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Luton art ’12 Exhibition entries. (No3 The Night has aThousand Eyes)

Once again, I started this as a doodle, at Jewels on a Tuesday afternoon.

I had a canvas that was A3 size, or thereabouts and thought I might experiment with acrylics, gold leaf, pointed pen and blow-pipe. But first I needed to find a layout

Calligraphy trial, The night, img,jpg


I really like the look of the second, pointed italic version, but will save that one for another occasion.  The roundly flowing lines of the Uncial seemed to be more what I was looking for.


So, put a wash of a violet acrylic roughly on to the canvas, chalked on some guide lines and straight in with the silver acrylic.


Then with the addition of some colour in the counter-spaces.


A white gold moon and a few puffs of the blow-pipe later.


One more coat of silver on the Uncials, a few more stars and a bit of cloud around the moon


Just a couple of days before submission date, we went along to Zanart, Ezeframe to find something that might fit.  There were two or three frames, ready made, that would have done very nicely, but Gill, (Quality Control), spotted this moulding amongst the hundreds of samples in the showroom.  Busy as they were, the Zanart staff went into overdrive and made the frame while we waited.  Many thanks to you all.

Now I can relax. My three pieces are completed, framed, and delivered to Wardown Park Museum for judging. All I can do now, along with all the other entrants, is await the verdict. Good Luck to us all.

Keep watching this space.

Luton art ’12 Exhibition entries. (No2 The Magic Flute)

This piece started as a doodle during one of our Tuesday afternoon sessions at Jewels.  Gill, spends more time practising piano and less and less on flute lately, and  I tend to think there is so much more magic in the flute than the ivories.

This began as usual with the two pencil approach but this time I wanted to concentrate on a roundel.


By the end of the session I had something like this.


Some of my Facebook friends thought perhaps I should turn the “flute” around to flow with the other letters and after trying different combinations I came up with this.  You will see there is also just a ghost of a crescent moon.


Then this was traced onto a large sheet of Canford card and drawn with a pointed pen and gold, silver and bronze acrylics.


I might have left it there and framed it as a square but I was still determined to add the Moon, somehow.  First though, the sky needed some colour and some stars. These were added using various shades of acrylics with a blow pipe. Lots of puff. I found then, that all my letters needed another coat to make them more visible. Then the planning of some relevant words from the opera, lightly sketched in  with chalk.

N.B. If you use acrylics, Chalk can be easily dusted off using a damp sponge.


Then the Moon was painted in with Kolner Miniatum ink and gilded with 12.05 ct. white gold. Quality Control thought this looked a bit stark so I puffed some colour over.


Still not looking right, so I bit the bullet and set to, distressing the silvery moon with sandpaper.  Then, with silver acrylic and pointed pen wrote in the words and added more, in blue, to an outer roundel, the name of the librettist across the bottom of the piece, and finished by creating a few filmy clouds and some more stars, using the same gold as the moon.


A nice silver frame to set it off.


Phew! what a journey.  I think that will do. As usual there is much more that could be done, but you have to stop somewhere.


So, on to the next piece.

Luton art ’12 Exhibition entries. (No1 Gilldoodle)

Last year my entries for this exhibition were ready-made pieces, and all I needed to do was mount, frame, and submit. I was pleased and not a little surprised when two of these were chosen to hang. Unsold at the time, but subsequently two of the three entries have found new homes.

This year, for Luton art ’12, I started from scratch. Each piece being specially made with the exhibition in mind.

First, a sketch I started around about the time of  Gill’s birthday was crying out to be completed.


Gillian first written with double pencil in an Uncial script half way down a sheet of A3 copy paper. The long drawn out strokes becoming branches and shoots growing organically as if in a hedgerow. Then traced as if mirrored. The “G” then becomes a bowl for the Gilldoodle tree to live in.


I had an unused frame in mind and some Canford? card I had purchased from Jewels Arts and Crafts Centre specially for this piece.

The next job was to coat the back of the piece with chalk, centre it on the card,  attach with masking tape and trace off the whole image. Then things began to get really interesting. I realised that I had used a more grippy tape than usual and could not detach the one from the other without removing some of the surface of the card. I decided to carry on though, and think of a way round the problem while working. Next mixed up some gold acrylic and with a pointed pen drew over the tracing. Filled in the letters with white, changed my mind, then crosshatched with gold. Each leaf was then “stabbed” in with the same pen using a bronze acrylic, once again bearing in mind the nature of a growing tree. Next, the flowers, simply sketched with silver acrylic, and petals touched in with white.



Then to the small problem with the background. The position of the blemishes was not conducive to hiding them in a border, so I accented them with sandpaper which made a very interesting raised nap surface that was continued over the whole of the unused card, and then with white pastel covered the piece and slowly but surely worked it into this.


  Then tried with the frame


Yes. That is more or less what I had in mind.

Gilldoodle framed

I hope Gill likes it!

Now on to the next piece.

