Sunday, 29 December 2013

Blog problem with old posts not showing up - what to do?

Over a year ago I started a Wordpress blog and 'closed' this one. Then I came back here - I missed you all!

I imported posts back to Blogger. Although I can see them in my posts list and small images show in the ' You may also like' section at the bottom of each post - in most cases when you click one of them up comes "blog not found". The title my blog used to have was different - therefore the url was. What do I need to do to make them visible again to the public? As I say they are all there in my back end so to speak!

Can any of you help?

Update: have tried checking the 'permalinks', re writing the titles, redoing some photos but still not found comes up when one of the linked within 'You may also like' boxes is ticked. I have discovered that if I delete moobaacluck.blogspot in the url and replace it with 'gabriellabuckingham'.blogspot etc, then the old post appears. Very odd.

The easiest thing to do would be to delete 'Link within'. I'll do that if no one can help. I've spent hours fiddling :/ - doh! 

I've now deleted the link within app - it's not even a Blogger gadget. I am sure that had something major to do with it. Any past posts can be seen in the blog archive in the right hand margin. They all need a thorough tidy up but at least the problem is no longer visible.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Illustration Friday by my children

This weeks word was 'Spirit' on the Illustration Friday website. Both my children were inspired to enter while I was chained to the kitchen table painting (as I have been for the last 4 weeks)! One day I might join them and get around to entering myself ;)

Love them!!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

End of the #makeartthatsells course November 2013

These are my MATS assignments; quite a variety.

I have mixed feelings about the Make Art That Sells course. I really loved the weekly challenge, the wonderful inspirational images and information and the community is fabulous and I am so pleased I did it. However I don't think I did my best - or rather I did the best I could in the time I had and for where I am at the moment, but for various reasons I feel slightly disappointed in myself . My work didn't make any of the peer reviews and it makes me realise that I am further away from having an illustration portfolio than I thought before I took the course. However a dose of reality is not such a bad thing! I feel determined and strangely more sure that I can take what I learned about myself and my potential and do great things next year. My mind has actually shifted further away from being insecure and needing approval from people I admire to realising that the most important thing is that I must make things that I love, that I know when something is good or bad deep down. Taste in art and design is so personal, you can't please everyone or in some cases hardly anyone so it's vital you love it yourself.

The talent on the course was truly incredible and inspiring. The course is packed with inspiration and helpful tips, Lilla Rogers is a delight - I was particularly thrilled when she mentioned one of my jokes in her video! That was so funny :) I realise I yearn for connection with other artists and although I don't know what Lilla thought of what I did; whether I have talent in her eyes or not, the key thing is do I think I have?! I do.. I feel like my pot is on simmer. After Christmas I'll be drained.. (100's of orders for Moobaacluck to paint before then) and then I'll be turning up the heat to give both my current business and my illustration work a thorough roasting.

Can you tell I am writing on a Sunday!? Although we aren't having a roast. Kindly my husband is making a fish pie so I can continue working at the kitchen table over my piles of wood that need painting. I've just printed out 6 personalised card commissions and just couldn't resist a quick blog!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fiddling with designs #makeartthatsells

Here we are at the end of another month that has whizzed by! It's half term this week and everyday seems like a race to get work done and or ferry the children to various places. We are off to a Halloween party this afternoon - just my daughter and me (or I if you are pedantic); I'm letting the side down. It's as much as I can do to get dressed and get work done - let alone dress up! Still, Freya has her outfit planned.

Several MATS friends are blogging on the last day of each month, you can read what they've been up to by visiting Linda Tieu's blog and clicking the links there.

A couple of weeks ago I designed a Christmas card with #makeartthatsells and wanted to simplify it and make another from the elements I'd designed. Finally I found time to redesign them and I've uploaded  the one above to my shop and you can buy a pack of six here.

Here's a very sunny picture of a pack of six which isn't suited to websites really but I just really like its warmth and the strange reflection of the cotton reel in the cellophane.

This is the other one which I should be able to get up onto the web in the next few days:

This is the whole design...ideal for someone with a sweet tooth and possibly vintage taste?

In other news I have at last been able to refresh the image of my wooden stars with my new squirrel wrap in the background and the updated star shape.

Phew. I don't think I'm going to be able to do this weeks MATS assignment, much as I'd love to. My husband needs the computer for most of the weekend as he has become really busy so I will be in charge of the children and trying to get all my painted commissions done!

