Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Masquerade Tale

Every now and again you have an absolute shocker... the paint just won't go down right, the colours are off and no matter what you try to do to it it just won't come together. This hasn't happened to me for quite some time, and most work has been  salvageable at least... but I think I may have a new nemesis.
The theme over at Inspiration Avenue this week was Masquerade Ball, and my immediate thought was this was great... I love masks and patterns and things like that so this should work out to be a good challenge for me... unfortunately not quite the way it worked out. went more like this:
find mask
do drawing of mask
change mind and find another mask
do another drawing of mask
make a cup of tea and think the first one was better
ink in the first one
 spill jar of painty water over it
ink it up again
another cup of tea
paint in mask bit
decided like the second mask design better
start and repeat process - minus the painty water incident
be relatively happy
decide to do the background
botch the background and make it way too bright
pour humungous glass of wine

wake up feeling a tad seedy - turns out wine and cold medication don't work so well
look at the picture above and place head in hands
scan and print out some multiples to play with
decide top one okay
ask Steve when she gets home school and be greeted by a "That looks pretty ordinary Mum"
threaten to cut her arms off if she has nothing constructive to add
agree it is kind of ordinary

stare and stare at the top option
have flashbacks to the Bloody Papaya debacle of a few years ago
consider drinking copious amounts of alcohol or starting again
decide to print more
can't find the file
scan again and manage to slam scanner lid on finger
hop around studio with Steve's laughter ringing in my ears
threaten to chop off other body parts
hurl glare at her retreating back

print out more copies
in different sizes and on different papers
play with them and create something that isn't quite as embarrassing
Steve raises her eyebrows and says
" don't look at me I'm just plain scared by you now"

scan finished product
looks rubbish because turns out the tracing paper top layer doesn't scan well

take a shot
at night
after a wine
while swatting mosquitoes
post the sucker
link it to Inspiration Avenue
pour another glass of wine
and another 
and another...

Friday, 28 October 2011

Not Finished With Tea Just Yet

Before you say it let me be up front and say yes, I am still exploring tea as a theme, and yes I have been drawing and painting tea related stuff for months now, and no I haven't gone anywhere near exhausting it yet... I have every intention of making many many more tea paintings and drawings in the near future. I have no desire to alienate coffee people, but at the end of the day coffee is only good to me at the beginning of the day... it only helps when I need waking up, but tea is different.

Tea is there beside me in the studio and tells me it is time to work, it is there at the end of the day when my daughter Steve is relating all the tales of the day at school, and it is there after dinner as I blissfully and unashamedly turn my gaze to the beautiful Col John Shepard in Stargate Atlantis. Matt and I are working our way through all five seasons and I have to say while there are some days I am a Ronan Dex sort of girl, most of the time the good Colonel does it for me, what can I say I am a sucker for messy hair and a dry wit ... So now you have two things to judge me for... a love of tea and a love of cheesy sci fi!

So now the confession portion of this post is out of the way, I can move onto the work. I wanted to paint a squat little tea pot but play with a bit of foreshortening and mix up the composition a bit. I was pretty pleased with its progress but felt it needed steam. Now in the past I would have jumped straight in and added some swirls or patterns, but I am getting savvy in my advancing age and now I scanned it and printed it and tried a few things before I decided on just using white gouache. I also wanted to include a tea poem that I have been keeping... and yes the obsession is reaching the heights where I am keeping poems about it, and quotes, and recipes... green tea fairy cakes anyone??? I used the same method to work out which looked best and even thought to scan it in to show you my trials... only question is did I choose right? We are divided here as to which I should have gone with, but it is too late now as the finished product is at the top of the page!!!

Those of you who are over my tea thing may want to stop reading now as I am adding, for your enjoyment,  a cultural component to the post with the poem I used. around the edge of the page... mind you it is uncredited because I forgot to make a note of where I got it, but it doesn't mean I appreciate it any less...

When the world is at odds
and the mind is all at sea.
Then cease the useless tedium 
and brew a cup of tea.
There is a magic in its fragrance,
there is solace in its taste,
and the laden moments vanish
somehow into space.
The world becomes a lovely thing,
there's beauty there as you'll see,
all because you briefly stopped
to brew a cup of tea.

