Friday, 9 December 2016

A Blue and White Break in Transmission...

It has been too long since I blogged
 renovating and running a business from home just don't mix it turns out
  so nerves have been frayed, and tempers getting a touch shorter 
 well not short so much as it hasn't been out usual laugh fest and we find ourselves lying  around a bit shaking our heads and trying to decide who is more exhausted

Happily the endless renovation of the house is at the stage of pretty much being done
well except for the painting ... inside and out
and the garden which needs a huge amount of work
but construction wise we are done and dusted
 all walls and doors are where they are going to stay... no more jackhammering will be needed... floors are sorted, furniture has been arriving in an ever increasing flurry of deliveries and the fun of decorating is finally starting

Of course due to delays and the inevitable hold ups along the way the painter now won't be able to start until the new year
but when it is all painted in January I will share and give you a tour
At the moment its loveliness is still at the potential stage
as we have a patchwork of walls and raw plaster and endless bloody dust 
but I can visualise it and it is going to be fabulous
totally worth the exhaustion, dust and madness of the last 10 weeks
in fact I am a little stunned at how much we have done in that time...

my way of coping has involved locking myself in the studio as it is the only room in the house not being touched,
 and doing the sort of controlled and realism based work I abandoned years ago
and it has been the perfect antidote and sanity saver
as the dust has plumed alarmingly
and the language turned bluer and bluer
it has seemed an appropriate colour palette to stick with the blue and white

well except for the pineapple  which has no discernable blue to speak of...but it got me through a particularly thorny week
which involved four tradesmen, laundry room demolition, a new floor, doors coming off and going back on, floor wastes causing all sorts of nightmares, wrong appliances being delivered, then one right one, and one wrong one, Barry the cat freaking out at the front loading washer, still waiting on the right dryer and endless rain and storms, wonky shelves, then perfectly righted shelves... etc etc...well you get the idea
it was your typical laundry room renovation... but all through it I just retreated to the studio and tried to calm my brain and prevent myself from slowly banging my forehead into the work table.


but the end is in sight and it is going to be wonderful when it is all done
and sanity is enough intact to survive the madness that is Christmas
so I am off to haul the Christmas tree from the garden shed... well direct Sinus to do it
I don't go anywhere near the back shed... that thing is scary spider zone!!!

happy painting all...xx


Friday, 11 November 2016

Furniture Jenga...


The renovations continue... endlessly
 but it is certainly getting to a stage where I can kind of see the end in sight
 The continued chaos is fuelling my need to exert control somewhere 
  so my paintings are continuing to lean towards realism to soothe my poor frazzled brain
 and I am loving the progress on this one... I might even get to finish it later

There may be more realism to come though
as we aren't going to be done for a few more weeks yet
demolition and reconstruction continues at breakneck speed
 but soon we will at least have the right things in the right room again
at the moment it requires us to move things from one to another as walls are demolished, doors moved and different rooms are worked on
it is sort of like a giant furniture and homewares game of Jenga


I have always been a fan of Jenga
not that I have skills in this arena...I am actually pretty rubbish if truth be told.
My Dad however, is scarily good at it
he blitzed us all one Christmas night a few years ago.
Now on one hand as a retired builder you would hope he would be good at it
but his nicknames, courtesy of Sinus, are either Thumbs, or Knuckles 
and the man has never met a tablecloth that he didn't feel the need to spread crumbs over
or a floor he didn't like to drop something on, and he does have a noticeable, albeit slight, hand tremble so you would think he could have been picked off like low hanging fruit
but no... he was a bloody genius at it


I however excel at dishwasher Jenga... and fridge Jenga
I can stack things in those suckers like no one else.
it is a weird savant type ability as I have no spatial awareness to speak of
and don't even mention depth perception
but somehow fridge and dishwasher Jenga are my thing
perhaps I got more from Dad than just my hair
which showed up as it grew in post chemo and led to him walking in one day and me realising we were sporting matching hair cuts... like exactly! 
same colour, sticking up in the same places... the whole hair shebang...

