Clare Willcocks

Clare Willcocks: October 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

3D layered watercolour painting - Sea Turtle

I'm linking this post up to WOYWW, although this time I don't have any photos of my workdesk. Evening crept up on me and my camera is not too keen on functioning in the dark!

Popping up frequently on my Pinterest feed are some beautiful examples of paper cutting which I've been safely tucking away on my pin boards ready for a flash of creative inspiration to strike. Well, strike it did at the beginning of the week and I came up with this. An 3.5" x 2.5" miniature layered 3D watercolour painting.

3D painting

To give you an idea of how small (and fiddly!) it is, here's a photo of me holding it.

My main inspiration for incorporating watercolour into a 3D paper cut design came from KateCreates, an artist who I've been following on Facebook for a while. Her wonderful Facebook page can be found here and her website here. She creates cheerful pieces featuring campervans, boats, quirky houses and portraits. Her work is layered which gives a lovely feeling of depth, especially in those featuring jumbled houses inspired by Cornish villages.

As for the subject matter, since spotting sea turtles on a snorkelling trip from Perhentian Kecil in the Perhentian Islands, Malyasia, I've had a little soft spot for them. Sadly, according to, six of the seven species of these graceful creatures are threatened or endangered by human activity. They are incredible reptiles which spend the majority of their lives at sea, the females only coming ashore to lay their eggs every 2 to 5 years.

Long Beach Perhentian Kecil
The beautiful Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

I wanted to capture the grace and beauty of these animals and they way they interact with their environment. A quick browse on Google Images threw up many photographs of them swimming with fish around vibrant coral reefs. I combined several elements to create an original underwater scene.

I started by drawing out each layer, three in total. They were outlined in waterproof black ink, painted in watercolours and left to dry thoroughly before wedging them in a heavy book to flatten them. Then came the tricky bit, cutting out each layer with a craft knife. I began to regret choosing such wiggly corals for the foreground! An hour and a few hand cramps later, I had all the layers ready to assemble. They are stuck together with very small squares of adhesive foam tape, a couple of layers in the case of the turtle to bring it up to the right level.

 Et voilà! Now it is stuck on my wall alongside my other miniature creations :)

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider sharing using one of the buttons on the right-hand-side. I love to read your comments too! Some of my paintings are for sale in my Etsy shop if you fancy taking a look :)

Today I'm sharing this post here: WOYWW, Domesblissity, Lovely Ladies Linky, Pretty Things for You, Savvy Southern Style, Cornerstone Confessions, Paint Party Friday, Blue Chair Diary Illustrations, Handmade Harbour and Manon Popje's Illustrations.

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hyperrealism: How can I paint like that!?

I have a couple of projects on the go at the moment, but none of them have quite made it to the stage of being ready to blog about yet! Instead I thought I'd share with you an acrylic painting which I completed in 2009. I've always been fascinated by the concept of hyperrealism, an art genre which involves creating an image which, for all intents and purposes, resembles a high-resolution photograph. In fact, the masters of this genre can produce such detailed pieces that they appear more real than reality (very deep!).

According to Wikipedia (the fountain of all knowledge...) the expression hyperrealism was coined by Belgian art dealer Isy Brachot in 1973 to describe the advancement of photorealism. Like photorealist artists, hyperrealists use photographs as a reference, but strive not to recreate them exactly as they appear, but to convey emotion and a deeper sense of vitality which is not necessarily found in photorealism.

Anyway, enough chit chat, here is my attempt.

Photorealistic Jack Daniels Painting

Personally, I think I may be on the brink of achieving photorealism, but I'm a long way off inspiring that awestruck gasp that people let out when they realise that what they're actually looking at is a painting!

Just in case you don't believe me, here are some examples from the masters. First up, the work of Jason de Graaf, taken from his blog.

painting by Jason Graaf

Never mind the detail in the tubes of paint, that blurred background is awesome!

painting by Jason Graaf

If that's whet your whistle, take a look at these by artist Pedro Campos, taken from his website. They're very reminiscent of the pop art movement.

jelly beans painting by Pedro Campos

If you thought they were good, check these out by Robin Eley, found on his website.

Silent Respiration by Robin Eley

Dark Matter by Robin Eley

These are only a handful of paintings by a tiny proportion of the super talented artists working within the genre. There are many more images on their websites, it's definitely worth a look! (Also check out Eloy Morales, Joongwon Jeong and Simon Hennessey)

So, I looked at these paintings and had an "if they can do it, I can do it" moment. Then I set about doing some research into how, exactly, I'm going to make this statement come true. Here's what I found.

