I have kept journals for 9 years and so its surprising that I should only discover blogging as a new format of journal writing. It's about time I embrace it and see if its as fun.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

How to Make a Grumpy Turtle

So far turtles for me have been quite interesting to paint because they have an interesting pattern on their fins and shell. They're well suited to acrylic paint since they're underwater and the blue ocean is always so rich in colour. They take longer than my watercolours but they come out really well and it's worth it. This is the process of a custom ATC:
So first I have an outline and I paint each of the first important elements, lime yellow, lemon yellow and cerulean blue. I don't spend too much time being neat just so long as I don't go too far over the lines!
Grumpy Turtle - work in progress
Next up is the background elements because they have less detail and I can sort that out quite quickly. The sea is usually simple, pick the appropriate corner and then use a washed down ultra marine blue over the top and make sure it fades in nicely with the other blue. With the sea bed I use a cadmium green mixed with black to show all the crevasses of the coral and greenery. I never go all out on accuracy, it's more of a representation and to create depth.
Grumpy Turtle - work in progress
Third step is my favourite, painting the turtle. This works in 2 stages. Firstly I use a cadmium orange to establish all the shading, I usually don't worry if not much yellow can be seen at the end because it's more of an under colour. Then I get a crimson red and water it down heavily - do NOT want big chunks of red in there that could be very difficult to remove. Dilute it right down and then paint on the spots, dimples and the lines often found on the under belly. This is very much when it starts to take shape. Often there is a third step of re-shading, since sometimes the red overpowers the orange.
Grumpy Turtle - work in progress
Nearly there, this part is crucial of course, when it all comes together. The black outline! I use a uniball eye fine black pen that has waterproof and fadeproof ink. They have long been my favourite and would recommend them to anyone! I enjoy putting the lines in!
Grumpy Turtle ATC - Acrylic and Pen
And voila, one custom ATC completed!
What are your techniques with acrylic? This has worked via trial and error, everytime I paint I notice a new technique emerge: happy accidents!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Tale of the Rainbow Elephants

One day a family of three elephants decided to go on a long trip to look for their fortune.

Blue Elephants ATC - Watercolour

But something happened!!!

An Elephant's Memory ATC - Watercolour

The little one disappeared in a swirl of colour!!!

Green Elephant ATC - Watercolour

The father elephant searched until his mate died.

Yellow Elephant ATC - Watercolour

But he never found him. 
Little Elephant grew up in a world of green skies and blue grass. She regretted leaving her parents behind but the world she now lived in was free of all predators and she lived a long happy life.

I'll admit that turned into a more morbid story than I imagined, but I didn't really paint these with a story in mind. In fact this was an experiment to see how well the colours would work in different situations. Somehow they've come out much more vibrant than I imagined! Very happy!

So I put the new colours to the test and added a new item to my Abstract Etsy Shop. I did that item with Creative Tuesday in mind since last week's theme was skyscrapers... except that I got it in my head that it was Monday so rush rush to get something done. I really do have all my days mixed up at the moment. This week's theme is newborn which I think is pretty appropriate for me!

Maybe next time I'll paint these with a story to hand!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Evil Bunnies

Bunny rabbit stuffed animal toy plushie katie hone abstract vibrant art
"Zombie vs Psycho" - Acrylic and Pen ACEO

Bunny rabbit stuffed animal toy plushie katie hone abstract vibrant art
"Attack!" - Acrylic and Pen ACEO
About a year ago I found this rather amusing crochet pattern which can still be found here: Mr Bunnyford - The Original Zombie Rabbit. On the spur of the moment I bought it because I wanted it! Only to realise not only can I not crochet but neither could Mum. Oh well what to do now? So I somehow convinced my Nana in law (let’s call her Nana 3) to make one for me. Hah – she did it willingly! But once those evil eyes were sewn on and that bloodthirsty mouth was made a new terror was born. I was so extremely happy when she made the first one – I called him Zombie bunny and he didn’t leave my side! So I pushed for another one, bunnies need companions! This other was slightly different, with some special beads for eyes and different colours, I decided to call him Psycho bunny. Little did I know that rather than companions they became sworn enemies!!!
However, all is not lost; it would seem they will put their differences aside to attack the new bunny on the block. A gorgeous innocent stuffed bunny given to me at my baby shower – oh dear!

