Friday, 30 September 2011

My dear friend Sangria

Inspiration Avenue asked us to visit Spain this week, and I openly admit I am woefully educated on most things Spanish except for Paella, Javier Bardem and Sangria. Now as much as I would like to say I am intimately acquainted with the juicy Javier Bardem, tragically that is not so and while I have a passing friendship with Paella, this is limited by the appearance of the dreaded mussels. Without mussels maybe Paella and I could have been dear friends, but for me those rubbery little bearded things are a deal breaker. This leaves my dearest Spanish friend Sangria,to be my inspiration this week. 
Sangria saw me through my college years, comforted me through assignment deadlines, broken hearts, and bad hair cuts. It was there, cheap and available by the jugful at the Cantina in the Elizabeth Street Arcade before our nights out at the clubs, and yet it never seemed to poison the friendship with a hangover. Sangria was always thoughtful like that, and as my life progressed it has turned up to remind me that I was once young and energetic and loving all things new and exotic. It has comforted me through hard times and celebrated all sorts of events, being there reminding me of heat and youth and great times just when I have needed it. So my journal page this week is my small repayment, I didn't have much time and I haven't done our friendship justice, especially the very dodgy orange and apple, but somehow I don't think Sangria will mind... it's just that sort of friend!
To see all things Spanish head on over to the Inspiration Avenue blog and to see what other creative minds have been busy with head to the Art Blog Hop or to Artists in Blogland. Happy painting all I am heading out to renew my friendship to love a Friday afternoon!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Inspiration Avenue - Keys

The Inspiration Avenue Challenge this week was just about perfect for me as it was "Keys" and last month I spent quite a bit of time drawing keys in preparation for my piece for the Monthly Painters Challenge Topic which was "Safe". I had found quite a few keys that I loved and the shapes on the antique keys especially were just amazing, so this week's IA Challenge gave me a chance to revisit them. 
Whenever I think of keys I always think of my friend Nat who collects keys and has the most amazing box of them in all their shapes and sizes. It has taken her years to collect them and they are often the start of rich projects in her classroom, but I have never really drawn them or looked at them until the last month and while it was great and I really enjoyed it, after a few weeks of them I am now a little keyed out. 
I wanted to do looser drawings and paintings than I had done in Safe and couldn't decide which keys I loved best, so I did two works instead and that way I got to do paintings with all my favourite keys in them. I approached it as a loose gestural sort of project, and while I still wanted to get the solidity and three dimensionality, I wanted them to be a bit less refined and the brush and pen strokes to reflect the ornateness of the keys. I had done so much sketching at the beginning of the monthly challenge it was quite easy to get the shapes in place and they were incredibly quick to complete which is a great example of how practice makes perfect, and how being familiar with your subject makes the finished work easier and quicker to complete.
Head over the the Inspiration Avenue Challenge page, the button is on the side of this blog, and have a look at all the amazing work that is being done. While you are there also have a look at Artists in Blogland or the Art Blog Hop - buttons on side also... there are so many amazing and inspirational art blogs being made. Makes you love the internet doesn't it and you will be so happy you made the time! Happy Painting everyone.xx

Friday, 16 September 2011

Safe - September Monthly Painters' Challenge

Finally I can reveal my work for this Month's Monthly Painters' Challenge. It was a challenging topic this month because it was "safe". I realise that the group is called a challenge therefore it should be challenging, but some months are tougher than others. I sort of thought that maybe the challenge would be in working to a deadline, but the topics have proved to be mind bending at times. Have to say that is one poorly constructed paragraph... did I type the word challenging enough!!! It is an example in stating the obvious when I read it back, but that is sort of how it goes sometimes!
I actually took weeks to really get a clear picture of what I was going to do for the topic, though once I did it came together pretty quickly. I tried to get a bit of an old fashioned feel happening and stretch my palette a bit which was.... wait for it... challenging!!! Actually it was fun and I made sure that I used a new palette and only had colours on there that I was letting myself use so I wasn't tempted to cheat, and I enjoyed it. I will extend into this palette more I think, and loved working in the yellow ochres and Indian yellow hue and aureolin hue were both great fun to use, and though they ended up largely covered up I am looking to get back to exploring those colours soon.
The other participants are all posting their submissions and you can click on the links at the side to go to their posts and see their work, which is varied and all sorts of wonderful. I love that everyone is stretching themselves - note I didn't say challenging themselves, which you thought I was going to didn't you- and I love seeing the development of peoples work each month. It is a great experience all round really. Happy painting everyone!!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A new blog for you to check out!

