Thursday, 24 November 2011

Christmas Art and Craft Market

Between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December 2011 the Arlington Arts Cafe, Bournemouth will be hosting a fantastic Christmas Art and Craft market!
It's free to get in, and there will be teas, coffee's, mulled wine and home-made mince pies as well as some fab festive music! A selection of local artists and makers will be giving demos of their creative process and showing their beautiful creations. 

On offer will be artwork, cards, Christmas decorations, jewellery, and many more hand-crafted gifts - all the work of talented local artists and crafters. It will be a lovely and relaxing way to shop for that extra special Christmas gift!

I'll be bringing a selection of framed and mounted paintings, some of my hand made jewellery, some prints (original and digital) and cards and some of my latest project - some upcycled art/note books! I'll also be doing a demo of some sort... perhaps a portrait? It should be a really great weekend of art and craft and I can't wait!

The Arlington Arts Cafe is in a glorious location, nestled in the middle of Bournemouth lower gardens, with a view of the gardens from the terrace - it's the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of town and relax in a beautifully Christmassy environment full of art and craft goodness!

Why not come along for a look, and perhaps come away with some fabulous, unique, hand-made cards and gifts?

Here's a preview of some of the artwork I'll be bringing:

Gold Hill - original watercolour

Westbourne Arcade - Fine Art print
Trainer - Fine Art print

Sunflowers - original mixed media painting

You can see lots more in my online shop and even more on Flickr. Please let me know if there is anything in particular you'd like me to bring along to the Art market to have a closer look at!
And leave me a comment if you've got a preference on what sort of demo you'd like me to give :-)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Art Therapy for Heroes

At school when I took a careers test, 100 multiple choice questions which when fed into a computer told me my top 10 careers, the results included Art Therapist and it’s always held a real interest for me. In addition to my love of art and passion for creating, one of my main interests has always been psychology and mental well-being. If it hadn’t been for the long years of study needed (I think it was 7), perhaps I would have gone for it and be a happy art therapist today. Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll get there!

A fascinating documentary special by the Culture Show ‘Art for Heroes’ broadcast on Remembrance day, 11/11/11 gave an interesting and convincing insight into how art therapy is helping ex-servicemen deal with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder  (PTSD).

The reporter, Tim Samuels met with a number of veterans of recent British conflicts including the Falklands and Northern Ireland, each of whom shares some of their personal struggles with PTSD as a result of their military career. The programme gave a shocking insight into the symptoms of PTSD, revealing that it can take years for sufferers to seek help for the condition – many of them going through alcohol and drug addictions and failed marriages during that time. Through a unique art therapy programme run by the only military based art therapist in the country, the documentary goes on to show how art is helping a group of war veterans come to terms with some of their experiences. It shows how the process of drawing, sculpting and painting provides a way to tap into violent or difficult past experiences or recurring thought patterns, and provides a release for those thoughts and feelings.   

I can’t put it as well as the documentary, so I’ll stop there and just recommend you watch it!

It’s really moving and thought provoking and well worth a watch – Art for Heroes - A Culture Show Special

I also found this great Art Therapy blog whilst researching for this post - Art Therapy Blog .
Adrian Hill - One amongst Many

Adrian Hill (1895 – 1977)

In 1917, Adrian Hill was the first official war artist appointed by the government to record scenes of the First World War, these works are now housed in the Imperial War Museum. Hill subsequently introduced the concept of art therapy into hospitals after being confined for TB. Hill coined the term "Art therapy" in 1942, and in 1945 published his ideas in the book "Art Versus Illness".

Hill thought that when the patient's physical resistance was at its lowest this somehow rendered the "animal ego" quiescent and allowed the creative powers of the "spiritual essence" to come through in works of art. On recovery, these creative powers would tend to wane back to the "pictorial commonplace". He recognised that war was not only physically destructive but also damaged "minds, bodies and hopes" and that the need for psychological healing was even more important than mere physical repair of "property and estate". He believed that the practice of art, "in sickness and in health" , could turn society away from war by making artistic creativity more appreciated. He saw art therapy as becoming an integral part of the National Health Service.

Adrian Hill info taken from Wikipedia - Adrian Hill

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Life drawing with Trish Jubb

A couple of weeks ago I spent a great day's life drawing at the Arlington Hotel as organised by Bournemouth Creative Breaks and taught by Trish Jubb. Trish is a great teacher, I've been to a number of life drawing classes in the past and often the teacher gives very little teaching or advice. Trish's exercises were really useful, and she explained everything very well and didn't try and teach too much at once.

