All posts by lindywhitton

These are the things that excite me : well chosen words, vibrant colours that sing of summer , the compelling rhythm of nature's patterns, blank pages pregnant with possibilities. These are the things that I love: my family, creating, painting, writing, laughing, being.

Off to the seaside!

All packed up and ready to head off in the morning for a few days at Swansea- a lovely little seaside town on Tasmania’s east coast.

I can’t believe how much I’ve packed! Every time I travel I promise myself next time will be different- I’ll only take the essentials, I’ll pack light, every second item will be flung out of the suitcase- and then I find myself thinking ” there’s still a bit of room in here, it’d be a shame not to take another dress/top/tube of paint/kitchen sink”.

There’s a carry on size bag for my clothes, shoes and toiletries, a cooler bag of groceries, a plastic crate of painting gear, a backpack with electronics and a box of small canvases and art books!!!! Oh – I forgot the beach bag full of bathers,towel and snorkles.

I plan to do a lot so of course I need a lot. Here’s my to do list in no particular order

  •  walking on the beach
  • swimming
  • snorkling
  • painting
  • prep some art lessons
  • eating healthy meals
  • more walking
  • a few more paintings
  • a big bowl of icecream
  • a pastel sketch or two
  • consume some of mum’s Mrs Smith’s biscuits
  • back for more icecream
  • maybe a bar of chocolate
  • walk outside
  • back for a quick snack

…I think that about covers it. Maybe all I need to take is a big bowl and a spoon?

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Mini canvases.

I have a mini exhibition coming up in 4 weeks and am totally enjoying painting my small canvases for it. I plan on finishing 20 mini paintings over the next four weeks and have already completed six of them.

Bay of Fires. The Dunes.
Bay of Fires. The Dunes.

There’s something about small paintings that’s very liberating. They don’t take up lots of space so I can hang two side by side and work on them simultaneously- while one sky is drying I can paint the other. Somehow this makes me loosen up and at the same time pay more attention to each subject as I switch back and forth between them. I didn’t expect this and I think the paintings are better for it.

Two by Two! In the studio.
Two by Two! In the studio.

Although they’re small I can still pack a lot of detail, or suggestion of detail, into a 6×6 inch canvas. It’s a great way to try out an idea for a larger work, painting two or three versions and refining the composition before I commit to a 100 x 100cm canvas. (Yes… I know I’m mixing my units!)

Lupins and Reflections - Huon River.
Lupins and Reflections – Huon River.

Because there’s only a tiny area to cover I find it relaxing using a fine brush to pop in detail. I don’t tire as I can do when I’m working on large canvases. It seems more like play.

Cosy Corner.
Cosy Corner. Acrylic on canvas.

I have so many potential subjects waiting to be brought to life and working in a small format let’s me experiment at little expense of time, materials and heartache if it all fails miserably!

Spring Beach Pathway.
Spring Beach Pathway.

Not least of all I end up with a collection of affordable mini paintings perfect for someone on a tight budget who wants an original work of art, a traveller with limited space to carry a painting home or an avid collector who has no more wall space. ( I know about all three of these!)

Reflections on the Huon
Huon river reflections. Small acrylic on canvas
The Creek
Small acrylic painting – The Creek

 

Transparency

Some things are easier than others when it comes to painting and trying to get water to look transparent is not one of those easy things. Still – I ‘m fairly pleased with my latest painting – I think I’ve managed to settle the seaweed under the water . I could find fault but today I’m just going to celebrate the parts that worked!

Here it is as it progresses:

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Blocking in the mountains
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Adding some trees and the beginnings of the water.
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In with some seaweed masses
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Seaweed refined

The finished painting  ” Underwater World at Freycinet”

 

Underwater World at Freycinet
Transparent waters, Freycinet

Taking a break from reality.

As with most things there are pros and cons to taking on painting commissions. Mostly I enjoy the challenge of painting to achieve an agreed result and it’s certainly helped me improve my realism as I’ve taken on new subjects  such as aviation art.  The downside is not having enough time to explore and loosen up with a bit of experimentation.  So now the end of year rush is over I’ve decided to take a break from reality and try a few different approaches and see where they take me.