  • It's fine to use grids, projectors and other technical methods to get the image onto the canvas. It's not cheating! (Whoopee!)
  • These artists often use ginormous canvasses, we're talking bigger than themselves, which makes it easier (apparently) to get all that detail in.
  • The paintings can take over 6 months to complete, which explains the more than £20,000 price tag on some of them! (Yep, definitely got to crack this!)
  • According to Eloy Morales, tone (not detail) is the most important aspect.
Not exactly a step by step guide - "Hyperrealism for Dummies". It appears that hints and tips regarding this style are thin on the ground, perhaps to uphold the illusion. This only makes me even more determined to reach the standard of these artists. One day. First though, I need a cup of tea.

PS. Any comments, shares or new followers would be very welcome :)

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs: Paint Party Friday.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Christmas crafts - Paper craft tutorial for origami stars ready for the festive season

All this cold weather is serving as a reminder that the festive season is fast approaching! If you're looking for simple Christmas ornaments to decorate your home and let in some of that festive cheer then this is the paper craft project for you! It's also great if you're looking for Christmas crafts for kids. This step by step tutorial will help you make these adorable chunky origami style stars.

origami star

I can remember learning how to make them at school and being enchanted by the simplicity - I ended up making hundreds! They can be strung into bracelets, put into bowls with other festive creations to grace the Christmas coffee table, hung on ribbons, stuck onto Christmas cards - the possibilities are endless with these versatile little stars! So, what are we waiting for, lets get cracking.

First you will need to cut some strips of paper, approximately a quarter of an inch thick (or 7mm) and the length of an A4 piece of paper. It's easiest to use a guillotine or paper cutter if you have one. If not, draw a straight line with a ruler down the side of an A4 piece of paper and try to cut with scissors as straight as you can!

how to make an origami star

Then 'tie' the paper in a knot. You don't want to be tugging it too much, just start with a loose knot and gently pull it tighter so that it sits at one end of the strip.

When you've got your little knot as tight as you can, squash it flat to create a hexagonal sort of shape.

As well as a long strip coming out of one side of your knot, you'll have a little stubby bit of paper stuck out the other side. Just neatly tear it off using the side of the knot as a guide.

The long strip now needs to be wrapped around the hexagonal shape of the knot, being careful to keep the wrapping tight and folds neat.

Continue wrapping the hexagon until you reach the end of the strip of paper. Tuck the end into the 'pocket' naturally created by the wrapping process. You may need to snip a little bit off the end to make sure it fits in perfectly.

Your origami star in the making should look like this now...

Next is the fun bit - creating the pointy bits of the star! You can either do this stage using a hard edge such as a ruler or the side of a pair of scissors, or you can just use your nails. The middle of each side of the hexagon needs to be pushed in, which gives the star its 3D look. When you are doing this, make sure you hold the star at the edges so as not to crush it.

Repeat this process on all sides, then pinch out the corners to make your star nice and pointy.

Et voilà, the finished star! Now you have plenty of time to make lots more before Christmas arrives. Careful though, they're very addictive!

I'll be adding more tutorials like this one soon, please follow my blog and like my facebook page if you'd like to see them!

I'm sharing this tutorial at the following link parties: I Gotta Create, The Shabby Creek Cottage, A Creative Princess, Domesblissity and Rhinestone Beagle.

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Monday, 14 October 2013

Shabby chic chairs with polkadot seats - renovation project

I was inspired by a chair that Sam's mum bought to pick up a couple of old chairs from the recycling shop at the rubbish tip and give them the shabby chic treatment!

I forgot to take a photo of what they looked like before, but they had rush woven seats which I cut off as they were very damp and dirty. Sanding them all down was the most time consuming bit!

shabby chic chair
I cut pieces of recycled board and filed them down to make them fit perfectly in the seat gap.

vintage chair renovation
Here's the first layer of paint going on.

shabby chic chair
I didn't take any other photos of the process, so here they are finished! I upholstered them with spotty blue fabric.

vintage chair

shabby chic chair renovation

reupholstered chair
I sanded down some areas with fine sandpaper to give that shabby chic look.

reupholstered rush chair

chair revamp

shabby chic vintage chair

shabby chic chair

These chairs are for sale, collection only (or nearby delivery for a small charge), £30 each. So, if you like them and you live anywhere near Torquay, Devon, get in touch!

I'm sharing this post at the following link up parties: Handmade Harbour, Craft-o-Maniac, Between Naps on the Porch, Poppy LovesThe Purple Pumpkin and Sumo's Sweet Stuff.

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