About Me

I'm a freelance artist, designer and demonstrator and have been involved in arts and craft my whole life in one way or another. I design stamps for top British company Personal Impressions, under the "Lindsay Mason Designs" brand, as well as papers, templates and other crafting products. I'm a certified Ranger Educator and my first book,"Stamping", was published in 2009. I also design regular projects for Crafts Beautiful magazine and have made guest appearances from time to time on QVC. I've recently joined You Tube under the name of LindsayMason1000 where I'm posting short technique videos and you can buy my paintings and hand crafted pieces from my Etsy shop. My work takes me all around the country demonstrating stamping, papercrafts and general inkiness! When I'm not working, I love gardening, church & community activities, nature watching, journalling, music and theatre and just relaxing at home. Email me at: ljm.design1@virginmedia.com

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A lovely weekend

It really was a lovely weekend, meeting lots of very enthusiastic crafters and having some fun along the way. On Saturday I was demonstrating at Top Barn Crafts in Wrexham and here are just a few of the ladies who came along - though I think the young lady at the front is more interested in David taking her picture than watching me! Lol! I was inking and stamping and dyeing flowers, though the card below features spotty ones from Petaloo, along with my "Vanilla WanTED" set of stamps (no, I didn't come up with that title, just the name Vanilla for the teddy!). I stamped Vanilla onto paper from Best Creations which I also used for the matted background - I do like this technique when I don't feel like getting inky fingers! As promised to those who specifically asked me this weekend, below are two of the Distress inked landscape backgrounds for you to have another look at. I use various colours of the Distress inks for these, but a good combination is Tumbled Glass, Stormy Sky, Dusty Concorde, Pine Needles and Walnut Stain, used in that order. The snow is created by spritzing with water and removing the spatters with a tissue. The trees and snowman are painted using just water, again tissued off, before adding some details to the snowman. I hope everyone managed to re-create the trees! On Sunday we went off to Stampers Gallery in Tarleton. Another scorchingly hot day! Sue and Phil who own the shop had both been on the wars - Sue had fractured her elbow...ouch! And Phil had managed to drill through his hand....even oucher!!! They were still smiling though! As you can see below, it was a busy day....I am in there somewhere! I had another sneaky day off yesterday (how decadent!), though I did make lunch and dinner - mind you, I had to have a lie down afterwards!!! He he! It was nice to have chance to watch some tennis too. I did do a few drawings as well, but all in all it was a pretty relaxing day.
On Thursday and Friday of this week I'll be down in London for the QVC customer event, so I know that will be lots of fun - tiring but fun! Around 400 ladies (and probably a few men!) will be there over the two days, so I'm sure I'll get some good photos to share with you next week. On Friday evening I'll be getting the train to Horley for my demonstration at Crafts U Love on Saturday, which will be lots of fun, so hope to see you there if it's in your vicinity.
I notice that the number of visitors to my blog is almost 20,000 (although I only figured out how to add a counter after the blog had been up and running for months!!!) so I will be doing a blog candy once it has hit that number - possibly when I get back home. I will be glued to the men's final at Wimbledon on Sunday, but will organise the giveaway as soon as I can. No clues as to what it is yet, I shall keep you in suspense! So, I'll wish everyone a great weekend and will post details about the blog candy when I get back. Lindsay

Friday, 25 June 2010

Quick reminder

Just a quick post to say that if you in the Wrexham area tomorrow, or the Preston area on Sunday, then I'll be in your neck of the woods this weekend.
Tomorrow I'll be at Top Barn Crafts in the Plassey Craft & Retail Centre which is in Eyton, Wrexham. The event I'm at is called "Circuit Training for Crafters" though I'm told the only excercise for anyone coming along will be trying out some crafty techniques and eating an odd chocolate! I'll be demonstrating some ideas for dying flowers, ribbons and making matching card to stamp onto, generally messing about with inks and getting messy as I always seem to do! The event is from 10am - 4pm and there are other shops that you can browse in at the centre, as well as a very nice eatery to have lunch in.
On Sunday I'll be at Stamper's Gallery, The Boskins, in Tarleton near Preston. Here I'll be using Ink Potion no 9, liquid inks, stamps, punches, papers....ooh...lots of lovely things! There will be other demonstrators there too, so it will be a really interesting day. If you like football then pop along in the morning and if, like me, you can't bear it, then make a day of it or come along in the afternoon and escape!
Talking of sport, did you see those two sporting heroes over the last couple of days at Wimbledon? A match which lasted over eleven hours all told and on the middle day they were on court for over seven of those. A historic tennis event with the loooongest match ever played! I'd like to see those football players lasting as long as that....okay...I'll stop now before I get boycotted by the footie fans amongst you! (Including my sister!).
Well, hope to see some of you this weekend and will post photos next week. Lindsay

