Friday, 29 June 2012

Useless Things Have Value Too: Part III

Hi There!

Yes, can you believe it?  I'm still trying to get this lily painting to work.  At this stage I'm starting to feel over it.

Ms Kathy (my art teacher) keeps saying "This has been worthwhile, Kate, you've learnt a lot" and I have.  It's just that I can't help but feel that the learning that has taken place isn't reflected in the actual painting.

I'm verging on using the "F" word.  I know I shouldn't, but I just can't seem to help it.  Perhaps if I spell it just one letter at a time, it won't be quite as bad:






Never mind.  I guess I can't expect every artwork to always be "my best".

Have a wonderful weekend, full of my favourite F word...






Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Flaming Robins!

Goodness me, what a week.  Day three of the winter school holidays and I'm already spent.

To try and re-centre myself for the next couple of days, I thought I'd try a little pastel painting.  It's my artistic equivalent of "Mummy Meditation".

You know, when I think about it, I reckon all "Mummies" have (or at least should have) some kind of way to escape the world and unwind.  And we all seem to have different ways to achieve that calm, serene, 'all is well with my world' state.  Some meditate; some knit; some run; some have a stiff glass of scotch; some have a cup of peppermint tea; some go and chop fire-wood after drawing the faces of people who have annoyed them on the timber using a sharpie pen....

I bet you are glad I don't have a fireplace here in Brisbane.  Can't you just picture it now... Random person "Hey Kate, this looks like my face on the kindling!  Why's that?"  Kate: "No reason, quick, light the match!". 

I've seen a few of these Flame Robins flittering around my yard these past few days.  My goodness, they are tiny 10 centimetre bundles of gorgeous energy.  Honestly, I wish you could see the orange breast in person - it really is magnificent.

Oh Great.  I realise I now sound like one of those "bird watcher people" that I used to snicker at in my youth.   I tell you, from getting crows feet to suddenly being interested in a crows nest - ageing isn't pretty once it gets underway.

This little painting is shown actual size here, just for you.  (I know, I know, I'm so kind sometimes.)  I painted it on Art Spectrum paper and used a mixture of Derwent, Conte and Faber Castel Pastel Pencils and Conte and Art Spectrum Pastel Sticks.  I tried to put my WetCanvas "Edges" art lesson for the month into practice, sharpening some edges and softening others.  Is it starting to look three dimensional?

I'm not sure.  My five year old told me it was "Super!".  I guess only time will tell.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a wonderful, calm week.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Finished! Little Girl Green (The Insomnia Edition)

Have you ever had the annoying experience where sometimes late at night, you feel really tired, but your brain just keeps on whirling and swirling?  And that because of all the mental "gymnastics" going on inside of your head, you simply can't fall sleep?


Well, have you ever realised that the reason you can't fall asleep is because right before bed-time, you noticed something "funny" going on with your "Little Girl's" nose and chin painting that you'd posted on here earlier that same evening?

Well that's what happened to me last night.

After lying in bed with twitchy fingers, by midnight, I just couldn't take it any more.  I climbed out of bed, crept quietly down stairs so as not to wake anyone, pulled out my pastels and set about measuring, erasing, smudging and trying to fix the error of my ways.  (Yes, sadly, I think I did have one of my not-so-famous moments of "artistic beer goggle-itis" in Part 1 of this artistic adventure!)

After an hour or so, I posted her on Wet Canvas for feedback and then finally felt like I was able to go back to bed and sleep properly knowing that my little girl's "nose job" really changed her appearance for the better.

Goodness me.  Honestly, of all the reasons in the world to have insomnia...  I tell you, if I'm tempting you to go ahead and try a little "artistic exploration", you'd better watch out - this artistic caper can not only get under your skin, but cause sleep disturbances if you aren't careful!  Perhaps I could propose that all art books should come with some sort of warning?

Thanks very much for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Friday, 22 June 2012

Part 1: Little Girl Green (& Purple & Orange...)


I hope this finds you well and happy.  Today's post features my latest pastel painting of a little girl from WetCanvas' Reference Library.  For those not in the know, Wet Canvas is this amazing website that is inspirational and educational.  Best of all, you get to learn heaps and heaps for *free* (you should all know by now that I do love a bargain!).

I've decided to brave my pastel sticks and take part in June's spotlight challenge.  It is an opportunity for Wet Canvas members to come together and explore and learn about a different topic each month relating to all things art.  This month, the focus is on all things edges.  Hard edges, soft edges, disappearing edges, I have no idea what I'm doing edges...  (Can you guess where I'm at?)

I'm feeling a bit scared to consider putting myself 'out there' by posting my work on a website frequented by professional artists, but I decided to suck it up, be a big girl and ask for feedback.  It's in my best interests for future growth and development, right?  I mean, you do agree, it IS a good idea, right?  Right? RIGHT?!  (Oh gosh, what am I getting myself into?!)

As you can see, "Little Girl" isn't finished yet.  As you can see by her clothes.  And her hair.  I'm not sure about her face yet.  I wrote that comment about her face because the thing I've learnt about art is, to be honest, that I'm looking at her face today and thinking she's looking reasonably good, but I'm not sure I'm going to look at her and be horrified tomorrow.  For this reason I thought I'd better post her while the artistic equivalent of "beer goggles" are firmly in place.

