April 2020

2nd April – a quick teeshirt in 100% cotton fabric from one of those sites that print to order. Fabric is from a watercolour design – it turned out to be 40″ wide once you’d taken off the white bits around the edges which was awkward but I had just enough. Click here for pattern review – Grainline Studios, Scout Tee.

1st April – still in lockdown because of coronovirus, and working in the Birmingham sketchbook. One side is nearly full and I’ll take a break to work on something else when I get to the end.

The Mailbox – loose sketch and collage in concertina sketchbook.


March 2020

All images ©Annabel Rainbow

28th March – sketchy collages of Brum continue.

21st March – I’ll be working on the concertina sketchbook of Birmingham over the coming days. Yesterday’s effort was the Chinese Quarter.

20th March – A couple of pages added to the Karen Stamper-type sketchbook of Birmingham.  I think working in a more abstract way helps with these sketchbooks, because if your collage is too detailed it becomes a pointless exercise and you may as well go back to simple pen and ink drawings.  if you’re depicting a building for example, either the edges/floors/windows need some accuracy or a quick blur. Between the two isn’t working for me, but I’ll persevere for a bit – a positive side of social isolation.

18th March pm – Update: A3 sketchbook, gesso and acrylics on fabriano paper. I found the brushing of the surface with acrylic on a dry brush works much better than the oils. Colours used, hansa yellow, pthalo blue, prussian blue, sap green and alizarin crimson for the brown, and titanium white.


18th March – another one I don’t like much!! I was watching YouTube and found a painter who was doing a generic woodland scene, using gesso and oil paint washes. I thought I’d give it a go as it was an interesting technique and I liked his results. Mine weren’t so good, but it was worth a go – at least I know what I like about it and what I don’t. I’ll also use acrylics next time as the oils were messy and didn’t add to things. Gesso, oils and liquin on canvas.

15th March – Collage but too overworked – I was better off a few stages earlier. I could gesso over it all to knock it back, but I’d sooner move on.

10th March – printing deli papers with acrylic ink for future collage work.

9th March – I Am Libellule jacket in cashmere/wool fabric from the Rag Market in Birmingham. Makes a great jacket – more useful than the shirt made last month.


3rd March – hit finger with sledgehammer when gardening so production has slowed!

Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) was on 25th February and I bought some lemons to have with them. They were such a beautiful colour that I decided to do a quick painting in my A3 sketchbook. Acrylic paint on Fabriano paper (which I’ll remember to gesso next time). There’s still some fiddling to do but I’m leaving it for now.


February 2020

All images ©Annabel Rainbow

23rd Feb – preparing printed papers for collage work using gelli plate and pan pastels. I used matt medium for transfer rather than my usual titanium white and it worked well. A set of graphic marks was made using acrylic paint applied with brush and paint filled fineliner bottle.


22nd Feb – Ready To Leap,  experimental life mixed media in sketchbook. From an old photo (Life Story quilts) and using a background of Paynes Grey and Titanium White. Reproduction newspapers about the suffragettes copied and stuck at strategic points. Black and white posca pens with water.

A bit of process.

Half term to 21st Feb

5th Feb – not complete. I watched Life Drawing Live on BBC4 which was an attempt to replicate a life drawing class with about 6 students, but also you could follow on line with a freeze-framed pose and join in with the exercises. I didn’t do that because I wanted to watch the programme, but I took a photo of the TV screen, and had a timed go the next day. Here’s how far I got. I “cheated” by using a grid to get the proportions!


All of Feb – Working this year on the Leam in Bloom magazine to help out. I like doing the layouts. This is just a page about ponds as an example; there’s lots more work to do

4th Feb – Front buttoning blouse by I Am Libellule. Pattern review here.

1st Feb. I thought I’d experiment by using an acrylic pour in some way. The canvas with the pour on becomes thick but is also flexible enough so you can sew through it. A book cover came to mind and so I used freehand painted fish. I had previously done a sketchbook page in a similar manner and used this for inspiration.

Sketchbook page

Acrylic painted book cover











The Random Ideas of Thinking Out Loud – experimental textile piece

The Quilt as a Canvas, #4 – The Random Ideas of Thinking Out Loud

I have for several months been making collages/mixed media images in my sketchbook. Here’s a few examples.

I wanted to see if these paper techniques could transfer to fabric. The answer is no, not directly!  It’s a different language and you are limited by what can be achieved on a normal domestic machine. The layers you make with a paper collage using gesso and gels for example can be almost impossible to stitch through.

Here’s some images of my process. It is experimental (a first go) but was enjoyable to do. Meaning can be worked in at any stage to make a piece unique and it will be something I shall be working towards.

The title? I used my intuition and just put down whatever I wanted wherever I wanted with no reference to a plan. If an idea came to me and I liked it, I found space for it.



January 2020

All images ©Annabel Rainbow

Acrylic pour over 3 canvases.  A mixture of acrylic paints by different manufactuers, pouring medium and alcohol.


Also here, 2 items of clothing. Not art, but creative in their own way!


Mid January – A textile piece in The Quilt as a Canvas series. It’s number 4 and is called The Random Ideas of Thinking Out Loud. You can read more here.

72cms x 56cms, cotton fabrics throughout.  Applique, stitch, drawing ink, pen, acrylic ink, acrylic paint. Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 sewing machine and Gutermann threads.

This year I have also decided to try watercolour.

Strelitzia – 140lb hot press mould made paper by Daler Rowney with Schmincke watercolours. Windsor and Newton Series 7 watercolour brushes.

And the same again, but this time using pen and wash.

First go at a portrait. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this as I realized the scale of the piece -A3 – was perhaps a little large for the brushes I had, and I lost quite a bit of the fluidity you’d expect of a watercolour. For me, portraits are best in acrylics or oils.