Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Fushcia Fairy - Finished

Hi There!

Very long time, no post. Sorry about that.

I'm afraid that life and living and all the bumps and knocks just got in the way of creative endeavour this last little while.
(In other words - no, I'm not going to go into details. You didn't come here for that. It would take ages and you'd be bored. Trust me.)

I've had a go at finishing my Fuschia Fairy painting today.  I'm not sure how successful it is, but I am pleased that it is complete at long last. I feel a bit shy about sending it on as a pressie to my friend though.  I don't think it's good enough.  Oh well. At least I tried and had noble intentions, right? <Sigh!>

Anyway, here's the painting for the final (Yippidy-yay!) time:

Thanks for not giving up on me and for stopping by and checking out my artwork!


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Fuschia Fairy Part 2


Today brings a pastelly update from me featuring my latest piece, "Fuschia Fairy":

The kids and hubby like this painting so far and have commented positively on the colours I've used.  At this stage I'm thinking that if all continues to go as well then this artwork may not need to become an offering to the trash gods.  Phew!  The only problem is that the top corner still requires painting of another fuschia (hard), leaves (harder) and a background to delicately meld together with the flowers (nightmare).

Oh well, nothing like a challenge to let you know you are alive, right?

Thanks for stopping by, I'll see you soon with another Fuschia Fairy update,


Monday, 12 August 2013

Fuschia Fairy - Part I

How weird is it that you spell fuschia, "F.U.S.C.H.I.A"?*

The spelling is so tricky I'm thinking of starting a petition on  I personally think we should spell it as we would say it.  A couple of options I am considering are as follows:

1.  Few-sha

Short and sweet.  My biggest concern with this version is I worry that my Aussie accent may influencing the spelling. ie:"By jingo, you'd call that bee-you-ti-fool flower a few-sha, mate."  See what I mean? Or am I just being over-sensitive?

2. Phew-shar

I like this version but I worry it could easily be misinterpreted. ie: "Awwww, pwoaaarrrr! Jeeeeez, *PHEW*, Shar! Did you have to?"  Hmmmmm...

3.  Feeee-youuuu-schhhhhheeee-arrrrrrhhhhhh

Don't know about this one. I worry it makes the flower sound like a cross between a ninja and a pirate.
 ie: "Feeee-you-schhhhh-eeee-arrrrrrhhhhh, me hearties!" the pirate captian cried, as he twirled his flowery numchucks with gleeful abandon.

I give up.  Too hard.  Fuschia stays.

Today's effort is being painted using my favourite pastel pencils for my friend Fuschia Fairy ("FF" for short).  FF loves growing fuschias.  She really does.  As such, if this painting works I'm going to give it to her.  Cross your fingers for me that the painting improves as I go.

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


(*Yes, I know it can be spelt other ways, but this particular version had the most hits on Google, so it stays.)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Attempt #2: Why I Love My Six Year Old...

He can look at my second attempt at painting a pastel portrait of him and lovingly say "I like how you made me purple, Mummy!". 

Give me an "F"

Give me an "L"

Give me an "O"

Give me a "P"

What does it spell???

Back to the drawing board...


Thanks for stopping by, see you around soon!


PS:  In case you are curious, you can read about the back story by clicking here...

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Why I Love My Six Year Old...

He can look at the below pastel portrait painting (using my new supplies) and lovingly say:

  "Why Mummy, this is the most beautiful painting of me I have ever seen.  It is mag-ni-fi-cent.  It even almost, kinda, in-a-way-looks-like-me except my face is not flat!"

Giggle, <sigh>.

It's good to try new things and new styles of painting, right?  I must confess that although this isn't exactly a masterpiece (I would classify it as flop), I do quite like the painterly style (or maybe it was just that I liked putting lots of purple pastel in his hair).

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to,


(Seriously now, when am I *ever* going to get better? Surely it will happen one day!) Kate
PS:  Haven't forgotten my wrecked Mr Chuckles painting, it's just it is hard to feel inspired to finish it when I know deep down that I've wrecked it...
PPS:  What is with the two posts in one day?!  I am on a pastel roll, baby!  I can't even blame it on the fumes.