My friend Von has started a blog - finally - and I wanted to share it with you so you could head over and have a look. I met Von a couple of years ago now through Redbubble, and we were amazed to find that we live just 15 minutes apart. Von has been a constant source of encouragement and support and an invaluable source of creative discussions and feedback, for which I am so grateful. Our friendship has grown through our love of coloured pencils and bright colours but it has become so much more than that and I know Von is there on the other end of the computer any time I need her, which is a rare and valuable thing these days. I love Von's fresh approach and sense of fun that she brings to her work. It reflects her sunny outlook on life perfectly.

I hope you head over and check out her blog at It is a great read and I know you will enjoy it.
For me the gerberas are coming along slowly as other things have taken over and gotten in the way a little bit. I have madly been getting things ready to restock at The Collective Store before the Wynnum Up Late event tomorrow night. We also have our reveal for the Monthly Painters' Challenge tomorrow and I have the finishing touches onto my work ready to go, though I am actually a little nervous about this one for some reason. A bit of a departure, especially in my palette and I found this topic quite a challenge. Can't wait to see what everyone else has done though and that is the fun part of the day watching them all pop up on our sight. There is a tab on the sidebar which will take you to the other participants so if you have time head over and check them out also!

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Pattern of my day
 I have a new routine to start the weekend and that is that I make a coffee, head into the studio and spend some time going through the Inspiration Avenue Challenge submissions that have been posted. This week the theme was Pattern, and after the nemesis challenge of beach treasures last week, it was a relief. It is such a great way to start the weekend, and it is wonderfully inspiring to look at connect with other blogs. It has been quite a revelation for me, and I am loving the sense of community.
I had a time when I was completely obsessed with painting pattern and designs from wallpaper, and I considered going back to something along those lines, but it was maybe not the best idea given the level of obsession it exerted over me last time, when I was in danger or engulfing the whole house in a sea of patterns. Even the dog started to look as though he maybe needed a patterns jumper to jazz him up, and the look on my daughter's face when I said I was thinking of revisiting those paintings made me rethink that approach.
A painting from my Pattern Obsession
Heeding the advise that it may be a good thing that I had moved on from that stage, I started to play around with paper and textures, and had a great time making some colleges, but found I wasn't quite getting to where I wanted to be, they didn't look right or finished, or dare I say it, patterned enough.
One of the paper collages I worked on
To help me through the frustration I was painting on a small canvas during the breaks where I have been trying to get find a way to transfer my collage style onto canvas effectively. I had been painting my favourite tea cup which spends most of the day beside me on the table, when I realised it is was... wait for it... patterned.

Problem solved, and frustrations vanished. The painting came together quickly and while I am still not getting the style from my works on paper, and it is a bit muddier than I would like, it is on its way and I am feeling as though I am getting somewhere towards painting more on canvas. I am much happier with the painting I did of the same mug for my Ritual painting, and have absolutely no idea why I am uncomfortable painting in the same style on canvas, but I am sure I will work it out and in the mean time, pattern has saved the day and I didn't traumatise the whole family this time!
The more successful tea cup in ritual

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Petal Power

It has felt like Spring all day in the studio as I have been painting the watercolour layers for my gerberas. They have languished in my file for over a week, possible two, but after a trip to the grocery shop after school drop off this morning and being confronted with the baskets of glorious obscenely brightly coloured gerberas I came home and got back to it.

It was a perfect painting day, and the studio was so welcoming and I managed to get two layers of watercolour down and even started on the first few petals in polychromos before the after school onslaught began. I love this stage when the depth and tone are just starting to emerge and it is as if the flower is unfurling one drawn petal at a time. You get a great sense of accomplishment as it emerges and the colours spread from the top left of your work, and slowly walk their way down the page. Roll on tomorrow and another glorious drawing day.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My Style of Beach Treasure

The Inspiration Avenue Blog challenge this week is Beach Treasures which to tell you the truth completely freaked me out, because the only thing to treasure about the beach is coming home from it. I can't stand going to the beach... I like beach holidays and like the smell of the salty air and love that Matt and Phoebe enjoy it so much, but I would happily not set foot on one... too much sand and its hot and there are blue bottles and jelly fish... gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

So I got in and started trying to come up with some positives, I like the smell of sunscreen, so did some sketches of that, don't mind shells, though to tell you the truth when I think of shells I usually think of the cliched souvenirs. Driftwood just leaves stuff everywhere and sand... don't get me started on sand. I swear I was getting sand off the dog for three weeks after our last trip to Coolum. I sketched and drew, I talked to Matt and Phoebe  and went back through sketchbooks and photos, but all week it has driven me quietly mad.

I eventually gave in and admitted defeat and used a photo I took at Seaside last December , which is my beach treasure, and that is the shower on the deck that meant I was home, away from the sand, the scorching December sun and the plague of bluebottles that were washing up all over the beach all week, finally washing away the salt that had crusted on my skin, close to the kettle and a cup of tea and a sunlounger and my book and a relaxing swim in the pool. That is my idea of a beach treasure.