I am linking this to Paint Party Friday and to the Just Journals Link Party... you should grab a cup of tea and head on over and see what everyone has been up to this week. I guarantee it will inspire you!!!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Desk Stalking

It doesn't get much better than being asked to poke around and have a look at someone's work space... you see all their delicious little bits and bobs and while some of the work desks I have been looking at this morning would make Martha Stewart look disorganised, I have also joyously gazed upon random messiness and a million unfinished projects, and just in general gotten to have a good old sticky beak.

Now normally my desk is a bit of a nightmare as I work in my tiny cave, and while I do like organisation and order to an extent, over the last few weeks it has taken on monumentally nightmarish proportions, with tea cups teetering on piles of prints, and brushes slowly solidifying in jars of water that could in fact by classed a hazard by the EPA. However earlier in the week I spent a day getting it all back into working order and so it is looking pretty fine. It will possibly not look this good again for another six months, so I decided to join in the fun at What's on your Workdesk Wednesday. It is rarely we get invited to be nosy so you should head on over and have a look... I am telling you it is great fun... OK slightly creepy that it is such fun, but hey if you admit it is creepy doesn't that mean it isn't creepy any more?

So on my obscenely clean desk is the journal page from hell... not only is it just not working, and I have no idea where to go next with it, but it is actually a paint over of another page that also didn't work... maybe the page is cursed or something... no clue what I am going to do with it though... think I might go desk stalk some more people instead!!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Randomness and a mohawk

Last summer I had the bright idea of painting a black board on to the wall in the breakfast nook - of course back then it was the dining room and Matt got a tad carried away with painting and it is a little larger than I had originally envisaged. However I embraced the mind blowing immenseness of it  thinking it would be a place where there would be a collection of random and witty comments and images, but the reality is a little different. Instead of wit there is weird chemistry diagrams, some sort of maths that I have no hope of understanding, Japanese script, which I just hope and pray doesn't contain highly offensive words, and an algorithm that Phoebe, aka Steve, kindly devised for me to convert Kj's to calories in my head. Bless her that she thought I would ever do that... calories should be consumed not counted! So this post contains the sort of random thoughts and wittiness that doesn't appear on our wall. I am shamelessly not crediting who and where they came from because I just saved them and never thought to keep track.

A friend sent me this the other day and I just thought it was so perfect. Wouldn't it be great to see this hanging on a community notice board next to ads for flat mates and old sofas. Maybe we should start a movement! Flash mobs are so last season.

This made me laugh and wish I was just that witty. If I thought of this I would spend my time sitting and watching people's reactions to it!

I love the sentiment with this and am trying to make something marvellous every day. I have pinned this up above my work desk and am trying to live by it all month! Confusing for me though is that spell check says that marvellous has two l's... is this an Australian English thing??? Or is the one l an Americanism??? Is it less marvellous if it only has one L???

I was sent this via facebook and I am sure many of you have already gotten either or both of these sent through, but I thought it was pretty great and you might want to copy it and post it on your blogs!! Kind of tending towards the second one though because this season is warming up to be a bit of a keep calm and survive the keep calm products sort of Christmas!!

Finally here are my babies, Steve and Mushu christening my new iphone, with what I thought was a cute screensaver pic until I blew it up and saw that Steve is holding poor Mushu's head up to the camera... how awful... how can anyone do anything like that to such a dumb but lovable dog ???

Who looks great with his new mohawk!!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Steve and I On the Wings of Inspiration

On the Wings of Inspiration

Ok I have been sitting here for half and hour trying to write something meaningful about inspiration to accompany my piece for Inspiration Avenue's blog party, but at the end of the day I just don't think I am good at the whole deep and meaningful thing. Maybe it is because it is Saturday morning and the coffee hasn't kicked in, or maybe its just because Inspiration is really pretty simple. I find inspiration in things around me, the plants and flowers in the garden, even the fruit and veg aisle at the grocery shop is full of possible subjects. I can walk around the house and I find things like my blue and white urn that I love, or my tea cup, or a picture torn from a magazine... the sources of inspiration are just endless if your eyes are open.

Inspiration is never the hard part, but finding time to make the most of it is a touch harder, and even harder still is getting away from the time robbers, whether it be the dog throwing up or falling in the pool, the dishwasher blowing up, negative people, a crisis at work or at school, or with whatever million things aim to  that eat into our play time ...all of these things take away from acting on inspiration, and the battle so many times is with these demons, not creative ones. 

