Tuesday, 30 October 2012

My (Hopefully) International RAOK - Part 3

Hello There Beautiful People of the World!

Today's foray into 'Kate's Crazy Art World' (I so should copyright that phrase!) brings Part 3 of my quest to do something nice for someone I don't know. (For anyone who is not aware of the background story, click  here to read about my incredibly noble intentions.) I'm sad to say that whilst I still think this is a great idea, I'm starting to lose confidence that it is actually going to work.  Boo! Don't you just hate it when that happens?

The big thing is - I think the actual painting looks kinda OK so far.  The problem is more that I'm concerned my painting doesn't actually look like the lady I'm trying to render.  Here, have a look so you can see what I mean. Just here is my lady, to the stage where I've nearly finished her face (still a bit of hair and earring/ear rendering to go):

And here is the reference photo:

Botheration and <Sigh>!   Looking on the bright side, at least her eyes are looking a little more balanced than my earlier posts about this painting.  Surely that outweighs any "likeness" issues, right? ;-)

There's quite a way to go yet before I can call her finished, but I have to be honest with you all and say that much to my dismay, I'm not sure this one is gonna make it to the final grand post-office send off...  Still, I'm won't give up just yet, I'll see what a bit more pastel and hopefully a lot more inspiration can achieve.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Stay tuned for an update over the next few days where I hope to unveil the finished picture.  I think I may put it out to vote whether she flies across the ocean or flies across the room into the garbage bin.  Whatcha think?


Saturday, 27 October 2012

My (Hopefully) International RAOK - Part 2

Hi There

Well after starting my well intentioned attempt at a Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) artwork for a lady who lives on the other side of the world (you can read the background story here), I've managed to find a little time this afternoon to progress my painting of her a little more. Unfortunately, after today's effort, I'm now at the point where I'm starting to think that whilst the thought is incredibly noble and just, the reality....?

Don't you just hate it when that happens?!

Still, in the interests of accountability and being honest with you all as to how she is progressing, take a look at where I'm up to now...

What do you think?  At this point, I like her nose and lips but I'm feeling a little concerned about the placement of the eyes - I think I'll need to have another look at this tomorrow morning (or the next time I get to find time to create).  I hope that it is only a minor fix, or "eye" have a feeling eye'll be feeling pretty cantankerous.  (What I've discovered with pastels, is that unfortunately, that can happen really quickly if you aren't careful.  One moment you've got beautiful luminosity, the next - MUD.  For a newbie like me, it is a very fine line to tread.)  

Cross your fingers for me this doesn't end up in the bottom of the bin!

I suppose I'd better go now.  I've got to go and get ready for a dress up 1970's disco I'm going to tonight.   "Ah--hah-hah-hah-hah Stayin' Alive... Stayin' Alive....!"  :-)

See you around soon!

Groovily yours,


Friday, 26 October 2012

My (Hopefully) International RAOK

Hello there!

Today's post is my attempt to start creating an artwork which I'm hoping will eventually be able to used by me to make someone else happy through a Random Act of Kindness (RAOK).

My fellow artist-wannabe classmate Ms R (you know who you are!) recently went on an overseas holiday to Africa, which included travels to Mozambique.  Whilst she was there she took the most beautiful photographs of people who lived in the village where she was staying.  When I saw the photos upon her return to Brisneyland, I just knew I had to try and paint them using my not so trusty pastels.

Ms R and I got talking and I mentioned that painting of this nature is, for me, more about creating an inner feeling of personal satisfaction, not about making money.

I then suddenly had an idea....  I pledged to Ms R that IF I can manage to create a painting that by some miracle, actually manages to do the beautiful people who feature in the original photographs justice, then I would take great pleasure in sending the painting(s) across the oceans as an artistic Random Act of Kindness gift to the individual(s) whose beautiful face inspired my painting.  She loved the idea and told me that the village is so small, that provided I get a good likeness then if she were to send it, the recipient was sure to receive it.

My only proviso is that if the paintings are a disaster, that I would not send them...

So... this is my first attempt at a pastel painting of a beautiful woman from a little village in Mozambique.  Stay tuned as I work on her over the next little while.  Cross your fingers for me that I can do her justice!

See you soon,


Friday, 19 October 2012

RIP Blobber :-(

This week has been a sad one for my little family.

Blobber the smallest and scaliest member of our family passed away. Blobber was our family's first ever goldfish and he was the best little pet any family could ever ask for. One of the things I loved best about Blobber was that he had "attitude" and he wasn't afraid to show it. (Well, as much attitude as any goldfish could possibly have, anyway.)

