Saturday, 4 December 2010

Blue Sky Showers

This photo that I took of a touch of blue sky and a shower just about sums up our holiday up at the beach. We arrived to a wonderful, beautifully furnished open plan beach house, bathed in sunshine and surrounded by wonderful decks and a gleaming pool. There was a strip of beach scrub filled with birds which separated us from the beach which was doing little to drown out the sound of the waves and it was looking like one of those magical lazy salt filled weeks. From there though it all went a little grey.

I have no idea where summer has gone, and it was nice..ish for a day or two, but the rest of the time was cold, windy and wet... not a Queensland summer at all. We had booked right on the ocean and thought it would be magic, but it was grey and dreary and that stretch of bush between the house and the beach looked like a sodden story of grey and brown. You forget how much green comes from the sun and the blue of the sky and how much the native scrub turns monochromatic in the overcast skies. Not the usual summer holiday, but many books were read and movies were watched and we are at least more relaxed, if not more tanned.

Coming home I was greeted by my leopard tree now showing the deep green cover, and the agapantus that was just showing its first blush of unfurling purple, which I photographed before we left, is now a glorious crown of purple. Not that I can share it with you because it is still raining and miserable out, but there are a few other spikes showing on the other plants so I will have a ready supply to draw over the coming weeks. I am hoping that it will be a better drawing than the one I completed last year and it will be interesting to compare them and see  how far I have come in a year. it was one of the first botanical pieces that I tried and I look forward to seeing how I have progressed. But first I just need to finish off the larkspur... tomorrow is looking like just the day for finishing it.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Summer So Close


It is hard to believe that this is the same tree, that just a week ago was driving me to distraction, but here it is starting to fill in and provide the blessed cool shade just in time for the summer heat that has crept up on us. The leaves will continue to thicken and then darken until the canopy is a sea of green outside my bedroom window. It is amazing how everything is suddenly shouting summer at me, and not only is the leopard tree finally looking better, but the agapanthus is starting to bloom, and the first purple bulbs are bursting through the green case. I am rushing to get the larkspur stems and leaves finished so that I can draw this incredible bloom that I love so much. To me agapanthus have a special meaning because they mean the end of school, and the beginning of the summer break, which of course means no uniforms, drop off and pick up and lunch boxes and all this is replaced lazy mornings with no alarm, afternoons in the pool, mangoes, lychees and cherries, and all the joys of the long summer break that are just around the corner. We are currently in that frenzied last week of school activities and I am madly trying to get a few projects finished and starting to look ahead to long days in my studio while Phoebe is in the pool. This is the first year when I will be able to overlook the pool while she swims as the studio has a huge window overlooking the pool and back yard, which is an exciting thought after the years of having to drag things out to the back yard to keep her company and provide supervision. It is all feeling a little luxurious at this stage. As if all those wonders aren't enough to look forward to then rounding out a magnificent week for summer botanical inspiration is the huge bunch of peonies which are in residence on my desk.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Larkspurs and Leaves

 I haven't just been running outside and upstairs checking on the tree in the last week. I have also been busy with a new project, and yes that means I have gotten even more distracted than usual, but these lovely larkspurs called me and asked to be drawn and as you will see I am well along with them. I have progressed even further than is shown in these pics, and the insides of the blooms are all filled in and the second branch of blooms is well under way, so it is all going along very well. The methodology I adopted with the last piece where I worked over the whole piece rather than finishing a bloom at a time is still working quite well, though I am working a stalk at a time with this work and the speed I have picked up is quite surprising. I really think I may be onto something and can start to see how you can get quite a bit of work achieved in a reasonable stretch of time. It also helps you feel as though you are progressing as you see a whole stalk emerging from the page, and I think that is helping to keep me motivated.