Bunny rabbit stuffed animal toy plushie katie hone abstract vibrant art
"It's a Trap!" - Acrylic and Pen ACEO

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Illustrated Childhood

You might notice a bit of a running theme with my artwork. I do paint a lot of Barmouth! Well if you've ever been there you'd see it has perfect scenery and for such a small town it has a lot of neat landmarks.

Barmouth Dolphin Fountain - ACEO
This is the Dolphin Fountain which can be found at the end of the promenade as it turns into the harbour. Interesting sculpture and a nice filler for space, its in a little section which overlooks the pier. Popular place to sit and eat your fish and chips or icecream (or both??)

Barmouth - The Roundhouse - ACEO
One of my favorite places to roam as a child - The Round House. It used to be a jail, with a prison cell either side of the building. Now it's a tourist attraction and people can stand at the doorway (which is barred sadly) and look in to see a plaque of history and a manikin staring ominously back at you.

Barmouth - The Bath House Cafe - ACEO
The Bath House Cafe, I believe the building used to be a bath house hence the name but since has become a cafe. They used to host laser shows at the new year in the early 90s but they had to stop because it was too expensive. Such a pity, I really enjoyed them.

Barmouth - St John's Church - ACEO
 You might have seen this before, St John's Church, big church in the centre of town, when you come to Barmouth by train you can see this church so clearly in Barmouth's skyline. Very pretty.
Well I think that illustrates some of my childhood.
So when I popped on this morning I discovered a potential free giveaway at Jessie Lilac's Blog - oooh how I love a freebie but I'm also glad to help others to gain recognition. It's a great idea and not one I considered, maybe I could give away a set of ACEOs for free in exchange for a bit of publicity, can't harm. What do you reckon?
Also finally got the hang of Google + and followers etc (some bloggers have 100s)! Only to discover this is a redundant feature? It's not that popular apparently? I beg to differ, every art blogger has it. Hmm I'm stuck with my Google + circles which apparently is what we have to try to use instead. Is this the same? Who knows.
Anyway thank you for popping in, yawn - I might go make coffee now to keep myself awake.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Acrylic vs Watercolour

3 x Elephant ACEOs - Acrylic and Pen
So I discovered two techniques recently and I wanted to put them to the test. Acrylic vs Watercolour??? Above are 3 very cute elephant ATCs I did for a personalised swap for some adorable bunnies from Australia (can't wait to get!) I have to say I love painting elephants, I also love elephants, they're such gentle giants (well mostly). This bright vivid style lends itself quite well to that bright and intense heat in Africa.

So the next test was to see the results of doing the same thing with watercolour.

3 x Elephant ACEOs - Watercolour & Pen
 Ok so they're a lot less vibrant - however I am loving the effect of crosshatching to add some depth. I did these three and they're all on etsy now: Abstract Etsy Art by Katie Hone

Honestly I couldn't tell you which I prefer? I prefer to paint in watercolour since it takes less time but the acrylic is that much more vibrant and "popping" What do you think??

Friday, 22 March 2013

Photo Challenge

So in my new Ebay ACEO group I joined almost a month ago they do a photo challenge every month. Basically you take the photo and let it inspire you to create an ACEO. You don't have to use the original picture but if you go on a wild tangent it's best to explain how your thought process got you there. So having never done Zentangle before and loving the results of it I had this idea. I traced the outline of the eagle and was going to zentangle behind it, make the eagle seem like a cardboard cut out. Things were going great, really enjoyed the intricasy of the doodling. It all went a bit pear shaped when I started to over do it. I had started painting the red part - red and white looked really good but I wanted it to be red and blue. I knew it was a mistake when I filled in the first bit in blue, suddenly it was too dark and could no longer see it very well. I couldn't really stop there (I hate inconsistancy and who knows it might look better as a whole). Sadly I don't think I made it any better.