On my first play date with loosening up I splashed around with acrylic inks on watercolour paper and then added in soft pastels for texture.

Mixed media painting of rocks.
Painted rocks. Acrylic ink and pastel on watercolour paper.

 

This was a lot of fun and you can see me going for it here:

And now I’m adding the pastels:

 

Of course I haven’t left realism too far behind… there’s clearly sea, sky, headland and rocks. What I have done is  forget about the actual colours of the rocks and let loose with the inks adding lots of juicy, vibrant colours. Then I used my soft pastels to reshape some areas , add in a bit of texture and try and bring the whole together into a cohesive painting.

It was energising to paint for the love of painting, to not worry about getting an exact rendition of a scene, to only please myself. At first the jury was out on whether it was a success as a painting but the verdict came in a few days later and I added it to my new larger painting outlet on BlueThumb Art.

Christmas joys.

My Christmas was filled with small joys and family traditions.

Our youngest son came home to sleep on Christmas Eve. Our eldest son, who isn’t a big talker, yakked away to him for ages in the jargon of computer gamers and young tech heads, a language their Dad and I are not fluent in! It was a simple joy to listen to their chatter.

We played games and ate too much. The Writer doesn’t really enjoy board games but got into the spirit of it and , as always seems to happen, by the end of the night the three men were united in rubbishing the lone woman of the household. I was glad to have them all there – the rubbishing was a small joy as well as a tradition.

Board games are well and good , but Christmas Eve is not complete without Charades- there was much wild gesticulating, laughter and groans, as we worked our way through such classics as Startrek, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askahban and A Stitch in Time Saves Nine. The boys were totally ignorant in the proverbs department so we had the joy of being able to educate them a little about what an actual needle and thread are and what you use them for – a concept that delighted them with it’s antiquated ideals of thrift and frugality.

After the games The Writer lit the candles and dimmed the lights and with Christmas music filling the house we chatted for awhile before we all drifted off to bed.

Christmas morning started with eggs and bacon followed by waffles and raspberries. Both are traditions in our house but we each usually limit ourselves to either the sweet or savoury- this year we all had both. The Writer has been on a fat free diet recently and so I’ve been joining him – we both enjoyed the Christmas breakout.

The morning disappeared in a flurry of gift opening. We all had put a lot of thought into our gifts and everyone was happy to see they had given a gift that was appreciated. I was grateful  that my art earnings had made it possible to donate to my favourite charities the same amount I had spent on our family. As much as I appreciated my gifts I felt true joy to know that there would be people that would have their sight restored , food on their table and help when they needed it.

The rest of the day was full of food, games, laughter and music.

It was a small Christmas, only the four of us, but that first Christmas started with a family of three in a humble shelter. There was wonder,love and hope, I’m sure there was concern andworry about how life would work out for their small family. It’s not always easy being a family but there is joy to be found in the small things, , the unexpected hug from the non hugging son, the quiet chat that reminds you of the protective feelings one son has for his less socially adept brother, the sacrifice The Writer makes in asking for one more game just so we can prolong the day as we draw closer together over shared memories and traditions.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not I hope you have your own quiet joys and traditions that give your life depth and meaning. That you feel loved and needed, that you can help others in some way and that you feel connected to our shared human family .

My first retirement year.

It’s been a busy year for me since retirement. I’ve been dabbling in any number of artsy projects, taken a 6 week holiday in Europe, had a solo exhibition, been on the organising committee for the very first Etsy Made Local Christmas market in Hobart and done 38 custom paintings!

Here’s a smattering of those paintings….

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Texas Mountain Laurel
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Holidays by the lake
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Gold coast summer
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The flood rescue
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A romp in the snow

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Derwaentwater Cottage
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Our House
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Mountain Mist
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The Barn
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A Family Outing
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Holiday memories
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Walking the Dogs
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The Life Guards Chair
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Church in the Snow
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The Cabin in the Forest
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A Favourite Forest Drive
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Boating memories
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Our House

Now the market’s over.

I’ve been noticeably absent from my blog for the last wee while ( what!! you hadn’t noticed my absence?) Anyway, I’ve been absent, whether noticed or not. I was so busy with being on the organising committee for the first Etsy Made Local market to be held in Tasmania that I hardly even had time to create for my own stall.