You will also be pleased to see that the tree is  progressing very well, and is starting to look as though it will again shade and protect all the poor parched plants which are planted beneath it. I have really tried to be more positive about it this year, but I can't describe the lift it gives me to open those blinds in the morning and see that my windows will soon be filled with the deep cool green of a gazillion leaves rather than the spindly, bare branches and telephone lines. The bare branches just makes it feel so exposed and hot and bright upstairs and even the afternoon sea breezes which usually come through the eastern windows in the afternoon don't seem to have the same cooling effect, but I know very soon the tree will be heavy with its dark viridian mass and the canopy will create that cool welcome that I love and miss so much.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

I See Leaves Of Green... Well Sort of Greeny Brown

 Finally, finally after three days of gazing at the bare branches, and just when I had gotten to that point where I thought that maybe this would be the first year that it wouldn't recover, the leopard tree finally started to sprout today.
I woke up and tentatively opened the blinds, hardly game to look and see if there was any present, and miracle of all miracles there were sprouts and all the branches were covered in the knobbly green ends signalling growth was finally showing itself. By this afternoon there are actual leaves, brown spindly poor excuse for leaves, but leaves all the same. I just hope that I haven't jinxed it by taking the photos, I was starting to think maybe I was the kiss of death or something.
Funny how your mind plays tricks isn't it. I would have sworn that there were no bare days between the last leaves dropping and the sprouts shooting, but this year there was two days, so maybe there are always a few days, but it is so magnificent as it fills with colour again, maybe you don't really notice. Nice to be reminded to stop and really observe rather than relying on memory.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Final Countdown

There they are... the very last stubborn few leaves that have been hanging around for the last few days making me look bad. Seriously there is maybe 12 leaves left on a tree that when fully covered has five gazillion, but still it isn't starting to reshoot. This tree is the very definition of anal... you can just hear it... I said I wasn't getting new leaves until the other leaves had had their turn, and I mean every leaf, so still I wait, hoping that a huge random gust of wind will dislodge them so we can get on with it already. If I was all zen and spiritual I could probably say the tree is teaching me to wring every last moment out of something, or that it is teaching me to finish one thing before a new starts or some such nonsense, and while both of those may be relevant all I am hearing is... drop already... it's over... you've lost... let the green begin!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Never going to drop

 From this angle it looks promising, but alas there are still a few hardy leaves hanging in there. I am now starting to look a little mad as I have taken to checking on the tree a few times a day... almost as obsessive as sweeping a million times a day. Even worse is that I have been looking at it from the path, then going upstairs and checking outside the bedroom window, and then back down stairs and out the gate to check it from the street. I have actually started considering if it would work if I climbed out on the roof and pulled the last few leaves off, but knowing my limitations in the coordination area I am tending towards dismissing this as an option...for now

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Still Hanging On

Day two and just a few last stubborn leaves are hanging on. I have to admit I thought they would all be gone, but just the odd leaf remains, and while they do the front yard is awash with the sun and the tree continues to taunt me. Only had to sweep twice today though so that is something, but fingers crossed they drop over night and then I will start to see the new growth... otherwise this is going to get a bit old a bit quick that's for sure. Not exactly a dynamic start is it.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Leopard Loses Its Spots

Every year in spring our leopard tree loses its leaves, and quite frankly looks absolutely shocking, which is not a good thing as we built party of the house around this wretched tree which spends weeks looking pretty dead. It dumps five million leaves which blow through the house and get dragged in on shoes and in Mushu's fur and end up in every corner and crevice of our lives. For weeks we curse the leaves as the fight for control rages and we blow them, and sweep them and clean pool and clear the gutters and roof, all the time watching for when that last leaf finally drops, not because it means we have won the battle of the leaves, and not because we are dying hear yet another person ask if our tree has died, but because once that last leaf drops something miraculous happens.
As that last leaf finally succumbs to nature and gravity, the tree gathers itself and starts to burst forth with the most amazing display of unfurling energy. Every day it covers more and more until the canopy is the richest deepest green and the shade underneath is a cool welcome home as we step through the gate every day. So in an effort to not hate the tree this year I have decided I am going to photograph while it is losing its last few leaves, and then every day record and share its journey back to being our favourite tree in the garden.
In between the sweeping though I have been fitting in a little work and the photos below are of the latest work. It is of a delphinium, or larkspur and it is absolutely flying along. The sketches of the jacaranda have progressed well and have not been forgotten, nor have the fruit blooms which are also progressing, but I am so loving the blues and purples of the larkspur I thought it would be a good lead in to the jacaranda... of course it could be that I just got distracted by these incredible blooms, but if I want to be delusional about their contribution to future work I should be allowed to do so, after all I am knee deep in leaves here people.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Jacaranda Fever

