Manipulating Edinburgh with my IPhone 

The last couple of weeks  manipulations in my iphone apps, I’ve been experimenting digitally with ideas for paintings- I haven’t worked like this before. Usually the digital images are a end product in them selves. 


Interesting window at my gym – Edinburgh , waste pipes , Georgian window , light through a room, shutters , trees out the other side ( it ticked lots of boxes …..) 

I always sell a few pictures in my exhibitions that are Edinburgh based, so I like to manipulate what ever I am working on in that direction for a few pieces – shameless marketing? It pays for the framing and nibbles at the private view 


Heisenberg filter applied – I could do a whole graphic novel just using that filter 


Add a bit of dramatic colour – to see if it could work over the top of one of my mandalas – Nope 

Well we could use the trees reflected in the door at the gym or some stairs on the way to the market? 


Below I image bleneded the Heisenberg steps with the coloured gym window – which is a bit more interesting , but can I be bothered to draw all those railings? It’s always a problem wether to draw or whether just to leave it as a photo. 


Earlier this week  Edinburgh chimneys worked really well 



They inspired me to add a sky and a silhouette to a canvas I keep adding layers to – but, wasn’t going anywhere. I like the blue against my red wall

And I’ve gone off at a tangent….

Suddenly – just like that, it’s all about chimneys and architecture ……

And then – I am spending ages on my iPhone layering and fiddling in my apps – making my self bug eyed and just a bit obsessed (again)  if you ask me ….






At least some of these are  taken and played with outside,  wandering Edinburgh getting some fresh air (lol) – anyone watching me must have thought I was doing a window or door survey ……..



And I notice I am doing a bit of painting – though still architecturally based 


And then there are those that I deleted 


Apps I love using :  

Image blender, where you can layer two images , mask , arrange and change filters


Prisma – adds arty filters to your work , my favourite is ‘Heisenberg’ – which has an image of Richard Cranston in role, as its logo ( so I get to break bad and change my art into stylised cartoons , with the press of a button) 


The filters on the iPhone camera – particularly  ‘Exposure’ ( my phone never uses the correct exposure automatically? ) and some thing called ‘black point’ which are  part of the ‘light’ menus  


Layout – inside IG which puts my pictures into nice grids 

A3 still life Part 2 

Building up my layers –

Stage 5 –  I spritzed pink ink through a doily and added turquoise acrylic paint though stencils 

Stage 6- I want a more orange effect so spritzed some yellow ink through the doily after the acrylic paint had dried 



Above are the doily and stencils that I used 

Developing a style , A3 size part 1- step by step 

Frequently over the years, I have been asked to do bigger work. I bailing at it because I like working in my kitchen on several things at once. However, the still life style I have been producing would work well A3 ( 12″x16.5″)

Drawing a mandala that big was a bit tricky until I got the hang of it

Stage 1 – mandala  drawing using water soluble teal ink on 140lb watercolour paper and cartridge paper 

Stage 2- Spritzed with water x4 

The second one is drawn with thin sharpie just to see what happens ( my turquoise pen ran out) I always think as I do each stage – leave it here …..


I love the slight differences that you get doing a series 

Part3- adding texture and energy drawing loose spirals in a variety of different pencils , gelatos and pens 


I also added some Galeria  Matt varnish because the blokey in my local art shop said it would act as a resist …… we shall see 

Stage 4 – sprayed pink watersoluble pink ink through a crochet diolly 


I have decided that If I am doing teal and turquoise acrylic backgrounds on top and of these I need to add a bit more zing to the underneath layer. Disappointing there is no evidence of the varnish acting as a resist at this stage …..


But not too much 
Fluorescent pink and yellow is just a bit too much even for me …. ( above I spread it on with a credit card) 

Developing a style part 2 

I have been churning out my back grounds for my still life paintings. My ‘Critical Friend’  Deb suggested that they didn’t look ‘ finished’. I borrowed another vase and messed around with my IPhone looking at composition. 


I like me my layering app- Image Blender and the filter App Prisma for messing about with my images . I wanted to try and get a simillar effect to my painting but using digital methods  


I was pleased with the result – sometimes I wonder why I paint. I don’t get an  emotional response working digitally. 

I started working on several paintings of the same thing at once – because I find it easier to become emerged and like series paintings 


I wasn’t satisfied with these, the vase is horrid to draw and the flowers looked too solid and fleshy. I wondered if the landscape format was too big for the subject 


This was still feeling dull and had lost much of the energy of the initial background . The patterns showed through, but the over all effect was too flat , (teal does not photograph well either) . 

