30 Jul 2014

Silver Celtic Pentacle Star

Silver Celtic Pentacle~ Karen Creftor 2014
Triple Moon Goddess~ Karen Creftor 2005?
A few years ago I created a painting of a triple moon goddess using silver on a deep purple background and since then was in love with this combination of colours. Sadly I made the bad decision to sell it for just £10 and have regretted it ever since.

But when I came up with the idea of the Celtic pentacle I knew straight away what colours I'd be using and I'm so pleased with how it came out!

It was a painstaking process of drafting, transferring to the stretched cotton canvas, painting in acrylics, neatening up the edges and finally outlining in ink, but I hope you agree that it was worth the effort. I haven't shaded this one, I'm still in two minds to but we shall see.

Celtic Pentacle Draft~ Karen Creftor 2014

I've just ordered some new fine paintbrushes too, which I'm hoping will cut down on the amount of neatening up needed and make the process quicker.

Anyway, I hope you like it and as always thanks for being here!
~Kaz x
Silver Celtic Pentacle~ Karen creftor 2014

29 Jul 2014

When Does A Doodle Become Art?

Heart Doodle by Karen Creftor
I belong to a wonderful group on Facebook called DoodleArt, it's a great place for inspiration and has some very talented and friendly people in it. They're from all over the world and skills vary from those who have just doodled for the very first time to professional artists.

Seeing such wonderful works in there got me thinking though...how do you define what is a doodle? And when does a doodle become a work of art?

Google defines a doodle as:
a rough drawing made absent-mindedly.
"the text was interspersed with doodles"
Indeed doodles are (as they should be) a hobby that anyone can do, which many, including myself, consider an active form of meditation and should not have a purpose or goal. They can bring people together as the Facebook group does, they can help people communicate, help you understand yourself more and they can make the time in a boring lecture pass much more quickly!

But the fact that anyone can do a doodle can also mean that some pieces aren't given the credit and value they deserve. I often think the term 'doodle' can actually do some works an injustice, as there is clearly a vast amount of talent, time and skill gone into the piece.

So When Does A Doodle Become Art?

There is a growing trend to actually use the two terms together, where 'Doodle Art' is a form of art in it's own right...especially with the increasing popularity of companies such as Zentangle.

Personally, looking back over my past pieces I would say that doodles are created when you are possibly meant to be doing something else (listening on the phone, paying attention in class etc.). They're random patterns and shapes and don't create a 'picture' and created without thinking ahead...possibly even not even intended, you just happen to have a pen and paper at hand.
Mandala...doodle or art?

Art, is of course in the eye of the beholder and please don't get me wrong, there are some stunning 'doodles' in the world! But again, personally for me pictures of definite things or patterns that have a clear structure are art and deserve the title.

Of course none of this really matters, either/or/both whichever way you define them they bring joy to people around the globe and as long the process makes you happy...do it! I have seen many doodles turned into very profitable art, designs and products and I'm sure every artist will tell you that doodling is a wonderful brainstorming tool. Thankfully the Facebook group mentioned above welcomes all art/doodles which adds to the fun of the group, though they do have a great guide to getting started in doodling!

But if you are hoping to make a living from your creations, be aware that labelling them as doodles may be devaluing them to your customers. People like to buy value and just the use of one word or another could alter the value of your work dramatically.

20 Jul 2014

Copper Triquetra 6 Strand

6 Strand Copper Triquetra
About 12 years agoI created pop art paintings and sold them on eBay and always remembered how much I enjoyed painting in acrylics- especially metallic. So it was easy to choose this as my medium for creating celtic knots. Still it took a while to find the right technique to use on this 6 stranded triquetra which made it a labour of love (keep reading for details).

I'm so proud of this painting. It's on a 30x30x1.8cm cotton canvas with a chocolate brown mottled background. Sadly my camera doesn't do the colours justice- but I'll hopefully be getting a new one soon.

Triquetra draft
  Most Triquetras are a single strand with three points and sometimes a circle. But I love intricate designs and wanted to take it a step further. For me the most fun is in the geometry and the initial drafting stage, making the weaving work in different directions. This does mean the painting takes a long time though!

