Friday, 27 December 2013

The Artful Reader's Club - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This book has been on my shelf for a couple of years and I am not sure why I had never got round to reading it. I am so glad I finally did. It is a wonderful though heartbreaking tale.Set in Afghanistan it centres around the lives of two boys who grow up in the same household, the master son's and a servant boy.It highlights prejudice and the uncertainties and fears of childhood as well as the cruelty and corruptness of some. I was lost in the story, which is beautifully written. I loved it and recommend it. I had no trouble reading the book but getting some artwork done was a different story. Its Christmas and we have family here from Canada and Switzerland as well as those who live here. Finding time to craft was hard. However I have had a go using an idea from a book called" Personal geographies" by Jill K Berry that I was given for my Birthday.
I used the Gelli plate to create a background, then drew on the head, copying the outline from the book. I added words which convey the emotional journey of Amir as he seeks redemption.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I have so enjoyed reading all your reviews and seeing your art work this past year. Thank you Darcy for hosting this challenge. Here's wishing you all the best for 2014, happy reading.
Jen x

Friday, 29 November 2013

Artful Readers Club - Fujisan by Randy Taguchi

I confess to not finishing this book, for the first time. The book is a number of short stories translated from Japanese. I managed three stories about 60% of the book before I gave up. I was not enjoying it at all and found it most depressing. Each story was written from inside a different man's head and I found each of the three a dispiriting place to be. I feel sure I was missing something. Mount Fuji was a common link to all the stories and there was reference to the esteem in which  this mountain is held. I decided to use that as my inspiration. I worked in Craft Artist and created a postcard of the mountain. The blossom and heart indicating the love felt for the mountain and the colour some of the turbulence of the stories.

My apologies that I did not manage to get round to see all the art work last month life just got in the way.I will try to do better this month. Thank you all for your kind comments.
Jen x

Friday, 25 October 2013

Artful Readers Club - Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller

I read this book earlier in the year as I was pretty sure I would have no time to sit and read it this month. Busy busy as my daughter is getting married on the 28th of this month. I did save the art work to do though and picked up my Kindle to check the spelling of a name and that was it. I reread the book abandoning all else.
I have always loved the Greek Myths and legends even as a child, hence picking up this book. I know you will all know the story so will not be spoiling the plot for anyone this month. This story focuses on the love Achilles and Patroclus have for each other. A love that survives the brutality of war and betrayal. The book is sexy, violent and yet tender. Despite the cruel parts I loved it. It is one of the best books I have ever read. Beautifully written and totally engaging. Brilliant, a must read. I was crying , both times, by the end.

I used a stamp I felt was an image of Achilles goddess mother by his grave as part of my art work. The background represents the forest where Chiron, half horse half man teaches the young Achilles and Patroclus. Here they are happy and true to themselves. I used the gelli plate to create the background layer and then over stamped with the trees.

The second photo, sorry about the shadows, is the page in my journal.
Do check out the artwork at Darcy's blog here.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Artful Readers Club - Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

I just loved this book. I became totally engrossed with the characters and could not put it down. It is a romance in which the characters remember their previous lives. Julia is inexplicably drawn over a number of years to a cottage which she eventually buys. She hears stories of  the ghost of a "The Lady in Green" who used to be seen in the garden of her cottage but has not appeared for 30 years, Julia's age. Once in the cottage Julia is drawn into her previous reincarnation where she was Mariana. Mariana lived in the time of Charles the second. Others have also been drawn to the village and gradually the story unfolds and "the circle is closed". This is a quick read especially when you can't put it down and read into the night and I found it a very compelling.story.
For my art work I used water colours to create the cottage garden and the ghostly Mariana.
I mounted the finished piece into my journal on a page made using the Gelli plate. I die cut the name from some of the same left over card stock. Do take a look at the artwork of the other members of the club here at Darcy's blog and thank you all for your kind comments in previous months.
Jen x

Friday, 30 August 2013

Artful Readers Club - The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal

This book has been on my bedside for ages and I confess to not really knowing what it was going to be about, it was a recommended read. It is in fact the real life saga of a family going back to the 1870s. Edmund De Waal the author inherited the netsukes, small Japanese carved objects, from his uncle and set out to find out how they came into the family. I did not find this an easy read as there were many words I did not know and had to look up in the dictionary. It is easier when on my kindle. It was however worth the effort. It is a well written book and the history of the family is fascinating. This Jewish family left Odessa and travelled to Vienna and then Paris. They made their fortune and collected many art treasures among them the netsukes. The book charts the course of their ownership within the family and the confiscation of the families possessions when the Nazis invaded Austria. We know the netsuke survived this terrible period of the family history as Edmund inherits them. They ended up with his uncle Iggy in Japan. I will say no more in case someone wishes to read the book.
For my artwork I worked in Craft Artist 2 and made a collage of some of the elements of the book. Paris, the Ephrussi house in Vienna, Japan, Charles Ephrussi and three of the netsuke. The Hare, the Rat and the Barrel Maker.
Jen x

