Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Primroses Colour Palette for Springtime

What colour comes to mind when you hear the word 'primrose'?

I'm sure most of us associate primroses with the colour yellow - the particularly delicate, pale yellow of the wild primroses of springtime. I remember, as a child, travelling on the old steam trains in the Isle of Wight, you could look out of the window and see a 'carpet' of pale yellow! 

The wild primroses almost completely covered the grassy banks of the cuttings we passed through just before we went into a tunnel. Anywhere else, they would have been picked or even dug up for someone's garden. But it was probably too dangerous for anyone to venture down the steep slopes of the railway cuttings to pick them. So they were left in peace, to grow and multiply - a lovely sight in spring!

But cultivated primroses come in a wide range of colours!

Years ago I grew them from seed. But nowadays my lack of wide enough window sills for the seedlings, sends me off to the supermarket to buy the plants. (That's my excuse, anyway!)

I particularly like the pink-ish orange ones  - 

Sometimes I can't get enough of them all the same colour for the shelf in my front porch, so then I go for as many different colours as I can:

To me the different coloured flowers look fine - splendidly bright and cheerful! 

But when you look at all the colours together, I can't help feeling that there are too many colours, that some need to be eliminated to make a cohesive colour scheme.

So from this group of eight colours, we could pick out lots of different schemes.

I have chosen 2, 3, 4 and 6 for this traditional Islamic pattern:

But there are lots of other possibilities!
Which four would you choose?

You can save this pattern tile and experiment with it if you wish -

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

True Friends Illustration

Friends! Hmmm . . . where to begin?

It's a topic that's very much on my mind these days.

As time goes by, I've become increasingly aware of the value of friendship. And yet each year that passes, the number of people I would call real, true friends gets smaller and smaller.

Some of my good friends have died; frankly, more than I would have expected at our age, especially as we keep hearing on the media that we're all living longer.

Others, from places I used to live and who were maybe not the closest of friends, have allowed the physical distance between our homes to finally let go of an increasingly meaningless 'friendship'. And then there are some who have been unable to understand, let alone support, the fact that I have finally set out in pursuit of the career I always wanted, at the point when most of my contemporaries are winding down into retirement. Sadly, another parting of the ways.

And it isn't easy to make new friends later in life when we can no longer make friends whilst waiting for our offspring at the school gate. And those of us who have retired or work at home no longer have the opportunity to turn work colleagues into friends.

I'm sure they serve a very useful function for some but I for one am not quite ready for the likes of Lunch Clubs for Seniors in the Community Centre! 

But I've come to realise that I'm one of the luckier ones!  I do have a few 'best buddies', true friends who, although they live hundreds of miles away, also live in my heart!

Please feel free to save and print this A4 300 dpi Friendship Quote
or maybe just 'Pin' it?

But loneliness and social isolation is rife amongst older people. 
The replacement of the extended family by the 'nuclear' model has played a large part in that. Times change, sometimes, but not always, for the better.

One day my son commented that there are a lot of 'old people' in Abergavenny! I hadn't noticed it but once he mentioned it, I started to realise how right he was. As I cross the park on my way to the shops, I often overtake older people, out for their daily breath of fresh air. Normally I'm in such a hurry that I bowl past them at a rate of knots. 

But if I can spare the time, I've begun stopping for a chat and I'm finding that it's very much appreciated.

It's easy to get into conversation, surrounded as we are by the beautiful trees in the park as well as the mountains, there's always something to talk about. And of course, we Brits are always ready to talk about the weather! It means I have to walk much more slowly than usual but I think it's worth it to see how pleased people are to have someone to chat with, even if it's only for five minutes or so.

I'm not pretending that these brief, chance encounters are a replacement for a lasting friendship - our paths may never cross again. But they are better than nothing, by a long way!

When I'm busy working, I can go for several days without speaking to anyone. As an introvert with work that I enjoy, that doesn't bother me too much. I also have family who are at the other end of a phone/email/text message - and of course, I have friends online!

Some of the older people I meet on my way to the shops have nobody to talk to and very little to fill their days. But they do love to talk about their family or their former job or career, if only there's someone to really listen!

So please, if you possibly can, spare a little time for the older generation - you might find it more rewarding than you ever imagined!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A Spring Landscape Colour Palette

I've never been drawn to the colours of the typical spring landscape.

Years ago - probably nearly half a century ago! - I'd paint little water colours of the countryside in winter with fingers almost too cold to hold my paintbrush. And the landscape colours of late summer holidays driving down through France have been know to get my creative juices flowing. 

But springtime? No - the colours of fresh green sprouting buds are just too acidic for my liking, strangely cold and harsh compared even to the winter colour palettes. However, here's an interesting spring colour palette - yes there are a couple of sharp, bright colours - the lemon yellow and the neon green.

So why do I quite like this photo of the park that I cross every time I go shopping, in spite of those bright greens and yellows? 

It's probably because those brilliant colours are offset by some wonderfully mellow tones, especially the colours of the copper beech trees that are more reminiscent of autumn. So that harsh, bright green and 'aggressive' yellow are just accent colours balanced by the more muted, subtle tones all around them. And that way, I find them less aggressive!

But even so, if I were using this palette for an interior or for an outfit or a pattern, I think I'd choose just one of the bright accent colours and it would probably be the green. In fact the six colours on the right-hand side could make a good combination, as could the whole of the top row . . .

Which ones would you choose?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Work in Progress - April, a Very Mixed Bag!

Until this week, our weather in April has been more like early summer than springtime!

