Keep A Watch For Hedgehogs this Autumn!

October 3rd, 2010

It’s that time of year again – autumn! With autumn come some dangers to our local wildlife in England.

Hedgehogs and Pumpkins

I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about hedgehogs, one of England’s favourite garden animals. Our hedgehog population is decreasing at a rapid rate, and if things continue the way they are, they could be extinct in less than 50 years. This is mainly due to the use of slug pellets – DO NOT USE THEM – they kill hedgehogs!

Remember that at this time of the year hedgehogs go into hibernation. Many people start the planning of their bonfires many weeks in advance. They collect wood, leaves and other garden plants, pile them up and these are then burnt. Unfortunately, these are death traps for hibernating hedgehogs who think that these are perfect places to overwinter (and not only hedgehogs love these piles of wood and leaves – frogs, toads, grass snakes and slow worms love them, too.).

To ensure that your garden hedgehogs are safe this autumn, you can take a few precautions.

Build your bonfire a few days before your event.

If you must collect and pile up materials before the event, consider moving the bonfire 20 metres before burning it, on the night before or the day of the burning. This will ensure that any creatures can have a way to escape. If you cannot move the bonfire also consider looking around and under the piled up debris with a torch and a broom to alert the sleeping hedgehogs that people are near and this isn’t a safe place for them.

Also, be sure to be careful where you place your bonfire to avoid burning trees and other animal habitats.

Please be careful out there this year and remember that we share the world with these beautiful creatures.

Save Me’s Cool Fox Mugs, Shirts and Other Goodies

August 24th, 2010

I generally don’t plug businesses here, unless they are home businesses or artist friends of mine. However, for this I make an exception. If you are a fox lover and you are looking for some really nice fox t-shirts, mugs and other items, go to the shop on this site:

All of the money raised from the sale of these t-shirts doesn’t go in Brian May’s pocket – he donates every pence to the wildlife organization I volunteer with, Harper Asprey and the business part of the site is run by my friend Christine.

I will start posting again, I promise

July 30th, 2010

Life has gotten in the way and I haven’t posted anything new in a while. This is going to stop. I am going to try my best to post new artwork or thoughts about once a week – at least.

It’s funny, because when I am busy the thing that I enjoy the most – creating – gets put on the backburner. Why do I do this? Maybe because creating pieces of artwork feels so good and I don’t consider it to be “work” that I push it aside to take care of more “responsible” duties.

I must stop this.

I need to create more, I need to share more of what I create with people and I need to post more of my creations on this board.

I have so many things in my head that I want to make – drawings, paintings, books, etc. Either I do this or I don’t and believe me, I want to.

So, I sat down and drew and coloured something for the first time in a few days. This owl was inspired by a friend’s love of the UK’s Little Owl.


Hand drawn on cardstock with Copic Markers, Gel Pens and iridescent acrylic paints. I love doing drawings in a whimsical style and this owl was no exception.

Remedios Varo

March 8th, 2010

In the next couple of weeks I plan to discuss some of my favourite artists – well known and not so well known. I try to take my inspiration from a number of places and these will be the artists that inspire me the most and what their work says to me.

Today I will introduce Remedios Varo, December 16 1908 – October 8, 1963 .

I don’t like all surrealist art (and some I adore, but that’s for another post), but I love the work of this female Spanish artist Varo.

Like many artists she was influenced by the surrealist movement when she moved to Paris after fleeing the Spanish Civil War. She then had to move to Mexico after fleeing the Nazis in France! Unfortunately, she died too young of a heart attack in Mexico in 1963.

What do I like about Varo’s style? When you look at a Varo painting you are instantly transported into lands that are so fantastical that you can’t stop thinking about them. They are whimsical without being cute; they are intriguing and so very weird. Unlike Frida Kahlo (whose work I also like), Varo’s paintings are much less harrowing to look at because they are coming from such different places in their lives. The themes of Varo’s paintings are alchemical, spiritual (Catholic and metaphysical) fantastic, extremely detailed and sometimes even based  in science. The faces of her subjects are pixie  or faery-like.

The painting below, Creation of the Birds, is one of my favourites:

Creation of the Birds

The owl woman, creating birds, is so moving and beautiful. Unfortunately, you cannot see as much detail as I would like you to see here, but the symbolism is stunning.