Back to normal next week when the children go back to school so I should be able to do the last weeks assignment - here's hoping.  

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Turning point ?

As anyone who has read my blog before knows, I'm doing the wonderful Make Art That Sells course run by Lilla Rogers in New York. Over the internet!

The piece above is my response to the Scrapbooking brief we were given.  I concentrated on drawing and painting and mark making without thinking a lot about how I was going to use the images. Early on I decided to use 4 main colours and then go from there when I came to assemble it all on the computer. There are a lot of images I had to leave out but the best thing about that is that I have SO much to play with in the future. It's really exciting!

My skills in Photoshop and Illustrator are improving - it's great to be able to import a drawing to Ai. and live trace it - although I occasionally had a weird thing going on with having to do that in sections and also not being able to colour in there (- ie document remaining shades of grey even though it was CMYK) but despite that I just find I am comfortable using them as tools for my hand drawn and painted elements. And that's all I need! May be in time I might create my own patterns and borders in Illustrator, I had a play when I did an Illustrator course last year.. so I know it's possible.

I love what I did this week, it feels like me. The best thing is that it's a mixture of the ways I like to work  - the painterly and the more simple - yet all hand done. To my eyes it hangs together, it works! This is why it feels like a turning point, I feel like I've found my way of working for future illustrative projects. Hooray!!!:)))

It makes me so happy to look at it and I can't wait to make cards or notebooks or notepaper and maybe a print out of this little lot!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

October 2013 very briefly

It's been a hectic few weeks. Orders are up over 50% weekly from levels in August and September so that's been great although it makes taking part in the Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells course with it's weekly artwork a challenge! I'll be posting pictures of what I've been up to as soon as I've developed some new products from what I've been working on.

We've also had to make a decision about which school our son is going to next year when he leaves his tiny village school for what will be a vast change.

In other news my Winter  Woodland gift wrap was printed and delivered a few days ago and has been selling well - yay! Excuse the shadow over the picture below; this is a shot of my first order this season to request Christmas gift wrapping.

I am slowly rebuilding my website so there aren't that many things on it yet but the paper is if you want to buy some ;)

I hope you are having a busy but handleable October! ( I know that's not a word... but it should  be).

Monday, 30 September 2013

The end of September

Hello if you've come here from Linda Tieu's Blog Hop  :) And if you haven't you might like to pop over there and click on the links to the other artist blogs!

I've spent the last few days working on speculative ideas for a card company - around commissions for wooden moons from Moobaacluck which are proving very popular! We had a friend here today having her jewellery creations photographed by my husband, I happened to show her a customer's order wrapped up with my new branding stickers (which arrived today from along with my new squirrel enclosures) - and she decided then and there to order one for someone in her family.

Among the work I did over the weekend  was a card based on the floral elements in the textile print in the previous post which I was so pleased with once I'd finished. I'd buy it!  If it doesn't get through to the selection process I shall use these elements to make a design for my own ranges. This isn't the design - just a section of the elements I played with.

I spent a little while sketching stems with a feather dipped in ink and drew with a brush too. Today I felt that I was making some progress in the way I like to work.

I also painted a large acrylic of spring flowers today, partly from reference, partly from imagination. I am not sure how I feel about it but need to take a good photo to send to my client. I think it would make a great greeting card - which is why I did it! but I need to do a whole lot more painting to move my style on. The only way to achieve that is to paint, paint, paint.

I come from a paint what you see background - you're primarily taught at school to represent what you see in a life like way, at least I was; and then at art college I loved life drawing. Realistic paintings are not really the paintings I'm so keen on personally, but I do like representational painting. My painting was a little rooted in my past but I can see good bits, the colour is good and I  learned something about what I like to paint.  I read a bio from one of my favourite painters -  Charlotte Hardy - today too:

"I am drawn to pattern and colour, often from domestic interiors. I am trying to convey the richness of my initial inspiration, simplifying the subject matter to its most important elements. My whole way of working stems from universtity, where I would draw and paint collections of ornamental objects, exploring playful compositions with a strong design element."

When I was at art college I focused on painting people primarily but there was always an underlying love of still life from an early age. Reading what Charlotte wrote was like not exactly like a lightbulb going off - more like finally turning to face a forest of candles burning half way down their wicks.