My three little darlings discovered him in the late afternoon. They were heart-broken and I was so sad to see them sad that I clearly wasn't thinking straight. As it was nearly dinner time I thought to myself "I'll cook something really easy as I need to comfort them during this sad time" and turned the oven on.

'Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!  What did I just say?!'

It was only as I pulled the "Birds Eye Crumbed Fillet of Fish" box out of the freezer and reached for a tray that I realised that this may not be the most sensitive choice for dinner that night.  Thank goodness I was able to swap the fish for schnitzel!

In memory of Blobber, my boys asked me to create a couple of paintings for them so that they can remember him always.  What you see is my attempt at capturing Blobber's looks and attitude using watercolour paint.  I felt sad painting him, but happy to do something for my boys to ease their pain a little.

'Talk to the fin, baby!'
Thanks for being a member of our family Blobber - you'll be fondly remembered and in our hearts always!

See you soon,


Thursday, 18 October 2012

More Pencil Practice on a Grumpy Day


I have the grumps today.  Don't worry, I'll spare you the details.

I don't like feeling this way, so to try and *calm* myself and restore my sanity, I decided I would undertake some pencil practice.  I figured it has been a while since I have properly sat down and worked on my drawing skills and I have very recently been given a beautiful book on how to draw by someone close and dear to me.  It seemed only right to put all my newly acquired knowledge to good use!

I did wonder, given my dour mood and my general lack of pencil prowess, whether perhaps this idea wasn't  the brightest one I'd had all day.  I worried it would be a disaster and the end result would be that I would then throw a tantrum fit to rival the best a two year old is capable of having when they don't get their own way.  (Anyone who has been around kids knows that means it would be pretty big and very impressive.  If that happened, I may have needed to put myself in time out!)

Despite my concerns, I pushed my grumpiness to the side and focused on the lure of that sense of "creative calm" that transcends me as I work artistically. That lure over-ruled my sense of grumpiness and made me pull out a pad of paper and a pencil.

I worked for about fifteen minutes on this drawing.  In order to "let it go" I drew a girl who looks as pissed at the world as I felt.   Strangely enough, I think she actually looks reasonably good.  Even better, I now feel (somewhat) calmer.  Pencil Power Works People!

Because of this experience, I'm now wondering whether the reason why we always read about these "brilliant but tortured artistic souls" is because they feel the need to be permanently pissed and at war with the world in order to create?  Perhaps they can't/couldn't create as well when they are/were happy and at peace?  Is it just me, or is that just so very sad?  (Oh *great*!  Now I'm swapping grumpy for sad.  Darn emotions!)

You know what?  If feeling such an intensive, negative emotion is the only option for me to be a truly successful artist, I'll think I'll take "happy most of the time, grumpy some of the time, sometimes mediocre, sometimes half OK, wannabe artist" all the time. It's just not worth it to live any other way.

Rant over.

'Till next time when it is all sunshine and roses,


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Half Finished Girl!

Why Hello There!

I am pleased to announce that further to my "Quarter Finished Girl" post last week, I have moved on to complete some more work on my latest painting of a jacaranda.  Here...... Have a look:

I am looking at this painting and am feeling like I'm making some good progress.  The thing is, I'm still not happy.  I can't help but feel it needs more light, more movement, more energy.  Still, I'll keep working at it and hopefully I can come up with something that I'll be happy with in the end.

Now, I know you are probably wondering what happened to the pencil drawing of the beautiful girl I was also completing in my earlier post about quarter-finished-artistic-pursuits.  I have to say she was coming along swimmingly well, until dinner one evening a few nights ago when I accidentally spilt some spaghetti bolognaise sauce right in the middle of her face.  Oooopsies!  Don't you just love it when motherhood and art collide?

I tell you, it's one of the perils of art and working at the kitchen table when hungry.  C'est la vie!

Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope to see you 'round here soon in the near future.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Kate's World Record Attempt!

Hi There!

Bet you don't believe me, do you?  How on earth could I, Kate, possibly have anything to do with breaking a world record in relation to something to do with art?

Well it is simple.  I took part in a world record attempt in Brisbane last night for the biggest ever "art class" to take place at one time in one sitting.  Except it wasn't really an "art class". Guinness made them say that. It was actually a record attempt at life drawing (or "rudie-nudie drawing" as my children prefer to call it).  It seemed like such fun, that a group of friends and I went along to try and break the record!

A 15 minute sketch.

As I'm still pretty new to this art journey business, I can honestly say I've never done any rudie-nudie drawing from real life before.  And because of this, I have to admit to you I was a little scared when we arrived at the Greek Club, where the record attempt was being held.