I had hoped my fridge Jenga prowess would transfer to furniture jenga 
to make the furniture moving for the renovations a bit easier
but I totally suck at it... turns out a large chair on a small pouf doesn't work
well it works if you like a cascade of chair and objects with the first gust of wind
but even I didn't believe myself when I said that was my objective
So I will continue to leave furniture jenga to the experts and will retreat to the studio to attempt to finish this painting

happy painting all...xx


Friday, 28 October 2016

When Renovations Give You Lemons...


Next time I calmly announce we are living in the house while undertaking a major renovation then I want you to take a dirty great back swing and slap me silly because I will obviously be in a delusional state and will need a good flogging to set my head straight!

We have renovated before, though it was a while ago now, and I seriously thought it would be a bit of noise, a bit of dust, and as we hardly live in a quiet, pristine organised environment how different could it be... well I was so far off track it is insane. 

The noise has been epic, the dust has moved through the house in drifts, and the mess and living out of boxes thing has been quite the challenge. Not that I don't mind the obstacle course nature of it, I think that is quite fun. The opportunity to do a commando roll to get to the broom is a joy everyone should experience. But five weeks in and I am kind of over it.

It isn't just the noise and dust, it is also the need to be up at sparrow's fart to greet tradesmen who are either crazy early, or epic-ally late depending on which opposite you require... if you have to get somewhere then you can guarantee the will be at least an hour late, and if you have been a tad tardy getting yourself together, then you can guarantee they will all be very early!... I swear the patron saint of all tradies must be bloody Murphy and most of these guys spent their whole lives worshiping him I tell you. They have all been amazing when they are here and we have been blessed with the nicest bunch of tradesmen ever and are doing amazing work, they just have no sense of time... seriously... their watches must all be synced up to a weird alternate sun because they turn up according to tradie time zone.. 


Tradesmen and their rather flexible schedules aside we are making progress... one bathroom was completely demolished in a two day jack hammering marathon... another was half demolished... those two have been rebuilt, a third has had a light reno, so outside of some painting they are sorted...
Floors have been ripped up and changed over to a gleaming loveliness. The kitchen was demolished and after more than a week of camping with no sink, oven, cook top or bench-tops we are finally approaching a usable area again... almost

As I type the pergola is being upgraded, doors and windows are being prepped for moving, and built in banquette seating is being designed and fabrics chosen, which is the fun bit of course...
which means in a few short weeks or so we will be done except for the painting and decorating of course
and the new front fence, garage door, jungle garden cull and painting the outside of the house... dear god it is never going to end

so I am doing what all creatives do when life is out of control, I am channeling that need for control into my art and doing some quite realistic styled watercolors. I just try to zen out on the need for observation and detail.
happy painting all...xx


When Renovations Give You Lemons...


Next time I calmly announce we are living in the house while undertaking a major renovation then I want you to take a dirty great back swing and slap me silly because I will obviously be in a delusional state and will need a good flogging to set my head straight!

We have renovated before, though it was a while ago now, and I seriously thought it would be a bit of noise, a bit of dust, and as we hardly live in a quiet, pristine organised environment how different could it be... well I was so far off track it is insane. 

The noise has been epic, the dust has moved through the house in drifts, and the mess and living out of boxes thing has been quite the challenge. Not that I don't mind the obstacle course nature of it, I think that is quite fun. The opportunity to do a commando roll to get to the broom is a joy everyone should experience. But five weeks in and I am kind of over it.

It isn't just the noise and dust, it is also the need to be up at sparrows fart to greet tradesmen who are either crazy early, or epic-ally late depending on which opposite you require... if you have to get somewhere then you can guarantee the will be at least an hour late... I swear the patron saint of all tradies must be bloody Murphy and most of these guys spent their whole lives worshiping him I tell you. They have all been amazing when they are here and we have been blessed with the nicest bunch of tradesmen ever and are doing amazing work, they just have no sense of time... seriously,,, there watches must all be synched up to a weird alternate sun because they turn up according to tradie time zone.. 