Friday, 26 July 2013

Artful readers Club - Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

It is hard to say I enjoyed this book as the trench warfare scenes are harrowing but it was a wonderful read. Beautifully written and totally unforgettable.The book follows the life and loves of Stephen Wraysford from his initial pre- war stay in France to the finding of his diaries some 60 years after the war. For those who may read it I do not want to give the story away but I was almost holding my breath towards the end. The characters, however briefly they appear, are so well described that I felt that I knew them and certainly cared about their fate. I have read stories of the First World war before but after reading this one I really understand why my Grandad would never talk to me about his experiences and why the poppy is such an appropriate emblem for the fallen.
I felt inspired to try and paint my piece this month and used acrylics on canvas. I painted and used a small poppy stamp with the red paint as a layer. I used a stencil through a mask to add the barbed wire and confess this was added through my tears, such was the effect of this book. I added a bird to reflect Stephen's last journey through the trenches and a larger 3D poppy.
I am so glad I finally got around to reading this book.
Jen x

Friday, 28 June 2013

Artful Readers Club - The Last train Home by Tony Wilson

I read and enjoyed this book as I sped along on the train to Scotland. The story is set on Christmas Eve and explores the lives and personalities of three very different men. Mysteriously they are all on the same, last train home with an unknown but clearly magical person. We hear about episodes in their lives and through the mists of time the stranger shows them various events that might or might not have happened. They are shocked and surprised at the ripple effect of their actions and this is the moral of the story. Seemingly small decisions we make can have a big effect on our lives and that of others with whom we are linked.
The ending is a bit Hollywood, there may even be a film with a not dissimilar theme,but I was so engaged with the characters I was happy with that and smiling as I read the last chapter.
My art work is a journal page again using silhouettes! Inspired by the description of the train stuck in the snow in the story.
Looking forward to reading all the other reviews and seeing the wonderful art work for this month, see it on Darcy's blog here    Jen x

Friday, 31 May 2013

Artful Readers Club - Site Works

This month my book was Site Works by Robert Davidson. I bought this book after reading the precise as when my Dad first came to England from Ireland aged 18 he worked as part of a team of laborers in the highlands of Scotland.
The book clearly portrays the daily life and toil of such a group of men working in the present day to build a drainage facility. I could hear echos of tales my Dad told me of his experiences and can appreciate the hard conditions these men work under but I did not enjoy this book. It was a struggle to finish it and only managed it by skim reading long passages. Not a book I can recommend. There was too much technical jargon and descriptions for me and not enough in depth exploration of what I felt could have been interesting characters. I was not really inspired by it but have taken my inspiration from having visited Scotland and the young surveyor in the book who came to love his job despite the problems. I made a journal page.
Page one of my new journal. I used a Gelli plate to create the background and a separate sheet from which I die cut the pine trees. I found a silhouette of a worker with his hard hat on and used this to create my silhouette. I used a number of stamps from my stash in the background. I journalled around the figure but this does not show up very well in the photo.
Do take a look at the lovely art work created by other members of the club here at Darcy's blog.
Jen x

Friday, 26 April 2013

Artful Readers Club - Purple

My book this month is Purple by Graham J Sharpe this is a fantasy novel set in modern day London originally intended as young adult fiction. It was an impulse buy off Amazon and I had to suspend belief to get started really but was attracted by some lovely descriptions.
In the story a purple mist has descended on the world and all the people aged between 18 and 65 have vanished. The under 18 and the oldies are left to run London. The oldies have been left pain free by the mist and they and the young people work together. The young assume responsibilities that previously would have been considered beyond them and everyone pulls together. Greed was only evident in one or two, unfortunately they made themselves leaders.The tale follows follows four youngsters who meet and try to unravel the mystery of the purple and find their parents.
There is a lot of food for thought in this vision of a less selfish society and it highlights the underestimation of the capabilities of both the younger and older members of society. It is a quick read and despite my incredulity at the plot and the coincidences, seems the energies where responsible for those,I enjoyed the read. I found myself smiling a lot while reading!
The young people are brought together by the finding of a purple rose so that is my art work for this month. I have actually drawn this rose not stamped or traced. I was tempted. This is a big first for me having found the courage to try to draw by reading The Creative License by Danny Gregory. A very inspirational book.
Here's my purple rose.

Do check out the other book reviews and artwork at Darcy's blog here.
 Jen x

Friday, 29 March 2013

Artful Readers Club - Three Women of Liverpool.

