Thursday, 26 April 2012

Working on Jo Beans


Sorry I didn't get around to posting another poppy picture, life has been super crazy these past few days.  I'm sure to try again a little later this year - consider it on my artistic "To Do" list.  Hmmm, that makes it sound like a chore.  It isn't, but I'm sure you get what I mean...

Anyway, on to today's post.

I have been honoured to ask to paint 'Jo Beans', a beloved fur baby of someone close to someone close to me. (Before you say that last sentence doesn't make any sense, think about it a little. See? It so does.  To me in my current sleep deprived state, at least.)

Kate says painting me is going to be Ruff!

The thing is, that Jo Beans is tricky - because she has a glossy black, short haired coat.  And I've never painted a glossy, short-haired coat before.  Guess what I've learnt? A glossy black coat is not really completely black at all, but shades of blue, violet, brown, grey, sometimes red and green.  The black part is, only hinted at.

Whilst hubby and kidlets have told me that Jo Beans looks like the picture of Jo Beans I'm working from, I have to say I'm not happy. So I'm going to go back to the drawing board. (Yes, the word pun deliberate and is intended to make you groan.  Come on, admit it - that's half the reason you like coming here and visiting me, isn't it?!)

Sorry Jo Beans' Mummy, this may take a little time!

Thanks for stopping by, I'll see you around soon,


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Poppy #1


Hope you've had a wonderfully relaxing weekend.

After going to a moving ANZAC day ceremony at my children's school last Friday, I felt like I needed to try and artistically represent one of the symbols, a red poppy.

I thought I'd give it a try in watercolour.  Much to my disappointment, I'm afraid it hasn't really worked. I'm not sure it even looks like a flower, let alone a beautiful symbol representing sacrifice.

As such, I am determined that I shall try painting or drawing a poppy again over the next couple of days, hopefully with far more pleasing and satisfying results.

Stay tuned to see if I can pull it off...

Thanks for stopping by!


PS:  ANZAC day has special meaning to me and my family, so please forgive me for the absence of silly puns and observations over the next few days.  Making fun doesn't really seem appropriate.  I'm sure to be back to my usual style of writing and expression after the 25th.  Hope you understand.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Ollie the Dragon - FINISHED

Hello there!

Following on from yesterday's post, I have been very fortunate to be able to spend some more time working on Ollie.  After a couple more hours worth of work, I'm happy to show you the final result (drum-roll please.....):

Ollie the magic dragon, lived by the sea.....

I've had hubby's and Grandma's sign-off that this definitely looks like Ollie, so the only thing left is to cross my fingers that his Mummy likes it.  Is it strange to feel really excited and sick in the stomach all at the same time?  (Or is that just a result of the fish I ate last night?)

Anyway, I'll keep it brief (for once) and sign-off by saying thanks ever so much for stopping by today and visiting Ollie and me.  If you have any comments or suggestions I'd love to hear them.

See you around in a couple of days!  (As soon as I manage to remove all this royal purple pastel dust from my fingers.)


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Ollie the Dragon - Part 1

Ya know, sometimes, like on a day like today, I start to wonder if somewhere, deep down inside, I really like to make life hard for myself.

I'm thinking the source of all this angst must start in my left knee as it has always given me grief. Particularly when it rains. It most certainly couldn't be my ears. They work fabulously most of the time - except for when I don't want to listen to what you have to say. *Sorry?* What was that you just thought?  You want me to get back on track?  Sorry, must have misheard.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced that little inner-voice on occasion screaming "WHAT *ON EARTH* WERE YOU THINKING?!"  Today is one of those days.  And it is all because of this picture.

Introducing a half finished pastel painting of Ollie the dragon.  Ollie has been created using a combo of pastel pencils, conte pastels and art spectrum pastels on a pastel board.  I actually hand drew Ollie onto the board (using a grid - I'm not *that* good at drawing yet), rather than tracing or projecting him, so I am feeling rather proud of myself.

The thing is, I really need this to be a great picture and I'm not sure if this is going to be good enough.  It is intended to be a birthday present for someone. Someone, in case you see this post, I've written the following brief letter just for you:

Dear Someone,

If I have misjudged you by wrongly assuming you don't visit my blog anymore and you actually see this pastel painting, I'd like to reassure you that I haven't really ruined the surprise, because I'm sure you are aware there are many other Ollie's out there who look *exactly* like your child, like to suck their thumb the same way, and happen to also like wearing an identical dragon outfit whilst lying on a purple pillow.  Just sayin'.    

Love K xo

Still, I think it is too early to say for sure whether this will be a success or a flop.  Stay tuned for the final picture over the next couple of days.  In the meantime.  What do you think?  Like?  Horrified?  Horrified to like?  Do let me know.  Unless you are a spammer.  In that case, no thanks, I'm not interested.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by - see you soon,


Sunday, 15 April 2012

More experimentation


Following my last post where I divulged a secret personality quirk with you all, I went to art class later that same evening with Ms Kathy, who subsequently encouraged me and my other brave classmates to go even crazier with Turpentine experimentation.

