Pre flight checklist..

I’ve just been doing my pre flight checklist.
The bags have been packed, weighed, repacked and reweighed and are now sitting on the doorstep ready to go.
There’s a few meals in the freezer for the IT Geek for those nights when the days have been too busy.
I’ve visited Mum and had a good long dose of her loveliness.
I’ve planned The Writers funeral in the wee hours of the morning ( should I bring his body home or just scatter his ashes in France where he so loves to be?)
The sheets are washed and in the dryer ready to make up a fresh new bed for the first night home.
The list of phone numbers is safely installed on the phone and the in laws have been rung for a goodbye.(managed not to seek their opinion on where The Writer should be scattered)
I’ve made and scheduled 6 videos for release on You Tube every Monday we’re away so as not to disappoint my die hard fans.
The “Closed for holidays” sign is in my Etsy shop window.
Only one last thing to check……
The cat was definitely out of the bag before I locked it wasn’t she?

The Light Box – progress report

I made some progress today in meeting my self inflicted deadline to complete the sewing machine drawer project…. I wasn’t entirely happy with the art cover I made earlier so I spent some of yesterday doing some acrylic pours onto plexiglass sheets.

 

Even though they were promising in design when I placed them over the light box the acrylic paint was too thick to let enough light through- although where it was thin some very lovely “light holes” appeared – so there’s an idea bubbling away for a design where I intentionally screen out some areas to get a light pattern- think starry, starry night or bioluminescing water.

Anyway back to the project…I tried an ink pour next and it looked sort of OK .

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Playing with ink pours onto plexiglass sheets.

 

So , out with the drawer which I had previously kitted out with LED light strips attached to a transformer, and on with the plexiglass sheet.

 

The sheet isn’t fixed in place at this stage but I thought it could be OK even though at this stage it looks a little dull. Anyway – on with the lights!!!

 

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WOW! Love it when the light comes on!

It was an instant hit of lovely, warm, bright colour. There are parts of the panel at the top I would like to change but the pouring process is 1 part control, 99 parts out-of-control, and I could do another 100 and not be totally happy. This time I’m going to override my inner perfectionist and let my ‘it’s good enough” out of the box for a play.

I still have work to do because even though I measured twice before I cut it’s still a whisker too tight to recess into the drawer. I’m considering my options carefully to try and avoid shaving the bottom edge of the plexiglass which will be a very painful process-if anyone has any good ideas I’d love to hear! Meanwhile I’ll be straining the brain for a fix or going back for another cut and pour.

A change is as good as a holiday…

I decided to test the old adage that a change is as good as a holiday so I changed my blog theme and I’ll tell you  when I get back from my upcoming Europe holiday if it was as good as 6 weeks of culture, food, art, landscapes, coastlines and general hedonistic holiday revelry.

Sorry to keep you on tenterhooks for the next few weeks but it’s anyones guess how this little experiment will turn out.

The sewing machine drawer project…

I’m brimming over with ideas at the moment and have a lot of projects on the go and a pretty messy studio. It’s not unusual for me to get caught up in a new idea and jump straight in feet first adapting the method to use whatever I have lying around the studio, the kitchen, the workshop or the paddocks! Mostly things work out OK, I’ve got very adept at adapting over the years.

Why all the adapting? It’s all down to my absolute impatience to start creating once I get an idea. Also my absolute impatience to complete a project once started. In my peak sewing days I was heard to say “if I can’t make it in a night it’s not worth making”. This inevitably led to some pretty late nights. Anyways, I start before I completely work out the details and somewhere in the middle I realise I don’t have the tail feathers of a rare Peruvian parrot which is absolutely essential to finish. Not to be thwarted in my headlong assault on the current creative make I head outside and find a couple of sparrow feathers , slightly mangled after the owner’s altercation with our cat ( no acrimonious letters please – the sparrow won), and surprisingly they work just fine.