I draw inspiration from my life, and my friends, and cyber space, and music and tea and my family and from other peoples blogs and thoughts, especially through Inspiration Avenue and Artists in Blogland,  and from conversations and idea you catch floating around you. I was discussing all this with my fifteen year old daughter and she had some great insights. Of course insights from her are not uncommon as she is actually a retired gay man, who I like to call Steve, in a fifteen year old body, but that is a whole other story!!! She reminded me that she had done a drawing earlier this year in art at school that met the brief perfectly, and as tempting as it was to steal her work and claim it as my own, I decided to instead put it on here to share with you. So here are mine and Steve's entries for the  On the Wings of Inspiration Blog Party.

Ethereal by Phoebe " Steve" King

Friday, 21 October 2011

Ode To David's Neck

I kind of miss that mind numbing boredom of being in a classroom... remember the absolute soul destroying mind eating blurring chunks of time, interspersed with those moments of terror of braving the hallways and stairwells, getting bashed in the back of the head by errant school bags and tripping up every second step... and hoping, just hoping to catch a glimpse of Brad, Craig, Alistair or whoever you were currently in love with, and of course avoiding those absolute cows who ruled the world,  you know the ones who are all real estate agents now. 
No offence to real estate agents was intended by my previous sentence, because I know quite a few who are really quite lovely and normal, but we all remember those shiny girls, who have gone on to become brassy women, well where I live they all seem to be selling real estate, or cars, or white goods. 
I digress
My point is that I miss those hours of class time where there was nothing to do other than stare out the window, at the back of David's neck - hey don't mock, he had a pretty amazing back of his neck, front of neck and pretty much everything else.  Sadly he was rarely in my class and I was never tall enough to see out of half the windows, so I was left  to fill my books with doodles and little sketches and meaningless decorations for no other reason than if I didn't then I would scream. I can remember very few lessons that I sat through, even fewer skills that I picked up, but I can remember the endless drawing and doodling. I can actually picture some of them in quite a bit of detail. There are of course none still in existence so I can say with confidence that I remember them in detail... but I actually think I do. 
So this week I decided to revisit the calm and joy of those doodles in my journal. This one is called Ode to David's Neck and I remember clearly being in the Lockie block and covering the inside back cover of my business principles book over the course of a few lessons when he of the beautiful neck was off doing whatever or just being beautiful and perfect somewhere else... and this week, for a brief time, I was fifteen again and there was nothing to do but fill the page with colour and pattern. No washing and dishes, no bills to pay, no floors to wash or schedules to organise... just colour and line and it was bliss!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Poppy Update

My studio is well and truly looking like Spring has sprung and it is filled with watercolour sketches and drawings of poppies. Two weeks ago I embarked on the Poppy Spree over at Studio Margot and spent a couple of glorious weeks having fun and being very free and messy with the paint and while I find it surprisingly difficult at first, as week 1 bled into week 2 I found it easier and easier to free up and move away from my usual botanical art style which is my default the minute you place a flower or piece of fruit in front of me. 
I think I have concentrated so hard over the last few years on regaining my rendering and observation skills, that it was quite a departure to just play with botanical forms. I love botanical art but have found more and more this year that I have been taking the rendering and observation and applying them to other areas of my art, and have really enjoyed the results and the ease with which I can now express myself visually.This week I find myself starting to come back to injecting a bit more me into the poppies. I am still trying to keep the painterlyness... I am sure that is a word even though spell check will probably disagree ... but find a bit more detail gradually. They aren't quite there yet, but as there is still a week and a half of class ahead of me I'm not in a hurry and I know they will find the balance between being loose and yet still having structure.
A huge thrill for me was that Studio Margot invited me to be guest artist for this week on the poppy spree. My first flatmate and fellow Bundilla Babe, Melissa, cyber introduced Studio Margot and I and it was poppy love at first glance at each other's work and I was beyond flattered and touched by the support and acknowledgement by someone who I admire. It was great putting together some information on how I have approached poppies in past. Of course I think that after this poppy spree I never be able to return to botanical rendering of poppies again, but nice to have my boundaries pushed and I can't wait to see where my poppies end up by the end of the course.... and beyond !