Tradies and their rather flexible schedules aside we are making progress... one bathroom was completely demolished in a two day jack hammering marathon... another was half demolished... those two have been rebuilt, a third has had a light reno, so outside of some painting they are sorted...
Floors have been ripped up and changed over to a gleaming loveliness. The kitchen was demolished and after more than a week of camping with no sink, oven, cook top or bench-tops we are finally approaching a usable area again... almost

As I type the pergola is being upgraded, doors are being prepped for moving, as we are also doing several windows, and built in banquette seating is being designed and fabrics chosen, which is the fun bit of course...
which means in a few short weeks or so we will be done except for the painting and decorating of course
and the new front fence, garage door, jungle garden cull and painting the outside of the house... dear god it is never going to end

so I am doing what all creatives do when life is out of control, I am channeling that need for control into my art and doing some quite realistic styled watercolors. I just try to zen out on the need for observation and detail.
happy painting all...xx


Friday, 7 October 2016

Dusting Off The Blog...


Two weeks is a long time in renovation world let me tell you
 the dust
 the noise
 the jackhammers
 the mess
 it has been epic!!!!
 but happily today the last of the dusty awful stuff is done
 well until Monday at least 
 so I got to spend a glorious hour or two corralling dust and crap
  or at least the worst of it
  and for two and a half long and amazing days
 no dust, no tradies and no noise
 It is going to be bliss
I may even be able to drink a little less nerve calming Dandelion tea
I adore this stuff... not for everyone I know
but it is awesome with just a touch of honey...


 I have spent the time somewhat wisely
 I have been working in a frenzied and crazy manner getting 
 up and going
and by late tomorrow all of the lessons will be open 
and people can work through at their leisure
I always forget how long it takes to upload the videos etc
which perhaps hasn't been helped by our rather dodgy internet connection
i have a sneaking suspicion that believing Sinus when he said he had the skills to upgrade and install an new high speed modem thingy.
I blame the dust for my possible poor judgement in that area!


Other genius things have happened too
I got a new mug
and it is perfection...


Barry has decided it is great fun to help me paint
not perfection
bloody cat has been driving me nuts

Phants got a sleep app
and then spent two days working out how to fool it into thinking she is asleep
It was such a proud moment for her which had me shaking my head
she has some serious issues I tell you

and then today we saw an old bloke in a motorized wheelchair
flying along outside our favourite coffee place at a rate of knots
while wearing a helmet and with his dog riding shotgun
he was getting some serious speed up and they were both loving it
makes your whole day to see something like that.


I am getting back to uploading more videos so I can get more of these lessons open
if you are interested in my lino classes there are some buttons in the side bar showing the various options
If you add the code EARLYBIRD before the 17th Oct
you get quite the discount too
it has life time access so you can buy now and play later if that works for you
maybe I will see you in class
happy painting... and printing all...xx





Friday, 23 September 2016

The Sneeze House...

I must admit that there is a mild chance that my brain may in fact implode this week
 The dreaded/much anticipated renovation starts for real and for just three messy and noisy weeks my studio will be smack bang in the middle of demolition central
I am not sure how much painting will be tackled, but I am hoping that at least enough to maintain my tenuous hold on my sanity will be possible

 added to this excitement, spring has arrived
 with its seasonal swathe of sneezing and watery eyes
 not to mention the truly awe inspiring sneezes from our neighbor
 you have to admire a sneeze that can be heard through two sets of walls, a huge bloody fence and  across the yard... this sneeze is so epic it stuns me
the only disappointment is it is always a single so it scares the bejeezus out of you and then disappears before your heart beat even looks like returning to normal
sometimes I wish it was a pair, or a triple so I could truly admire the force of them, but I am always mildly stunned from hearing it so I don't get to stop and truly admire its volume
not that I admire it so much that I want to be too close
as I fear such volume may come with flyers... and that is never pleasant



