Friday, 30 September 2011

This Is One of My Favourite Things To Do (Part 3)

Hi There!

Well, after some more work adding, deleting and trying to change the general ambiance of the painting (aka tearing my hair out), I am really pleased to say that I think it is now pretty much complete.  Yay!

After asking my friend and Ms Kathy on their thoughts regarding the title, it was decided to call it "Moreton Bay Sunset" as it is a picture of a Moreton Bay Sunset.  Go figure.  So, without further ado, here she is in all her glory:

I really like this one and really feel like I am making some progress with my painting skills and abilities.  In fact, I may even go as far as to say I am rather proud of this painting.  Hubby says it is his favourite.  What a sweety (*mwah* darling!).   I hope perhaps you also like the finished product.  This one will definitely be joining my Jacaranda painting for the exhibition next month.  Eeek! How exciting, but scary all at the same time. :-)

Have a lovely and relaxing weekend everyone, I'll see you next week.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

This Is One of My Favourite Things To Do (Part 2)

Hello there!

Following on from yesterday's post, I'm sure you'll be excited to discover that I've completed some more work on my Moreton Bay Fig Tree painting.  (You must be, if you are reading this! ;-))

Creating this painting has so far been a very interesting process as I have battled to create what I consider a sophisticated colour palette that is pleasant to the viewer.  At various times, the painting has been various shades of "sludge" brown, "hangover" green or "bilious" blue. (Can you tell things have been a little gassy in my household lately?)

I'd be lying if I didn't confess I was starting to feel quite frustrated with the painting and was starting to wonder if I should just scrap it, until I added orange into the mix.  Honestly, orange.  It's true! I think it's because as a sort of complementary colour of blue (and close to red, the complementary of green), the shade tones down that overpowering "I feel sick" feeling that I was experiencing initially.  Dunno.  Oh, the joys of learning!

Anyway, without further ado and more of my incessant waffle, here is where I have ended up as of lunchtime today:

I'm toying with the idea of putting a wee boat in the distance in the water on the right hand lower side of the painting, or adding a slightly stronger "horizon line", but am really unsure that this may make the painting a little twee.  What  do you think?  Do you like it?  Would you add a boat?

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and seeing today's effort.  Be sure to come back and see the finished product!


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

This Is One of My Favourite Things To Do

Lying under a tree and looking up at the sky.

Does anybody else love to do this?

So that you can enjoy experience along with me, I thought I'd share the very tree I was lucky enough to lie under for a very enjoyable and relaxing 30 seconds, just this past Sunday at Shorncliffe, Queensland.

Ah, now isn't that relaxing? Just look at the vista before us: Dabs of yellow, green and blue forming delicate and seemingly never ending patterns; Twisting and turning branches reaching gently outward and toward the sky; Dappled sunlight gently lighting and shading the forms below; Dodgy looking guy in the background drinking from a dodgy bottle...   Yes indeed, I sure know how to pick my trees!

You may be wondering, "Kate, why only 30 seconds to lie there and look at the sky?"

Well, with three boys, a husband and the lure of the beach cajoling, "Come, Children!  Come and play!  Come and accidentally kick sand in Mummy's eyes!" just metres away, I never stood a chance to lie there any longer.  Despite the short time-frame, I found the experience so captivating that when I returned home later that afternoon, I thought I'd try and capture its essence in this painting:

For those who may be interested, the featured tree is a Moreton Bay Fig Tree. When the photograph it or paint it, people generally focus on the huge and knotty trunk and roots of this tree, but I wanted to capture the gorgeous leaves and the dappled light (for no other reason than 'cause I like to be different).

Today's painting is probably only a quarter complete, so you'll have to stay tuned  to see how it progresses.  However, so far, I'm relatively happy with how it is turning out.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to, I'll be sure to see you soon,


Friday, 23 September 2011

Does Anyone Else Love Tree Tunnels? (Part 2)


Following on from last week's post about my love for tree tunnels, I continued work on my own tree tunnel painting in Ms Kathy's art class last night.  Here you go, have a look at my progress:

I can tell you that working in oil paints has so far been an interesting combination of  "pleasure and pain" (thank you Divinyls) - I adored the fact I could blend and bend and work the paint, but found it painful that I'd notice a mistake and go back to fix it, only to find I need to wait for the paint to dry and go back next week to repaint it and fix it up.

