Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Feeling Nutty About Gumnuts!

I've been feeling a tad guilty that I live in an amazing country with amazing flora and fauna, yet I haven't spent a lot of time creating it through my artwork to date. As such, I really loved the concept of this artwork, where I feature an Aussie native, gumnut blossoms.

Unfortunately in this instance, I'm not happy with the execution.  Here, take a look:

I know, I know......Blerg!

 I must admit that Gosh(!), sometimes it can be hard for the ol' ego to spend time creating an artwork, only for it to be a flop.  Oh well.  C'est la vie.

At times like this, I keep trying to remind myself that my artistic development is a little like a roller-coaster:  After going through lots of turns and twists and loop-di-loops, most of the time you'll finish the ride on a high.  Every now and then however, you can't help but get off the ride and feel like you are going to be sick.*

Maybe I shouldn't have eaten that hot-dog for lunch? Hmmmmm, I wonder...

Anyhoo, here's my next creation being better than the previous. right?!

See you 'round,


*Don't you just love it when I try to be philosophical?  <tee-hee> ;-)

Friday, 26 August 2011

Cool or Not?

I can't figure out whether this pencil drawing has worked and my lady looks cool and edgy or whether the whole image looks Just.  Plain. Strange.   Here, have a look:

So, what do you think? Is this too cool for school?  Or have I just got myself sent straight to the Principal's office for a stern rap over the knuckles?

I have to wonder about the inner workings of my mind sometimes.  Particularly when I think of my drawing in relation to this week's quote by Albert Camus (above right).  I wonder what I am confessing about myself? Well, whatever it may be, I am most certainly not gonna tell.  You'll just have to guess! :-)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, I'll see you next week!


PS:  I haven't quite given up on my pastel fad yet, it's just that I want to make sure I don't go backwards with my drawing abilities.  Oh and I like to have a bit of variety as well - it is the spice of life after-all!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sunflower Fun and my Pastel Fad

Dear All

Yes, as you can see, I haven't quite gotten over my current fad of drawing flowers with my new Art Spectrum pastels.

In some ways I must confess that my current pastel and flower obsession reminds me of when I was child all those years ago, where there used to be an "in" thing for all the kids in the playground to play with at lunch.

I don't know about you, but at my school, it was guaranteed that for precisely two weeks every year, elastics, marbles, yo-yo's, knuckle bones or hop-scotch would suddenly, without any formal announcement, be the coolest, most in-est thing *ever*!  I can recall vividly how if you didn't have a cats-eye marble in your possession for those fateful two weeks every year when playing marbles was "it", then you were just a plain, uncool loser - well, at least you were until the next fad rolled around!

I keep wondering if just like when I was a kid, suddenly one morning I'll wake up and say to myself "Pastels? Flowers?  Nah, sick of that, I think I'll paint an abstract!"  Only time will tell.

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Holy Hydrangea!

My goodness, this pastel creation of a 60X50cm hydrangea bloom would have to qualify as the most epic, brain bending and most definitely eye straining work I've completed in quite a long time.  I'd estimate it took me at least 15 hours worth of work to complete.  Frustratingly, it's still at the point where every time I look at the image, I can see another petal needing to be drawn or amended.  Arrrggggh!

Lucky I like blue.  So what do you think?  Do you like it?  Oui?  Non?  (Everything always sounds sophisticated when it's written in French, don't you think?)

Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to - be sure to stop by and visit again sometime!

 Kate x

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Avoid being impatient - remember time brings roses*

It's true.  Time does bring roses... and a fresh supply of pastels!  Yippee!

I was so touched when a close family member recently sent me a special gift of some Art Spectrum pastels.

After I received the pastels,  for days on end I was trying to think and think and contemplate and think of what I should create as my first artwork with my brand new acquisition.  I wanted it to be special.  However, much to my frustration, I kept drawing a blank and was feeling uninspired.  Truly, I just didn't know what I was going to do - and it was starting to drive me crazy!

Then, suddenly, yesterday afternoon, I thought about how much I love roses (don't worry, dear husband, that's not a hint! ;-)) and suddenly I knew what I was going to draw with my pastels - a pretty rose. I decided I wanted to be different and that I wanted to make it a big rose.  Really, really *B*I*G*.  The mother of all roses.  Why? Because it's my rose and because I can.  Anyway, I grabbed some paper and the pastels and set about smudging and smearing.  What you see above is the result.

In real life, my rose measures approximately 40 X 25cm, so it really is one huge bloom.  I used Canson paper and a relatively limited range of pastels consisting of blush red, two shades of pink, a navy blue and lilac. I originally used white as the highlight for the rose, but then decided it appeared too harsh against the other colours, so I amended it with a soft buttery yellow.  Phew, it looked *so* much better!

I am so thrilled with how this rose has turned out, I think I'll add it to the side-bar of my blog.  This is my bloggy equivalent of it going straight to the pool room.  (For those of you who are thinking I'm strange and don't understand what I'm talking about, it's referring to an Aussie icon of a movie, The Castle.  Click here to see the (in)famous scene from the film.)

