I was asked to make a colourful cushion featuring a bird and flowers with this drawing from a lovely customer:
I thought about whether I might seek such a fabric design, but I didn’t have the desire to go hunting for a fabric, so I designed my own.
Having found painted designs that the dye colours can mush together I decided to try a collage technique, as developed in some of my favourite work, my paper cut pictures.
I firstly prepared papers by carefully painting them with transfer dyes then cut and assembled pieces to build a design. I liked the composition on a cute practice design (above), but felt that the colours lacked texture and depth. So I tried wax relief frottage techniques learned at UAL Chelsea and also hand-painted my favourite flowers inspired by our own garden and a visit to the wonderful tulip gardens of Keukenhof and the Botanical Garden in Leiden earlier this year. I challenged myself to limit colours to the wine red, golden yellow and turquoise Colourcraft Transfer Dyes.
I cut shapes and enjoyed assembling these to form the design for the main panel of the cushion.
April was a bright and creative month, here are the highlights from my Instagram feed. Enjoy!
Better late than never!
First up was a cupcake themed cushion that I made for a close relation.
Lush pink, grey and teal design. It was a huge pattern repeat so I made a booster cushion with different parts of the design front and back. As I know I’ll be asked the question, the fabric was from Direct Knit and Sew in Sheffield.
Ta da! Here’s the finished cushion. It really was a work of love as it was for someone I love and I love the outcome. The pink ribbon edging the cushion really makes the colours pop.
“My latest paper masterpiece, “Hot Days Eating Cool Ice Cream”. It is pretty with details and interest, always something more to see and packed with pictorial love from corner to corner.”
Read the full story:
I often have an idealistic view of what an event will be like. For instance say to me garden party and instantly an image conjures of pretty bunting flapping in the wind, smiling faces, beautiful colourful tablecloths, bright blooms, pink lemonade with ice glinting in the sun, gorgeous dresses and a cloud leisurely tracking across a vivid blue sky. My idealism can often lead to the reality being a little disappointing. I had seen this as a trait that was negative, that I was being naive and childishly silly.
But I have realised that it is this ideal world imagination that is the magic that can make my special kind of art.
My growing number of paper cut creations, finely crafted like a self-made jigsaw, come from this visual idealism.
Best seen in their original form the pictures are intricate and unique. In their creation is a calm happy place for me, one where I am in that sweet spot between consciousness and subconscious. Piece by piece, thought by thought I cut and stick to form a whole that when I step back I wonder how that came about.
When I was a youngster I would get frustrated that my art did not look like I had envisioned. That I could not recreate on paper the picture that I had in my head. But my paper artworks never start from a whole vision, it begins like a building, first the walls go in place, then I furnish the building with pretty furniture from my imagination and add personal items that belong to the imaginary owners, curated over their lives.
Ta-Da… My Latest Picture Revealed
I very recently completed what I feel is my latest masterpiece, “Hot Days Eating Cool Ice Cream”. Like the earlier smaller (A4) Beach Huts, Allotments and Ski Chalet (all in the strip above), it is pretty with details and interest, always something more to see, but this new piece is A3 and packed with pictorial love from corner to corner.
I created the Ice Cream artwork with new colour understanding after studying the relationships between colours. As a result it really pops off the page.
So here it is for your visual consumption. Have a Flake with that.
Hot Days Eating Cool ice Cream is a design made entirely from pieces of paper cut into shapes to make a bright, colourful work of art. The design feature an ice cream cafe on a sunny day. The ice-cream maker also sells the delicious ice creams out and about in the sparkly ice-cream van.
Two girls are at the cafe to enjoy ice-cream and a small white dog trots by to in the hope of a little chocolate or sweet treat.
In the distance people enjoy the fun and thrill of a rollercoaster ride and a plane flies overhead to spread the work about the wonderful ice-creams.
This is my first paper cut work that prominently features people. This was a challenge, at first I painted people and cut and added those, but later recreated them in paper and am happier with the paper characters.
Here are some details from the picture… (watermarked).
And now the fun starts on creating canvases, fabric and products which will take the picture out and about and on the move in the world.
I am seeking an art agent or art business mentor/manager to assist my art out into the world. Please share my post so that it can find its way to the ideal person to help.
If you’ve enjoyed this post here are related posts to feast your eyes and imagination on. Enjoy!
I wished to develop my portrait skills further, inspired by Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Year. I struggle with paint as I feel that I can’t alter it once done whereas when I make paper cut pictures if there is an aspect I am not happy with then I can layer over it, move it, remove it, replace it.
I have set an intention to face my fear and take the step on from creating paper cut landscapes, buildings and animals (links to posts about those artworks are at the end of this blog post) and would try to create paper cut people.
I decided to zoom right in and create a detailed paper cut portrait. I had taken a still of ‘Classical Crossover Artist’ Katherine Jenkins when she appeared on the television talk show Loose Women. I had taken the picture as I like the colours and her skin tones reminded me of Sophie Dahl when she sat for portrait artists on Sky Portrait Artist Of The Year.
I firstly drew in pencil the key lines of the features and then searched through a back copy of The Sunday Times Travel magazine for images which colour matched the different parts of the portrait.
It was tricky to match the pieces as when I applied a piece of paper I would cover over the lines. Therefore I had to look at the shape that was drawn and then cut it without a template.
I completed the picture over four days and for a first paper cut portrait I am pleased with the result as I feel that it captures some of the glamour and energy from the still of Katherine Jenkins.
Just for fun maybe you can spot these elements in the paper pieces used for the picture:
Part of a Buddha
I am interested to know what you think and hear from anyone what future art challenges I ought to try.
I am excited that I am almost half way through my 52 Art Challenges. If you would like to see more challenges please feel free to browse the blog.
A couple of months ago I created three pictures from cuttings of the lovely patterned including paper by Simple Stories. The first picture was inspired by a visit to the Lincolnshire coast, Chapel St Leonard’s to be specific, where I was enchanted by a wonderful row of brightly coloured beach huts.
The second was a ski chalet, inspired by our visits to the resort of Courchevel in Les 3 Vallees in the French Alps. The third was inspired by the allotment sheds that I see on countryside walks near my home in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
I wanted to share these paper cut pictures on the blog as they are art works that I am very proud of and as they grew and developed on the paper were a delight to create. Secondly I wanted to show them as I have been working on an Art Challenge which refers to them.
With each of the pictures I started with no vision of what I would create but built the pictures up piece by piece as I went along. In doing so I was able to layer aspects of the picture, add something, replace it if i liked. I enjoyed the freedom of the medium to be able to change and tweak the pictures and add aspects as they popped into my head. Something that I don’t feel would be possible with painting unless you were using oil paints and they had chance to dry in-between.
Each of the designs features a small white dog, sadly our Maltese Terrier Sam died after I had created the first picture so I added him, then featured him in the chalet and allotments pictures as a tribute to him.
I was delighted with the results and proud to display them, I also had some bags, mugs and t-shirts made with the first design of beach huts which were gifts for friends and family. I also added the designs to products at my Zazzle Shop – click on the link to go there.
I will be posting short, (1 minute) animations of each of the pictures. If you would like to see those please revisit the blog next week or subscribe to receive a notification of when they are posted.
I really enjoyed creating the pictures and the nostalgia of the scenes, if others can enjoy seeing them that is wonderful.