 The jacaranda trees are blooming everywhere,  and while I have made some progress on the nectarine and apple blossoms, I have given into the seduction of the riot of lavender and blues and purples and have spent the day measuring, sketching and colour matching. I am not sure what I will be doing with the composition, but sort of have this idea that I would like to see it cascading down from the top of the frame. I have concentrated on getting the colours matched and things as the blooms look like they will drop any minute and there is no way I could have the work complete in time. It has been a great  productive day and not thinking about the finished work and composition has freed me up to really observe the blooms and the connections to the stems in more detail and I think that will be time well spent. I will continue to do another page of sketches before I start I think, and try to get some highly detailed sketches of the blooms while there are still so many around, but the tree in our street is starting to shoot some leaves which means that the blooms don't have long left.
I am going to try to get some sketches of the bark also, even though I don't think that I will be showing much in the final piece, but because I think it will be a lovely juxtaposition of the craggy rough bark and the green shoots which support the flowers and then the delicate blooms themselves. One of the things I love about Botanic Art is that you think you know what a plant looks like, but then you sit and observe them closely and you realise that you haven't seen them at all, and all the beautiful little details come through, and from then on you see that plant differently, and see it more clearly and in its full beauty. It is so nice to have the time to sit and look closely at things, which is something that is disappearing from our busy lives. It makes me feel quite blessed.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Hydrangea complete... almost

This is the last scan I took of the Hydrangea, and I had thought it was done, though the scanned continues to drop out some of the deeper tones, so it looks much flatter than it does on the wall. Having said that it is quite a good exercise to look at it this way, because it showed up that I needed to deepen and darken some shadows and sharpen up some outlines, and the finished piece looks much better for it. It looks stronger and crisper and I will drop down and get a good scan of it next week when I visit the printers for a few things and will post the scanned image then.
The following two drawings, which I admit are difficult to see in these images, but I work very lightly in the early stages so it is easier to erase and doesn't interfere with the work or damage the surface of the paper. For a while now I have been looking at different blossoms on fruit trees and I love the juxtaposition of the beautiful delicate flowers against, what is usually quite a gnarly and twisted bark. They are also quite spring like to me, even though they don't usually bloom is spring, but I love them so I am getting stuck in.
I have had two photos of some blooms and have been busy doing drawings and plans and going back to my colour swatches and am well along the way with both. I have the watercolour complete on the small bloom and have even started laying down the first touches of pencil, while the second is much more complex so the watercolour is still progressing. I am trying to spend more time over the watercolour and really use it to put some of the tonal scale in place to make the pencil work quicker and also so I can work in a much clearer fashion, not getting confused by which leaf is which, or which petal starts where, which is the normal situation. I also put a lot more thought into composition and how I can best suggest the rest of the tree. I will post the watercolour progress as soon as they are done. Happy creativity to all for the weekend!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Progress on the Hydrangea

There is some progress on the hydrangea, and while I thought I would have it complete yesterday I got distracted with all sorts of things, like changing the look of the blog and playing with publisher to explore the idea of calendars, so I will get stuck in and finish it off today. Working on the picture in a more overall fashion rather than concentrating on one leaf at a time is taking some getting used to and while I actually moved quite a way along yesterday, it feels as though I haven't completed that much. If this follows the same progression as the violets, then it will be a bit of a feeling of getting nowhere and then all of a sudden it will be finished. I hope that is how it works with this one because I am not sure I trust the process yet, and must admit I have finished off one side more than the other to have a bit of n idea of where it is heading, and looking at that I do see there will be a bit of work at the end bringing it all together and deepening those shadows. The frustrations and fun of trying new things!!!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Jasmine Bomb

The last few days have been very special, partly because I have a wonderful family and very special friends who made my birthday this incredible day, but also because I dropped my finished pieces to Redlands Gallery for Brushstrokes from the Bush which will open in December. Dropping work off is a great feeling and gives a sense of excitement and completion which makes it easy to get in and start fresh work.To top it all off the jasmine which covers a trellis just outside our front door has suddenly burst into flower and the scent is flooding throughout the whole house. It suddenly feels as though Spring is finally here and with it comes a renewed sense of well being and motivation.