I hope to see you 'round like a rissole,  


(*Thank you unknown for creating that pearler of a quote.  I really liked it.  "Well, obviously!" you say, since I used it as the title of this post. <Sigh!> My brain hurts sometimes! ;-))

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Ebb and Flow

Today's creation features another first for me - an application of Indian Ink!

Ebb and Flow, is a relatively abstract work of art featuring a watercolour under-painting and then a liberal application of ink over the top.

I loved the density of the ink and felt very arty dipping the brush in the little pot and then gently stroking it onto the paper.  It made me wish for the days before the biro was invented!  I must confess however, that using this medium was a little scary, knowing I was just one ink-splot away from ruining the entire painting.

In the end I'm quite pleased with the painting and I must say I really like the fact that it has enough structure that it makes hopefully visual sense, but is "open" in terms of content that it enables the viewer to interpret its lines in different and a personal ways.  How do you interpret it?  Let me know, I'm curious!

Anyway, thanks for coming by and visiting me!  Stay tuned for some pastel creations over the next few days in honour of a special gift I received last week. :-)


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Winter Wonderland

Well, It's not really that wonderful, but at as my first ever attempt at a watercolour landscape with quite a few different features, I think it sort of passes. Here you go, have a look:

My inspiration was someone else's I'm afraid - a watercolour study (with accompanying instructions which I mostly ignored - hey I do live in a house filled with males after all!) featured in December 2010 edition of the arty-farty magazine, Leisure Painter.  I must confess I did rush a little at the end.  The kids were hungry and wanted dinner (heaven forbid!), and I felt bored at the prospect of painting delicate grass blades, so I just whacked a few in, here and there.  Naughty, I know.  After reading the magazine in entirety, I'm now starting to think I really need to buy some of that masking agent stuff as it is pretty hard to keep white sections "pure" without it.  I can feel a trip to the art shop coming on.

Anyway, thanks for looking, hope it hasn't given you chills for all the wrong reasons.  I'll see you soon!


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Watercolour Mayhem

Dear Reader,

Yes, in case you haven't gathered, I confess, I am like a dog with a bone - I am refusing to give up on painting with watercolour until I can finally produce a painting I am happy with.  I'm truly hoping that as you look at my various watercolour offerings, you are observing a steady improvement in my ability.  If not, all I can say is that I am truly trying. (Verrrrrrry trying, as my mother would sometimes say!)

Hopefully you can tell that today's painting features a hibiscus flower, chosen because I love its association with summer and I am feeling sick and tired of winter.

So, you may wonder, what do I think about today's painting?

Well, I know I'm not there yet, but I do feel my technique is continuing to improve thank goodness. Particularly when you compare it to this.  See what I mean?  (Are you nodding your head in agreement?  I can't tell!)

Anyway, I hope, perchance it has brightened your day!  Be sure to visit again to see if I can experience my very own personal My Fair Lady moment.

Splotchily yours


Monday, 8 August 2011

Jumping Geranium!

I think I'm finally starting to ever so slightly make some progress with watercolour painting.


So why the sudden improvement you ask?

Well, Ms Kathy, clever teacher she is, overheard me muttering in class last week as I was attempting a watercolour study.  She subsequently observed I was adding waaaaaayyy too much water to the pigment when I was trying to paint.  This was causing the paper to become over saturated and the colours to dilute and run.  Oopsies!  After my brain processed this information, she also showed me how to use a clean, dry brush to "blot" up any excess water/paint on the paper. Wow, it was So. Much. Better!  Thanks Kathy!

Feeling inspired after class (and being the diligent little student I am), I completed some additional study on the subject of watercolour painting technique and discovered that it can be a good idea to lift the brush off the paper *before* the brush runs out of paint - this will help avoid lines or splotches on the paper.  Go figure.

Now my only remaining quandary is whether this study actually looks like a geranium.  I'm not really sure.  Oh well, at least I feel like I am finally making some progress. I wonder what I'll attempt next?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Today I Saw a Pair of Pears

A Pair of Pears

I was feeling incredibly noble after volunteering as a "parent helper" in my son's literacy studies class earlier this week (although I seriously doubt how much of a "help" I actually am - I swear, a lot of the time I'm more confused than the kids!).

On this day, the kids and I had oodles of fun exploring the world of homophones.  After some discussion, a magnificent sentence was concocted by a couple of the students to demonstrate they could understand and apply the meaning of the term in context.  Goodness me, what an absolute pearler of a sentence they devised.  Ready?  Excited?

Here goes: "Today I saw a pair of pears."  Aren't they clever?  Hey, what do you mean, you already knew that was going to be the sentence they came up with?  Wow - you must be clever as well (or maybe you just read the title of this post).

Anyway, couple of days later I was having a cup of tea thinking about homophones (aka reliving nightmares) when a little light-bulb "pinged" in my head.  "Hey!" I thought, "I'll paint a pair of pears!".  Quickly, feeling inspired, I pulled out the acrylics and set about creating the above artwork.

