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!