Trying Mr Chuckles (Part 3)

More work on Mr Chuckles.  (You can read the back-story by clicking here.) Today's effort is working on his hair and narrowing his face.  (Can you tell I'm scared of trying to paint his ear?!)

Sadly, I think I've overworked the painting now.  Sigh!  Oh well, at least I learnt something I suppose (you can't put ten layers of pastel on the paper without turning it to mud).

Thanks for stopping by, Mr Chuckles and I will see you soon.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Trying Mr Chuckles (Part 2)


Well, good news.  Mr Chuckles is out of his bedroom and is back to being his angelic self after being sent to time out yesterday for throwing the mother of all tanty's. (You can read the back-story by clicking here.)  The peace and tranquillity (for the time being) has enabled me to spend a little more time working on his portrait.  Here's where I'm up to now:

Still a way to go on his hair, ear and toning down the background.  I'm not happy with his purple neck either.  I'm thinking I may go for more of an olive green...  Crossing my fingers I don't muck it up!

Stay tuned for the next nail-biting update over the next day or two...


Monday, 22 July 2013

Trying Mr Chuckles... (Part 1)

I love Mr Chuckles.  I really do...

And it is true to say that Mr Chuckles, my gorgeous son, is generally a very sweet, happy chappy.  However, holey-toledo and goodness me, when Mr Chuckles decides to get cross, he gets really, really, *really* cross (as demonstrated at this moment as he has just been sent to his room for being naughty. Excuse me, I digress).

Anyway, in honour of his happy and grumpy moods (and to reflect the current state peace and quiet in my house as Mr Chuckles sulks in his bedroom), I have started painting this artwork in honour of my eldest boy in all his grumpy glory, using all my new pastel pencils/pastels that I received for my birthday recently.  On this special day, I received some Conte pastels (the portrait set) and a set of beautiful Caran D'ache pastel blocks and pastel pencils.  Yes, they are really yummy (to use, not to eat). Here's what I've completed so far:

As indicated by the "Part 1" in the title, Mr Chuckles is not finished yet (being painted - being grumpy changes from moment to moment, so I really can't say how long till this latest moody episode is over).

Still, I'm pretty happy with how Mr Chuckles is looking so far.  For privacy reasons, I'm not prepared to post the reference photo, however I can tell you that he is definitely looking like Mr Chuckles, so that's a bonus.  As an added extra, I think perhaps I have finally managed to get his eyes right (they've been a nightmare to paint and something I've really struggled with!) and his skin stone is looking reasonably okay and not too day-glow orange.  Still, there is plenty of opportunity and time to for me to muck it up, so cross your fingers for me that painting continues to go smoothly!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to.  See you 'round soon with the finished painting.

PS:  If this painting is looking kinda familiar to you, it's because I've actually tried to paint Mr Chuckles with this pose earlier this year.  It was a F. L.O.P.  If you feel like having a giggle at Mr Chuckles the first, you can read about it by clicking here.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Poinciana - Sorry it's late, late, late

Bet you thought that I'd forgotten about this painting.

Well I hadn't.

It's been sitting on my easel for the past couple of months, periodically taunting me with:

"Come on Kate, Kate, Mate,
Stop being late, late, late..."

Yes, it is incredibly annoying to have an inner voice that  sometimes resorts to pitiful rhyming couplets that don't make sense.

Anyway, I knew that I nearly had the painting finished when a week or two ago a couple of plasterers were repairing my ceiling (leak followed by plaster sagging, let's not go there).  They said to me "Hey, who painted that tree thing over there?" (flicking dust over my sofa as they pointed in the direction of this artwork still sitting on easel).  I said "Me."  They said, "It's really good, you've got talent." I said "Thanks".  

(I suppose I probably shouldn't share that our conversation continued with "Hey, are you frying an egg in your fry pan for lunch?" and I said "Yes," and they said "It smells really good." )

Anyway, there are just a few little bits and bobs on this painting I'd like to rectify, but I think for all intensive purposes, it's done.  Only problem is now I've got to work out what I want to paint next.


