Sunday, 31 January 2016

Just for Fun!

                                        Now that I have my wings, I can fly anything at all!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Using the Wings.

 Having isolated the dragonfly wings I can make a 'brush' in Photoshop, so that I can make the wings any size and any colour.

Here I've used a 'brush' of a whole dragonfly as well as a few separate wings.  Lots of fun play!

Friday, 29 January 2016


 I found this unfortunate dragonfly dead on the front driveway with lots of ants trying to take it away.
 I wanted an image of dragonfly wings for a new project, so I was happy to get rid of the ants and bring the insect inside to work on. Unfortunately there was a little damage to one forewing and one hind wing, so I had to separate the wings and double up on the 2 near perfect ones.
 I want to make a small screen print of this, but to do so the wings need to be black and white, so I set to work in  Photoshop to take out the colour, which took a lot more time than I thought, as there was a lot of shadow on the wings.

Because they didn't lie flat, I tried photographing them under glass, but in the end I decided to just make do with a slight out of focus look and call it quits with the image above.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Mrs Spider still Weaving.

 I've taken so many photos of our resident spider, trying to get a good image. Mostly because she is busy spinning, she and the web are jiggling around and the photos are blurred. I don't know what happened to the web in the upper and lower left of this picture, probably insects flew into it and broke some strands. 
 Here on another night she hasn't quite finished spinning. I thought that she went from the outside into the centre in one continuous movement, but by watching her over several night, it appears that she does the outside few centimetres and then widely spaced rows closer in and then goes back and fills in the gaps.
Amazing that she remakes the web every night, having eaten it all before she goes off and hides for the day. We're getting very fond of Mrs Spider, rushing out from 9 pm each night so see how she's getting on!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Last Samples.

 How about this for interesting patterning? Definitely not my choice of colours, but..............
                                               invert in Photoshop, and that's more like it!

Monday, 25 January 2016

More Dye Play.

 Although this is very pale, the different layers of the batik type dyeing with soy wax can just be seen.
Also to be seen are the blobs where I couldn't control the wax sufficiently at the start and end of the designs.!
 Again the layers can be seen as well as the blobby start to the diagonal squiggles. There are 3 layers of dye and wax in this piece but it's hard to make last colour out clearly, perhaps you can see it by clicking on the image and enlarging it. This piece of fabric and the one above were both done on very fine voile cloth, so perhaps that accounts for the paleness of the printing.
I love this effect, though I'm not at all sure when I would use fabric patterned in this way.  Perhaps if I use more earthy colours next time.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

New Dyes.

 I don't usually enrol in the classes offered by the Embroiderers Guild Victoria as part of their annual Summer School, preferring to use the summer holiday time to 'do my own thing'. However, the idea of trying out some very different dyes had me intrigued enough to enrol this year. These 2 pieces are the result of just one of the techniques shown by the tutor Sue Fox.
Made in Australia, these dyes are non toxic and lots of fun to use, but best of all they work on all fabrics, cotton, silk, poly-cotton etc and don't need steaming even for the silk. More samples and information tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Orb Weaving Spider.

 I was watching the amazing progress of an orb weaving spider last night and tried to get some photos of her at work.  The flash was not a good idea as it completely flooded the scene with light, but using the night scene mode of my camera and the light of a torch,  I managed to get a few reasonable photos.
While the spider herself is out of focus, the web is clearly seen, and the amazing symmetry of it all can be appreciated.

Friday, 22 January 2016


I managed to scan a rather old and brittle cicada wing with the idea of using it to make prints from. 
By the time I had deleted ragged bits and cleaned it up it looked O.K. but lacking in texture.
 Here I've rolled over it on a gelatine plate with a brayer, giving more texture, but not quite what I was looking for.
By the time I had rolled over the wing a few times it had broken up and I didn't like the brayer marks which appeared because I had to press down a bit to get the wing impression.
Maybe another technique will give a better result.
          The Photoshop Invert command produces images that remind me very much of fossils.

Monday, 18 January 2016


This piece that I was working on way back in the middle of the year, now almost forgotten by me, has been chosen as 'Print of the Month' by the Firestation Print Studio. Here is a link back to the work in  progress last year Here. (you will need to scroll about halfway down) And here is a link to the wonderful Firestation  Print Studio. Here  The work was exhibited in a shop front as part of the City of Stonington Glo Festival and then it went to London with a whole lot of other prints to be exhibited there. Those prints have found their way home again, as have the post cards from The North and South' that were exhibited in Japan. Here Mine is the Palms, to the right of the lovely Seahorse second bottom row. The management of the Firestation Print Studio are to be commended for presenting so many wonderful opportunities to their members.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Back to the Dragonflies.