It took a while to figure out the best technique to get the design on to the canvas...especially as it's a dark background. At first I tried making a template from acetate, but the design was just too detailed sadly, so I opted for a technique using chalk on the back of the daft and thankfully it worked!

First try of the triqetra
Another problem with my first try was getting the sizing and placement right as it's not easy to get a triangle to look right on a square. Sadly this means I lost a canvas, but I learnt a lot from it and am already working on my next design using the information I learnt from this one!

So after all that I finally finished the painting below using a fineliner and adding just a hint of shading where one 'cord' weaves under another.

Hope you like it and thanks for stopping by!

15 Jul 2014

The Importance of Finding Your Natural Style

I've doodled and drawn for as far back as I can remember and tried many different styles. It's so easy to try and push yourself into styles that are popular, like those of artists you admire or what 'proper' artists create.

But the thing is, everyone has a natural style and the thing I know I have to keep reminding myself is that there is a market for all types of art as everyone has different tastes. It's OK to not be the 'next big thing' because you don't need the entire world to love you and your work to make a living doing what you love. Not only that but some of the least 'proper' art and strangest creations have turned out to immensely entertaining and inspiring...who'd ever have thought that a cartoon family with yellow skin and no chins would ever become a global phenomenon still going strong for over 20 years! I think part of the success of The Simpsons is how observant it is and in such a funny way! They have stuck to their style and it works. I remember reading an interview with Matt Groening once and he was asked to give advice to aspiring artists. I don't remember the exact answer, but he said to draw what is right for you. He couldn't draw chins, so he left them out!

I was in fact told I was useless in art class at school, and sadly this put me off even trying to do something I naturally love for many years. I spent many years trying to find something to be passionate about avoiding the one thing that truly makes me get into 'the zone'.

I've always loved fantasy art, especially faeries and Gothic, and even had a go at it. But try as I might they always come out boss eyed hehe.

I still enjoy drawing them sometimes, but I'm not a natural at it. My natural style tends to lean more towards cartoons and geometry based patterns such as knots and mandalas.

Saying that I'd tried many times to try and draw Celtic knots over the years and just couldn't get it, even though I just knew once I knew the technique I'd be flying! So finally about three months ago I made the decision to make it happen and thanks to the Internet and many many tutorials later I cracked it :D

I have always adored anything 'earthy' and I didn't have to think twice about using earthy colours with metallic patterns/knots. When the light hits the metallic knot on a muddy brown background it evokes images of Pagan Celts or Vikings sitting around a fire with the light hitting their blades and jewellery. It speaks to something deep inside me and feels right in a way that drawing faeries and other figures never did.

You will never truly enjoy a piece you created if it isn't in a style that feels right for you. It will take longer and you will not be happy with it.

How Do You Find Your Style?

Play! Just draw and see what comes out. Relax, try different mediums and see what is the most fun for you. Art is such a personal thing and sometimes we can get distracted by comparing ourselves to others. I've never been happier since I've 'given in' and followed my natural style and my productivity has increased too! I spent a while finding the right techniques and mediums for me, but now I feel I can offer better designs with better quality and feel confident about offering my wares without wondering if they're good enough.

29 Jun 2014

My First Drawings

I've been doing a lot of studying lately for art as I've had so many ideas but just couldn't get them on to paper, where my skill didn't match my imagination. That is SO frustrating and the studying has limited my productivity too which makes it doubly frustrating.

So I was feeling a little blue, despite learning so much and knowing I'm investing that time in my future I'm not known for my patience hehe.

Then the other day, Mum was sorting out some photos for a scrapbooking workshop and she came across some of my first ever scribbles and I had to smile...as you can see I was never normal if you go by the multi-coloured clown type person walking a blue dog.

These drawings reminded me that we all start somewhere and to just keep going and to not be too hard on myself :) (oh and yes my surname was Holdup once...I changed it to Creftor as it's the Cornish/Kernowek name for 'artisan' and I have strong Cornish ancestry)