Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 Review–Second Post: Art

Please see my previous post for a general review of the past year.

Warning – long post, picture-rich.

My Studio

Early in the year I began some major tidying, which got me in the mood for restarting art after a pretty dry period as I was recovering from serious illness. Here are some pictures of my studio taken on various throughout last year (tidy pics! I won’t make you suffer with the messy ones).

03 Stamp Organisation Montage 12-1-16

My main work area, with the pull-out unit to one side – it lives there permanently, providing a nice extra surface to work on.

WOYWW 345 Main Work Area Tidied 12-1-16

My little gallery over the small fireplace. This is where I display things either that I have made, or which others have sent me – I treasure them all!


The further side of the room, which is (from L-R) my sewing and textile zone, and my drawing zone. (This year I really should get down to making a video tour of my studio – I did promise to do this shortly after we moved 3 years ago!!)



This year I’ve done quite a bit of Zentangle , including drawing quite a few new ATCs for my Zentangle Album:

6 Zentangles 5-1-16

There are plenty more, shown on blog posts throughout the year. Quite a lot of my art this year has been Zentangle.

Later in the year I discovered Zengems which were becoming all the rage online. Here are my early efforts.



This year I got published! After being approached last year to produce a piece for a new Zentangle booknew Zentangle book, my art piece inspired by my cancer journey was printed!



I made a few this year. Here is a selection I made for the chemo unit where I had my treatment last year.


A selection of Florabunda cards painted with various media.


Some Florabunda mandala designs painted with Perfect Pearls, ready to be made up into cards.


A selection of Zentangle cards made up from old designs, with blank spaces at the bottom ready for stamped sentiments.


Some cards made with specific people in mind. Please click on the cards to see the relevant blog posts.





Card for my hubby for our 30th wedding anniversary:


Altered Boxes

I began a few small papier mache altered boxes using tissue paper scraps. Here is the one that I completed, as a birthday present for a friend.


Some others that haven’t progressed beyond the tissue paper collage stage – I hope to complete these next year.


Narrow Boat Painting

I did a bit of traditional English narrow boat painting this year, on a set of three wooden wine boxes of my hubby’s, for him to hang on the summerhouse.


Cougar Cutting Machine

At long last, this year, I managed to get Sheba, my Cougar cutting machine, up and running again, this time running it from the iMac. Not that I did a great deal with it but I’m happy to be using it again after several years! I got some support tables for it, which are giving me better cuts. Here it is, with my old Windows laptop in front – this computer is now in my office, replacing my beloved original small Windows laptop that unfortunately died of old age this year.


Things I have cut:

Baby footprints stencil – I used this file to make the new baby card in the cards section above.


Frames and leaves for my Woodland mini-album.


Pages in my small leather art journal

Please click on the photos for more details.



This little book is an ongoing project. I don’t work on it very often so it’s building up slowly.


For the little sea-themed altered box above, I spent some time experimenting with different materials to produce an authentic-looking faux mother-of-pearl effect.


Experiments with beetroot dyeing on a variety of materials.


Trying out fancy stitches with my new sewing machine.


I haven’t used the machine much this year and hope eventually to be using it more with mixed media pieces.

New equipment and materials

I bought various new stamps and stencils and other stuff this year, not all of which have yet been used!


Also included in the above stash are some new Perfect Pearls and other stuff.

PaperArtsy stamps and stencils:





I think this was my most exciting purchase. I prefer Infusions to Brushos as the colours are more subtle and the brown speckles are very intriguing.

I made some of my signature “mask and spray” technique backgrounds and flowers and leaves as a first experiment in using these.




My latest experiment with Infusions:


This year my hubby and I inherited a lot of gorgeous art materials from someone whose father had died. Here is the stuff that I chose. Lots to play with here, and some interesting books to learn new skills.


Mamhead Album

The current work in progress, a mini-album about a woodland walk we had with friends in the summer.

Some exciting new ideas are forming part of this – firstly, Zentangle tracings. I may be wrong and someone else may already be doing this, but I think I invented this idea! I took a lot of photos on the walk, many of which I have manipulated digitally. For several, I have overlaid them with a piece of parchment paper and traced the basic shapes, which I have then filled with Zentangle.


I did some straight tracings of others, and painted them with metallics.


Returning to an old favourite technique which I think I can also claim to have invented (Zentangle on the stains left by drying teabags) I have made a couple of cut logs to embellish this album, using round teabag stains and a sepia pen to simulate tree rings.


Inked kitchen paper being used as backgrounds and embellishment. I save all my kitchen paper that’s been used for mopping up ink, keeping sheets separate for different colours and continuing to use them till they are completely coloured. I’ve now got a box of them and the colours are glorious! Lovely for all sorts of projects.



Leaves cut, coloured and hand-embossed:


Pairing the various pages:

127 Text on How Great Thou Art Pages

132 Strong Tower Pages with Text

I’ve now started working on the binding of the albums and this will be covered in subsequent posts.

That’s about it for studio-based art.


