Category Archives: Gothic Arches

latest art projects


Juggling plates is my new pass time – some have food on them – others appointments – others family – yet others home duties – although I am still managing to fit art in – the time it takes to photograph/scan it, download & sort pics, upload to the various places I have my art on show & create some sort of narrative or explanation of them has taken a back seat………SO – I am still arting most days, some days only a little art! But I just don't have the time on the computer that I used to have – it's either create art – or sit on the computer & look at the art of others & talk about making art – so as a conscious decision – I have to cut my blogging back to an entry a couple of times a month – & I have set aside some time to upload a little of what I've been doing in the last little while tonight………IMG_2292_resize of course I zzsshuuieeezzzed up my Moly that I showed you last time, adding in some trims & papers, just for a little variety – it's now in Jenn's capable hands & I can't wait to see what she comes up with………..With all my 'plate juggling' drawing seems to be easier to keep up with than collage & mixed media, as I can take it with me.  I have begun my next one, which will be on the way to Rachel shortly – titled 'Lanes, Alleyways & Other Quiet Corners'  I hope for it to be largly in black & white with touches of other can check it out here…….IMG_2896_resize

 I have been creating some 'add ins' for my journals from 3 x 5" index cards using vegetable dyes, inks & bleach – messy – but good fun & well worth doing in batches……………

bleach & ink stamping 
I just COULDN'T resist participating in the Paper Trader's Renaissance Women Gothic Arch swap…I created these by layers and layers of acrylics, wax, & stamping, before I added the images & embellished them with pearls & bling……'s a glimpse of some of my arches & charmsRen women 1_resize (made from up-cycled opp (thrift) shop treasures)   Ren Women 2_resize IMG_2764_resize

I finished off that journal I was telling you about last month & sent it to its new home.if you'd like to see it all – here's the link……& here's a couple of pics to tempt you to look!IMG_1700_resize IMG_1734_resize IMG_1932_resize


Gothic Arch – Asian


Any one who knows me very well, knows that I am just not keen on the whole Asian story…..I don’t like the food, the smell, the filth, the crowds, the whole bargaining & bartering way of shopping, the design styles, the minimalism………yep, I think you’re gettin’ it, it’s kinda not my thing!  I realize that there are lots of people who do like it, but I am just not one of them and my trip to China late last year just reinforced what I already felt.Arch_asian_web   It’s funny, because I did see some interesting things in China & when I first got back I was rethinking some of my opinions about it, however as I have tried to use one thing after another that I have bought and found that they are counterfiets, or only a case with nothing in them, or it doesn’t work……the same feeling is reinforced…yep – I just don’t like the whole Asia thing!  Having blubbered on about that ENOUGH, understandably a Gothic Arch Challenge with an Asian theme obviously was MORE than a challenge for me!  Still playing catch up with my arches, this is one that has hung around for ages, because I just haven’t been inspired to do it. The arch is primarily just a collage of imagery & printed papers.  I have used gesso on the arch so that the stuck down imagery has some ‘tooth’ to stick to & is well secured.  Then I stuck down the  glossy images on both sides & when they were dry, I completely painted over them.  One side red & one side in burnt umber…..I let that dry a bit & then worked in to it using a baby wipe, I rubbed to both remove some of the paint AND to ‘scour’ the images a little.  Then I let that dry & worked over both sides with black wax crayon.  Using a ‘bradle’ (a pointy thing with a handle) I scraped & scratched into the wax. I have purposely scrapped the faces completely back, so they look white, remeniscent of the white painted Giesha faces.  When I was happy with how it looked I glued an Asian fan on the front at the bottom.

Gothic Arch – History


Arch_history_merge_web Yup, still arching, I have used some intricate cut out material from my dear art friend Connie & the Shakespeare imagery is from Alpha Stamps.  I think that I am running out of inspiration for arches & might I need a bit of a change in direction…..I am happy enough with the front (LHS), but the back is a bit dodgy….too many blocked shapes for me……but the more I added, the worse it got……..oh well……..I know that not everything I make will be a Mona Lisa……but I MUST keep making, because I don’t know which piece that begins as an empty canvas will become her!  Off to work in my Ephemeral Moments Journal, I have had a couple of those lately that I want to do not want to pass unnoted……oh, and I am STILL dying!Img_9451_resize_2 Img_9450_resize

