Friday, February 25, 2011

Tonal Painting

Painting today. I haven't really done much painting - with paint that is, not pastels - except with K. and they were usually simplistic, silly paintings just for fun for her. So even though we are just working with black and white paint, it is a lot of fun.

This is the sketch I started with, drawn from life from a set up in the class room. It feels strange to sketch with paint, very different from sketching with pencil or chalk.

This was the result after about 1 hour of class time. Still a lot more to do but it is starting to look interesting. We used thinner washes (acrylic mixed with water) to start the underpainting. And I am really happy with the background.

I have started to go back and add some stronger contrasts, which I think will improve this no end. We were also shown how to blend colours, which I have experimented with on the two smaller bottles. The pumpkin in the platter looks more like a Christmas pudding at this stage, but then I haven't done that much with it yet.

The aim is to finish this in class next week, but I may have a play over the weekend and see what I can do.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Excursion time - The First Emperor: Chinese Entombed Warriors

I went to the Art Gallery of NSW today. I haven't been there in a while, in fact, since the last exhibition I attended. But this time it was on an excursion with my visual arts course.

(I don't know if you can see it clearly here, but the Queen Mary 2 is docked in the background, and it seems to be almost as tall as the Art gallery and the hill it sits upon!!)

I can't believe how many people were in those small exhibition rooms together, and how quiet they all were! The exhibition is full of some very beautiful artifacts, and it was amazing to see the warriors in real life. They are set up so you can see them without having to look through glass, which makes the detail so much easier to see.

We were there with our ceramics and drawing teachers, mostly to look at the ceramic decoration so we can apply some of the ideas to our work back in the classroom, but we will also have to write a review of the exhibition for art history.

After 1.5 - 2 hours in the exhibit we took a break in the Domain for lunch. I would love to have spent longer in the exhibition but we were shoulder to shoulder in there so it was good to get out. I love the area around the Art Gallery, with all the Moreton Bay Fig Trees. They grow into such amazing shapes, with wide spreading boughs.

After lunch we strolled around a couple of other free exhibitions - a painter, a sculptor and some Asian ceramics. None of them were quite as eye-catching as the Chinese warriors but it was great to walk around with our tutors and learn about the works.

We headed back towards Hyde Park around 2pm and had a drink in the park watching the chess game behind St James Station, surrounded by hungry pigeons, sea gulls and ibis'.

It was a really good day, and I can't wait for the next excursion!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The first two weeks of Printmaking class have been fun as we have been making monoprints. Onto a small piece of acetate we rolled black ink. We then used the ends of brushes, rags, cotton buds to remove the ink to create prints onto paper.

The first weeks prints ( which were really just finding out how to make the monoprints) I haven't photographed yet, but this week I have. Please excuse the quality of the photos, but I quickly snapped them while the prints were on the drying rack. I'll take better pics once they are dry.
Print#1 ghost


Print#2 ghost


Print#3 ghost

Print #4

Print #4 ghost

Print #5

Print #5 ghost

Each print was created and then run through the press for the first print and then run through again (with less ink this time) to get the ghost print. Sometimes the ghost worked out better than the original print. 

I found that I prefer the ones that are not so defined, that haven't got definite lines. These were created using cotton tips and rags to wipe away the ink on the acetate. The colour one didn't work as the red/orange was the wrong colour for this print.

My favourite is #3 and then #1.  The theme for the work today was self-portrait, but it didn't have to be a portrait of a face but rather something that was a story of self if we wanted. (My instructor also liked #3, which was really nice).

Printmaking is the opposite of the kind of work I do with pastels, which is usually quite detailed and precise in some ways. You can't be precise with monoprints - I think that is why I like it so much.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New work from Visual Arts course

Finally getting a chance to post some of the work I am doing in my visual arts course. We are still in the introductory phase, being given lists of materials, so we have just done some basic work.

Today was Drawing and Ceramics. In Drawing we played with ink - using sticks, brushes, leaves and anything else we could find to make marks on the paper and get to know what different tools can create on the page.

I completed three A2 drawings, this one being my favourite. I loved the effect that spraying water had on the ink.

And in Ceramics, after discussions regarding the guidelines and materials, we were given some clay to play with.

I've been wanting to see if I could create a face out of a slab of clay for a while so decided to try that today. I added a hook on the back so if it survives firing it will hang on the wall. I didn't have any tools, so didn't really get it the way I would like but I quite like the roughness/imperfection of this piece.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Direction...

I have just started a Certificate IV in Visual Arts and Contemporary Craft through TAFE. I wasn't expecting to do it this year. I decided not to apply back in October as I was going through some health issues that I wasn't sure of the outcome at that time. About a week ago I found out that there might be a place left in the year long course, but when I contacted TAFE was told that I would go onto a waiting list.

Yesterday morning I was phoned to ask if I was still interested as someone had pulled out of the course. I was phoned at 8.30am. Orientation started at 9.30am about 20 minutes drive away. I still had to drop my daughter at school in the meantime. I had to decide to change my life, and my family's life, for a year in a very short time.

I ummed and aahed.  I had to work out child care arrangements for before and after school. I had to work out how to afford it all. I kept thinking of reasons not to do it instead of looking for reasons to do the course.

I chose to phone a friend. A very good friend. She said 'GO!!!'  She cut through the chaff as I knew she would. I needed to hear that. Everyone needs a friend like her.

I made it to orientation 40 minutes late, but late is better than not at all. Better than sitting at home regretting the decision not to do the course. And today I started Art History and Printmaking. Tomorrow is Photography and Painting.

It is going to be a challenge. But that's not a negative!

I am going to feel guilty about leaving my daughter in care - I feel great sympathy for those mums who have to leave their kids in care for the week while they go to work. But as she is an only child, the interaction with other kids for a morning and afternoon will be good for her.

I am going to feel nervous about new techniques and media. But I'm looking forward to it too.

I am going to have fun.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Pottery - Handbag vase

Went to pottery today - different class, different teacher. I think with each new teacher I go to I will learn something new, something different, not necessarily something better, but it will be something I need to know. I learnt what not to do when making pottery from the pelican process, as well as some really great skills in how to create it.

Today I made a handbag. I've had the idea stewing away in my brain for a while now, and in 2 hours this morning I made it.

I'll finish it next Friday. Not sure if I'll paint it or just glaze it - something to think about.

It is made using paper clay - thank heaven for paper clay! The pelican that cracked was made using raku clay, which I had to use as the class was out of stock of other clay. I don't want to use that again.

This was a lot of fun to make. My own design, no set plan, just see how it comes together. It made me feel happy to see it come together. I like that feeling. I need to play with clay more often!

And we are going to try and save the pelican. There is a cement that I can use to fix up the cracks before firing the piece. So fingers crossed the cement works and I will have a slightly cracked pelican in the backyard before too long. It will suit the slightly cracked household it will reside in!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Daffodils - Pastel Painting

I have made a few minor adjustments to this to finish it off. Having left this for a month it was good to revisit it and see what needed to be changed.

I'm still not completely happy with the background - and the changes can't be seen in this photo. But there is only so much tweaking that can be done.

Beau (Kelpie) - Pastel Painting - WIP#4

Back to art again finally as K. has gone back to school.

Trying to finish off the paintings I was working on before Christmas, so here is am update on the kelpie.

Not the best pic as at night under fluoros, but it shows where I'm at with this. Just really need to add the fur detail now.