Friday, 29 May 2015

Queenie Finds Her King...

There is a downside to being so busy preparing my Delicious Paint class
 while working away on paid illustration jobs like a mad woman
  don't get me is all great fun actually... and they pay me to have this fun
  so life is pretty awesome sauce
  but there is a downside, as small as it may be
 and that is I haven't had time to sketch up my solar queen's new companion until now
 good old QE 2 has finally a man in her life... a king to her queen which seems appropriate
 and seeing her serenely waving away on the window sill
 while he is all hip shaking and microphone waving is quite the thing

The only thing that could make me happier is if he had a knee that shook
and had a motion activated voice that said thank you very much every time you walked past
that would be amazing right
but he is a welcome addition to our growing solar family
which also includes a solar santa, and the picorgi... remember him?

An added bonus is that it is a constant reminder to Sinus to go and get a haircut
you see he has this hair that grows like a forest on steroids
but weirdly there is a puff of hair at the front that always grows quicker than the rest
so out of nowhere you wake up one day and it is all foofy at the front
and until he gets to the barber Sinus is absent and Elvis takes his place
which of course leads to much hilarity every time it foofs 
because we get to do Elvis impressions whenever he enters the room
not to mention some off key singing 
and more thank you very much-ing than you can poke a microphone at
all of which he hates
so of course that only makes us love it that much more

which is starting to make me think that having our new solar toy around might be a negative
if Solar Elvis reminds Sinus to get more regular haircuts
then I don't get to do my fabulous impressions and singing
and I firmly believe that it is that sort of teasing that keeps a marriage strong
nothing says I love you like a good Elvis impression
bloody QE2 had better appreciate the sacrifices I am making
happy painting all...xx

Friday, 22 May 2015

Flaking on the Flake...

This poor painting of a box of Flake sprinkles is a reject
 not that I hate the painting or anything
 I just couldn't end up using it as part of Delicious Paint
 because I forgot to hit record for great chunks of painting
 like the bulk of it... no clue how it happened
 but it turns out I was a flake when it comes to recording the flake
 so flaking out on the flake means I at least have a painting to share
 as I have been buried in filming and editing and all that fun stuff
 so it all worked out nicely in the end

Maybe being flakey isn't always a bad thing
after all it is a good thing if you are a piece of cooked fish isn't it
and it is usually a very good thing when it comes to chocolate
but sadly they don't quite work the same magic as sprinkles
I have long been a fan of crumbling the odd Flake over some ice cream
or perhaps yogurt if I am going for a health food treat lol
so you would think that pre crumbled sprinkles would be perfect
but somehow it doesn't quite taste the same
perhaps it is revenge of the Flake bar
because let's face it, you have to be monumentally lazy to not crumble your own flake
these things are so fragile babies sneeze and they disintegrate
so it serves me right I would suspect

Flaky video recording aside the filming is all done and dusted
and I am beside myself with excitement at it all starting in a bit over a week
For those of you joining me I am posting the supplies video
so you have some time to get everything in order before the classroom opens
after all I will only let you off from being tardy or forgetting supplies the first thousand times
after that I will be handing out detentions...
of course if you aren't coming to paint with us you might be interested in supplies I commonly use anyway
happy painting all...xx

Friday, 15 May 2015

Two Things I Am Looking Forward To ...

There are two big things I am looking forward to at the moment
 the first is Spring
 which proves what a complete and utter cold weather wimp I am
 because we have had two cold mornings
  and a lot of people would scoff at what we call cold
for us bloody unbearable freezing is anything in single figures or low teens in celsius
which is high forties, low fifties in fahrenheit if my maths is holding out
and despite the days making it back into the low 20's/ 70's... I am freaking out
and am already pining for Spring
of course Spring only lasts for two days
and then we are into the full drenching heat of summer
at which point I will instantly start to complain and bitch about frizzy hair
and burning my butt on a searingly hot car seat
but deep down I will love every pool, sunscreen, iced tea and sun soaked minute of it
this cold stuff is completely rubbish in my book
and even painting up magnolias hasn't warmed me up
which is doubly rubbish, as I love magnolias

the other thing I am looking forward to is that I get to fulfil a long held goal 
one that I have hung onto for many many years
ever since I first started teaching many years ago in fact
I remember thinking that life would be immeasurably better if I could teach in pajamas
I mean who doesn't love their pj's... I seriously love them
and there isn't much in life that isn't made better by donning those fabulous daggy duds
catastrophes are averted, hearts are healed, aches relieved, all the ills in your life disappear
the world is just a better place when you are in pj's

