Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Christmas Prezzies

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Right, now it is February it seems like a good time to talk about what I was up to over the Christmas period! ;-)

This year I decided to try to make some of the prezzies I was giving. However I didn’t just want to limit this to drawings or paintings, I figured this was a great opportunity to try something new that I had been meaning to try for a while.

I have been admiring some of the miniature food jewellery made by crafters from polymer clay. People such as Petit Plat and Shay Aaron are able to make mouthwateringly realistic miniature tarts and cakes and I really fancied giving this a go. Also I thought I could see a way to replicate some actual size beads of the sweeties I loved when I was young (and still do if I’m honest). I figured these would make good prezzies for sweet toothed friends and teenaged relatives alike.

The photos here show all of my first attempts at making these sweet little treats. they are all made from polymer clay (Fimo or Sculpey), some glitter, some varnish and a few ready made jewellery findings. I haven’t made anything from these materials since I was quite little and I had always thought of polymer clay as just a way to entertain small kids but having made these and having had a look around at what other artists are making, I was surprised at how versatile a material it is and what beautiful things can be created with it.

The materials available have become a lot more sophisticated too, you can now get semitransparent and liquid clays with which you can achieve some great effects.

I am quite pleased with how they all turned out especially the dolly mixtures and jelly beans. I might even have a go at putting together a collection to sell. What do you think?

Some of these were quite fiddly to produce. The sugar coating on the jelly tot dolly mixtures and the icing on the cupcakes for example sent me quite cross eyed. As you can probably tell from some of my artwork I tend to like getting lost in the tiny details of a piece of work but this was the first time I have really felt I could do with a magnifying glass.

It’s not just my eyes either. I ended up so hunched over each bead that after a while my back and shoulders hurt too. In short this is a sure fire way to make me feel old before my time ;) but fun all the same! :)

Eden Project

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I have just returned from a very relaxing week in Cornwall. Away from all mobile signal and although I did have access to the web and a TV I pretty much ended up avoiding both. I hadn’t planned to do this but I must admit it was nice to take a break and good to be back online again now :)

I haven’t been completely idle while I was away. I have recently finished a couple of larger pieces that I had been asked to produce for friends. These are larger detailed pieces and I will soon be selling prints of these and a few of my older pieces through this website and Etsy. I have been talking about doing this for a while but I have finally got around to doing my homework and I’m nearly there, so watch this space.

A while before we went away I checked to see if there would be any gigs at the Eden Project while we were in Cornwall and for once there was, so I got Mat and I a pair of tickets to see Primal Scream perform Screamadelica.

We decided to head down early and make a day of it as we hadn’t been around the gardens and biomes for a few years, plus it would give me the chance to get at least one location sketch done during the holiday. I set myself up on a bench with a good view of the valley for an hour or so to sketch. While I was there Primal Scream themselves turned up on the stage to sound test and played a few of their best known tracks.

I had to stop before I was finished, to go and see Robin Ince doing a short gig in the Mediterranean Biome. I was planning to finish the sketch from photos but on second thoughts I decided I quite like it unfinished.

I have wanted to catch a gig there since I found out that they use it as a concert venue some years ago on a previous holiday. It is such a beautiful peaceful place and the Biomes and gardens make for a dramatic backdrop especially after the sun sets and they start to light the place up. Check out my snaps below.

Apart from the main gig and warm up acts across three stages, a couple of other highlights of the day were drinking a baobab smoothy and when a lady in the rainforest Biome decided to complain to me about the noise of the sound tests and warm up acts and asked me if I agreed, ‘doesn’t it spoil the peace?’ I replied apologetically that as I had paid to see the concert, I couldn’t really comment. She then apologised to me, not sure why.

Check Out the Angry Sky Over London

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I had to work this morning so after I finished I decided to pop into the Tate Modern as it was close by. Check out the photo of the angry sky over the city. I took this as 2 photos on my iPhone then stitched them together using the Autostitch App.

It is very busy here today and everyone seems to be taking photos of the artwork. Quite annoying as I have to keep dodging out of photos while I try to look at work on the walls. I might sit and sketch for a bit before I head home as the heavens have now opened, as Terry Pratchett puts it – the rain is like the sea cut into strips.

Alnwick and Bamburgh

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

A few photos I took at Alnwick Gardens, Alnwick Castle and along the coast between Beadnell and Bamburgh. I took the first 11 of these on my iPhone 4 and had a play around with the new HDR function on a couple of them (I’m quite impressed with it btw). The last 4 are taken on my DSLR using Mat’s lovely 10-22mm lens (I love that lens, I would love one of my own but can hardly justify it).

I’ve been trying to post these photos for days but just before uploading them I noticed an update to the iPad WordPress App and stupidly decided to install it. They have since released another update to ‘fix some bugs’ but even after installing that it seems to crash every minute or so. It is very buggy when uploading multiple photos, gets very confused over aspect ratios of photos especially when switching between landscape and portrait, it now doesn’t want to let me delete posts and won’t let me change the publish date. It took much longer to post this than it would have on the earlier version. The problems are so many and so glaringly obvious I really don’t understand why they rolled out the update. Very frustrating as I don’t really have access to post from a PC unless I stay late at work which I don’t want to do.

