Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 Review, Part I : What Was Hot

Well what can I say?  How could 2011 be over so fast?  I swear I'm still stuck in September somewhere.

I thought it would be terribly appropriate for me to say farewell to 2011 by selecting five of my favourite artworks and five of my most impressive flops for one last viewing as I look towards this blog being betterer* and betterer in 2012. (*Oh, how I love to use words that don't exist and send grammatical shudders up people's spines.  Sorry about that, it must be a flaw quirk in my personality.)

So how did I go about selecting the artworks for today's post?  (Come on, I know you were wondering!)

I adopted a terribly scientific approach.

Nah.  Not really. Actually, I went through all my posts and selected artworks based on their personal appeal or their significance with my overall artistic development.  So, without  further ado, I present my five favourite artworks (in no particular order):

1. Zeke and Darius.  This one is special.  It was my first ever commission and I was so very excited and honoured to be asked to draw these two beautiful dogs.  I was so thrilled with the finished product!

2.  Jacaranda.  This was the first large scale acrylic painting I completed that I actually liked.  It's big and it's colourful and I love it! Interestingly, it's best viewed standing back from the painting in order to get the full effect where the "dashes" meld together to form the image of the tree.  Try standing back from your computer screen to look at the painting and you'll see what I mean.  I still really love it even now!

3.  Lady in Veil.  This may not be my best work, but she's special because this was my first ever pastel work.  I was in shock that she actually kinda worked. In case you are wondering, yes, this was the artwork that made me wonder if I perhaps had some artistic potential.   (So I don't think it is too much of a stretch to say, yes, in a way, you can blame her for this blog.  Nothing quite like passing on accountability for my ramblings!)

4. Ring Tail Possum.  This is the first ever watercolour (my artistic nemesis) I completed that actually "nearly" worked.  Yippee!  I hate to think that something can get the better of me.  Even if it comes in the form of pigment and water...  ;-)

5.  My Rose.  Once again completed in pastel.  I've enjoyed drawing and painting flowers this year, so felt it important to include at least one of my floral works.  I really like the colours and the movement I've created here with the petals in this piece.  Even though I didn't win Eckersley's competition with it.  Phooey!

So, how did I go?  Is your favourite here?  Did I miss one?  Let me know how I did!

I'd like to say a very big thank you to all who have supported me throughout 2011 as I have embarked on my creative journey.  Whether your support has been in person, or through reading, commenting or subscribing to my blog, I've really appreciated it.

I know I still have a long way to go, but I am excited about what 2012 has to bring as I continue to try and develop my technique and abilities.

Stay tuned for Monday's 2011 Review, Part II:  What Was Flop for a bit of a giggle at those artworks which didn't quite work out the way I planned.....

Till then, Happy New Year!


Friday, 30 December 2011

Sometimes It's Hard To Know What to Think


Today's offering reflects exactly the title of this post.  It is meant to be a pastel drawing of a sulphur crested cockatoo.

I'm not sure if I think this is fabulous or if it is really and utterly dodgy.  A couple of days will probably put this conundrum to rest...


In keeping with my tradition of naming all animals I draw or paint, I thought you may like to know his name is Syd.  Yes, I know, any fellow Australians who happen to read this, I'm aware it's not a terribly creative name.  It's hard to be inspired when you can smell your dinner sitting just out of reach and getting cold.

In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for improvement (other than taking a match to it)?  Do be sure to let me know!

Anyway, if I don't get a chance to post again this year, I'd just like to finish with thanks for stopping by and for those of you who have offered me wonderful support since I started my blog this year. I wish you all the very best for a happy, wonderful and creative 2012!


Friday, 23 December 2011

What You Looking At Willis?

Introducing Arnold, Kimberley and of course, Willis.

Ever feel like you just want to paint geese?  Well, I did today.   I like the fact that they have 'tood (as in atti-tood).   Kind of like a duck on steroids. 

I have to tell you about how I came up with the title, because I found it quite funny (OK, well... mildly amusing) - when I contemplated the finished painting, the expression on the central geese's (gander's?) face, suddenly made that famous Arnold quote from the old 1970's/80's television sitcom Diff'rent Strokes pop into my head.  I swear he is saying "What you talking about, Willis?!".  Can you see it too?  Or has the Christmas Spirit well and truly somehow overtaken my sanity?

Hmmmm.  Must see what happens on the 26th of December to draw any proper conclusions, right?

Anyway, I immediately knew I had a title for this post and the perfect names for my geese.  Meet Arnold, Willis and Kimberley.

This little study (shown actual size) has been completed in watercolour on Rains paper. I never thought I'd say it, but I'm actually starting to enjoy using watercolour.  Who ever would have thought?