I think I must have sounded kind of like this to my class-mates, "aahhhhhhh--- ARRRRRRGGGGGGH------aaaaaahhhhh---ARRRRRRGGGGGGH!!!!!"  (And it wasn't even talk like a pirate day.  There were a few moments I thought I might have to walk the plank over the course of the evening.)

Anyway, I can see that the painting is coming along and am looking forward to next week when I can address those niggly areas that are really bugging me.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Jacaranda - Part 3

Following on from Part 1 and Part 2, today's effort was a combination of being delightful and incredibly frustrating!  Mr. Perspective decided to come into play down the bottom of the painting and proceeded to make a dog's breakfast of all my ideas.  (It's Mr Perspective, because I'm sure a Ms would never cause me such angst!)

Still I battled on.  I'm not sure who prevailed.  Maybe you can decide for me.  Here you go, have a look:

Soooooo, what do you think?  Does it still look like an impressionistic version of a  Jacaranda in bloom?  Do me a favour and look at the painting whilst sitting down and then stand back a meter or two and look again at the painting.  It is designed so that the further back you are, the more realistic it looks.  Tricky, I know.

Anyway, I love it.  I am going to take it to art class tomorrow night to get Ms Kathy's expert opinion and advice.  I'm thinking that I would like to sell this artwork.  What do you think?  Is it good enough?


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Jacaranda - Part 2

Hello There!

Following on from yesterday's post, I've been a busy little bee and have spent a couple more hours on my Jacaranda painting.

Possibly as a surprise, I decided to go for a slightly impressionistic effect with my painting.  The concept was  I wanted the Jacaranda to be instantly recognisable and look quite life-like from a distance (see Fig 1):  

Fig 1 - Jacaranda painting from a distance

But that when you get up close, you realise that the entire painting consists of vertical dashes (Fig 2):

Fig 2 - a slightly blurry picture of dashes.

I'm actually pretty proud of this piece so far.  I hope you like the direction I've taken it in.

I still feel I have a little work to go to call the painting complete (particularly around the bottom section), but overall, I think it is going well.

Stay tuned, for the final update in a day or two's time!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Jacaranda - Part 1

Today features yet a first under-painting of a landscape featuring the majestic Jacaranda tree.

I decided to paint a Jacaranda because I adore how the purple haze of petals covers the ground every spring-time in Brisbane.

This was painted using acrylics on a really large canvas (26" X 40") - my largest work ever commenced to date.  (I say "commenced", because it currently feels like it will never be finished!)  There is still so much to do, so please don't pass complete judgement on this work just yet - I realise it needs a lot of work!  I've barely blocked in the shapes and have only had a tiny start at the blooms, which will cover much of the top two thirds of the canvas.

Still, at least it is a start, right?  I keep thinking that this is going to be like a jig-saw puzzle - fitting tiny pieces together to hopefully create a beautiful picture in the end.  Stay tuned to see how this painting develops over the next few days!


Friday, 16 September 2011

Does Anyone Else Love Tree Tunnels? (Part 1)

Or is it just me?

When people think of a landscape that makes them feel happy, some people imagine the beach; others the mountains.  Me, I dream of tree tunnels.

I think it is because I have wonderful memories of walking or driving through these when I travelled with my husband and kidlets across the UK a couple of years ago.  Without fail, every time we walked or drove through one, there would be an inevitable, excited and almost involuntary  "Woooooo-hooooo, Treeeeeeee Tunnnnnneeeellllll!" shout of glee from one of the kids.   I ask you, how could you not love tree tunnels after such sweet experiences?

So, when Ms Kathy suggested that I paint something in oils in art class last night, it didn't take long for me to come up with the concept of painting my own tree tunnel so I could relive happy memories every time I looked at it.