This time, rather than using pencils to create an under-drawing on the paper, we used oil pastels to paint little studies on Rains paper.

After finishing our paintings, we each grabbed a paintbrush, dipped it in Turps, and then painted with it, over the top of the pastel. Ms Kathy encouraged us to go crazy with the pastels and draw anything that captured our imagination - Yay for artistic freedom!

Here are two of my little studies from art class, each taking around 20 minutes to complete (shown roughly actual size):

When I look at these images, I find it rather amusing how for some reason they make me have an instant association with those crazy "Uncover your inner-most secret personality by choosing your favourite picture" type articles that you sometimes read in a gossip magazine.  You know the ones - if you pick the blue image, it means you are a calm, deep person who likes swimming in crystal clear, mountainous lakes; if you picked the red picture, you are passionate, energetic, volatile and are likely to enjoy eating chilli; if you picked the electric orange with purple and green purple polka-dots, well you just explained why people think you are a tad "unusual".

So... Tell, me, which picture do you prefer?  And more importantly, tell me - what does it say about you? ;-)

Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you around here sometime soon!


Thursday, 12 April 2012

(Nearly) All in the Name of Science

Hey! I'm feeling bold today, so I'll let you in on a little known secret about me...

It's meant to be a cyclamen.
And "yes".  I am too lazy to bother with properly colouring the background.
  Problem?  Talk to the pencil!
At certain times in my life, I've been known to be a brave experimenter.  I know, you're shocked!  Seriously, it's true.  In fact, to demonstrate the possible depths of my aptitude for innovation, I'd like to share the following true childhood anecdote with you, so you can fully appreciate that this is a skill I've been developing over many years:

Step One:  The Thought Process (AKA - "The Impossible Dream"):

[Scene:  Kate, as a six year old.  Standing in front of an open fridge.  Thirsty.]

Kate: "Hey, I'm thirsty. What should I drink? Hmmmm, I really like orange juice. Never mind that it's concentrated. Who needs water." Kate looks further along the shelf, looking up...

Kate: "Hey look what else I see - lime cordial  (Coola), still concentrated and in the bottle.  And hey, look! There's some milk!  Yum!"  Kate scratches her head.  She is presented with a very real dilemma.  She likes all three beverages equally.  What to choose?  What to drink?  What. To. Choose. To. Drink?

Kate: "Hey! Given I like milk, I like cordial, and I love juice, why not create an "uber drink" of splendid proportions by boldly mixing all three together?  I. Am. A. Genius."

Step 2:  Scientific Execution

Using scientific precision, I carefully measured 1/3 cup of concentrated orange juice, 1/3 cup of lime concentrated cordial and 1/3 cup of milk together to create my new and "tasty" concoction, bound to be a world-wide phenomenon. I mixed carefully and with wild anticipation, sipped the fruits of my labour.

Step 3: Results and Analysis


Thoughtful Contemplation.

Conclusion: Foul.  So bad it was worse than disgusting.

Surely it cannot be?!  Surely my drink is actually, really, truly, splendid!

With staunch determination, I drank the entire cup.

The result?

A rapid cure for constipation.

Whilst the drink in itself didn't work, on reflection, perhaps I should have patented it as a viable alternative for Laxettes.  Oh well, opportunity missed.

End of story.

So you see?  It is true. At times I have been known to be a brave experimenter (even if it is only in my head).

Anyway, back to the present.  Today's experiment is hopefully slightly less "productive" than my memorable drink mixer of old, however I must confess it was almost as exciting.  In the initial stages anyway.

So what did I do?

Well, I'm so glad you asked!

I used my Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils to draw this little picture of a cyclamen on some Art Spectrum paper as an initial step.  Nothing unusual so far.

But then we get to the magic....

I got out my bottle of Mineral Turpentine (aka "Turps") and used a little paint-brush to paint a light layer of Turps over the top of the pencil.  The effect was magic and I *loved* it!  From what I understand, the Turps slightly dissolved some of the pencil (which is a high quality oil based pigment in lots of wax), creating an almost painterly effect.  It dried very quickly and I found I was able to add additional layers of pencil over the top of the "wash".

I was a tad naughty, because I used cheap, domestic grade Turps, rather than artist's quality, but as this was an experiment, I couldn't justify the cost of buying professional grade product.

I'm afraid I can't tell you how badly this technique will impact on the longevity of the artwork.   Perhaps you can ask me in twenty years time and I'll be happy to let you know. Regardless of whether this creates a "for now" or a "forever" artwork, if you have some good quality pencils and a bottle of Turps, why not give it a try next time you do a drawing.  Just make sure you apply the Turps in a well ventilated room as the smell is really strong - feel free to learn from my mistakes <hack!>.

Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope to see you again soon.  Don't worry, I'm not going to be mean enough to dare you to try my drink!


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Introducing Little Tiger


I hope you all had a relaxing and refreshing Easter break.

Today's post features the last in a series where I bravely went where no Mummy new to art should ever go - trying to paint the faces of my own children.  Seriously, do NOT try this at home, people!