Yes, they are water splotches on the painting.  It has been raining, but the truth is that I was so impatient to get a photo of the completed painting, I didn't even properly wait for the water to dry.  Sometimes impatience can be a good thing, I like to think.

Anyway,  I'll wrap up and wish you all yet again, a very, Merry Christmas!


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Good Job, Mum!


Don't you just love little kids?  Today's post features a watercolour painting of a Ringtail Possum.  I'm sure you'll agree it is incredibly important and terribly useful information to know his name is Ernest.  

So why the title?  Well, in case you haven't already worked it out, "Good job, Mum" was the detailed feedback I received upon asking my earnest little cherubs what they thought of my latest artistic endeavour:

How could I not be called anything other than Ernest, when you look into my eyes?

I must say, I was very relieved to have received a thumbs up for this little study, because trust me when I say they could quite have easily said "I can see you really tried hard today, Mummy..."  (It has happened before, much to my chagrin.)

I'm really pleased with how Ernest has turned out today.  I might even go as far as to say I think this may just be my first watercolour painting that I've ever done that I actually (semi) like.  Yippee!  I wouldn't mind adding in a little more background detail, but am petrified to try to do so, in case I really muck it up.  What do you think I should do: Leave it? ~or~ Go for it?  Oh, the dilemma!  (A nice one to have though.)

Anyway, if I don't "see" you again over the next few days, have a wonderful Christmas full of joy, love and lots and lots of laughter (and an excellent supply of batteries in the cupboard).

I'll see you on the other side of Christmas!


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Delighting in the Beauty

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.  Maya Angelou

I guess being gorgeous isn't always easy.  

Living in glorious Queensland, butterflies are abundant this time of year.  As a result, it felt natural to try and recreate my own little study of perfection.

My butterfly (you may call her Esmeralda - I like to give my animals names) was created using black pen and watercolour wash on boring old white paper. The background effect was created by sprinkling salt crystals on the wet watercolour paint and letting it dry slightly.  I think I like it.  I wouldn't mind trying to create a few more butterflies using different colour effects and techniques to see if they also work.  Any ideas or colour combos you think I should try? 

Thanks ever so much for stopping by, I hope to see you stopping by my blog again soon!


Saturday, 17 December 2011

My Bid To Bring Sunshine


Can you believe I heard the other day that *only* "daggy" people start their posts by saying "hello" to their readers?

Lucky I've never tried to be one of those "cool" people.  I like to say hello to you. Sometimes I even almost feel compelled to ask "how are you"?  As such, in address this issue appropriately to all potential "hello" detractors out there, I'd also like to add:




Nei ho!



As you've probably already seen, today's post features a pastel creation of a Christmas wreath.  Apparently  people used to hang wreaths on doors with the belief that they would help bring sunshine and warmth.  As it has been very gloomy and overcast and rainy where I live lately, I figured that I'd try my own little attempt at influencing the weather system.

I wonder whether the weather will improve? I live in hope.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to, I hope to see you 'round soon!


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Dragging My Feet With My Dragonfly

Hi All!

Apologies in advance if this post is full of such rubbish you can't believe you wasted your time stopping by my blog isn't terribly succinct.  For some unknown reason I nobly decided to throw a Christmas party for each of my children.  By Thursday afternoon, over thirty (although I'm sure it must really be three hundred) children  will have passed through my home.  As a result, I must say that I am feeling a tad tuckered.  I don't know how party planners do it on a regular basis!  Perhaps this has affected today's offering? 

This little creation is a watercolour and black felt tip texta (borrowed from one of my children) combo.  I feel like this was an excellent concept, it's just that the practical implementation is... well.... lacking something.  (Like looking good.  Hey!  I did warn you I was tired today.)

Oh well, at least I tried right?  I think I might try drawing a dragonfly again, just to show myself that I can create something that is half decent.

Thanks ever so much for stopping by.  Sorry it wasn't terribly impressive.   I actually am feeling like I should be doing more Christmassy stuff as the big day draws near.

The thing is, I always try to draw or paint things I love.  I'm wondering whether doing a painting of a mince pie might be pushing it though?

On that note,

See you 'round,


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Finding Beauty Amongst the Mud

You must be a lotus, unfolding its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it! - Sai Baba

Thanks ever so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to!

Today's post features another variation of wash and pen, substituting black ink and a very delicate brush for the pen. (I petrified I was going to spill the ink on the paper, on myself, or on the floor.  Or muck up the brushwork, making a massive mistake, thereby destroying the painting.  Trust me when I say trying this technique is not for the faint hearted.   This experience has taught me I do like to create with my heart in my mouth - does this make me an artistic thrill-seeker?)  

I'm actually pleased with how my lotus flower turned out.  I had a vision in my mind of the effects I wanted to created and how I wanted it to look.  I think it actually kinda worked.  Yippee!

