Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boxing Day

We had a quiet day at home yesterday, eating leftovers and playing with Katie's new toys. I felt like drawing, so I got out the watercolour pencils to have a play. This is only the second time I've used them, but they are fun, and a lot cleaner than pastels. I found a photo in a magazine and did a study of a vase and bottle. I won't post it due to copyright issues, but it will hang up at home. I fell in love with the vase and as I know I won't spend the $770 to buy it I thought a picture of it would do! So I spent a very pleasant day indeed!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Licorice Allsorts WIP#1

Last night of art class tonight for the year. Don't go back until end of January 2009. Very sad! Went to the Christmas lunch for the arts and craft group that runs the class. Lots of nice people and yummy food.

Didn't know what to start on tonight as I finished the cat painting last week. So decided to try some licorice allsorts I photographed a month or so ago. Trying a new support - Richeson Gator Foam board: not sure I like it but I'll see how it goes.

This is only at stage 2 of 4, with quite a few layers of colour to go. I've decided to go the colourful route with this one. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. Still quite a bit of blending to do. Think of this as a first draft. (took the photo at class tonight, will take a better one in daylight, without shadow from my easel in the way!)

A4 size, white Richeson Gator Foam, Rembrandt soft pastels

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cat Painting - finished

I'll have another look at this in the daylight - and take a better photo but I am happy this is finished - and happy with how it has turned out. I'll have to try a few more animals!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

My AS has let me know it's still around...

Things may slow down a bit for me for the next week or so (not that it is ever really fast!). My arthritis has decided to flare up - in preparation for Christmas I believe! - and my right knee has blown up, not literally of course but it may have been preferable! So I had the knee siphoned and a shot of something the doctor prescribed and now I have to keep my leg up for a few days to let meds take their course.

I haven't had a bad arthritis flare in over four years. You think you have something under control and then, no, you don't.

Anyway, life goes on and the swelling in my knee will go down. I can be thankful that it is only one joint affected when I know people whose whole body goes into flare.

I'll have to work out how I can set up to paint with my leg up on a chair - that could be good!

Cat Painting (Poddy) - WIP#2

Here is the latest version of Poddy-Pot-Pot. His fur is coming along nicely - really just some touch ups and he's done. Still not sure if I will leave him as is or paint in a background. Ah, backgrounds - looks like they are my bugbears.

Friday, November 28, 2008

First Cat Painting: Poddy-Pot-Pot (WIP#1)

I forgot to take a picture of the sketch of this after the last night of class, so this is two nights of work at class. I'm really happy with the way this is working.

The cat belongs to my neighbour who works for the Animal Welfare League. Poddy has only three legs, as do several other cats she owns. He is a beautiful animal. I get to go over and visit anytime I want and have a cat curl up on my lap (our 19 year old pussycat died a year or so ago and is sorely missed).

I sketched this in and then started on the eyes. I find with portraits I do the same thing. I scumbled on the midtones and then started adding the darks and then some lights. Still a lot more colour to add to this handsome ginger cat.

I think I am going to enjoy painting cats!

Still Life the colourful way - #3

So , here are my stages of painting a round object as part of the online class from Wet Canvas.

First up, as I don't have a studio, this is how I set up to work with pastels - on the dining table in amongst Katie's toys and our paraphernalia of life.

Stage 1:

Stage 2:


Have to do stage 4 yet to finalise this but thought I'd get these posted.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still Life the colourful way - #2

So, the next stage of this online class was to draw two objects together following the four stage process of the class. Here are my four stages.

I'm really enjoying this class. The next part is to draw a round object following the same four-stages. And it is to be a set-up of our own. I haven't done studies like this before - it's a really interesting process. I have taken a photo of an orange on a tablecloth - I would love to do this from life rather than a photo but I just haven't the space to leave it set up. And there are two little hands that would love to get hold of my pastels at any time!

I would love to have a space in the house where I can leave my pastels set up all the time so I can just paint whenever I feel like it. At present, I have to use the dining table, which I can't leave covered in pastels, especially as Katie loves to use them too. So that will have to be on the top of my list of goals - a permanent work space!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nieces - so close to finished...

The bits and pieces to touch up and finalise are not many now, thank goodness. I'm going to finish this in my own time and begin on something new next week in class.

There is something just not right with my younger niece's face - I just can't put my finger on it... something to ponder anyway.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nieces - WIP#7

I sprayed some fixative on the portrait, and wish I'd done so last week. It made working on the painting so much easier. It took more pastel really well and has improved the look of the girls faces. But still more work! I find that by the time I set up at class I end up with only 1.5 hours to work each week. It makes painting seem to take such a long time!

Oh, and I changed the smaller girl's mouth but will change it back to less smile I think. But this is not too far from finished now.