We had a lovely day including a sunny lunch break spent on the terrace overlooking Bournemouth gardens and listening to live rat pack classics from a singer on the bandstand. Here are a few of my favourite drawings from the day:

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Pride in Bournemouth - Lions Under the Hammer

After a summer spent brightening up Bournemouth all 50 lions will be going under the hammer this evening to raise funds for the Born Free Foundation and Julia’s House Hospice. Decorated by artists from across Bournemouth and Dorset the Beautiful Lions have been gathered together for the last time on the south terrace of the The Bournemouth Pavilion. They’ll be on display until 3pm today so head along for your last chance to see them before the auction.
The Gala auction is set to be an exciting event, with actor Martin Clunes, children’s TV presenter Chris Jarvis together with wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna. The auction is being led by celebrity auctioneer James Lewis.

Tickets for the auction are available from the BIC Pavilion from just £5.

I managed to take pictures of some of the Lions before they were removed for the auction:
Middle-Earth Safari by Elanor McBay

Leatherbound by Lisa Berkshire

Fireworks by Carol Childs

Mist of Bournemouth by Dhaval Husmucial

Frankenlion by Domini Deane
Hylas and the Nymphs by Claire Pound

Temba by Natalie Guy

Ford Robot by Stuart Palmer

See more of my Lion photos on Flickr - Pride in Bournemouth

A bit about the Charities:

Julia’s House

Julia's House is dedicated to children with life-limiting conditions. The majority of the children they care for are unlikely to live beyond the age of 18.

The Julia's House Community Team consists of 80 Nurses and Carers who travel the county. The children's hospice provides life-changing support for families both in their own homes and in the hospice itself. In 2009 they provided 22,592 hours of care, an increase of 81% on the previous year’s total.

Receiving only 3% of their funding from the Government, Julia's House relies on the Dorset community to help raise the remainder of their required income.

The Born Free Foundation

The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity, devoted to conservation and animal welfare. They work to prevent the suffering of wild animals and protect threatened species in the wild. Working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict, Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. Born Free protects species including elephants, lions, gorillas, polar bears, tigers, wolves and many more in their natural habitat.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Junk Art Book - upcycled art

Inspired by Kim Schuster's beautiful Junk Book I just had to have a go.

I've been wanting to do something like this for years and it's been great fun so far.
I've used cereal box and other thin card packaging to create the pages which I've painted with a mixture of acrylic gesso, acrylics and some poster paint. I punched holes in them before painting, and I'll bind it together with ribbons and string when it's finished.

Next step will be a bit of collage and some ocean themed drawings and paintings..

Here is a slideshow of my progress so far:

See the whole set on Flickr here - Junk Art Book - Step by Step

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Red Hot Press - Fine Art Printmaking Open Studios

I joined the Red Hot Press printmaking studios in July and I've enjoyed a smörgåsbord of fantastic printmaking workshops since then:
As a member I'm also eligible to exhibit in their Open Studios which are coming up as part of Hampshire Open Studios, yey!

The Red Hot Press Studio will be open with an exhibition of original prints by members for the next two weekends - 20 & 21 and 27 & 28 August. The exhibition will include framed and unframed work and handmade cards - all works will be for sale.

The 20th of August will also be the studio's annual Wayzgoose Fete.
- A wayzgoose was originally an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew's Day (24 August). It marked the traditional end of summer and the start of the season of working by candlelight. Later, the word came to refer to an annual outing and dinner for the staff of a printing works.
At the Red Hot Press the Wayzgoose Fete means a day of printmaking activities, great music and refreshments!
The fete is on between 12 and 5pm on Sat 20th and the programme for the day will be:
1:00pm Free Printmaking taster, try your hand at drypoint printing.
2:30pm The ‘Slow Arrangers’ Ukulele Band.
3:30pm Free Bookbinding taster session.

I thoroughly recommend the Red Hot Press courses and the exhibition and Wayzgoose look set to be great too :-)

Below are some of the prints I've made during the workshops:

Handmade - Linocut and Letterpress

Wood engraving

Watercolour with Monoprint

Screenprints and etchings to follow!

For more info on the Open Studios or to have a look at their courses see their website - Red Hot Press

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lucian Freud in pictures

Girl with kitten - 1947

Blond Girl - 1985, Etching

Eli and David 2005-06

Rabbit on Chair 1944

Girl in a dark jacket - 1947

Girl with a white dog - 1951

Interior at Paddington - 1951

Bella and Esther - 1988

Naked portrait with reflection - 1980

Reflection (self portrait) - 1981

Lucian Freud - Obituary in the Guardian

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Treasury Tuesday - Mermaid Dreams

A selection of beautiful Mermaid related items from Etsy, Click on the Treasury to link to all the items: Mermaid Dreams

Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?