Anyway, thanks for stopping by, see you 'round soon,


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Looking At The Ongoing Evolution of Me

I decided for a bit of fun to go through and create an "Art Finds Kate" self portrait timeline. Why do such a thing, you ask?  Well, it's because I find going through and looking at myself as time passes by to be a most interesting exercise.  I never knew before, for instance, how my eyes could be so wonky, or my lips so luscious...

Nah, only kidding! I'm not that up myself.  It's really to have an opportunity to compare artworks by moi to see if I have improved my drawing skills over time (or not).

Brace yourself and take a deep breath - here we go, starting from the very beginning and finishing with yesterday's attempt:

(Early 2011) We all have to start somewhere, right? I started this journey with no experience at all in art.  (I can see my issue with drawing wonky eyes has been evident right from the start...)

(Mar-Apr 2011)I tried to draw Twinkle Eyes and Me.  I look like I'm made of plastic - I guess at least I look happy!

(Mid 2011) Holy Crap - Kate in drag - what happened here?

(Mid-Late 2011) Awww bless me, I obviously decided to try for a serious look with this one. Pity my eyes are wonky and wayyyyy too far from my mouth.

(Late 2011/Early 2012) Seriously, what is it with my eyes? I think I was going for a "knowing look" here.  It's not, it's just plain *F*R*E*A*K*Y!

(Mid 2012) The next two portraits makes me laugh.  In this portrait my neck is so long it looks like I could reach into trees and eat leaves...

(Mid 2012) Whereas in this one I don't even have a neck. I associate the word "Turtle" with this portrait.  It think it's because my head looks like it is going to recede into my hat any second in horror after looking at my crappy drawing of myself.

(End 2012) Still a few problems with eyes, but starting to have a break through...

(Mid 2013) Today's offering. Eye placement to the right as you looking at it slightly dodgy, but I think the drawing actually has a greater sense of depth than earlier attempts.  I also think it isn't bad for 10 minutes worth of work without the aid of an eraser.  Also, kidlets and hubby recognised it as a drawing of me, so that has to be a breakthrough, right?

In summary, I can see I still have quite a way to go.  But you know what, I think I can see that I actually am starting to make some progress. I don't mind. I realised long ago that it was never going to be a quick journey for Art to Find Kate. I just have to keep trying and be patient.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing all of me,


Monday, 17 June 2013

Tangled Finished (I think!)

Hey There

Well after more brain draining than I ever thought possible, I have managed to finish my latest painting, "Tangled".

Measuring 10 X 15cm on Clare Fontaine Pastel Mat support, I used a variety of pastels and pastel pencils to create this crazily coloured jumble of jewellery.

This work was a challenge and I estimate it easily took me at least 10 hours to complete it - the intricacy of all the beads meant there was no way I could rush this if I ever hoped that it would turn out.

Anyway, I'm so glad that I have managed to finish it (for now - I bet I'll find something I need to change over the next day or two!), so that I can start my next artwork...

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


Friday, 14 June 2013

Tangled Part 1


Today's post is proudly brought to you by me.  (Don't know why I said that. Given it is my blog, of course it would be brought to you by me. I'm thinking I must have had one too many cups of tea today.)

I've been having a lot of fun creating my latest pastel painting today. Perhaps friends and acquaintances may notice a few of my favourites are featured?

I've really enjoyed creating this painting so far, but can tell you that the intricate nature of it has meant I've needed to be very patient.  I reckon I'm at about five hours worth of work so far, and the finished painting will only measure 10 cm X 15 cm.  Realistically, I think it will take at least another three or four hours before I can call this little baby finished...

I just keep telling myself that it's worth it and that good things come in small packages.  Right.  Right?  (Please tell me it is so!)

Anyway, I'd better be going, it's nearly dinner time.

Thanks so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to.  I hope to see you around soon with the finished piece.


Friday, 31 May 2013

Boho Girl - Finished!

Why hello there, stranger!

Sorry it has taken me so very long to post an update.  Life has been chaotic these past few weeks.  Trust me, we don't want to go there...

Despite my busyness, I have had a chance to finish Boho Girl.  Here she is in all her hippy glory:

Overall, I'm quite pleased with her.  I think I'm definitely improving.  This is all I ever aim for.

