Monday, 27 February 2017

More Abstract

This time it's collage.
We had fun cutting and tearing strips of paper and glueing them down to make a picture or a composition, or just a pretty pattern. I ended up with so much glue on my finger tips that they started to stick together. I guess I'm not a very tidy collage artist.
I wish I had taken photos of all the finished work, there were some really imaginative designs.
I've learnt that pages torn from the National Geographic Magazines (known as the yellow peril) are the best for collage... good quality paper and lots of great colours, especially providing a variety of gorgeous blues if you're doing a seascape. I'll have to keep my eyes open for the glow of yellow when yard sale season starts again.

No National Geographic in this one, just plain coloured papers ripped up and glued to red card.
I call it "Rough Sea at Sunset". It' looks best if you squint your eyes. Or perhaps close them completely??? Pinned to my garage door at the moment.

Beach grass? Cactus in the desert? Prairie grasses under a summer sky?
Whatever it is, it was fun to create. 
I love the look of pictures made from paper collage. I have far to go in this form of creating art, but if you want to see an expert at work, have a look at the work of Scottish collage artist Dawn Maciocia. This is gorgeous:

Friday, 24 February 2017


Our Thursday Art Group has been exploring the mysteries of abstract art and having a go at it ourselves. You'd think it would be dead easy to splodge a few brushes full of paint on a canvas and smear and spatter it about and call it "Art", but believe me, it's a lot harder than it looks.

Abstract art doesn't necessarily have to actually represent anything, or be recognisable, it can just be a pleasing pattern or combination of shapes, forms, colours and lines. It's definitely a departure from reality. And it's very hard for me to get away from reality when I'm surrounded with it! It's an exercise in thinking and painting "outside the box", something I'm not at all good at.

I call this "Lost in Space" because I was really lost in trying to make this look good.
Black gesso spattered with white gesso and acrylic paint. I like the swirly shapes.
More gesso, acrylic paint and collage of bits and pieces of coloured paper.
I think I might add more to this, perhaps some coloured markers or acrylic ink.

Coloured markers on paper. trying to emulate the abstract work of Alex Janvier's circular paintings. 
I'm not quite sure what I was trying to say here, if anything, but it was fun choosing the colours and shapes. See the face? 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Baking and Back Alleys

It doesn't happen often, but today I felt inspired to do some baking, so here's my bread. I usually combine whole wheat and white flour but I ran out of whole wheat so this is made with white bread flour with the addition of bran, oats and flax seeds. It will be delicious with some of that marmalade I made a couple of weeks ago.

And than I decided there was nothing sweet in the house to eat, so peanut butter cookies were next on the list. I ate three of them straight out of the oven, and then I had to cover them with a tea towel, just so I couldn't see them. Out of sight, out of mind.

Yesterday I was prowling some of the back streets, looking for interesting buildings.

This might end up as a painting. I like the different roof lines and chimneys. That's the top of the town Clock Tower peeking out on the right. I think the backs of buildings are often more interesting that the front.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Feeling Very Sad

YoungerSon has taken off with his fishing buddies on their annual ice fishing weekend in the frozen north. Personally I can think of better ways to spend a few days then sitting in an ice hut out on a frozen lake, talking about fish and cars, but they like it.
But he left three very sad children behind. There were loud tears from all of them when he left.... as if they were never going to see him again.
And after school, Max drew this heartbreaking picture to illustrate his deep feelings of abandonment.

Don't worry, Max, Daddy'll be back on Monday!

Sunday, 5 February 2017


What do you like to spread on your toast at breakfast time?
In my kitchen there's usually a selection of spreads to choose from: peanut butter, strawberry jam, honey, even that good old British standby Marmite, but my favourite is Marmalade.
But not that sweet sickly stuff that's lined up on the local supermarket shelves. I like my marmalade bitter with a tang of citrus, something with a punch to make sure I'm fully awake. And the only way to get it is to make it myself.

The bitter and rather ugly Seville oranges are only available at this time of year. I usually have to try 2 or 3 grocery stores before I find them, but this year they were in the first store I went to. Bonus! Teamed with a couple of lemons and sweet oranges, Marmalade Day 2017 got started.

Squeeze out the juice, separate the pulp and the pips, and cut the peel into thin strips. The pulp and the pips can be soaked and boiled to extract the pectin. For every cup of peel and juice, 2 cups of water was added, and then left to soak in my "jam bucket" overnight and then cooked until soft. Then sugar was added, and more cooking for at least 30 minutes until the marmalade reaches a jelly consistency.
Then it's poured into hot jars and we wait to see if it will gell. Even if it doesn't, it will taste yummy! Making marmalade is a pretty labour intensive process, but worth it IMHO!

The end result: enough marmalade to keep me and my family happy at breakfast for a long time. (Actually, the family doesn't like it as much as I do, so perhaps this is all for me!!!!!)