Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Armistice Day

Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae

This beautiful poem was pointed out to me from Dorothy, a member of I Draw and Paint, that I belong to.  I am so glad she did.  What a poingant end to an emotional day.

Photos by Stephie Butler

These incredible images were taken by Stephie Butler who is an outstanding portrait watercolour artist in her own right and will be coming back to us next summer to hold another workshop. Check website for details. To see more of her Images visit here website www.stephiebutler.com

And to end this post in fitting style...here is my little collection of gelli prints that I have done as a lead up to this day.  The collection is called Cenenary Fields 2014 and each is approximately 6 x 6 inches.

Ghosts of Summer          Blowing in the Wind        Lest we Forget          Les Champs Sauvage                           
2 Videos to watch and created by ME
These paintings were created on a Gelli Plate that I made following this technique  and to watch a short demo on how I created Blowing on the wind click here

Stephie Butler
All of this and alot more can be learnt from me by attending one of our residental weeks here at Bandouille.  I will be  running a Gelli Plate and printing workshop next may covering lots of techiques and how to make the tools to do them.  So please click here to find out more

Catchup again with you soon.  Feel free to leave a comment both here and on youtube and tell me what you think


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Its Poppy Time!

I think I am not alone to say that most of us were very touched by the incredible display of handmade poppies displayed in the grounds of the Tower of London as a tribute to the fallen of the First World War. And also the effect that it has had on the nations here and abroad.  This one display contributes heavily to our childrens edcuation both in History and humanity.

This whole year has had me thinking about poignant images to reflect this and I have almost completed my little collection of Gelli Prints and the print below is the result of the video which you can view here                                                                                            
This is the first little video clip of I hope many. I enjoyed doing this and this was my first take. I learnt alot from doing it and have welcomed some wonderful professional advice too from a dear friend Corinna who films for a living.  All done using my ipad as the video camera and an easel to prop it up. So only basic equipment but effective.  Alot more to learn though.
Blowing in the Wind

I will post all of the prints on Novemeber 11th after the minutes silence.

This short clip shows how I use the plate to create my little landscapes and has been done to promote my Gelli and Printing workshop next year here at Bandouille. The workshop will be limited to only 6 participants to make sure we all have room and therefore early booking recommended.
Non painting partners welcome!

Also if you love Gelli Printing I have just joined a couple of Facebook pages which look very inspirational and I thank them for adding me to their groups.
Gelatin Printing Enthusiasts and Gelli Printing too

More about gelli printing in older posts

Click here for details of the above workshop and our watercolour workshops and standard holidays here at Bandouille in 2015.  Please note that Keiko Tanabe will be now running two workshops next year - May 31st and August 23rd

Carp fishing holidays also available.

Enquiries and bookings are better than we have ever had and we are looking forward to another busy year next year.  I do have a couple of other things up my sleeve, but nothing is yet confirmed....so you will have to wait

This is it for now...I know you are all amazed how I have managed to keep this short, but will be posting again soon.

Bye for now 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Day 4 and I Quit!

I have quit the 30 day challenge!.  Have I failed?  No.  I dont believe that I have. 

Infact, this has taught me so much over the past 4 days and I will try and explain this........

This is pressure....pure pressure.  Not that I am uncomfortable with that as I work well under pressure.  But its unnesecessary pressure, without gain.  

Yes, I am painting more, but with a view to deliver and entering a piece every day and not really focussing on completing it to my satisfaction and even doing it well. But I am enjoying searching out the things that I really wanted to paint before and making myself do them. But why cant I do this anyway. Of course I can and now I will.

At the end of the day I way just delivering! And where and why! 

I wanted to revisit paintings that I have done in the past and re do them but not like this.   I could do it, but there wouldnt be much point because again time will not have been taken to do the job well and therefore not improve on what I had before.

If I were a professional artist and could dedicate my day to the task that would be another story, but I am not.

I have chores to do and holidays to run and family visiting and will not deprive each of those of my time because I want to despatch a half hearted painting.  I am even losing sleep over "what should I paint next".  It is not worth it!