Eagle Zentangle
Tonight is the deadline for the challenge and you're allowed to enter as many ACEOs as you want - so I decided to have another stab at it and I must say I'm a lot happier with the new results. I was just going to do one of an eagle flying over a gridwork of zentangle (to represent America) but since I cut the eagle out to create a stencil it was very easy to make two opposite cards. So the first has the orange eagle flying over the American cities (thats the idea) and the second is a white eagle flying freely on a more whimsical background. I think its an accurate way to interpret America using polar opposites. Oh and this is the first time I'ver tried to photograph fluorescent orange and pink - I'll tell you now it isn't easy. I took about 20 photos for each and only a couple were good. Good luck to all who try this out!!! You need a good camera!

"Flying over the Grid" - Acrylic and Pen ACEO

"Born Free" - Acrylic and Pen ACEO

Discovered ATCs

Top 3 ATCs are Mine - Bottom 3 ATCS traded for
So while out searching for ACEOs I discovered ATCs which are Art Trading Cards. Apparently that's what an ACEO used to be before it became commercial. I can't recommend trading highly enough, I am always itching to buy ACEOs on ebay but really can't justify the cost - perhaps thats why mine also didn't sell. I have been on ATCs for All for little more than a week and not only am I hooked but I have traded all of the cards I own already! Well now I realise how much of an expensive hobby this is. Sure you don't have to buy them but you still have postage and when you have to mail out 6 different trades to the USA it all adds up. So have been spending today working out how I might manage this hobby without letting the money go out of hand. I think one method is to only trade in sets. Anything above 3 is good because its better value (as it were) per card sent. If I had the money I would just trade all day long! It's a wonderful site and met a few people already - no money issue shall really stop me! In the above image I traded the top 3 ATCs and received the bottom 3 images with a cute thank you card :D It's all good and I wonder how large my collection will get?? What is your experience with trading Art Cards?

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Barmouth Harbour completes the set

Barmouth Harbour - 9" x 12" Acrylic on Chunky Canvas
 And here it is, full of colour. This panting is one of a set of 4 which I've now fully completed. They're all 9" x 12" but two of them are on chunky canvas since I had no more flat canvases. I wonder which I prefer - blue skies or yellow? What do you think?
4 Paintings of Barmouth

Friday, 15 March 2013

A Work in Progress

Barmouth Harbour - Work in Progress
Another painting of Barmouth - this time it's the harbour. I didn't think this one would be difficult but Barmouth harbour is pretty complicated. I decided to choose a less dense area overlooking Fairbourne and the Bridge once again over the estuary. Mainly because if you pan around to your left there's a lot of buildings, bridges and impossible perspective angles. You'll see what I mean from an earlier blog: The Calm before the Storm. I don't think I'll finish this tonight, I find it better to do the colours when I have natural light spilling into my room. However I could be busy this weekend, sister is coming over and I have a baby shower to attend!

Barmouth Harbour - Work in Progress

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Barmouth Bridge

I'd like to start by telling you all about how I got featured on the Art Promotivate Blog: Katie Hone Featured Artist - They have an awesome blog which gives lots of interesting tips and tricks about how to sell your work and promote yourself. I'm still pretty new at it so any hints are of great use to me.
So I may not have mentioned that I'm 37 weeks pregnant, trying not to let that hinder the creative process but now I get quite tired. However I did manage a new painting this week!
A friend of mine asked about doing some paintings of my home town Barmouth. All of a sudden my painting hat went on and I got right underway and started. Given that the last time I did a Barmouth Bridge painting got so much good feedback I decided to do it again (different this time also).