One of the most exciting things that’s happened this year is the purchase of my iPad Pro. I’d vaguely thought of getting a tablet some time ago but with the arrival of our new Sky Q TV box which works to its fullest advantage in partnership with a tablet, this seemed the perfect opportunity to get one. Having tried out the iPad Pro in PCWorld, I was totally smitten and knew I just had to have one of these! I got a reconditioned one on Ebay (which I think was actually brand new) and together with the Apple Pencil, this is proving to be a most powerful and thoroughly enjoyable art tool! How did I manage before I got it?

My first drawing:


Experiments with simple landscape paintings:



I needed to learn how to render a realistic gold effect in order to produce art work for my Bible study group, so I followed some Youtube tutorials, for example:


Some art work for the Bible study group:




Some other digital art work done on the iPad Pro (please click on photos to see details):



Bee on Honeycomb Card

Designed with artists and graphic designers in mind, the iPad Pro, in partnership with the Apple Pencil, is the most intuitive and comfortable drawing instrument! It is compact and can go with me when out and about, and I can draw wherever I am! I simply love it. I am drawing and colouring more than before because of it, and producing work that I can incorporate into my other art. I am also using it for loads of other things and have downloaded plenty of new apps, some of which I haven’t used yet. It is the most versatile tool. During next year I am hoping to spend some time honing my drawing skills in particular. I have some wonderful new art books (see above) with drawing tutorials in them, and of course there’s always Youtube!

Considering everything else that’s gone on over the past year, looking back, I have actually done more art than I realised.

Plans for the coming year

I have thought a lot over the past year about what happened to me in 2015, and how it made me adjust my priorities. Now I am feeling better, I am doing a lot more things and getting out and about more, and time available to spend in the studio is limited. I still have ME and still get easily fatigued and have to spend a lot of time resting, and I have been asking myself what I really want to be doing, and one answer is that I don’t want to be spending a lot of precious time making cards! This has always seemed to be more of a chore than a pleasure, although I quite enjoy it once I get going, and I dread the annual “card factory” to replenish my stock. I’ve never really type-cast myself as a card maker – I think it’s all too easy to end up making cards because our friends and relations come to expect a nice hand-made card from us, and then we have less time for other things. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with card-making per se – far from it – people make simply beautiful ones, but many recipients simply have mo idea how much work goes into them and they take on an ephemeral nature and often end up in the bin. I tend to spend far too much time on each individual card which probably adds to my sense of frustration over them so I’m probably my own worst enemy in this regard! I think I can make simpler cards using the iPad – after all, I’ve got quite a stock of images of work I have done (Zentangle, mandalas, etc.), which can be adapted and edited, assembled digitally and printed out. The resulting card may not be mixed media and textured, but it would still be all my own work, and it would still be creative. My studio time is limited anyway, by lack of energy, and available time being swallowed up with necessary tasks for daily living! I want to be spending more time doing mixed media work, and especially making 3-D objects, boxes and little books and albums which I love – I believe mixed media art, especially when rich in texture, is very tactile, and these little objects, by their nature, are handled much more than pictures on the wall. I consider these pieces to be more permanent and a better use of my time.

I would like to start introducing more textiles into my work, and I realise that I have not done any felt making since the course, and I’d like to do more of that again. I have a lot of materials and equipment in my studio that are crying out to be used. I’d love to be able to spend much more time simply playing with materials and seeing what happens when I treat them in different ways. I want to stretch my ability to use materials in unusual ways, because I love using my imagination and thinking outside the box.

My plan is also to get on top of all the UFOs (UnFinished Objects) cluttering up the place, and try and finish at least some of them! Once I get started, I am sure I shall get fired up. If I can discipline myself to spend a certain amount of time doing that, and then freeing myself up for the really fun stuff, I think I should end up achieving quite a lot.

Each year I set out my plans for the creative year ahead, and usually end up not achieving very many of them! Let’s see how I get on this coming year!

A very happy and creative New Year to all my readers and followers, and I hope you feel fulfilled at the end of it, knowing you’ve achieved all you set out to do, and more.


  1. Happy new year, Shoshi, hope 2017 is a happy and healthy one for you. I loved your review of your creative year - just loving your projects and look forward to more of the same!

  2. Hi Shoshi, what a fascinating and interesting post! Loved seeing all you pictures, so much beauty there. I'm more of a 'take the days as they come' rather than a planner, so only have very vague ideas about what I'll be doing this year! Love & hugs, Shaz xx

  3. I dropped by from Julia's blog and was glad I did. Your round up review is fantastic. I love how you dyed fabric, because that is something I like to do, too. I've never used beetroot, but have used black bean juice and grape juice with decent results.

    As always I am intrigued by your zentangles and being published makes it all so much more worthwhile.

    You know I love your tea bag art, and the pieces you shared in this post are stunning.

    I know this must have taken you a long time to create this wrap-up post, and I applaud you. Happy 2017.

  4. What a great review! Nice to see some of best projects again. I'm with Shaz about the planning: I have some vague ideas, but I have no specific plans - apart from trying to keep up with my classes. Mind you, they don't really leave much time for anything else! I will just explore whatever craze comes my way in 2017!


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