I will paint more now because I have missed it and I love it but I will also respect the advice of those that I am learning from around me and take time rather than try and throw their theories down

Hopefully this will make me a much better artist and person too.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Day 3 of the Challenge

I promised myself that I would make an effort this year to study the books and the magazines that I have bought in the past and follow the exercises to learn each authors techniques. After all that is why I bought the books in the first place, but time just runs out. This is for me a great way of learning.

Todays choice was from John Lovetts wonderful book Techniques and Special Effects for Watercolour.  By far my 
most favourite book in my library of art books.  And I have a few!  Check it out for yourselves by Clicking here  and  viewing a review by John on this book.  His video too Splashing Paint is fantastic. 

I love his colour choices and how he focus's on his "centre of interest" and then fades away areas that are not important but still relevant enough to keep in.  This little exercise was in this book and I have added some elements myself but stuck to his colour choices and little tweaks here and there.  Definately my favourite artist.  So I shall be doing more from this book during the challenge.

John Lovett, if you visit this blog, I would love you to run a workshop here at Bandouille in France...which is of course what we do!!!

The Studio at Bandouille - Eugen Chisnicean

Talking of Workshops....2015  here is who we have coming so far!

Keiko Tanabe, Eugen Chisnicean and Joanne Boon Thomas have all confirmed that they are returning to us in 2015 and each will be holding 2 workshops.  We do already have bookings, so recommend that you book your place early to avoid disappointment.

Click here for all the information and our  website where you can contact us for booking.

More annoucements will be make very soon.  So watch this space.

Lastly, a bit of sewing.....I provide mens shirts as paint aprons and came across this idea on Pinterest on how to convert a mans shirt into an apron...and very soon worked out that you can infact get 2 aprons out of one shirt...

So here is one (or two) that I made earlier.  Fantastic idea and the cuffs I designed as nice big pockets for the front. Easy peasy.....

Click here for more ideas on Pinterest on how to make these gems!

More from me tomorrow on my 4th day of the challenge!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bandouille Sunrise September 2014
2nd day of Challenge

Day 2 and this is my entry for today. 

Keeping it simple!

This was the gorgeous scene of the sunrise this morning of the lake and wanted to record it for once in watercolour. So I sketched using the colours I saw and then did this later in the day.

I do have several on the go at the moment and many in planning stages.  Just trying to keep organised as I know the pressure will build and I do have two more groups visiting us before the end of the season.

Great fun though and putting into effect things that I have learnt this season from our wonderful tutors that have visited us this year.  I will also be completing some of the exercises that our guests did with these artists and I was unable to partake in before.  Lets see what I learnt.

Catch up again tomorrow!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Autum Sunflower
30 Paintings in 30 days challenge

September 1st and I have signed up for the 30 Paintings in 30 days challenge set by Leslie Saeta.  Click here for details.

We are just coming to the end of a crazy season which has seen wonderful artists coming to Bandouille to run workshops and I am more than inspired.  But that comes with its own problems as I have so many ideas and techniques that I want to try out that my brain is a touche mashed at the moment.  So what better way to unmash it than enter a crazy challenge like this.

Saying that, it is something that I have been tempted to do for a while now.  So lets see how I fare!

Here is my first offing after being inspired by all the Sunflower fields around us at the moment. These beautiful flowers should be over by now, but due to the appalling start to our summer alot of the farmers over here planted late as if they knew we were going to have an indian summer and they would mature afterall.

Had fun just warming up! Watercolour 

Please keep tuned for lots more in the coming days and also for more information on our agenda for 2015......bookings have started already and we have an exciting line up in store!

See you tomorrow!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer has arrived! 

 And with it sunshine and plenty of poppies.  Which for the Centenary year of the first world war, seems appropriate.  Find here a link to the reason why the poppy was the designated flower of remembrance.History of the Poppy

With that in mind I set to work a couple of weeks ago on my Gelli Printing not really knowing where I was going, but achieved something I had long been hoping to do and that was a series of paintings/prints of poppy field to mark the anniversary of the first world war.  The fact that it happened this year was perfect.  So here are two of my Centenary Field series, yet to be completed.