Barmouth Bridge - Work in Progress

This is how I typically start with a painting like this, get all of those all important black lines in. Similar to the ACEOs I have a very obvious black outline to a vibrant scenery picture. The only difference with this and the ACEOs is the medium. I adore watercolour but for canvas painting I much prefer acrylic - you can get brighter colours and paint over any mistakes!

Barmouth Bridge - Work in progress

Then I add colour, the fun part! I usually spend some time before adding colour working out where all the colours will go. I don't like colours to clash too much but I don't want to deviate too far from the standard red, blue, green and yellow palette.

Barmouth Bridge - 9" x 12" Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

And here it is! I am thouraghly pleased with it and have now got one more to do of Barmouth Harbour. Will probably make a start on it this weekend some time. Has anyone been to Barmouth before? It really has loads of landmarks considering its not a very big town, an impressive beach and a huge amount of cafes! I do miss living there.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Welcome to San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO
So as promised I turned my attention to San Francisco for my next collection. Not entirely sure what compelled me to do this city next, perhaps its because I've watched nearly all 8 seasons of Monk on the trot! So a few of these landmarks I knew about already, the Golden Gate Bridge is after all pretty famous, as is Alcatraz Island. I've never been to SF so my knowledge of the landmarks was pretty limiting. However with a few searches I found some pretty amazing places. Most people I showed didn't recognise Lotta's Fountain, perhaps it isn't well known but I thought it was simply too beautiful and complicated NOT to paint! What a challenge that one was!

Lotta's Fountain - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO
This one was also interesting - it hasn't got a speck of green in it. I do like to balance colours out; red, blue, green and yellow. I also have a general rule of blue for buildings and yellow for sky etc. But I couldn't paint the fountain green! So true to it's real colour I opted for a copper theme which turned out better than I imagined.

Others in the series include the cable car, I think that was my favourite part about watching Monk, the rolling hills and the long stretches of tracks for the cable cars, so iconic. Not sure how much I'd really like to live somewhere which is so up and down. I used to live in Bath and one great hill was enough for me.

City Hall was wonderfully symmetrical, perhaps why I tilted the image to make it diagonal - I don't like things to be too dead centre!

Alcatraz Island also had to be introduced some brown elements since I didn't want the stone to be confused for bizarre shaped buildings. I would really love to go visit Alcatraz but I couldn't go on my own that's for sure.

Cable Car - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO

City Hall - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO
Alcatraz Island - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO

So initially I was considering Chicago next, however this time I'm thinking of doing a city I've actually visited and can add a few more personal anecdotes to. Barcelona might be a winner, many interesting buildings and landmarks to cover. What do you think?

Saturday, 9 March 2013

New York ACEO collection

Statue of Liberty - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO
 I've known about ACEOs for a long time, yet never really took them seriously. So before this collection I tested the waters with a few random pieces, a few bunny ones, local landmarks and a lion! I'm always trying to figure out the next big thing and wanting to stick with my bright colours I pushed the landmarks up a notch. However I've gone to watercolour, which is unusual - unlike acrylic you can't always achieve the same sort of colour vibrancy however the textures look a lot more fluid and interesting. I've painted landmarks before but I've always opted for local places, great for my friends to look at and recognise but perhaps a limited market. So how about New York, I've never been there and many others haven't either but who hasn't heard of the Statue of Liberty? I'm sure they're not all recognisable, the Green Wood Cemetery (3rd picture down) is new to me but the building is beautiful and iconic. I did these all at once, it saves time to put all 5 pieces of card down, outline them all and only have to mix the appropriate colours once for the session. Also embraced a looser style, normally I'd be really accurate with the lines and colour, not letting any spill over. However watercolour looks quite good when you're ever so slightly messy with it.

Library of Columbia University - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO
Green Wood Cemetery - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO
General Grant Memorial - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO
Brooklyn Bridge - 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO

Stay tuned - I'm working on the San Francisco collection next.

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