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

Have a fantastic weekend!


Friday, 3 May 2013

Boho Girl - Part 1


Well after a crazy couple of weeks (we don't want to go there), I was thrilled to finally be able to find some time to set about creating again.  I had a real yankering (is that a word?) to pull out my pastels and paint a face.  I thought of painting my own (like a clown, because that's how I've felt lately), but then decided to be practical and try something on paper.  I selected a picture of a pretty girl, dressed in a boho style, with flowy hair, a leather headband and big dangly earrings.

After a couple of hours at art class last night, here's what I got up to:

Not bad.  I've introduced purple and pale blue into her skin tones in an attempt to ensure that it does not look too pink or orange - a bit problem I've encountered in the past when trying to paint paler skins.  I think it has worked relatively well.  I need to soften some of the blue patches, but for the most part, I think I will call it a success!

In fact, the biggest problem I have now is that generally when I've made a good start like this on an artwork, I live in permanent fear of mucking it up.  Oh well, it's good to live dangerously I guess.

Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and seeing what I've been up to.  I hope to see you 'round soon!


Friday, 12 April 2013


Today's post is a frown-free zone.

Introducing Cranky Pants Man - Kate's artistic smile enforcer.
Have a great weekend. See you around soon with more artistic endeavours!

PS: For those who are interested, Cranky Pants Man was drawn completely freehand using pastels and chalk pencils on black paper at art class last night. It was a fun and relaxing way to create and doubled as an excellent exercise in exploring values.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Pencil Play


I've been a silly billy. I left my pastels over at my art teacher's house (Ms Kathy) and I've been feeling forlorn ever since.

Rather than sit and sulk (tempting) I decided to pull out my Faber Castell Polychromos pencils, my Fabriano paper and some turps and set to work to soothe my artistic spirit.

I selected my favourite flower to feature in this artwork, the sunflower and layered colour over colour over colour, brushing over certain segments with the turps. (The turps melts the oil in the pigment, so it slightly blends and smooths the colour.)

Looking at it now, I can see there are a few little areas that could do with a little more layered colour or turps, but I still think it has worked relatively well overall for a little study.

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

I'll see you around soon,


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Dry Brushing Is Good For You

Or so I've been told.

Personally, I can't be bothered using a soft bristle brush to gently scrub my skin in order to get it glowingly soft and luminous. Luminous, shluminous.

What? I'm not here to write about my bathing and beauty practices? Oh, yeah. Sorry, I forgot for a moment. Back to all things art.

Today's post features an abstract painting I've titled Enigma (purely because I'm not sure what the heck it is or what I was trying to achieve). I created this small canvas in art class last week after my fantastic art teacher Ms Kathy taught me how to use a dry brushing technique to apply paint.

Basically you take a really soft, dry brush and apply just a little paint to the bristles. You then gently stroke the canvas to apply a gentle "mist" of colour. I liked it. It felt noice. Diff'rent. Unusual. Pity that whilst I like the technique, the painting turned out to be rubbish. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Still, I won't let a little litter stop my from pursuing all things artistic. No siree!

Thanks for stopping by. I'll be sure to see you 'round soon,


Friday, 22 March 2013

Introducing Liquid Graphite Girl

Oh goodness, I simply cannot begin to tell you how much I adore exploring the use of different artistic mediums.

I think it's because I enjoy the anticipation and adventure of finding out whether the new medium and I will 'connect' together artistically (ie. my beloved pastels) or become arch enemies (ie. my nemesis, watercolour).

With this in mind, it was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to have a play with using a product called liquid graphite in art class last night. The product is literally what you think it is. Graphite. Liquid. Cool, huh?!

After thinking about it for a little while, I decided to attempt a portrait using strong line work. (I must confess this style of art scares me, because there is nowhere to hide. Eek!) After twenty or so minutes worth of work, I ended up with this little study (what you see on screen is pretty close to actual size):

Not bad. Perhaps looking a little like a Disney princess, but at least she's looking relatively human. I think she almost looks like a super-hero girl in disguise (hence the title of this post). I wonder what her super-powers would be? Able to correct misplet misspelt words with a single blink perhaps?

