Saturday, 12 August 2017

How to Steampunk a Giraffe!

Last year I went to Florida and had the most unforgettable experience of hand feeding a very friendly giraffe at Busch Gardens. I got so many amazing photos and knew that I would have to do a lot of giraffe artwork when I got back home!
 I decided I would have to paint a Steampunk giraffe to go with the rest of my animals in Steampunk hats series of paintings and started thinking about what hat would look best on a giraffe!

I decided he would have to be an explorer and after seeing my partners very nice new pith helmet, above, at the last West Midlands Steampunk Assembly's very fun expedition to hunt dinosaurs at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham in June, I knew the giraffe would look great in a pith helmet and goggles!

A lot of people ask me how I get the animals to wear the hats in my artworks, I don't think many of them would be too happy with me dressing them up so I do use a little bit of photoshop magic before I start the artwork. I prefer to work from real hats as I can get more detail, to control the lighting and also sometimes wear them while painting so I an see what it looks like on! So I borrowed the pith helmet and took a few photos from various angles. I then put these into photoshop and added the pith helmet to one of my photos of the giraffe.

Here is what he looks like and what I work from while I am doing the painting. It is very roughly photoshopped (and excuse my thumb!) but I only need a rough idea and can alter things as I paint.

Explorer Giraffe - Acrylic Painting
And here he is, the finished painting! I think he looks very cute in his pith helmet and goggles!

Explorer Giraffe - Greeting Card
I also made him into a greeting card to go with my many cards depicting my animals in Steampunk hats!

Steampunk Animal Cards
I'm sure there will be a few more Steampunk inspired giraffe paintings coming soon and there may be a few more animals wearing pith helmets as they are great fun to paint!

Clare xx

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Mini Elephant Collagraph Prints

I am quite fascinated with elephants and a lot of my artwork features them! When I spotted this family group at Chester Zoo recently I couldn't resist doing some prints of them and I'm having fun at the moment with tiny 10 x 10cm collagraph prints so I just had to do a little elephant series of prints!

Collagraph print: Print created from a card plate made by adding glue, paint, enamel etc. This holds the ink in varying degrees and is then printed through the intaglio process.

This is what my printing plates look like before printing, I always work from dark to light and all the images are backwards too so It's not an easy process!

Applying ink all over the printing plate, this is sepia ink but can look really dark before printing.

Wiping the ink off the plate, and getting very messy too!

Printing plates all wiped and ready to print. The printing plate holds the ink in crevices and rough parts of the plate and the lighter parts are smoother so the ink is wiped off to print the whiter areas.

Elephants hot off the printing press! I have a small etching press which lives on my dining room table everyday except for Christmas day!

Elephant & Baby Collagraph Print
Elephant 2 Collagraph Print
Elephant 1 Collagraph Print
Here are the finished prints all framed and ready to go to their new homes!

Might be tempted to do a few more elephants very soon!

Clare xx

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Painting a Steampunk Cat

Titfer Kitty Acrylic Painting on Canvas
I love painting my Cats in Hats acrylic paintings and they have proved very, very popular! I thought I'd show you behind the scenes of one of my most recent acrylic paintings "Titfer Kitty".

 Here is the model for this painting posing with his best friend my next door neighbour's black and white cat Billy! They are always together and follow each other everywhere. I don't know his name yet as I'm still trying to work out where he lives but he is always in my garden searching for Billy to come out and play with him and I couldn't resist painting him as he is quite scruffy but still has a lovely face.

I decided to take one of my many photos of him and messed about with him on Photoshop putting various hats on him until I decided he just looked so right in a very dapper top hat and goggles!

I hate working on a white canvas so always try to get rid of the white as soon as I can. I thought he would work well on a red background. Here it is on my easel with a very rough pencil drawing to work from.

The next step I block in as much of the image as I can, keeping it very simple. He has a very cute smile here!

A few more layers and details added and he is starting to come together. A bit more work on the hat and goggles and then always the final touch of adding the whiskers!

The finished painting. The painting is resting on our barbecue as I find it has an interesting background for these paintings and I always try to take the photos in lots of natural light for the best effect.

 He also now features on a greeting card and should be in my new calendar that I produce every year around September time.
Titfer Kitty Greeting Card

Steampunk Animal Calendar
And will be added to the hall of fame of my many other Cats in Hats paintings!

Clare xx

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Purple Hippo Collagraph Prints

Earlier this year we went on holiday to Orlando, Florida and visited Busch Gardens Zoo. I spent a very enjoyable time watching a very cute hippo and managed to fill my camera's memory card with all the videos and photos I took! Here's me posing in front of the hippo!
I decided I just had to produce some artwork based on the photos of the hippo and did a quick watercolour of him:
"Hippo Float" Watercolour and Ink Painting.
 And couldn't resist putting him into a top hat and goggles:
"Steampunk Hippo" Acrylic Painting.
I took lots of photos of the hippo swimming and he looked so content and happy in this one I just had to make this one into a collagraph print and decided on making some tiny prints only 10 x 10cm:

This is the collagraph printing plate just being covered in prussian blue ink. (The image is reversed on the printing plate).
The printing plate fully wiped and ready to go into the printing press.

The finished print just off the press!

I loved this one so much that I decided I must do a couple more prints of the hippo swimming. Here's three of the printing plates inked up and ready to be printed.

And the finished collagraph prints with a touch of purple watercolour paint added to bring out the hippos.

"Hippo Swim 1" Limited Edition Collagraph Print
"Hippo Swim 2" Limited Edition Collagraph Print
"Hippo Swim 3" Limited Edition Collagraph Print
 They look really good framed too!

I love these so much I might have to do a few more collagraph prints of hippos very soon!

Clare xx



Monday, 28 March 2016

Purple Steampunk Elephants!

Steampunk Elephant Collagraph Print
Today I decided to have a look at some of my older collagraph printing plates and do a bit of experimentation with them in different colourways. I really like my Steampunk Elephant printing plate with its cogs etc as it was great fun to design and make. I only ever printed it in a gunmetal grey so wondered what it would look like in my favourite printing ink purple!
Here is the printing plate just starting to be covered in a lovely rich purple ink!

The printing plate all covered in purpleness and being wiped to uncover the elephant beneath!
 On the etching press ready for the exciting part the printing!
Hot off the press - a Purple Steampunk Elephant!
Here is a sneaky peak at what is going on in the background when I am printing! My printing press is on the dining room table and even when Morpheus the cat is no where to be seen as soon as I start printing he appears to supervise and today to make a nest in my tissue paper!

 I think he liked the print although he was a bit upset I wasn't immortalising him in print like I usually do!
The finished Steampunk Elephant collagraph print looking good in purple!
Clare xx