Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Poppies, a silver lining... and a goat

The poppies are completed and I am thrilled with how they turned out. I finally managed to get back to something and finish it off rather than my usual put it into the draw and never return to it, and so I think I may have turned the corner regarding revisiting botanicals and finishing them off. I have been looking at different images and visiting a garden centre to find the next subject,and think I have settled on it. I want to stick with less showy flowers and go for ordinary garden varieties and look for the beauty in them rather than going for the spectacular bloom.

Next on the agenda was getting some work ready for Collective Store down at Wynnum, and I dropped down new cards and prints from the Poppies and the Tea Ritual Collage from last month's Monthly Painters' Challenge.

 I also made up some new necklaces using my collages and larger glass tiles, and they look great if I do say so myself. They are much more effective as a larger piece and they look more like wearable art, rather than just a pendant.

I was thrilled to send off two orders of necklaces , and also sent off one as a present to my first flat mate and fellow Bundilla Babe, Melissa. Melissa and I were are college together and then shared a flat during our first year of teaching, and through the wonders of facebook we managed to find each other, and it was as if nothing had changed, which has to be a sign to true friendship. Every day Melissa puts a photo up on Facebook which is her Silver Lining for the day, and every day I look for them. I loved that the other day her silver lining was a necklace I sent up to her, and so glad I was able to brighten her day.
 So to the goat... the people down the road have a goat, how weird is that. It wasn't enough that the chooks up the road got out the other day and were running around barnyarding the place up, the street now also has a goat. I thought it was a sheep because of the sound, but it turns out that a bleat and a baa are actually quite similar. It has to be a sign that you are a total city girl when you don't know the difference, but in my defence I was going by sound rather than sight, and now I have seen it I can confirm it is a goat!!! Can't wait to see what is next... my friend Robin has some Llamas maybe they could come for a sleep over.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Monthly Painters Challenge - Ritual

Yesterday was our second reveal for the June Monthly Painters' Challenge and the topic was Ritual. I had been dithering on what the topic should be when Phoebe suggested Ritual. At first I dismissed it, but then I found myself coming back to it and thinking of all the rituals in our daily lives, and it started me thinking of a million different ideas, so I it seemed that it was the topic I should choose.

I had decided to work in mixed media, and wanted to use the opportunity to push my practice and explore an aspect of ritual which would be separate from my usual botanicals or landscape collages. I was standing in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil and choosing which tea to take through to the studio, when it became fairly obvious that a ritual topic was staring me in the face. I like to choose teas to match my mood, much like I choose music when I paint, and like I don't like to change the musician once I start on a piece, I also I don't like to change the tea I drink. I find that the music and tea sort of get me in sync with the piece of work I am concentrating on, and changing between teas and music according to what I am working on helps my mind switch gears when I have more than one piece of work on the go at once. This is very possibly just superstition, but as it works I stick with it.

So topic and subject chosen I started getting down to it.  I did try to be a little looser in my application of paint and to build up some textural layers, and while I stuck within a comfortable colour palette, the subject matter was  a challenge. I am so comfortable drawing realistically in my areas, but going back to getting the shapes of cups and pots reminded me of the old still life skills, and while they did come back quicker than I had feared, perhaps familiarity with the mug and pot helped with that.

Overall I was happy with the result, and can't wait to get to the next challenge. The whole group approached the topic in such varied ways and if you head over to the facebook page, or click on the links at the side you can check out every one's interpretations of Ritual.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Understanding Colour Palettes

 I have finally had some time back in the studio, but as I have been working mainly on my work for the Monthly Painters Challenge and the reveal isn't until the 15th of the month, I can't share pictures or progress, but I am happy with how it is coming along. I am especially enjoying revisiting using acrylics and challenging myself to try to do something different and approach the topic, though after a very long time away from acrylics, that in itself is proving a challenge.

One of the things I am enjoying about the process of the Painters Challenge is that it is making me think about my work in ways I haven't thought about it in years. While I am doing Botanical projects there are definite rules and ideas to adhere to, and while it is still inevitable that your personal style will emerge, it is set by the boundaries of realism and the depiction of form. I enjoy these restrictions most of the time, and while I see that it has helped my graphic skills, I constantly struggle with depicting pinks and purples, and I have been challenging myself to work in this palette this year, though I am nowhere near mastering them yet and still have to do a lot of work on the layers and tonal work before I feel comfortable working on them for a piece of work.

I was sketching the palms in the front garden recently , which I have shown above, and this led me to flick back through my sketch book, which made me realise that I have always worked in very natural shades, and have a very definite palette of blues, greens, browns and oranges. Whether it is a mixed media work from January this year, like the piece to the right, or older work from a few years back, I couldn't find one piece of work in the pink or purple range, and suddenly I understood why the purple poppies have taken so long, while the orange poppy took minutes by comparison. It was also very quick to complete the tulips, but as they also fall within the reds and oranges which have for years formed the basis of so many collages.

 Now that I realise this, it of course seems very obvious, and I feel as though I can be a bit easier on myself regarding the frustrations that I feel when working on some flowers, and can better understand the relief I feel when working on stems and leaves. I hope that at some stage I will feel as comfortable in the palette of pinks and purples, as I do in the natural tones and it will be interesting to see if as I become more comfortable in those colours if they start to show up in my mixed media and collage work, or whether the pinks will remain only in my botanical palette.                                  

Friday, 1 July 2011

Worth the Mess and Disruption

Look at what my clever husband has been up to. Gone is the daggy old concrete and loathsome blue door and in its place are beautiful tiles and an amazing wooden door, which will just glow once it is stained. Matt has worked so hard with the help of Grasshopper, to create a lovely entrance and entertaining area and it is just perfect now. I did absolutely nothing other than make coffe and tea and be impressed, and after a week or so of tile dust and stuff everywhere, it just looks amazing. There are no end to Matt's talents it would seem and it is now an inviting area to go and spend time in. I can see me sitting out in the winter sunshine and doing some drawing and good thing that I can, becuase the combination of school holidays and home improvements mean that I have done very little in the way of artwork in the last two weeks. The poppies have had a little work and I have done all the planning  and sketching for the Monthly Painters Challenge this month, but actual ime in the studio has been very thin on the ground and I need to get in and remedy that before I start to get too grumpy and the next reveal for the painters challenge will be upon me before I know it.