By now I'm sure you are wondering what I thought of liquid graphite (if not, I'm going to tell you anyway). Welllllll.....

I *loved* it!  I found the consistency to be a little thicker than watercolour paint (good) and that I was able to actually control the product with reasonable ease (even better). Honestly, it made it an absolute pleasure to use and I'm going to put this right up the top of my art supply wish list (take note, hubby!).

Liquid Graphite Girl and I will finish up by saying thanks ever so much for stopping by, I'll see you around soon!


Friday, 8 March 2013

Poinciana - Part 1

One of the things I love about living in Brisbane is when the beautiful poinciana trees come into bloom over the hot and humid summer months. Honestly - the vibrancy, colour and superb climbing capacity of these trees make me feel so happy inside my heart that I made a pledge to myself to paint one over summer.

Well, despite my best intentions, 'life was life' over the summer just past. As a result, I finally got around to starting to paint my tree in autumn. (Hey, one can't rush these things. Better late than never, right?!)

I bought a large canvas and pulled out my paints (which were starting to feel neglected after my pastel pursuits of late) and set to work. After a lot of dabbing and mixing and stroking with some gorgeous, rich hues, here's where I got up to:

It's not too bad. I can see a few things I like about it, and a lot of areas still requiring significant work. <Sigh!> Regardless of this painting's success (or not), I'm really enjoying the process of creating a unique artwork and am looking forward to finding some time over the next few days to try and finish it off.

Thanks for stopping by, I'll see you 'round soon with an update.


Friday, 22 February 2013

Char-char-char (coal) Girl - Finished!


What a week in my house. Everyone sick. Need I say more?

After four days flat on my back in bed with a horrible cold, I was able to finally recover enough energy to go to art class last night with Ms Kathy. Can I just say it felt sooooo good to be outside the confines of my now messy house. I'm not sure if you ever feel this way after a couple of days of being ill, but I really felt like I needed a bit of time away from focusing on myself feeling sick and redirect my thoughts towards something else far more productive. Yes, it has to be said, I got sick of myself! Literally and figuratively.

I must also confess I was desperate to finish my charcoal girl portrait I started last week. It feels like she's been taunting me this past seven days every time I thought about her ("Will I work, or will I become yet another one of your fabled flop artworks, Kate? I wonder, oh, HOW I wonder..."). I tell you, she may well only exist on paper, but she sure still is a cheeky thing.

After an hour and a half of concentrated effort using willow and compressed charcoal, along with a couple of white chalk highlights, this is what I ended up with:

"Her name was Lola, she was a char-girl..."

Overall, I'm really pleased with this artwork. Particularly considering it's been ages since I've used this medium.  The funny thing that happened when I took her home was that hubby was totally unprepared for charcoal girl to be quite so big. She's actually poster size in real life!  He thought she was going to be a cute A4 sized painting. To give you an idea of exactly how big she is, here's another shot of char-girl to give you an idea of scale:

I know, you are *so* impressed with the classy way I stuck a pen onto some putty rubber to give you an idea of scale, aren't you? I know, sophisticated, that's me.

The worst thing about this is that I now want to do another one, and I'm not sure where I'll find the time this weekend! Oh well, if that is the biggest of my worries, I figure everything is pretty sweet.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope everything is well and healthy in your life. I'll see you 'round soon,


Friday, 15 February 2013

Char-char-char (coal) Girl - Part 1

Do you ever feel like trying something different? Bust a few moves and shake things up a little from your boring regular routine? I did at art class last night. I mean, I love my pastels, but a girl like me has to try something different from time to time.

Not feeling sure of what to create, I asked my fabulous teacher, the incredibly talented Ms Kathy, what she thought would be fun for me to try.  Ms Kathy thought about it a moment (she's very clever, on minute is all it takes for her to come up with something inspiring. Me, I would have been stumped for hours!). She then suggested I use charcoal and create a giant portrait. Ms Kathy then magically produced a large A2 sized piece of paper and handed me a box of compressed charcoal and burnt willow sticks (or whatever they're called) and told me to start. I didn't need to be told twice and feverishly set to work.