I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say,
“Who is it loves me? who loves not me?”
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall
Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound,
Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.

But at night I would wander away, away,
I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks,
And lightly vault from the throne and play
With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,
On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near I would call, and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap
From the diamond-ledges that jut from the dells;
For I would not be kiss'd by all who would list,
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;
But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned, and soft
Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea,
All looking down for the love of me.

The Mermaid - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Monday, 23 May 2011

Learning to sell Art online - 6 tips that made me think

It's almost 3 years since I first set up shop on Etsy, and over that time I've been slowly learning how things work, and how I could make improvements. I've read hundreds of advice articles on Etsy and on other blogs and a few tips really stood out -

1. Nail your niche

Your shop should have a consistent aesthetic or product line. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. A shop full of cohesive work that connects with a potential buyer is a powerful thing. It is possible to work in several media and still have a cohesive body of work. Some artists and crafters have a well-formed sense of style, I'm still finding mine, but my shop can be the focus for the consistent aesthetic I'm aiming for. If your items don't fit together, don't be afraid to open a second shop. Build a cohesive body of work in your shop.

2. Do what you love

Be original and keep yourself interested in what you're making and selling. If you are not interested and excited by what you are doing, why should your customers be? There are millions of shops on Etsy, unless you are doing something unique and being true to yourself then you are not going to stand out. Give your items something that makes them unique - your style!

3. Make it look great

Take the best photos you can. Use all 5 listing photos and show all aspects of your art - a framed version, a packaged one, a hand held view etc. Create a strong image with your banner. Make a memorable impression. Present your items so exquisitely that they become irresistible!

4. Answer all questions

Answer all your buyers potential questions by giving full descriptions which include all details they might want to know. Try to imagine what you'd be wondering if you were looking for a particular item.

5. What's in a name?

The name of your shop is important, as are the words you use in your descriptions and tags. Certain words have different meanings and spellings in different countries (e.g. Watercolour is Watercolor in US English). It's important to have a shop name that has a universal spelling/meaning and doesn't include a rude word in any language!

6. Pricing

Pricing is incredibly difficult! I have often worried about under pricing or over pricing. If I price too high will I get any sales at all? If I price too low I'm under valuing my work and making my art look cheap. After reading a brilliant blogpost on the art of pricing photography I re-did my calculations and I've come up with a much more realistic pricing structure. To have even a remote chance of making a success as an artist I need to start pricing realistically so that I'm not making a loss with every sale!

First steps with a new shop!

So, I've taken the first steps to a new and improved online shop and I've opened the originally titled Francesca Whetnall on Etsy. I'm still not 100% about the name, but I thought it keeps it pretty simple and clear by just using my name. I'm still working my way through the other tips and I've got a lot more art to list, but I hope it will make a clearer aesthetic statement than my original etsy shop - Dick and Franny . I've still got a load of under-priced art and jewellery at Dick and Franny, but I'll probably move that shop to just jewellery, or close it down altogether...

If you have any comments on my new shop or other advice you'd recommend please leave me a comment. I hope some of these tips might be useful for others anyway. Below are my main sources of advice:

Have a look at these great articles for more tips and advice

Fantastic article that convinced me I really did need to start a new shop with a clear focus on Art -
Niche Thyself: Variety vs. Consistency in Your Online Shop by Wonder thinking

A great list of questions you need to answer -
20 Questions your buyers are asking by Mel from Sparkle - Rama

Fantastic article on how to price your work -
How to price portrait Photography - by Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

More pricing advice -
The Art of Pricing - Can I disagree with the Storque Article please? - by Magic Jelly

Lots more tips from UK and Irish sellers on Etsy -
Etsy's UK & Ireland Seller Support Team - Top 5 things you wish you'd known

Thanks also to:

Amity UK
Jacob de Graaf of Modern Folk
Alchemy Fibre Arts
Cards & Craft
Deepa at Lazy Giraffe Jewellery
Bread and Circuses
Mandy Williams at Socky Socks

Monday, 2 May 2011

Postcard Portraits

I'm still loving JKPP and still trying out new styles. I just can't help doing something different everytime. I'm sure I could develop more if I stuck to one style for a bit longer but I just can't resist switching techniques and medium after almost every picture...