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Fear and Dislike

When the topics for the week are Fear and Dislike you know it is going to be a bit of a week, but on the heels of Owls last week, I think these challenges are starting to tip me over the edge a bit. So thank you Inspiration Avenue and Monthly Painters Challenge for joining forces to make it a very challenging week artistically. I hope that working through all these things saves me from therapy down the track... but I have a feeling that they may be pushing me closer to it.

Now Owls are pretty much my fear, and while I take on all the supportive and wonderful comments from last week, and some of them actually made me laugh out loud, when all is said and done they still freak me out. The other thing that really freaks me out  is moths. You would think it would be snakes, or spiders or one of the other myriad of deadly creatures that inhabit Australia, but the thing that makes my heart pound is moths. They are butterflies' bully boy cousins, with their furry bodies and all their dive bombing of your lights and the freaky shadows they send around the room. Yes some of them can have lovely patterns on their wings, and there may be beauty in that and things, but I can't get past the furry bodies and grossness!

This was all made just that touch worse by the Monthly Painters Challenge topic which was dislike... now outside of topics that deal with things that freak me out, I like to think I am actually quite positive and there aren't that many things I dislike.
I don't count things like football, cricket, motor car racing, mowing the lawn or beer belches, because lets be honest you have to be out of your brain, or have boy type bits to like those things. The challenge was to find some things outside of obvious boy rubbish that I dislike...and the art work below is my solution. I really dislike the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. 
I always think you are a Chilli Pepper person or a Pearl Jam person, and at the end of the day Eddie Vedder will win out any day in my book. I'm not saying that the Chilli Peppers have no talent or anything like that... they just aren't my thing, whereas the delicious Eddie is big time like in my book. 

To reinforce the whole subject is the fact that I can no longer eat chillies. This may be due to a dodgy digestive system which is a little more temperamental now I am no longer a fresh faced young thing.  It may also be due to the fact that I consumed my lifetime's limit of chillies already as I was a chilli fiend in my earlier years. Perhaps there is a finite amount of chilli that you can consume in a lifetime, and once you hit that limit it gets ugly. Either way I dislike that I can't eat chillies anymore, not the actual chilli itself... after all its not its fault.... but I miss them and their sweet eye watering, throat burning intensity.

So moths and chillies and the Red Hot duds are duly painted ... albeit very loosely ...and I would like to take this opportunity to request a topic for next week and next month that is a little gentler on my nerves and perhaps a touch more positive!

Linking in to Monthly Painters Challenge, Inspiration Avenue, and Artists in Blogland.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Watercolour sketches for Paint Party Friday

I have had  a really busy week but in the spirit of Paint Party Friday I made some time this afternoon to sit and do some quick watercolours from some sketches that I have been wanting to get to for a while now. I have this idea of compiling all the watercolours I have been doing like this over the last few months into a handmade journal and then working back into them all one they are bound.
Of course then I look at the whole process of binding and putting together a journal and get completely freaked out. It seems like there are a huge number of opportunities for someone with my coordination to put that awl thingy through a finger or some other horrible situation. It would also involve sewing so that pretty much rules me out. I may have to do more research on the idea. I would love to hear how other people have done the hand bound journal or artists books if you have any tips for me. Just keep in mind that I am possibly the worlds most uncoordinated person!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Poppy Spree

I hardly know where to start this post because it has been a week of poppy spree madness... not poopy spree as I keep typing, I am sure that would not be anywhere near as much fun.. but Poppy Spree! This is a wonderful free... yes you just read that magic word... free... four week workshop being run over at the wonderfully generous Studio Margot. 

Week one is behind us.... though it isn't too late to join us, and it has been a fun, very messy paint filled few days. You are guided through with wonderful notes and videos and it is just filled with such joy and community that it is something you should all be sharing in. The thing I love about this course, other than the actual course, which is not poopy at all, is that it has given me the chance to paint along side some friends. Now one of those friends lives many hours drive away, and another lives just 15 mins, but with hectic lives we don't get to connect in the real world very often, but through this course we get to paint together and post them up on the flikr group that has been set up and it is a pretty special feeling knowing I am painting with my friends. As an added bonus there is the new friends you get to make along the way!

