Friday, 29 March 2013

Chocolate Days ...


Chocolate days are finally upon us
and the house is slowly but surely filling bits and pieces of family
not actual bits and pieces... no arms and legs are arriving devoid of rest of bodies
but one by one the actual people are arriving
not to mention Easter treats and eggs
and fun table decorations which starting to transform the dining room
in a suitable chocolaty way
mind you not so much fun to paint... all that paper was a bit of a pain
and the temptation of having them on the table in the studio was all but unbearable at times


But they survived intact and are in place on the table set for the coming feasts
and family fun over the next four days
which also places them at the furthermost point from the studio
and therefore safe from my chocolate nabbing tendencies
although these little baby eggs in the reference photo I took for the painting
have already been gobbled  sacrificed themselves for the sake of this post


I came down this morning and was greeted by this wonderful sunlight
as we start to see change of seasons in sun rise times, if not in relief from the relentless heat
I love the light at this time of the year
almost as much as I love putting together Easter baskets and cards
and unlike last year we haven't got a house filled with chocolate rabbits stalking us
we have shown considerable restraint and are just snacking on the occasional mini egg
all right not so occasional but better than the rabbit scoffing of last year


So the cards are made and ready to be added to baskets
except for Phantom's who is getting a different card
she loves the cartoon Adventure Time, which I talked about in a post last year
 and I found this awesome photo
as part of the Big Egg Hunt eggsibition in London
and felt it was just perfect


So I am now off to paste it onto some card
and finish finish filling the baskets
and maybe snack on an egg

Hope you all enjoy the Easter season
and have a great time with family and friends
I will be visiting you in dribs and drabs over the next four days
as I squeeze time in between family madness ...xx

Linking up with Paint Party Friday and Sunday Sketches ...

If you missed my last post or two the links are here ...
I did a step by step of my painting process in

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Little Forks and One Big ...


I did a sort of dangerous thing and signed up for this decorator sale site
which means that everyday I am sent these emails that have great sales on fabulous things
of course I don't have the fabulous designer type home to fit them in
it is more that slightly scruffy much loved type abode
not to mention the damage I could do to the bank balance
It is fun to dream and oohh and aahhh over all the loveliness
but not give in to the temptation to buy things I really don't need


Until the other day when this bone handled cutlery was up on the page
I started doing sums in my head and planning and plotting
how I could justify the purchase
but luckily for all concerned I was saved by my impressive degree of procrastination
and when it come time to hit that purchase button they were sold out
I was instantly plunged into a state of despair tinged with a glean of relief
and to help ease the pain/ guilt/ relief
I decided to source some pics and paint them up
which is a much cheaper alternative ...


I love how it turned out and it is almost as good as owning them
and because I have had some people ask about my process lately
this is how I got to the end result ...

I started with a line drawing using pen
realize that I have composed it a bit wonky and so added the extra fork and knife
have another look and curse that the last fork is bigger
pretend that the other forks are small on purpose
after all I have big forks and little forks in my set so I figure I can get away with it

Step 2 is to add some water colour... splotch it on in stronger colours
and try to just get the tones and shadows in
I always try to look to underlying colours and really see the variety of shades
so in these there were light bone coloured areas, but also darker golden brown
and even some yellowy highlights
as well as some bone and brownish reflections in the steel parts
so I try to get these in the right places
I also that I have had my hand on the left hand fork and smudged it
so go and make a cup of tea


This next stage is the stage that always does my head in just a littler bit
I strengthen up some colours and shadows
then knock them back with some gouache
it always looks a bit like a dog's breakfast at this stage
and there are all sorts of parts that freaked me out a bit
and I got a touch cranky thinking I was going to have a rubbish page in my sketchbook
so I went and had a piece of chocolate and contemplated how I was going to pull it together


