freedom of paint with Cass Art

IMG_4323An artist  I am NOT.  But I do love mucking around with paints, brushes, pens and some really thick white paper.  It’s the feeling I get, you see, each time I start something new.  A blank piece of paper which could end up being anything at all – so it doesn’t seem to matter if the results are good or not.  It’s about that starting-from-scratch pleasure.

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Anyway, there were proper squeals of delight when Cass Art expressed interest in sponsoring Life of Yablon this month… and the squeals weren’t just from the Smalls.  We often meander up to Hampstead with the sole intention of beefing up our ever-increasing art supply cupboard.

paint brushes at Cass Art

paint brushes at Cass Art

Cass Art are having a bit of a watercolour season at the moment so Mini and I swung by last week to learn a little more about is one of the most versatile forms of paint.  Ailish Sullivan – one of the team (all the staff are artists) – was on hand to patiently take us through the basics.  As I said, I am not an artist, and need all the help and assistance I can get!

our watercolour session at Cass Art in Hampstead

our watercolour session at Cass Art in Hampstead

Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. draw a simple design in pencil first, before the paper is too wet and soggy.
  2. tape down your watercolour paper if you don’t want it to buckle.
  3. make sure your brush isn’t too wet – Cass Art’s sable brushes are my favourites.
  4. if the colour seems too strong on the paper, you can always add some more water with your brush and dilute the effect.
  5. try sprinkling a little salt on a big wash of colour to see a special effect. 
freedom of watercolour

freedom of watercolour

Ailish was keen to set me a challenge for the month.  Presenting me with a huge pad of 50 watercolour sheets and a box  of Winsor & Newton Artists’ watercolour paints, the Cass Art team have asked me to paint a picture a day during April.  So far I’m on track (see my instagram feed for some egs) but I’d love to see your pretty pictures too… Why don’t you have a go and tag @cassartlondon and @lifeofyablon on Instagram so that we can gee each other along?

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And… if you’re lacking in a few supplies, you can pop into your local Cass Art shop or  shop online. I’m also running a competition for free goodies with Cass Art that you can enter here.

This post has been written in association with Cass Art but my artwork and views are all utterly genuine.

 

 

 

 

 

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COMPETITION: win a watercolour prize worth over £200 with Cass Art

I’m busting for you all to come and join me, brush in hand, as I take part in the #MakeASplash Cass Art Watercolour Challenge this month (you can read more about my paint mission here).

a set of Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colours

a set of Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colours

an A4 Cass Art Jumbo Watercolour Gummed Pad

an A4 Cass Art Jumbo Watercolour Gummed Pad

And to help you along, the vibrant gang at Cass Art has given us some watercolour goodie treats (see above!).

Yes, one VERY lucky reader will win an A4 Cass Art Jumbo Watercolour Gummed Pad and a Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour Lightweight Metal Box 24 Half Pan Set in this Cass Art/Life of Yablon prize draw.

All you have to do is click here and enter your details.  Competition closes Wed 30th April.

Don’t forget we’re all about making a splash – so experiment, be creative and learn as you go.  There’s no wrong or bad as ALL colour is good!  So, get painting and let me know how you get on!

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Restaurant review: Barnyard

Barnyard, Charlotte St, W1

Barnyard, Charlotte St, W1

Just about everything describing Barnyard, the latest opening in London, W1, appealed.  Home-cooking, no booking, small plates (for Smalls), wings-waffles-shakes, a properly rusty interior to photograph and the name Ollie Dabbous.  I was sold – and seeing as we’re mid-Easter holiday, I knew just the plus-ones to join me.

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Of course the no-booking policy CAN be an issue.  Mid shift I hear the queue is up to 3 hours long but the trick is simple.  We turned up 10 mins before the lunch shift kicked off and were only joined by a handful of others with the same cunning idea.

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This is Ollie Dabbous’ latest, only spitting distance from his initial venture which is probably the hottest restaurant in town.  But don’t expect the same precision; this is a fuss-free food zone.

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freesia on the front decking… all about those details…

Chef Joseph Woodland, ex of Launceston Place and The Square, offers a menu of small plates (utilitarian enamel ones) grouped together by food type: pig, cow, beef, eggs, vegetables and sides (mostly £5-£8).  We had 2 x cauliflower cheese, 2 x chips, 1 x cob (divided into 2) and a roast beef on toast with warm horseradish buttermilk.

our waiter suggested cutting the corn into 2 for the Smalls..

our waiter suggested cutting the corn into 2 for the Smalls

chips and cauliflower

chips and cauliflower on utilitarian crockery

my roast beef on toast with warm horseradish buttermilk at Barnyard

my perfectly rare roast beef on toast with warm horseradish buttermilk at Barnyard

All of which arrived within 6 minutes of sitting down (according to Small who had his stop watch on standby).

shakes at Barnyard come with or without something stronger...

shakes at Barnyard come with or without something stronger…

The drinks are fun too. Shakes (with or without a slug of something stronger), homemade lemonade and a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock.

Surrounded by those Charlotte St. advertising types, I set about trying to explain the world of commercialism to my fellow reviewers .   ‘I know, I know’, Mini chimed.  ‘They sell things to us that we don’t really want’.

look at the way Small is holding his knife.  I give up!

look at the way Small is holding his knife. I give up!

Sadly none of us had any room for the popcorn ice cream with smoked fudge sauce.  However much the menu was selling it to us.

We were done within an hour.  Easily.  Which is perfect when you’re with work colleagues and Smalls alike.

Barnyard  18 Charlotte Street W1

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Competition: Kinnari jewel egg for Easter

Very few Easter eggs are too precious to eat.  But I have found one which would seriously damage your teeth. This stunning Weave Egg Basket Pendant by Kinnari in sterling silver could be the best Easter gift you have ever been given.
Kinnari egg pendant

Kinnari egg pendant

Sally Bowers and Katie Ridd are the new jewelpreneurs because their website, Kinnari, allows you to design your own piece of jewellery. First customise your setting before you go on to pick out the stones of your choice to rattle around inside your egg. Katie, who used to work for Theo Fernell and Asprey, is now based in Bankok masterminding the stone sourcing while Sally is in the UK making sure the business runs smoothly.
blue topaz stones

blue topaz stones

The egg caught my eye, the business is an innovative one and the prize is PERFECT for you, my readers, this Easter!
Delicate in design but worn as a statement piece

Delicate in design but worn as a statement piece

To enter this competition you need to find the picture of this egg hidden in a recent blog post.  (just like an Easter egg hunt!).  Then you need to follow me on Twitter and tweet me the answer. e.g. Hi @yablon the egg is hidden in your post about XXX.  (hints:  be SNAPPY & the post is less than a month old) The winner (chosen on Easter Monday) will win this pendant (£90) on an 18″ chain and can choose the stones to go inside their egg. Stones include: Amethyst (Purple), Blue Topaz (Light Blue), Chrysoprase (Green), Smokey Quartz (Brown), Rose Quartz (Pale Pink) and White Topaz (White).
Happy Easter to you all xxxx

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