How do you view your progress in art? Do you think there are areas you've deliberately turned your back on for some reason? Are there images you dream of  or styles of painting you'd like to investigate but push to the bottom of the list?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

My first textile design has arrived!

In early September I sat in my summer house and got my brown ink out to doodle just to see what came out of me without any reference.. all I had in mind were late summer pods and the seedheads that have been appearing in the garden.  My acrylics came out to embellish and colour my drawings and I painted a loose yellow background on canvas and some simple elements.

When I had lots to play with I scanned all these bits and pieces in and made a repeat in Photoshop using the offset tool I'd read about in a book I bought recently called A field Guide to Fabric Design which is just brilliant. I liked it the result so much that I ordered some fabric from the US site Spoonflower the same day and it arrived this morning! It took about 3 weeks to arrive.

The only downside was the cost.. I had to pay £11.33 customs duty for this small amount of fabric, which had already cost me about £20. Naturally I tweeted about this and some lovely Notonthehighstreet partners Lindsey of LittleBirdyDesigns and Hilly of WhichGlassesAreWhich told me that there are in fact UK companies that do this sort of thing and to read the post on the forum about it (will do!) Gretel Parker gave me the name of a new company called Fancy Prints that will print your own designs too.

Sadly much as I am pleased with the fabric from Spoonflower it's not a sensible buying choice, unless I am buying just a swatch - in which case it might scrape in as duty free. I think I will make future designs available to buy from there though - that's not a problem.

Now what shall I make with it? I think as there are just two fat quarters and the fabric I chose is a sort of sturdy linen cotton that a bag might be nice.. what do you think? Although we do need cushions I think it would make a nice tote bag. I might hunt one of my talented sewing friends down to see if they are prepared to make me one :)

Have you ever had your own designs printed as fabric ?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

No more shoulds

Part of the reason for coming back to blogger is because it's where I started. My business seemed to happen to me without me having a plan and this is where I began to blog. I feel I am coming full circle a little wiser now and want to go deeper into what I want and what I need and what I can offer other people.

I don't want to worry about 'shoulds' and trying to seem bigger than I am. Thinking big is right for some people but that very term 'thinking big' perhaps is misleading. Thinking about what makes you happy is the right starting point for everyone: what suits you? Tempered with immediate needs of course and a little pinch of ambition or maybe a lot! The point is we aren't all the same and it's so easy to allow yourself to feel inadequate just because you want something a bit different from other people. Something smaller perhaps, something flexible, or something diverse or yes even something HUGE. Or even a halt. A complete change. It's all fine, it might not be immediate but identifying what you want, really, really want, is key.

It's also very hard to know what you want and feel trapped doing something else to pay the bills. If that's you - you will get out. I've been there and took a job as a product manager, gave myself 2 years and handed in my notice almost exactly 2 years later. I only had a months salary behind me when I left but I went out with my portfolio over London and I got work. I was determined and did well. In all honesty it's easier if you aren't a parent. After several years as a successful illustrator I had a baby, moved to the country and had another shortly after and let things fizzle out a bit - but something new blossomed. At least I've been able to just about manage as a freelancer for many years, but palpably, now there could be so much more.

Personally I'm not single minded and I enjoy working alone, which means I try things. Inevitably it means things take longer - especially with two children. It also means I have a great desire to connect with other people like me and perhaps help those who are at an earlier stage than even I am after all this time. I've had mini careers and I'm constantly evaluating where I am. Over the last couple of years I've seen that phrase 'portfolio' career many times - usually referring to one person doing a few quite unrelated things to earn a living. So why do artists - or is it just me? - berate themselves for not mastering just one discipline? No more. I'm just not going to do that.

I illustrate and I know I haven't done my best work yet. I paint and I know I haven't done my best yet.. really do you ever! I design wooden personalised decorations, this started for fun and thousands of people have bought them from me through the internet; I've been pondering on ways to diversify this area of my business and have a few ideas. Over the past year I've learned more about pattern design, taught myself the basics in Illustrator and learned to be more self reliant emotionally. There's SO much to learn and do. If I can make a better living for me and my family and keep learning all my life and have variety then that's my goal. I can look back and cringe at mistakes I've made but am starting to be kind to myself and live in the now.

I hope you are too.