Of course it is only likely to last a few days as we are expecting more of the torrential unseasonal rain which has been plaguing us here in Queensland, but all the windows and doors are open and for today at least the house is awash with Spring.

To celebrate I have cleaned off my walls, moved around some framed work and pieces that have caught my eye and cleaned out and reorganised the draws where I store my paper and artworks, so all is organised and ready to go. I also spent some time drawing the jasmine and getting some photographs in case the rain comes early because I have been visualising a piece where the jasmine trails down from the top of the page. Before I start that though I need to finish off this hydrangea bloom close up which I have been playing with for ages. It is actually progressing quite quickly and I am trying to apply some of the things I learned from doing the violets to get through it at a better pace. If all goes to plan I will be able to post the complete work on here before the week is out, and fingers crossed the sketches of the jasmine drawing may even make an appearance.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Ready For Brushstrokes From The Bush

Yesterday was a great day and I got all the blooms done, and the stems finished and I am pretty much finished with this piece. I have some highlights to add to the blooms, but as the day is wet and miserable that will ave to wait until tomorrow. I have it on the wall and will be able to see what shadows need deepening as well, so not only will it be finished before the deadline, by days no less, but will even have time to have it there and see what refinements can be made. Feeling rather smug, so maybe it is time to attack that hydrangea bloom and get it finished off, if anything will bring me back to earth it will be that one, also looking at the pic I have just posted maybe I need to work out how to adjust the colours on the scans images so they are a  little more accurate - seems to drop out the mid tones, and even the very deep tones as well. But you get the general idea!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The deadline for the Brushstrokes from the Bush exhibition at The Redlands Gallery is looming just around the corner and I have started a fresh piece for it. I had started a black and white rendering of some native violets, but time is too short to finish a large project, so I have started again on a very small piece of the same subject in the hope that I won't sacrifice quality in the rush to try to get it done in time. I have also decided to tackle it in colour and hope I can capture the delicacy of the violets and the incredible rich purple of the blooms.

The first layer of watercolour went down very easily, as did the initial sketch, but I think that was helped by familiarity with the subject after the black and white piece that I had started, and though it took forever to dry due to some wet weather leaving the paper a bit soft for pencil work, I used the time to plan the colours and do plenty of trials. I have been a bit guilty of working it out on the piece and while the results are usually pretty good, but I suspected that it is more time consuming and as this piece progresses I am finding it is going along quickly.
The leaves did start to come together really quickly and I tried to work over multiple leaves at once rather than one at a time which is how I normally work. I am trying to ensure that I achieve more consistency and also that I don't waste time having to get back into it if I need to take a break, which lets be honest is very likely. I would lose time getting back and replicating where I was and ensuring that they are all the same. The following photos show the progression of the leaves, and while I have a few stems to complete I think I should be completing the blooms first as the bloom I have started would have been better if I could have adjusted it a bit more, but I was unable to do that because the stalk had already been completed. So the plan is to complete the blooms today and then the stalks and finally look at some deepening of shadows to pull it together. Fingers crossed I will post the finished product tomorrow and will still have a few days up my sleeve before it is to dropped off.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Finding Time or Making Time

The last few weeks have been a bit of a haze filled with family functions, the flu and the normal end of term madness. All of this has added up to very little time to do any work, and while many of the tasks and events were enjoyable I have become steadily crankier without a creative outlet and I have really missed it, as have my poor suffering family. Now I am on the other side of it and have had a day to reflect it has turned out to be a blessing because it helps reinforce how important it is to have that outlet and space to sit and work, and how important it is to me. The frustration you feel while working sometimes is a lot more desirable than the frustration of not having time to do something that you love.