So it’s been a slight departure from norm that I’m currently working on a new idea that is crawling along…definitely not a one night wonder. I had an idea for using the drawers from my grandmothers old Singer sewing machine to make light boxes. The top of the machine cabinet is wrecked but I didn’t want to throw it out because of the Nan connection so I got my creative side working overtime to come up with a repurposed use for it. The idea of a light box with some sort of art component was the winner and since I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it  I did a spot of googling and started making a list.

There’s actually a lot of bits and bobs that made it onto the list, none of which I had – a thorough search of the house and environs failed to turn up any subs so I headed to Ebay and ordered an express delivery of patience! I’m glad I ordered the XXL bag because the rest of the parts on the list have been slowly trickling in over the last month or so. The day the last bob arrived I had to fly out for a week visit to my father-in-law so the drawers remained unfinished, sitting on a bench overflowing with little packets of LED light strips and solderless connectors, plugs and transformers scattered around and sheets of cut and uncut plexiglass cluttering up the place.

I’ve been home 3 days and there’s been some progress. The box is all wired up, the lights work fine, the panels cut to size with a few spares, the wooden fixing strips are cut to size and it’s all set for the art panel to be attached. The problem is I keep changing my mind about the artwork. I’ve tried ink painting , acrylic pouring and photo transfer on the  plexiglass panels and just can’t decide what to go with. I think the problem is the art panel is going to be permanently sealed in place so once it’s done I can’t go “oops -should have gone with the other one!”

Bottom line is I fly out to Europe in 10 days and it’s going to be finished or I’m not getting on that plane…

Terry Ludwig pastels.

I’ve been coveting a set of Terry Ludwig pastels for a very long time. The trouble is they are quite expensive and you just can’t buy them in Tasmania. So by the time I’ve added postage from the US the “quite expensive” has soared to stratospheric heights of extravagance.

When I retired The Writer kept urging me to spend a little something on myself as a reward for sticking it out so long. I drooled over the full set of Terry Ludwig hand made pastels for some time even going so far as to ADD TO CART to see what the postage was. The message re postage implied I would need to take out a second mortgage to have the 550 set of delicious, buttery, hand rolled pastels delivered to my door. I sighed and deleted from my cart.

Roll forward 3 months and once again I sat up late into the night poring over the various sets on offer. I agonised about the price but I’d just done a couple of commissions and the bank account was looking OK so I decided to choose a small set and treat myself – I don’t think I posted the Easter baskets painting here previously.

Easter Baskets

I really felt I was due a reward after all those people and baskets . The client sent a black and white photo and asked me to paint it in an Easter pastels colour scheme. I did a lot of googling to work out just what might have gone into Russian Easter baskets and can now give you a full run down from lamb shaped butter sculptures to the plaited Easter breads with baked eggs embedded in the plaits.

Anyway , suffice it to say a feeling of entitlement prevailed. I debated the relative merits of the general landscape set versus the basic values set and then settled on the violet collection before succumbing to the gentle call of the Richard McKinley landscape set.

21937-5609-2ww-mI love bright colours and have a lot of them so this set wasn’t my first or natural choice but I kept coming back to it because this set is full of all those muted and soft colours of nature that can be hard to find. It’s going to fill a few gaps in my collection from the grey greens right through to the light hues of soft pinks and creamy yellows. I just love Richard McKinleys art and think I can learn a lot by using his chosen colours to add a little restraint to my vibrant palette. Here’s my first painting using just this box.

Desert colours

Already I love these pastels. It’s incredibly hard to find just the right colour for sage brush and here it was – right out of the box!

I’ll keep you posted on my new love affair with 60 square, yet soft and subtle,  pastels.

 

Acrylic abstraction

I was pretty happy with my first attempts at acrylic pouring on canvas. Well- if we don’t count last nights fiasco – which I ended up scraping off the canvas into the rubbish bin. I don’t know about you but I’m definitely not counting it.Tidal flats

It’s a very simple but unpredictable artform which I’ve been meaning to have a go at for some time. In fact ever since I bought a bottle of the pouring medium at my local art store about 6 months ago. It’s been sitting on the shelf in my little studio tempting me and I finally succumbed at 10 o’clock last night. Probably would have been better to wait till this morning but there you go- when the muse strikes she’s very insistent!

