Category Archives: Just musing

Scam or glam?

I found this sitting in my Draft bin and realised I’d never posted it – so here’s a little story form Dec 2017.

Early December amongst the manic finishing of Christmas commissions I got a very professional and pleasant email from someone purporting to work for Etsy in Australia. She asked if I would agree to loan a small painting for a photo shoot at Australian House and Garden magazine. I just needed to send it the next day to reach Sydney in time for the shoot.

The Wave
The Wave- Acrylic on canvas.

My first reaction was that it was a scam. Someone was trying for some free Christmas presents! The email looked legit but I knew that Etsy had closed it’s staff office in Australia earlier that year so my suspicions were fueled. The IT Geek checked it out and assured me it was definitely a scam.

Donning my figurative deerstalker I started my own little investigation. First I asked around on the Etsy teams if anyone knew of a Sarah who worked for Etsy. Straight away someone replied that there used to be a Sarah who worked in PR – maybe it was her? Next I googled the company name on her email and that seemed to be a legit PR firm. I google earthed the address she’d asked me to post it to and that was a photo studio complex. Lastly I phoned up reception at the PR company and asked them to put me through to Sarah , and they did.

With all the evidence in I decided to send off the little painting, the IT Geek was still sceptical.

Two weeks later it arrived back, well packed and a thank you note included.There was no mention of when or if it would appear in the magazine and I assumed they didn’t use it.

Then a couple of days ago I got tagged in an Instagram post and there it was, my little seascape sitting on a bedside table in a beautifully styled bedroom. And 1 day later the painting was sold!

Maybe I wouldn’t have sent it if it was a more valuable painting but I’m glad I was willing to take a small gamble, do a bit of due diligence and cough up for the post. Now to go and check out that legacy I just need to send my passport to collect…..

A day out with POGO

I’m recommitting to getting in some plein air painting on a regular basis this year so headed out with my painting buddies for a session at a local beach area this week. Here we are having lunch in the shade after a hot few hours painting away and trying to get my acrylics on the canvas before they dried!

Here we are lunching in the shade after a mornings painting.

I love the name of this group. POGO is short for painters of the great outdoors but I always get a mental image of a group of artists bouncing around on pogo sticks with their easel and paints flapping around them as the go.

That wasn’t quite us but we did have a lot of fun and I will be making a real effort to schedule in every 3rd Monday of the month for a painting battery recharge in the fresh air.

A day out

We had a wonderful day trip down the Tasman peninsula this week for a spot of photography and some snorkeling.

Our first stop was at Remarkable Cave at low tide . This is a double entrance sea cave with spectacular views out to sea through one of the entrances.

Remarkable Cave at low tide.

Next stop the Tessalated Pavement which has such interesting rock formations.

I managed to scare myself here by snorkeling right over the top of a huge stingray which had just been disturbed from his hiding place in the sand by my husband who was swimming ahead. I saw what I thought was a strange piece of drift wood a few inches under me and almost reached out to touch it as it looked so smooth… then I saw it was the stinging tail of a ray and I back pedddled very fast. A few weeks ago at a local beach a man died from the sting of a stingray and I did not want a repeat !

I really wanted to remember this day so got straight into the paints when we were home again. Here’s my effort to capture the clear water and sunny day.

if Acrylic on canvas

If painting on site isn’t an option then painting from a very fresh memory is the next best thing. I’d taken a lot of photos, swam off these rocks and lunched looking over the view so when it came to the painting I really only needed these memories to get me started and didn’t have to refer to the photos at all.

Immersing yourself in your subject is a great way to get that emotional content we should always be aiming for, and swimming is a great way to immerse yourself if your subject is water!

Looking back on 2018….

As the sun rises on a new year ( just used that so I could tie it in with my feature photo!!)I looked back at some of my arty adventures during 2018.

I joined a artist coop early in the year and have had a lot of fun sitting in the Quoll Gallery. It’s always nice to meet the people who buy my paintings and they love to meet the artist! I’ve also met a lot of other artists who , like me, love to check out galleries wherever I travel.

Sharing an idea from the Gallery on my Patreon page.

My Patreon page was a bit of a risk because I knew it would eat up my time. It’s been artistically rewarding as I’ve met wonderful people from all walks of life with a love of art in common. I have a small bunch of subscribers which has allowed me to interact with them more and really get to know them and their artistic aspirations and I’ve enjoyed the exchanges we have. Because it’s small I can spent time critiquing their paintings for them and answering their questions which I think would be impossible with a really large group. As I prepare the lessons and exercises it’s made me reflect more about my own art practices and I think it ‘s improved me as a teacher and an artist. Each month I concentrate on a theme and here’s one of the painting demos and lessons I did last month for our “Using Darks Effectively” theme.

Using black paper with pastels

I travelled to the USA, Canada, Italy, France and Switzerland and had a blast. Got a lot of painting done, hiked, swam, snorkeled, ate, photographed and soaked up the scenery. Don’t ask me what was my favourite place because I just can’t narrow it down! Here’s a few paintings I did while travelling.  

Also a video of me getting into a bit of palette knife painting in the Vanoise region of France while Trevor did a hike.

Palette Knife Mountain painting.

Then there was the Etsy Christmas Market that I was on the organising committee for. It went fantastically but sure took up a lot of time.! Here’s a photo of one of the happy stall holders taken by Raven Jay Photography.