My book this week is by Helen Forrester and I thoroughly enjoyed it, read late into the night to finish it. It is another story set in the time of the second World War. This one is about the air raids on Liverpool which began on May 1st 1941 and in particular the effect they had on the interwoven lives of three women. As in my last read it is the courage of these brave women which stands out in the face of adversity. The ability to find happiness among such horror and destruction is amazing.
My Mum and Dad met and became engaged at this time, marrying in 1943 so I made a photograph of them, from that time, the focal point of a scrapbook page. I worked in Craft Artist 2 and used some embellishments from a Serif kit called 40's Wartime.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Crafty Ann's Challenge - Sound of Music

I love this paper from Crafty Ann's latest collection so used it with a photo mask to create a scrapbook page of John playing in his band. I added some swirls in CA2.
Do take a look at the creations of the rest of the DT here and I hope that you will be inspired to join us this week especially as it will be Crafty Ann's final blog challenge. It has been a pleasure to use Ann's lovely papers and artwork as a member of her design team and a pleasure to visit all your blogs and see your lovely artwork. Ann's shop here will be closing on April 5th so do visit to buy your favourites  before that date.
Jen x

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

CD Sunday Challenge - Hugs and Wishes

My topper is from Christine Haworth's Meadow Bears CD and I think this little bear certainly needs a hug. The light is so poor for taking photos so apologies for the quality of the pic, it was the best of them!
Jen x

Friday, 22 February 2013

Artful Readers Club - The Last Telegram

My book this month was The Last telegram by Liz Trenow. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, finding the characters totally engrossing. The story is set in the second world war and centres around a family who manufacture silk. It is a love story told at the end of the heroine's life. I admire the spirit of the women in the story, Gwen and Lily herself. These were ordinary people doing their best in the time of war, making parachutes and knowing "if you get it wrong you have dead pilots". The relationships are so credible. I was inspired to make a box for keepsakes as it is the unearthing of such a box in a cupboard by Emily that has Lily reliving her story. I don't want to spoil the story by revealing the story in case anyone wants to read it!

I used a wooden box that had once contained a pen set and painted it with purple acrylic paint
 I then, in sections, painted over it with watered down PVA glue followed by white acrylic paint. I used a heat gun to dry it and watched the crackle appear.
 I then stamped the outline of a design  using a two daisy stamps from Sheena Douglas. I painted my leaves and daisies using Sheena's paint fusion techniques and added ca few sprigs of lavender.
 Finally I lined the inside of the box using a love letter written in the 1800's by a soldier, this is available as a download from Chocolate Baroque.and added a few old letters and a photo.
So enjoyed doing this  I plan to keep a few special mementos of my own in it.
Jen x

Friday, 15 February 2013

CD Sunday - On Your Bike

My papers, image and embellishments are all from MCS Limited Edition CD "Everyday Men's" section. It is a 5 by 7 card for all those young trail bikers out there.
Jen x

Crafty Ann's Challenge #83 - Love Actually

I used one of Ann's lovely papers from Imperial Purple kit and a metallic frame to create this 12 by 12 scrapbook page of John and me.
Do join us at Crafty Ann's challenge blog and show us your interpretation of "Love Actually"

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

CD Sunday - Showtime

For the fun challenge on CD Sunday this week I have made an A5 card. I made this in CA2 using the CD "Cabaret" from Daisy Trail.
Jen x

Friday, 1 February 2013

Crafty Ann's Challenge #82 - Tie a Yellow Ribbon

I have made a square card using Crafty Ann's pre-coloured roses and her Sweet Sage digikit. Something to remind us that Spring will eventually replace the snow. I hope you are all keeping warm and if you are confined indoors do join us in Ann's latest challenge. Details here.
Jen x

Friday, 25 January 2013

Artful Readers Club- Sea of Ink

My first book  " Sea of Ink" was an impulse buy, it is by Richard Weihe. translated from the German by Jamie Bullock. It is about the life and work of a Chinese painter Bada Shanran. He was born a member of the Royal family of the Ming Dynasty. When this was overthrown he traveled and became an artist and for a time a monk.The book explores his long training and search for perfection with brush and ink. Some lovely contemplative passages. The book contains some prints of his pictures and instructions as to the brush strokes required to produce them. I had a go with black water colour paint not ink. Most of my attempts, now in the bin, bore no resemblance to anything let alone what he intended. This one was the best of the bunch however!! Landscape with hut. Does not look like his but I saw myself looking out over misty hills and had fun.
I found this an interesting read and enjoyed finding out about the holistic approach to Chinese painting.I am full admiration for the patient years required to master the skills and full of awe for Bada Shanran's work and skill with a brush, but found myself not liking him much as a person. Maybe all great artists are a little self centred.
Jen x

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

CD Sunday Challenge - Forever in Blue Jeans

Forever in Blue Jeans made me think of several iconic actors so I had a look at the MCS CD Hollywood Greats. Hence my A5 birthday card, a tribute to denim and James Dean.
Jen x

Friday, 18 January 2013

Crafty Ann's Challenge - #81

Welcome back to the first challenge of the year over at Crafty Ann's Challenge blog. For my square card I have used two papers from Ann's Cream Dream kit and my three embellishments are a frame from the same kit, some string and leaves. These are used to enhance the lovely squirrel digi drawn by Ann and coloured by me using Derwent water colour pencils.
Looking forward to seeing all your lovely creations.
Jen x

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Artful Readers Club

A new year a new challenge from Darcy over at Art and Sole. I have chosen my books,  some are paperbacks that have been sat beside the sofa for at least a year and others are impulse buys for the Kindle. The books are displayed on my bookshelf on the side bar. I have started to read "Sea of Ink" one of the Kindle books. It will be a challenge to read, review and complete a piece of art work but I am up for trying.
Jen x