The edge

Basically you fill a few plastic cups with different coloured paint and then thin it down with some pouring medium and water to a thin pancake batter consistency. Add a squirt of silicone, stir and ten layer the colours in another plastic cup starting with white and randomly dropping in the other colours. Then sit a canvas on top of the cup, with said cup centered on the canvas and turn the whole thing upside down. Now just slowly and cleanly lift the cup away from the canvas but NOT straight upwards – off to the side a little.

Pools
Waterways

The whole lot glugs out creating beautiful and random colours and patterns. Tilting the canvas moves the paint around to exaggerate sections of pattern and cover the canvas. At this stage the paint starts dripping down the edges and the mess gets messier. It’s not called a dirty pour without reason! Using a blow torch to run over the surface helps to pop any little air bubbles and create small “cells” where the denser colour (white is densest) drops to the bottom and the lighter colours rise to the surface.

I love the chaos and random beauty of these- not sure if I’ll keep doing it but really enjoyed the process. Let’s see if they dry OK before I make up my mind.

Reflections in a green pool
Reflections in a green pool
Meeting place
Edges
Purple nebula
Purple nebula

 

 

Instagram glam.

I’ve started posting on Instagram. I’m trying to post every day but not always making it. Why don’t I always make it. Here’s why…

my life is full of not so perfect moments

half finished projects in a messy room

cakes with sunken tops and no icing

windows that need cleaning

no makeup and sleepy hair

overcast skies

dishes in the sink

jam dripping off the discarded spoon

surly son who finds it hard to show the love I know is there

dead flies behind the couch where I seldom clean

claw marks where the cat has shredded the leather sofa

a fridge full of left overs

half a tomato someone left on the bench and now it’s growing mould

 

Instagram is full of perfect moments

a fantasy chocolate cake iced to perfection against a vase of full bloom roses

sunlight cascading through the sparkling kitchen window lighting up the polished apples in a golden bowl

elegant furnishings with artfully arranged throws and a puurfect feline accessory

an open fridge door displaying groaning shelves of appealing fruit and veg

windswept hair and rosy complexion

white tunic dress whipping round slender legs against the waters edge

smiling children, eager to please and be pleased

 

Instaglam instasham

I want to start a revolution

maybe I’ll post each day the way it is …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make a folded window artist’s book

This concertina artist’s book displays mini garden paintings in graduated windows on each page. You can cut any size window you want but I like the way this book seems to zoom out from the flowers to the full garden as the windows get progressively bigger.

Materials:

fabric scrap or piece if scrap canvas decorated in any way you like ( I used acrylic inks)

PVA glue ( preferably acid free)

scraps of thick mat board or other card for covers

straight edged metal ruler

craft knife or mat cutter

cloth tape

watercolour paper- you will need a sheet approx 100cm wide

length of ribbon or cord

 

3a

 

Step 1 Make the covers

Cut 2 pieces of card the same size . Mine were 5 x 15cm. Cut two pieces of your cover canvas or fabric 2 cm larger all round and then cut the corners as shown so you don’t have too much fabric to fold under at the corners. Spread glue on the face up side of the covers and use a scrap of card to squeegee the glue all across the surface of the card so it’s smooth. Turn the card over and centre on the fabric and smooth out so there are no wrinkles.3b

 

Fold the corners in neatly and then tear off strips of the cloth tape and tape leaving 1 cm all round free of tape3c

On the back cover lay a length of card/ ribbon accross the cover side to side and tape over it. The tape should be 3 times the width of the cover.3e

 

The front of your covers should look like this ( only not bluury!)3d

Step 2  Prepare your paintings

Now make sure you have 6 mini paintings ( or poems , or cut outs – whatever you like) that will fit in the windows you’re about to cut. I did flowers but it could be anything you like.3f

 

Step 3 Measure and cut your paper.