Monday, 21 June 2010

My art and I

Oooogh...sorry, another terrible pun for my title! Good name for a song though! (If you're not a Richard Tauber fan you may not get the joke!) Anyway, I've been asked by quite few people about my art background, so I thought I'd put some photos of my paintings on here and a bit about what I used to do before I began designing stamps and papers. Apologies in advance for the poor photos, but these were taken before I had a digital camera or computer, so they are "snaps" really! I don't have many photographs now as a lot were lost a few years ago unfortunately. Those below are photos of photos!
I trained in Manchester and my speciality was detailed work, mainly fauna and flora (mostly British) with some landscapes as well. I particularly enjoyed painting busy foregrounds filled with grasses, fungi, ferns, snails etc. The one below is a case in point, with an array of toadstools around a tree stump. I used watercolours a lot but in a rather different way to the norm in that I used white, which is quite unusual. Each painting began with a very light, but detailed, pencil sketch. The background came next, be it a lightly washed summery sky, or more moody, atmospheric autumnal one. Next I would start to work on the largest sketched areas, such as the tree stump in this picture. The next stage being to paint white watercolour over the sketched details. This gave me a very smooth surface to paint on, in a similar way to painting over gesso, which allowed for very detailed brushwork. I would then keep working on the fine details with a 00000 brush, and my preference was always synthetic brushes, especially the golden nylon type, as I like the fact that they feel stiffer than a natural brush, more like using a pencil in a way. Each painting could take anywhere between a week and a month, depending on the size and subject, though I'd often work on more than one painting so that I could take a break from, say, a detailed woodland, and work on the soft fur of an animal instead.

The painting of red squirrels below was a commission from a gentleman, for his wife who was very fond of them. Unfortunately it's not a great photograph! I had success with my work in many galleries and open exhibitions such as The Laing and The Mall Galleries in London's Pall Mall. Here's a picture of me with my dad after I had won an open exhibition with the central painting of "Sea Mist at Rackwick Bay". This painting depicted a foggy seascape with all the main detail being focussed on hundreds of pebbles, large and small, along the beach. Those pebbles took forever to paint! Think this picture was taken in "widescreen" as we both look a bit st-r-etch-ed! A couple of years after this, I was one of 400 wildlife artists, worldwide, to be invited to paint two pictures for a prestigious auction in Nairobi in support of the East African Wildlife Society which were raising funds for the Elephant foundation that year. It was a very exciting project and David and I transported my work, as well as other artists, down to Oxford where they were then being taken to the airport to be flown by BA (who donated the flight) out to Africa for the auction which was opened by Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands. Exhibiting my work alongside artists like David Shepherd, Gary Hodges and Willem deBeer was a real highlight of my career, and the auction raised a huge amount of money for the foundation.
As well as wildlife themes I occasionally liked to paint landscapes and these would sometimes be in oils, such as the wintery scene below. Working in oils is so diffrent, and the smells of Linseed Oil, Turps and oil paints are so evocative that they give inspiration in themselves!
The painting below was the result of stopping by the roadside for a coffee on the way home from Scotland. I loved the scene and made some sketches, took a few photographs and painted the picture after we got home. I loved the contrast between busy foreground and peaceful panorama behind. Russell Grant, the astrologer, bought one of my landscapes featuring a country lane, as he said he could just imagine walking down there and seeing what was round the corner!

The next picture is of Blue Tits, and it's appropriate as I've been watching very similar scenes this week from my window! The adults are flitting to and from our feeders and their fledglings, who are keeping them really busy. The chattering they are doing is really loud as well for such tiny birds!
The last picture is one that now hangs in my parents' home. My mum really liked this painting which I told the lady who bought it. When she died she left the painting to my mum, so she finally did get to hang it on their wall. The subject is of an Owl being mobbed by other birds (which is what they do if they discover an owl anywhere near a nest). I kept the background very uncluttered and simple as I wanted to focus just on the birds. Whenever I hear the Magpies clacking away and the Blackbirds shouting an alarm call I wonder if they are after a poor, unsuspecting and sleepy owl!
Well, I hope that you enjoyed the insight into my background. I sold many paintings over the years and David and I ran our own Gallery for a few years too. Unfortunately, as art in the UK veered into the strange world of installations and more abstract forms, I found that I needed to change the focus of my work. My interest in crafts had been there since I was a young child and I have always enjoyed creating a wide variety of things. It is a very long story, but I began to design stamps for Personal Impressions about seven years ago and it's something that I really enjoy. Seeing what people create with the stamps is as much a thrill as it was when I first began. Now I'm working on other things such as papers as well, so there is always something new to excite me. Sadly, because my work keeps me so busy, I really don't get the opportunity to paint "pictures" anymore, but I love being able to show people who think that they aren't artistic that they, too, can create something unique and to be proud of.