So in the spirit of my post about pushing it out there and taking on opportunities 
I agreed to teach an online class over on Community Thrive this June through August
It is called Delicious Paint
and I have spent the last week starting to film and prepare resources and things
and the whole bloody lot has been done while in pj's
It has been nothing short of glorious
and I realised that other than the bits where I talk to camera
I can, in fact, do all discussion boards, teaching, emails, mentoring 
and all that good stuff while in my pajamas
I am seriously happy about that... fuzzy socks will be donning my tootsies
my favourite old sweater will be worn endlessly, and if it gets too cold
I can actually stay in bed and teach
and if that isn't a perfect life then it is pretty bloody close

So if you are interested in joining me as I teach you in pajamas head to the last post or click on this link and follow the links for more details... there's even a video... and though I am not wearing pajamas I do have a bit of light bed head!!!
happy painting all...xx

PS I just realised not only can I teach in pajamas... you can learn in them... it could be a pajama party class... now that sounds like fun...xx

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Class Announcement.... Delicious Paint

It is a rare thing that I am nervous about a post
 but this one has my heart beating a little bit faster
 I am teaching a class, starting June 1, over on U Thrive at Community Thrive
 and today it all opens for registration and announcements are being made
 and all that oh my giddy aunt this is really real type freak out is happening about now

 so all of a sudden I am beset by uncharacteristic nerves
 which is mad because I know it is going to be great fun
 and I have heaps of experience teaching, though usually it is in person
So I am basically taking my two day in person workshop plan and adapting it for online
I know it is going to be great... but still the nerves are buzzing
not to mention so much excitement is fizzing off my brain it's giving me a bad hair day
so big girl pants time... here is the dish...

It is called Delicious Paint
and of course is all about drawing and painting delicious watercolours of delicious food and then making them into a book thingy... which I can't show you because it isn't made yet
because I haven't filmed the class 
because we are working on a tight turn around
but trust me it is all planned and it is going to be awesome fun
here is a video with some info for you if you are interested ...

detail time...
It is run on Community Thrive as one of their Flourish 201 courses
you need to join Community Thrive to take part, but it is free to sign up
and it is one of the friendliest places online so you will love being part of it...
Classroom opens on June 1 2015 and closes August 31st
the class will be made up of four lessons
 with each lesson looking like being between 45 mins and an hour in length
plus pdf's of all the relevant info
and of course there will be a  dedicated classroom and I will be on the discussion boards and in the classroom on a regular basis to give you feedback and to get to know everyone
not to mention I am setting up a board on Pinterest for us to share our work
and there is a great page on Facebook run by Community Thrive where we can be interacting as well, 
so lots of chances to be as involved online as suits you but the main thing is that you will be in a safe environment and you can be as involved as you like... this is no pressure learning

there is also a mentoring option which is a much smaller classroom 
within the Delicious Paint classroom
and involves more intensive one on one interaction across the three months
which is going to be more like me sitting down with you and having a cuppa and talking about your work and progress... which sounds like fun right

for me the main thing is that this is a course that shares my love of painting all things food related and sharing my process so that people feel more confident
and hopefully show you how easy and fun watercolours can be
not to mention inspire you to jump in with both feet and try lots of new things
or perhaps get a fresh take on some skills you already have

Costs are $55 USD for Delicious Paint, and $75 USD for the mentoring option 
and registration is open... now
if you have any questions... email me on
or pop them in the comments and I will get back to you
or head over here to Community Thrive for more information

happy painting all...xx

PS here is the link to the carrot painting demo if you haven't seen it... 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Too Much Yeast, Too Little Bowl...

