Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Ongoing Immortalisation of Mr. Gizmo




    It's been a funny old start to the year. I don't think any of us could have envisioned a year ago life as it is now and the series of historical world events that have marked our lives indelibly. 

    It seems that each day brings a further descent into chaos, fear and confusion, and no end is in sight - a daily viewing of the news has to be faced with a mixture of anxiety, fortitude, dread and a sinking sense of inevitability. In the midst of all of this chaos it's more important than ever to find an anchor for a sense of security in this ever howling storm. Amidst the darkness and the turbulence there has to be a calm place - somewhere small to light a candle and sit warm and safe within its reassuring glow. 

    My inspiration to make art has been, I admit, somewhat diminished since the start of the new year. I haven't made an art journal entry in ....well over a year. Has it been a year? Crap....yes...a year! That always used to be my 'go to' and I have realised that I really miss it. Not the big complicated arty farty pages, just the silly simple stuff that's just for the fun of it. I have limited mobility at the moment, so using the studio space with all the access to wondrous media is a bit of a non-starter....I have taken over space in the living room that I can use, relatively pain free, but with limited stuff-storing potential! Because of the whole space restriction thing, I've shuffled back to embroidery and I have to admit, I think it's saving my sanity! All those colours there at my fingertips ...and such a mellow process. 

    Of course, I need a subject. There's soooo much to choose from. Sooooo much.... soooooooooooo much...... But then, there's really only one subject of note that seems to take over so much of my inspiration zone: Gizmo! 

    Yes - the highly vocal old man of whiskers is becoming immortalised in a growing number of ways. I've decided that I am obviously being given a universal hint, so I'm going to run with it and create "The Nine Immortalisations of Gizmo!" So far, he's been cartooned:

....he's been inked in a fine art tribute to his Heathcliff windswept magnificence:

And now, in accordance with the directions from my self-calming muse, he has been immortalised in embroidery thread, at home amidst the winter garden foliage:


    He's nestled inside a 5" embroidery hoop and completed mostly in satin stitch. Gold thread picks out his glorious if craaaaazy whiskers and his permanently surprised eyebrows. His distinguished greying facial fur and manly chest fluff as well as his developing 'silver fox' moustache and beard are worn proudly as his cheery and hopeful little face looks towards the possibility of tickles, cuddles, chesty rubs and, of course, sausages. 

    (For the eagle eyed amongst you, you may notice that, in spite of a good roll with a lint brush, Leonard has found his way into the frame by means of a couple of strategic wafty Leonard fluff hairs of the very kind and variety that always seem to be present on toast, in tea and, inexplicably, in fresh, FACTORY SEALED tubs of yoghurt and tins of baked beans. Leonard is taking over, one hair at a time!)

    It's just a little project from me for my Husband who loves Gizmo so much, and whom I love beyond all bounds. It's an exceptionally tardy Yule gift! I know it's not perfect as I'm still feeling my way a little, but it was such immense fun to do and it kept me from going completely bonkers as the daily news reports burrowed through my brain like the voraciously destructive sand worms of Dune!

    Now I am inspired; back on track. I have work to do and commissions to complete, and I am back to enjoying the process and looking forward to the year ahead. I think that, when everything is overwhelming and the path forward seems unclear, the thing to do is just to take that first step.... You can do it in platform shoes, comfy slippers or wellington boots - it doesn't matter: it's the action that counts. 

    As for Mr. Gizmo Fo'Shizmo Fizzy Whizzy Doo-dah, his next immortalisation is brewing... Watch this space!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Festive Fun and Frolics - Merry Christmas! xxx

 It's that festive time again - and I'm late with a Christmas post! *tsk!* Even with everything closed in a pandemic, with no guests or visitors or events to attend it would appear that I am STILL not organised at all! 

    The end of the year brought a flurry of activity, commissions and orders, which was a little unexpected and entirely fabulous. Commissions CAN be a nightmare, but experience has made me picky and I choose the clients I know I can enjoy working with. It's been a sheer delight to meet some completely gorgeous people and to know that my work adorns their walls (and in some cases, themselves!) and makes them happy. I can't tell you the joy that brings me! 

    I've not had a chance to work on my usual Christmas as Yule pieces, with the exception of my "Spirit of Hope" Yule exhibition piece, and I never share commission work without permission, so the offering I have for you to celebrate the season is a series of little illustrations I made for my Husband's Christmas cards from the cats, Father Christmas and, oh yes - me! I am hoping, in the months ahead, to make this blog a lot more interactive, with more tutorials, product information, work processes and the like, similar to my old blog site. For now, though, I offer you my kitties in Christmas mode which I hope very much that you will enjoy. 

    Much love to all this festive season. May light and love follow all of you this coming year. Stay safe and well - Shroo xxx

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

"Spirit of Hope"

 There's nothing like setting yourself a challenge. I mean, OBVIOUSLY it would be a smoother life without hurdles and landslides and zombie invasions, but WHERE would the FUN be? Eh?

    My entry for the new exhibition at the Cultural Activities Centre in Temple, Texas could have been anything... a watercolour, a nice acrylic canvas...another inked piece... Anything. But as I sat staring at my sketch book that little tingling, nagging feeling started on the back of my neck, just below the hairline there... Just.....there..... Yeah. I know that feeling - it's my muse saying hello and feeding an idea directly into the art centre of my brain, an idea that I know will have no wiggle room at all. Once it's embedded I have no choice. 

    "You're doing this with textiles -- get out your needles and threads and settle in for the long haul!"

    So...yeah.I went digging. It's surprising how many embroidery silks you can have and STILL need to order 150 more from Amazon (they were an awesome bargain!) 

    The brief was to represent belief in Christmas. As a pagan, I wanted my piece to be a little more historically and culturally inclusive without offending or challenging other peoples' faiths. I chose to focus on the bringing of light into dark places, the lighting of candles, the burning of bonfires, an idea which transcends time and culture. Light signifies the hope that our species carries inside each of us: that the cold, austere dark nights of winter will eventually pass and become the warm light and abundant growth of Spring and Summer. That life replaces apparent death. That the earth itself is reborn and each of us with it. Even our fancy schmancy "modern times" and the educated rationality that abounds now doesn't fully banish our fear of the night and our longing for reassurance that the hope of light triumphs over the abyss of darkness.

    This piece is about light, hope and happiness. It's my belief that finding the bright and shining path will guide me through the blackness. This is bold of colour, wild of style - a freehand embroidery following the same processes as any of my art pieces...a concept with minimal form that follows its own path. The seed beads are sewn individually and the whole thing is stitched over my hand painted design on a piece of reclaimed cotton cloth. 'Nuff said - here be the finished working along with a few potentially useful close-ups:

In Remembrance

 We will never forget those who have bravely fought and fallen, that we may thrive and grow. 

We will remember them.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Hallowe'en 2020!!

 Scary times and frightening goings on...so add to the freak party with this year's Hallowe'en illustration of our favourite monsters - The Leonard Monster, Count Gizmo, Doctor Sapphira and Missy the Bride of Tequila!

....and a reminder of our troupe in Dia De Los Muertos costume....

May the spookiness entertain you and may the year ahead be better than the last! xxxx

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day 2020

Our lucky black cats - no matter what level of buggerlugs they choose to be, our lives are richer for having them as our crazy companions/overlords! Love from Shroo, Mr Shroo and (left to right) Missy, Gizmo, Sapphira and Harvey xxxxx

You might like a look at this as well ...

Around and Back Again

    Well. Hello!  And where the good goosedown have I been then, eh? Eh? Valid question, yes. Well, much in solidarity with PRETTY much ever...

More Ramblings...