Sunday, 28 November 2010


It's cold outside.
I've taken loads of photos this year but not managed to post any of them so I thought it would be good to post something sunny, summery and beautiful. 

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui)
Painted lady (Vanessa cardui)

Painted lady (Vanessa cardui)

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia)

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia)

Peacock Butterflies (Inachis io)

Peacock Butterflies (Inachis io)

Friday, 25 June 2010

New Portraits

I've created a new portraits section on my website and started updating it with some of my recent JKPP portraits. It's such a motivating group I've really been learning new ways to paint and draw and although I've drawn many pencil portraits in the past I used to lack the confidence to paint portraits. Now I can't wait to try out a new technique on a new face. Thanks again Julia!
I've also joined a new group with similar ideals, called Doodle Face. Even more faces to have a go at!

My website home page shows a random selection of images - sometimes I just can't stop refreshing the screen to see what combination comes up next!

Here are a few of my latest favourites:

The Happy Painter - Donna

The Happy Painter

I'm a huge fan of Donna's painting style, she is so free and expressive with her watercolours, I would love to learn that skill.  I started this portrait with the hope of emulating some of Donna's style  and capturing some of her energy and happy spirit. But my initial attempt was failing to capture any likeness.
So, I dampened the face area and started again with a more accurate drawing (in my initial attempt I'd begun with watercolour without any drawing lines). I then used Gouache to build up face. I've had some lovely comments on Flickr about the texture of the skin - but I wasn't really thinking about it's texture, I was just trying to get the right colours and tones in the right places - and it seemed to work quite well. Although this isn't a perfect likeness, it's quite close and I'm pretty happy with it as a painting.

What Donna said - "Oh yeah! The eyes, the eyes have it! And I am jealous of the way you do noses and skin!!! Yeehaw. I LOVE IT!"

Fairsquare - Sean Cronin

Sean Cronin - fairsquare

Sean's drawings are stunning, he's done many beautiful portraits for JKPP including a great one of me which I posted in my last blog - it's one of my favourites and really captures my frowning stare!
After my experiments with Gouache on Watercolour paper I thought I'd have a go with some Acrylic paper I've had for years but never use. I drew a quick pencil stetch to begin with and then used a combination or watercolour and acrylics to loosely sketch in the colours and tones. Although this isn't as 'finished' as it could be I really like the fresh and loose feel of the painting, so I decided to stop before loosing that.
As soon as I'd taken a photo of the portrait it was much easier to see where i'd gone wrong with the likeness, but nevermind! I think I captured Sean's sparkly eyes and slightly cheeky smile at least.

What Sean said - "Franny, you've got me! I'm dead chuffed! This is great. Thank you so much - love this."

Devon Lawrence

Devon Lawrence

Devon is the only person so far who has chosen to tackle a portrait of me at an early age. His drawing is so beautiful and delicate, it's really lovely. Devon also has a fantastic set of photo references to choose from.

In attempt to learn from previous mistakes I tried to draw a more accurate pencil sketch before starting to paint this. Unfortunately my impatience kicked in and I didn't entirely perfect the likeness before diving in with the watercolour. In this painting I've tried to keep my washes large and fresh, and avoid having to rework them too much. I'm fairly happy with the results even though it did start to get a bit overworked in places. I also had to use a little bit of white watercolour in places to pick out the highlights - I would have preferred to have managed to keep the white paper showing for these, but I wasn't careful enough.

What Devon said - "Beautiful work Franny!"

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Julia Kay's Portrait Party

A month ago today I stumbled across a new group on Flickr - Julia Kay's Portrait Party. The group's rules are simple, join the group and draw or paint portraits of other artists and invite other artists to draw you!
I’ve always wanted to paint portraits, but it’s not always easy to find the sitters in the ‘real world’. So this is a great pool of resource – not only photographic, but also for the inspiration of seeing everyone else's style and technique.
It’s such a motivation to have the encouragement and support of a thriving group of diverse artists like this!
In the last few weeks I’ve painted and drawn in totally new ways than I’m used to. And now that I’ve added my photos to the pool it’s a whole new joy to see the amazing and creative versions of me. Anne Watkins summed it up beautifully - waking up to find new portraits of herself was like finding love notes in a bottle – treasures flung across the unknown – from people she could not hear or touch, only see and imagine.
For a great description of the birth of the Portrait Party and it's exciting growth, see Julia's article on the Women's Voices for Change site.