Some weeks are so messy and insane and magnificent all rolled into one
 that you just have to sit back and take a breath and enjoy it
 This has been one of those weeks... full of wild and wonderful happenings
 like heading out for Japanese just so I can get one of these bottles to paint
 I had been obsessing about it ever since I saw them last time we went
 so off we go to Motto Motto again just so I could get one
 it was worth the insane sugar high from drinking the stuff to get the magical bottle to paint

I have to admit to having a soft spot for Japanese restaurants where they yell at you on the way in and out... I think all restaurants should adopt that practice...
lucky for me Sinus and Phants are used to indulging me
and we spent a very pleasurable drive home working out what we would yell at people if we owned a restaurant... I can't remember what we came up with thanks to the remaining sugar high, but they were all suitably hilarious at the time.

other work, whims and obsessions this week
have seen me working like a wild paintbrush wielding dervish
I have painted up my latest food obsession which is green smoothies
a little frog goes a long way it turns out ...

I do wish Phants was young again so I could tell her that I whacked Kermit in the blender
One of my proudest parenting moments was a four year old Phants asking a butcher if the tray of cutlets was Mary's lamb... it is sad I will never get to hear that four year old cutie ask for a Kermit smoothie...
when I said that to her the other day she just shook her head
and said something under her breath
I thought I heard the words Sad and Cow muttered but that couldn't be right could it

Kermit smoothies have been needed though because it has been busy
I have been preparing some of my perfume bottles for a digital exhibition in Jeddah
recorded videos for the class announcement next Tuesday
yep... I am teaching a class!
taped my contribution to a different blog course
prepped three more illustration projects
and I worked on an illustration job that saw me painting rosebuds, coconut palms,wild strawberries and one horned rhinos just to name a few

add to all that I came into the studio to see the drawing of the one horned rhino giving the hairy eyeball to my pen which led to a whole morning amusing myself while I worked by imagining the conversations between said rhino and pen during the night
come to think of it maybe I did hear Phants refer to me as a sad cow after all

I also was subjected to some random conversations with Phantom
who appears to have been having a rather abstract thinking week

a proofed a short story she wrote for her narrative class about someone live baiting zombies on a conveyer belt which was hooked up to a generator to create zombie power

there was a long conversation about whether the shirt she was wearing was a shirt or a sweater... I came out on the side of sweater/jumper
Phants chose to disagree... for a very long fifteen minutes

then the other day she walked in out of the blue and just said
too much yeast, too little bowl ...then turned on heel and left
still have no clue what she was referring to as it is one of our favourite quotes from the Gilmore Girls and is pulled out at various times... and not always in reference to cooking
 but I admit it has been preying on my mind at weird times

Come to think of it that is what I would yell at people when they came into my restaurant
Too much yeast, too little bowl...that would be genius wouldn't it
and on the way out I would yell my other favourite Gilmore Girls quote...
Yeah, I'm not feeling so good, I have a haunted leg
I really need to think seriously about buying a Japanese restaurant
It may just be my calling...
Happy Painting all...xx

Tuesday's post link is here if you missed it...

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Frisking Tips...

 Last week I had planned on writing a post on liquid frisket, or masking fluid
 but was a bit distracted by other things, so here it is this week
 I decided to talk about it as I had a few people comment and email after the carrot demo  video that they had various hassles with it etc... and I have to say I do have a love  hate relationship with the stuff

 For doing things like this perfume bottle which was suggested by the lovely Twinkletoes  Allan, I love the stuff... especially since I found this Fine Line brand that has a lovely fine tip and  allows me to do swirly lines like this, and as I let the paint drip and move then it is essential  for preserving areas of white while still allowing me the freedom to splodge on colour with abandon

 But what I hate about this brand is that it clogs like crazy if you aren't really careful
and we all know that being careful is not my strong suit
there is a little wire that slips down into the nozzle and at times it sort of jams in there and then the whole top is useless, but I seem to be getting less of that... touch wood
so I have several bottles that I will be able to use in the future if I can manage to keep the the lids working correctly... and it is worth it because you get fantastic control with it 
and the fluid itself is really smooth and doesn't bubble, and the extra bottles that I have accumulated work beautifully with a brush as well 

There are two other types of masking fluid on my desk
and I pretty much dislike both with a weird intensity
like I would happily throw them under a bus level of dislike
and yet I keep them on my desk and still use them now and again
grumbling and cursing at them the whole way... but I hate to waste art supplies and the thought of turfing them just feels wrong, so I persevere 
and a little light cussing is good for the soul I believe

the Holbein one below bubbles like crazy whenever I use it
and is quite hard on the paper I use and doesn't cover completely
so you get flecks where the paint bleeds through which really drives me nuts
but lots of people swear by it so I keep thinking I am doing something wrong
but I have had no success with it at all... it really doesn't like me