Time to rest

Today was the day for some time off after a few weeks of solid work. So I took a leaf out of Tara's book and had a lie in! Then there were some good tennis matches to watch...well, first day of Wimbledon, it would have been rude not to! I should say here that I was writing all this yesterday ie Monday, and had almost got to the end of this long post when something happened, I think my thumb slipped onto a mystery key, but, whatever it was, it deleted the entire post, words and pictures! Ggggrrrr.....I just didn't have the heart to re-do the whole thing from scratch last night. Maddening. Tara is mum and dad's cat and the lovely picture above is of her fast asleep in my bed at their house. I really miss not having kitty feet padding around, so it was a treat to have her company whilst we were house sitting a few weeks ago.
The next picture is of the three ATC's which I made for Heather's swap last month. The theme was "A little birdie" and the only rule was that there must be a bird and a figure on each ATC. I decided to draw my own designs for these, so I pencilled the images in, inked them up with my 0.05 pen, coloured with Promarkers and then added extra details with more pen work. I hope the recipients liked them as I had great fun creating them! If you fancy joining in one of Heather's monthly swaps check out her blog (in my blog list at the left) and just email her - then you can join in as many, or few, of the swaps as you want to.

While we were away I did a demonstration at Windmill Crafts in Thornton and managed to get a photo of Terry trying to sneak off with more of my stash in his sling! He would have got away with it if he hadn't been so over enthusiastic - I think my bright orange guillotine was just a little ambitious! For anyone who hasn't read my earlier posts, there is a long standing joke now that Terry pretends to pinch goodies off my table and I take a picture for the blog - poor Joanne (Terry's wife) always looks mortified but it's very funny! Best wishes to them both at the moment because now Joanne has had a "trip" as well - I think they need to start taking more water with it! (Only joking!).
The card below was made using one of my new character stamp sets. This one is Finlay the frog (PICSA6113 Prince Frog) and I stamped one of him lying down and then used several impressions of the sitting version to create the crowd behind him.

I simply cut the grassy strips with my scissors, but the Martha Stewart grass punch, or fringing scissors give a really good effect if you have them. I used the crown and message from the same set. The frog stamps are great for male cards...which man wouldn't like to think he was the real Prince! As you can see, I enjoy making fun, whimsical cards, but I also love making more artsy pieces as you will see further down.

On Saturday I was at Dawn's studio where I was teaching a workshop entitled "Secret Canvas". One of the ladies attending was Sheila and she completely overwhelmed me by bringing a wonderful gift that she had made especially for me. It's a box which Sheila has made and decorated with friendship definitions. Inside are five RAKS, one of which is made using my TSV stamps! The remaining ones all feature Aliced in Wonderland images. Sheila, thank you again for this beautiful gift, you are an extremely generous and talented lady.

These pictures are of the sample which I made for the workshop, showing the front and back of the canvas. The colours don't look as vibrant as they really are, but I used ochres and gold combined with teal as my pallette. The flowers are all hand dyed ( a technique I'll be demonstrating in my next few demonstrations) and the "secret" area in the back has a mixture of photographs, a "love letter", a lock of hair (mine!), an altered matchbox, flowers etc.
I think all the ladies were a little
intimidated by the stark white canvasses to begin with, so I got everyone to sponge paint on them straight away - amazing how some colour makes an empty space less scary! We then used tissue to create texture, added crackle paints, grungeboard letters and stamped images.
As you can see, everyone was soon getting quite engrossed in their pieces of art. Here's a face that many of you will recognise! Amy made a very girly pink and lilac version, complete with fairytale castle and winged key, for a little girl's bedroom. Below you can see Sheila's canvas coming together. It was, as always, fascinating to see how different everyone's style was.

We had a lot of fun, with lots of laughter throughout the day, and we over ran the allotted time too! I think that all the ladies were going to add extra ephemera, charms etc to their creations once they got home as well.

Below you can see how well everyone's work turned out (I told them they could do it!)

