Art Challenge 9: 1940s Harpers Bazaar Cover

I was drawn to a book about the history of couture, probably by the bright cover. I decided to turn to a random page as inspiration for a picture to paint on the my new art easel in my studio.

I don’t think I had painted on an easel since I was a child but after hunching over the table painting I liked the idea of standing up and painting.

The magazine cover was from the 1940s and was depicting the need to reuse and repair. I liked the picture and decided to copy the main feature, but then I felt that St Paul’s cathedral didn’t have relevance to me, so instead i did a picture of the building, that is home to my studio, in the same style.

I replaced the Harpers Bazaar with my art work working title Inspire and replace the wartime blimps with stars.

I did loose the sketch some when I did the wash with pearlescent blue acrylic paint, some lovely paints from none other than budget supermarket Lidl. I adopted some of the colours of the fabric but followed the original artist’s guidance on style.

I created the picture over a number of days, letting the paint dry and harden in between so that I could layer it.

Pleased with the picture, less so with the title, useful learning exercise and enjoyable.






Art Challenge 8 – Felt Tips

When I was a kid I loved drawing and my favourite pens were my Berol felt tip pens. I love how the colours were so bold and bright, they had miles and miles of colouring in them, lasted for years and that you could get different shades by adding layers or using the colours together.

I saw some of the same kind of pens in my local supermarket so decided to enjoy a bit of nostalgia and try them out.


I didn’t expect the experience of them as an adult to be as good as when I was a child but as i started to draw whatever came into my mind the fact that most of the colours are the exact same shades and the pens feel the same to hold made it an enjoyable challenge.

I started with a tree, which turned out to be a palm tree, then a picnic blanket then a couple who had walked to the shore during pause in their picnic after stepping off a rainbow. A ship peeps into the picture and a rabbit watches the couple as they gaze out to see under the warmth of the suns rays.

IMG_0070I am keen to see what else I can create with them. If they last as long as the ones when I was a child there are many hours or art time in the figure with them.

I decided, based on colour inspiration from this talented artist michellecuriel to try to copy a photo I took the other day of water on a cd-rom.

Water on CD


Again inspired by michellecuriel I decided to try to draw a lady, I brought the rainbow theme through for her hair and eyes. I’m pleased with this colourful lady picture. I’m enjoying exploring different mediums and materials for art.

My next art challenge will be to design a guitar.

Rainbow character by Kim 2014
Rainbow character by Kim 2014

Art Challenge 7 – Creative Studio

Art Challenge 7 – Studio Space

I have been trying to find a space to use as a creative studio. I think that if I traced back to where I started trying to find this space I recon I would be going back around 15 years. The idea has had a few different visions over that time and I thought recently that this was a new desire until I found something I wrote in 2007 that stated I wanted a studio space. That surprised me and I realised how long his had been bubbling under the surface and working its way to the top of my agenda.

Anyway it’s there on the top of the water now, in hypertension and it’s starting to become a reality. Like most of my searches it gradually took me to Google, but I didn’t want an office space, a room in a business building, a hot desk, I knew what I didn’t want, but knowing what I did want took a bit more figuring out. I didn’t want an urban space, built up, hemmed in, I wanted green spaces. I wanted freedom to explore my creativity but didn’t want to be surrounded by accomplished artists who knew exactly what they were doing and where they were headed.

I decided to get local and as I packed away to clear the kitchen table of my work at he end of another day, before everyone arrived home, I thought how nice it would be to be able to leave my work out, to be able to make a painty mess and not get distracted by household distractions.

I searched for ‘workspace rural location’ and switched the results to Google Images, I was greeted with images of a delightful old building, which wasn’t far from my home, had a space available and was affordable. Ah I thought, what is the location like…  so I zoomed in on Google Maps and saw green, lots of green, right next to the building. The building dates back to the 19th century, was built as a school and is now a social enterprise and is next to a park which was created from a former mining site.

The building is lovely, has a working clock tower on the roof that still tells the hour. Although it was stacked high with boxes I knew which room felt right and after a week or deliberation, asking for signs, consideration, excitement and then fear I got to the point that I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t take the room and the opportunity it presents.

So I have staked my claim on the room and we are agreeing when I can get in there and get creative, firstly creating my environment, which is already taking shape in my mind and on paper.

This is so exciting for me, I love how it feels so good and so right. The more I allow myself to be creative the more my mind is delivering me ideas, pictures, innovations. It’s like it has been waiting to wake up. It feels like I am getting back to my life, I have had a great time and enjoyed a great journey but this journey is for my soul and it feels like I am full up with enthusiasm.

Here are is my artist’s impressions, how exciting – being the artist, I have thrifty at my core so keen to make use and create from existing furniture and resources.

Studio Impression
Copyright Withheld

July 2015 – 9 months on from writing this post I have enjoyed my studio very much in 2014 but then my knee injury in January 2015 meant that I spent more time at home that I possibly ever have in my life since I was a child. I loved the safe, closed door, lockable sanctuary in which to nurture my art, confront my fear and see if art was the right path for me. 