Here are just a few of some of my favourite portraits, some of the portraits I've done, and some of the fab portraits of me!

1. Andrew Mirzoian by Mariah O'Neill
2. Gila Rayberg by Jennifer Lawson
3. Margaux B by R K Schlueter
4. Peter Vanayk by me
5. NC Mallory by me
6. Me by NC Mallory
7. Wally Torta by me
8. NC Mallory by Wally Torta
9. Me by Sean Cronin
10. Sean Cronin by Timothy Schorre

To see more of the portraits or join the party go here
To check out Julia's great photostream go here

It was so difficult to choose just a few favourites that I'll be posting more soon!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

V&A Fabrics

A few weeks ago I went along to the Victoria and Albert's Quilt Exhibition - Quilts 1700-2010 .
It's a great exhibition with some beautiful quilts, some of my favourites were the ones with amazing appliqued people, trees and animals.  I'll have to scan my photos to show some examples...

Anyway, as part of the exhibition's merchandising they've collaborated with Liberty and re-created a number of the original fabrics from the quilts. With beautiful designs dating from 1700+ I just couldn't resist. I haven't done any patchwork for a few years now, but I hope I'll have some time this year to put some of these lovely fabrics to use!

1. India Flower (Blue), 2. Seaweed, 3. Palm Tree (Blue), 4. Petals, 5. Stripes, 6. Seed Head (Blue), 7. Rose, 8. Leaf (Brown), 9. Shells

Friday, 30 April 2010

Folksy Friday - Vintage Roses

I love vintage fabrics, and that classic English floral style. Hearts and roses, bows and lavender - delicious!
This Folksy Friday was also inspired by Deborah Good from Pretty Goods, who featured me on her beautiful Folksy Friday last week, and to Haptree who posted a fantastic blog explaining how to create this Folksy Friday layout!

Thank you Deborah and Haptree :-)

Here are a few of my favourite Folksy finds with a vintage fabric theme. Who needs Laura Ashley or Cath Kidston? Not only are these beautiful creations lovingly and individually designed and hand made in the UK, they are also amazing value for money!

All of these lovely items were found on Folksy. Click on the picture to view more of each talented seller's creations:

Pretty Vintage fabric lavender Heart by Pretty Goods Vixens Shoes Ring by FluffsStuffs
Jug Slip cover by The Cotton Potter Lovely Bag by Just Gill
Lavender Key Rings by Dinky Daisy Vintage Fabric Rose Scented sachet by Padleigh Corner

Monday, 26 April 2010

Architecture & Collage - New Work

I seem to have a constantly growing stack of paintings and collage that I need to upload to Flickr, list on Etsy and Folksy, and tell you about here. This weekend I managed to find a bit of time to list a few things.

Rhapsody in Blue - Original Collage
This is a mixed media collage of blue and neutral coloured squares. I've included elements of drawing, stamping, painting, marbling and pieces from letters, magazines, sheet music and old books. I love the recycling nature of collage, creating new art out of fragments of old art, ephemera and junk!

Size: 8.5" x 8.5" (22cm x22cm)

Columns - Original Watercolour

A fresh and expressive watercolour painting of an arcade of columns in Barcelona. I sketched this first using pen and ink and then I've tried to keep the painting loose and expressive.

The suggestion of a figure in front of the archway adds to the sense of depth and perspective. I've also tried to capture a feeling of urban decay and isolation.

Size: 9" x 12" (23cm x 30cm)

York Minster - Original Watercolour
Original pen and watercolour painting of York Minster.
I sketched a close up section of the cathedral in fine line pens. I then added colour and detail with watercolours.

