Friday 27 December 2013

December Arc

Welcome to the December meeting of ARC, the Artful Readers Club. 

I have come to a decision regarding where we go with this project next year. I have so many new projects and ventures and work piling up for the coming year that I don't feel it fair to you if I try to run the ARC here on my blog. I know, absolutely know there will be months where I just won't have time to join in or set the link up, and I really don't want to mess you guys around. But... on the other hand, this project has made me read books that would have sat on my shelf gathering dust, so I do want to continue. Therefore i won't be adding a link to my blog each month, but the FB group will stay open.

The guidelines will remain the same. Read a book, write a review, make art,blog it and link up..... just put your link in the FB group on the last Friday of each month. I will make a new file in the FB group with all of next year's dates. 

I know not everyone is on FB, and I am sorry about that, but I have to leave this open where the majority of people can see it. So, if you are not already in the group then THIS IS THE FB LINK...

I really hope you will continue to read and make art, I do this it is a great combination, and I do plan on doing as many as I can. For those that will not be joining us next year I would just like to say a huge thankyou for all your blog posts and comments over the past year. 

So for my December book, I decided that I really wanted to do a Christmas page, and that would require the reading of a Christmas book. So I went in search. I knew I had one... somewhere. Finally after 2 days of searching i found this book, right at the back of one of the bookshelves. 

The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R.Tolkien

This was bought for me maybe 20 years ago! I had asked for it, and I don't know what I expected but I vividly remember opening it and being disappointed. I had thought it would be interactive in some way, with letters that you could open out. I glanced through it and put it away, without reading it. 

Maybe it was just my age back then that stopped me appreciating this book, because when I read this last week I loved it. Truly, every letter made me smile and chuckle, and wish with all my heart that I had recieved such letters as a child. 

Basically J.R.R.Tolkien was an amazing father, at least at Christmastime. Everyear he wrote a letter to his children as though it was from Father Christmas, including drawing and paintings too.He started writing them in 1920 and carried on for over 20 years, how awesome is that. Can you just imagine how much joy they much have been for those children. 

The handwriting is spidery like an old mans, and they are chatty and friendly and full of tales from the North Pole. The calamities and escapades that the North Pole Bear gets into.. How the snow elves are summoned to help fight the Goblins... clearly here was the start of his ideas for LOtR. 

One letter is written as a poem, all have wonderful coloured paintings with them, that show the North Polar Bear falling down stairs, the new blue and mauve tiles in Santas hallway, one showing the head elf Ilbereth taking notes, and one showing the bear with a bandage on his nose after a burn. 

We hear how the bear pushed a snowman off a cliff, isn't it awful that this made me laugh...we hear about his naughty nephews and we find out what the bears favourite number is. 

I loved this book, and I would recommend it... not for children, but for those who are children at heart. 

I didn't have time to finish my page.  I was working on new stamp designs right up till Monday night, then we went away on Tuesday for Christmas. I sat in the hotel room doing this background on christmas eve lol  hopefully I will get time to finish it soon.. 

I started with a stencilled background, using random sprays. 

Next I stamped my holly stamp onto some plastic and cut that out to make a stencil. 

Then I mixed grunge paste with paint and created a border. Once the paint/paste was dry I added Treasure gold over the top.  the berries are just dots of red paint. 

Next I took a gel pen and  doodled around the red paint dots. 

I also added some christmas text stamping around the edge. 

next I stencilled with some pale blue paint through some star shaped sequin waste, once this was dry I outlined each star with a silver pen. 

here I angled the book so you can see how it sparkles..

I am so pleased with this background, it turned out just as I wanted it to. I plan to add a focal image of Santa over the top.... when I get time. 

here is your final link, please add your blog link if you are playing along with ARC. 


  1. First off I had no idea that this book even existed! And Second, the background is stunning!

    I am down with the changes and appreciate all that you have managed!

    Happy New Year!

  2. You caught me off guard. For some reason, I thought you would be posting later. I'm glad you posted, though, because this has been a fun 12 months, and I've enjoyed it immensely. You have been a wonderful and generous host of this event. You went out of your way to see to it that I was able to link up, even when I couldn't see the links. For that, I am super happy and thrilled I could join this first collaboration of 2013.

    You put SO much into your art. Your background for this one alone, is stunning. Your use of a stamp to create a stencil that you filled with grunge paste, then colored, is over the top. And doodling around all those stars was a LOT of hard work, to say the least. I always learn something every time I visit, and this background is no different.

    Obviously, since I'm not on FB, I won't be joining next year, but I hadn't planned to join again, anyway. Having to pick books 12 months in advance, which I stuck to religiously, caused me to dislike more of the books than I liked. Reading these would be fun, if I could pick one I really wanted to read AT THE TIME, but not one that I had agreed to read so many months before. The art, on the other hand, was a real challenge that I accepted with pride. For that, I am truly, truly grateful. You pulled me out of my artistic comfort zone (even though I'm still not much of a stamper) and reminded me how to make very different art than I probably would have, had it not been for this challenge.

    Thank you again, dear Darcy, for the wonderful year of art and reading. I'll be back often to see what you are working on. Of course, I wish you the best of luck with your latest stamp line. What an honor that has been bestowed on you!

  3. Sounds like a perfect anytime book...not just for the holidays. Great start for your pages...hope you find the time to finish them! Happy New Year Darcy...and thank you so much!! xoxoxox

  4. I had not heard of this book either Darcy but it is now a must read for me. I am a big Tolkien fan, once tried to learn elvish!!!
    Your background is magical, looking forward to seeing the final piece. I have read my book but not had time to do my artwork, hope to get it done and posted very soon.. Thank you so much for this year's challenge have so enjoyed it. I am not on face book but may still try to do a piece of artwork for books I read. All the best for 2014.
    Jen x

  5. I don't know this book, but it sounds fascinating, I will have to hunt it down. I hope you get time to finish your page soon, as it is looking fabulous.

  6. You continue to inspire excellence! Your book choice is perfect! as well the layered stunner ! Wow! You make it look so attainable, yet , this is an example of artistic skill indeed!
    I am thrilled to have found ARC , yes a challenge to my un disciplined nature, but I need to Read and then express myself on the blank page! You have set a wonderful example of both!
    Wishes for a continued successful New Year! I find your stamps unique and very beautiful.....Thank you kind heart.

  7. I love the pages. I want to touch them to see if they feel rough and enchanting. I love, love, love the shades of green.

    I've never read The Father Christmas Letters. Your comments make me want to read it, just to see what he wrote to his children. How curious. I wonder if someone has redone the book and made it interactive...

    Thanks so much for hosting this yumminess, Darcy. I will definitely continue in 2014--I might even stop cheating. I read all the books I said I was going to read, but if I really hated them, I would read another to review LOL. Sometimes, the joke was on me all the books sucked royally.

    Again, thanks for the fun. And have very happy holidays!

  8. What a brilliant review - thank you for sharing and I just love love love the pages you have created - I so wish I could see them in real life - just to be able to feel their texture - amazing

  9. Love your journal page. The border is awesome. :) I'm not a Tolkien fan though. :)