What is it about the light on holiday?i

Whenever I take photos when I am not in the UK (ie: in sunny places), the light always seems better… Clearer, more intense colours and so on. So far, in all my travels India and Africa seem to have the best light for photography, but then again it depends what you are photographing I suppose…. This week I have been in Turkey and the colours are inspirational in the sun… I love the fiery reds and oranges against green.  Photos trying to upload on dodgy local wifi so they may appear late on to this text!

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It’s Official. I don’t get a kick out of neutrals anymore….c

Something has changed – it could be hormonal, or maybe I have had a small stroke and a part of my brain has switched to a new dimension, but I just cannot get enthused at the moment with natural shades and calm interiors. Neutrals are great for making things look spacious, calm and restful, but I just don’t seem to want them anymore.  I want drama, colour and eclecticism.

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A cracker of a busy few days….paint, weddings, exhibition and more makeover paint.

This weekend I have been buzzing about all over the place.  Distressing samples for mirror makeovers, going to a lovely wedding, then going to my first gallery exhibition opening, and ending today with a gargantuan task of upcycling the biggest mirrors I HAVE EVER SEEN!

PAINT EXPERIMENTATION:

On Friday, with my friend and accomplice-in-paint Claire, we tested out loads of samples for some huge mirrors that need to be revamped.  They are for a lovely shoe and boot shop Ted&Muffy who are launching in Bath, London and Edinburgh very shortly, and the designers asked for some samples with combinations of blues, greys and whites.  They asked if we could come up with a crackle glaze finish on very ornate carved mouldings.    We started by testing the two colourways on a plain frame with chalk paints; Napoleonic Blue with Old White on top, and Anthracite with Original white on top:

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To do a crackle glaze, you paint your base colour first, and then when it is dry you paint a coat of glaze on top of that.  After 30 mins when it is seemingly dry/a tiny bit tacky, you paint the top coat on top of the glaze.  This has to to be done in one coat/brush sweep only or the crackle glaze sort of mutates and fails.  It is great on flat planes of wood etcetera, and the results show immediately.

So, this all looked good.  BUT….. we were going to try and have to do the one sweep motion on really heavily carved frames, and so we tested a more ornate frame to see how it worked… it was really quite depressing!

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So, the conclusion was that the glaze cannot work in any ornate areas, as if you work the paint into the mouldings then the sweeping one pass motion is lost/impossible and the paint looks like it is curdled, not cracked.

CHIN UP! we thought, in a very British gung-ho fashion.  So I decided to do some samples using rubbing back distressing rather than crackle glaze on some more mouldings.  Even when I got a bit clumsy and this happened, I kept my stoic British face on…

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Chalk paint on deck, that was a bugger to get off….

The next mouldings again used the same colour combinations but I did the typical 2 coats, sand back method with the chalk paints, and wax to finish them off…, and I did a variety to send off the the shop designer to see:

So off the samples went, and I got changed and went to a….

WEDDING!

I love weddings, and this one was for my friends the lovely Aaron and Jenny in the most beautiful location of Priston Mill near Bath.  It is an amazing place with a choice of venues, all hidden in a valley reached via wiggly lanes.  The sun was out, and it was one of those beautiful English evenings.  We sat in a beautiful garden to start, with the most amazing herbaceous borders.  The wedding had sunflower themed floral decor everywhere  There was a brilliant self-photo booth with a polaroid camera, props for the models and a pin board to mount them onto.  Little signs were everywhere, and it was just perfect…

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EXHIBITION LAUNCH

The next morning my family and I headed down to Cornwall for the launch of Art & The Map of Cornwall where I had a piece in a group exhibition at POP Gallery.  This is a great gallery which has very cool street art.  All the artists showing were given a very old map of Cornwall and asked to go away and turn it into something new which referenced Cornwall.  The launch exhibited the original artworks, and limited editions of them are available from POP gallery.  I did a piece called the ‘Great Wave of Cornwall’, mentioned before in this post, and the original painting had already sold by the time of the launch.  There are prints for sale via POP gallery, and they are all hand-finished.  I also sold another large print that night, so it was a great start to the show for me!  Here is the final original artwork piece…

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There were some amazing pieces from the artists and everyone had such different ideas….  Here are some of my favourites:

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We them stayed in Cornwall for the night, and meandered back yesterday after a lovely Brunch in Wadebridge.

BACK TO THE MIRRORS….

So this morning I headed to Ted&Muffy’s store to start work on the mirrors.  The decision was made to not crackle glaze as it just was not working in the corners and on the mouldings, and to paint the mirrors in a very similar shade to the walls of the shops which are all being totally redesigned.  I had a bit of shock when I saw them in the flesh…

Gulp... really quite huge

Gulp… really quite huge

There are 4 mirrors, and they are at least 7 feet tall!  The moulding is even more intricate than I expected in the flesh, (although I had seen photos), so I was really pleased we were going with a simple decorative scheme.  I cracked on and had mixed up Dulux eggshell colour code 10BB83014 which is a really pale, pale grey and suits the decor of the shops.  As it is an eggshell, it also needed a primer to go on first to the frames.  I took the precaution of masking out all the glass, as eggshell is really runny to work with compared to chalk paints which I usually use, and I thought I might make a bit of a mess otherwise…

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Before and after priming

It is the MOST fiddly painting to do, serious dabbing and stabbing to get into all the nooks and crannies, and there is also a beading around the frame almost like pearls on a string which took ages to get the paint behind.  However, here they are primed:

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Masking tape and newspaper to protect from splashes, all primed now

The primer has definitely saved me a lot of time, and the first coat of eggshell went on next:

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Those are REALLY fiddly to paint but starting to look good

I will finish them tomorrow, and when the shops are launched I will post up how they look in their intended scheme.

But for now I shall be having a night off to rest as it has been really hectic but really fun over the last few days.

Great ideas for decorating with maps

I saw this post on Becoration, and it has some great ideas.  Given my recent work on a map for a gallery, (picture at bottom of post), here are some things I can do with the leftover spares I have!  I love the wall map with tags….

Great ideas for decorating with maps.

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My original artwork for an exhibition at POP gallery

Cheer Up Wednesday… and Vote for Make!

This week I have been feeling very sorry for myself as I have had a frozen shoulder and had to halt all creative pursuits over the weekend until it started to calm down as I basically could not use my arm at all.  This for me is a form of hell, not being able to snip, draw, cut or glue…. I did try some things with the left arm, but it sort of comes out like a 4 year old has had a go.  The doctor also gave me some monster pain killers and relaxants, so Diazepam reduced any control I had left for creations, but I felt very happy and spaced out and even the smears looked beautiful!

So today I had some really exciting news which made me forget about the aforesaid useless arm.  I received a tweet telling me that I have nominated in the Amara Interior Blog Awards for my blog.  I think it must be in the small blog section as I am pretty new to this, but it was really nice to be nominated, and thank you to whoever did….  Voting starts on the 10th August but they are still taking nominations until then, so if you like the blog and tips please feel free to give me a click!

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I also got a call asking me to do some paint effects next week for a chain of very smart shoe stores who are re-branding their shops, they want several huge gilt floor standing Rococo mirrors transformed with glazes, paints and crackle glaze.  I will post more info on that process next week, and post a tutorial.

So, despite the useless arm and mind-numbing medication, it has been a super day today and truly a Cheer Up Wednesday!