Much as I love Christmas, I'm always itching to get into a normal routine. All that relaxing and doing nothing soon palls! Most of all I long to get back in my workroom. I have managed to steal a few minutes here and there to do a bit of drawing but nothing serious or considered. That really must change as I've been treated to a beautiful studio easel, a number of large canvasses and lots of tubes of oil paint - my family are determined I will have no excuse not to paint.
However, before I lose myself in painting, the first priority in this new year has been the unenviable task of choosing a winner for the Art Diary Challenge. I knew this was going to be an almost impossible job and it was! In fact I had to rope in Laura for assistance. After much debate, we have chosen a favourite open page spread and I can announce that the deserving winner is Jennifer Mary from Denmark. Jennifer's page stood out for us because of the thought behind it. In her words..........
"Everyone morning I go for a walk before breakfast and I have made the decision to pick up a piece of litter, each day, and throw it in a bin.
This works well with the usual cigaret packets, beer cans and bus tickets, but this day I found two torn shopping lists outside the supermarket and todays challenge was chosen for me.
They were picked up, but never reached the bin.:-)"
We loved Jennifer's response to a simple idea to do her bit for the environment. Illustrating a stranger's discarded shopping list across her art diary page that day was completely serendipitous but showed us what an imaginative approach Jennifer has to keeping a visual record of events. Many congratulations Jennifer - your prize of art materials is in the post. I hope you continue with your visual diary and it will give you lots of pleasure.
We were so impressed with the standard of the work sent to us that we couldn't leave it with just one winner. We have awarded several Highly Commended prizes too. I'll share their pages with you next post!
In the meantime I have been giving a lot of thought to my own work lately and I want to continue with the theme of family and of portraits. To that end I took loads of photos over the holiday. I'm going to ease myself in gently with individual heads on each canvas but my longer term ambition is a group composition - I will have to get practise in before I can attempt that! People always think these things come easily to me but the truth is it's always scary to start a new piece, especially as I'm working in oils and that's new to me. Not all of my models have been cooperative when asked to smile for the camera.
Don't think I'll be using that one!
Before Christmas Laura photographed some of her father's guitars and banjos. We had an idea to print the images to cloth and make them up as cushions as a surprise. Unfortunately the run up to the big day was hectic, customers had to come first and his present went to the bottom of the list. Now that the main rush is over we were able to give him his late gift and he seems to have forgiven us for its lateness!
Each cushion has a second image on the back so they can be switched around for a different look. The detail of the banjo is probably my favourite. How convincingly 3D is that well done Fingerprint!
Even though there's been far too much eating and drinking going on over the last couple of weeks I am enjoying being in the kitchen again. Thanks to my sister-in-law Pam, I am now the happy owner of Richard Bertinet's book, 'Crust'. I have loved his first book, 'Dough' for ages and now I have some of his more challenging recipes to tackle. Yesterday I made a ferment and today, 24 hours later I made 5 ciabatta loaves. They look suitably rustic and taste wonderful - well worth the time taken. I'm planning to have a go at the baguettes next!
With the whole year ahead of us it's time to get creative again. Laura and I have loads of ideas to get you started. I hope you'll enjoy this year's DMTV videos if you're already a subscriber and if you're not, maybe you'll decide to join us!
Thank you for your company over the last year - please keep your comments coming.
Till next time - love Linda