I then went into procrastination mode and put on a load of washing
threw some toys for thew dog
even though he shows no interest in fetching them
which means I am just standing in the garden throwing dog toys
while he sits and watches me which is a new low in the avoidance stakes
so big girl pants go on and I get back to it
add some shadows to make the colours pop and strenthen the lines with pen
and I am thinking this is looking pretty good
the dog throwing obviously did the trick because I have pulled it together
so a few final touches and strengthening up and darkening some bits
and a fork is in it and she is done ...
I know it is hard to see the differences, but they are there
and it is always those last few lines and highlights that somehow finish it off
Of course I am now thinking I need to get some bone cutlery
because I really want to draw it some more times
so here is crossing fingers that I can find some soon ... xx

My last two posts links are ...


Sunday, 24 March 2013

New Colours and a Tea Party ...


Painting my new supplies is becoming a bit of a thing with me
and it makes perfect sense to me when it comes to paints 
because it means I can test the colours in a more interesting way than doing a test page
I must admit I am sort of a work it out as I go along sort of person
it is like learning a card game, I know some people need the rules explained before they start
but I am a sort of deal me in and teach me as I go person
which probably explains why I am rubbish at cards
and why Phantom and Sinus Man are not fans of playing cards with me
but I think they are a bit limited in their thinking
I think it is quite the philosophy for all sorts of things
except maybe cooking
 the throw it all in thing has resulted in some god awful disasters over the years

When it comes to testing new tubes of watercolours it works a treat though
and it was fun to familiarise myself with my newest babies
I also put the new colours to the test on a bit of a fun sketch this Sunday
Cindy over at Cottage Remnant planned a tea party for the change of season
she set a lovely table and invited people to a virtual tea party
and as I have the matching tea cup set I thought I would play along


I wanted to paint in the lovely table she had set as well
and it was fun to get back to painting a tea cup
I realized it had been quite a while since I had done one
and have to admit I had blocked out what pesky things rims can be
but it was a fun sketch and I might need to do a few more of the tea cups that are stashed on the shelves here in the studio


Not today though as I have a desk full of half finished things that I want to get to
as it is shaping up to be a busy week
 hope you all have an awesome sketchy Sunday ... xx

Some posts to catch up on ... 



Friday, 22 March 2013

Putting My Happy On ...


It has been the most insanely frustrating week I have had in a long time
and it is not pretty when I am frustrated
I stomp around like a mad woman, scowling and thinking the world is out to get me
I snarl at life in general and have a short fuse
in short I am a nightmare to live with
so in the interest of the family not cowering in terror at the sight of me
I am coming clean and taking a break from bloody acrylics


I used to love working in, and even teaching acrylics
until the fateful day I found watercolours
and then that old relationship soured a touch
I admit it I fell for watercolour's many charms
the clear, clean colours
the gorgeous light and the speed that I could work
the way I could combine drawing and pen with it so easily
it seduced me big time
so much so that going back to acrylics turned out to be a bit of a chore
it was kind of like that awkward meeting at some bar
when you run into an old boyfriend who was a bit of a dud as it turns out
I spent all week trying to find something nice to say about acrylics
but basically I just wanted to make a rather hasty retreat


Now I am not so fickle as to abandon it all completely
indeed I decided I would do a test just to make sure I wasn't being hasty in my judgement
and I acknowledge this is a touch over the top
but I painted the same thing to various degrees three times
once on canvas with acrylics which started this whole palaver in the first place
and I'm not unhappy with the underpainting, but it just takes soooo long
it felt like my very life was draining away with every layer
then on watercolour canvas with the appropriate paints
but it was all types of wrong, did weird things to the colour of the paint
and was crazy unstable... nightmare really
and finally I gave in and did it on some pen and ink paper in my newer style
though I went really big... 34cm x 48 cm big
which is 10 in x 14 ish inches I think... don't quote me on that but around there
So big that it won't fit on the scanner so you have to make do with the dodgy photos big!!!