We have one life (leave aside any reincarnation beliefs here) and it is scary to truly go for what you want; but if you are one of those lucky ones who really KNOWS what that is you have to do it! I'm not quite at the KNOWING stage but I am going to have a damn good messy creative time working it out.

If this raises anything for you please comment below or even if it doesn't - it would be lovely to know you are out there :)

The New Cultivate Art Collective Group

One of the best things about doing the Lilla Rogers course was meeting other students virtually. Many of us have continued to post to the private facebook page supporting each other's projects. Along with several people taking the MATs course I've joined a new collective devised and set up by fellow student, artist and teacher Rachelle Panagarry.

A recent painting purely from imagination as part of the Mati Rose Daring adventures in Paint & Life e course.
This is my page so far. There's much more to work on and upload but it is better to have a presence than wait until everything is perfect.

There will be opportunities to join in group shows like Surtex in New York which is a fabulous idea. I'd like to take part in this in Spring 2015 but there will definitely be a group of us attending in May 2014.

I've also joined the Moyo Directory too and would love some love :) Please click through there and if you like my work press the little heart. Thanks so much.

There is some wonderful work on both these sites and they will both be growing hugely in the next few months.

Have a look - I am sure you will be inspired!

Monday, 2 September 2013

I'll be back soon

I am feeling as though I want to come back to Blogger. So I think I will. Bare with me while I overhaul the look of this page!

Somehow after a year or so on Wordpress - although it's been great for 'meeting' new non blogger bloggers I do miss it over here and find that overall Blogger is easier to use and has more features included in the free package - such as the 'you may also like" button.

Plus I do love a makeover and am feeling much more confident to just be me.  I don't have the funds to pay a web designer to sort my web life out but have to be honest - I love doing what I can myself! It's all part of creative learning. Getting to grips with plug-ins and coding really isn't in me though. I am having far too much fun painting, designing, being a parent and gardening. Probably in that order!! HAA ha - sorry children. But it is the end of the summer holidays almost and we creatives like to get on. You know I love you to bits.

I read a quote today:

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

Anne Lamott

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Digging up old work - fashion and fiction illustration

This weekend I decided to start selling paintings I've been hanging onto and get them onto Etsy so at least someone could in theory actually buy them.
It's a big process and I realise it's going to take more than a weekend to do it all! I have reduced some of the prices of work that was there already so if you've ever fancied an original of mine do have a look.
Anyway it actually proved to be a nice process seeing work that I did in the late 80's and early 90's. It reminds me that I was pretty good at drawing people.

This one was one of the first professional romantic fiction illustrations I did for My  Weekly :) I used my parents as models and made them look a lot older than they did then!

I don't know if I'd ever want to go back to doing this sort of work, it would have to be developed and strengthened in colour. I used to use very watery acrylic and pooled the paint . I didn't draw in pencil in those days - I just layered the paint. Enjoying the effect.

With the two fashion style drawings the pencil came after the paint.

I fancied being David Downton for a while :) He's someone I'd love to watch work. My husband photographed him at work one day a few years ago. I was so jealous!

Monday, 29 July 2013

My son's entry to #illustration friday - again!

© Elliot Buckingham - age 10
© Elliot Buckingham - age 10[/caption]

The theme this week is 'Jungle'.

I am amazed at Elliot's talent, the detail and ingredients of this piece are amazing - look at the little fish in the waterfall over the derelict car! There are monkeys, a gorilla, snakes, a little tribesman firing an arrow...a lion, birds in flight and a tree house. He's amazing! An hours work for him.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Illustration Friday

I wanted to enter a picture for 'Robot' the topic for Illustration Friday but although I had a good idea it remains in my head.

My son however was inspired to draw something and I have just remembered in time to enter that!

© Elliot Buckingham Age 10
© Elliot Buckingham Age 10[/caption]

Well done Elliot X

Sunday, 21 July 2013

My entry for the #globaltalentsearch

The deadline for entries for the Global Talent Search  is tomorrow 5pm GMT and like many I've submitted this weekend and feel a sense of relief. As one of 500 Make Art That Sells course participants it's been wonderful to see some of the entries in the private MATS Facebook page. The competition is amazing. I don't know how many have registered to take part in the GTS search but I vaguely remember the number 2500+. To whittle all that down to just 50 for the next stage will be tough.