Gothic Arch – Celtic


I have one of those wierd families, you know the kind that this one doesn’t talk to that one & this one had a secret baby & this other one married his cousin & all sorts of mystery & cloak & dagger stories.  Gates_family_webI have been working on the Gothic Arch topic Celtic & I knew there was some Celtic history somewhere in my family tree way back.  (the red hair, green eyes & fair skin is a bit of a give away)  In the process of researching, I came across a big piece of my family tree puzzle. I have a big box of old B & W photographs I inherited when my paternal grandfather died & I really don’t know who hardly any of the people in them are, so it has been a bit of a guessing game.   Some time ago I tried to start to put together some of my family tree, & made some progress, but got stuck quite quickly.  In the process of doing this arch, I stumbled onto a BIG piece of the puzzle.  Arch_heritage_webI have been using & it seems to be quite good.  In the process I found a distant relative who has been looking for some of the detail that I had, and they were able to help me.  I have my grandparents original wedding invitation and (quite out of character for the day) the invitation to the wedding is from my Grandmother, not from either family.  I had no one still alive to make any enquiries to about this, so I had just shelved it. I had this photo here, which looks like a family photo, but I wasn’t sure whether these were people that my Nana may have borded with (her family was from interstate)  This week I discovered that these people were her parents (therefore my paternal great grandparents) & all her siblings!  She was the youngest of 10 children!  By the time she was married (1939, war time) here mother had died & her father was deathly ill.  AS well as that – I discovered that my grandfather actually had 5 siblings & everything I had ever seen showed him as the only child…..SO a big week!  My arch has been created with olive green tones, in keeping with the customary celtic tones. I had this B & W photocopy of a large gate with celtic patterning that someone had given me & so I muddied it up with qn acrylic glaze & some Raw Umber paint.  I have some clippings from the Book of Kells & I have highlighted all the gold.  The small ‘whiter’ piece in the middle at the bottom is a clipping from my family tree back to England in 1854 (when my relatives first came to Oz).

Gothic Arch – We’ll always have Paris


Img_9420_resize You cannot visit Paris & remain unmoved. No book can describe it. Each door you go through, every coffee you drink, beckons you, wooing your soul like a secret lover…….then it ensnares your heart like a vine

I must confess, I ignorantly & blissfully lived down under for what I expect to be about half my adult life, before I experienced the ache that comes from leaving Europe behind.  My first trip to Paris was in November 2000; my 40th year. 

They say life begins at 40, it’s true.  The constraints & strivings of youth have evolved into life experiences that, to some extent define you.  You are ready to embrace new ideas & romanticize about possibilities the future may hold.  You are more deliberate about things & more (in my case, but less in others) willing to take a risk, give something a shot, go out on a limb.

I have the privilege of hosting this week’s Gothic Arch Challenge & I have set the topic of Paris.  My arch is made up with a combination of memorabilia, photos, ephemera & store bought papers – plus memories & feelings of loss….. You Img_9421_resizesee, last weekend I was supposed to be enjoying church in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (where I am told the choir singing sounds like angels from heaven) I would have arrived there on Saturday.   On the back is a photo our daughter took of my hubby & I the evening we arrived in Paris for the first time from  the top of Arc de Triomphe, & a map from an old Beaddekkers travel guide from Mary at Green Paper Packages.  The line drawings on the front (Notre Dame) & the Back (Sacre Coeur) are from a calendar I bought in Paris.  When I hosted the arch last year, I spoke about what everyone was doing with their arches, I promised to post a pic of mine, so here they are, still only in a raw form, I just keep feeding them onto the rings.  I am not sure when I am finished whether I will still use rings, I may just use leather lacing, as some of them are quite 3D & it would be good to have some flexibility in the binding.  As it is at the moment though, they are easy to store & still look good despite being in a ‘temporary’ phase.


Gothic Arch – Old School Days


Old_school_days_web This Gothic Arch Challenge topic is from quite a few weeks ago & was titled OLD SCHOOL DAYS.  I have used some of the fabulous childhood images from Alpha Stamps Collage Sheets
M is for Magpie
ABC Books #2
& Chalkboard

The background papers are the Basic Grey ‘Recess’ range – the same one I used for my little school house.  I like to use the little 6 x 6" pads because they have great scale for small work & the Alpha Stamps images & the Recess papers work together so well.  The stamping is purposely muted, but is also from Alpha Stamps.  Leslie (Alpha Stamps owner) has released what I have wanted FOREVER……..clear numbers  AND clear letters  gives MUCH for flexibility for design & placement.  I LUV ‘EM.  WHILE you are there checking those out though, HAVE a look at the city scapes………..these are really great…….I love them to use in collage, they make great background stamps & scenery for humans in the foreground.  This new CLEAR one will be in my next Alpha Stamps order to be sure…………Haven’t taken my 365 pic for the day yet, so I am off to find something interesting in my studio to photograph… is almost 11pm…………my camera might turn into a pumpkin!…………anyways…………at 12 midnight I am observing a minute’s silence…….I am supposed to be on the flight leaving Melbourne to Paris tonight, instead I am at home, nursing a torn ligament in my knee. Predict_web

