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Poppies, for Remembrance.... on canvas

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The couple who commissioned this canvas, requested another for their father.... something a little more 'traditional' looking.... with poppies please! Poppies were their mum's favourite; luckily I had plenty of photographs I've taken myself to choose from.

I often like to layer gesso onto the canvas first to create some additional 
texture in the background, plus it's a great surface to write on.

Something like this doesn't have to be for a memorial... 
any photo with any words would make a special, personalised gift at any time, wouldn't it? 


Ooops, spilled the gold powder again....

Friday, 25 October 2013

... but at least it landed on a couple of canvasses this time instead of on the floor!

When two souls have finally found each other there is established between them 
a union which begins on earth & continues forever in heaven
~Victor Hugo~

Ever since I did the Yeats poem, "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", I've had a steady stream of requests for work to be done in the same colour scheme. So last time I set out to paint a few backgrounds in one go. The idea was to be prepared next time someone asked for dark blue & gold.

The thing was, these extra large 'starbursts' of gold magically appeared when I was delicately(?) scattering stardust around!! 

I thought I'd be better off choosing some words that seemed to suit them

 Burial Prayer

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in flight.
I am the soft stars at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

These two are in the shop, but next time, I'll definitely do some spare!


Minor Miracles can happen!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

 DB had a plan to have his wedding vows written out for his 1st wedding anniversary gift to his wife... but with one thing and another.... you can guess the story.... I got an email on a thursday afternoon wondering whether I could get something to him by Saturday!

He'd already realised that he was probably asking too much, but whilst looking through my shop he had fallen in love with this piece and wondered whether I could arrange framing for 'as soon as possible'.

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.
~Robert Browning~

Well, at the moment I don't have anyone I use as a regular framer, so rashly promised I'd see what I could buy 'off the shelf' locally, if he was prepared for me to change the design to suit. In the end, I pulled off a "minor miracle" as he called it, by getting this done & posted on Friday... then Royal Mail responded to our fervent positive thinking requests for it to arrive on the Saturday!

I can't always complete work at such short notice, but if I can, I will. A good sob story & lovely attitude helps too!


First Wedding Anniversary ~ Paper

Friday, 18 October 2013

The First Wedding Anniversary is widely associated with paper... making calligraphy on paper an ideal gift!! And even more special when the words are your wedding vows. Nowadays more & more  people write their own vows, which is so personal.... and having them written out, to frame, is something to cherish.

 just testing...

The Bride had worn turquoise, but there was no turquoise in their bedroom, where there were to hang... lots of silver & grey though! We went for pencil lettering...

the first subtle layer of watercolour...

Pencil & watercolour look great together, and the beauty of watercolour is, 
it can be really pale & subtle...

 adding colours...

 or, by building up layers, the colour can become quite strong...

several layers to create depth...

 differing amounts of words, planned to take up the 
same space, to suit matching frames...

this couple wrote quite different styles of  wedding vows, but both full of love...

and now they have a constant reminder of the pledge they made to each other.
As time goes on, I think it's quite a good idea to remember promises made
on such a special day!


Custom Favourite Song Remembrance Canvas

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

I'm getting quite regular requests for a canvas in memory of someone.... this time with a favourite song & an owl photograph because "she always loved owls". We decided on layers of lettering, quite a neutral look, with one main phrase standing out.

I have found that applying a layer of gesso to the canvas is easier to write on, but have only recently discovered that sanding it down a little gives a lovely surface.... I can get much sharper lettering now. For this one I kept adding layers of colour, sanding, more colour... a few lines of the song.... sanding... more lettering... sanding.... colour... lettering etc etc. I love the distressed effect....

I didn't get the photograph til  much later, & tho we loved the background, 
we didn't feel the photo was quite right with it for where it was to go....

... until I converted to sepia and added the final touches!

It's quite a touching tribute, combining their mother's favourite song 
and a photo of something she loved... 


Be Still and Know....

Monday, 14 October 2013

A request for these words...
So, an option that can be printed & colour added later...

...a well known quotation, but with the words repeated & contracted 
down to the essence of the phrase...
Be Still. Be.

I love the pencil with watercolour splashes. 
They have an ethereal quality... floating...
Ocean colours... Water.... Calming, cleansing...

But then, the painted letters are perhaps more balanced? Certainly more visible.
Subtly changing tones of translucent colour.... blues, greens, aqua...

This image brings to mind the Rumi quote, 
"Only let the moving waters calm down, 
and the sun and moon will be reflected on the surface of your being."

Perhaps the pencil version is more suggestive of an invitation to 'be still.... to know... to be'
whilst the stronger painted letters seem more of an instruction... what do you think?

again, the watercolours merge into each other within the letters...

Although I like the look of this, for me the emphasis on the whole phrase 
turns the additional wording into more of a back-up statement.
Nothing wrong with that, of course!

I have an ongoing fascination with how a seemingly minor change can totally change the meaning or impact of the same few words. Even after all these years. It's more than 20 years since I first played with this quotation... using just the words, no decoration, changing the emphasis from one word to another, learning about contrasts, and in doing so changing the whole meaning of the phrase.

Prints will be available soon 
(but with a whiter background than these photographs show!).
Which version would you choose?



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