[Yes, in case you were wondering, my previous sentence was deliberately worded that way, for I am actually quite surprised this painting wasn't a disaster.  I created this lotus flower only using images as a source of inspiration and then drew my own flower based on what I thought looks "noice" - so it is completely drawn free-hand.  That always is a challenge for me.  I'm just so relieved that the flower actually looks like a flower!]

May you all find beauty this weekend, no matter how much mud surrounds you.

I'll see you next week.  Wish me luck - my children started holidays for six weeks yesterday.  Eeek!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Never Be Afraid To Try Something New...

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.  ― Dave Barry
Why, what a wonderful sentiment - Bless you Dave!

As you've probably worked out, I thought I'd try something new today.  I know, <Gasp!> how adventurous and daring of me.  Looking at it, I'm thinking perhaps this artwork is perhaps more of a Titanic than an Ark, but I figure I had to start somewhere, right?!

It's a little girl smelling some flowers, in case you couldn't tell.

So what was this new "thing" I tried, you may be wondering?

Pen and Wash.  I know!  How could I have not thought to try it before?

I really enjoyed the experience. I know my watercolour technique leaves a lot to desired and my drawing ability is well, "interesting" to say the least, but there is something fresh and immediate about this style of work that I really respond to. It may be a combination of the softness of the watercolour and the strength of the pen lines.  I'm not really sure.  Does anyone out there have a better idea of why I like it so much?

All I know is that I want to try this again!  (And hopefully next time my little artwork will be more successful.)

Thanks ever so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been creating.  I love sharing the experience with you all!


Monday, 5 December 2011

Pastel Under Pressure #4: The Christmas Bauble Edition

Hi There!

Have you missed me this past week?

Can a bauble be decoration, but a decoration not be a bauble?

Don't worry, I haven't abandoned you!

As you may have gathered by the title of this post, today's offering is a quick Pastel Under Pressure exercise, featuring  some Christmas tree baubles.  (Do people still call them baubles?  Or are they now known as decorations?  Does saying "baubles" make me sound really old?  Hmmmm, that's something to ponder the next time I suffer insomnia.)

Now, I know some of you are aware of what a Pastel Under Pressure exercise is, based on my earlier attempts at using this strategy for unleashing my creative spirit.  For those of you who are wondering what on earth I'm talking about, Pastel Under Pressure is my brilliant, so great it should be patented, concept where I set my oven timer for precisely 15 minutes.  I then grab my pastels and madly set about drawing, smudging, shading and scribbling to see what I can create before the timer starts to beep.  When the oven beeps, I have to stop.  I generally just choose things that are small and appeal to me.  Here's a photo of today's inspiration.  I hope you can recognise the baubles below as those that feature in the above picture (if not, I tried!):

Today's Pastel Under Pressure Inspiration - Can you now see why I haven't taken up photography?

Awwww, aren't they pretty? The purple bauble is one that I made in art class last week.  My children love it! :-)

The big thing about Pastel Under Pressure  is that people sometimes wonder whether I really do stop when the 15 minutes are up. And then, just as now, I tell them that I really do feel compelled to stop creating  Why?  Because my oven has the world's most annoying beep.  Honestly.   I'm not kidding. Once it starts, it goes on.  And on.  And on.

Do you perhaps have your own little brand of electrical annoyance in your home as well?  Perhaps you are nodding your head in an understanding and sympathetic way?

Well in case you aren't, the following is a little re-enactment of the discourse that takes place between the oven and me at the conclusion of the 15 minutes when it starts to beep and it's time for me to stop:
Oven:   Beep (Translates as saying"Psst!  Kate!");

Oven:  Beep - Beep  ("Kate - Yes! I'm talking to you.  Time to stop!");

Oven:   Beeeeeeeeeeeeppppp ("Stop drawing!  I'm not going to stop until you get up off your backside and stop me.  Unless my time has come?")  

Oven:  BEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPP! ("I'm not one of your children, you can't just ignore me.  Ooooo, what's that?  I can feel I'm starting to burn....  Wanna try me Kate? Wanna see what I can do if you ignore me?!")  


Kate: p.

Oven: "Drat.   You may have won this time Kate.  You may have stopped me.  However, I know one day, being the oven I am, I shall prevail.  I shall one day beep forever until my cables combust. And then I shall burn all the excess food into the surrounding enamel making it nearly impossible to remove, bar the use of a nuclear weapon.  Ha-ha-ha! My day will come."

Yes, in case you are shaking your head, I confess that I am a glutton for punishment. However, I do find this exercise to be quite fun and generally rewarding.  It's also very practical for pre-heating the oven.

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm off to cook dinner (on the stove),