Sunday, 29 May 2016

Learning curve

Here we are again and i've found time to make a few more things when I really should have been marking! The first piece I made is just an A4 canvas. Ive started putting a block background colour down as the first thing I do on my pieces as ive been watching a few artisits work on YouTube and this seems to be the done thing. Easier to work on a colour than white apparently but I'm not sure it makes much difference to me. Any who in my quest to be a better artist and less of a crafter I have followed suit. I then added a few different colours with my finger just to blend things in. I was working outside on a REALLY hot day and I couldn't believe how fast the colours dried. I didn't even have time to blend them! Ive also started trying to add a bit more black to my layouts. My art teacher always told me in school to never ever use black but it adds such a grungy look and it was 15 years ago so I'm finally going to be a rebel and do it my own way! I just free hand drew the circles with my finger and tried to blend the paint so it had a light edge and a dark edge. I was kind of following the techniques shown in this video as this was what inspired me: Once all the paint was dry I used some butterfly stamps to stamp on some interest as the whole thing was looking like a pshcadelic glass of champagne at one point. I think I got over excited about the circles and added too many!! Then things started to go wrong. I could just skip this bit entirely but its always nice if you can learn from other peoples mistakes as well as your own!

So first time around I scrapped gesso in three thick lines across the canvas and then hand drew quirky letters and coloured them in using faber castell big brush pens. This turned out to be an error. It was ok but it looked like a 7yr old had done it! Then I realised that the canvas was upside down as well and all the butterflies that I had previously stamped were flying towards the bottom of the page! Again not the worst but its not really what you want and since I always hope to sell what I make I thought I better change it! Sooooooo then I tore some old book paper and stuck it over the top of the gesso and words and added more gesso to knock it back a bit. I used gelatos to blend it around the edges and stamped the words using docraft stamps and archival ink. I doodled on them using a sakura micron pen. I made the butterflies out of patterned paper following the tutorial here and added some embellishments from scrapbook ephemera. Here is the finished result.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Busy as the busiest bee on the busiest bee day of the year!

So I ended up doing a 3 month stint with Pure Crafts in Northampton. It was so helpful to know that my work will sell in a shop. I ended up selling four canvases in the end which is not bed but I feel that doing local face to face craft fairs will probably be nicer and a lot more gratifying, even if I don't sell anything.

Going back to work plus looking after my mischievous toddler and trying to find some time to do art is sooooooooooooooo hard! Since returning to my job as a teacher in January I have barely had time to breath let alone make new canvases. Yet somehow I seem to keep going. Every so often I just ditch the marking and prioritise myself and my art, which is no bad thing, although I struggle not to feel guilty. How I wish I could make a proper business out of this. There are no scrapbooking and mixed media stores in Bath at all and very few craft clubs too. I can see that there is a niche but giving up my full time, secure teaching job in order to start a craft business seems like career suicide. It probably is! What would be really helpful is if hubby could become a millionaire and then I wouldn't need to worry!

I recently did my third craft fair at Elim Pentecostal Ladies Pamper Evening which was really successful. The picture below is my stall. I sold 5 pieces which is one more than the last two years and more than the 3 months with Pure Crafts. I've had a couple of requests for commissions too and even an invite to do a workshop in a school but I've no idea whether they will come to anything.

I have also taken the plunge and applied to be a stall seller at Bath Artisan Market. When I visited at Christmas I loved the atmosphere and although there were a lot of people selling prints I didn't see anyone with canvas art like my own so hopefully they will accept me and can have a go at selling there. At the very least I will be able to be part of the arty community of Bath. Keep your fingers crossed for me :)