Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paris Toujours Paris and Pay it Forward

Bonjour mes amies, hello my friends. I am today treading the pavements in Paris on this beautiful spring morning. Where the sun is shining and the clouds have parted to reveal blue skies. Well, that's as would be for a rainy day in Sydney, preceded by a very stormy afternoon evening last night. Hence my reluctance to think grey skies for too long and reminiss on Paris.

For this post I am introducing my Pay it Forward. All you have to do is follow this blog and be 1 of the first 5 to post a comment below. Tell me why which Bus Roll Code Flag you'd present for April Fools Day and why. For this I'm giving away a Bus Roll Code Flag print of your choice delivered to your door.

As you can imagine the views from up there are astounding.

There are a great number of ways to get around Paris, cycling was one, but Sinclairs was another.

La musée D'Orsay on the banks of La Seine is filled with art, one of my passions. I could have spent days in there.

All that walking around demands sustenance and what better place for a cafe creme than in Cafe Hautier on the 5th floor. The views from here are outstanding. You can see Sacre Coeur, Louvre and L'Opera. The clock face is one great inspiration that is currently being mimicked all over the world in the form of giant clock fronts featuring roman numerals. The museum was once a station hence this incredible clock window.


The street architecture is wondrous - check out the street lamps.

And those gilded gates. Don't you just love them.

We chose to stay in a boutique hotel down the small streets near Banque (French Federal Reserve Bank) close to L'Opera where there are quite a few Couture Houses - this one On Aura Tout Vu has a unique window that took my eye. Their couture is to die for.  

Aaah the French flag: liberty equality and fraternity, but here's a bit of back history:

The tricolor was adopted by the French Revolution in 1794. Lafayette, commander of the National Guard, suggested the white be added between blue and red. The Bourbon Monarchy was restored in 1815 after the fall of Napoleon. At this time, the tricolor was replaced by a simple white flag again. The tricolor was adopted after the July Revolution of 1830. Despite attempts to re-establish the royal Bourbon flag of white, the tricolor remained the official flag of France.

The three colors of the French flag represent the three levels of class that existed within the country in the past.

Blue represents the bourgeoisie or middle class, white represents the clergy and the Church, and red represents the nobility. The white separates the two other classes in reference to a higher authority.

So famous it needs no introduction..

Reflects my sentiments entirely...

Signing off the the evening, have a great day and get involved with my pay it forward event.

To enter the Pay It Forward giveaway:

All you have to do is add a comment below. If you are one of the first 5 to follow my blog and post a comment below then you can receive one bus roll code flag print free. Don't forget all you have to do is tell me which Bus Roll code flag you'd present for April Fools Day and why.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Just a bit of jellyfishing

Hi there everybody, I do hope you have been having a great Wednesday.

This post comes to you at the end of my day.  I'm getting into that Wednesday concept of highlighting those things which make me happy.

I'm selecting just one thing which scares me, but which I love the look of...Jellyfish. 

I remember when I was nine years old an old portuguese man of war had washed up on a seaside beach in Cornwall and was causing a crowd on the shoreline. It was huge with tendrils that dragged through the sand to the sea edge. This jellyfish was larger than a beach ball with deep blue tinges within - highly toxic it would have caused quite a sting.

Living in australia gives more cause for concern as our waters are home to some of the most deadly jellyfish. The coast of New South Wales gets away lightly; its only in summer when the warm water currents come down from Queensland and on a windy day when its a North Westerly we get an influx of blue bottles.  That means swimming is off as the tide is awash with the nasty stingers.

Its not the blue bottles or portuguese men of war that interest me - it's this type below. When illustrated or as an early marine life illustration I am a sucker for the things.

These beautiful illustrations are from Cabinet of Treasuries on etsy. This engraving shows a marvellous piece from illustrator Ernst Haeckel. Jellyfish, also known as jellies or sea jellies are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria. They have several different morphologies that represent several different cnidarian classes including the Scyphozoa, Staurozoa, Cubozoa, and Hydrozoa. The jellyfish in these groups are also called, respectively, scyphomedusae, stauromedusae, cubomedusae, and hydromedusae; medusa is another word for jellyfish.

Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. From the tropical waters to the polar oceans. Some hydrozoan jellyfish, or hydromedusae, are also found in fresh water and are less than half an inch in size. They are partially white and clear and do not sting. 

It came as a great surprise to me when I was on holiday with my family last year in Cairns that most people don't dip in the ocean there. The next little jellies are from Old Timers Club.
Firstly there are crocodiles in the water.

Secondly nearly every jellyfish you'll encounter is poisonous, very poisonous.

Maybe that's why I like to look at these creatures from a safe distance.

For me nothing beats an illustration of these delicate yet possibly deadly jellyfish that when seen on a black drop to me it suggests the depths of the ocean.

What do you have in your What makes you happy spot?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Going Gaga for Gocco

Good morning to you all out there and overseas. Its been an interesting foray into Gaga and Gocco today.. starting with Lady G and ending with some japanese screen printing.

I've been admiring Lady Gaga from a distance for sometime now. Maybe it's my diehard ear for a hit (memories of working at EMI in the '80's where ruffles and platforms weren't mixed in the same sentence), and knowing a hit from the first few bars,or is it just that she sings them like the anthems of the 80's. Whichever way I look at it, she nails a hit every time and markets it perfectly too. 

