Samstag, 30. Juni 2018

Sunflowers - Art Elements theme challenge!

Edit: I am sorry that my post is late. I accidentally set the wrong time ;)

This months theme at our Art Elements challenge was "sunflowers" chosen by Susan! I really love sunflowers in real life, just gorgeous. You know how it goes, there will be a "but" and in this case it is a big one. Yellow. 

I really struggle to use yellow in my work. I like it in nature, I also like it combined with other warm colours on a bead spread or a pillow... but other than that... difficult!

But this is why I love challenges - it is not only to create something fitting for the theme but rather more so, I want to challenge myself to go out of my own comfort zone.

I thought about sunflowers and the put it down to some minimal elements I could use for inspiration: Colour (yellow to orange, gold counts too since I also struggle to use  gold;) ) and in general floral pattern.

Not sure if you can see it because it is sometimes quite subtle, but in all monoprints I used the resist technique for image transfers with scientific papers about sunflowers. 

Quite literal - but hey, I am a scientist, even a biologist and though I am not working with plants, I actually read some literature about how sunflowers follow the sun. 

This image is also taken from a scientific review that included some really old literature. I will definitively go back to this image creating some more prints. 

Sometimes I love the single details even more than the whole print!

One thing about our new challenge format is that I really create more. It seems that it works for me to use different materials and just play with it.

I created several water colour sketches. My aim is not one perfect painting but to get more training and see what works for me and what not.

One mistake I make over and over again is that I work flat on the table so I look at the paper at an angle. That really distorts proportions! If I look at the painting at an angle, all is perfect but if I look at it straight, the image is not proportional anymore! 

It happens to me over and over again ;)

As you can see on the left page: I try to make a lot of training pieces. You will learn more from painting 100 fast flowers than painting a single detailed one. 

My favorite part on this sunflower is actually the single leaf! 

And this last water colour sketch is my overall favorite! Especially because I became more free in my use of colour and rather focussed on impressions than on reality. Nope, there are no turquoise and bright yellow spots on sunflower leaves but it works for me!

I also made a lot of earrings. These ones are super simple: Nail polish and glass cabochons. They are the perfect excuse to own a lot of nail polish while only using it a few times a year (if at all). 

I made more super simple nail polish and glass cabochon earrings. They are simple, easy, and cute! I only had problems to take pictures because the light is so strongly reflected. In the last image of the collage you can see that I also had some gold flakes before the golden background but... really hard to capture on photo! In case you are wondering how the blueish-purple earrings fit in this collection - they don't - I just loved the contrast ;)

This pair actually way on my table as WIP for a long time. I thought the yellow ceramic beads were a good fit for the challenge. The enamel pieces are from Kimberly Rogers (numinosity) and I think the organic purple and green surface are a nice contrast to the yellowish beads.

I also made several beads with polymer clay (and painted with acrylic paint) and used nearly all to create earrings from them as well. I kept it simple in general because with yellow as such a bright in-the-eye colour it happens really fast, that it can be too much for my taste. I am not sure about the last pair, they are the only ones without a protective coat because I couldn't decide whether to add some gold leaf, crackle paint, or other paint at the bottom as accent. We will see... maybe they can join the other WIP pieces... 

Last but not least more detailled images of the polymer clay earstuds I made. I love to create them, small dots of colour! All the yellow and black combinations are reminding me more of bumble bees or radioactive warning symboles than sunflowers - but they still fit in my "use yellow as inspiration" category. 

Please have a look what all the participants of the challenge made! I am really curious myself (and there were a lot of cool sneak peaks ^^).

PS: Art Elements is also on Instagram. If you search for the tag #art__elements (two underscores) you can find in general work made by Art Elements team members as well as challenge participants or you can use the tags #AEThemeChallenge and #AESunflower to find the work especially made for the challenges!

Thank you so much Susan, I enjoyed the challenge and for a short time it got easier to work with yellow! (I know that this won't last ;) )


AE Team

Claire (you are here)


  1. Wow! You accomplished so much with this theme and it's all wonderful. I especially like your watercolor flowers. And all of your polymer bead earrings are lovely. Yellow is a difficult color even when you like it.

  2. Claire! I'm not even sure where to start - I can certainly believe how creative you were, but I'm in awe! I do love your last watercolor the best, you can definitely feel the creative freedom in it! And love your polymer sunflowers, and the nail polish earrings - who knew!

  3. So much to see!! And so beautiful!
    My favorite is the first watercolor sunflower.

    When I was a kid, my yellow crayon was always the shortest one. I loved yellow. I never wore yellow, though, because I think it doesn't work on me, and I have a hard time using yellow, so I really get you. You did a great job getting over it with this challenge!

  4. Wow Claire, you have been busy.. I had a hard enough time with two pairs and you belted out a ton.. Your watercolors are amazing.

  5. Love all your earrings and the watercolours are beautiful. I find yellow a challenge too, but I think we met the brief 😊

  6. Oh yes yellow is a wonderful color but difficult to work with; I've even been trying to rectify the meagre presence of yellow in my wardrobe. ;)
    Anyway, back to your projects - your watercolors are just beautiful! I totally know that distortion from our (literally) skewed perspective - that's why I used to like landscape orientation better, lol... And your nail polish backed cabs are brilliant! (I love the gold flakes.)

  7. WOW! I love all your watercolor sketches. You have that loose style that I am finding so hard to do. I think my favorite is the very first one you showed. And I always love your monoprints-so layered and dramatic. I can't believe you made so many pairs of earrings. I love them all especiallyl the polymer clay pieces. I agree with you, I love these challenges as I am pushing myself to try and create more than one piece and also trying to learn some new techniques.

  8. All beautiful piece but I am throughly enjoying your paintings, you have a wonderful talent with colour and turquoise and bright yellow spots on sunflower leaves totally work for me too, just beautiful!

  9. You created so many beautiful pieces I don't know where to start. I think your paintings are my favourite though. You really nailed working with yellow :) You should try it more often!

  10. Wow. That was a lot of pieces and practice!
    I loved your watercolor flowers!

  11. I love seeing all of your practice painting, but those last two are my faves too. You're right, that leaf's color is dramatic and oh so realistic!
    The angle and colors of the last sunflower are just amazing!
    Glass cab painting (guess what I'll paint?) is on my growing list of wannadothatonedaysoon ...

  12. Good grief you were productive!! I felt really lazy reading and seeing all your fabulous pieces. You are a very creative lady, it is a joy to follow your blog and see what you do. I love yellow and your sketches are just beautiful, definitely my favourites.

  13. I want to say something deep and sincere and pithy about your Gelli prints. But every time, and especially this time, I gaze into the layers and the depths and I am enchanted, and I cant find the words. I am I'm love. I am achingly in love.

    You ear studs are vibrant, festive, fun. Your watercolors are gestural and painterly - which can be hard in watercolors. You make me want to paint more. I am art girl crushing so hard.

  14. You made so many lovely designs in so many different mediums! Those ear studs are so much fun!

  15. Lots of pretty works, love your nail polish earrings and watercolor backgrounds (those pops of yellow on the pages are fab!). ♥



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