 I made coloured photocopies of the gelatine prints that I made a few days ago so that I could cut them up and try various different placements on a couple of the paler background prints. These pieces are all too green!
    The yellow and blue prints tone in better with the background colours, but it's all too busy.
 Perhaps if I cut out some of the dragonflies.............get rid of the flower prints and simplify it a bit.
                        Hmmm, getting better, still too heavy with the larger pieces added.
            Cut out a few more of the dragonflies............. looking better I think, but still not right.
                                                       Back to the drawing board I think!

Friday, 15 January 2016

A Couple of Days in the Country.

 What a lovely spot for a café! This is the view from the café attached to the Benalla Art Gallery in North East Victoria where we had coffee and a delicious lemon tart for morning tea. The art works on display were pieces by prominent and not so well known women artists, including indigenous women painters.
 Back to home territory and a walk across the paddocks with the dog on a lovely cool and sunny day.
I just love this old tree ! I always pause to put my hands on the trunk whenever I pass. In a previous run of drought years it threw out masses of seed in an attempt to pass on its genes if it died through lack of water.  The seed all fell in a circle around the tree and as a large number of the seeds germinated, the tree is now in the middle of a ring of saplings, a magic circle!
 Here is the tree nearly 3 years ago and if you look carefully you can see the blue-grey seedlings all around it in a  circle.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Between Worlds.

 Not quite so hot today, but I still had trouble with the paint being too dry. I switched to the commercial Gelli Plate thinking that it might be better than my home made version, but it made no difference, except that I was having to work with a smaller surface area.  I'd rather have a little more space to play with however. This above has some potential, but the owl and dragonfly didn't print very clearly
 I carefully placed some inked stamps over the motifs, which I think improved them, but it is all too cramped on this small plate. Still just playing around and having fun!
       Interesting...............some eyelash yarn on the plate, removed and then the dragonflies added.
The colours are a bit wishy washy however, being a ghost print.  I wonder what a few Photoshop filters will achieve!

Monday, 11 January 2016

More Dragonflies.

 Nothing seemed to work very well today, probably because it was too hot..  The paint was very dry even with the addition of some drying retarder and the prints were mostly a disaster. This above is about the best of them and the inverse below is interesting.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Stage 2.

Even though I only need 6 copies of this new work, I've printed 9 eastern cities stamps onto the previously painted sunset backgrounds to allow for the next stage to go wrong. In fact it already did, as I made a Print Gocco Here thermofax screen for the next image, but I don't know if I burnt the wrong side of the mesh or just what, but it didn't burn through. I've made another one however, but each one has used 4 flash globes, which makes for a very expensive screen!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

How Fast Time Flies!

I posted pictures a few days ago of art that I said I was working on a year ago at this time.
I have just discovered however, that it was actually 2 years ago!
This time last year I was experimenting with printing on fabric treated with Solar Fast solution.
 I have a collection of butterflies that bought many years ago, which I photographed and then stored the images away for a 'rainy day'. Just messing around with Photoshop last year, I decided to resize the specimens and arrange them in an imaginary printer's tray. I love the idea of cyanotype prints, to I changed each butterfly to a black and white image, made an acetate image and printed the whole collection onto cotton fabric treated with blue Solar Fast. Not quite a cyanotype, but not too far away either.
 Here I made a similar acetate image with a photo of pressed grass seed heads and printed with the same blue Solar Fast solution. Here

Monday, 4 January 2016

Eastern City Skyline Stamp.

 Why I chose to do this stamp carving in such a small size I really don't know! It's a great challenge to get the domes symmetrical and to get the little pinnacles even there at all. The stamp only measures 5cm at the tallest point and is 11 cm long.
 First printout using a stamp pad for ink shown above the block, not quite there, but it will probably do.

Sunday, 3 January 2016


Not much art accomplished today, however I did manage to paint some pages this morning in sunset colours for a current project. The problem was that I sponged the paper with water first to allow the colours to blend in nicely, but the water and then the paint flowed over the edges of the paper and left the backs of the papers looking very mucky. Since they are for a particular project where I think that the backs matter, I was a little annoyed with myself for allowing it to happen. I need 6 clean copies, so I'll see how it goes.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

This Time Last Year.

 This time last year I was playing with nasturtium leaves and various forms of printing and dyeing.
Early January is a good time for me to play with my art supplies, as I try to have as little on outside home as possible at this time. Often it is too hot to go out anyway, so I love this time of the year.
 Here I'm printing with rubber bands on a silk screen, sort of deconstructed screen printing on some previously dyed fabric, simulating the shapes of nasturtium leaves.
                                       Printing with actual nasturtium leaves on dyed fabric.
 Here I've used a text about the naming of nasturtiums as a background for more actual leaves and a thermofax (Print Gocco) screen that I made of my drawing of nasturtium flowers.  The screen of the text was also 'burnt' on a Print Gocco machine.
              Another version of deconstructed screen printing using rubber bands as a resist.