Saturday 29 June 2013

Two Soups

Well and hello there!

No - not dead...still here...I've deserted my poor little blog and left it hanging here in the scary internet ether, abandoned on the webscape pavement with its teddy bear and a bag of its little bloggy duffle coat....awwwwww.... Yep - and I've had guilt! But there's a good reason I promise! Don't be calling blog-abandonment social services! I'm here now and my blog's all wrapped up warm and snug with a mug of hot chocolate and bunny slippers....

Yep - reason for being away? My body hates me. Quite a lot apparantly. First, a migraine of death, with all the grot that comes with it, then - just as that's fading at last - I put my back out. And I mean, WELL out! And not in any interesting way...nooooo, rather by - oh I dunno - breathing, or blinking or whatever it was that pissed my body off further. All the fun of the fair. So yeah, pretty immobile there for a week or so, with only the classic bent-double shuffle reminiscent of a classic Julie Walters character - Mrs Overall, or possibly the awesome 'Two Soups' waitress (we love Julie Walters - and Victoria Wood....I think it's a law? THOU MUST BOW DOWN BEFORE AWESOME COMEDY ACTING/WRITING TALENT OR ELSE....THAT law....)

 (Hopefully this pic should link to Victoria Wood's long-overdue BAFTA award and the 'Tip Top Tap' routine starring the epic Ms Walters and the spectacular Celia Imrie.)

Better now - I can stand upright and sneeze and lift a kettle for that vital cuppa and EVERYTHING! Fabulous!   And while I got stuff-all done, art-wise, I have thought of many blog entries, so brace yourself and grit your teeth 'cos there's more rambling to come....seems I have an inexhaustible supply of complete drivel and I shall happily inflict it on the blogophere. Moowahahaha.

I'll be a bit more planned in the next post. HA! that's a lie.....I'll make it up as I go along as always....BUT - I'll have a theme and structure.....HA! I lie again..... But in this post I thought I'd show you some of the stuff I made for my mum. Not all of the stuff as she whisked it away before I remembered to take pictures. Planning, planning..... So, yes - when there's a notable date or event, beit birthday, festive Yule/Christmas as is yer pick, Mum's Day, so on, so forth, I make things as gifts a- because it's fun; b- because I find so much commercially produced stuff boring and/or overpriced; and c- because I'm invariably skint, being that I am now officially a starving artist!! Trouble is that I feel I have to trump the last set of gifts with something new - and it's getting tougher! I've made mum felted figures, decorations and ornaments, garlands, copious amounts of jewellery, teddy bears, photo albums, journals and sketch books, altered boxes and chalk boards, coasters, picture frames, painted pictures, written stories and poetry and probably stuff I've forgotten....upping the ante is easier said than done.

SO - with all of this in mind I decided to alter a set of shelves which had belonged to her brother, which were plain and knackered and gods alone know what he'd kept on them, but they were a mess! After MONTHS of debating a theme, I chose to paint them with a design to remind her of all the trips to the seaside we had when I was a kid, the fun I had there and all the cool stories she told me to keep me amused. Pirates and mermaids and buried teasure...all the cool stuff - she's no fool! Anyhoo, I (being an idiot) forgot to take pics for you right at the beginning, but here're the ones I have:

 I sanded the whole thing down and cleaned it off then gave it three coats of gesso undercoat. Then I used spray oil paints to give a thorough colour base in green, blue and sandy yellows. The grass, sea, sand and sky were painted in with liquid acylics - decoart and docafts as they blended perfectly on  the coated wooden base. I ended up using Faber Castell Pitt pens to add depth of colour and outline shading. The Pitt pens are basically india inks in pen form, and on a non-porous base they can be moved and blended like any ink or liquid medium. If you've not used them before I'd HIGHLY recommend them for their vibrant colours and overall versatility. They're not cheap, but better value than the likes of Copics in my opinion.

I opted to use Magic Color Liquid Acrylic Ink for the white clouds, combined with a LITTLE matte gel medium for body. I didn't want this to look realistic as such, more idealised, which I suppose is the way I see seaside trips in my mind's eye. I wanted a SLIGHTLY cartoonish, illustrative feel to the whole thing.  I also lightly sanded and Pitt penned the edges to create a 'weather-worn' look.

Given that the shelves would be covered with STUFF, I kept them plain and gave a light gesso whitewash to the top and sides to add to the beachy seaside look. I kept the layered base colours to compliment the rest of the design.

I used my gorgeous, sexy Neocolor II pastels to paint some scabeous flowers and hairbells (mum's seaside favourites). Again, I wanted to keep the designs illustrative rather than botanical, softer and simpler - the colour's what I remember most from my childhood so that's what I concentrated on.

I coated the whole thing with a quality satin lacquer - another product I absolutely can't do without ...

 ...I order it in quantity so I don't run out and 'cos it saves me cha-ching on post fees.  Once the whole lot had had a couple of good coats I mod podged the (also pre-lacquered) flowers onto the shelves, Pitt pen shaded around them and painted on some representations of sea grasses and weeds.

I wanted to add a 'thing' - something that hinted at the stories I was told, and made up for myself... I tried a few things and was grumpy about all of them so in the end I painted and decoupaged this diving tail. You can see it as a whale, a giant fishy-wishy thingy or a mermaid, whatever. In MY mind it's a mermaid, but then I am a tad mermaid obsessed...

I added some spotty detail with a uni ball gel pen and a couple of distant seagulls and added three more coats of lacquer, allowing good drying time in between coats.  (note the spray-painted chives..... I'm a nightmare with a spray can in my hand - I wanna paint everything!!)

My photos are not so awesome, I'll admit, as they were a bit rushed, but I hope they give you an idea of the thing. It actually looks better in 'real life', as it were.... at least I think so. What do you think? Mum likes it - that's what matters, right? I had fun doing it too so that's cool !

Ok - I think I'll leave this post here otherwise it's gonna be one of those epic ones that make your face go numb by the end! I hope you like my piccies - thank you for reading and for being patient with my wonky back-related absence! Hope this day is awesome for you. Hugs - Shroo :)x


  1. I really love what you have done with these odd little shelves . What an original way to re cycle ... and a lovely gift to boot !

  2. Thank you :) Yes - these were really fun to do -once I'd figured out the theme! The figuring out took longer than the work!! - Shroo :)x