GODIVA AWAKES, BRADWELL ABBEY, ME, and thousands of others.

A strange title for a blog here on Bill’s Space. It is a long story with a few twists and turns, so, to set the scene, a few videos of the journey from Coventry to London by Godiva and her amazing cyclopedia.

At about the same time this project was in its early stages, my friend Cadfan and I took a trip to Milton Keynes to have a look at what up ’til then had just been something I had spotted on the MK street map, Bradwell Abbey . Our first glimpse across the fields was of what we later found out to be St. Mary’s Chapel. Most incongruously, we found, in a car park adjacent to the site, a mobile cafe which was doing a roaring trade serving the workforce of a large industrial park. Excellent bacon sarnies!

As usual, two clicks on all images to magnify.

Following the signs to enquiries / reception we found ourselves at the offices, cum display area of the Milton Keynes City Development Centre. Lots of information gathered here about the abbey and surrounding area. Anyway, we were given the go ahead to look around the site. Anyone who knows Cadfan and I, will know that we have spent an awful lot of time wandering around old ruins!  We were surprised to find this site was really well looked after and visitors well informed .

We bumped into this gentleman soon after we started our exploration.

He didn’t seem at all bothered about our presence but kept his beady eye on us until we were out of sight.

Rounding the pond, we caught our first sight of the Chapel, specially built circa 1140s  to cater for the many pilgrims visiting during their journeys up and down Watling Street, now the A5 . Seeming to sit amidst a maze of gravelled pathways that mark the archaeology of the abbey church  and some of the surrounding buildings that have been demolished over the years, the east end of the chapel to the right as seen here was, in fact, joined as an afterthought to the main abbey church.

Since that visit there have been more excavations and at present the roof is covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin while repair and conservation work is being addressed to the interior plasterwork and extensive wall-paintings.

We did not get to see the interior on that visit but just a couple of months ago during another of Cadfan’s forays into Beds, Bucks and Herts we, along with Gill this time, paid another visit and were able to have a good look inside.  My camera suddenly decided it was not going to play, so I was unable to take any pics.  My thanks to Kim, the Educational Officer and Henk the director of MKCDC for sending these two.  For many more plus a wealth of information, the guidebook is indispensible.

So, you are asking yourself, what has all this to do with Lady Godiva?  Well, on the journey from Coventry to London, ‘Godiva Awakes’ will be visiting Bradwell Abbey on Wednesday 1st August and whilst there will be presented with a gift, commissioned from local artist Nicholas Packham.  I am very pleased to have been asked to inscribe an explanation of the thinking behind this gift to accompany it on its travels.

More on this after the presentation, but here is a little something I was playing with while I awaited the final draft.

Taken from from the account of Richard Grafton (d.1572) MP for Coventry, but written in a more 11th century style using ordinary black and gold inks and acrylic vermilion on Artistico + Fabriano paper A3 size.  After writing it out I felt it looked a little too pristine, but as you can see, I went a bit too far, distressing with Tea, Coffee, and Turmeric.  The black ink didn’t take too kindly to the soaking, the red acrylic however, stood up well to the treatment.  The gold was added when the whole thing dried out.
More after the presentation.  ’til then keep watching this space.

Art in Action

I thought you might be interested to see the first blog post by Julie from Jewels Arts and Crafts centre.

Art in Action.

If you are local to Houghton Regis, why not check out the groups and classes for adults and children that go on week by week at Jewels.

WIN YOUR OWN NAMEDOODLE. And the winner is……………

At the time of writing, according to the stats available to me, there have been  19,901 views all-time at Bill’s Space since we moved to WordPress from Spaces Live in September 2010.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have looked in to see what we are doing, especially our followers and those who drop in regularly, whether to check out the new links, follow the lessons, hints and tips, or to read the latest blog.  Oh and, of course, to Gill, who proofreads my work and frequently has cause to look upon herself as a computer widow.

To show my appreciation I would love to offer to write a Namedoodle for everyone, but time and energy just will not permit.  So, for the one person who leaves a request in the comments box of this article during the two weeks after the 20,000 mark is reached, and whose name is drawn from the hat.   I will make and  publish your Namedoodle, incorporate it into a “how to” blog and send you the original.  You will be consulted as to the style of N/d you require, name to be written, a short quote to be incorporated or birth details etc.


The 20,000 mark was reached on 20th April at about 0900 hrs BST.

The competition will end and name picked on Friday 4th May.


Thanks again to everyone for your support. I shall look forward to seeing your response.

Cheers.   Bill.

UPDATE 4th May 2012

The winner has been drawn from the hat by my Facebook friend, Nongluk Lak Pituktammanat.  Thanks Lak.

Thanks to all who entered.  Who knows, you might be next.

I am pleased to announce that fernando lembo di Pino has won this Namedoodle.  I shall be blogging all through the process to give an idea of my working methods etc.

Keep watching this space.

Good Friday

Good Friday Meditation

See also Good Friday