This is my entry:


I would absolutely love to be represented by Lilla Rogers but I do think it's unlikely at this point. What doing this course and entering this competition has given me is my is my self belief and ambition back. I know I am capable of great things but I have to nurture myself and think deeply about the direction I am going in.  I imagine Lilla is going to choose people who have a definite style aesthetic at this point to go through to the next round. How happy would I be to get through to the final 50? I am realistic but I think you can guess. We should all find out on August the 1st who has reached the next stage.

Good luck to all of you and can't wait to congratulate you :) If you've entered and want to put a link into the comments please do. It's an education in itself looking at the entries :)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The final week of #makeartthatsells with @Lilla Rogers - The Gift Market

Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham

I thoroughly enjoyed making this piece for the last week of the #makeartthatsells course.  I've never taken my painted images and layered them like this in Photoshop. I thought there must be a way to make layers semi transparent and discovered how through Googling.  It's very simple to do in the layers palette.  This week I didn't have the turmoil of will it be picked? will Lilla like it? Hooray.

That I like it and feel I have progressed is enough. I've learned patience and to enjoy the moment. I realise this is obvious but you can get so caught up in what others think of you and it's a real problem for artists  - sometimes.  Listening to Tracy Emin talk on Radio 4 this week I was struck by her self belief - incredibly strong, which is why she is where she is.

© Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham

The final thing ended up looking almost oriental, we were asked to do something 'lush' with florals and our collections.  I really enjoyed drawing a beautiful face for a change.. this one was just done from my head but I used my own hand for a model there (with improved nail).
© Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham

Bit tricky! I just leaned on my left elbow and drew and painted it in my brown paper sketch book.

Without talking specifically about the brief too much we were asked to create artwork for a decorative zip lock pouch.  I seem to have accumulated some lovely old china and from time to time I go to crystal healing so I have a few colourful shiny things about and some vintage jewellery. We were also allowed to use any elements of past weeks if that was appropriate.

© Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

These scribbles show you how I start my ideas off! Ha!

thumb nail sketches... © Gabriella Buckingham
thumb nail sketches... © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1794" align="aligncenter" width="425"]© Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham - tiny rough sketches
© Gabriella Buckingham - tiny rough sketches

Acrylic and pencil  © Gabriella Buckingham
Acrylic and pencil © Gabriella Buckingham

This is a small mock-up I did on blue to show how it might look manufactured
© Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham

Today I remade the artwork as a potential notebook. I printed it and put it together to photograph:

© Gabriella Buckingham
© Gabriella Buckingham

I've made some lovely new Facebook artist friends throughout the world from taking part in this course and it's been wonderful. A big thank you to Lilla Rogers and Beth Kempton who have worked so hard to make this course so informative and fun. Thank you to Tammie Bennett for a mention in her blog about the course last week, you can read all about her gorgeous design this week here.

I am looking forward to the October Part B very much and in the meantime am going to keep making art with the aim of discovering what kind of artist I truly am. Moobaacluck may get a dose of spice!

If you've seen the five pieces I've made you'll know they are all quite different.. at least when you look at them at first. I am going to do some serious self-examination over the coming months but really the only answer is to make art. Theorising is all very well but it's a visceral experience, you have to DO it. Your best work gives you joy and a certain excitement at revealing it. If you don't feel that you know it's not the best you could do.. maybe it is that day because that's what you came up with. If however you feel a mild disappointment or  get stuck you need to go away for hours and look afresh, either make changes or begin again. You know you've learned something when the next thing makes you giddy with happiness.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Collage and painting on canvas and a bit of emotional turmoil in the mix #makeartthatsells with @LillaRogers

[caption id="attachment_1787" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham Live the life you have imagined © Gabriella Buckingham "Live the life you have imagined" - currently on my wall[/caption]

I love painting so much. This piece was the one I spent most time on, it has a carefulness about it and a delicacy.

Wall art week was the most challenging but also most enjoyable week of the course so far. We were meant to do a collage painted piece for potential "Wall Art" in a trendy major store. Collage makes me nervous but actually it was delightful. I didn't use a massive amount. I cut up Washi tape and used it for clouds and flower stems. I also have a brown paper sketch pad that I painted in and tore or cut pieces of that. Definitely a process I want to use again.

These are the three canvases I painted. From left to right in the order painted. Each canvas is 51cm square.

