Art goodies!

art stuff

A trip to Hobbycraft today let to a few impulse buys… They had a sale, I have no self restraint, it was inevitable…

So… The Windsor and Newton Promarker pens should have been £19.99 but my whole stash of goodies came to £21.25 overall!

Four shades of Daler Rowney Graduate acrylic paints.  A year ago I bought a large set of little Daler Rowney Graduate acryclic paints and I now have a better idea about which colours I like and use.  The sale was a good chance to pick up some of my most used colours in much larger tubes.

Posca paint pens; a 0.7mm black to replace one that’s running out and a 1.8-2.5mm bullet purple one.  I have lots of these in different colours, they are smooth and fit nicely in my hands and are easy for my poorly hands to hold.

And some half price gesso, of which I use a lot.




Little white book

A little white book is a small pamphlet which comes with a tarot deck and often includes a note from the artist as well as a brief meaning of the cards. As part of Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors course, we’re making our own little white books (lwb).

I’m especially proud of mine because I made the book itself. It’s a5 paper (from various bits of other sized paper I had kicking around. My poor cutting skills means the pages aren’t exactly the same size and the holes aren’t punched in exactly the same place so it has a rustic, home made feel 😉). The cover is two pieces of Amazon packaging, cut slightly bigger than a5 and covered with decorative paper. I think covered the inside covers with a piece of a5 card and used book rings to hold it all together. 

Susannah suggests using something akin to this, eg a filofax, so that you can add pages and move them around later if you want. 

I’ve included some coloured card as a divider between spreads and card meanings and used washi tape to edge the start of each suite so it’s easy to find. I tried to go for associated colours so cups have blue tape, my tree card meanings have tree tape etc.

When my hands are happier I’d like to put tape on each page edge. 

Mixed media prayer flags

I’ve ended up falling behind on wanderlust which is disappointing.  I think it was because the watercolour section coincided with my nasty tramadol withdrawal.  I don’t find watercolours very good for my hands – you tend to have to do a lot of mixing and obviously you don’t get much colour for your effort which means more hand use.  I do however have a new love affair with ecolines which some people argue are watercolours, other people insist they’re inks.  Either way, beautiful products, lots of colour for your effort.

Anyway, one of the weeks I’ve just caught up on was about using watercolours to make mixed media (non traditional) prayer flags.

This caught my attention and, being in a bit of a creative slump, I quickly got onto it and although I’ve not used watercolours (except for dipping fabric in my ecolines, great tip from wanderlust) I have managed to make three flags.  The idea is that you then hang them outside and let the weather alter them.  But I only have a yard and my neighbours (not nice people) use it far more than me (I don’t use it because they do… can’t wait till they move…) so my flags are going to be indoor flags…

Traditionally, a prayer flag is a rectangle of coloured fabric with words and images on.  They are often found hung in the mountains in Tibet and are traditionally used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom.  According to wikipedia:

The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.

Our lesson asked us to choose some words to focus on and inscribe on our flags.  I choose three words which are coming up a lot for me this year; intention, awareness and synchronicity (which I keep spelling wrong and true to form, spelt wrong on my flag… a lesson there in accepting things we cannot change I guess!).

To make my flags I used squares of cardboard (amazon packaging to be precise) for the base and have used old book paper, fabric and trimming dipped in ecoline and inks, buttons, washi tape, dress patterns etc.  I’m quite pleased with how they’ve turned out, spelling mistake and all.  I’m not sure even if I had the option, I’d put them outside…

Tree project update

Shush, don’t speak too loudly, you’ll spook it… But over there, behind the trees I think there’s a blog post emerging!

Trees you say? Yes indeed! Trees (and changing my painkillers and enduring the resulting withdrawal) have indeed been the cause of my empty blog.

So you may recall my year long tree project. Well it’s so far involved a leaf book, a mostly finished may day canvas and, drum roll please, my very own tree oracle deck! Which I love so be polite and coo over it like it’s a baby…

Made from my own photos and carefully curated from my many tree photos the deck was printed by

I very much rushed the design stage hence it’s simplicity but I really wanted to get the cards printed…



I love them!  And it was a lot cheaper than I expected as well.  I’ll probably do it again, possibly with water based images and probably make a bit more time over the design stage next time!

Image transfer

After years of seeing it on blogs and pinterest I finally attempted an image transfer myself. Mostly because it came up in last weeks wanderlust class.

