Tuesday, 28 February 2012

How To Define Frustration In One Easy Step

It's easy.  Just look at this picture:

This little poppet defines frustration because despite my best efforts, I cannot get her to look like a little girl, instead of some sort of weird "anime" version of a little girl .  I mean, who in life looks like this?  No-one I know.  You?

I'm so frustrated that I am really trying not to throw a pastellic tantrum right now. Think, Kate, think.  What is it you say to your children to soothe them, when they are about to blow a fuse?


Got it.   I'm sure I'd say something like:

Breathe darling.

It's OK that things don't always go to plan.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

Don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been.

Close that door!  Were you born in a barn?

(Sorry, in case you weren't already aware, I'm one of those mothers that sometimes goes off on a tangent. Now where was I...? Oh, yes. That's right.  I'm finishing off this post.)

I hope perhaps this little artwork also manages to bring a smile to your face, even if it is at the expense of my pastels.  (Never at the expense of me - I prefer to blame inanimate objects!)

Have a great day, I'll see you around soon (hopefully in a zen-like state of mind as I'm just about to go to a yoga class).


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Almost Pretty In Pink

Is there anybody else out there who can remember Pretty in Pink, a 1980's movie featuring the then teen sensation Molly Ringwald?  Oh, how I loved that movie as a teen.  Even more than the movie, I loved Molly.

I loved Molly so much that for a short period in 1987 I wanted to be her.  When I contemplate why I loved her so much, I think it was because she was the only teenager I knew who had skin that didn't tan who was cool.  That was a big deal to me.  Not only did Molly not tan, she could wear pearls, a cardigan, a vest, white pumps and a hat AND the hottest and coolest boy in school wanted to date her. Man, it must have been good to be her.

Today's watercolour study is a homage to Ms Ringwald, featuring some flowers that are (almost) pretty in pink.  I was experimenting with a "free" form of watercolour, leaving brush-strokes in and the odd pencil line.  I think it's OK.  Nothing to really write home about, but good enough to stay out of the bin (for now).

Anyway, thanks ever so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to.  If you are feeling you are needing a 1980's Molly fix, click here for a You Tube snapshot of this classic teen-angst movie.  (Seriously, click on the link.  It features one of my absolute favourite 1980's hits.  I bet you'll love it too if you love 80's classic gold! :-))

Hope you are having a great week, I'll see you 'round soon!


Friday, 17 February 2012

To Draw You Must Close Your Eyes & Sing

To draw you must close your eyes and sing.  
~ Pablo Picasso

As I quickly approach my one year anniversary for "trying" an art class, it felt like serendipity to discover this quote which brings together my life-long love for music and a newly acquired passion for visual art, particularly as today's artwork has been created using my pastels - a wonderful blend of drawing and painting.

I've decided to call this artwork Longing.  It was created on Canson Mi Tientes pastel paper (black), and used a combination of my Art Spectrum and Conte Pastels.  It measures roughly 38cm x 27cm, so it is actually rather large.  I'm not entirely convinced my computer screen is actually doing the picture justice.

For those who may be interested in the process I used to create the artwork, I primarily worked in the darkest colours first, then added the mid tones, and finally added the lights at the very end.  I've heard that it is because it is a lot harder to maintain that "glowy" quality of pastels when you try to add a dark over a light, whereas it is easier to add a light over a dark.  Who knows, I guess it has some merit.  I'll have to play around with the concept a little more to see if it really is true!

To try and create her beautiful and smooth skin-tone, I've used a variety of green, purple, terracotta, cream, pink and blue carefully blended to try and create luminosity. To try and maintain a sense of vitality about the painting, some pastel has been added as lines with minimal blending, such as on her veil and in certain sections on her hair and around her lips.  I decided to leave the black Canson paper showing at the back and side, in order to add additional visual impact.  Yes, I did close my eyes at times and sing a little song, just as Picasso suggested and truly relished in the sense of freedom I experienced as I went about creating this artwork.

I would once again urge you, if you have not tried, to go and try some form of artistic expression.  You never know what you may just create.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

From My Window - Still Life Part 2

Hello.  Thanks for stopping by!

I bet you thought I had forgotten about this particular painting, didn't you?  Come now, you know I never like to leave an artwork incomplete - it would be like writing a story and not providing a conclusion.  Hardly satisfying for you the reader, or me, the wannabe artist.