Cruelly ignoring the eye-twitch I swear I developed after I posted my artworks featuring Twinkle Eyes and Angel Eyes on here, my youngest child, Mister Cal-Cal, decided eye-twitch or not, it was not only utterly unfair, but unjust that he hadn't also made an appearance in my blog like his brothers.

See what a can of worms I accidentally opened - by trying to draw one child, I created a whole "Mummy has her favourite" type issue!  Poor little poppet, I couldn't let him feel this way, so I decided that I really needed to address the issue, so I pulled out my pastels yet again.

Anyway, enough getting side-tracked.  I'd like you all to meet Mister Cal-Cal (aka Little Tiger), a cub who took his duties very seriously:

Thanks for this Mum, how long until I can wash it off?

I am quite surprised that following on from my "issues" with Angel Eyes, this little artwork (shown actual size) has actually sort of worked.  I'm even more surprised given I drew Little Tiger by hand, without tracing or projecting the image on to paper.  I must confess that I was a slave to my ruler though, checking and double checking the measurement and placement of features, as the last thing I wanted was a lopsided child.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, if you like that kinda stuff...

Yes, in case you are wondering, I swear the eye twitch was worse after I finished Little Tiger than ever before.  However, when I complained about the development and worsening of this latest affliction to the children (the old Mummy adage of "Boys, see what you've done to me - ruined me!" type comment), they merely pointed out that as my eyes were both twitching simultaneously and regularly, they are in fact *not* twitching at all, but were, in reality, just blinking.  What?  Just blinking? Could I as a Mummy have invented the whole "twitching" issue to gain sympathy?  Surely, not, never! *Wink!*

Anyway, thanks ever so much for stopping by and meeting the last of my children.  I'm thinking I might need to let the pastel dust settle for a few days and pull out my paints.  Maybe I'll paint a petunia.  Hmmmm, maybe  not...

I hope to see you all around here again sometime soon!


Friday, 6 April 2012

Happy Easter! The First Taste....

Happy Easter to you all!

Given it's the chocolate consumption holiday of the year, I decided to honour it by completing my own Easter inspired artwork.  I initially thought about painting a fluffy chicken, a bunny rabbit or a bilby (don't ask), but decided I'd try and do something a little different.  (I must confess that this painting was also inspired by my other children saying to me "It's not fair that you have featured Twinkle Eyes on your blog, and not me.  WAAAAAHHHHH I wanna be on your blog too!"   Oh, there's nothing quite like a mummy-induced guilt trip to inspire me, I can tell you!)

As such, I'd like you to all meet Angel Eyes, in an artwork inspired by the first time he ever sampled a piece of chocolate.  Hopefully you can see from the hopeful expression in his eyes as he looks upward that  "Hmmmm, this tastes yummy - are you sure I'm allowed to eat it?":

In case you are wondering, yes,this is one of those pastel works which I can't work out at this stage whether I'm happy with it or not.  Sometimes I find it so annoying that I can't see things with fresh eyes that others can.  I'm hoping that it is something that will improve as I gain more experience.  This artwork was doubly hard, because it was the first time I've featured a hand in an artwork (Eek!) and tried to ensure the hair is as delicate as his is in real life (Double Eek!).

Oh well, Angel Eyes is now happy that he has finally had his moment of glory on my blog and I can only hope that I won't look back at this in a few day's time and think "What were you thinking?"

Thank you ever so much for stopping by to see what I've been up to - I'd like to wish you all an incredibly peaceful, restful and relaxing Easter.

I hope to see you 'round here again sometime soon!


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

School Holiday Madness: Part 1


I'm sorry I haven't posted for a little while, it's just that it has come to that time of year again - school holidays.

The thing I'm finding interesting about this particular set of school holidays is how I'm finding myself constantly stuck on repeat, stuck on repeat, stuck on repeat.  Some days I think I should just record myself and then put me on a playback loop.  I'm not sure the children would notice.  Here are my current top-five pearlers:

"No, it isn't your turn to feed Blobber the goldfish today.  It is your turn tomorrow."

"Mummy loves you too.  Now please remove your finger from your nose."  [Sometimes with an optional "or your head will cave in" thrown in for good measure.]

"Yes, it *is* wonderful that you are on school holidays, isn't it?!"

"No, it isn't time for dinner yet.  It's only ....X....... [insert time such as 2.45pm; 3.00pm; 3.05pm; 3.07pm; 3.07:30pm - you get the drift.] 

"Yogi the yodelling yogi bear loves eating fruit-loops fairly frequently." [That was me just checking you are still with me.]

One of the nice things about school holidays means outings with the children.  Following an adventure at the Mt Coo-tha Botanical gardens, I was inspired to use my pastels to recreate one of the beautiful vistas that we saw.  This is the first part of the work:

As you may have guessed, I have to do a lot more work on the leaves on the trees (go figure - leaves on trees - how would have thought?) and want to work on ensuring the light and values are all correct before I call it finished.  I'm hoping that maybe I can get a little more "Mummy time over the next day or so to complete it".

Thanks so much for stopping by, I'll see you around soon,