She's formally titled "Little Girl Green (& Purple & Orange)" because if you look closely, you'll see her skin is actually comprised of all these colours.  You can see on her arm, for instance (or her hair where I haven't finished yet, that she is currently purple and green as well as that terribly politically incorrect "skin" colour pastel.  Although I'm actually yet to meet anyone with skin that colour.  Kinda like I'm yet to meet a person who has "Bandaid" skin colour.  Sorry, I digress.. 

Oh and by the way, this painting is my attempt to recreate a photo posted by Jocelynsart.  I have to reference the source when I use it in order to be a good girl and not break copy right law.  Sadly, I can't show you the original reference photo due to copyright reasons, but if you click on the Wetcanvas "Spotlight Link" I provided above, you can see it there.  So a big thanks from me, Jocelyn!  (If that is your real name....  Sorry,  am planning a 'Spy Party' at the moment for one of my children - everything has suddenly become incredibly suspicious...)

Stay tuned for my final painting over the next couple of days.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Revising The Dream


After my last post, where I talked about how much I enjoyed creating my picture of a lady on good old Reflex paper, I thought I'd try and improve her by recreating her using *gasp!* good quality paper and paint.  I know, I know, I know.  You come on here to see "new" and I've merely given you "Take 2". Sorry about that.  Anyway, here she is, new and improved:

In case you are feeling cross because you were sure I was going to post about an artwork featuring an apple or an apricot today, I have to confess that you're seeing "version 2.0" because I do have slightly perfectionistic tendencies.  I do manage to keep this personality "quirk" under control most of the time, however every now and then, like a toddler going into an unstoppable melt-down in the lolly aisle of the supermarket, I have the urge to re-do, re-create or resurrect an artwork until it is just "so".

That's what happened here.  I mean, why have a "Dream" painting that is OK, or good even, when I can hopefully create something that is better or even (wishfully) great?

(In case you are wondering, perfectionistic is a word.  In my mind anyhow.  Ignore your spell checker and the rational, literate angst and protests going on inside your head as you fight the notion that "perfectionist" is a word "perfectionistic" is not.  If I use it enough, surely it will be recognised eventually by the Oxford.)

This time 'round I used Archers Watercolour paper "smooth" (because I'm not rough around the edges) and re-created her using a combo of watercolour, pencil and ink.  I liked her so much I framed her.

So... what do you think?  Like her better than "version 1.0"?

Hubby does.  He says he finds her "restful".  I'm hoping he means that in a nice way, not as in "puts him to sleep".

Thanks so much for stopping by - I'll see you soon!

PS:  Don't mind my arm in the bottom of the photo.  One day I'll work out how to photograph glass.  

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Dream

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman

I really enjoyed creating this picture today using my Faber Castell Polychromos pencils on good old A4 Reflex paper.  (I'm all out of the good stuff and sometimes creativity doesn't wait for a trip to the shops.) 

I thought I'd try a departure from my usual "reasonably realistic" style of painting and try something with a little more of a fantasy, art-deco flavour.  Gosh, I LOVED IT!  The colours, the patterns - wow, wow, wow.  I now feel like I need to try it again.  (Sometime.)

It was incredibly therapeutic.  It's days like today that I realise why I love my art so much - creating is like a dream in action.  Bliss!

Hope you are having a lovely week.  Thanks for stopping by, I'll see you soon,


Friday, 1 June 2012

Useless Things Have Value Too - Part II


You may recall a week or two ago I started a painting of some lilies after being inspired by this quote: 

"Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance. " ~ John Ruskin

(You can read more about my view of the world and in relation to this quote and see the first under-painting by clicking here.)

After a couple of weeks feeling poorly (I know, I know - poor me!), I was finally feeling well enough to be able to make it to art class last night and work some more on my lily painting. Following a couple of hours painting, here is where I'm up to now. Behold:


Pretty big changes from the first under-painting, hey?  Hopefully for the better.  I'm pleased that at least I'm starting to feel like it is ever so slightly starting to take shape now.  There is still so much more to do though.  I'm starting to have a feeling that this could be one of those "never ending" type paintings that sometimes happen - you know - never quite finished - always just that little bit more to do?  Oh well.  At least I'm enjoying it!

Anyway, thanks ever so much for stopping by.  I'm now off to contemplate whether I should buy these to pep up meal times*:


Yes, I know they are impractical and most likely utterly useless.  However, given the title of this thread, in some ways, that's kinda the point.  

Have a great weekend, I'll see you soon!


*Dear children of mine, if you should read this, please be advised under no circumstances are you or will you ever be allowed to flick mummy with broccoli. Ever.  I mean it!  Broccoli is good for you, you hear?! A power-food if you will. Please note that the same applies for brussel sprouts and cabbage.

I do, however, give you permission to fling the cooked carrots at each other, as their texture never really appealed to me either. (As long as you clean up the mess afterwards.) Mummy x