You may recall I first posted about my acrylic still life painting in early January.  At that point things seemed to be going relatively well.  Things were going *really* well in fact - until for some unknown reason, I hit the wall (artistically speaking).

You see, despite all my attempts, I just could not get this painting to look how I wanted it to look.  It was like the image in my head could not transfer via the paintbrush in my hand onto the canvas.  No matter how many hours I spent, or different techniques I tried.  The situation became so dire that by mid January, for the first time in a long time, I was starting to feel like maybe I just couldn't do it and that perhaps I should scrap the painting and just start again.  Yes, I will admit, I felt like I was a bit of a failure.

Rather than throw in the paintbrush at that point, I left the painting in a sad and sorry state on my easel for a few weeks until my resolve returned to try and salvage the painting.  I tried again over the past few days and finally felt like maybe I was starting to have a break-through.

There are still a number of areas where I am still unhappy with the work.  At least however, there are finally a few things that I am satisfied with - including finally achieving sheer curtains that almost look sheer; a vase that is looking relatively translucent; and lemons that hopefully look like lemons.  Oh, and I think my little butterfly is a rather cute and whimsical addition too!  (I'm setting you a challenge to see if you can find it...)  I'm still very unhappy with the branches and leaves, but am hoping I can resolve this issue sometime this week.

I'm crossing my fingers that from now on, this painting will continue to improve and finally emerge as a work of art I can be proud to say I created myself.

I think this artwork was designed to teach me that sometimes my most satisfying paintings aren't those which emerged easily off the paintbrush, but those which have taken me to the brink of my patience and have tested my ability and fortitude.  I like the concept that I'll one day look at the finished painting and know I gave it my all and I didn't give up.

I look forward to showing you the finished painting, when it finally reaches that point - whenever that may be.

Until I see you again, I hope you have a wonderfully creative week!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Ev'ry Rose Has Its Thorn...

Altogether now, let's cut straight to the chorus....

Ev'ry rose has its thorn
And  ev'ry night has its dawwwwwwwwnnnnnn
And ev'ry cowboy sings his sad, sad, soo-ong

(Guitar interlude)

Thanks Poison, I just want to tell you that you have seriously nearly sent me bonkers today.  I was trying to paint this little rose using my watercolours and your blasted song got stuck in my head.

It was made all the more painful because I don't even like this song.   I vastly prefer Nothing, But a Good Time. At least it wasn't the Gunner's November Rain - that probably would have sent my to my happy corner,  curled up in a tight little ball for the rest of the day.  ARRRGGGGHHH!  Anyway, I'm convinced it is because of this song that I mucked up one of the petals.  Watercolour, you are still my nemesis!

Still, am I correct that this flower does, at least, look like a petunia?  HA!  Only kidding.  Of course I meant rose.  (How many songs do you know about petunias?)

I must admit that even after a couple of months of playing with this medium, watercolour is still very frustrating.  At least, however, I am slowly starting to feel like I am gradually making some progress.  I guess the only way to improve is to practice, practice, practice, right?  (That's what I tell my kids - surely the notion has some merit somewhere?  Or am I just kidding myself?  Hmmmm, that's certainly something to contemplate.)

Anyway, thanks ever so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to.

I'm now going to listen to the radio to try and get this song back from the forefront of my mind, into the depths of my sub-conscious.


PS:  Yes, the irony is not lost on me that I have kept carrying on about a rose with a thorn and my painting doesn't contain one.  Frankly, it is because I couldn't be bothered.  How's that for honesty!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Yes, in case you are wondering, it has been one of "those" days.  <Sigh!>

As a result, in addition to furiously trying to make lemonade today, I decided to also use my watercolours and pencils to pay homage to the role that lemons play in our lives.  As such, I present:

I'm aware this isn't the best lemon ever and am happy to admit the background is rather lacking.  I think this actually makes the picture even better given that sometimes, making something sweet out of something sour can be a rather hard thing to do.  (I just thought I'd take a moment to reassure you that I really don't mind it isn't my best painting ever, as I consider there's nothing worse sometimes than having a bitter lemon. ;-))

Rather than making me feel worse, this lemon actually makes me feel like there is potential in there to go on and create an even BETTER lemon in the future, so stay tuned for one-day when I attempt this study again with hopefully far more satisfying results!

Thanks for stopping by, I'm off now to sip a cool glass of water with a fresh slice of the star attaction from the above picture before I pick the kids up from school!