The watercolour was the hands down winner
 it took no time compared to the other two, the colours were gorgeous
it didn't even bother me that I didn't have a big mop brush so the washes weren't perfect
or that the paper buckled a bit
I could forgive the imperfections and enjoy the process in a way that I hadn't been with acrylics
so acrylics are being given the heave ho for now
they can just go back to the corner and wait until I am in the head space to revisit them
and I know I will at some stage, just not this week, or next, or maybe the one after that
Instead my grumpy, frustrated self can go join those canvases in the corner
and I am putting my happy back on and playing with watercolour and ink
because for now it is all about exploring working big and having fun
have a great creative weekend everyone...xx

Linking up with Paint Party Friday...



My last few links are here for you if you are interested...


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Syrup Season ....


I am loving that we are heading for golden syrup season
you may not have been aware that there is such a thing
or in fact that golden syrup actually exists
and I can't say that I remember ever seeing it when we lived in Florida
but in our place all roads are pointing to syrup town

Golden syrup is like honey on steroids
it is all golden, dark, smoky and thick
and has a totally unique taste
it is probably the unspeakable by product of sugar cane crushing or some such thing
and I kind of don't want to know how it is made
I just know that it is glorious


It is divine on porridge,crumpets and pikelets
and my sneaky favourite syrup treat is crispy toast with cream cheese and syrup
sounds totally disgusting and it will never win any awards for healthy snacking
but is better than other favourites which are
scones fresh from the oven with syrup and cream
or a splodge of it on ice cream is crazy amazing
like George Clooney telling you he has waited his whole life for you amazing

so as Autumn starts to creep up on us
and thoughts turn to syrup puddings and Anzac biscuits
the golden syrup is making its first appearances of the season
exciting times , or what passes for exciting times in our house
kind of thinking we need to get out more if syrup season is getting a cheer


But sad state of our lives aside
I painted this not just because syrup season is here
but also because the prompt this week over at Artists Play Room was
What do you overlook
and I think golden syrup is overlooked all the time
people seem to either go for honey
and I must admit to loving some honey at times, especially when it is infused with ginger
or maple syrup, which is totally not right on toast

Poor golden syrup seems to have become decidedly uncool all of a sudden
so much so that when I sent Sinus off to buy some the other day
it wasn't even in the jam aisle anymore
it is in the baking goods aisle which is a very sad state of affairs indeed
and to make it all worse my beloved Lyle's syrup
which comes in this amazing tin isn't even stocked at the supermarket anymore
which means I am left painting this squeeze bottle
not as glamorous as the green and gold of Lyle's but until I can source the real deal
then this will have to do the job, and it is delicious no matter who has made it

















So I am calling for all you closet syrup lovers out there to join me
in demanding that it's status as a glorious topping be reinstated
let Golden Syrup be overlooked no more...xx

You may have overlooked my last few posts
so here are some links in case...


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Cork- screwed ...


My Sunday sketch is a corkscrew
not because I am thinking of glug, glug woohoo at 11 am
the inspiration came from rummaging through the scary utensil draw
trying to find the lemon zester, which could win an award for hiding by the way
how it always makes it way to the back bottom left corner I have no clue
but while on the zester quest I came across the corkscrew
all forlorn and forgotten because we haven't used it in who knows how long
and it does have great shapes and lines when you stop to have a look at it
so I set about recording it in all its twisty interestingness
which was a lovely break after the week of wrestling with acrylics that I have had

I started the week thinking I would get in an finish off some unfinished canvases
and start some new ones as it turns out
and despite the fact that I haven't touched acrylic paints in almost a year
I blissfully thought it would be like riding a bike
of course I should have taken into account that I haven't ridden a bike in 30 years
and even when I did I was rubbish at it
so the transition back to acrylics has been anything but smooth
in fact it has been insanely frustrating in the extreme
which means it has been so lovely to sit and draw and add some touches of watercolour
all of which leads me to think maybe I should consider opening the bar
before I go back to the bloody acrylics
maybe it would all go a bit smoother with some alcoholic lubrication


hope everyone is having a great weekend... xx

The last two post links are here...