The other is the good old Winsor and Newton masking fluid in a jar
and it works well most of the time
but is really really smelly  and is the epic destroyer of brushes
so since discovering the Fineline brand
it has been a bit neglected, but on large areas it works a treat
as long as you make sure the room has good ventilation
and dries quite quickly and is reliable

so that discussion aside here are my top tips for using it successfully
  • always test it on the paper you are going to use as some of the smooth papers don't like some brands and will peel of little bits of the paper if you aren't careful 
  • clean the nozzles really well before you recap them to try to stave off clogging for as long as possible because even if they say they are non clogging... they lie and they bloody clog like crazy
  • practice using them so that you can see how they react and get a feel for how they come out of the nozzle so you get smooth lines
  • be bold when you are laying it down because using the nozzle type ones requires swift application as if you hesitate then you can get a blob... not that a blob is always unwelcome, but if you don't love the blob, then be fearless 
  • always let it dry thoroughly before painting... and I have never had success speeding up the drying with a hair dryer... I have a little desk fan that speeds it up slightly, but it has to be really really dry before you lay down any paint or else disaster will ensue.. well maybe not disaster but you risk your good brushes and ruining your painting just as you begin

  • if you are using the bottle or jar type frisket then always dampen your brush before you use it...not soaking them, but dampen a touch, as it makes the brush a little less likely to completely solidify, though it will solidify to an extent no matter what, but it will be a flexible solid if you know what I mean
  • accept that with the jar frisket you are going to ruin brushes. I have brushes that I keep for that purpose alone,they are gungy and hard but they are still useable for the job at hand in laying down larger areas to mask, and by turning it on its side you can actually lay down quite thin lines
  • when you are removing masking fluid, and this applies to both types,  be gentle... don't rub it off like a whirlwind as you can damage the paper beneath... take it slow and enjoy the whole peeling thing... it is oddly satisfying to ease the strings off... 

  •  don't think just because you have masked an area that you have to leave it masked until the absolute end of the piece, because sometimes you reveal it and it is so blindingly white it looks a bit wrong. I often remove if before I lay down the detail parts so I can knock it back a bit with a touch of light Paynes Grey, or very very light colour washes so that it blends a bit better
  • you can use it at any stage of a painting... you might want to preserve a colour other than whites, and so you can use it mid way through... just make sure the paint is really dry before you add it or it will remove some paint when you peel it
  • and if all else fails...use a bit of gouache to add highlights ... or a white pen and just pretend you used masking fluid... when I can't be arsed with the whole palaver that is exactly what I do and it works a treat...
happy masking all...xx

PS .... I must say I was soooo  tempted to throw in tips on frisking criminals just for the heck of it... but restrained myself beautifully I think... 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Boat Needed...

I am hoping someone will send a boat if it is needed
because the rain is bucketing down in a mildly concerning way
it is lashing the window in the studio in great sheets on water
and the bamboo is so heavy with water it is drooping over into the pool
so it is quite the thing to watch it all unfold
as the pool overflows... again
crap for painting as the paper is so soggy it may as well be sitting out in the downpour
and every time one of the palm fronds or bamboo hit the window I jump like crazy
which is not conducive to any careful painting
 but things can't always be perfect

As a self confessed weather geek it is oddly satisfying to be in the middle of a rain event
I watch the weather channel like Sinus watches sport
it is my happy place and I love that you can scoff and heckle their predictions with impunity
of course sometimes they are right on the money 
and the predicted deluge is certainly living up to their drama queen headlines and titles
Phants is not sharing my glee as she has to head out to uni for lectures
but she is young and a bit of wild weather adventure is good for the soul
 plus a bit of light wading across the Great Court will add some excitement

I am going to get back to attempting some more painting
the warm up painting of my sugar free cranberry juice
which always looks inspiring against my favourite table cloth
was fun despite the weather induced challenges
 so I am glad I finally got around to painting it up
of course I could have gotten in and actually ironed the table cloth
but who has time for that!!!
happy painting all... xx

Here is the link to Tuesday's post if you missed it