Gothic Arch – Transition


Img_9292_resize We are in a glorious transition between Summer & Autumn – although the days are shortening, & day light savings has ended, we are having some wonderful sunny days. The sunset this evening was simply spectacular, this is the view off our front verandah……it lit the sky on fire…..I never tire of the beauty found in the colours in the sky.  Moving on from there though, I have decided I CAN be a bit obsessive!  Last week rubber, the week before catching up on skinny book (which I haven’t touched since) and THIS week, it is gothic arches.  I just didn’t realize that I had missed these little beauties!!  I am SUPPOSED to be creating something else, but I am TOTALLY stuck with it, so I am arching away – catching up on all of the topics that I have missed between a trip to NZ & a torn ligament in my knee!  OH how I HATE being so debilitated, EVERYTHING is an issue & it is 14 steps up to our front door, so especially going out of the house is an issue!  Transition_web This topic was called ‘Transitions’ & I think that many of the  artists were concerntrating on the turning of the seasons we are currently experiencing.  That is fascinating me as well, Autumn is one of my favourite seasons because of all of the stunning colours everywhere you look.  I have already done an Autumn arch last year, so I wanted to do something different.  I have created art around the transition a car makes from a new shiny ‘city slicker’ to a rusty old wreck in a bush paddock.  (AND what a discovery they are for those interested in photography when you come across one – MORE about that later!)  I painted the arches with black gesso, then on the front, made stripes of oil pastel that I blended together.  Then with a stylus, I scraped a city silhouette in to the soft pastel.  The car is one of my favs…….the new beefy looking Chrysler………….I have ‘doctored’ the pic on the back using Golden paints to accentuate the rust & ‘forlorn’ look of the scene.

I am not sure where in the world you are viewing this from, so I just wanted to explain a ‘paddock’….a paddock is a vacant block of land that is relatively unworked,  these are some of the things I have found in paddocks on my travels.  All of these shots were taken in Australia.

By the Sea


It is SUCH a long time since I did a Gothic Arch, & I am ashamed to say, there are nine topics that I By_the_sea_web have missed between other art assignments, a trip to NZ & a torn ligament in my knee….As I am hosting next week, I really wanted to get back & create a couple of arches before I put my challenge forward… is a lovely topic & I know that people will enjoy it……….This weeks topic is SO easy for me, because I love creating water scenes………The boat is from a brochure & is not my work, I did all the colour & blending (much harder than the boat…..LOL!!) OH and……THIS is a very little sneak peak of my new collage sheet called FISHTALES that will be available through Alpha Stamps.. This arch is so sparkling & twinkly on the back with a liberal coat of moonglow in several shades to create a sparkling sea.  The quote reads ‘the fisherman know that the sea is dangerous & the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.’

Gothic Arch – Dogs – The Story of Plato


Gothic_arch_dogs_web_2PLATO was my first love.  A mangy half breed of dubious origin, his hair was ginger like by own & he was a happy enthusiastic little fellow who sadly came to grief under a car.  I remember standing in line at school waiting to get on the swimming bus, when my mother arrived to tell me the news.  It was my first grief.  I was 8 and my first love was gone.  I feel that loss from childhood began a path of enjoying the moments because you may not have another chance to.   You may remember that a couple of weeks ago, the Gothic Arch Challenge was Dogs & I didn’t come up with something??  Well in my fossicking lately for birdie bits, I came across this old postcard & immediately fell in love with it because it reminded me so much of my first little dog, Plato.  I used inks, paints, oil pastel & embossing powder to integrate it into the painted background & generally had good fun with it.  I have used a tech pen on mica to do the back.

Gothic Arch – Purple



This week’s Gothic Arch Challenge is to use Purple – which is Nancy James Maxwell’s fav. colour, in celbration of her birthday (Happy Birthday Nancy) Purple reminds me of some very special people in my life like Ally (hi all the way over to Ireland & Happy Birthday to Christy) & my very talented art friend Nadine (Ms Purple, herself!!!).  While purple has some strong connections for me, it’s not a colour I usually do too well with, artwise…..I often find myself stuck in a ‘cool colour’ mess that I can’t seem to fix without aging it all & turning it warm again!!!   In fact, after some recent ‘cool colour’ faux pah I am thinking of renaming myself the ‘Warm Colourguru’ OR ‘GREENgirl’……or something….’cos while I understand the colour spectrum well, I often struggle making something pleasing out of one whole half of it……so I is hardly representative.   In thinking about this, I tried to find a connection to purple somewhere in my life & I remembered the fabulous Lavender fields that we had seen in Tasmania & what an intoxicating site that was.  We regularly have lavender oil in our bedroom to enhance our sleep & it was from this connection that I could move forward with a ‘purple’ arch.  I have painted a ‘smooshed’ acrylic & oil pastel background then used Faber Castell Pitt marker to pen in a lavender plant that the GORGEOUS ABBY drew for me.  I used Caran D’Arche Neocolour II crayons & my Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils to colour the plant.  I have also used some of the delicious Lumier Halo Violet-Gold to give the flowers a bit of prominence.  I don’t know how many of you, where ever you reside in the world have had the chance to visit a lavender farm.  It’s an experience I would highly recommend – the visual splendor of acres of purple is a feast for the eyes.  It’s amazingLavender_w_beeLavender_splendor.