Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Daffodils - update (WIP#4)

Spent a little time on this today - K and her dad were having a swim so I sat at the picnic table under the shade of the umbrella and played with my pastels. (They ended up heading inside and left me to it!)

I worked mostly on creating a lighter background as I was unhappy with the darker one. Had some great comments from WetCanvas artists that also suggested the lighter background. Someone also suggested a more buttery yellow for the flowers and luckily (or unluckily as I would have enjoyed a trip to the art shop!) I had a soft Sennelier that is just about right.

(This is how the painting was before I changed the background)
New version after today's work
I'm also trying to bring some more darks into the foreground - still working on this but they are making the daffies stand out a little more. Need to darken the grasses around the base of the daffy leaves and I think that will be done.

So, now that the background is lighter, I can see that it still needs something else - have to think about what!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pelican bites the dust...

I have made the decision to stop working on the pelican. I uncovered him this morning to check for cracks and there is a major crack in his body, which hasn't happened before. Up until now, the cracks have just been in the wings, which were added later than they should have been, so dried at a different rate. I don't want to take the chance, after repairs, of firing this and it exploding in the kiln and damaging someone else's work.

So, unfortunately, it is to the scrap heap for him. I will have a chat to my tutor and see if there is anyway I can save part of it, but I think not.

I am going to move on and make something new, and will revisit the pelican again, especially now I have learnt more about the process of making pottery sculptures.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daffodils - Pastel Painting - Complete

Last night at Art class for the year tonight, so I was happy to complete this painting.

So I will start the new year with a new painting - who knows what?!

Pottery - Pelican - WIP#6

Here are the pics I took after repairing another few cracks in the wings today. I really hope that I can get this to dry without too many more. Otherwise it may be I end up with a wingless pelican!

I have some more sgraffito to do to get the markings complete, but otherwise I believe he is done.

I am really surprised by how I am not disheartened by the fact that this is cracking all the time, that I may have to go back to the drawing board. I have so enjoyed the learning experience of making this pelican. I don't think I would have gotten as much out of this process if I had been successful in completing this on the first weekend.

I'm looking forward to moving onto to another sculpture and seeing what I make of it after the lessons learnt with the pelican.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pottery - Pelican - WIP#5

I have completed some more work on the pelican. This photo is from last Wednesday - I forgot to post it up. Oops!

I was doing sgraffito - hope I got that right! - and actually carving into the clay I had added only a few days before to get the wings and feathers to look like, well, wings and feathers.

I had to leave the bird for two weeks as my tutor was away and in that time the wings cracked a bit. But thankfully we have been able to repair them (drying at a different rate to the body was the problem) and I have continued working on the wings and the head and generally making this pelican look more like a pelican.

And, of course, I forgot to take a photo after working on the bird today for about three hours. I think I have pretty much finished with the markings I wanted to make. Now it just needs to dry (without any more cracking) and then I get to paint it!

Next thing I make will be smaller, but I have learnt so much through the process of making this rather large piece. I'll post an updated pic soon.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas is coming... cooking for school friends

I decided this year that rather than just give candy canes to K's friends this year, I would do some cooking. So we decided upon gingerbread men for her friends. Rather than giving out her Christmas cards in the last week when some kids may not be there, we are going to take them on Monday. Some of her friends have already handed out their Christmas cards, so I don't think it is too early.

But before I began cooking the gingerbread men, I decided to attempt something new to give to K's teachers. Chocolate shortbread. I don't really like homemade shortbread. My mother used to bake shortbread, which she usually overcooked as my grandfather loved it browned (not singed! lol). It all came back to me, marking the rounds with a fork and pinching the edges. But plain shortbread doesn't really interest me, but this recipe I discovered in a magazine at the school canteen really caught my eye. You can add chopped up dark chocolate to the dough, which I did!

This is one of the rounds (12cm diameter). The recipe made six of them - just the right amount for K's teachers, less one which was for us as we had to try it before giving it away. If it had been horrible, I would have had to go back to the drawing board, or should I say, recipe book?!

Here is one of the rounds all packaged up ready for the teacher.

We tasted it this afternoon and it is delicious. Definitely needed a cup of tea with it as it was quite rich. And the chunks of chocolate just add great flavour to it. Yummy!!

After the shortbread cooked, and the oven still hot, I mixed up two batches of gingerbread men. I have to admit that I used the Green's packet mix, that comes with the gingerbread man cutter and smarties, because I really like the taste of Green's gingerbread.

And with a touch of icing in a tube, so I didn't have to try and pipe out the icing, we have Christmas gingerbread men ready for school! You can tell these are home-made by the expert application of the icing, can't you!!!! lol

K has iced four just for herself - she was too busy playing with Dad to help ice gingerbread men! I have to admit it was a little quicker just to get on with it.

So with this task out of the way, there's just Christmas to sort out. Deep breath...