Thursday, 20 April 2017

Great news and starting with a background?

The great news for today is that we have sold the first batch of Portrait Shuffle Packs. Fabulous and thank you so much!! More packs are on their way, so please continue to sign up and we'll do our very best to ensure that they wing their way towards you as soon as possible.


Making a background.

Thinking what to make for your portrait can be tricky but also enormous fun! You may not want or feel able to complete a portrait in the traditional sense – it might not float your boat, or it could be challenging on the scale of an A5 canvas.

Perhaps you could try to think about your subject beyond their looks. What makes them tick? What do you know about them? If it’s yourself, think about what makes you, you! Here’s a line from a piece of poetry that has appeared in more than one of the Life Story quilts –  Fair Seed Time Had My Soul, by Wordsworth. The words have meaning to me.

“Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up Fostered alike by beauty and by fear.”

You will need to make sure that it's ok to quote and that you're not breaking copyright for example, as text is covered in much the same way as images.

Anyway, I wrote these words on some calligraphy paper with a view to collaging them on the canvas to make a background. Not sure how I’ll progress – maybe an image of some seed heads/pods.

Image 1: Using a marker pen to write on calligraphy paper. This is thin, strong and smooth, and tears well. This was stuck to the A5 canvas with acrylic gel which dries clear.

Image 2: Using a bradawl (with a rubber underneath to protect the table) to punch holes through the canvas.

Image 3: Sewing some stitches onto the canvas using a stranded embroidery thread.

 Image 4: Making it into a background by giving the whole thing a coat of gesso.
Image 5:  Here's some sketching of seed heads that could be worked into with collage or paint, fabric, gold leaf - anything!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Portrait making idea - A Portrait in Parts!

For this portrait I'm starting off by using some stencils and stamps to make a background. I especially like the stencil with the jumbled letters and numbers you can see below all the others. There is also some acrylic paint, disposable palette papers, and sponge rollers.

I used the first colour paint over the stencil (left hand side) which leaves some of the white surface of the canvas showing. I then flipped the stencil and used black paint on the remaining bit of canvas. I continued to flip and apply paint.

Time for a few stamp impressions.

I now have a background on the canvas - I may need to over paint to make it more black later.

Next step, is to make a similar effect on some card which I'm going to cut up into labels.

 Cutting up the cardboard prints (which have been backed with black card)

Using a bradawl to make a hole.

Threading with my chosen thread, and attaching to the painted canvas.

 Adding more. They hang loose from the top. When happy I'll fix them permanently with a staple gun and hide it all under a piece of fabric or similar.

 Showing the reverse of my tags. There's nothing on them yet, but I shall fill with sketches/paintings etc of eyes, noses, mouths, ears - whatever takes my fancy!! A portrait in parts.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Jenny Wren Portrait

Of course, a portrait doesn't have to be of a person - you could for example, choose your pet or any animal. We have a pair of wrens in our garden, and they often flit about just the other side of the window in an old honeysuckle. If I stay really still, I can see them at close quarters from the settee.

I'm not a good enough drawer to catch their likeness whilst they're flitting about, so I've copied an image from a book. I had no idea how complex all those feather patterns were!

I drew the wren onto caligraphy paper (a new purchase - I was eager to try it out!) but I think I used the wrong side as it has a slightly rough surface, whereas the other is smooth. Never mind, it still worked well with pencil.

Having stuck the finished paper to my canvas using acrylic gel, I thought it needed something else. I drew a circle and used gold acrylic paint to infill. I could have used gold leaf which would have looked even better I think, but I couldn't get the lid off the size.

I liked the sparseness of the white and gold with the pencil drawing, but decided to be reckless and add a spot of blue.

Of course, once the blue had dried, I decided I preferred the white!! I compromised by putting a coat or two of white acrylic over the blue except for the bottom right hand corner. Why did I leave that? I have no idea - I just liked the weight of colour at the bottom and the design made by the blocks of colour.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Festival of Quilts - ticket discount!

Ticket lines for The Festival of Quilts 2017 are now open. Don't forget to use your discount code (found in your Portrait Shuffle Pack) to receive an exclusive discount on the entrance price -£2.50 discount on adult advance tickets and £1 discount on advance concession tickets.

The portrait below was done by monoprinting using a photocopy of my face and open acrylics onto a white gessoed background  and then coloured with acrylic washes.I decided not to put all my chins in.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Just having fun!

Experimenting with portraiture

I like glass perfume bottles and have collected them over recent years. Can you see the little one in the collection below with the glass strands around the outside? Graham gave it to me for a Christmas present about 5 years ago.

If you've decided to join in the TOH Portrait Shuffle, you might be wondering how a perfume bottle fits into the theme. You may also be looking at your blank A5 canvas and wondering what on earth to do!

To help explain, the TOH gallery at Festival of Quilts this year will be about portraits and will be full of quilts and textiles made by 27 different artists, and their work will be very different from each other as it will be based on their own interpretations and how they identify themselves and others.
Some of the accompanying text to exhibition:

A portrait can be almost anything, from a face to a bouquet of flowers. It’s an open term allowing for discovery, experimentation and interpretation of self and others.

A perfume bottle is an interpretation of self in that it is about my loves and relationships, and perhaps says more about what makes me tick than an image of my face.

Image 1: Making a background using a stencil and waterproof pen.

Image 2: Filling in the stencil shapes with some marks.

 Image 3: I've left a perfume bottle shaped hole!

 Image 4: A pen and ink drawing onto caligraphy paper, stuck into place using acrylic gel medium.

 Image 5: Painting over the background using watercolour.

Image 6: A wash of white paint tones it all down a bit, and provides a better background for some stamping.

Image 7: Adding texture and text with stamps, and a final layer of gel to seal it all and lift the colour with shine.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Even more good news!

We are being joined in the Shuffle, by TOH artists, Eszter Bornemisza, Els van Baarle, Mirjam Pet Jacobs, and Linda Barlow! Perhaps you'll get a piece of work from one of these wonderful artists??

The first batch of Portrait Shuffle packs are nearly ready to go and should be with you in a few days.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Great news!!

We have the wonderful news that Through Our Hands Affiliate Artists, Michala Gyetvai, Bente Vold Klausen, Jenni Dutton, Alicia Merrett, Sue Stone, Sandra Meech, are all donating and A5 piece of their work to the Shuffle!

Who's work will you get? Here's some images of their work from our website to inspire you. for more.

Bente Vold Klausen

 Alicia Merrett

 Michala Gyetvai

Sue Stone

 Jenni Dutton

 Sandra Meech

Monday, 3 April 2017

Your packs will be on their way shortly

Thank you for joining in the Portrait Shuffle, and we hope you have fun creating your portrait and sharing with others. Don't forget to keep us updated with what you can email us on or leave us a comment - or there's a "contact us" form on the sidebar.

Your portrait packs will be with your shortly.

There's still plenty of time to join in as the portraits don't have to be with us until the end of July. Click on the tab at the top of the page, or the one on the sidebar to send for your pack.