I can tell you that whilst the concept was easy, the "minor" issue of perspective and light coming into play, most certainly wasn't!  It was actually quite frustrating in a way.  Still, after a couple of hours, I managed to complete my under-painting of my tree tunnel in Autumn:

I still have a long way to go to complete this oil painting.  Firstly, it needs to dry (around a week - oh why does it have to take so long for oil paint to dry!); I need to address a couple of slight "directional light and shade" issues; add some leaves; amend a couple of tree trunks; add a couple more tree trunks and just generally fine tune the painting.  Still, I think it is a reasonable start.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend, full of fun and relaxation - why not try walking through a tree-tunnel?   Just make sure you shout a "Woo-hoo!" as you walk through the tunnel, in order to have a properly satisfying and fulfilling tree-tunnel experience.  You won't be disappointed.

I'll see you next week, I'm off in search of my closest park.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Getting Back on Track

Well, I sort of am.  With my watercolour curtain painting, that is.  Everything else is just about falling apart.  No, only kidding, everything is fine, nearly perfect in fact!

Except my floors could do with a darn good sweeping though - I have dust bunnies big enough to pass for a football floating around the lounge room floor.  I'm worried one of the kids will accidentally pick one up and take it to footy training by mistake!

Yes, I know that previous sentence was a random thing to type and totally unrelated to my post.  But that is how my brain operates.   Imagine if everything I wrote on here was predictable - I think I'd put myself to sleep.  My husband says this quirky trait makes me interesting to live with as he is never sure where a conversation will end up.   I consider one person liking this quirk, out of a world of a couple of billion people isn't bad odds. Anyway,  thanks to me, I bet you are now feeling compelled to also go and sweep your floors as soon as you finish reading this post, aren't you?  See, stopping by here is a great motivational tool!

Next week, we'll tackle the ironing.  (Only kidding, I HATE ironing.)

Anyway, I'll pull myself back into line and get to the point.  Today's offering is still by nowhere near what I would call a quality painting,  but at least it is an improvement on yesterday's little debacle:

Do you agree?

I feel a little better about drapery now, although I have an inkling I'll never be able to look at curtains quite the same way again.  And I can definitely conclude for the time being I that my watercolour curtain painting escapades shall draw to a close.

Hmmm, what to try next, I wonder?

I'll have to put a bit of thought into that.

Have a wonderful day, I'll see you soon -  I'm off to sweep my floors!


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

It's Curtains For Me...

Ha!  Got you, didn't I?

Calm down, you can breathe again. <Chuckle.>

You thought that I had finally got sick of writing this blog, didn't you?

Well, I'm not.

I just decided to paint a curtain.  Yes, my terrible sense of humour knows no bounds.  Right.  I apologise for my appalling joke.

I must get this post back on track.  <Boom-tish!>

Today's watercolour* painting has me of the opinion that I kind think it works, except that it doesn't.  Yes, I know that previous sentence hardly makes sense (well, OK, I admit it, it doesn't make any sense at all(!)), but I truly believe that when you look at the painting below, you'll understand exactly what I mean.  Here, take a look:

See what I mean?  The concept isn't actually that bad.  In a couple of places, the curtain even looks kinda cool (in my opinion).   It's just the "slight" issue of overall execution, darn it.  The window looks rubbish.  The curtain rail and the flooring isn't any better.  Oh well.  They are all things I can work on.

I think I may try a second attempt on the curtain concept to see if I can improve on this concept. I reckon I can.  (Maybe.)

Stay tuned to see whether I move forward or pull back.....


*Watercolour AKA Kate's artistic nemesis.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Don't You Hate It When You Muck It Up?

Hello.  Nice to see you again.

Man.  Oh Man.  Oh Man, Oh Diddily Man!

BuMpErS!    (That's what my four year old says when he is annoyed or frustrated!)

Why my sudden angst, you ask?

Well, you see, I needed to add some more paint to my little girl painting in order to complete her.  Now she has lost all her freshness, innocence and I think, general appeal.  I'm so disappointed in myself.  Particularly when you compare it to my "draft" version of the painting.   <SNIFF!>

The only thing I think I've improved on is the painting of her top.  I like the fact that it now has colour and the hint of movement with the ruffles.  That's it.  The rest of it is a mess.

Yes, I realise that I'm only learning and I can't expect everything I do to always work out perfectly.  Unfortunately, it doesn't make it any less frustrating.  Don't you just hate it when that happens?  (Obviously, you know my answer!)