I've tried to keep the painting expressive and spontaneous. The close up view creates a more interesting composition, and a lively feel.

Size: 9" x 12" (23cm x 30cm)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Lush Summer Art - Treasury East

My first Treasury East and I love it!
I've been really enjoying curating the Flickr galleries, so it's a great discovery to find out I can now do the same on Etsy. :-)

Click here to view the clickable Treasury:

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Nonna Translator!

Dick and Franny Applications brings you yet another amazing web application for FREE!!!
The Nonna Translator translates from English to Italian in one quick click of a button, and in another click it speaks!
Click the switch-over button and The Nonna Translator will translate back from Italian to English, and can speak in English too!
You too will be astounded, amazed and delighted! Free and fabulous, who could ask for more!?

Click here to have a go - The Nonna Translator

Learn Italian and wow your friends!

Happy Easter!

I haven't had enough time to sort out all of my photos of my Easter jewellery, but here are a few shots that make me smile :-)

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Waterfront, Bournemouth

On 20th January 2010, Bournemouth Council announced that it is buying the Waterfront building on Bournemouth’s seafront – once voted England’s most hated building in a Channel 4 poll. Hurrah! This monstrosity has been ruining the view of Bournemouth's seafront for as long as I've known it. It will be so good to have a view of the beautiful coastline and seafront.

Bournemouth Council are considering a number of options as a replacement. Their main aims are:

1.To improve sea views; and
2.To bring about an all-weather attraction that is commercially viable, successful and can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life, in a building that residents can be proud of

And they're putting six options to the vote:

1.A water park
2.An interactive arts activity centre and museum
3.Tropical gardens
4.A spa
5.Performing arts space and amphitheatre
6.A family play park
7.Boutiques and bistros

Whilst I really like the idea of the arts activity centre and museum it's difficult to tell how it would work and exactly what the activities would involve. I also quite like the sound of tropical gardens - but I think any solution needs to combine a number of things - cafe, gardens, fountain & arts and crafts!

Here are my thoughts (and comments to the council) -

It would be good to have space for a local art & craft gallery or shops. There is a real lack of art & craft venues in Bournemouth so this would fill a much needed gap in the market. Craft supplies shops and boutiques would add to the creative feel e.g a bead shop, art supplies shop, model shop, knitting/embroidery supplies.

If this could be combined with an area for art and craft workshops that would be a real benefit to all ages of the community. Art and crafts are a great way to unite people and get the community talking and sharing experiences at the same time as learning new skills. It's also a great way to get people involved with the environment, Bournemouth's history, different cultures. The possibilites are endless and it's a great opportunity to improve the culture and social environment of Bournemouth.

Having the workshops so close to the inspiring sea front area would make them really attractive - painting the sea, making paper mache fish, beach hut models, sea inspired jewellery - we could really make the most of the beautiful coast and seaside attractions.

Possible workshops include:
Silver Clay jewellery
Puppet making
Nature studies

Arts University College Bournemouth run a range of courses that could be adapted to one day or half day workshops.
Bournemouth Creatives are another source of creative people who could run workshops.

Why not have your say?
For more detail on the options and to vote see the council's website here

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Exciting Collaboration!

Early last month I received a fantastically generous offer from someone via my Dick and Franny shop on Folksy. The talented and very lovely Kat Milligan offered her photography and modelling to me to help create beautiful images of my jewellery.
As someone struggling to find enough time to paint and make jewellery, let alone photograph, edit and list my work, this was an offer too good to be missed! It can make a huge difference having high quality photos, so I was thrilled to be given this great opportunity.

Since offering me the collaboration Kat was involved in an accident which left her with an almost completely severed finger! Argh! I can't believe she's continued with the commission. After an operation to reattach her finger Kat has persevered and mastered one handed photography with the lovely model Lylium who struggled through bad weather to attend the photoshoot.
I'm really grateful to Kat and Lylium, and I can't wait to see all of the photos!

