Category Archives: Hand made

Art Class: Lino Printing 2

We continued carving and printing our linocuts and designed a second smaller one each as well. Here  is a squirrel S12 carved .

The lino cut below shows the amount of carving required to create a design with little or no background. As you can see in the card the finished product looked great. L14 printed it in red ink and sponged extra colour  onto the paper after printing. I bought speedball printing ink for our second week and it worked well.

A15 printed her shoe in a few different colours and we are hoping to print it three times in colours which will work in her room then frame them.

My own linoprint is posted on my paintings page


Take a look

Several blogs I read post links to a selection of interesting posts and sites each weekend. I am not promising anything as regular as that. Any readers visiting here know that there is nothing regular about my blogs at present but I have come across a few posts lately that really appealed to me so I thought I would share.

Take a look if you like:

  • I love wearing scarves so this post was right up my alley:  25 Ways to wear a scarf in 4.5 minutes. I most often wear my scarves in the “The Modern One Loop” but within 48 hours of watching the video I had worn the “Infinity”, the “Bunny Ears” and the “Hidden Knot”! I’ve even taken to  rearranging  my friend’s scarves while they are wearing them.
  • I was quite taken with a post by Layla from The Lettered Cottage. She posted some photos of a very whimsical campsite where she and her mother spent a few days, along with a very personal list of Things I’d tell my 17-Year-Old Self.
  • I came across this dress which is quite lovely.  So…I am going to see if I can make one just like it.
  • Having been introduced to slacklining when we bought one for B11 a few years back, all of us were astounded by the trailer for I Believe I Can Fly. We have now bought the documentary and I can’t wait to watch it.(HT: Cup of Jo)
  • B11 and I were impressed by these paintings by Alexa Reade. They are not quite what they seem or perhaps they are.


Art Class: Lino Printing 1

As a lead up to creating some lino prints we spent one week designing potato prints. Although it may have seemed like a step back into kindergarten it was a good exercise to get everyone thinking about positive and negative designs and carving the mirror image of what they wanted to see in their final print. The lino blocks are of course a little pricier than potatoes so the preparation was worthwhile.

B11 created some car logos, cars being his current passion. I carved a leaf and some abstract patterns. There was a paisley design, a few names and letters, an eye and a quite impressive albeit mirrored image world map.

The following week we began by designing our lino cuts. Everyone had to decide whether they wanted to create a negative or positive design. One way you carve your design out of the lino block leaving lino around the design. The other method is to carve away all that is not your design so that it remains at the end to be inked. Once the designs had been transferred or redrawn on the lino blocks everyone started carving. The carving tools are very sharp. A few of the students made me nervous. Band aids were needed!

The first prints were done using Stampin’Up Craft ink and the coverage wasn’t too bad; the smoother the paper the better the print. I am going to get some ink specifically designed for block printing and see what the difference is.

Art Class: Marbling

We have started a new year of art and I have a class of four regulars with a couple more students who will join in occasionally. Our first unit for the year is printmaking and we kicked off with two weeks of marbling. For Christmas one year B11 bought me a marbling kit which, until now, has sat on the shelf unused. We had a great time with it and are all keen to have another go at a later date. I will need to find a new source of chemicals having used up the ones in the kit and I would like to try better quality paper and/or inks as the prints are a little washed out.

Marbling involves a bath of “size” onto which you drop coloured inks. The inks spread but do not blend so it is possible to manipulated them into patterns with combs and skewers.

Once the pattern is created,  paper which has been soaked in an alum solution is lowered onto the size to pick up the marbled pattern.

During the first week we familiarized ourselves with the way the inks reacted to the size and to each other, creating some basic and random patterns. Above is a print B11 made.  The second week we were more deliberate in creating our patterns following some recipes included in the kit. Below are two prints; the pink one A15 made and the other is mine.

Weddings: the violinists

Our family has attended weddings the last two Saturdays and our girls are playing at one next weekend also.  Yesterday and last Saturday we were at weddings of girls we have know since they were ten years old.  We have been friends with their families for most of our years in Ottawa. Both brides especially wanted the girls to play violin, which they did beautifully. There has been some overlap in repertoire for the three weddings but also some new pieces to learn and arrange for each one. One of the perks of playing during the ceremonies, they found, was the close proximity to the wedding party; unfortunately they were not able to juggle cameras and violins. I will post pictures of other aspects of the weddings but why not start with my violinists?