Now you need to measure your covers and cut a length of watercolour paper that is

LENGTH =(the width of the cover – .5cm) x 6

WIDTH = ( the height of the cover -.5cm) x 2

Step 4  Mark and fold your pages

Once you have cut the paper fold in halve bringing the long sides together. Crease the fold with the back of a bread and butter knife . Open up your paper and mark six equal sections  along the length of the paper strip.

Step 5. Cut the windows

Now you can cut the windows on the top half of the sheet however you like. I cut mine starting 1.5 cm in from the pencil marks leaving 1.5 cm border at top and bottom of the folded half. I increased the length of each window by 1.5cm.

Use a metal ruler and a craft knife for cutting the windows.

Now fold the long edges together again.

3g

 

Step 6  Position the paintings

Next match up your 6 paintings with the 6 windows and try them inside for positioning. I marked around the corners with pencil so I could position them again easily.

Step 7  Fold the pages.

Then you need to fold the strip of paper at each of the 6 sections you marker earlier. Place the metal ruler on the left of the first section mark and fold the right length of paper over the ruler to the left and press the crease. Now lay the ruler on the right of the second section mark which will line up with the start of your paper strip. Fold back over the ruler to the right. Continue the rest of the folds going in opposite direction for each fold. You will end up with a concertina strip as below.3h

Step 8 Glue in the paintings

Open up the strip and glue all along the non window side spreading the glue smoothly with a piece of card. Also place a bead of glue around each window. PLace the painitngs in the pencilled marks you made earlier , fold the strip long side to long side and smooth down to make full contact with the glue. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases. It should look like the photo below.

1aaaa

You can make sure your page folds are crisp and smooth by ironing them with a warm iron.3i

Then I sandwiched them between some card and placed bulldog clips around until they set.3m

Step 9 Glue pages to covers

When fully dry cover the inside of your cover with glue, smooth out and then carefully position the front page painting side up on the front cover leaving an equal distance from the edge around all sides.3k

Do the same with the back page and back cover.3l

 

Leave for a few minutes then fold up the concertina book , wrap the cord around it twice and tie up.1

Step 10 Weight down for 12 hours

Now place under a heavy weight such as a brick or stack of books for 12 hours and you’re all done!

Step 11  Enjoy!

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Why not try one yourself and send me a link to your art book? I’d love to see where your imagination takes you.

 

The last summer day trip.

Saturday was a blue sky day and heralded the last weekend of summer. We’re into rain and colder weather this week so the pool cover will be going on and the ugg boots coming out. Yes – I do have that most ugly of Australian footwear but they are just so toasty warm I gave in and gratefully accepted some Mother’s Day ugg slippers a few years ago.My feet have never stopped thanking me. Anyway , I digress as I often do.What I started out writing about was the blue sky day and here I am blathering on about toasty feet, winter rain and ugg boots!

So, back to the blue sky day. As  previously mentioned the sky was a startling blue, not a cloud in sight, just a vast canvas of cerulean blue. It was too beautiful and inviting to resist so the Writer made curried egg sandwiches ( his current obsession) I grabbed the snorkles and we both picked up our cameras as we headed out the door. The plan was a day trip down the Tasman Peninsula with a spot of swimming if the water was still warm enough.Down south the water temp starts dropping pretty quickly at the end of summer so I wasn’t about to commit until I’d dipped my toes in the water.

Toe dipping went fine and we swam at Safety Cove amongst schools of salmon and dancing gardens of seaweed with the sun casting golden ribbons of light over the sandy seabed. It was joyous! Later we dipped in again at the Tesselated Pavements. In between we drove around the Peninsula stopping so often for photos of the coast that it may have been quicker to walk! A splendiferous end to summer.

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Tesselated Pavenment and Pirates Bay
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Tesselated Pavement reflections
4
Emerald Water
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Safety Cove
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Great roost for a seagull
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Whitecaps and fields of gold
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Ripple reflections

Life is art and art is life!

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