A series of 1 minute sketches
Most of the time, I like to think of myself as being a mature, worldly woman.  Last night however, all that worldly maturity left my body, so much so that an in depth discussion ensued with my fellow brave rudie-nudie artist friends to calm my nerves.  It went something like this:

Kate: "Oh My!  What if I have a bloke stand here and then drop his robe right in *front* of me and his 'delicate parts' are suddenly right there in front of me.  And you know I mean right *there* in front of me?  What on earth should I do? I mean I have no idea what the right facial expression is for such a moment in my life. Indifference? Glee? Excitement? Horror? A wink?"
Fellow Rudie-Nudie Friends:  "You'll be right, Kate.  Here's a brown paper bag for you to breathe into if it gets too much."
Kate [getting increasingly anxious]: "OK.  But what do I do if he drops his robe and I involuntarily start to giggle?  Honestly, it's true, it could happen!  It won't be a giggle meaning to hurt his feelings, it would be a giggle because I'm nervous.  You see, I can't help but feel it's a pretty personal thing to do within three seconds of setting eyes on each other for the first time.  Should I at least say hello and introduce myself first? Would that make things more comfortable?"
Fellow Rudie-Nudie Friends:  "Breathe IN two-three-four; OUT two-three-four; IN...."

5 Minute Burlesque Sketch

After what felt like ages, the models came out and disrobed.  My eyes may have widened slightly, however I am proud to say that I merely raised a slight eyebrow and then set to work drawing what I could see.

It was really interesting to me that over the course of the next hour or two, "body parts" seemed to disappear and lines, contours, light and shadow became far more of a concern than what I was trying to draw at any point of time.  (Well, *most* of the time, anyway.)

These sketches are a few of my drawings that I completed last night.  I know, they aren't very good.  And I have to admit I felt just a twinge of sadness when I looked around me and saw all these people who could draw beautifully and mine felt like something a first grader could do.  Still, I just reminded myself that this is my journey and it didn't actually matter at all whether I can draw beautifully yet.  All that really matters is that I enjoy the process while I am doing it and take a moment to rejoice in the beauty and wonder of the human body.

Thanks so much for stopping by, I'll see you again sometime soon!


PS:  Sadly, we didn't break the record.  It didn't matter though, because it was still great fun and a really interesting experience.  If you ever get an opportunity to take part in something like this, I'd urge you to get involved!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Quarter Finish Girl...


Long time no see.  In case you were worried about me, I haven't stopped creating and painting.  No sir.

More than anything, birthday party planning and execution (I use that last word in the good way context, not in the bad way going to gaol context), school carnival helping, working, working some more, holiday mayhem handling, contending with bouts of gastro and sorting out tantrums (mostly mine) has seriously impeded my ability to be calm and have enough time to pursue artistic output these past few weeks.

I know, I know.... Poor me!  (Well, not really.  There are many other things in the world to feel sorry about, me not getting my act together to paint or draw really doesn't qualify.  I know that.)

Still, I've tried to snatch a couple of moments here and there to calm myself down and set about creating.  The biggest problem I've discovered I'm suffering from at the moment, however is "quarter-finished-itis".  This sudden malady seems to have come out of nowhere and is now so bad that everything I start, I get a quarter of the way through and then suddenly think "Nyeh - think I'll leave it for now" with the pure of heart intention to go back and finish it - without actually doing so.  To prove it, here are just two of the works that I have managed to start these past few weeks and have only a quarter finished:

Yep, you are right, the first is another painting of a jacaranda tree.  I so love these trees and after I sold my first painting that featured jacaranda trees earlier this year, I have missed it so much that I thought I would paint another.  This one is going OK, but there are some problem areas I need to address and of course, there are many areas which are only under-painted.  Sigh!

The second is a pencil drawing (using only a pacer, because I couldn't be bothered trying to find all my other pencils) of a Namibian girl from the Wet Canvas Reference Library.  Yes, she does look mighty grumpy here, probably because I haven't finished her I'd imagine.  I'd be pretty annoyed too if someone bothered to draw my eyes, lips and nose and then didn't bother to draw some hair on my head.

I chose to draw her just to see how my skills are coming along.  So far, I'm not really thinking they are that much up to chop.  Oh well.  The worst thing about quarter finished itis is that whilst she's looking strangely bald, she's starting to look to me like she's meant to be that way - I think my eyes are waaaayyyy over adjusting!


Wish me luck getting past this little malady!  And bits of advice you can give to assist me with getting over the hurdle toward finishing these artworks would be greatly received.  (So far my strategy has been with other works to go "Rip - Scrunch - Toss" not a particularly satisfying result.)

I'll see you around in the near future!

[Edit:  To see an update of what happened with these artworks, click here.]