As the girls almost always have to perform in black they were keen to have new “not black” dresses for the weddings.  The guest lists were totally different so wearing the same dress to each wedding was not a problem. Finding the dresses in the first place was more difficult. I was willing to make the dresses if necessary but we decided to shop first. L17 and I went out one evening and within an hour had found a dress which would only need minor alterations.  A15 and I went out numerous times including a visit to the fabric store and kept returning empty handed.  Finally with less than two days to go we found a pretty dress which was long but close to the style she wanted(most she had tried were way too short!) After taking a good look at it I assured her I could transform it into the style she was after but had been unable to find.  Here are the before and after shots:

L17’s dress as we purchased it:

and after I created straps and altered the sash:

A15’s dress as we purchased it:

After I made a few changes:

Art Update

I haven’t written about my art class since last June but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing art.  When we resumed in September it was a smaller class, just 3½ members.  We started off with some drawing and sketching exercises and then moved into an acrylics unit.  I am not very comfortable with acrylics and despite my reading and practising I didn’t feel that I was able to guide my students very well.  We continued doing some sketching each week and worked on two landscapes in acrylic: one realistic and the other with a monochrome colour scheme plus a black silhouette image.

Just before Christmas we signed up for a pottery class and created quite a selection of gifts as well as a few pieces to keep ourselves.  During our first lesson we created bowls and platters, large and small. Our teacher showed us how to make mugs the second week and we created some candle holders as well.  During the final week we glazed all the pieces that had survived the kiln; there were a few casualties.  Everyone enjoyed doing pottery so we hope to do it again and include some lessons on the wheel.

After Christmas we returned to drawing exercises, both still life and faces.  We had been drawing before Christmas as we always began with a warm up exercise of one sort or another.  One of our first still life subjects was a classic one given to me by every art teacher I ever had and which I see again and again in books: the humble capsicum, or, as they say here, pepper.  I expected complaints from my class at being asked to draw vegetables but everyone enjoyed the exercise as we did them in pencil, charcoal, watercolour pencil and fine tip marker. Over several weeks we also did lemons, shoes and toy cars before the artists chose a few fruit or vegetables to create their own still life arrangement to draw.

Practising drawing faces turned out to be difficult but quite amusing at times. We used the guidelines given in various books to get our proportions right but also  used each other as models.  It is safe to say that most of our sketches were hardly flattering.  It was a very good exercise however and we now know more the relative positions and sizes of all the facial features.

After completing our faces unit each of the three girls in the class embarked on a project of their own choice to be entered in the Young at Art competition held by the City of Ottawa.  The competition is open to 12-19 yearolds.  A14 chose to do some digital art using the Bamboo we gave her for Christmas.  She took a photograph of the canal in winter, desaturated it and turned it into a spring or summer scene at dusk.

P16 chose to paint a watercolour of a Peruvian child bundled in a traditional blanket.

H13 tried several ideas before settling on one of the projects we had done in class: capsicums drawn using charcoal, watercolour pencil and graphite pencil.

All three submissions were very well done but unfortunately only a selection are picked for display and winners are chose from those displayed.  A14’s digital print Reflections at Dusk was chosen as the winner this year in the junior level of the “Other Media’ category.

Our last unit for the year was abstract art.  The first task required everyone to choose a colour scheme, either cold or warm, and a shape to be repeated throughout the abstract design.  Most of us tried several different approaches to this task.  The second abstract project required a mass of liquid coloured paint, again in a cool or warm colour scheme, into which imprinted different textures.

The creative mind of a ten year old boy

My ten year old boy to be exact.
B10 outdid himself this year in the creative gifts department.  Each member of our family as well as some people outside our family received gifts or cards that he created.

The cards he created for his immediate family were most amusing.  He likes to take well known sites, monuments or paintings, print out a copy then replace the head or one of the heads with a member of out family.  Andrew found that his head had replaced George Washington’s on Mount Rushmore.  L16 became the Statue of Liberty.  He took a different tack with A14 and I; her head was on Mario and mine was on a LEGO character.

He published two books this year, I received his original short story:  Douglas Saves Christmas on a Treadmill:  A Very Merry Tale of Christmas Coffee.  A14 was given the first edition of bOB COM1CZ.

But the industry does not stop there; our family joined another family in hiring a pottery teacher for three weeks in December.  B10 made a couple of lovely mugs for friends of ours and for Andrew he made a coaster and bobble head complete with Andrew’s face.