I also need to look at the way I work because the habit of needing great blocks of time is really restricting how much I can achieve and if I can flip my perception to working at any time when there is a moment available I will manage to avoid the frustration of this term, of course it also means that I will have no excuses so that will also be a challenge, and it will be interesting to see what sort of work I achieve without that cushion of excuses that being time poor can provide.

Luckily I took delivery of a new bunch of books including Painting Light with Coloured Pencils by Cecile Baird, The Botanical Palette by the SBA and Margaret Stevens, Botanical drawing in Colour by Wendy Hollender and 1000 Artist Journal Pages by Dawn DeVries Sokol, and so at least I had some great reading to keep me happy in the pick up line and whenever I found a minute. I have some great new reference books to keep me going and get the brain into art mode, even if for short bursts only. I did some of the exercises and while some books are more appealing than others - the artist journal pages for example prove awe inspiring, motivating and fear inducing all in equal measure!! - they all have things to offer to my work. I particularly love The Botanical Palette, not just because it is up to their usual incredible high standards in terms of production values and illustrations, but also because they included quite a few demonstrations and projects in coloured pencil which is so valuable.

To further offset the non working vibe I had going was the arrival of several beautiful tea cups from my mother in law. As they are downsizing they are going through the difficult task of sorting through cupboards and shelves, and we are the happy recipients of some beautiful tea cups, which I am sure will hold a special place for us for many years to come, not only because of their family associations, but also because they are lovely pieces in their own right. Having beautiful things around is so important to having an open frame of mind and of course the markets threw up some beautiful blooms yesterday and the stalls were full of reminders that spring is on its way and the sheer number and beauty of the blooms, such as the ones I have photographed at the top of this blog, are so inspiring. It is always wonderful when the house is full of fresh and colourful reminders of the seasons, and nothing lifts the spirits like a house full of flowers.

In amongst all of this I did manage to get some work done, other than sketches and exercises   - and yes Melissa I still have my sketches of the roses which I photographs for my last post and have made pages of notes and details and colour match swatches in the hope that I will get to them soon, but with a looming deadline for the Brushstrokes from the Bush exhibition at Redlands Gallery just around the corner I have been working on a piece suitable for that. I have already finished a piece of a burdekin plum, picture below, which I am really pleased with, but would also like to submit one or even, fingers crossed two more, for consideration. I have started on a black and white drawing of some native violets and the photo below is of the plant sitting on my desk that I am working from. I have chosen it because even though there are an extraordinary number of stunning eye catching native blooms out there, I absolutely love these delicate little blooms that grown all over the garden in those cool and shady spots, and I love the way they spring up out of nowhere and surprise you with their beauty, and they can be easily overlooked and taken for granted and I wanted people to remember that they are a native that we all seem to have hidden away in a corner of our garden.  So fingers crossed, with a new perspective on time management, my violet drawing will emerge quickly from the page and I will head into a new and very productive phase!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Welcome Spring!!!

You know it will be a good week when beautiful roses are to be found discounted at the grocery shop and cost less than the manky carnations and sad old tulips that you usually sell, and then as you head into the veg section there is a glorious overflowing box of artichokes just begging to be painted and drawn. So they all came home with me and are now happily sharing a vase in the studio being all fragrant and luscious at the same time.

It never fails to amaze me how textured the petals of roses are. I always think of them as smooth and glossy, but they really are quite matt and papery with a ridiculous number of gradations of colour on every petal. The artichokes on the other hand are so glossy and solid, almost plastic in texture and have such strong variation in colours, with their grey, purple and brown against the pale yellow and greens. Somehow these two opposites work together in the vase which is a bit of a revelation and makes me think I should be more adventurous in throwing things together in a vase, and I have had a great start to the day sketching and doing some colour studies this morning.