I sent a couple of images to Deb – she liked the last picture  but said: 

‘I think you need to find your ‘why’ and then it will all come together – Why are you making these pictures, what’s the motivation, where’s the energy coming from? ‘ 

I was annoyed at my self – I am trying to find a way to paint  that is mine – then I was more honest 

‘It’s got something to do with my life being a facade – all the turmoil underneath – feeling unwell, traveling , making a mess, mandalas, seeking for spiritual connection . The flowers being plastic because Jon and I are allergic – all the conventions of  a still life – on top of that the flat colour – but some of me coming through ‘ 

I knew what I had to do – I ran the pictures under a tap and attacked them with a washing up abrasive sponge 


The facade is peeling 

I attacked the smaller ones too. I have some others that I produced on printer paper but they are too fragile to be treated in the same way ( lol) 


It’s funny – I have restricted  my self to blues/ teals because I love them  – but I think the stronger colours underneath represent how I am feeling , and work better with the teal/ blue combo on top. 

Next week I shall probably be doing something completely different 

Developing a style – ‘Still life’ 

Since I started being an artist full time 3 years ago, I have been trying to find a style or way of working that is my own. The layering of mandalas and tea dipping is very therapeutic, but the wanted to work towards something more concrete. I want to incorporate these images within other pieces. 

I love flowers and enjoy creating 3D designs that you can achieve with  a ‘still life’. My hubby and I are both a bit allergic to flowers and pollen so I have bought a range of different artificial examples. 


I have a couple of white jugs and a favourite over decorated piece that belonged to my step grandma. I thought it would also be fun to use jars and bottles which are currently in fashion as vases. I also visited the National Museum of Scotland looking for different shaped vessels 



When I start a project – I do lots of preparation and thinking , but then procrastinate about actually starting the work….. 


these are my first efforts – I have prepared lots of mandalas on cartridge paper and printer paper. The printer paper is too thin and buckles and creases too much but is good to practice layouts and composition. 

I used some water soluble powdered pigment  ink in some of the mandalas and this seems to leak into the acrylic, causing the circular effects you can see in the last picture above. 

I like the way the negative shapes of the flowers work well with the flat background. I thought The fowers and vase need to be drawn simpley  to contrast with the mandalas. I have been playing with different tones of blue and thicknesses of pen. I think each mandala needs me to be more intuiative with the back grounds rather than mixing up a vat of colour like I did yesterday 


I hav been trying to draw as realistically as possible and have been posting  on Instagram to see what reaction I get from my friends.  I was surprised when I posted the picture below asking for feed back – I was unsure about the white and felt that the jar was a bit clumsy – it received more positive feed back than some of the more neatly drawn careful designs 

I have tried different colours in the back ground and I am particularly fond of the shapes created by my artificial seed pods 


When I posted the image of the step by step below I was also interested in how people appreciated the contrast  of orange and mandala top left and the thin layer of orange bottom right- when I had been striving to achieve a flat opaque finish 


Larger fleshy flowers are not as effective – because there is not enough negative shape to play with and the thicker line looses definition 

This background is too simillar to the flower- not sure what it is supposed to be really….. the stems and flowers appear to be a climber but the rigid stem is a bit incongruous 


My real cycleman didn’t really work either – I think the flowers and the petals are too close together and the pen line too thick


I will keep at it …. 

Brussels 

Feb 11th 

We visited Brussels today to wander , and visit the Magritte museum. Jon and I liked the humour in Magritte’ s surrealist paintings , particularly how he named the images for example 

Two coffins sitting on a walk  – a beautiful late afternoon 

The Breast – a pile of houses 

A stroke of luck – a pug in a suit looking over its shoulder 

I must give my paintings more interesting names 

 Jon also  noticed that he has a particular penchant for 3D balls 

For example 

Voice of space https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/2593

The Memory https://www.wikiart.org/en/rene-magritte/memory-1948-1

There are Magritte motifs around Brussels 


Museum shop , station panels and an advert 

After the museum we visited a trip advisor recommended coffee shop  Kaffa Bar which had 8/10 coffee and 9/10 hot chocolate and a resident bulldog called Marcel. 

Later we wandered around looking at shops and architecture 


Grote Markt 

Shops in the Galeries Royals Saint Huber designed by Jean Pierre Cluysenaer

Cathedral 



When we got to the cathedral I was very struck by a modern building  near by that echoed the the cathedral architecture .  When we approached the area there were lots of tree branches obscuring the view – the modern building had glass etched panels of branches , steel structures repeating the steeple and concrete  buttresses . 



I have searched for about 10 mins on the Internet ( Google fail) but I can’t find any thing about the architect 

Segway warning 
It snowed lightly all through our trip – I was wearing boots, gloves , hat and a scarf – anyone who knows me ( I wear flip flops in November) will realise how cold it was . I noticed a woman in her twenties on the station platform – she must have had very cold wet feet