From the left we have Elaine, Lesley, Sheila, Kath, Sarah and my sister Heather. No Amy on the picture as she had to get back to work before I took this. Kath and Elaine came in to see me the next day to show me how Kath had finished her canvas off with lots of extra embellishments.
If you fancy coming along to one of my workshops, keep checking the "demonstration dates" section on here for what's coming up. My next one is on Saturday 17th July and is a Ranger techniques class where we will be using all sorts of different Ranger products and each technique will be used to make an ATC sized aide memoir with the option of putting them all onto a ring to keep them together. If you'd like to book a place, please contact Topaz Crafts directly - not many places left! The last couple of photos are of a little tin that I altered using alcohol inks and stamps. The images are all Darkroom Door by Rachel Grieg - a really talented photographer who then turns her images into superb rubber stamps. I highly recommend them as they are not only wonderful images but they stamp beautifully. I used the inks to colour the outside of the tin. I then used Rachel's butterflies, flowers and words (from the "Wildflowers" set) to embellish the lid. For the inside I ditressed some cream card with inks and water and stamped a Tim Holtz message onto the one for the base. I hand dyed Petaloo flowers to match and added these, as well as two velvet butterflies, also from Petaloo. It's just a whimsical piece, not practical at all, but I like that!
I stayed with Rena and Stephen (Amy's mum and dad) on Saturday night and little Alicia was staying over again too. No "Cockle Overs" (forward rolls!) this time, but, instead, we were making some felt monsters which later became characters in a puppet show with Alicia and I behind the sofa enacting St George and the dragon! Stephen filmed the whole thing and has threatened to add it to the Topaz blog, so myacting skills (!) may well be there for all to see! It was a lot of fun!
On Sunday I was demonstrating all sorts of techniques at Dawn's studio and must thank everyone for their lovely compliments about the TSV and also for the gifts which I received - there are some lovely, kind people out there!
So yesterday was a rare day off with sunshine, tennis, watching the birds and just having some relaxing time at home. Just the job! I'll be posting some pictures and a bit about my art background (as requested) after this post, so will say cheerio for now. Lindsay

Friday, 18 June 2010

Back home

Hello all, well, that was an exciting and busy few days! So much so that I didn't take a single photo while I was at QVC, there was just too much to do. Thank you for all the lovely comments and emails that were waiting when I got back and I hope those of you who bought the TSV will really enjoy using the stamps - I'd love to see what you create with them. The stamps will also be available in stores as individual sets...I'll update on this as soon as I know when.
I'd already met Craig and Anthony before but not Simon...I was rather glad that we were sitting down together as he is rather tall! Craig is lovely and Anthony is such a "card" (to use a pun as he is so fond of doing!). I also met up with Catherine Huntley again, a genuinely lovely lady. My good friend Paula (Pascual) was also there, so it was lovely to spend time in her company again - I got to meet her gorgeous husband Omar too!
When I was on my way home I had lunch at Victoria station and, bizarrely, bumped into someone that I know who lives very near to me! Then, today, I hopped off the bus and bumped into Paul (of the Artsiders blog)! I did look around to see if I could bump into Chris Packham (Springwatch) but no such luck! (I love that man's encyclopaedic knowledge...he'd definitely be on my fantasy dinner party list!)
Well, back to "normality" now and I'm looking forward to my weekend at Topaz, kicking off with the Secret Canvas workshop tomorrow - which I will be sure to photograph!! Then I'll be demonstrating in the studio on Sunday...a bit of all sorts.
Well, must sign off as dinner is about to be served and I'd better be ready! So, will be back in a day or two with pictures and, as quite a few people have asked about my art background, I'll be putting up some photos of my paintings as well - just got to scan them in first. Lindsay

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Here in London!

Hi folks, this is me posting from the hotel lobby in London. Just taken me a while to sign in as the keyboard is weird and the @ sign is got by pressing caps and 2!!
Anyway, as there was a free internet service here I thought I'd say hello. I'm in a hotel close to QVC so there won't be too much of a rush to get there tonight. We'll be having a meal around 6pm, then maybe planning a few more demonstrations, last minute things to make etc and then, hopefully, a little bit of time to relax and freshen up before the show at midnight.
Thank you so much for all the cards which I've received to wish me luck....they are much appreciated. It's certainly going to be an interesting and exciting 24 hours for me - and hopefully you will enjoy it too.
Well, I'll sign off now and post when I get home with lots of photos I expect. Lindsay

Friday, 11 June 2010

Seems ages.....

......since I posted on here! Even longer than I expected. So, I'm just signing in to say "Hello" and update the diary. Our house sitting break was filled with work - while I was drawing and creating, David was decorating, repairing and fitting a new shower and other bits and pieces. We felt like we needed a good holiday when we got back! However, it still made a change and having little Tara (mum and dad's pussycat) around was lovely. I had to whizz down to Eastbourne halfway through the break, so hello to everyone that I saw down there. Also at Wickford, Thornton and Lancaster - it was nice to see some familiar, as well as new, faces. Many thanks for all the RAK's, ATC's and cards which I received, they were all much appreciated - I shall have to get some new ATC storage at this rate!

Tomorrow I'm in Elsecar, near Barnsley, at the Craft Box where I'm giving a demonstration using a selection of both my, and Tim Holtz, stamps. I haven't been to this store before and am very much looking forward to the day.

On Wednesday I'll be on QVC again, so hope you can tune in. Not too sure of the times, but I'll be on at various times in the day. Needless to say, this is why I have been absent for sooo long as I've been making lots of samples. I'm looking forward to it!

Well, I haven't uploaded any photos as yet but will do that later next week when I will have a bit more time to spend doing it properly. So, until next time, I'll sign off and hope everyone has a great weekend. Lindsay