I must admit, I do like the wearable installation art which is her mnemonic (thing). What started out as an indie sounding artist has become a worldwide snowballing phenomenon. So it comes as no surprise to discover that her fan page rates the 4th most liked page on Facebook with over 31,280,000 fans.

Moving on today I got out my new Gocco printer, a mini screen printing device which I recently bought on ebay. I hadn't expected it to work first time as I haven't done it before, just googled several videos to see techniques. 

My main concern was that I would attempt a print containing too many fine lines that an almost antique Gocco unit may not be able to reproduce in a sharp enough quality.

Admittedly I have lowered my expectation of a good result in anticipation of what may happen. I wanted to print the blueprint of a ship that I've pictured in the previous post, but thought better of it and started out with my own swing tags. 

I'm using black thick card and a white gocco ink. Making sure I have all the correct sized cards cut and ready to go.

I used the master screen which had been left out of the bag, probably for sometime and I didn't know if it would still be good to go. 

The flash went off over the master screen and the photocopy from which the screen is created with the help of heat derived from the intense bright flash of two flash bulbs in the overhead lamp unit. Here's the photocopy and the screen side by side.

I've placed the master back in its position as I've designed this piece to be 2 prints. The top half of the screen is to print the front of the cards and the bottom of the master will be used to print the back of the cards. So I ink them up separately.

For this to be clean and effective I've placed a paper on the mount and marked with crop marks where to position the card for the first run. 

Each card is positioned where the black card sits. I only ink up the upper part of the master and then run all the cards through, one at a time.

Here's my first one hot off the press. I left them to dry for 10 to 15 minutes, scraped off any residue ink and then inked up the lower section of the master. I repositioned the cards one by one and printed them from the lower area of the print mount.


Here are all the cards, I could have kept going. The quality didn't fade, though you do need to re-ink when you see it's necessary.

All in all I'm happy with the result; clear white lines could be printed from the little gem of a machine even type at 8pt. Its a great contraption and prints like a little ripper. You can do multi colouring in one run if you section off your print master with bluetack so the ink doesn't spread. 

Signing off for tonight see you soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Galleons and buried Treasuries

Ahoy there and top of the morning to you from down under.

I've been busy today with new artwork inspired by my love affair with typography reversed out of black, I'll show you those in a minute.

But to start with, I'm showing a recent treasury my Ships Draught blueprint was included in. I've found out it was featured on the front page of etsy today, which has blown my socks off. I was so busy I didn't get to see this for myself as I was buried waist deep in work. 

Here it is in more detail:

So a big thank you to Ohmyampersand for adding the War Wasp to the treasury that made the front page of etsy.

And so for new work: This has been on the drawing board for sometime with a variety of title names but can now be christened The Chopping List. On the menu for the Chopping List are Beef...

Followed by a spoonful of Pork...

 Then a soupsan of Lamb...

And after a sorbet, how about some Chicken...

And so to close this short entry, do enjoy these prints on my easy shop. They are all available for $15.00 each and the deal still stands at buy 3 get the 4th free. They'll soon be over in made it and my direct online shop at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love Loans Linens and Boat Planes

Hi everyone tuning into empressionista's latest .. hope you are all well and rested after a great weekend. 

Today's poottle up the coast took us to Palm Beach to visit the markets, though they appeared to be called off due to unseasonal weather conditions. 

Alas our visit was not a disappointment as it allowed us to amble on the sand at Palm Beach where many a scene from Australia's soapy Home and Away are shot. Cappuccino at the Boat Shed was a welcome lift.

A front yard filled with lobster pots. These pots prove to be effective lamp shades suspended inside the Boat Shed.

Norfolk pines, a landmark along our coastlines, they stand over 100 feet tall and are home to lovely rainbow lorikeets.

Barrenjoey lighthouse marks the end of a long walk along the peninsula.

Runway 1 clear for landing...

Nothing fills a little guys tum better than a slab of Toast and Vegemite followed by a couple of Hot Chocolates. MMMmmm

 Frangipani tree cuttings in vases ..

 They smell delicious.

A floral abundance outside...

Boats for hire and planes for charter back into town..

A great place for breakfast elevenses and lunch ...

A visit to Palm Beach is topped off by a look see in Love Loans and Linen where beautiful white embossed porcelain sits alongside china and lidded pots. 

Their paper goods are wonderful environmentally friendly and consist of recycled material. Love Loans and Linen prefer to sell handmade items and one offs, so if you're searching for natural wood goods, glasses, crockery, napery and children's items go visit them Friday, Saturday and Sundays.

I adore the small shelves and cases.

I bought myself a couple of the delicate wirework plant holders featured below.

Outside the lovely Palmie shop Love Loans and LInen. Items are for hire for events and your special occasion, so give them a try if you're in Sydney.

Bottles, apothecary jars, cloches, and all forms of glassware are to hand here.

Glass shelves spanning a window are my idea of fun.

Vintage shelving with compartments for your nicknacks look fabulous contrasted against a simple whitewashed wall. I've built a couple of shelves not unlike these. Shall show you them next time.

Retro flags containing recipes are big in Sydney all by Ponyrider.

Palmie is literally right opposite one of our favourite haunts, The Basin. We often pile over on the boat from our camping weekends for coffee and Sunday Papers.

Have a lovely weekend:)