Here is a taster of the great results:

Check out Kat's Photography on RedBubble

And her modelling page on Model Mayhem

And Lylium's moddelling page on Model Mayhem

Thursday, 25 February 2010

My Colours

Some of my favourite paintings. Is there a recurring theme?

My Colours
Originally uploaded by Franny B

Monday, 1 February 2010

New Paintings - Negative Painting & Frisk Film

Negative Painting - Bee on salvia

Painted from Sarah M's lovely photo:
From the group 'Artists Sharing Photo References' :

I haven't tried this sort of thing before, so the background went a bit wrong. And I didn't know what I was doing with the negative painting, so I didn't really manage it. I quite like the richness of the colours tho - I'll just have to try again!

To see some fantastic negative painting, and a great tutorial have a look at Beverly Morgan's Flickr stream. Here is a link to 'Step 1' of her tutorial:

And here is an example of one of her beautiful negative paintings, "We follow the Sun":

Frisk masking Film - Painted lady

I painted this background right after painting the Bee background, so at least I knew to work fast and not let parts dry. What I hadn't quite realised, was that I didn't need to put down such strong colours. I think I was just panicking in my rush to get paint down before the paper dried!

This was also my first experiment with 'Frisk' masking film. I can't believe how easy to use and brilliant it is! By the time I'd stuck it down, drawn round my drawing, unpealed it, stuck it back to the backing paper, cut out the shapes and stuck it back on the paper, it was really not sticking at all. But when I painted the edges down with water and then paint the film stayed magically in place! Now that I've got a better idea of how to use it, I won't do that sticking, unsticking thing again and I guess it will be even easier!

I'm not sure if it's worth trying to darken or lighten the background. Or if I should just learn from the mistake and have another go...

Painted from my photo:

Friday, 29 January 2010

Etsy Pixel Picker!

Check out my new amazing Etsy Pixel Picker!
You can upload a picture from your PC or pull in a picture from the internet by pasting in the jpg URL. Then click somewhere on the image where you see a colour you like and watch as a magical rotating colour cube of Etsy items appears. If you don't like the items click again!

This could be great for finding earrings or jewellery to match an outfit - just upload a photo and click to search!
Here's a screenshot of me playing with one of my favourite paintings. I picked up a lovely leaf green from the stripes on the right:

Have a go and enjoy!

NB - You'll need to install the Silverlight plugin when prompted. (Silverlight is Microsoft's version of Flash).

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Broadway Melody

I've got a lovely new scanner and I've started scanning and uploading my vintage books and songsheets to Flickr. A lot of them are quite tatty, but the illustrations are still great!

Broadway Melody - Written by Arthur Freed, composed by Nacio Herb Brown:

There may be streets that have their sorrow,
They built that street for smiling faces;
A tear today, a smile tomorrow;
Of glum folk there you'll find no traces;
But there's a street that lives in glory,
For down that road of life and chatter,
It always tells the same old story.
It's only happy people matter.

Don't bring a frown to old Broadway,
You've got to clown on Broadway.
Your troubles there are out of style,
For Broadway always wears a smile.
A million lights, they flicker there,
A million hearts beat quicker there.
No skies of gray on the great White Way,
That's the Broadway Melody.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Draw Gallery - sneak preview!

It's new, it's here and it's amazing!!
How would you like to draw your own gallery in seconds?
Here are some examples, I'm sure you can do better!:

To draw your own gallery:

- Use the tools on the tool bar to draw your own gallery.
- Use the Image tool to draw any shape you want an image to appear in. You can draw as many images as you like.
- Use the Next Button tool to draw any shape you want for a next button. You can draw as many next buttons as you like.
- Use the Prev Button tool to draw any shape you want for a previous button. You can draw as many previous buttons as you like.
- Use the Decorate tool to decorate the gallery. Use the colour palette to choose your colours. Remember you can also use the green and red Next and Prev Button tools as decorations.
- The tool bar can be hidden using the toggle tab on the side.

Have a go here: The Draw Gallery

It's not completely finished yet, but it's pretty good!

At the moment it's picking up pictures from my Flickr Feed, but there may be further developments so that it can pick up any Flickr feed...


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