Friday, 13 November 2015

The Warm- Up Sketch...

Do you remember a couple of months ago I said I had been busier than a blue arsed fly?
 Well that was nothing.
 The last two weeks been crazy busy, hugely fun, completely out of control
 and totally glorious
my brain has been a bit all over the place and jumping from project to project
which led to me drawing this into my sketchbook upside down
but I kind of like it just like that actually

as glorious as it has been it hasn't exactly been blogging friendly
and I haven't had much time for painting just for the fun of it
but the work has been fun so that is ok... sort of
I really miss my friends and blogging when things get a bit mad...
However I did start this little number as a warm up this morning
well it started as a little number
and then it sort of grew until it is kind of large
but I will need warm ups for the next few days so it will pull double or even triple duty...

I love using warm up sketches to start my day
as I get to draw out  any creative stiffness and loosen up and get into the groove
these sort of projects that are a mix of loose paint, and line
with careful, observed tone are just perfect
because it hits all the skills I am going to be using later in the day
plus they often turn out as some of my favourite sketches
amazing what happens when you have no expectations isn't it
now I just have to hope I don't muck this up over the coming days...

happy painting all...xx

Friday, 30 October 2015

My Week In Progress...

So the whole creative whiplash situation got a bit mad during the week
 I have a tendency to wildly overestimate the amount I can take on and get done
 and it usually end up with me covered in paint and muttering like a madwoman
 while the house dissolves into a mess of unwashed clothes
 half arsed cooking, and a mess of dust bunnies take up residence
 but having said that I still got a shite lot done 
so maybe there is something to be said for impossible lists
I'm not saying that my sanity is intact
or that I have been a complete ray of sunshine
but hey that list took quite a beating so let's say it was a positive week

 Helping me through the whole glorious mess was a few little treats
 like this raw chocolates from Loving Earth, which were awesomely delicious
who knew that healthy type chocolate could be so freakin delicious
plus I got to sugar up on some Arizona iced tea
Now let me explain that a bit because we have been heading down the sugar free road
well not sugar free entirely, let's call our efforts somewhat sugar free
so to have one of these iced teas was like injecting the stuff directly into my veins.
I was hopped up like a toddler who has scoffed a bucketful of red food colouring
I had a chipmunk voice happening and I swear my hair was actually dancing on my head
it was pretty full on actually

The reason I subjected myself and my loved ones to a mad sugar high like that is because
I have a bit of a ritual for each quarterly cancer testing results appointment
because no matter how good you feel and how much you know all is going great
there is always that little whisper at the back of your brain saying maybe the cancer is back
which kind of leads to a stressful few days coming into getting the results
So my ritual for when I get yet another all clear I usually treat myself to an iced tea
it is kind of weird how important those rituals become to getting through the whole process
and I do wish I had a more interesting ritual, maybe one involving getting a massage, or being showered with gifts and and things like that
but the upshot is that I am not very accustomed to the sugar these days
so this was like crazy sweet
and now I am at a bit of a loss loss as to what to do next quarter.
I am not sure I want to face the sugar buzz again
so maybe I will settle for painting the bottles instead

So in between all that fun and games 
I managed to get quite a bit done on a big order of large abstract canvases
there is still a way to go
and 3 foot square canvases are quite a challenge, but it is a fun way to spend the days
I sit outside and paint with a bucket of tea and my ipod jammed in my ears
It is actually quite lovely with the fresh air and breeze 
the only downside is that if I'm not looking at the canvases
 then I am looking at the garden/ jungle which is inspiring a lot of thoughts and ideas based around foliage and those luscious big leaves I am surrounded by
and so the large watercolour at the top of the post is underway
in fact I am going to get back to it now

happy painting all...xx

Friday, 23 October 2015

Creative Whiplash...

To say it has been a manic ten days is an understatement
 I have been alternating illustration work, with some commissions
 and also preparing work for high res scanning to make high quality prints for the website
 plus I have been working on some large abstract-ish canvases for an exciting project
 painting abstracts is something I used to love, but it has been a while
 plus is the total opposite to everything else I have been doing
 which is sort doing the old noggin in big time

One minute I am working in a very controlled manner and working on realism
considering line, light and shade and all that good stuff
painting up this blue leaf for example
then I am printing it out and playing with hand inking them for future prints
I kind of like the idea that even prints can be individual and all a bit unique
then the next minute I am splashing paint like there is no tomorrow
thinking blocks of colour and texture, light and mood
I am getting creative whiplash in a major way
but that is half of the fun right

everything in my day is about opposites
mornings are in the studio working relatively small... A4 to A3 in size
working on keeping my eye in and controlled work
watercolours, and fine brushes, working from light to dark
then afternoons are out on the deck working on 90cm (36") square canvases and bigger
acrylic paint and big brushes and working dark to light
it is like I am two people
but it is kind of fun too...  like serious fun
that kind of maniacal cackling fun
which given our closeness to Halloween seems appropriate
though it may get a touch creepy in a few weeks

My days have taken on a sort of insane creative madness at the moment
I leave teacups all over the house
I don't know whether I am Arthur or Martha, or perhaps some other person I've not even met
my clothes are paint splattered, the floor is lightly speckled
my hair is a birds nest that needs a good hedge trimmer taken to it
my brain hurts half the time, but it is all bloody glorious

The only real downside to creative whiplash and working on large canvases  
is the whole getting them from the art shop into the car
I am not the tallest person and it is decidedly windy today so getting two 3 x 5 foot canvases into the car earlier was quite the experience
I almost took off at one stage
those things are like giant bloody windcatchers
happy painting all.. xx

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My Week On A Page #11 and #12...