[caption id="attachment_1781" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

My first canvas I loved but then I got to areas that I couldn't resolve and there were parts that I loved but then found they were awkward. I slapped some white paint over bits and had fun with pants ;) ! In the UK the word "Pants" denotes something useless and no good.

[caption id="attachment_1783" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham - let's call this "Pants" but I do still love it © Gabriella Buckingham - let's call this "Pants" but I do still love it[/caption]

This is the one I uploaded to the MATS submission as I think it fits the brief best; it's more fun and youthful than the blue one - a bit more readable.

[caption id="attachment_1784" align="aligncenter" width="550"]© Gabriella Buckingham " We are here to grow" © Gabriella Buckingham " We are here to grow"[/caption]

I did have some struggles with it. But it has an exuberance. I didn't plan out any of these paintings before I began other than thinking about the words and feeling I wanted each to have. For this painting I spent maybe 15 minutes sketching ideas - pinned one up and deviated from it fairly early on. I certainly hadn't intended to create a face but she just came into being and I decided not to scrub her out with a baby wipe. She reminds me of my daughter who is only eight. Baby wipes are fantastic by the way. For my Moobaacluck painting commissions they are invaluable for cleaning my fingers between paint coats.

I have loved this week once I got over my hormonally induced negativity just after the last review of children's book covers. My work wasn't featured in the weekly round-up again and I felt really sad about it this time. Which is completely unreasonable considering that there are about 500 participants.  Now I don't mind at all, in fact I am grateful.  That's life and it's a valuable lesson. One of the key things this course has made me face up to is that I have to value my own work not seek approval from people I admire, I think I said this in my previous post and then wham along came P.M.T and I didn't take my own advice. I was pleased with my book cover and the thoughts from the group and that really should be - and is enough.

The title of the painting below says it all.  I am.

[caption id="attachment_1785" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham "We are here to grow" June 30th 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham "We are here to grow" June 30th 2013[/caption]





Friday, 21 June 2013

Why I am loving the #makeartthatsells course and Week 3 with @LillaRogers

This weeks topic on the Make Art That Sells course by Lilla Rogers was children's books. I felt calm about this as I've done some in the past - some that I like a lot more than others it has to be said.

There were a small amount of must-dos but after reading the text we were encouraged to create in any medium with any mood we felt was appropriate for us. I love to paint so that's the way I chose to do my work this week, in acrylic on water-colour paper. The subject was a strange thought-provoking fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen.

[caption id="attachment_1766" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham June 2013[/caption]

I hand drew the text with a dip pen.  I struggled with how to place it but I was pleased with my handwriting at the bottom. I went to a convent school for 11 years and we had to write in Italic so I know a bit about letter formation - but not a lot. Outlining elements with a fine brush was a new departure for me so I definitely feel that I have pushed my style on from where it used to be - hooray! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

[caption id="attachment_1768" align="aligncenter" width="560"]© Gabriella Buckingham © Gabriella Buckingham[/caption]

I can't lay my hands on my initial snail character sketches, I seem to have deleted them from the computer, but here are the scribbles of the final character above.

For the main composition I did some ink thumbnails in my sketch book; when I have a clear enough idea I just want to get on with painting so I do really quite scribbly drawings - the exploration when actually painting is what interests me most. If I've drawn it all out accurately first I tend to feel like I've already done it.

I did have cream as a background in mind but the colouring of the rest of the piece evolves as I paint. People who know me know I am not a great forward planner - more a gut feeling, wing it person - hard-working though. And in this case obsessive. My family haven't seen me a lot lately - I'm always around like a mad professor in the shed or passing through with a pot of water and brushes or dashing for the garden to tweak something before photographing it again.  I tweaked a fair bit. This painting is A2 ( just under) and the original has this girl character in it:

[caption id="attachment_1767" align="aligncenter" width="237"]© Gabriella Buckingham June 2013 © Gabriella Buckingham June 2013[/caption]

I painted her quite small and monotone initially - the idea being that she's a memory that the rose-tree has, then added to her as I enjoyed how she looked so much.

When I posted my first version to the MATS Facebook group some of the other artists kindly pointed out that she was distracting - detracting from the two main characters. They were quite right. I couldn't quite bear to paint her out so I used the wonders of the clone tool on Photoshop, trial and error to achieve the result above and it does work better.

