Monthly Archives: July 2013

Amazing what can be done with trash :)

My first reblog.
Where a violin costs more than a house you have to improvise. I admire people who can make wonderful things out of rubbish. I love the sound of the cello. Thanks to “Endless Light and Love” for bringing this to my attention.

Endless Light and Love

Beauty and amazing things can come from anywhere if you have love and passion in your heart 🙂

Enjoy the sweet sounds.


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Introducing Manga Studio 5

I just love Manga Studio 2As you might have read on my About page, I am planning to convert some of my artwork into digital form.  I also plan to create new digital pieces directly.  I would have liked to have invested in Photoshop but I couldn’t afford it.  Instead I have bought something called Manga Studio 5, which is a lot cheaper.  I also bought a (cheap) graphics tablet.  Manga Studio is a graphics tool designed for people who create manga (Japanese comics).  The picture on the left only took me a few minutes to produce.  However, there’s a steep learning curve with both Manga Studio and the graphics tablet.  Drawing with them involves a whole new form of hand-eye coordination. So far, I love using them.  It can be a little frustrating at times, like when I can’t remember how I produced a particular effect.  There are mountains of features to become familiar with.  The most frustrating thing so far has been trying to pose the 3D drawing dolls.  Apparently there is a little electronic mannequin that you can plug in to make this easier but we’re back to expensive gear again.  Anyway, all that aside, I still love Manga Studio.  I hope to get really stuck into it from September onwards.

DSC00078The final version of the background graphic on this blog was produced in Manga Studio.  It’s a dharma wheel that I designed for an Irish retreat centre called Sunyata.  I started with a photograph of my design on paper (see right).  I then painstakingly went over the design in Windows 7’s Paint package.   This was what convinced me that I needed a new graphics package.  Don’t get me wrong though, I like Paint and I still use it for simpler tasks.

[Update: the dharma wheel design is now available for free download via deviantART or you can pay them to print it for you.  I get a small percentage of each sale.]

I look forward to being able to share more of my artwork with you.  Do you have a favourite graphics package?  Have you used a graphics tablet?  What do you think of digital art?  Please leave a comment.

Origami Swan

swan4This summer in Ireland has been the best since I moved here in 2000.  It is absolutely scorching.  I haven’t written a post in a while because it’s just been too hot to do very much except eat ice-cubes.  I’m posting now though because I’ve finally finished a model that I have been making for a friend.  Her totem animal is the swan so I think she will like it.  I used the video provided by a Romanian origami wizard on his blog.  Thanks Razvan.   swan2It took ages to make.  The little triangular pieces take less than a minute to fold but there are nearly 600 pieces in this model.  I’ll let you do the maths. While I’m here I want to give you an update on the garden.  redcurrantsWe had our first harvest of redcurrants last week.  It was also our last.  😦  The blackbirds have finally figured out that Hagrid has gone.  Hagrid loved to chase birds.  I didn’t like him doing it but now that the birds are scoffing my fruit I wish he was back at it.  The blackbirds are keeping an eye on the ripening blueberries so I’m going to have to make some bird scarers.  Anybody got any ideas?  I was thinking about tin foil streamers but they’d probably be too fragile. I’ve been trying to do the annual hedge cut.  ladderIt’s not fun in this heat.  May I just say, for the record, that whoever decided that leylandii would make a good hedging plant ought to be taken out and shot.  The previous owners of our house who planted the hedge should be shot too.  Only kidding, but that’s how I feel when I’m up the ladder. And one final gratuitous picture of my garden in bloom.  The pink flower is mallow and the white ones on the right are hebe.  As always you can click on the photos to enlarge them.mallowetc

Weaving Paper

weave2I was hoping to move on from paper soon but I made the mistake of borrowing a book from the library called “The Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques”.  (It’s a good overview and great for inspiration but it’s not what I would call encyclopaedic.)  One of the pictures in the section about paper-weaving looked intriguing so I thought I’d have a go (see photo).  All you need is scissors, glue and two sheets of paper of the same size but different colours.  You then cut one sheet of paper into horizontal strips and one into vertical strips.   You can make the strips as wiggly as you like.  I found it helpful to draw the cut-lines on first.  My sheets of paper were quite thin so I was able to see the cut-lines on the first sheet when I put the second sheet on top.  In this way I was able to make the lines on the two sheets match up somewhat.  However, I don’t think this is essential to making an interesting design.

I felt that I could have achieved the same effect by drawing the lines on one sheet of paper to create a wiggly grid and then painting alternate squares in different colours.  This is the kind of thing people do when they are doodling.  I guess one could make more interesting effects by using patterned paper but I felt that there must be a more sophisticated way to use this technique.  I googled for images on paper-weaving and found this amazing blog.  Wow!  Oh dear, oh dear, I can feel another paper-crafting binge coming on.  I must resist.  😀

The Exuberance of Nature

This entry was inspired by a post featuring Japanese irises.  I love to see the plants that grow in different countries; some of them are familiar, some not so familiar.  Since you probably don’t live in Ireland (not many people do, apparently) I thought you might like to see some of the things that grow here.

I know I’m cheating a bit with this post.  This blog is supposed to be about things I create, and while gardening can be creative I’m not sure it fits under my “Art and Craft” umbrella.  In fact this post isn’t even mainly about gardening.  It’s mostly just about how wonderfully abundant Mother Nature is.  Ever since I moved to rural Ireland I’ve been amazed at the variety of wild plants that grow by the sides of the roads.  These photos were all taken within a few hundred yards of my house.  I haven’t even included them all.  There are many more plants that didn’t make the cut.  (I’m not a photographer so please forgive my less-than-professional snapshots.)

I’ve updated this post to try thumbnails instead of a slideshow.  If you click on any of the thumbnails they should take you into a slideshow where the captions show up a bit better than in the original.  Press <Esc> to come out of the slideshow.