It was a roller coaster ride with a lot of last minute hurdles to overcome … I’m a diminuative 5’2″ ( I claim the 2″ but the fact is I’m shrinking and it’s more like 1″ these days) and those hurdles were a big stretch for me. The venue hirer changed the building on us due to a double booking with only days to go and we had to redraw stall plans and a whole lot of flow on effects to deal with.

The lowest point for me was when I went to lock up the building on set up day only to find that they had given me the wrong key. There I was , all on my own, in a building full of vendor’s stock and the faint whiff of goat, it was 8:30 , I’d had no lunch  or dinner and the person who had the key had turned off her phone for the weekend. I couldn’t leave as we needed the key to open up in the morning. If you had passed by on the highway around 9:30 you would have heard the hysterical sobbing of  woman preparing to sleep on a concrete floor after a long day of set up when all she wanted was a hot shower and a soft bed.

One of the committee member’s husband arrived an hour later , mounted on his white steed ( well – driving his 4WD) and sent me home whilst he manned the building. Bless him!!

The market turned out to be a great success for all with massive numbers of buyers and great sales but there are still those who want to focus on the negatives despite it being their biggest ever market success.

Next year I plan to just be a vendor, and to THANK the committee for their hard work and keep my negative snips to myself!!!

 

A few little projects

I’ve been working on a few different projects over the last couple of weeks and been very slack about blogging! Not sure why , perhaps I’ve just been enjoying doing and not wanting to be distracted by writing. Anyway  I’m making amends by posting a few photos of some of those little projects….

I collected up all the twigs dropped by the possums from our silver birch and spent a happy hour turning them into Christmas wreaths. The cat had a ball pouncing on the twigs as I twisted them around and then the string I used to tie them together.

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Next I sewed up some cotton cushion covers and drew botanic designs on them all. They’re all nicely packaged up for the Etsy Made Local Christmas market now. I love the minimalist approach with these.. balck and white line drawings.

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Then I picked up a Christmas snowflake punch at the local recycling centre for $5 and made a few little Christmas tags. I love that the hole makes a design and then I can use the punch out for another!

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I also started teaching a pastel class and did a few video demonstrations for them as well as the classes.

Tuscan wheatfields. Pastel painting
Tuscan pastel painting
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Brittany cottage

I also picked up some white china mugs at the recycling centre and tried out some homemade alcohol inks on them- it’s very satisfying seeing random patterns appear and not being in control of the final outcome.

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Alcohol inked mugs

 

….and there’s more!

gumleaf watercolours
Gumleaf watercolours all framed up

 

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Handmade concertina artbooks

 

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Acrylic disc pendants all ready to string up

 

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A soon to be  clock- ready for the mechanism to be added.

 

So please forgive me for my lack of writing – I’ve just been too busy doing!

What projects have you all been up to?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play day!

I’m finally winding down after the exhibition. It went really well, I sold lots, met some lovely people and enjoyed it all BUT was I exhausted after it!! I spend a few days just tidying up the studio, storing the unsold paintings and then got straight into a couple of commissions so it’s been pretty full on until today.

I did promise a client to start her painting today but as it’s small and not too detailed I felt justified in just sketching it up and giving myself a play day. I just finished a very detailed house portrait yesterday and really felt like loosening up artistically speaking. I started with some acrylic blown flowers ( yep – I know one of them looks like a dropped a fried egg in the middle!)

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….and then moved onto a bit of marbling with some nail varnish. These little tealight holders look pretty spiffy with their new marbled coat.

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I did do a bit of cutting and sewing of cushion covers in between but you don’t want to see pics of piles of white fabric.

Ah well – it was a good day but it’s back to the commissions tomorrow. That’s a good thing though as I just ordered a complete set of handmade pastels online and I’ll need a few clients to pay for them!!

Today’s art project

Day 8 at the exhibition was a busy day. I made another small handmade watercolour book, did a little pastel painting and tried out a daisy design on a white lamp shade. & more days to go so a few more art projects to go!

Art shade and handmade art book.
Art shade and handmade acrylic sketch book.

 

Bay of Fires pastel painting.
Small pastel painting. Bay of Fires. Tasmania.