I love the Facebook community for this course; understandably Lilla can't comment on people's work directly as the class is so huge - apart from a selected few once a week after the deadline. It would be thrilling to be selected by Lilla for comment but I haven't been as yet. Of course you feel a bit disappointed but that in itself teaches you self reliance, it's a lesson to me not to look for others approval constantly. You have to love your own work - or at least the work that makes it into print.

The feedback we get from other course members is wonderful, I feel as though I've made new friends with a lot in common.

Essentially this course is making me think. It makes me appreciate the gifts I have and that it's up to me to progress, be selective and believe in myself.

Lilla is an inspiring teacher and I really like the way she suggests we approach each task. If I do what she says - pretty much - I get there in the end.

Hope you enjoyed looking this week.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The end of the home decor plate assignment and what I learned #makeartthatsells with @lillarogers

What a week! I worked hard, hard. Had highs and lows , a brief teary moment then great happiness when I put together this final plate which was my fifth design:


You'll see what I mean! I ended up with a plate design I loved after a detour away from water-colour to acrylic on wood, which is lovely to paint on. I actually was very happy working on this pale delicate plate with its winter palette and think that it does work but it's not a plate that jumps off the shelf at you, or necessarily one that could be produced faithfully either!?

7inch_circle_outlineHow different they are. And yet... see the swirls the shapes of the icons... the icons themselves? similar. I'm learning what shapes I like and that I love circles and movement.

I needed to do this acrylic work because after hours of painting separate water colours I looked at the pieces and felt flummoxed. Many were delicate little studies which I couldn't envisage sitting well together. Once I'd finished my detour and had a sleep I woke early, made a cup of tea and sat playing with purpose on my computer, manipulating scans. It wasn't quite there... I ended up with these:


The one on the left is my favourite and last of my fiddling before going to my summer-house to paint some more. To me it's the most quirky and striking but not there yet - quite, but I think I will revisit it, I can see things I'd like to do to it. The amalgamation on the far right looks like swimsuit or skirt fabric! I like it but to me it says fabric not plate. I like the sparseness of the one in the middle but it probably needs one more element at least.

I think I am learning a lot, not least that I can paint with water-colour still!

Here's a composition I've just finished as a pair to the one at the top, what do you think? Which do you prefer of the two? I can't really decide myself, what I love here is  line over bold colour and little details too. Something to pursue :)


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Week 2 #makeartthatsells with @lillarogers - Pods and Flowers

I decided to challenge myself in a different way this week. Years ago I was fairly good at water-colour. One of my first jobs on leaving college was to paint in front of a camera all day while my work was photographed for a 'How to paint' water-colour book by Dorling Kindersley. I'd be nervous of that now! ( I've never earned that much in one day before or since ;)


Last week I drew in brown ink and then used Illustrator to finish the piece. Something very VERY new to me. Normally I work in acrylic on gesso.

This week I've decided to use inks in a watercolour style and Photoshop to finish the piece off in layers but essentially all hand done. We don't yet have the brief but it's likely to be some sort of dinner ware  that we need to design a pattern for. I can't wait until tomorrow to find out.


When I started using inks again, for the first time in years really, I felt uncomfortable and started to panic a bit .. 'Should I stop and revert to acrylics and use those in a watercolour style...?' ( which is what I used to do all those years ago when I graduated from Kingston Poly (as it was then). Are the images I am making too simple - too old fashioned, too bright? too plain?!

[caption id="attachment_1753" align="aligncenter" width="560"]what started to excite me was the white space and some of the lines created with the square flat brush I used to paint this large forget me not.. You can't see it that well from these phone pics! what started to excite me was the white space and some of the lines created with the square flat brush I used to paint this large forget me not.. You can't see it that well from these phone pics![/caption]

I decided to stick with it and found my excitement growing. I'll carry on tomorrow as I am starting to find out what I like. It's so true that the only way to be happy with your art- work is to do lots of it. I've a long way to go to get back and then progress from where I was but as I often say "It's a start!"

This is a glimpse of my cram packed studio and inspiration gathered from my garden..


As you can see from this last image of my desk and the piece of paper I've been using as a surface for my scraps of water-colour, I have a cartoony style in me too. Makes for head spin!


I am going to get an early night tonight as I was up working til gone midnight on private commissions  - itching to get back to water colours in the morning and to read what Lilla has in store.