Still Life the colourful way

I am doing an online class over at Wet Canvas in the Soft Pastel section, called Still Life - the Colourful Way. The class is being run by Charlie who does some amazing pastel paintings and uses some colour choices that I would never have thought to work, but they do, and so well!

Charlie stated up front - "Focusing on exploring colour – how it behaves, and how you shape forms and space and distance with it – is a fun way of approaching still-lifes."

So far, it has helped me a lot with identifying warm and cool colours and has made me realise how much work I need to do on the values in painting - getting the darks and lights right.

Following are the my versions of the first image we are painting as part of the class.

Charlie first asked us to draw a sketch of the image she supplied of a block on some cloths. Here is the image she supplied:

And here is my original sketch (not very good shadows! Need to work on that!)

This was the final stage of the process after following Charlie's guidelines:

This still isn't perfect but there is a great improvement on the values and colours in this second painting.

We will move onto another painting now using the same process but refining it along the way. Using such bold colours is something I haven't done before but it should be interesting to see how much of this process I will absorb and use in future paintings.

It's great to be learning something new, and as I can't get to an external class, doing something online is the next best thing.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Photoless creativity

I've had a busy couple of days. Yesterday, after K.'s Mini-Muscles class, K. and I had our first swim of the season at our local pool (38C until a southerly hit later in the day). And then in the afternoon I had to do some cooking to get ready for a birthday picnic today.

As K. has egg allergy, whenever we go to a party I have to prepare ahead to make sure she has some party food to eat. So I cooked egg-free chocolate chip biscuits and an egg-free cake... well, two cakes, not by choice.

Egg-free cakes are a little more crumbly than normal. So the first cake rose a little higher than normal (I whisked a little more than I should have) and when I tipped it out onto the cooling rack, it split three ways. Back to the drawing board! The second cake cooked beautifully, but I was talking on the phone as I greased the pan and forgot to flour it as well. So while the top of the cake looked great, the bottom half stuck in the pan. Crumble and all, I iced it and decorated it, and K. loved it! And Peter and I are quite happy to snack on the three-piece chocolate cake!

Before the picnic today, we went to the Spring fete held at the hostel where my mother-in-law lives. On Thursday night I got a call from m-in-law to ask if I could make her a hat for the Melbourne Cup lunch on Tuesday. This would mean I had to get it made by Saturday morning. I had no inspiration at all until 6.30 this morning, when I woke up and jumped straight out of bed (something I never voluntarily do!) and made her a hat, of sorts. A strip of cardboard to go round her head, six photos of racehorses cut out and placed around the cardboard, looking like they are racing each other, with the words 'and they're off...' stuck at the front. Didn't even get time to take a photo of my handy work as we had to rush to get ready to head out by 9am. Thank goodness for the Google and photo printers at home!

Creative achievements:
2 cakes
1 batch of biscuits
1 Melbourne Cup hat
Some great photos of the picnic

and a very happy m-in-law and daughter!

Actually I have one photo to share from the picnic

The birds were very cheeky. This one stuck its beak under the glad-wrap over a plate of fairy bread to take a nibble and then proceeded to munch on the left-overs on a plate, with people sitting right next to it.

Oh... and the painting of the elephant was very well received by the birthday girl. It is getting pride of place on her wall, which is really nice.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Finally had some pictures framed - the Blue Sun Orchid and the Elephant, which is a gift for a 16th birthday. Very happy with how they turned out. Many thanks to 'The Art Scene' for their wonderful framing staff!

(Like the reflection of the photographer in this one?!)

Nieces - WIP#6

The never-ending portrait continues...

I am a detail freak obviously. I'm going to have to find a way to free up so I can complete work a little faster. Also, a 4 week break hasn't helped!

Photo not the best as I took it at class and had to use the flash, so some colours washed out a bit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Flowers not in my garden

Visited my mum's the other day and her garden is looking great. Took a couple of photos.

Crabapple blossoms

Mum has planted a really nice range of colours along her garden wall

This rose has just bloomed for the first time since Mum planted it.

The Pigface does really well in our drought conditions

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day out in Sydney

On Thursday, I took K. and her aunt and cousins to the city for the day. K.'s cousins had never been into Sydney before even though they have visited us heaps of times over the last few years (helping to set up my mother-in-law in a hostel rather than visiting for fun).

I drove into the city as we were able to get parking for the whole day near Darling Harbour for only $12 because we were visiting Sydney Wildlife World. We walked across Pyrmont Bridge, which the girls enjoyed, although the breeze was a little cool.

The girls really enjoyed Wildlife World, although they were more interested in the giant statues of creatures likes snakes, spiders, wombats and kangaroos than some of the real animals.

