Solstice plus one

Last night I had a lovely evening discovering encaustic art.  I had a wonderful time playing with an iron, melted wax and a lot of colour.

It was great fun and messy – yet quick and easy to clean up.  And the smell of beeswax was delicious.  I think I’m going to have to do more.

Last night was the solstice and when I got home the highest white clouds glowed in the twilight:

And today I’ve been admiring tulips on a tree:

Doodling or dawdling

“Perhaps in another month I’ll have moved house!” Perhaps I should have touched wood or danced withershins three times around the house to negate the effect of such an optimistic comment. I haven’t, as yet, moved house.  There have been bursts of activity.  And I’ve remained blindly optimistic through September and the first half of October.  I’ve packed (some) boxes, cleared amazing amounts of unwanted things from the house, allowed 5 surveys to be carried out on the house I’m selling, and allowed a builder to come around (just last week – before being told that the market has fallen and the buyer wanted a huge discount). I’ve talked to estate agents and solicitors… insurers and removal firms.  I’ve even had my land line cut off (I still have mobile and internet) but I’ve not yet moved.  I’m not going to make a prediction this time about when I’ll have moved, in case I should follow it with a quick incantation, or an offering to a god of hand-spun yarn…

At one point I was aiming at the 10th of October for moving.  It’s a good job that didn’t become the date, because my son became poorly with appendicitis over that weekend and on the Monday was recovering from an appendectomy.  Lots of help from my Mum and the children’s dad and lots of support and advice from friends and we’re back home and have survived an odd week fairly well. (My son’s still feeling sore, but is getting better and is predominately his usual cheerful self – except this morning when he couldn’t get a computer program he’d written to work as expected, and he hit the TV!)

Before my son became poorly we were enjoying a crafty day at Creating Space.  Because the move has killed my spinning mo-jo (and I’ve packed my drum carder carefully into a box of fibre, and stashed three wheels at my mums) I’ve been working on a zendoodle inspired project.  For sometime I’ve fancied creating a family piece of art.  Inspired by an early zendoodle of mine – an outline of my hand filled with various doodles – I wanted to capture my and my children’s hands and create a zendoodle of them.  I’ve worked on this for a couple of Creating Space sessions now.  Today, when the sun came out it sent rainbows across my picture from the crystals in my window, and I thought I should share it.


There’s lots of work to do on this, and the painted areas need tidying up, but I’m enjoying the process and it’s lovely to create something that’s about my family.

Playing with Colour

The last few evenings I’ve been playing with colour, but there’s been no wool or vinegar, I’ve been playing with watercolour.  It’s been years since I last did any watercolour, so long ago I can’t remember when.

I’ve noticed lately that good painting supplies have become exceptionally expensive (even student quality paints like Cotman) so I’m pleased that I appear to have bought good brushes and paints in the past. I even have a good selection of paper and a board for stretching paper before painting on it.


Exploring the paints and some different painting styles.  I need lots of practice!

Over the last few days I’ve learnt a few things.  Firstly, it’s possible to soak the paper for too long (even really thick paper) prior to stretching.  Leaving it soaking too long will remove the size on the surface of the paper.  Then, when you try and paint on it, the paint will soak in immediately and not allow any kind of movement of the paint on the paper.  (I’ve only tried to stretch one sheet of paper so far… unsuccessfully)

Secondly, various places (on the internet) have said that watercolour paper is sized with gelatine.  I’ve not been able to check this with the manufacturers of the paper, but (as a vegetarian) that does lead to some ethical issues for me. For the moment I shall use the paper I have and hope I can either disprove this information, or find a suitable source of watercolour paper that doesn’t use a gelatine size.

Next, I was struck by the small size of stuff I need to paint.


Yes, that’s it!  A box of paints, a small pad, a couple of brushes, a pencil and a rubber (and probably also a sharpener and something for water).  Compared to what I need for spinning it’s a delightfully small pile!

Finally, I’ve discovered the appeal of making small paintings.  I’ve had that postcard pad for years, and couldn’t see the point.  I’ve always thought of painting as needing to be A4 or A3 sized as a minimum.  But I’ve found it delightful to make a small painting: it’s possible to quickly explore a technique or idea without committing to something larger and you end up with something finished in a short time.

I’m looking forward to seeing where my painting takes me and how the painting may feed into my spinning.