This week I am posting two weeks on a page
 well two weeks... each on a separate page... not two weeks on a single page
 or maybe two pages of weeks on a page
 it is all very confusing to tell you the truth
 but here they are...

 the week just gone was an easy one
 because it is all about the brushes
 I have been painting large again, making a glorious mess
 and getting back to abusing some old favourite brushes
and it has been all consuming so they had to be the stars of the show

Last week was more familiar in style
and I have no clue why I didn't post it
so here it is a week late

too many... coffees with Phants
loving... tea in the huge mug from ikea
coveting... Phant's new sneakers
in love with... Palm House Candle from Laura Ashley
eating.... too many little Gems from Organic Times
smelling.... pineapples

happy painting all...xx

Friday, 9 October 2015

A New Path, Wordy Work In Progress...

As many of you know I have been heading off into all sorts of new directions this year. I made a deal with myself during treatment for cancer to take opportunities and just see where they led me, so it has been quite the ride in lots of ways. I have taken on lots of illustration projects... some huge, some small, most challenging, some I could share, like the amazing teas which are shown below, which totally fell into the fun side of the illustration ledger, and lots of others weren't shareable which has led to there being a lot less work shown on the blog etc. Most of the projects have been fun and challenging and the learning curve was really steep at times, an ant jogging up a mountain steep, but it has been pretty positive, except for one thing... it takes a crazy amount of my time. I work ridiculous hours now and life is one huge juggling act, and I cannot juggle people. I can barely catch one ball let alone the five squillion I have in the air all the time. Add to that launching a website and the opening of the etsy shop and some cracks have started appearing... not little cracks either, more like gaping canyons that need ladders lashed together to get over. I have not been an easy camper to live with at times, and while I still believe I have managed to be the innately charming soul I think have always been, it may have been a stretch to say that I haven't been prone to more than a few moments of behaving like a surly sod.

I am just going to say it... I am not a huge Etsy fan...not because I have only sold one print since it opened a few weeks ago, because I do believe that I would have sales in time because I have sold so many prints over the years, but it is lots of little things... these things are too numerous to discuss as this is wordy enough already, and I know a lot of people have a lot of success there, but it doesn't sit so well with me. I had set up a website as a hub for illustration, classes etc, and the Etsy store doesn't fit easily within it... the pricing structures don't encourage the really high quality prints I would want to buy myself etc... and don't get me started on the need to bombard your Instagram feed etc with your products... it just doesn't feel like me... and I was stressed... seriously stressed... I was finding I had little no time to make any art for myself, for blogging or visiting blogging friends, and I have so many emails waiting for replies I considered actually turfing the computer in the pool and saying it was hit by a freak wave. Instead of painting and doing stuff that makes me bearable to the people who have to live with me, I found myself working on marketing plans and the like, and I am crap at all that... I just don't like it, but I was rolling along sort of half hanging in there, busy being stressed and thinking this is the path at the moment etc. But then in quick succession a few things have happened to make me question that it is the path.

Just for the hell of it I got some professional standard scans and prints done, and the quality was just so lovely, like perfectly lovely.... They were just so much nicer and I was proud of them, and would happily hang them on my wall. Are they pricier....yep... would they be hard to sell on Etsy... dear god yes... do I care... nope... I love the higher quality. I was madly wondering how to go about restructuring etc when an opportunity to apply to sell through a great platform that I love came up... the downside was they require only professional quality prints, which is hardly a downside after seeing the difference a great quality print makes... I can sell through my own website as well, so I was starting to feel a bit excited. I may actually have found the perfect platform... well as perfect as it can be in a commercial setting. Will I look like a bit of a goose because I just set up the Etsy shop, and all that.... probably... but I would rather be a happy goose, than a miserable one so the application process has begun. My nerves are shot, and I am juggling three illustration jobs at the same time, but it is all exciting and it feels more right if you know what I mean.

This was promptly followed by an out of left field opportunity to do with my painting... like a once in a blue moon chance that made my heart beat faster and has started an avalanche of painting ideas erupting out of every orifice like crazy. I have spent months saying I will have time for them soon, and taking illustration jobs, but all of a sudden I have to choose. I have to decide whether to wind back illustration... I have some contracts I have to honour, and there are some companies that I love working with and wouldn't change that for the world, but I can't do anywhere near the number of jobs I do now and chase the painting opportunity. It isn't really a contest and even though the chances of pulling it off are kind of slim-ish concerning this new opportunity I am taking it with both hands baby. Paint is starting to fly, my brain is fizzing and I actually feel happy... well happy and scared shiteless all rolled into one. So I have been playing with Inktober when I can squeeze it in, doing some watercolours like the coral and leaf above. These are very much works in progress at this stage, but I want to play a bit and start getting some painting mojo back while sketchbooks are filling with thumbnails and ideas and canvases are being primed. I am facing very little sleep in the next few weeks, but what else is new... So I am now a new path, work in progress, happy goose facing possible failure and creative humiliation on an epic scale... which adds up to all being right in the world in my books... 
happy painting all.. xx