Hi – welcome to my blog, Arty Old Bird. My name is Val Erde, I’m an artist living in rural Wales, UK, with my husband and a lot of lovely wild birds.
As of September 2013, this blog is just an archive as I have given up blogging, but please feel free to enjoy what is here. If you scroll down to the bottom of the home page, you’ll see links below all the posts to my information pages, archives, how to use my images, etc. In time – I don’t know when – I might delete this blog, so if there’s something you want to read – read it now!
Thank you for visiting.
As well as Arty Old Bird, I have a website called Art By Val Erde where you’ll find info about my art and the other sites I am on, including Facebook and Twitter.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT THIS BLOG’S BACKGROUND?
The background and header for this blog
have a story of their own that you can read below
(And you can click the image to see it bigger on Redbubble)
Some while back, I bought myself a plain-paper notebook, A4 in size, with a plainish casebound cover that I intended to paint. The notebook sat on my floor for a few days, waiting. All my new ‘real life’ projects sit on the floor or a table or a chair, waiting, for a good while. Then I got out the paints that I’d intended to use. They are iridescent watercolours that are quite magical when applied. I’d let them sit for a few weeks, almost too afraid to try them! Some have touches of gold in them, some copper, some have multiple shades all in one. A favourite is a turquoise watercolour with gold coloured mica. The ‘bits’ are finer than micro-glitter.
Turning these paints – either in their pots or in a painting – they give different colours depending on the angle that catches the light.
So one day, I sat down to paint my notebook. I used the iridescent watercolours, and then for smaller details I used metallic ink pens. When it was all dry and I was happy with it, I added tiny dots of metallic foils. These are intended to be used with a hot foiling pen but can also be transferred from their backing using a tacky glue that eventually dries.
I did a different design on the back and spine and had to wait for each part to dry as it all needed many, many different coats. The whole thing took me weeks.
Then I photographed it.
It was very difficult to photograph as I was trying to capture the way the light changes the colours and that’s nearly impossible. I even tried filming a video of it while I moved it to and fro with my spare hand! But – Photoshop to the rescue and I did a ‘treatment’ of it that pleased me. Then I put that aside, too.
In the meantime, I’d been thinking about this blog and couldn’t decide what it should look like. I knew I wanted it to have a definitive look but just couldn’t come up with anything original. Then, in May 2012, one of the busy male blackbirds (busy because he and his neighbours were each helping to feed a new brood) was singing very sweetly in a tree in our garden. He’d nearly finished his day’s duties and was singing an ‘evening’s coming it’s nearly time for bed’ (or in his case, hedge) song. I looked at him in his tree and the sky behind him was so clear, and the late afternoon light so good, that I knew I could get a good photo of him. And I did. His name is Ninja. A name given to him a couple of years ago by my husband, Bruce.
The European blackbird in my background and header images is Ninja in that tree.
And the design that makes up the rest of the image, is the hand-painted cover of my notebook, latterly adjusted in Photoshop and positioned where the clear sky had been. As soon as I put the two together, I realised I had my blog background and header design.
Everytime I come to this blog and see this image, it brings me a great sense of peace. I find it inspiring and calming. I hope you do, too.
And what about the title of this blog?
Arty speaks for itself. Old is how I often feel and I’m now in my early sixties, so I expect you could say that I am old (though my silliness often tells me I’m not). And Bird is because I feel so like the wild birds that I love. My heart is outside with them, soaring.
I’d just like to say thank you to a few people. First, a big thank you to my husband Bruce whose patience saw me through the weeks of indecision about various elements of this blog and trying to get my slow brain to notice errors (there may still be some – best to ignore them!) Like a lot of partners of bloggers, he has a lot to put up with and he was supportive all the way through the birth of Arty Old Bird.
Next, thank you to Panos, aka Justpi who helped me more than he knows, via this thread on the forum, and his demo. I was quite frightened when he suggested using an image map as it entailed using numbers and I have dyscalculia along with spatial problems. However, I pushed my way through it, asked my husband to explain a bit about what I had to do, finally (after nine years of having the program) got to grips with the info palette in Photoshop and, because of that, I managed to create two image maps, one of which you can see in the footer, the other on my Blogroll page.
I’d like to thank Timethief for her helpful posts in One Cool Site which helped keep me focussed.
And finally, a thank you to my sister who, a couple of years ago, gave me a small Paperblanks Laurel Burch journal (followed by two more) that somehow sparked my imagination and made me start painting the covers of my plain cover journals with iridescent paint! If not for that, I probably wouldn’t have done the painting that forms part of the background of this blog!