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Your Song ~

Saturday, 28 July 2012

How many of us have a special song? One that means something to us or reminds of a particular time...
I've just had a request to write out the words to "their song", for a lady to give to her husband on their wedding anniversary. The full lyrics are here, but we decided to use certain more relevant verses and omit some bits that were repeated....

Listening to the song sent all sorts of different ideas through my mind & I was singing the chorus to myself for ages.... it must be one of those songs that speaks to so many people!

 As we discussed colours, S emailed me a photo of the dress she was wearing on the night she met her husband 13 years ago, wondering if I could use the turquoise. It's funny.... once I had that last piece of the jigsaw, i knew what i wanted to do... although at that point I was going to paint the little diamonds to decorate it or use pastels. As I wrote, the chorus was still going around in my head, & though we'd cut chunks of it out I added bits of chorus back in... layering the text to give some background texture and brings some visual interest in between the blocks of words...

When it came to add the decoration I actually printed the photo of the dress fabric & cut that up to create the blue & turquoise 'diamonds'. S said that the photo was a bit too blue & not 'turquoisey' enough, so i adjusted the colour a bit first before I printed, and then added some even more turquoise diamonds for good measure... i was only guessing at the actual colour, but hopefully by using several shades I got near enough! 

The scroll idea is proving a popular way to present calligraphy as a gift. It helps an unframed piece of work look something a bit more.... and the ribbon can easily be trimmed off to frame it later. Luckily, I had some turquoise tissue, & tied it with 2 shades of ribbon.... even if I didn't hit the right shade, at least it looked good to give!! The overall size was a touch under 12 x 17 inches.

Don't forget to leave a comment on my last post for chance to enter the give-away & have chance to win a print!!


In Honour of Friends... a give-away

Sunday, 22 July 2012

There are some extra special friends around... & I'm lucky enough to have some of them find me to help tell their best mates how much they are appreciated!! In this case, my daughter when Thornton's didn't have the particular chocolates she wanted for her friend's birthday and she was going round to see her in a few hours... huh, how dare she...!!!

The recipient of this canvas is always saying, "Well, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", so that had to be on. These two are always texting quotes to each other and this was one that she particularly remembered, "Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly"

Aaaargh... having someone stand over me is really strange, especially a bossy version of me being extra critical about whether a splash of paint is in the right place! Anyway, cerise splashes & lettering on black, with a dash of silver powder is always eye-catching.

prints available as an 8 x 10 print in the

So.... in honour of friendship... for friends old & new & those yet to be made... i thought we should have a little give-away! I'm offering an 8 x 10 print of the image above (3rd one down!) or the one below...

these were on 8 x 12 inch canvas originally~
i can create something similar, 
but no two will ever be the same

... all you have to do to enter, is leave a comment with a quote about friendship or tell me about the meaning of friendship to you... how easy is that? And if you tell your friends & share it on your blog,  facebook or twitter, you can have another entry for each place, but make sure you come back to comment & tell me you've done so or i won't know! (And don't forget to say whether you prefer the quote or the heart)

You have til the end of the month... 31st July... I'll make the draw on 1st August, which happens to be Lammas (or Lughnasadh) in the northern hemisphere...a celebration of the early harvest... it will be Imbolc in the southern hemisphere, looking forward to spring.... a perfect time to celebrate friendship wherever you are, so get digging to find me some quotations!!


Cards for Friends...

Friday, 20 July 2012

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves...

same words...

different ideas...

available in the shop


On Angel Wings

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Another request for a memorial canvas came my way... this time from somebody wanting something special for a friend, in memory of her father. I don't suppose either of us had any idea how this would look as we exchanged emails... I never know exactly until I actually do it, even though I may think I have fairly clear ideas... and explaining what I'm really thinking by email is pretty hard, and it takes so long to write & describe, I'm not much better verbally, lol!

(photograph reproduced with permission)

Commissioned work involves a huge element of trust. A client has to trust me to interpret their ideas in a way that they find acceptable... I have to trust that they can accept my interpretation... and trust my own instincts & feelings about what they tell me. At times I have produced something very different from what I know is expected. 

 However, at some point, the necessary trust was established. K was happy to furnish me with several  snippets of information and allow me to "pick and choose what you as the artist think will work." Just the kind of words I like to hear. Plenty of information helps to build a picture... to create a resonance between the person it is for & the work, but  put too much in & things would look messy. Also, I'm not an 'illustrator' so any artwork is suggestive rather than literal.