To top everything off it is the first day of spring and the world is looking great. I love being able to feel that first hint of warm breeze, the first sniff of jasmine and the heady scent of the murrayas in the afternoon. It just makes you want to be embrace it all throw off the jumpers and get drawing... so with that I am off to work on my hydrangea. Happy Spring everyone!!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A new space

Sometimes unexpected things have wonderful consequences. For months I have been struggling to find a quiet place to work in my studio. Unfortunately we have not been blessed with quiet, or even vaguely considerate neighbours, and as the weather warms they appeared to have taken up permanent residence outside, which was very close to the area I was using as my studio, which meant I also got to share their day with them. Not always conducive to working, and sometimes down right annoying. I have spent many weeks complaining  to Matthew and Phoebe and then it suddenly struck me that perhaps a move of venue might help.
For years the back room has been our dumping ground. It has alternately been drum room, exercise room, junk room and general horrible space, but then during the Easter break my lovely husband had gotten in and cleared it and painted it, and with the new carpet that we had installed in the rest of the house it had become a very swish and stylish exercise room. I mentioned on Sunday morning that perhaps it would make a suitable studio, but perhaps it was a little small, but before I knew it Matt had gotten in and started moving things, and by late Monday I had a lovely new space which is absolutely perfect. No more noisy neighbours, no more people trooping through my space, no more sharing the space with school bags, homework and that elusive pencil nabber that mysteriously steals pencils, pens and scissors when my back is turned, and instead I have this lovely little quiet room tucked away from the hustle and bustle.

Now I look out over the pool and the back yard, and while this is looking a bit end of winter sad at the moment, it is just lovely. The trees are all mature and create a lovely green privacy screen, and the reflections from the pool create a lovely dappled light, and even better I get to avoid the incredibly bright afternoon sun that made it hard to work in the afterschool hours in the old room, which makes a wonderful area for the exercise equipment as it turns out. I also have the space to myself and can even shut the door, so I am seeing all sorts of possibilities like being able to work in the evening after Phoebe is in bed and Matt is engrossed in the football. The simple joys of having a door, not to mention a the luxury of a space that is mine alone!!  
 I am feeling more positive and motivated than I have felt in months. I had no idea how much the noise and constant coming and going of the neighbours had been getting me down, but I feel as though I have had a new burst of energy. It has also struck me how we often overlook the most obvious solutions because we are so used to seeing things in a certain way. It really helps to think about things without the mental habits we carry around with us. Of course without Matt's hard work I probably would have dismissed it completely, but his enthusiasm and willingness to jump into things worked out wonderfully in this instance and I can't wait to see what having this wonderful little space will do to my creative output!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Too Many Possibilities

I return after a few weeks of very busy family time, and am ready to get back to it. Of course the weather is lousy and the paper is sodden from the unseasonal winter downpour, but the day won't be wasted, and I have plenty to sketch and explore and more than anything it will be great to just get back into some creative mind space.

The Florresense show for the BASQ was great fun, and it was such a great opportunity to meet and spend time with like minded people. Sadly I had no sales, but must say that it was very inspiring to see my work hanging there amongst the other work, and am happy to say it didn't look out of place at all! It is hard to describe the thrill of seeing your work hanging and seeing people stop and talk about it, and to get some encouraging feedback. The botanic art society is such a welcoming and encouraging group of people and they are generous with their time and willingness to share their experience with those of us who are much more recent converts. I was even lucky enough to meet another coloured pencil convert, Dale Farnell, and it was fantastic to get tips and ideas to experiment with.

So my thoughts are now turning to the end of the year and I am concentrating on getting some more pieces ready for the Brushstrokes From the Bush Show at Redlands Art Gallery. I have completed a piece of some burdekin plums, but would like to submit other pieces for consideration. I have taken some photos of some eucalyptus bark, which I think would make an interesting subject, not just for their beauty, but also because they offer some interesting compositional opportunities.

I have also collected some pictures of some native violets, which I absolutely love, and would look so lovely as a massed composition. I love these little blooms, and I love it when they make their appearance as a cool green carpet under our palms in our front garden.