I worked on char-char-char (coal) girl for an hour and a half and got as far as starting on her freckles, but not as far as working on her hair. Ms Kathy told me she was loving my "boldness" with this work. Bold? Who Me? Never! ;-)

Here she is so far...

Not bad. Plenty of scope to turn her into a masterpiece. Or a disaster.

It will be interesting to see what happens with her in art class next week (I asked Ms Kathy to look after her for me while I was still working on her as I feared she'd get smudged or scrunched at my house.)

Cross your fingers for me that she works out OK. Have a great weekend, I'll see you around soon!


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Quick "Just Because" Doodle


I've been pondering lately what art means to me and the role it plays in my life. To my dismay, it's been feeling of a never ending merry-go-round where the more questions I answer, the more, in return I create.

With this in mind, it was such a relief to have an epiphany yesterday evening. As I sat still watching some "mummy time" telly, I suddenly realised (or was it remembered?) that to enjoy my artistic journey, I don't always need to be trying to create the next "masterpiece". I think, for a little while, I was kind of forgetting that and getting caught up on always trying to improve or be "perfect". <Sigh!> It's one of the perils of being a perfectionist...

Anyway, I realised that as long as I was enjoying the process of creating, whether I spend twenty hours or twenty minutes on any given piece is fine. And more than that, that not everything I create has to in turn undergo rigorous evaluation and be judged or assessed to be of value (although this is, of course, a very useful learning tool when I'm wanting to improve my technique or skill level).

I realised that at times, I can feel the same sense of satisfaction with a doodle in a scrappy old notebook which has my son's name scribbled out on the front cover as I can with an artwork I slaved hours of my life over.

With this sentiment in mind, I present my twenty minute doodle.  It was inspired by a family outing to Scarborough on Sunday, a small beach-side village, located just north of Brisneyland.  Whilst there, my children delighted in climbing the giant Moreton Bay Fig Trees while I relaxed and whiled away some time lying on my back staring at the branches and the sky. In that precise moment, I was at one with nature and life was pretty good.

Now, if only I could remember to apply this principle to all aspects of my life from time to time!

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



Sunday, 3 February 2013

Painting Mr Chuckles

Hi There!

Hope you had a super-dooper relaxing weekend. My latest artistic exploit has been to try and paint a portrait of Mr Chuckles, my eldest child. Funnily enough, Mr Chuckles isn't his real name (I know, you're shocked!), but rather a pet name that was first used when, as a baby, he had the world's loudest screaming cry. Seriously, on a decibel reading rating scale, it would go Mr Chuckles-then jack-hammer-then jet plane (and I don't mean one of those super quiet stealth ones either). Mr Chuckles was *so* loud that I still have trouble hearing out of my left ear. Sorry, did you just say something?

Mr Chuckles pet name started one morning when he was around two months old on a day when he just Wouldn't. Stop. Screaming. I was starting to feel like screaming myself, until I spontaneously and desperately uttered "It's OK, Mr Chuckles. Don't cry Mr Chuckles. Everything's going to be fine Mr Chuckles." He didn't stop crying, but I can tell you that I found the name to be so ironic and so hilarious to my sleep deprived mind, that I instantly felt better. Imagine if someone had have walked into the room in that moment - screaming child, mother howling with laughter. Might have required a little explaining.

The name was so perfect that the only possible downside I can think of is that I now wonder from time to time if it could be the reason why Mr Chuckles never quite took to Mr Men. Hmmmmmm.

Anyway, enough about Mr Chuckles.

After trying for a good hour or so to create a perfect smooth skin-like texture, I gave up. Yep. I've decided that sometimes quitting can be a good thing. Instead, I decided to go for a cross-hatching look.  Here's what I created...

Mr Chuckles, chuckling.

In case you are wondering, yes, I admit, I did go a tad crazy with my colour palette on this artwork.  If you found yourself singing"Red and yellow and pink and green. Purple and orange and blue...." you would be absolutely correct.

I actually don't mind this portrait, although I keep alternating between thinking I've created a really fantastic artsy painting that'll make me famous someday, or have just created a scribble that could be done by any old Mr Chuckles.

Oh well. At least it's been fun.