But neighborhood sinus stories aside
and you will note I am blithely ignoring the fact that we are in peak snore season here in our house... I scarily think we may all be quite something to hear and perhaps sneeze house call us snore house... though I doubt we can even touch the volume required... perhaps as the season progresses we may work achieve such heights.. maybe
 Hayfever matters aside, I do love Spring well except for Barry's shenanigans
there is always something isnt there... Mushu used to sneeze on our feet and generally snot us to bits, but Barry seemed to be completely uneffected by seasonal snot so I was hopeful that spring life would be quieter with a cat
unhappily with the return of the warm weather sees a return to Barry sleeping in his self proclaimed cat hammock that is the shade cloth over the pergola
this is a genius spot as he can safely watch all that is going on, happily taunt the poor dog that lives in the sneeze house
and drop bear me like crazy when I go out to hang out the washing... every time he gets me
I swear I will just get used to looking up when I go outside and it will be high summer and he will have retreated in front of the aircon like the smart feline that he is
he got me twice this week
washing dropped on the ground, nerves shot and muttered curses that would make a longshoreman blush
quite frankly I sometimes wonder if my nerves will survive the season

When my sanity is in doubt there is always work to get me through
the blue and white love is continuing
This large lino printed urn is finally done 
and awaiting a frame to hang beside the other one
of course on seeing the two together I am more certain then ever that a third of the same huge proportions is required for them to really look great
so I will be turning my brain to planning another this week

on top of the painting I have been crazily filming and writing and the lino class should be up 
October 1
I am so excited to finally have this class opening and if you want to be kept up to date with it all and get the early access to introductory/ explantory video and information then scroll back up to the top of the page to sign up for the newsletter
I am actually filming and doing it as two classes... one for beginners, and one the next step on, so people can do the one that suits, or bundle both together
it is just such a huge area and if I was teaching it in person I would run it this way, so Lino Printing 101 and Lino Printing 201 will come in to being soon
exciting times ahead
happy painting all...xx





Friday, 9 September 2016

Dear Paperwork...

Dear Paperwork 
 I think it is time we broke up
 I know I am supposed to accept you as part of my life
 and yes I know that you are always there for me, quietly waiting on my desk
 but I have come to realize that you aren't my friend
 well not really
 Yes you sit patiently and wait for me to have time for you
 but there is something passive aggressive 
 about the way you stare at me while I am painting
 you don't ever say anything but I can feel the hurt you feel at my neglect
 and I am ever so slightly freaked out by the way you multiply while I am not looking
 I really don't want to know what you get up to to cause such multiplying
 let's just keep that as private paperwork business
  And while I am being open with you I also am not keen on the way you ever so slightly threaten to topple at the slightest provocation 
and paper cuts... I have come to realize that friends don't cut friends!!!
relationships shouldn't hurt and you have cut me one time too often now
 But the thing that really makes me wonder about you is how you say you don't really want to be friends with Tax Paperwork ... and Bill Paperwork
but you seem to hang out together a bit too much for my liking
and this week yourself, and Tax, and Bill have kept me from my real friends
the friends that make me feel good and happy
they might be showy with their splashy colours and their vigorous lines
but they make me smile and feel good and I never get to the end of the day feeling depressed or annoyed when I am with you
you aren't my friend Paperwork no matter what you say, so you can go hang out somewhere else, find friends who like your games 
might I suggest Sinus or Phants... they both seem to have lovely clear desks and I think you would be happy there
I wish you luck Paperwork but the time has come to say I don't want to see you anymore

Kind regards
Tracey... xx 
P.S make sure you take Tax and Bill with you... I really don't want to see them anymore either


Friday, 2 September 2016

Proofing The Next Vase...



This week has been all about the blue and white again
 I printed an edition of the large lino block of a vase which was awesome fun and resulted in half the house being blanketed in blue and white prints which was truly a sight to behold
They were printed onto A2 size paper so they were covering every spare surface
beds, floors, countertops... they were everywhere
 but it was a complete joy and Astrid was a fabulous printing assistant as it turns out she  has quite the talent for spotting uneven ink on the block and it is quite fun watching someone who happens to be a tad height challenged carry a wet print with the breeze wafting... it was like watching an adorable smallish person carrying a blue and white sail
 so she's not just a one trick pony with her ninja fence climbing abilities it turns out


Today was all about proofing the next block
and I am almost happy with it
it looks pretty close when I slipped it in the frame which is the first pic on the post
 and while it isn't quite there yet, it is very very close

