of proper high waisted, tuck your tummy in, jeans and a mexican style skully vest. Cheers Dad!
  • Crackers and cheese.
  • My sketchbooks and paint.
  • Words with Friends on the tablet just before I go to sleep.
  • My girls and the Logey Bear. So proud of them, always, in their own little ways.
That's going to do me for this week, am sat smiling as I type so mission accomplished I reckon. I'm off to link up with Virginia - if you'd like to join me in looking for the positives in your week (it's such a worthwhile exercise) why not follow me over.
Thanks for stopping by today - how have you been?

The Collector

Are you a collector? I used to collect many things - there was always books. I can't collect as many now because we just have no room. They have to be special now. Something I'll read and re-read to be granted staying space. I used to have a particular love of Anne Rice First Edition Hardbacks... till I realised that buying them again in paperback because I was to scared to read the hardbacks was a bit daft - and expensive... and taking up to much room. So they're all gone. As  a kid I collected cat ornaments. Love cats but live in a house of doggy people. Now I just have 3 little Quarry Cats. Ornaments are such dust magnets but the Quarry Cats are just chunky enough to scrape through.
Then there was the Sylvester the Cat memorabilia. Love Sylvester. Again, to much space, to much dust. They're all gone - apart from one much loved but damaged mug in my shed.

Craig and I would love a clutter free house. We are just getting to the stage now where my art stuff is, for the most part, out in my shed. His hobby and his work, is out in the workshop. So, for now, all the clutter in the house is mostly the kids. Which we have to put up with. We moan about. But we put up with. I didn't think I was a collector of anything (apart from art stash) anymore. But slowly I've realised that all this time I've collected something that's never changed. Something that Craig despairs of and tries to bin before I can squirrel it away. What is it? Can you guess?
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - My Art Shed
My shed. Can you see? What could it be? Lets look closer...
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Marmite Jars
Think you might have guessed it?
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Marmite Jar
Pretty sure you have ;)
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Marmite Jar
So versatile!
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Cactus Marmite Jars
So pretty!
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Marmite Jar
So functional! (Holding left over oil here)
Marmite Jars. I've always found them beautiful. I wash them and hoard them as soon as they are empty otherwise Craig tries to get them in the recycling. He's even tried to buy the squeezy bottles in a vain attempt to break my collecting. As if. Marmite in a squeezy bottle is just wrong and I refuse to try it. 

I've read that some people save the jars full. They don't open them. That could never happen in this house - I love it to much. An un-opened jar sitting taunting me on the shelf? Ain't gonna happen. So, in the meantime. My little collection grows - but at least this one is functional (I have to justify keeping them!) And they are used as pen and brush holders, I've planted cactus in a couple, the one in the kitchen I put left over oil into (thus doing my bit to save the nation's drains!)  I have an idea for a couple of arty projects with a few... 

I even have this cool mug my sister bought me for Christmas one year - but I have a terrible cup/smash ratio so it sits safely guarding my aqua brushes and some pencils. It has starred in it's own arty project. Click here to see it immortalised in Tracey Fletcher King's Cuppa With Friends project. Fame at last for my little Marmite mug :)
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - My Marmite Mug
I think I've broken Craig now. He finally admitted defeat in my badgering to buy the big, mahoosive 500g jar (Hurruh!) which I've nearly emptied. I convinced him it was much more economical than my powering through the 250g pots. I am stupidly excited at getting my mitts on that jar!

I'd really love one or two of their special edition jars but thus far only have a couple of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee ones. *Insert sad face* Who knows - give me a couple of months and I'll have our toothbrushes in Marmite jars to show you!

And yes. Craig is a hater. Apart from on his roast potatoes.

So there you go. A peek at my secret collection. Are you a collector? Of what? Do show and share me your link - I'd love to see. 

Thanks for stopping by today :)