Anyway, I'll finish up now and thank you for stopping by. I look forward to seeing you around again here soon!


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Dream Interrupted


Today's post features an attempt at a painting of my beloved cat, Flynny.  Flynny sadly passed away late last year and since then, my children have been asking me to paint him so that they'll be able to remember him always.

I still miss Flynny every day as he was a very big part of my life for a long time. Flynny and I shared the ups and downs of life and I'll never forget how during some of my darkest hours over the years, he just seemed to know and would bring me great comfort by sitting on my lap or by sleeping at my feet in bed. Just before he passed away, Flynny spent a series of nights sleeping on each and every person in my family's bed. One night it was on my bed at my feet. The next night, by my husband's feet.  After that my eldest child, the night after that my middle child and lastly my youngest son. At the time I thought it was amusing as he usually preferred to sleep on a sofa or in a box, rather than on our beds.  I can recall making a comment about him "Sure sharing himself around!".

When he suddenly took so ill after the last night of sleeping on our beds, I think it was because he realised that he didn't have long and wanted one last goodbye with each of us. That's the sort of cat Flynny was.  Sweet. Unusual (the only cat I've ever met who had a green bean addiction). Lovably cranky. Mine.

Because of this, I haven't felt ready to try and paint him until now. Maybe you can understand.

After four or five hours' work using my pastels and claire fontaine pastel mat, here is the finished painting of my cranky boy (he didn't used to take kindly to being woken up from a sleep - fancy that!):

I'm not sure how well he's turned out.  I have a feeling that I'm wearing the artistic equivalent of beer goggles at the moment and that the simple fact is I haven't done him justice.

Still, I guess if I don't try to paint him then I'll be sure to never get a good painting of him, right? And each time I try to paint him means one step closer to creating the perfect painting of him, right? (Goodness, what's up with all my insecure commentary today? I have no idea where that came from - sorry about that! Must be the reminiscing.)

Regardless of whether this painting has worked or not, I really enjoyed spending some time thinking about my furry baby today. While I'll miss him always, I'm glad that he was mine and I'll fondly remember him always.

Thanks for stopping by - I'll be sure to post again soon!


Monday, 21 January 2013

The Toy Jungle - Part 3 - Take My Quiz!


Much to my joy, I've managed to snatch a couple of hours today away from work, work and  more work to progress my latest artistic endeavour.

I'm so excited to show you that I've *finally* finished the initial blocking in of my Toy Jungle painting.  Yay!

Despite the fact that this painting isn't quite complete (I still have a little more work to define and adjust values here and there), I figure there is sure to be something contained within the image that will appeal to just about everyone, whether it be hard or soft, matt or shiny, big or small.

In order to celebrate our toy preference differences and because I love nothing more than a pointless quiz, I've gone ahead and created my very own questionnaire here, just for you!  (You can thank me later.) Prepare to be amazed by what you discover about your inner-most self simply by looking at my painting and answering the following easy question.

Kate's Pointless Toy Jungle Quiz

1.  Which is your favourite toy in this painting?
a) Elephant
b) Winnie the Pooh
c) Lego Man
d) Stuffed Toy
e) One of the other toys not mentioned here

That's it.  Done. Finished. Easy!

Now, read on to find out something about your inner-most self. Prepare to be amazed and astounded by my (almost, nearly, not quite) psychic ability!

If you answered:

a) Elephant - You are a larger than life person who loves to stand out in a crowd! You also don't forget things in a hurry.
b) Winnie the Pooh - You are a kind and generous person who has lots of friends. You also love honey.
c) Lego Man - You like to play with Lego. When you were a kid you dreamt of being a builder when you grew up.
d) Stuffed Toy - You crave security and affection. You also like soft toys. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that you have at least one soft toy in your bedroom, hidden somewhere where you think no-one will find it. (Partners count!)
e) One of the other toys - You are an original. You don't conform with something just because other people think you should.


How'd I go? Amazed? I know, I know, I know - I'm honestly not sure how I do it, either. ;-)

See you 'round soon!


Monday, 14 January 2013

Getting Sidetracked by Butterflies

Hey There

I know, I know, I know...

