Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Studio Love

Even when the weather outside is grey and miserable like it is today I can still get my bursts of colour to brighten my day and spark my creativity. All around me in my little studio there are flashes and moments that make me feel all is right in my creative world. Whether they be my sadly abused little watercolour wheels...

one of my many uncleaned palletes with its colours that bleed and run into each other...

Or the baskets of coloured pencils ...

I can open the draw that is full of papers and bits and bobs and find texture and pattern to play with...

or revisit the draw of finished... and not so finished work... and know that I have had creative days in the past

or I can cruise through some books I love... or my moleskin notebooks...
 and sketchbooks new and old

 and I know that the day will be a good one, no matter what the weather is like, or what the world is doing outside my studio door.

Friday, 26 August 2011

A new challenge

I have spent a few days being really productive, but in typical fashion have not worked on the projects that I posted about on Tuesday. I have worked on my Monthly Painters Challenge, which I can't tell you about until the 15th Sept, so not the most exciting thing to post about, but the one that I can discuss is a post on my first submission for the Inspiration Avenue blog weekly challenge. The topic for Inspiration Avenue was Sunflowers and as I had just bought some at the grocery shop, I decided it was a sign that I should have a go at it.

I started with a pretty simple line drawing and a segment of a poem on sunflowers, and let it grow from there. I figured It would be fine to just have a play with media as I had no idea how the blog challenge worked, and truth be told I'm still not sure how to post it etc but I will figure it out... I hope.

So I started with the golden acrylics on the petals and centre of the blooms, but when I did a leaf I was feeling as though I was getting caught up and losing the flow, so I decided to use watercolour for the leaves, as I am quite used to using watercolour in this way and feel comfortable with the greens I use all the time, and I also wanted to get through it rather than bogged down in technique. It went so quickly from there and I finished it in just one more session. I have had such a great time creating this and it has opened my brain up to new possibilities of combining media.

The other thing that I have enjoyed is that I am slowly starting to incorporate my love of botanical images into my collages, and this gave me the opportunity to do a collage based on a botanical theme. Of course it may be that the painting was the easy part and working out how to post it and link it and things may be hard part! I will be attempting to post it at http://inspiration-avenue-team.blogspot.com/, or hope the button I attached at the side of the blog takes you there to have a look. Missing my IT guru Tracey Potter on this one as she usually holds my hand through these things, but have to be a big girl and do it on my own this time!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Work in Progress

A quick look at the projects on my work table this week. I seem to have goten to a stage where I have a million things on the go and I need to get a few of them finished off before they start to take over! I did a little painting on the little canvas series based on tea and tea cups which is the project which is probably grabbing my interest the most at the moment.

I also have a botanical piece based on the gerberas that I had in my studio last week which I had planned to get into yesterday and today, but after a rather wet and windy two days, and with today looking just as damp, the paper is feling very damp and soft, so I may put that to one side until our dry weather returns.

I have two collages on the go, which I want to link in with the collage I have sort of finished below. I wanted to get back to cleaner images and colours after the last painterly series, and while I think the one below may be finiahed, I will probably come back to it and work a little more when these two are further along, ao that they create a series. I thought the collage below was finished, and even signed it, but then started to play with the two frames that I had painted up, and they seemed to be following the same process, so I have decided to see how they come together.
I have also started some sketches last night for my Monthly Painters Challenge Piece this month. The topic this month has really given me trouble, and it is a relief to finally have a direction, and while I can't share the initial sketches, I can say that after quite a late night in the studio last night, it is coming together in my head, and on paper, finally.

So I have lit my favourite candle, which is a Clarins Relaxing candle and smells beautiful, and hoping that the sun will reappear and the work will magically start to come together  and that I will have some progress to post later in the week!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Gerberas and a Happy Distraction

Your day is always going to be good with beautiful gerberas on the work table. They are starting to look a tad sad, so I thought I would spend some time photographing them before they lost their colour and shape. I can use them for reference shots while I continue the painting I have started. I absolutely love the vibrancy of the colours and they captured the day perfectly as it is that perfect clear late winter day where the sky is completely clear, and the light is crystal so details are crisp and colours are so pure. Looking at the photos and playing with them has been a great exercise in composition, and makes me think of maybe having a bit of a tweak on the drawing I have started. Maybe I need another bloom in there to give the work more impact. Have a horrible feeling that I may end up starting fresh!