Right.  Vent over.  Sorry about that.  It's time to move on.

I'll see you 'round with a hopefully more successful piece soon!

Kate  <Breathing in. Breathing out.>

Friday, 9 September 2011

What the eyes are telling you

Today's post features an acrylic under-painting of a little girl I worked on in Ms Kathy's art class this evening (hence the blue hair and eyes):

The colours aren't a true reflection of the brightness of the real painting I'm afraid - a combo of my camera phone and night time lighting has slightly dulled the intensity of the work.  When I present the completed painting, I'll be sure to take a "true" photograph.

I can't help but look into her eyes and wonder what she is thinking.

My biggest fear is that I won't be able to continue to do this little girl and her story justice.  I guess I can only try.

Have a wonderfully relaxing weekend everyone, I'll see you soon!


Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Lion Sleeps Tonight...

"In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight...."

Yes, as you can see, it's more pencil/drawing practice here in Kate-land today, I'm afraid.  I got a little sick of people, figuratively and literally, so I decided to draw a lion's head instead.  Dunno why - my mind works in mysterious ways sometimes.

Here he is, shown actual size.  I can't believe the drawing is so tiny and yet it still took me over an hour.  In fact, I found the drawing to be so labour intensive, I couldn't be bothered adding in the body!  Lazy, I know.

Growwwl!  If I had legs, you'd be in trouble.  As it is, I'm 'armless.
Well, I'm afraid with that deplorable caption, I've run out of wit today, so I'll  finish this post up by giving you a special opportunity to experience a little "musical sunshine". Enjoy:

Yes, you can thank me when you have this song stuck in your head at 3am.  <tee-hee!>

See you 'round!


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Emergence of Me

Hi There!

Continuing on from yesterday's post (featuring a pencil drawing of a woman), I decided it was timely for me to attempt yet another self portrait.  (Self portrait drawing is a personal barometer I use to gauge my "drawing of faces ability" - to see whether I am improving - or not.  Afterall, I know what I look like, even if you can't tell from looking at my picture.  Yet, anyhow. ;-))

Without further ado, please find September's version of me  - now with short hair.  Yep, it's true, I cut it all off a couple of months ago.  Here I am with a rare serious, thoughtful pose:

Hmmm, what should I make for dinner tonight?

Yes, to answer your question, I do have pouty lips in real life.  Perhaps not quite *this* pouty, but still... And yes, my eyes are naturally are quite squinty and close set.   Hey, I've never claimed to be a model!  Overall, I think my placement of features within the face is slowly improving and I can definitely tell that I'm starting to get more of an idea using strategic shading to give a 3D effect. Looking at the picture on screen, I possibly could have used even more shading.  And moved an eye over a little. Oh well.  It's all about learning.

Now, for fun, let's compare my latest offering against June's Self Portrait Drawing.  Here I am:

Hmmmm.  Interesting.  I've managed to achieve the "bump" in my nose here, and the shape of my lips is ok.  However, my eyes are still looking um, extraordinarily not like me! There is hardly any shading here at all, giving my face quite a "flat" look.

And now, for fun (or pain, I'm not sure) let's compare today's portrait against my first two versions of "me":

First ever self portrait in June - Ummm, I tried?!
Wedding day self portrait (looking a little like a drag queen here!) 
 Well... words kind of defeat me a little here.  I'm a little embarrassed.


That's not right to feel this way.

You know what?  I'm going to say I'm proud of my early dodgy pictures - because they my be crappy, however they are a true reflection of how far I've come these past eight months.  Everyone had to start somewhere, right?  Especially me!

All I can say is I am filled with excitement to wonder what I'll be able to achieve in another eight month's time.

Frustratingly, only time will tell.

See you round,


Monday, 5 September 2011

Pencil Practice - Finally Some Improvement

I have a confession to make.

My pencil drawing practice of the human face has been utterly the most  pencil crushingly, frustrating and bewildering aspect of my foray into the world of visual art.  I have been feeling these past six months that despite diligent practice, I keep hitting a virtual brick wall, artistically-wise anyway.