Apparently it works best with a photocopy or lazer printer and gel medium.

I had pva glue and an inkjet printer.  But it turned out OK except the tail. I think it probably had too much glue or too much water on.



Very quick how to:

Cover your image and the page you’re transferring to with a thin layer of pva. Stick the image image side down and smooth out any air bubbles. Leave. I left mine about ten minutes. Spray the image with water and start smooshing it with your finger, the paper will start to come off. In my case a lot of ink also came off but there is enough left on the page to satisfy me. Perhaps leaving it longer would result in blacker lines. The image I used was darker than the outcome but I like this faded vintage worn look.


Before wanderlust I didn’t really know anything about mediums other than online crafty people used this thing called gel medium in much the same way that I’ve always used pva glue… I’ve been using gesso for about eighteen months now but that is the extent of it.

Now, I’m only just starting to realise how much there is that I don’t know about them.  we had a lesson about some of the main types of mediums, including why we might use one over another and a second lesson where Kasia took us through the process of creating a piece using different mediums.  Both have really helped me get a better understanding. There’s lots of info out there (which I’d never bothered looking at before) so this isn’t going to be a post about the why’s, how’s and what’s of mediums.

Realising there are so many different types and not knowing which ones to start with, I treated myself to a golden starter kit which helpfully came with a wanderlust discount. It contains:

Extra heavy gel (matte)
Regular gel (semi-gloss)
Soft gel (gloss)
Light molding paste
Coarse pumice gel
Clear tar gel

My starting point was to grab a piece of card and add a bit of each, playing with creating textures, peaks etc and then seeing how it look and held its shape once it was dry – a lot of the mediums dry clear and its obviously useful to know which before you slap it onto your art. Once dry I played with adding a layer of paint and seeing how that went on.  alongside this I also mixed each medium with a bit of paint to compare the results. I’m obviously picking things up from wanderlust because this kind of experimenting and testing and comparing is not something I’ve ever done before!  Normally I just start using things and learn as I go along.

I then got started with my project for this week – creating a mixed media landscape including different mediums.  As I got working I realised that as well as the different effects you get by applying paint with and over mediums, you also get a different effect by putting the medium over the paint. And it’s good to know which dry opaque in this case!

I don’t think photos will ever do this justice because of the importance of texture but left to right we have paint with heavy gel on top, paint mixed with heavy gel and heavy gel with paint on top. Top to bottom we have dylusions turquoise, dylusions crushed grape and white opaque ink. Chosen mostly because they were what I saw first on my art table. I’d be interested to have a play with other things such as gelatos, chalk pastels and paint pens.


On the right, where colour is over medium, you get more obvious shadows where the nooks don’t get paint cover or in the case of the ink, it pools into the nooks. The middle, where medium and colour are mixed, offers a more solid cover. On the left, medium over paint, you get a mix of texture, that of the paint and that of the medium. The medium has the effect of pushing the paint backwards in the image.


If you like working with texture and haven’t seen dabbled in mediums, try a taster set like the golden one so you can compare different ones, find your favourite and learn what works well for different things.  And whilst I’m normally all for jumping in and just giving it a go, I think there’s value in doing some comparison first – you can always cut it up and use it in your piece later.

Meet my cameras: Part 11


To start with I liked this camera. its a nice size and easy to use because you don’t have a lot of control options. You can set weather and distance and shutter speed.

The first thing that turned me was the catch to get into the back. It’s fiddly and stiff and needs holding open to open and close the back. The first roll of film didn’t stay connected to the take up rod. So attempt number two. You have to remember to reset the shutter cock for each photo. Bit irritating but I’m sure you’d get used to it.

To rewind you need to pull out the rewinder and turn it whilst depressing the shutter release. Another negative in my opinion with my rubbish hands… And then the final straw for me; my rewind wheel was stuck. Nothing I did would change this so I went into a dark part of my house, got the film out and pushed it back into the canister as best I could. This is probably quite simple if your hands work, mine do not work well at all*.

So expecting nothing I took the film to my friendly photo shop and didn’t get too excited. And wasn’t surprised when I got nothing. I was a bit disappointed. I’d hoped for at least one image but I wasn’t very surprised…

*I have a condition called ehlers danlos syndrome which causes me joint and muscle pain, fatigue and full or partial dislocations amongst other things.