I should be posting an update of my Toy Jungle painting, and I promise that I will sometime this week.  It's just that I really felt like painting some butterflies today for some reason. So I did.

This little artwork took around an hour and a half to paint using a variety of pastels on claire fontaine pastel mat. I need to think some more about whether it is finished or not yet, but I'm quite pleased with how it looks at this stage.

I realise that some people think butterflies are twee and a little daggy to paint and yes, they probably are.  But I have never conformed to what other people *think* I should paint. Perhaps, like Charles Dickens, when it comes to creating "I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free."

Isn't that art is all about?  Being free to be me?  (Oh that rhymes - I'm a poet and I didn't know it! OK, OK, I know I'm not really a poet. Or an artist. But you have to give me points for at least trying, right?)

Right, now I've got the butterflies out of my system, back to my Toy Jungle painting.

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


Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Toy Jungle - Part 2

Why hello there to you on an extremely hot and sunny day here in Brisneyland!

I managed to find a couple of hours free time today while hubby looked after the kids and worked some more on my latest artistic endeavour.  It was most relaxing and enjoyable, particularly as it was not my responsibility to deal with their heat induced whining for the first time this week. Ahhhh, bliss!

After lots of doodling and working with my new pastel pencils, here's where I'm up to now:

I must say I'm beginning to feel that the title "Toy Jungle" should perhaps be changed to "Kate's battle of wills". It feels like for every little mistake I fix, I find another one still needing to be addressed.  Even now, I look at this picture after downloading it onto my computer and I can see *more* stuff I need to address.  Sigh!

Oh well, onwards and upwards, right?  What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger, right?  Any more words of wisdom you'd wish to share as I continue on with this epic artistic battle journey?

Thanks for stopping by, I'll be sure to post an update as soon as I possibly can!


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Toy Jungle - Part 1

Hi There!

Is it just me, or have you also experienced the sensation of looking into your child's toy-box and noticing what an eclectic mix it is of all things plastic, bright and techni-colour?  I wonder if you've then taken it a step further and pondered how whilst the box may very well be a jumbled mess of bits and pieces, it is also a time-capsule of childhood memories, imagination and fun?

Well, I have.

So much so, I thought I'd give it a go and paint it.

I honestly have no idea if I have bitten off more than I can chew at this point, artistically speaking. I've got quite a way to go yet, as this artwork, being so detailed is requiring a lot of time and effort to paint.  I think it's taken me around five hours just to get it to this point.  And I can see it taking many more hours of work, all the while crossing my fingers that I don't muck it up. <sigh>

Whilst painting this artwork may be one of my trickier and time-consuming endeavours of late, I must say I am finding this a rather fun experience, possibly because my children are enjoying watching me paint it.  I asked them today their favourite toys to feature so far in the artwork and I can tell you I've had one vote for the car, one vote for the elephant and one vote for the lego man.  I wonder what some sort of an analyst would make of that?  ;-)

As I continue painting, I'll continue to wonder whether *your* favourite toy will feature here, bringing back memories of a childhood past.

Stay tuned to see what other toys I reveal in my next post later this week...


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Celebrating New Year With My New Pastels!

Hi There

Goodness, first post for 2013.  Is it just me, or does it seem like only yesterday we were all partying like it was 1999?  Time sure flies when you're busy doing other things, that's for sure.

Today's post is my first attempt at using my brand new Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils on a Claire Fontaine Pastel Mat.  My beautiful hubby kindly gave me these products as my Christmas pressie last week and I've been itching to have some time to set about creating since then.  Needing to find a little "Mummy quiet time" following all the celebrations of the past week, it felt wonderful to be able to spend a couple of hours quietly creating today.

It was so much fun!  After using (generally) cheap pastel paper and struggling with a small range of pastel pencils this past year or so, I think that I could get used to using these fantastic materials.  Having such a huge range of colours to choose from coupled with a board that didn't quickly fill up with pastel was a dream.

I know I have a long way to go to feel confident creating realistic skin tones and to improve my ability to correctly place facial features in a portrait.  That said, I'm feeling quite pleased with my first attempt at using these new products and I simply can't wait to find some more time to continue experimenting!

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