Here is my studio at its best when I was so in love with the space and the opportunity it provided.

Gradually as I spent weeks on end at home my art materials moved gradually back to our house and art sometimes became a group activity, but it was always convenient. I would get out the plastic table cloth, create, paint, and then wash up and put it all away. I felt safe at home and as I needed to be doing so many exercises and then icing my knee the rest of the time I got into the space. For the first time since moving here 7 years ago I feel truly settled and at home in the space. 

So now I can drive again, I can go to my studio, it’s there for me but I don’t feel like I can be bothered to drive the 5 miles and all the materials I would use are here anyway.  Which then makes me feel bad, although the it’s great to feel settled I feel that this experience has taken that space away from me.

So my question is, is it about geography, would I use a studio closer to home, or should I get a fancy shed and use that, or do I need to have a clear out to accommodate the other things from my studio and then work from home. I guess there is a social element to the question too, but I didn’t experience the buzz in my studio building that I had envisaged. 

I know the room needs a sink to wash things, and a hard floor so I’m not have paint on carpet concerns, and there needs to be a buzz and space for people to join me for art sometimes. I don’t know if I’ll continue to want to spend some much time as home as I get stronger and to more normal mobility. 

There is a room in a stable block of a local stately home, with a high ceiling, sink, hard floor, stable,door onto a courtyard where visitors will come seasonally. That is more money, but a bigger space and less than half the distance of my current studio. I have a viewing tomorrow, I’m not sure whether it would be right or whether I don’t even need a studio. Would I go to that more as its nearer, would it inspire me as people were visiting, popping by, there are other creatives there?  

Well enough time pondering now I am going to do some art, as after all that’s where my pleasure is. Grateful for any comments or thoughts on this decision. 

Art Challenge 6 – Natural Form As Inspiration

I was outside on a sunny day wanting to do art, but as it was windy art on paper would have been challenging. Instead I chose to do some art on the patio.

I was inspired by a story I had seen about an artist that took inspiration from her two year old child’s pictures – here is the link to the story in the Huffington Post (be sure to scroll up when the linked page opens as for some reason the link takes you to the foot of the story.)

One of the smaller stones seemed like a good choice so I got some pastels and started to use the undulations in the stone as the basis of the picture.

I love the visual effect of bright colure when the sun is on them, I used a range or regular and fluorescent coloured pastels. I love sea scenes so created one on the stone. photo 1 photo 3

Patio Stone in PastelsAlthough it looks a bit like something a child would create I quite like it.

Art Challenge 3 – Japanese Postage Stamp

I was delighted to see the Likes and Follows as a result of the last post – thank you for your interest in the blog and art challenges. If any of the tasks inspire you it would be great to see your creations.

Since starting the blog I have lots of ideas for art challenges popping into my mind, so was eager to get my brush on paper and complete a third challenge.

I recently found an envelope sent by my Japanese friend in 1980. The envelope had three beautiful stamps of ladies in elaborate kimonos.

Japanese Stamps 1979

I tried to get some close up pics of them whilst doing the previous challenge but had a strong urge to paint one also.

I decided that to copy the stamp didn’t feel enough of a challenge so I decided to use Inktense pencils. These were gift and something I had only had a quick dabble with. They are Ink pencils which you use as you would a normal pencil crayon and then apply water to activate the ink.

Inktense pencils

I can be a bit lazy and go straight to painting but this picture needed working out in draft with a pencil. Having chosen the stamp  to copy printed a picture of it then copied the lines in pencil.

Japanese Stamp 1979

Pencil drawing to start

I was pleased with the line drawing. Next I coloured in the drawing with the Inktense pencils as close to how the colours look once the ink is activated. I had chosen a very thick paper which did create a texture in the pencils which I was a bit disappointed with. Otherwise the pencils were good to use. I ought to have sharpened the black but at the price they are didn’t want to waste it.

Copied in Inktense pencils by KIm
Copied in Inktense pencils

I chose a tiny brush to start adding the water. I decided to do all the black areas first and enjoyed how definite the colour was once the water was added. The effect was a bit like the way a liquid eyeliner goes on. Gradually as I added the water and the colours became more definite and extremely bold.

I had set myself an hour to complete the challenge but after an hour I was still adding the water.


I would guess that in total the challenge took 90 minutes. I used a larger brush on the bigger areas and shaded and pointed to create the floral effect of the fabric.

Ta da… the final picture. I am pleased with the end result, which came out better than I had expected, bar a couple of places where the colour ran here and there.

Japanese Stamp from 1979 recreated in Inktense pencils by Kim.
Japanese Stamp from 1979 recreated in Inktense pencils by Kim.

With Inktense it is a nice process and almost like you create the picture twice. Once in pencils and then the second time painting carefully with water to activate the inks.

Thanks for reading, please share with others who may be interested.

Hmmm, wondering what the next challenge might be…