Just as well, as I've had to be out and about a lot more than usual, mostly walking into town to meet friends or going to various medical appointments. All this walking is much better for my back than sitting at a computer. But on the other hand, it's time I'd otherwise be using for designing and 'creating' products and greeting cards for sale in Print-on-demand stores!

All that taken into consideration, I haven't done too badly!

I've made three of my new 'Friendship' quotation illustrations into Flexible Fridge Magnets.

You can see them, and a couple of older ones

And I've finally finished creating products with my collage fishes, ending with a set of Persian New Year (Norooz) greeting cards. This custom-front card is just one of the fifteen cards addressed to various family relations and friends -

Zazzle have introduced so many new products since I first started stocking my Posh and Painterly store in August, 2013, that one of my weekly tasks is to go back over my collections, adding new products wherever there are gaps. 

This month, I finished some of the 'Daisy Chains' patterns. And then moved on to my 'Islamic Collection'

Here, for instance, is a Cube Pouf -

Red Bubble have also added scarves to the products we can put our patterns/designs on so that has kept me busy as well -

If the quality is anything like as good as the
Tote Bags, they'll be excellent value and just right
for gifts for friends that I have to send by post!

It's been quite a challenge to fit in working on a new pattern with so many other things going on. 

So I cheated slightly and chose a pattern that I'd begun a while back. It still needed a lot of work, though, and I'm quite pleased with how many products I've been able to create with it, in spite of a lack of time!

Here it is - my "Granny Print" collection,
another hand-painted paper collage,
digitally manipulated to make a repeating pattern.

I've barely started creating coordinating patterns for my 'Granny Print' so I expect that to take me right through most of May.

One of the new products that Zazzle have introduced this year really caught my imagination - Ceramic Drawer Knobs and Pulls!

They seem the ideal product to feature my somewhat 'Shabby Chic' patterns. So, whenever I've had a few moments to spare, I've begun to 'create' some of them - lots more to come! 

(If only Zazzle would slow down with the introduction of new products, just for a while, it might give us time to catch up!)

And finally -

My Fairy House is finished and varnished!


Can you see the lacy pink Fairy Wings hanging on the washing line at the back?

So I've turned my attention to my paper bead-making

I'm not finding the roller I bought is all that helpful in getting the paper to roll nice and straight. I seem to have more control over it when I use a cocktail stick - hopefully I'll be able to post some finished necklaces next time!

I wish, as always, that I'd had more time to be creative.

But I think the various appointments have been worthwhile. It seems that, having been prescribed asthma inhalers for nearly three years, I almost certainly don't actually have asthma! (The symptoms may be caused by the acid reflux/possible hiatus hernia that took me to hospital just before Christmas.)

And the physiotherapist I've just started seeing seems to know what she's about, even if that does involve leaning heavily on my back, causing a lot of 'treatment soreness' for the rest of the week! I've had an increasingly nagging, burning pain down my 'wrong' leg for more than four years and it didn't feel like sciatica. But apparently it is nerve pain coming from my back - though not the sciatic nerve. Now that we know that, I can be treated and do exercises in the hope that it will gradually improve. I've already begun to feel that my back is less stiff than it was a week ago.

Who knows, I might even be able to go out with the local walking group again one day! 

With a bit of detective work and a lot of determination on my part the pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to fit together. (I'd rather be designing, though!)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Strawberry, Melon and Kiwi Fruit - a Color Palette for all seasons!

So far, April has been mostly dry and sunny - and remarkably warm for spring. 

Almost summer-like, in fact, and I've seen plenty of people in t-shirts and shorts in town, though I wouldn't go quite that far myself!

But I do have buds on some of my roses:

And it won't be long before this dark corner of my garden is brightened up by the wonderful bright blue Ceanothus; the fluffy buds are all ready to open!

More of this summer-like weather is forecast for the rest of the month so, with that in mind, here's a luscious 'Summer Fruits' colour palette that caught my eye while I was shopping -

It's a mouth-watering colour scheme 
with so many applications! 

It would give a small, dark room a warm and cosy feel, all year round. But it could equally be used with a lot of white - and maybe some black? - to bring a summery feeling to a larger, lighter room.

What would you use it for?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Another Favourite Friendship Quote - Stars

If you've moved house as many times as I have, you'll probably have a number of old friends living too far away to meet up with them face to face very often.

But if they were truly good friends, as opposed to 'acquaintances', the bond will more than likely remain intact, even though you may not even get the chance to speak with them as often as you'd like. These are the friends you make time to ring for an annual chat on their birthday and within seconds, it feels as if you spent time with them only yesterday.

These friends are your 'stars' - and maybe, hopefully, you are their 'stars' too!

This is a high resolution, A4-sized image that you are welcome
to save and print or pin to Pinterest.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Looking Forward to Summer with this Seaside Colour Palette

Now that the evenings are staying light longer, it's beginning to feel as if winter really is on the way out. 

At times, the past few days have almost tempted me to get out my t-shirts and flip-flops - almost! So spring has definitely sprung - before we know it, it will be summer! And don't you think these bead necklaces have a 'summery' feel about them? 

I suppose it's partly because I can't imagine wearing a sea-shell necklace with a thick, warm sweater, but it's also because the colours remind me so strongly of days at the beach.

There are the brilliant blues of the sea and the coral pinks of crabs and shrimps, contrasting so well with the light beiges and greys of the sea-shells and pebbles! They all add up to a day out at the seaside - can't you even hear the waves and smell the sea?

I think it's amazing that we can find wonderful colour palettes so close to home - provided we keep a look out for them. So there's never any need to lack inspiration.

Could you make a pattern using this colour scheme? If you do, I'd love to see it - perhaps you could post a link to it in the comments?