Of course I have also found another native fruit to provide yet another subject, which is the beautiful little pink gems of the Syzygium Australe which can be made into jelly, and apparently jam also, so I think a day or two of drawing and playing with ideas is the order of the day so that I can have a clear idea of exactly what I want to do when the weather returns to normal and I can get started on them. It is lovely to be spoilt for choice and ideas, and one of the things I love about botanic art is there is never any excuse to not have subjects and ideas. A glance out the window, a walk around the block, a visit to the grocery shop, or a florist or garden centre and you come away with a million ideas and thoughts, and are reminded that you will never run out of subjects or possibilities!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Framing Makes All The Difference

A quick pic of some of the work that came back from the Framers. It is amazing the difference that framing makes. Suddenly your work  looks so much more polished and professional. One of the downsides of working on paper is that the works never quite look complete until they are framed. This is the first time I have had my botanical work framed professionally and it is stunning the difference it makes. This is very evident in this photo as you see the finished works still unframed grouped in with the framed work and it is obvious the difference framing makes and helps keep the momentum flowing to produce more work and to be better able to visualise the finished product.

When I saw work at Floressence 2009 I was blown away and motivated to explore botanical art more, and was so impressed by the level of professionalism of the work. Seeing my work framed has shown me the importance of good framing in the perception of work being polished and complete, even in your own mind.

Tomorrow I will be delivering three works, the magnolia, the Cyclamen and the squash, into the Botanic Gardens to the Floressence 2010 exhibition and I am quite excited to see how they look amongst the other work. So many of the artists have enormous experience and I am looking forward to see how my work fits in. I am also looking forward to Sunday when I am duty at the exhibition and I will have the chance to meet more members and hopefully will get a chance to get in and watch some of the demonstrations as well. It will be a big weekend but I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Home Again - Refreshed and Motivated

I am home from our break at Coolum where we stay in the most beautiful pole house, perched among the trees. I have posted a couple of photos to illustrate why we come back so refreshed and relaxed after a visit there. Some people find beaches and water relaxing, and while on occasion I do enjoy it, I find the green of the trees and the sound of the wind through the gardens much more invigorating. I spent time with family and reading and watching the light through the trees, all movement and dappled colour, which made it just about the perfect break and I came back refreshed and motivated.

I have sent of work to the framers, and have submitted my entry forms for Floressence, the mid year show for the Botanical Art Society of Queensland, so I am looking forward to getting them back from the framers to see how they look. I haven't framed any of my botanical work before so I am interested to see if it changes it. You look at the work day in and day out and after a while you start to focus on all of the problems and mistakes, and I am wondering if by framing them I will see them with fresh eyes.

In a fit of motivation I have also cleaned out my studio area and have done a lot of reorganising so that I can make the most of the time when school term starts again. I have been doing some drawing and sketching and want to spend the time trying to define my personal style and look. I feel a little as though I have been trying out lots of things and while I can see a bit of  a thread running through them, the time has come to make more mistakes and take some risks, and I am going to work smaller so I can work faster and experiment a lot more. It feels a bit extravagant when you try something and it doesn't work on a large sheet of paper, and you invest so much time and effort into a large image that you feel as though you need to play it safe. So no more safe line, I am going small and risky and see where it leads.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Jonquils And A Change Of Momentum


Some days no matter what you do the pencils and brushes just won't do what you want them to. Every stroke of the pencil is wrong, every colour refuses to blend and you have no touch with tone. It is frustrating and annoying, and you really have to just hang in there and accept that you aren't going to get anywhere. Like anything else there are good days and bad days, and I like to think that after a day or two like that then things will turn around and you will have a great session to make up for it. Yesterday was one of those days, and I am not the most patient person in the world so it was a bit of a trial. There is no worse feeling than working for a while and then having to erase and start again, and just making the same errors over again!! I think it is the definition of madness.

To cheer myself up and to start on the right foot today I stopped in after school pick up and grabbed a bunch of jonquils to add to the gorgeous yellow tulips that I got on the weekend. So I am heading to my desk to work with the fragrance heavy in the air hoping that it will set me on an easy session of work. The beans are my priority as I am starting to worry that they are entering that stage where I want to just put it aside and get on with other things. The most frustrating part of not having enough time to work on pieces means that they stretch out and they can become a bit of a chore. So I need to turn that into a positive by getting it finished and moving onto the asiatic lily, which at least it through the watercolour stage. Fingers crossed the jonquils work their magic and I will have it finished in no time.