Draw.  <Splat!> 

Draw some more.  <Double Splat!> (That was my ego hitting the wall.)

That makes today's post very special.  Yes siree,  I can finally see some improvement.  Particularly when you compare it to my first offering. Yippee! :-)

Today's rendering is of a fictional woman. I wanted you to look at her and have it make you wonder about her story:  Why is she wearing the scarf?  Is she a modern woman or from eons of old?  Is she upset, or just deep in thought? Who is she looking at or looking for?

I hope maybe I've achieved that:

Woman in Scarf
Of course, I'm aware that in comparison to all the amazing pencil works I've seen on the Internet, I still have a long way to go.  I can already notice a couple of areas I'd love to go back and "tweak".  However, I think I'll leave those little imperfections in place for now, in order to let it document my ongoing artistic journey and development.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my pleasure.

Have a great week,


Friday, 2 September 2011

Abstract Quandry - Part II

Wow, what a difference 24 hours makes!

Following on from Part I, I spent a couple of diligent hours working on this painting last night at Ms Kathy's art-class.  With a slight sense of trepidation, I took my latest artwork home and asked hubby "What do you think?" (Oh my, that can be such a loaded question, can't it?  Sorry honey! ;-))

After a moment of silence where he considered the now vastly different painting, he replied "It looks better."



I'm now pondering whether I should consider this artwork to be a mixed media, an abstract or a landscape painting?

It is true to say I've hinted at a theme/image (landscape - of which I'm not going to tell you).  However, I've tried to keep the painting broad or "open" enough to enable an individual interpretation of the artwork as a whole (abstract).  I can also see the texture I applied (mixed media), but don't consider it to be the intrinsic whole of the work.  See what I mean?  Arrrgh - I hate to feel perplexed!

So, I am curious what do *you* think?

Would you consider this artwork an abstract, a landscape or a mixed media artwork? Why?

Are you drawn to the fiery purple, reds and golds -  or are you drawn to the cool blue swirl? Why?

If you could come up with a title for this artwork - what would it be? Why?  

Yes, I realise I've asked a lot of questions here - it's because I'm fascinated by the notion of an artwork as a instrument to enable the viewer (or person experiencing the artwork) to question or consider their own perception of art, and (in a way, through it), of life.    It's also because I'm amazed to realise an artwork can ask more questions of the person viewing it than have been answered by the artwork itself. And it amazes me how each and every response can be as individual and unique as the person viewing it.

As such, I dare you to spend a moment considering and trying to answer my questions as you look at the painting.  Who knows what you might learn about yourself? ;-)

Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend everyone. I'll see you next week!


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Abstract Quandry - Part I

Hello, I hope this finds you all well and happy today!

I've got a dilemma I'd love you to help me solve.

Today's artwork is Part I of what I intend to be a two part series of posts featuring my latest acrylic, semi-abstract painting as the star attraction.

This painting actually started out as an abstract in Ms Kathy's art class last week.  I happily slapped paint on here, stroked there and stippled with my paintbrush for a couple of hours, when a couple of my clever suddenly classmates noticed that it kinda looked like I had actually painted a picture of waves breaking on the ocean.  I looked, and by jimminy, it actually does.  Go figure.  They then got all creative on me and said the top left hand corner looked like a fire in the distance.  Wowsers - they were on a creative roll! :-)

So now I'm confused.  I'm starting to consider that perhaps this painting isn't an abstract afterall - maybe it has morphed into a sort of impressionistic landscape?  What do you think?  Abstract or Landscape?  Here, have a look:

Am I an Abstract or a Landscape?
I actually kinda like it.  Hubby said he "didn't get it", but I'm fine with that.  I can't expect him to like everything I do and he has openly admitted that abstract is his least favourite form of art.  At least he's honest. (In a nice way, he knows to be mean about it would have dire consequences! ;-))

So what do you think will do the painting most justice - return it to its original state of being an abstract painting or work with the "impressionist landscape" idea?   Thoughts anyone?  Please advise - for once I'm really stuck and am unsure of which direction to take.

Regardless, I refuse to give up on this painting - nothing should ever be too hard, I say!

Be sure to return to find out what becomes of my latest "masterpiece"!

Kate x