This painting, called Embroidering Earth’s Mantle shows six women “sewing” the earth. Gorgeous.

Embrodering Earth's Mantle

I can’t stop looking at her paintings and when I look at them I instantly feel like I am falling into the scenes that she creates. I am constantly seeing something new. Once again, looking at these paintings on a computer screen does not do them justice, although there are a couple of very nice books with prints of her works available.

As always, it’s best to see an artist’s work in a gallery or museum, if  possible.

If you are in the UK and you want to see Varo’s work in person, this should be a great exhibit to take in!

Surreal Friends:
Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna
19 June-12 September 2010
Three exhibitions of work by Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna. Surrealist women artists, Carrington and Varo and photographer Kati Horna escaped the Nazis in France in 1939 to live and work in Mexico.

The website about the exhibit can be found here.

Trees in my artwork

February 13th, 2010

One of my favourite things to draw and paint is trees. Trees are such an interesting subject – just the sheer variety of trees and the different leaves, bark and shapes the branches make can give inspiration for ages.

If you add whimsy to that – spirals, colours not associated with trees, hearts, etc. really helps give the trees personality.

In these drawings I added elements of whimsy as well as exaggerated some of the features of the trees.

With this tree drawing I wanted to accentuate the roots of the oak going into the ground, thus stabilizing it.  Its branches reach up to the sky creating a heart shape in the middle of the tree. I made the trunk, roots and branches more important than the leaves. I wanted to show the mighty centre of the oak.

Heart of Oak

This tree is full of vitality as it is the height of summer. Spirals represent leaves on the trees and everything is bright and colourful.

Spiral Spirit Tree

In this drawing I combined two of my favourite themes – hearts and trees. The dark inner wood of the tree that is resistant to decay is called “heartwood” by the way. I think of trees as old wise plants that do a lot for humanity.

Heart Tree 04

Some benefits tree provide:

  • Give us shade
  • They give us food in fruit and nuts
  • Filter noise from roads and cities
  • They are natural air filters trapping carbon monoxide and dust
  • They shelter us
  • The provide us with products like paper and without paper I couldn’t create much of my artwork
  • They are a home to wildlife

These are just some of the reasons why I honour trees in my artwork.  Trees are one of those subjects I cannot get enough of.

Women of Yesteryear Journal

February 5th, 2010

Another journal I have recently been working on is a “Yesteryear” journal. These pages are made using ephemera I have picked up here and there.

Women of Yesteryear Page 1

The photos of the two women were taken from a paper collection (and mounted on burgundy cardstock) as was the London Bridge paper. Flowery background paper was bought at some scrapbook store several years ago in the US. I added ribbon, a heart doo-dad (for lack of a better word! LOL!) and some faux gems.

Women of Yesteryear Page 2

The photo of the woman on this page was taken from an Edwardian postcard I bought at a flea market. I enlarged it and printed it on cardstock. I cut it out and adhered it to another background paper I bought in the US several years ago. Stamps, peel-offs and a faux flower were added for interest.

Soon I will be posting some ATCs I have hand drawn.

Fox happenings in the garden

February 5th, 2010

We have a vixen with mange who was in the garden eating out of Ilene’s (Ilene was our resident vixen until she disappeared a couple of weeks ago)  bowl tonight. I tried to go out while she was in the garden but she took off. I need to medicate her ASAP. Medication is coming for me and a sick fox that my friend Chris has in his garden. One of three things could have happened to Ilene. She could have died (average life span for the urban fox is 18 mos), she could have lost her territory or….she could be pregnant! I really do miss her, but as she is a wild animal I knew this would happen.  Wildlife is what it is.

Later success! She came back to cache food & I tapped on a window of the conservatory & she looked at me & didn’t run. I went outside in my stocking feet & she stayed in the garden with me for a few mins before slowly skulking away. I used the same calls that I use with Ilene. Generally foxes run within 10 seconds of sensing me. I wonder if she isn’t one of this year’s kits? She might “know” me. She has a thin sweet face.

The fact that she isn’t running far away bodes well for her mange treatment as I need to make sure she is the one who is eating it. Her mange is on about 25 percent of her flanks and she has chewed part of her front leg raw. It hasn’t spread to the tail yet.