Until now! After trying a postcard sized watercolour portrait I have managed to stick to this style (for some of the time anyway). Here are some of my latest paintings, all watercolours painted on postcard sized watercolour paper.

Stella Tooth ~ Portrait Artist from London.
Postcard sized watercolour
Find out more about Stella and her art at her website here

Susanne Dutoit ~ Artist
Postcard sized watercolour
See Susanne's stunning art on her photostream here

Paulien Maria ~ Documentary Film maker
Postcard sized watercolour
Visit Paulien's Blog here

Arturo Espinosa ~ Artist
Postcard sized watercolour
See Arturo's beautiful artwork on his photostream here

You can see all of the portraits I've done for Julia Kay's Portrait Party here
And you can find out more about the Party at the JKPP Blog

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Little green monster

His name is Harry but his friends call him Stinker...

Finger painted with Brushes on my iPhone.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 18 April 2011

Glass Blowing

Beautiful video showing glass blowing artist Kiva Ford at work.

Amazing stuff!

Handmade Portraits: Kiva Ford from Etsy on Vimeo.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Dick and Franny ~ April Discount!

I've just listed some of my new prints in my Etsy store in a brand new Printmaking Section and to celebrate I'm offering a lovely 15% discount on EVERYTHING in my Store for the whole of APRIL for all of my blog readers!

The code applies to ALL items listed in my shop (excluing postage and packaging).

To claim your discount simply type BLOGAPRIL2011 into the 'Shop Coupon Code' box when you place your order. The total will be recalculated to include the fab 15% off!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Monoprints ~ Echoes of Venice

I've been on an experimental printing course this term and one of the many techniques we tried out was monoprinting. I've done some monoprints in the past, which I really enjoyed, so I had a good idea of what could be achieved. Monoprinting is a form of printmaking which uses images or lines that can only be made once, unlike most printmaking, where you create multiple original prints. There are lots of different techniques you can use to create a monoprint, including painting, drawing, collage and other mark making techniques. You can use one or several techniques to build up an image on a plate (which can be anything from a piece of card to a metal or wooden plate) which you then transfer to paper by either just pressing the paper on to the plate, or you can use a press or a roller. It's a bit tricky to explain it all without photos or diagrams - I'll try and do another post to show the steps some time!

The beauty of monoprinting is in it's spontaneity and its combination of printmaking, painting and drawing. The characteristic of this method is that no two prints are alike, a monoprint is a completely one off piece of art.

The prints below are my favourites from my recent monoprint experiments. To create them I mainly used a roller with a variety of coloured relief inks. I also used shapes cut from magazines, and some tissue paper collage (the technique of including collage pieces in a monoprint is also known as chine-collé).

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Portraits 2010

Julia Kay's Portrait Party has been such a huge inspiration to me in 2010, I've explored lots of different styles and techniques and learnt loads from all of the amazing work everyone else has been producing. These are some of my favourites from the portraits I've done.
I just wish I had more time to spend painting and drawing everyone!

Some of my JKPP faves

1. Sue Hodnett - Artist, (central picture) Watercolour
2. NC Mallory - Artist, Digital (Photoshop)
3. Valerie Beeby (Purple Owl), Watercolour
4. Shitao 师涛 - Tim Williams, Artist, Watercolour
5. Giorgio Bordin, Watercolour
6. Anna Black, Watercolour
7. Neil Davidson, Pen
8. Serious Erica ~ homage to John Bavaro, I-Phone
9. Straw Herring, Watersoluble pencils
10. Anne Watkins - Artist, Fineliners
11. Frank V2 - Homage to Sue Rama, Digital (Photoshop)
12. The Happy Painter, Mixed Media
13. Hans 3/Peter Vanayk Fineliners

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

You can see all of my JKPP portraits here
See my previous New Portraits and JKPP posts

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Print Shop Revamp

I realised my Cafe Press shop was a total mess so I've given it a bit of a revamp. I've now got some lovely new sections, and some fab new products like my gorgeous iPad cases! Here are a selection of my favourites...

One of my favourite paintings, 'Sunday Papers' available as a framed print in my new Framed Art Prints section -

An iPad case from my new Office and Stationary section

A simple but elegant valentine's card from my Valentine section -

I love these cushions! From my new Home Decor section

These greetings cards are great, really good quality. This one is 'Salzburg in Winter' from my Cards and Postcards section 
Last but not least, one of my best selling designs, my Circles T-shirts come in a selection of colours and styles. From my Clothing range!


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