Here’s some of the things I did this week.

I blogged …

Click on the pic to get to thebreakfastblog.ie

I bought some spray satin varnish in a sale in Evans. I was a little concerned that the gouache that I had used to paint on pebbles might fade over time or get damaged if something got spilled on it. So, I dealt with that this morning.

I did this this evening. I had previously used acrylic for something similar some months ago. I used gouache for this one. I wouldn’t be framing this, with its wonky moon and the harsh track of the light on the water, but I think that with another few goes I might have something quite pleasing.

This was just playing with new brushes and new paints this evening …

To be candid: it was a mixed week. Interesting in both good and not so good ways. Let’s just say I’m glad it’s over, and leave it at that.


There are a few more poppy-related things in progress but there are a few other ideas around.

The Rathgar horticultural show is coming up. It’s Christine’s gig really. She enters and wins baking competitions each year. One of the competitions, however, is for a bunch of garden grown herbs. I’ve seen the entries before and they are superb. But I thought that, if I had the time and could do it, I might try to display a few of our herbs in a creative way. I thought of plaiting a few sprigs of lavender and then inserting other herbs into the plaits. I don’t know whether it will work or not but it might be worth a try. Here’s a rough go at a lavender plait. Maybe I could do three of these and plait them together.

Ages ago, I was having a go at painting moonlight on the sea and I promised my step-sister that I’d do one for her. I’ve prepared these cards, two with black gouache (the two at the bottom) and two with Chinese ink )top left and right).

I also painted a piece of cardboard with Chinese ink (top centre). It looks quite promising because it dried with some interesting patterns on it. Anyway, that should keep me occupied for a few days.

… and Candles

I enjoy the process of making candles. It’s a bit like cooking with a bit of chemistry thrown in. I think that this is the first time I’ve made scented candles in painted tuna cans so … yay!

I may have explained before, there are various formulas used to calculate the amount of wax and the amount of fragrance to be used and then there are temperatures to be observed. Put the fragrance into wax that’s too hot and the fragrance will burn off. Pour the candles into the containers too hot or too cold and you run the risk of bubbles or shrinkage.

And there is a calculation to be made about the thickness of the wick. Too thin and the flame will be overwhelmed by the wax. Too thick and it’ll smoke.

Here they are, poured …

And, because I’m quite pleased with how I decorated the cans, here are some gratuitous pics …

Poppies and Bees

I’ve spent a lot of time on this idea.

I made a few poppies yesterday out of rice paper but they looked like poppy day poppies and that’s not really what I wanted. I’ve painted poppies in watercolour. Some weren’t bad but not really good enough.

Anyway, to cut a shortish story shorter, I went back to my tuna cans and trusty gouache.

Here’s my first go …

And here’s my second …

I feel a candle making session coming on.

Accidental Inspiration

Poppies and bees are in my head. I have a real need to represent them in some way. I’m working towards something but I’m not quite sure what or how. You’ll see me trying to work this out below.

This is hard. I have a real lack of skill in some areas. I’m not quite sure how to do some of the things I want to do. I’m experimenting. I’m off balance at the moment and a little too anxious also about being able to produce something that I’m going to be happy with.

This thing below is an envelope.

An albino bee, made from toilet paper and PVA glue in my office.

Miraculously coloured now, you’ll see my ex-albino bee half hiding under the poppy below. He’s hiding because his head is too big. I’m not sure which of us is more embarrassed by that fact. This is an experiment on a tuna can. I accidentally varnished my face when trying to stiffen the rice paper poppy petals.

This is a messy watercolour experiment. It’s messy on purpose, though.

Bees awaiting wings and colour … (These ones more accurately represent actual bee anatomy, and are made from that air dough stuff that I used before to make sea creatures. The toilet paper one above was more a loose interpretation of a bee.)


Sweat the Small Stuff

Sometimes it just grabs you. Inspiration or an urge. Happened this morning. Scrolling through Instagram. A little movie made by one of my favourite Instagrammers, @minortismay.

In a sped up video she painted small flowers and foliage, outlined them in black, cut them out and arranged them in a hand-drawn frame. She listed s few of her inspirations, among them @li.la.o. So looking at her page I found a little bunch of cut out flowers arranged in a paper wrapping. I decided to give it a go.

Yesterday, this arrived …

It’s a letterpress drawer, a relic from earlier times and Im going to use it as a display frame. Like this …