Friday, 15 March 2013

Who Needs Nose Hair Anyway???


Trying to run a greener household is doing my head in
I am using all these biodegradable, save the waterways type products
and go through bi carb and vinegar like nobody's business
and the house is apparently clean at the end of a cleaning session
you will note I said clean and not tidy
and for the record dust bunnies are like pets 
how could I destroy them when they are having such fun
hiding and playing under the cabinets and sofa
but aside from wanting to form the Preservation of Dust Bunnies Society
I have run into another problem


At the end of the day the house just doesn't smell right
I always felt that a bathroom in particular was only clean
when the smell of bleach had singed all nose hair from your head
after all does nose hair matter in the grand scheme of things???
I think not ...
and I loved my feet having the slight burning tingle from standing in bleachy water
and the bleach has gotten rid of your pesky fingerprints
which have always limited my possible career as a bank robber
and at the end of a good session that brain blasting smell meant a job well done

but alas I have had to wave goodbye to my dear Domestos and White King
and have to just trust these green products when they tell me they are working
so my new cleaning involves using the green stuff
and then sitting down and drawing and painting the bottles
I am thinking I can gaze at their bleachiness and pretend I have no nose hairs
and maybe that will induce the same sense of domestic satisfaction


Not that a lot of cleaning has been done in the last few days
mainly because I have been trying to get to some unfinished canvases
and I can happily report that I finished one
it is the teeniest, tiniest canvas I own, but I am taking any finish at this stage
so the prawns are done and on the wall awaiting some possible finishing touches
but I am still declaring it done all the same
the other five are still in various stages of not even close to being done
but I am putting this progress shot up in the hope that it shames me into finishing it off
which means that once this is posted I am going to make a pot of tea and get busy


So I am taking my hairy nose and going to get my painting butt into gear
hope you all have an awesome weekend... xx

PS ... Don't forget to check out the Paint Party Friday Auction Blog Hop
benefiting the Sandy Hook Elementary ...

My last two post links are here ...



Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Procrastination Stakes ...


For the next few days I am endeavoring to turn off the computer
and get some of these bloody half finished canvases worked on
about the only down side to my perfectly formed but tiny studio
is that you work either on watercolors or acrylics
there is just not enough room to have both going at once
so the time has come and I am getting out the acrylics and getting busy


First on the agenda is this canvas I started back in November
and while I can try to tell myself that it is unfinished due to the fact that it is way too big
that it barely fits on my desk and doesn't fit my table easel
truth is I got distracted and now I can't quite remember what I was going to do with it
but maybe it will all come rushing back once I get a brush in my hand.......


Then two weeks ago I got started on this one of my beloved blue Kitchenaide mixer
I even carried the flamin thing into the studio, which was quite the task
but after all that lugging and positioning and cursing, this is as far as I got
bit of an underlayer and then a grinding halt
the canvas isn't  even too big, in fact it fits a treat
and I haven't used the mixer so I can't blame that
just absolutely no follow through


And here we have the tipping point
today I drew up yet another one
the idea for it came to me while standing at the stove this morning
and as my gaze fell on the jug of mismatched utensils
all I could think was that it would make a fun painting
so I promptly turned off the stove, forgot what I was going to cook
and brought the jug in to be drawn up and that is as far as I got

These aren't the only unfinished, or barely started ones either
I am too embarrassed to show the still life of cutlery in a jar
 and the Maltesers canvas
and the prawns
and there is a tea cup one on the wall also
that makes a totally embarrassing total of 7 barely started canvases
which is quite the record even for me


So I did what all self respecting procrastinators do
and painted up my tubes of acrylic
didn't crack them open and get started
oh no people 
I just painted them which is a new high in the procrastination stakes
even for me!!!
See you all on Friday... hopefully with some canvases done
or maybe just a whole lot of watercolours of paint tubes and brushes...xx

The last two post links ...