More on Gelli Plate printing further down!
Lest we Forget                                                    Ghosts of Summer

Art Holidays
Our first tutored week of the season has just been completed and what a week we had.

Stephie Butler was our tutor who specialises in human portraiture, but more recently in wild cats 
and other animals.  Everyone learnt and achieved so
by G. Grayland
 much in this week and I think came away thrilled with their results.  We too were very happy that everyone had a lovely time and that the sun finally graced us with its presence.  Although the sun was out, work still had to be done in the Studio but we found plenty of time to go out and about and do some sight seeing too!

As this area is so steeped in Medieval history we
we all went to St Loup which is just off the Road of the Plantagenet Kings.  We also went to Parthenay which is famous to be the route of St. James (or St. Jacques in Frances) who was the Pilgrim who walked the route to Compestello - click here for more information. And to finish off the week we went to Thouars for the weekly market. So how could we not go out.

But whilst we were all working in the Studio here are some of the samples of works that were achieved.  For more photos of work and from our week please visit  Here you will also  find albums from our previous holidays and more photos of Bandouille itself.  You are free to use these photos as reference if you so wish.

And here are some that I managed to do. Mainly after Stephie left as I was flitting from Studio to kitchen all the time.  But these are only the first run and works in progress as I learnt so much from just doing these the once and learning from my mistakes.  Mainly I go to heavy with the painting so will have to pull back a bit.  But in saying that its more the little techniques on the way that have been the most useful and that I can implement into my own style, rather than develop the style of the artist.  As I feel that I will always be far bolder than Stephies lovely gentle way of painting.  Ho hum!

These two lovely portraits were gifted to us by Stephie and we are thrilled to have her work here at Bandouille.

With that said...Stephie will be back next year.  Please add your name to the waiting list through our contact page on our website www.francepaintingholiday.com   Spaces are limited 

In the meantime......We still have spaces for Eugen Chisnicean and for Jane Minter.  For our schedule, view previous post or go to our website. Only a couple spaces left, so you need to be quick!

Gelli Plate Printing
When making your plate (instructions on previous post) place large piece of clingfilm into the mould...This makes it 100 times easier to remove than without. Also if you like the crinkly effect of clingfilm in your artwork, you can use the underside too.  It needs to be large as it seems to want to shrink due to the warmth of the mix.

Here I have used a  polystyrene sausage container.  Look out for interesting sized or shaped containers from Supermarkets. Also keep an eye on textured bases of containers too.  I confess that I have bought these kind of items just because I needed the mould....shhh!

WARNING!!!!!!!  Do not leave in the sun or even in a room that is too warm....the plate melts....I know!!

Since discovering this technique I do have mixed responses, which are easily divided.  The men think I have totally lost the plot and the women LOVE IT!

This includes Stephie who, as she and our other guests had an extra day, got me to demonstrate how this method works.  And guess what....they were hooked.  They had great fun! And produced loads and loads and loads.  So much in fact, my supply of paint has totally disappeared and its a good job Drew has gone back to the UK to pick up extra supplies. 
Here are a few prints from a batch that I did at the same time as the poppies above.  It shows how you can change course in your ideas as you are going along.

I am really excited by this method of "painting" and have just ordered a sencil cutting tool off Amazon to make my own stencils and masks.  I will let you all know how that is working out and post some results at a later date!!!.  

I am thinking of running an Art journalling week next year to include Gelli Plate printing.  Again, if you are interested please contact us on the link above.


First though, some sad news.....Chippy our wonderful baby duckling that grew up to be our cheeky duck has, it seems, been taken by Mr. Fox.  He has not been seen for over two weeks now and we know he was too greedy to stay away for any other reason. As our other ducks are all sitting on nest we hope before he disappeared he was able to fertilise the females.  Maybe we will have many little chippies here...Will let you know......RIP Chippy x.

As to what is happening now, life goes on as normal at Bandouille.  Gardening, when possible and making quirky things like Elder Cordial (I have just bottled 4 litres of it) and my first batch has gone really fizzy and is delish! Planting and harvesting whatever I can find.  Sneaking into the studio to do some "stuff" inbetween cleaning.