Summer’s Not Quite Finished Yet

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Face it, I’m English and am therefore obsessed with the weather…

Since the beginning of August my friends on Facebook and the Brits I follow on Twitter have been moaning that autumn has come early this year. I think this year has been a fantastic summer. We barely had any rain from around April to the end of July and then when the rain did come in August it was proper heavy quick hot summer stormy rain. As far as I’m concerned my summer is not over just yet.

This feels like the first year in a long time that we have had clear distinct seasons in the UK. Normally our seasons seem to range from a brief period of cold and dry, to an even briefer period of warmish, linked together by a whole lot of wet, grey and miserable. Maybe it is just because I have taken more advantage of the good weather to get out sketching this year.

We have taken the risk on the English weather three years running for our summer holidays and so far we’ve been lucky. We have had a few rainy days but these were all the better for hiding inside and catching up on the growing book pile (virtual book pile that is, it is far too easy to spend money on the Amazon Kindle). This year the weather was good enough that at least one evening we were able to sit out at the beach watching the sun set over the sea while drinking bottles of cold cider (yes we were sat on a park bench drinking cider straight from the bottle but the view made it classy OK?! ;)

Btw for an amusing take on the English obsession with the weather and more side splitting yet embarrassingly accurate observations of other English quirks please read the book Watching The English by Kate Fox I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Vector Orchids

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Orchids are my favorite flower. When I was in Singapore several years ago I visited the orchid gardens on Sentosa island. Mat and I spent a lot of time walking around the gardens and as I didn’t have a camera of my own in those days Mat kindly leant me his so that I could take some photos. If I had been allowed to I’m sure I could have spent the rest of our holiday in those gardens alone!

I decided to have a go at converting one of my favourite photos that I took that day into a vector drawing using the iPad app iDraw by Indeeo. I was quite pleased with the result.

The reference photo:

My vector drawing:

Unfortunately there are bugs in iDraw and for this drawing I had to keep remembering to close and reopen it to save each tiny change to avoid the frustration of loosing a significant chunk of work. However there is a new update just out and hopefully this will fix these issues.

iPhone Photos of Portsmouth

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

My weekend in Portsmouth was my first weekend with my new iPhone (Yes I was one of the idiots who queued for the iPhone 4). I have to say though, idiot or not I am very impressed with it so far. As a very portable point and shoot camera it is now not bad and the higher definition screen makes viewing photos lovely.

Yes I know, there have been much cheaper and better quality camera phones on the market for some time now. Some of those phones can do everything mine can, probably plus a bit more. And yes it does irritate me that Apple limit what I can do with my product and refuse to make it easy to sync with a PC trying to force me into buying a mac. But I can’t help it, I just love the way my iPhone works and as much as people hate apple you have to admit they spend a lot of time and energy on getting their products right. I can’t see how that’s a bad thing.

Oh and that last photo?…There was a bunk bed over our bed in the hotel so Mat built a fort :) Who says we have to be adults anyway? :)

Weekend in Portsmouth

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

A few weekends ago Mat and I went back to Portsmouth for a reunion with some of our friends from University. It was a very hot weekend and in the middle of the first night there was a fire in a substation that serves pretty much the whole of the island. This caused a power cut throughout Pompey that lasted most of the weekend (and knocked out the air con in our hotel room). Some shops and businesses had limited power (enough to run tills, beer pumps and kitchens) but vast swathes of Portsmouth had to stay shut.

We spent Saturday morning having a couple of drinks around Spice Island in Old Portsmouth (my favourite part of the city) and then decided to escape to the futuristic Isle of White (where they have working light bulbs, air con and cash machines) by hovercraft (prompting at least one chorus of ‘She’s got a ticket to Ryde’ from Mat).

Most of us had to leave early on the Sunday (27th June), so at the last minute I decided to let Mat go home without me so that I could stay and sketch. I decided to head back to Old Portsmouth and to the sea wall as it was such a beautiful day and the sea and sky were both a perfect lovely blue.

I chose a spot on a fishing pier and started sketching the square tower. While I was there several people stopped to have a look at what I was doing and made some very nice comments. Also there were several young lads climbing the railings next to where I was sitting and egging each other into jumping in. I overheard a couple of slightly older lads talking loudly with great bravado about jumping in from the top of the square tower. Sure enough a few minutes later they were standing on the top looking down (you can see them on my sketch) but they chickened out in the end :)

The sketch took about 3 hours and though I thought I had covered myself in suntan lotion I had missed bits so I ended up with burnt stripes on my shoulders and on the insides of my lower legs where I was sat cross legged.

The photo shows where I sketched from. I was sitting just to the right of the lamppost in the middle. Unfortunately the scan of my sketch is a little washed out so imagine more colour ;)

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Amy Stace published on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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