You would be forgiven for assuming after having such a great time photographing the gerberas I would have gotten stuck into the drawing, but after getting a layer of watercolour down I headed out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and ended up spending the afternoon going in a completely different direction.

I was inspired by my favourite tea cup, which I used recently in a collage, and it got me thinking about wanting to apply some of those collage ideas to canvas. I started playing around drawing tea cups and a tea pot onto some handmade paper and got the images onto a series of small canvases along with some sayings I had been saving and got the start of some paint onto them very lightly. I have to wait for the self leveling gel to dry completely so I won't get back to them tomorrow, but am hoping they continue to develop the way they have started... if only there were a few more hours in the day! 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A gentle change and Happiness

Another month has flown by in the Monthly Painters Challenge and though some of our southern hemisphere members seem to have been laid low with winter bugs this month , the work that has been submitted has been has all reflected the theme of Happiness. Of course my wonderful husband and amazing daughter bring me great armloads of happiness, but I wanted to explore it on another level and once I got past thinking of them it became obvious!

I actually found this the easiest topic as I immediately thought of baking and my prized blue Kitchenaide mixer, which was a birthday present from Phoebe and Matt. I love that mixer so much and I had such fun including so many baking things that I love and making treats for us to share as a family. I love the sound of the whirring, and the smells of baking in the oven, and it just fills me with a sense of peace and that all is right in the world.  It was a bit tricky getting the drawing of the mixer how I wanted it because I wanted it as it appears on my kitchen bench, but it slightly foreshortened which is definitely not my favourite angle to draw!
I also snuck in my favourite Powderfinger song My Happiness which never fails to make me lift my spirits, along with Waiting for the Sun. Odyssey Number 5 is just such a great CD and always makes me think of summer and long lazy days, which is a real lift when the weather is a bit wintery and bleak as it was over the two days I was working on this collage. 

I also wanted to use the packaging of the Lighthouse Flour, which hasn't been in Australia for so long, but is the flour I used to buy when we were living in Florida, so it has all sorts of sunny associations for me. Of course Donna Hay had to get in there because baking and cooking from her books brings me happiness, but just sitting and reading them is such a pleasure that I needed to include it in there.

As to the lemon... I love anything lemon flavoured. I love the smell of them, the colour and the texture of the skin and I love the instant hit of summer that comes from them. Winter has been so mild this year, and I,m not complaining but as Spring approaches we are just getting those stunning days that remind us that long afternoons in the pool and going to sleep to a chorus of cicadas are just around the corner.

So another month covered and I enjoyed it immensely and as I find myself delving more and more into expanding my practise back to collage as well as Botanicals I thought it only appropriate to update the name of the blog to reflect what I am doing. Exciting times!!

Friday, 5 August 2011

A New Series of Collages

I have had a really productive two weeks and have finished my new piece for the Monthly Painters' Challenge really early, which is great. The topic was one of those topics that gave me an immediate idea of what I wanted to do. It was great fun to attack it with a clear mind and know exactly where I was going with it. Painting with no hesitation is a rarity and I love it when it happens. I can't reveal it to you until the 15th, but I can't wait to get your feedback.

I have spent little time on botanicals and I am not quite sure why. I have found that the graphic and renedering skills I have gained by doing it have been evident in my work, especially in the Monthly Painters Challenge pieces,  but at the same time I haven't really been that inspired to draw and paint in that area. I even took myself off to the Florist this morning  but couldn't find anything to inspire me. Maybe as the weather starts to warm up I will find myself drawn back to it, but while I wait for that I am happily exploring other creative areas
In the meantime I can show you the series of collages which I completed. I wanted to continue to explore the idea of landscape and colour, but wanted them to be more painterly. I wanted to use acrylic paint as well as my normal watercolour and gouache and this allowed me to capture more texture and depth. I also didn't want them to be totally new, but rather than extension of work I have done in the past. I want to challenge myself to keep extending my use of similar themes and imagery so that I can see the development and changes.

 I loved working in series, and being able to go from one to the other as one layer was drying. and this is something that I want to continue to explore and develop. I have two more on the go and want to play with more compositional elements with them, and then put it all together and see what happens. It has been quite an exciting process and I am excited to continue down this path and see where it takes me.