So if you need a little fun and mess and glorious poppies in your life, then why not come and join us!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Owls and Clowns

This week the Inspiration Avenue Challenge theme was Owls... Owls!!! Now on doing and image search on line it would appear there are people out there who believe that owls are gentle cute creatures, who would make sweet little drawings and things.... but I have to be up front and say that owls freak the living daylights out of me.

They are not cute, they have talons and stare like nothing else, and they eat all sorts of little critters and they just hang there looking all silent and knowing. Some people hate clowns, but for me it is owls. Clowns are funny, they make balloon animals, and yes Stephen King wrote It about them and cashed in on people's clown phobias, but I think they get a bad rap. Twenty clowns in a mini is hilarious, whereas twenty owls in a car... that is a Hitchcock plot just waiting to happen!

Owls must have a much better PR firm than clowns because somehow people don't seem to see the evil lurking there, people draw and paint them in a cute and harmless way, and  they adorn pencil cases and cards and notepads. I swear if I got a card with an owl on it, no matter how cute, and no matter how much I had previously liked the person giving it, I would be thinking twice about any future dealings with that person!

So the moral is I have spent a very stressful few days facing yet another nemesis - Inspiration Avenue will challenge you in ways you never imagined it turns out!!! I drew and painted the above work from a picture, because there is no way I could face the real thing, and managed to find a poem by Baudelaire which acknowledged the creepy nature of owls, so I worked that in as well. There is a man who knows what the story is. I feel strong and brave having faced it and come out the other side, and I know I will be facing them all weekend long as I visit all the other blogs and see what everyone has created, most of whom were probably thrilled when they saw the topic and have created lovely images... that will still freak me out!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mission Spring

Good bye loyal friend
Spring doesn't seem to know what it is doing this year. One day it is glorious and the next just awful, but one thing is for certain and that is that I have home spring fever. Poor Matt is coming home to the dreaded words... I've been thinking about the lounge room and I think I have an idea of how I would like it to look. It's looking a little tired and its time for a freshen up I think(or insert pretty much any room in the house instead of lounge)  . Now a weaker man would pale and quake at these words, but not my man, no he just calmly resigns himself to the fact that it is easier to just indulge me and wait for the mood to pass. 
This year however the mood has not passed and the house is entering that stage where half the rooms are half done and furniture is leaving and arriving like it is Grand Central Station, and one thing is leading to another and the plan is that by Christmas it will have some semblance of unity back... that is the plan anyway. 
Now most people start with the measurements of the rooms and work out what will work, and we really tried to do that this time, but inevitably we were faced with the perfect lounge and rather than thinking twice, we bought it on the spot. Sounds fair enough until you realise that it is a single three seater lounge which will replace the existing three seater, but it didn't come with a matching two seater, or arm chairs or the like, so until we find the perfect chairs we will have one beautiful new lounge, and one rather sad old lounge. I kind of like these chairs, though the pic isn't the best... but need to look at a few more before I find the ones that are perfect.
All of this started with us looking for a new table for the re-named breakfast nook. Our last purchase that we fell in love with used to occupy this small space off the kitchen in all its humungous dark Bali wooded glory, but after a few years of falling over it, running into it every time we turned around and generally having to be a contortionist just to get past it we moved it into the end room and have started making a dining room. 
new dining room in its early stages
Why we haven't thought to do this earlier I have no idea and after a coat of paint, two more chairs, some new cabinets at the end, new blinds, building a garden at the end to improve the outlook and rethinking the lighting it will work beautifully. At least I have two new chairs coming for the ends tomorrow and so I have made a bit of a start, but I have a feeling it may be pushing it a bit to have it finished for Christmas. 
Of course after moving this we found we needed to buy a table for the old dining area, as our old recycled round table hasn't really stood the test of time too well, but we actually found a table that will work well. It is much smaller and will give us room for some shelves maybe, or a small cabinet, or, or, or... have a feeling that room is going to take on mythic proportions in terms of trying different options by the time we finish with it! It has always been our nemesis room, but maybe we are getting to a solution there... maybe.
It is exciting and fun and Matt is showing the patience of a saint at this stage... he hasn't even flinched at the words painting and electricians and flooring, so mission spring freshen is a go!