K came up with an extract from "In Her Eyes" by Michelle W Emerson, a poem about the love shared between father & daughter,

'Upon angel wings you soar; your sparkling golden halo glows
Whenever she's with you, it's Heaven in her eyes that shows.
Her eyes hold a song so beautiful you'd think it was Heaven's melody.
It's the music of love's symphony composed by each precious memory.
The love known is the love you've shown from sunset to sunrise.
The depth of your love will forever show in your daughter's eyes.'

together with a biblical extract,

"For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, 
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." 
 John 3:16

The main colours were sepia tones, to tie in with the photograph, also K suggested earthy would be good. The main 'memory' that we wanted to include was the love of fishing together... right from the start i visualised the blues & browns together, but it took several layers of paint to get the textures & depth of colour how & where I wanted! I also had a strong feeling about adding a silver fish right from the start... in the end it served as an anchor point for the whole thing, pulling it all together!

I have heard that L is over the moon to receive her gift & I felt quite teary myself when i read K's note of thanks... it really was an honour to work on something that means so much to someone...

canvas size ~ 10 x 14 x 1.5 inches (25 x 36 x 3.5 cm)

I looked for an alternative image to use in case L wasn't comfortable with 'her dad's' canvas on show... I really like this statue of an angel & the colours tie in perfectly... looks like i will be doing some more angel-y ideas soon!


Covering a Mount/Matt

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sometimes, the colours of mount-board available just don't suit certain pieces of work. I think calligraphers especially have this problem, as the paper is often as much a part of the work as the calligraphy & any decoration. Black or white paper, & hand made papers usually look more streamlined if the mount is covered in the same paper as that used for the lettering.

It's really quite easy to do....

an extra little strip on the inside is especially important when using dark/coloured paper
~ if the mount shows underneath it can be quite unsightly, but this helps disguise it.

we could stop there, but now & again, an extra layer of sheer, gauzy tissue
adds another dimension ~ in this case
japanese sanwaa tissue, with gold & silver flecks in it.

you could actually cut the paper flush to the mount at the external edge, 
especially when the paper is stiff or bulky, as i did below...

don't forget to fold the paper tight against the mount before you glue
for  a nice clean edge

This is the finished piece I showed in the earlier post here


Because I love....

Sunday, 8 July 2012

I recently discovered the 'Poetsy' team on etsy... so now i take an occasional diversion creating a treasury based on a favourite poem. (not that i need any more diversions, but it's fun!). This one is based on the Kathleen Raine poem, Amo Ergo Sum. I hope you can see the connection between the  words & work shown... you can see the treasury in full <here>

Because I love
      The sun pours out its rays of living gold
      Pours out its gold and silver on the sea.

Because I love
      The earth upon her astral spindle winds
      Her ecstasy-producing dance.

Because I love
      Clouds travel on the winds through wide skies,
      Skies wide and beautiful, blue and deep.

Because I love
      Wind blows white sails,
      The wind blows over flowers, the sweet wind blows.

Because I love
      The ferns grow green, and green the grass, and green
      The transparent sunlit trees.

Because I love
      Larks rise up from the grass
      And all the leaves are full of singing birds.

Because I love
      The summer air quivers with a thousand wings,
      Myriads of jewelled eyes burn in the light.

Because I love
      The iridescnt shells upon the sand
      Takes forms as fine and intricate as thought.

Because I love
      There is an invisible way across the sky,
      Birds travel by that way, the sun and moon
      And all the stars travel that path by night.

Because I love
      There is a river flowing all night long.

Because I love
      All night the river flows into my sleep,
      Ten thousand living things are sleeping in my arms,
      And sleeping wake, and flowing are at rest.


You're Still The One

Friday, 6 July 2012

This is a set of canvasses I did ages ago. The words are the song "You're Still The One" sung by Shania Twain (lyrics here)

As with so many songs, there are certain words that get repeated ever so many times, and writing them out over & over is not always practical or necessary... time, money, space, size, layout etc etc... so in this version, I wrote the main chorus on the central canvas & the verses to the left & right

The photos aren't sharp enough for any close-ups, but you can see the effect well enough... red & black is always striking! I think each canvas was about 12x8 inches, but the idea works at any size. Originally, they were posted here, but I was trying to explain the layout to someone and it's easier to show than tell!


Mini Gift Book

Monday, 2 July 2012

Sometimes, it feels like a simple note just won't do.

just click the pic for a closer view!

When a customer asked if I could post a canvas direct to her friend & add a little note, I couldn't resist. It seemed only fair that it should match the canvas.... after all, it is something rather special & personal.

A strip of canaletto paper
Walnut ink
Ultramarine watercolour
Extra water
Brown organza ribbon

It folded down to approx 2 x 3 inches (...ish, i never measured!)



My email address:-
I am based in North Yorkshire, UK.
Please get in touch if you would like to purchase any of my work. I can issue a paypal invoice for payment or use the 'donate' button near the top left once an order is confirmed.

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