So everyone, hope you like the catch up and speak to you soon.  And yep, I know the posts dont get any shorter....but you have caught up now!  Thats my excuse and I am sticking to it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Season has started.....

We have already had guests this May and this is how the schedule looks for the rest of 2014.  We are fully booked for Stephie Butler and Joanne Boon Thomas's workshops and for Keikos first week in July also.  We still have places for those shown below, but spaces are limited.
We are also taking bookings from artists that want to tutor and from groups too for 2015.  Please contact us here to enquire or make a booking

Although summer seems to be struggling to come to the fore we have had some lovely weather and quite dynamic weather too. 
Always an amazing sight from our terrace. Rainbows in abundance and 
 even managed to capture a lightening storm too.  I love and good storm and this one did not disappoint either.

All the flowers are having a ball, even though most are out too early but its lovely and colourful.

The ducks (4 of them) Chippy, Coco, Madge and Spot are all thriving nicely and two are laying and we are hoping that Chippy has done his bit, being the token male.  But we got in some guaranteed fertilised eggs, just incase the girls are disappointed in their 6 week gestation period and none hatch. Drew is such a good mommy!  Need to read earlier posts to catch up with that one.  So our lucky guests coming after the end of June will be able to watch the wonderful antics of baby ducklings, if Mr. Pike doesn't get to them first. Which sadly is a fact of life here!

Been experimenting in the kitchen too and have discovered to make Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese. Sooooo easy and all the recipes found on Pinterest, my latest love.......  to see what boards I have created click here and browse, or take...what ever! Welcome to the wonderful world of sharing!  Bixxysbox

Also just made 2 litres of Elderflower cordial, ready to drink with some fizz for the summer.  Gorgeous!

Menus have been studied and tweaked for the coming season and rememb er that if you have any food allergies or dietary requirements these are all catered for too!

Admittedly my creative flow started slowly this year due to my hip replacement recovery.  Which incidently has been a breeze and all is good there. But now having started the season, the juices are flowing and my little head is ticking over with millions of ideas and projects and techniques too.  Although watercolour is my first love I am also in love with Gelli Plate printing.   For those not aufait with this term, read previous blogpost!

To update those that are following, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR GELLI PLATE IN THE SUN - IT MELTS!  Try and keep your plate cool at all times, and now that winter is over, in the Fridge is best.  If you can!  I came into the studio the other day to find that one of mine, in direct sun, had started to travel across the Perspex sheet that it sits on.  BUT......no problem. Back in the microwave to melt down and place into the mould.  Be creative and check out the supermarket for interesting shapes and textures to use for moulds and different looks.  Even when one splits the effects can be great using the 2 halves.

Here are some example of what I have done in the last few days.  Bear in mind that some of these need further work and embellishment!  Which is the fun bit!
Great fun  - as you can see here and relatively easy to achieve..  

Just takes imagination and lots of paper.  Please feel free to leave comments and ask questions at any time!

With respect to other artwork that I have done recently, I bought Glyn Maceys Acrylics Unleased and was truly inspired and decided to have a play with one of my guests last week and boy did we have fun.  Although mine did not turn out as indicated (because I got carried away) I wasn't unhappy for my rare play with acrylics and we both like what we did.

And generally have been dabbling with watercolour techniques and getting the exercises ready for our next set of guests.

So lots of fun and looking forward to the rest of the season which is going to be very busy.

Blogs only really work if people comment, so please feel free to do so and I will answer whatever questions you have.

Shorters posts in future!!!!!  Have fun!


Monday, February 3, 2014

I'm in Love!!!!!

In love with a process called Gelli Plate printing.

Not heard of it?  Just type it in Google and oooooooogle it!   For me being a lover of finding ways to texture in watercolour, this is very different as using mostly acrylics which are textured in themselves, but am also experimenting with inks (brusho) and watercolour too and have a zillion ideas in my head.