I'm really pleased with my new camera, a Canon IXUS 970IS. The photo of this python was taken through glass and it has turned out really well.

K. got into the spirit of things, touching any of the animals that were out for show. Here she is patting a Bearded Dragon.

I couldn't resist taking a shot of these frogs. Pity they were in the shade.

The three girls were all very interested in touching the python that was on display. I even touched it - it's scales felt a lot smoother than I thought they would.

After Wildlife World, we jumped on a ferry from Darling Harbour around to Circular Quay. A large cruise ship was docked in Darling Harbour. It was huge!

K.'s cousins were excited to see the Opera House for the first time. We drove over the Harbour Bridge on the way into the city, so it wasn't so exciting anymore!

The ferry picked up passengers at Milson's Point, right next to Luna Park. K. wanted to get off the ferry and walk through the face right then and there!

We took the girls for a walk around the Opera House, most importantly up the stairs, and down the stairs and up again.

I took this photo of the Manly Ferry for a friend overseas who has enjoyed many trips to Manly over the years but is a long way away right now. Sorry you can't be here to enjoy the harbour.

We let them have a run around in the Botanic Gardens before heading back to catch a train to Town Hall, then the Monorail (one and a half times round the circuit) back to Darling Harbour. All three girls were tired by this time and it was so great to be able to just get in the car and drive home. K. was a trooper considering she is three years younger than her younger cousin. She loves to walk and keeps on going like the Duracell bunny!

The three girls decided that the best things about the day were the ferry ride and the monorail ride. We'll have to go to Taronga Zoo next time the cousins visit, and catch a ferry to get there!

Friday, October 03, 2008


Here is a painting I did a while ago but hadn't photographed. Background to be done, but I put it aside for a while.

Spider Orchid - WIP#7

So, I have done some more work on this, but still need the background to recede a little more. The light area also needs to be toned down a little and maybe it's shape revised.

To be honest I think this one will go into the 'don't know what to do with it' pile and I'll have to start again with a new plan. It has been worth the work though as I am learning what I don't like and also to start with the darks and work towards the lights, which improved this for me.

I really don't want to lose this flower though as I am very happy with the way it has turned out.

Nieces - WIP#5

Here they are again. A little more work done. Class was disrupted as I had to go home early so I didn't get as much done as I'd have liked.

I still have to decide what I'm going to do with the background. I'm going to go to the art shop and buy a couple of small pieces of Canson the same colour and experiment a little with colour and see what I come up with.

Class is on school holidays at present but back the week after next. If I get the chance to work on this in the meantime I will.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nieces - WIP#3 & 4

Ongoing work on the portrait of my two nieces. (Quality of photos not the best - sorry!)



I want to place some colour around the girls but I have to decide what will work best. Because of the dark colour of the Canson paper, I am unsure what I will choose. I'll have to play with some pastels and see what looks good on the paper without taking away from the portraits.

Spider Orchid revisited

So, after scrapping the background on this painting as I was so unhappy with the way it was going, covering it in purple and then setting it aside, I decided to go back to it and rework the background. I was inspired by a painting I saw that had the background out of focus to emphasise the foreground objects in a way that I felt would work for this painting. Whether I can capture that same quality - well, I'll wait and see.

There are still some changes to be made, but I am much happier. (Probably anyone else looking at the comparison of the one I scrapped and this one will wonder how much difference there is, but it is there for me, and that is what is important.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Warmer weather

We have just had a couple of days of wonderful warm weather. Here's hoping it spells the end of cold and flu season!!! It was 29 degrees C in our living room on Saturday, which was a bit warm for inside - so we switched on the air-con - to cool - for the first time this Spring. It is like Winter just switched off - had enough of that, time for heat!

Oh, geez! Just remembered - Spring means hayfever season... bring on Autumn (skip Summer it gets too hot and humid here!) Hey, you'd think it was some kind of cycle - duh!

Actually, bring on the warmer weather - lots of fun stuff to do this year with Katie. We have lots of excursions to go on - trains in to the city, museums to visit, seasides to wade in, ferries to ride on, wildlife parks and zoos to explore... and that's before we even leave the house. :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Flowers in the Garden #3

Some beautiful new colours have appeared in the garden during the week...

Portrait of my nieces - WIP#1 & 2

I recently started a portrait of my nieces as a gift for my sister and brother in law. I have only been to two classes in about 5 weeks so that is all I have done so far. Tonight I completed some more of it but haven't had a chance to photograph it yet. Will do so and post soon.

WIP#1: This first photo was taken after sketching in the girls faces and starting to put a small amount of colour on their faces. I took the photo at class so the lighting is really bad.

WIP#2: More colour on the faces and roughing in their tops. Excuse the bad crop on this, photo was skewed so just cropped it to show work done so far.