Barry the cat was supervising and despite the whole walk across a wet print incident
 followed by his genius tip toeing across the perspex I roll out the ink on
 and finally rounded out with the constant flicking of his tail across ink 
he kept me company the whole time and watched with interest as every print was pulled
until he was bored at which point he meowed with increasing volume until I put his favourite box on the table so he could nap


I was kind of panicking about proofing this one as I believed bloody Sinus when he said he could carve the background for me to save me some time
so I was happily starting to carve the giant ginger jar I had drawn up
and we were chatting away and then he proudly showed me my poor block
needless to say a lot of repair work was required, including the need for superglue
but it has survived relatively intact after my initial misgivings and it is close to being sorted
Turns out he needs way more practice before being let loose on a block again

 Between drawing up blocks, carving, proofing, doing illustration work, ignoring jobs and chores, harassing Barry, buying even more fixtures and fittings and choosing endless stuff for the renovation I squeezed in some more painting
it was about the only time I felt sane all week
which is saying something I know
happy painting all...xx

Friday, 26 August 2016

Endless Blue and White...


My blue and white obsession has continued this week
 when I've not been working on a couple of illustration jobs 
 that have been keeping me a little too much on my toes if truth be told
  and some lame arsed attempts to get my paperwork in order 
  I have been continuing to obsessively paint all things blue and white
 there is something about the freshness of the colours that just makes me happy
 so I am running with it until I get sick of it
 though scarily it really doesn't feel close to running its course yet


Part of the problem is that I had this idea of having some blue and white lino prints of vases above the bed in the main bedroom
the room is all blues and whites and soft white furniture so it feels pretty perfect
but then I had the idea of maybe doing a gallery wall of all different prints and paintings
in blue and whites and can't decide which to go with
the roof is really high and the room is huge so it can take some colour but for the life of me I can't commit one way or the other so I am creating both options and will decide later
I figure that at the very least the online store and etsy shop will both get an influx of new work so no time is wasted, and quite frankly I am having a blast so am having no trouble justifying all my spare time going to creating them
I also know myself well enough to know I just need to go with it until I am done with the idea
or else it will just nag away at the back of my brain
and I have enough things nagging away back there


things like whether it is worth trying to desensitising Barry the cat so he doesn't freak out at the sight of cauliflower... and carrots
turns out he's not keen on carrots either

I also have this nagging doubt that I had an appointment that I was due to go to next week but for the life of me can't think what it is

plus deciding what taps we should choose, and light fixtures, and when to book the arborist and where the lid to my hand cream has disappeared to and the fifty million other random things that sail through my brain all day
it is like a news ticker on speed in there... 
so I shall retire to some more blue and white and try to ignore it
happy painting all...xx

PS here is the next two videos for the questions and answers series
of course after last week's posting of the first two I got a flood of more questions... ok not a flood but certainly more than a trickle so I will do one last video answering your questions
so if you have anything you wanted to ask now's your chance
pop it in the comments below or contact me via email etc... 




Friday, 19 August 2016

Blue and White China and Ninjas...

 It has been a glorious week creatively speaking
 full of blue and white lino prints and paintings
 several more are already started after this tester watercolour was such a pleasure
 and my lino print of the huge blue and white vase/urn made it through the test print stage
 which was a relief after so long carving the sucker
but all was well and even the block looked beautiful inked up


Yet another blue chair was drawn up and painted
I am starting to think I have a problem and maybe should just buy a blue chair 
and be done with it

Barry the cat gained a new quirk and has decided to only sleep 
if a human is also lying down with him

he also discovered the vegetable crisper in the fridge and just likes to touch everything in it
except cauliflower... he is still deathly scared of a whole head of cauliflower




In amongst all of that fun and wonderfulness 
I also had the thrill of watching an actual ninja doing their thing
after going out walking with my great friend and partner in crime, Rach
we arrived home to find me locked out... no clue why I removed the fence key from my keyring, but I did... so while I am busy calling Sinus to get his late butt home to let me in
 Rach scaled our six foot fence like she was a ninja crossed with a mountain goat
Poor Sinus got a very garbled message which consisted of me loudly asking him where his mildly late butt was, interrupted by me suddenly 
yelling at Rach to get down off the bloody fence as she isn't 40 anymore then more panicked yelling and name calling as she scaled the 6 foot structure like it was about a foot high, happily dropping over the fence, nailing the landing and unlocking the gate for me... bloody legend
plus in amongst my panicked name calling  and voicemailing  Sinus I even managed to snap a pic so we have evidence of this madness... talk about multi- tasking