But first I needed Gelli Plate, whose main ingredient, as the name indicates is humble Gelatine.  But don't be fooled to think its that easy.  i found that Gelatine comes in different forms, those being powder and sheets to name the only two that I have found.  And I am guessing that the content of these will vary depending on where you live.  So there is some degree of experimenting to do here.  But once made the plate will last and even when damaged or stained, you can melt it down again (on the stove or in the Microwave) and reset in a mould.

There are quite a few recipes on the web, and this is one that I used and modified it a bit to suit me, as my plate seemed weaker than the one shown and described. screen.

Gelli Plate Recipe

 There are recipes too that include Alcohol but that seems to be retracted as there were problems with the setting.  My recipe set down here can set without refrigeration, and kept without refrigeration too but if you have room in your fridge and your family wont tuck into it, it tends to speed setting up.  Try and leave it alone for a minimum of 24 hours.  I didnt and it was'nt ready and I had to reset it again.  One day I'll learn!
My first Gelli Plate
     Glycerine     -   250ml (From chemists)
     Gelatine       -     35gm = 2 packs dry sheets Gelatine
     Sugar           -    70gm
     Water           -   120ml
     Vinegar       -    120ml (white)
     Salt             -    1 tablespoon

Method: Soak the gelatine leaves in water for 5 mins till soft. Strain and put in saucepan add 120 ml boiling water and add sugar, vinegar and salt.  Heat through but do not boil  Add glycerine.  Stir till dissolved and pour in a suitable dish.  This could be a square glass Pyrex style dish, or a plastic container.  As long as it has straight sides and is over 1/2 inch deep. But it can be whatever size and shape you wish your prints to be and when you are bored you can melt it down and start again.  I made two from the recipe.  One square and one oblong!

This is the first time that I have done anything like this so am feeling my way and the Internet is a fantastic resource for millions of ideas, but experimenting is the key.  So try things out and see what works and what doesn't. But the one thing I did have was plenty of acrylic paint.  So I just played.  I also got out some rubbish watercolour tubes I had and didn't know what to do with and they are perfect for this.Even the Brusho has come out to be tested.. 

Now its play time. I recommend that you watch a few videos on Youtube Click link to see one artists work.  This video is nearly 2 hours long and there is plenty in it. See how others do theirs and then find your own way. Acrylic paints in tubes are ones that I am using as those are the ones that I have at hand, but more liquid ones in bottles can to be used too and I suspect that they will work better. 

Place small amounts on the plate, of colours that you like and then using a roller, brush, scraper, piece of card or even a pallete knife spread the paint around and then press different texture things into the paint to leave an impression.  Bubble wrap, corks, keys, buttons, string the options are endless.  Once your brain starts working on these texture ideas, it wont stop and now I am making my own stencils, masques, and stamps from polystyrene felt, foam and anything I can get my hands on.

The first pull many say (and I agree) is not everyones favourite as there is usually too much paint on the print, and by doing a second pull you are left with "ghosting" marks of the stencil or masque that you may have used. See left .  This produces a far more satisfying print in my opinion and one that you can grow from!

This heart was created by cutting a stencil from thin acetate with a soldering iron.  Worked great!  It melts polystyrene beautifully too.

These are some of my first pulls and this is what I have turned them into! 

After I have sat down with them for a while, I then decide on how I want to take them further and embellish with my Tombo and Zig pens, and silver and gold pens too.  A decoupage here and there et voila!!!! Another creation.

Your imagination is what gets this project going and what you can see in what you created and how far you want it to go!

The result of painting quite thick on the plate but that gave me four pulls and I was able to go in later and enhance with tombow pens and pull out the details that I wanted.


This is something I doodled with last night and where I want it to go  I printed off on the photocopier first to test my theory.  Now just have to be brave enough to try it out for real!

Now where do think I will be going with this one?

If you want to see more results of my gelli plate printing, please visit my Pinterest page by clicking here where I will be post more of my art, hopefully as I do it!

Also think of holding craft week holidays here at Bandouille so if you are interested please let me know and I will earmark a week this year!

Feel free to ask questions or comments and have fun!

Bix x

PS  to people that have followed my Bandouille blog in the past!!! Be impressed! My second post in 3 weeks....hey hey!!! x