I am going to name her Sweet Face. I generally wouldn’t bother naming wild animals (none of the birds have names except for things like “that really fat robin”!) but it helps Kevin (my husband) and I to determine who is in the garden at any one time. And…she came back twice more and brought a friend who is lovely – all gorgeous fur and big fluffy tail.

You know what? I am most happy when I am dealing with animals. Maybe it’s because they ask for nothing from me. Nothing at all – and the grace me with their beauty.

Gypsy Art Journal

January 22nd, 2010

I love trading art journals with other artists or collaborating on round robin journal swaps. With one on one swaps, as well as round robin swaps sometimes there is a theme to the journal and at other times there isn’t. It depends on what the artists agree to do. I just finished up a journal for the UKATC group in a round robin we have been doing. The theme to this one is “Gypsies” and each artist has to create two pages in a gypsy theme. I am only showing my pages in this book because I do not have the permission of the book’s owner nor the other artists involved.

Gypsy Art Journal

Gypsy Journal

As you can see from the photo, the book is filled to the brim with fibres and beads and embellishments.

I covered one page with pattered paper and cut to fit the page. I stamped a Crafty Individuals stamp in Versamark brown ink on patterned cardstock. I cut the image out and mounted it on a glittered cardstock and added jewels to her crown. I placed this on top of the bottom layer of pattered paper. I printed out the phrase “Queen of the Gypsies” on paper and distressed with ink. I cut out horseshoe images from a die cut collection and adhered that to the card. A moon and dome sticker were added for interest.

Gypsy Page 01

Gypsy Journal Page 1

The second page I covered with tarot paper I got from a shop in Florence Italy (I am addicted to papers and I was in heaven in Florence!). On another piece of paper I stamped a Lilac and Lemon Designs Art Nouveau woman stamp based on an Alphonse Mucha design. I coloured it with Copic Markers and highlighted it with glitter gel pens and glitter glue. I mounted it on iridescent paper.

Gypsy Journal Page 2

I am working on several other journals so I will eventuallypost photos of those as soon as I have the time.

The Sun and the Moon and Me

January 11th, 2010

I have been interested in Celestial themes in artwork for a very long time. I love old woodcuts of the sun and moon, old sky maps, even astronomical instruments.

My artwork has not exhausted the theme – yet. My latest sun and mood drawing shows the sun and moon entwined.

In some mythologies, the sun and moon are brother and sister (in Norse mythology the sun is a goddess, Sunna. The moon is her brother Mani.) In other mythologies, like Greek, the sun is masculine (and called Helios) and the moon is feminine (and named Seléne).

In my artwork, the sun and moon are mostly androgynous. Not always, but mostly. I like bright colours so the sun is shown in bright oranges and yellows with a hint of red. The moon is shown in cooler blues and silvers.

Anyway, this is a sketch I have come up with for the sun and moon. It’s done on lightweight cardstock and with Copic Markers, white gel pen and metallic pens.

Welcome to the den!

January 11th, 2010

Welcome to The Artistic Fox’s den! I am not totally moved in yet, and I don’t have everything unpacked but feel free to stay a while and relax while you’re here.

In this blog I plan to write about arts and crafts and how doing artwork impacts my life (and how life impacts my art), where I get inspiration to draw and paint, a bit about my personal life, and of course foxes!  I may even try to throw in a video tutorial or two when I have the time.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, although I don’t consider myself to be a writer. I have no interest in being published and I run hard and fast with grammar rules. However, I do like communicating with other people, and thus this blog. I’ve been communicating and sharing ideas with people since the 1970s and I had my first pen pal when I was 12 years old. Blogging is just an extension of that.

I also enjoy trading art with other artists – this is why I enjoy trading Artist’s Trading Cards and Art Journals with other artists. Sure, selling art rocks, but also sharing ideas and techniques helps me learn new techniques and see what other people are doing.

The aim of this blog is to have a dialogue with other people and other artists. I hope I can accomplish this and make this journal a friendly place for other people to feel comfortable.

I am always available for questions, so if I have a certain technique on this journal that you want to have more information on, just contact me.

Now, on with the show!