Rach has unparalleled talents it turns out and I feel this now necessitates a change in alias for her... for years she has been Astrid Tagliatelli to my Kiki Von Stroganoff, but in light of these new skills I feel we need a more scaling great heights type name
my suggestions of Heidi was shot down and countered by her suggesting Xena
but that is just silly... who is going to believe someone is called Xena Tagliatelli...
the search for a new name will continue
of course any suggestions will be welcomed...


 so this afternoon the block will be shaped and the final adjustments made 
 so I can print an edition very soon which is crazy exciting
just seeing the palette is enough to make me swoon...

 I also got some youtube videos up which I will attach below for you if you want a squizz
I am answering some of the questions left after last week's post  and on social media
 and the lino class is finally finally moving in the right direction 
 it is all go really

happy painting all...xx



Friday, 12 August 2016

A return and a request...

I am celebrating my return to my blog with a champagne glass as two weeks away has felt like an eternity, maybe longer than an eternity.... an eon perhaps
 especially as those weeks have been a mad flurry of old furniture needing new  homes, new furniture needing to be delivered, placed and in some cases constructed
 not to mention making about five squillion decisions every hour of that time
 some of which are great fun like paint colours
 well fun until I change my mind every five minutes 
 and then go through the whole process again looking at 50 swatches and checking them all  in different lights, and against furniture and me asking Sinus to go out and hold branches  away from windows so I can check what the light will be like when the trees are pruned...  and then removing spiders from Sinus's mop of hair while reassuring him that the noise he had produced on walking into said spider's web was in actual fact a masculine growl rather than a girly squeal...
only to land back at my original colour choices... yep I am that annoying person
and don't get me started on kitchen appliances, door handles and everything in between
too much choice, too many ideas, and pinterest fuelling it all like petrol on a fire... a scary scary combination

 Of course as the next few months will have all sorts of construction like a new kitchen and new bathrooms, not to mention removal of walls etc 
and yes I am the total madwoman who does it all the wrong way round and gets furniture before the construction... crazy I know, but sometimes being visual necessitates things in the wrong order 
to top it all off it has all also necessitated pre emptive decluttering on an epic scale
we are talking clearing the decks and empty shelves decluttering
I did the research on decluttering... thank you pinterest for making me feel horribly inadequate, yet oddly fascinated as they show all those perfectly organised and coordinated shelves and cupboards
and can I say only keeping things that bring you joy concept is a stupid idea
because there is no way known the iron, mop, vacuum or pretty much any other cleaning,  type appliance would still be still be around... no joy in those suckers so the house would be empty but still look like a home for lost dust bunnies if I listened to that one

Plus in one article I read about just keeping a page or two of a book you love... seriously that person is a monster... who tears out a page from a book to keep and hurls the rest... dear god it is enough to drive a sane person to consume vats of chocolate I don't know what is... when I told Phants about it she went the colour of a washed out albino and looked like she was going to throw up... there are evil evil people in the de cluttering movement
But happily we all survived and things are moving forward and I have managed to get some time back so here are a few of the sketches of late... plus I am doing a huge lino block
it turns out that carving the bejeezus out of something is quite therapeutic at the end of a very long day of decision making and decluttering
construction doesn't begin in earnest for a few weeks so i am going to make the most of the quiet and paint like crazy... and finish and get the lino class up and running
and get some new youtube videos up
 which brings me to the request part of the title of this post

In fact I am recording some next Tuesday after a few people suggested I do some question and answer type ones and so I will answer any question you want to ask me
except physics questions... bloody hopeless at physics
so if there is something you have always wanted to ask then pop it in the comments below or drop me an email, or message me or on any of the social media platforms which we all live by now

in the meantime happy painting all...xx