Technically, this little painting was a very interesting experiment, where I explored some techniques as suggested by the author Jackie Shaw in her book Step-by-Step Painting Course (2003). 

Essentially, Jackie (yes, I'm sure we are on a first names relationship basis) encourages us all to make use of subtle washes when painting, in order to create a luminous and reasonably life-like resemblance to the subject.

"Hey Jackie", I thought after flicking through the book, "I'll give it a go".  And so I did.  I am pleased to say I quite enjoyed the process.  Looking at the completed painting, I don't think I can say I nailed it, but I can say I most certainly had fun trying! :-)

Finally, not wanting to leave you with any unanswered questions about my pear of pairs, I wanted to answer the obvious questions that probably have sprung to your mind a) "Kate, whatever happened to the pears?" and b) "What did you do with the painting?".  Well, the short answer to a) is... we ate them.

The answer to b) is slightly more exotic and exciting: Since it was his class that inspired me to paint my pair of pairs, my son felt it was appropriate that he become the proud owner of the artwork. And I agreed. So, as of this afternoon, The Pair of Pears is now proudly blu-tacked to his bedroom wall for evermore as a homage to homophones (until the tack perishes and the painting falls under his bed and collects dust bunnies).  Aw, what can I say, sometimes it's nice to be appreciated by your nearest and dearest!

Anyway, that's it from me - have a wonderful weekend! Be sure to visit me next week to see what I come up with!

Kate x

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Baa-Baa, Yellow Swirly Sheep

Today's post features three little works of art featuring Baa-Baa, Hoot-Hoot and Boris.  (I'll leave it up to you to work out who is who.)

They are the results of a special commission I received this week to create some artwork for a very loved and adored little boy's bedroom wall.  As he is only just over a week old, I think I can safely say he is my youngest fan! ;-)

I used acrylic paint to create them and made a conscious choice to use a combination of bold colours and simple lines in order to produce three happy animal critters which hopefully will bring a smile to his face when he is a little older.   This was a very interesting experience as it was a quite a different style of painting from what I've tried before.  I am quite happy with the results.

I hope you like them, Olly!

Lots of Love, Aunty Kate

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Oh dear, it's a flop! Watercolour overload

As I haven't tried watercolour for *ages*, I think I'd forgotten why many people call it the hardest style of painting to learn.  In retrospect, I think I was feeling slightly more confident prior to starting than I should have been. Oh well - sometimes you learn more from mistakes than successes, right?  (That's what I'm gonna keep telling myself, anyway!)

They were meant to be blue-bells.  Oh well, can't win  'em all!
Hopefully my next watercolour attempt will finally see some improvement. I'm not going to let this watercolour style beat me - I'm determined that I *will* prevail!  (One-day...)

Monday, 1 August 2011

And the winners are...

Dear Reader

Well the days have flown and my poll -  where I asked you to determine which two artworks (out of a motley crew of six) I should display for the month of August at Ashgrove library -  has now concluded.

Before I announce the final results, I'd like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support you've shown me by voting for your two favourite artworks this past weekend.  I'm truly touched.

Now, enough sentimentality - I'm sure you want to know who were the two lucky winners!

[Drum roll please!]

In first place, receiving a huge 60% of the votes, I'm incredibly delighted to announce the grand prize winner is...

Pete the Peacock!

Pete asked me to say to you all on his behalf that he wishes to thank his mother; his make up artist; his girl friend Claudette; and all of you for believing in him.  (Such passion from a peacock, who would've thought?)

And now [an even louder DRUM ROLL! ].....  I'm excited to announce, coming in a second place, photo finish after receiving a substantial 59% of the votes, the runner up, but by no means loser is...
The Anything and Everything Landscape Painting!

If I may, I'd like to make an acceptance speech here on the painting's behalf :

I know 60% +59% = 119% and this means my poll results simply don't add up.  However, my mother always told me I should always put in over 100% effort into everything I do -  these results prove that in this instance, I have.   

I was honestly worried that two dead trees, stuck in some dead grass would be considered nothing short of a boring, wooden painting.  I'm humbled and touched that so many of you liked it enough to vote for it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I'd like to conclude by saying to any new readers, I hope perchance you've found visiting Art Finds Kate to be not just a blog where I share the outputs of my artistic endeavours.

For me, it's more than that.

I write this blog as a way of reaching out and grabbing you in order to  inspire you to continue exploring and trying different things you've never done before.

It's absolutely true to say that twelve months ago, I could never have dreamed I'd be creating art with such zest and passion, nor writing the blog that you are reading today. It's funny how sometimes one little action, such as attending an art class, can be the catalyst for such wonderful, life changing and fulfilling outcomes.

I wonder what your special 'something' is? Hey, it's out there just waiting for you to try it! :-)

Thank you once again for sharing this experience with me!  Please be sure to visit me again sometime soon and see what I've been up to.

Artfully yours,

Kate x