I’ve also been teaching a pastel class at one of our local art groups, Colour Circle.  It’s been great seeing the students try new techniques , experiment, move out of their comfort zone and improve their skills. This year I’ll be adding a mixed media class which promises to be great fun!

A lesson on how to choose the paper colour
Some of my pastel collection for the class to ty.

Then there was all that busy , busy commission painting for Christmas.

One of my fave commissions this year.

It’s been a great year and now I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring. What did you do in 2018? What are you looking forward to in 2019?

It’s been awhile…

Here is why it’s been awhile between posts…

I’ve been

  • inundated with Christmas painting commissions,
  • am taking a pastel class
  • and a workshop for beginners,
  • am on the committee organising the annual Etsy Made Local Christmas market
  • as well as trying to make stock for the market itself
  • and trying my hand at eco printing – some new experiments going on

 

Life has been super busy and blogging has taken a back seat. So here are a few photos of what I’ve been up to… in no particular order. What have you been doing ?

 

 

Mini story cards.

I recently made some new linocuts and decided it would be fun to add a little story to them for the back of the cards I planned to use the prints on. Here’s what resulted.

 

 

“The Birdwatcher’s Club”

The cats met every Tuesday around lunchtime for a spot of sedate birdwatching. It was quietly thrilling as they took up position on the windowsill, never knowing what they might see through the dining room window that day. Perhaps it would be a baby Blue Fairy Wren so tiny and vulnerable as it took its first tentative flights, or maybe an endangered Swift Parrot attracted by all the ripe Irish Strawberries lying on the ground, or the first of the winter  Robins with their bright crimson breast so easily spotted as they perched on the low wooden fence. The possibilities were so deliciously varied … 

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The Birdwatcher’s Club

 

“Harry the Hairy Nosed Wombat”

“Harry was debating if he should get his hairy nose fixed. He felt sure it was hampering him in his quest for love. Maybe it was as simple as investing in a good razor?   “

 

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Harry the Hairy Nosed Wombat

 

“Tassie Devil”

Tassie was sure that now he had finally made it to the front cover of a greeting card he would be spotted by a talent agent and make the big time. Maybe a wildlife documentary or even a cartoon of his own. “

 

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Tassie Devil

I enjoyed this so much I think I might try some more…..

 

 

 

The dreaded demo

I had the first lesson of this terms pastel class today. I know I need to demonstrate techniques for my class and I’m happy to do it but it does put the pressure on to make a “good” painting! When it all goes wrong I can hear them thinking ” I’m paying her to teach me!!!!”

So it was a bit of a mistake to try a new approach today that I knew would take too long to finish. I planned to only do a small area well and leave the rest of the subject area pretty empty.

DSCN1995

Plans never go to plan! I started out with the idea of concentrating on the barn and rendering that to a finished stage but then my students had the audacity to follow through on my suggestion that they interrupt at any time and ask questions… I found myself moving into the trees and the sky in response and the end result looked like the unfinished scribblings of a two-year old let loose with the crayon packet! I meant to take a photo but somehow forgot so you’ll just have to imagine it but you can use the following to gauge it’s true horror. To be fait it was a lot more resolved than this but still very, very uninspiring which could be why my sub conscious forgot to take that photo.

Not content with one mess I grabbed another sheet of paper and scribbled a bit more .

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I could have done better with more time but I’m always conscious that the main reason they’re in the room is so they can paint and I like to keep a strict 30 minutes for my into waffle and demo so I packed up the waffle iron and got them painting …and they did some great work which I like to think was partly in response to the earlier 30 minutes of demo and discussion. ( and which I hope they think was in some way a result of my teaching points or it coud be a very empty class room next week!)

When I got home I needed to finish that barn! An hour later I put the finishing touches and then tackled the scribbled sheet with an imaginary reflection scene. It felt good to relax with no video running, no need to talk about what I was doing ( I may have babbled on a bit to myself , but myself is very laid back when listening to myself, so no pressure there) and no one to see the end result as it unfolded. It could all go in the bin if I hated it.

DSCN3997

Demonstrating to a live audience is full of pressure, a video is a bit better but if it all goes wrong there’s a lot of wasted time ( and to be honest I get a bit tired of talking while I paint – although the IT Geek would tell you I never get tired of talking!) and doing commissions is fraught with possible problems to be resolved. Painting just for me happens a lot less than it used to and I really, REALLY, enjoyed it.

I plan to do more!

Oops…

If you’ve never edited an hour plus video you probably don’t realise how long it takes……forever! By the time you cut out all the “lost for words” moments and the “totally wrong word” moments not to mention the ” absolute drivel” and ” sheer babbling” there’s a whole lot of virtual video tape littering the lounge room floor.

Then there’s all the dead time when you had to leave the room to go to another smaller room for a moment. Or when your other half walks in waving your mobile at you as it shrilling tinkles out it’s little tune. All that joins the rest of the dross in the cut bin. Then there’s a little bit of zooming in and recentering and a title and end card to make. You probably get my drift…it’s very time consuming.

My new Patreon page is up and running and a few people have found there way to it and actually signed up. So I have some paying supporters who I’ve promised to deliver video lessons to and I’ve done the painting demo, videoed the whole thing and then posted a photo of the painting with a promise to deliver the completed video lesson shortly. All good so far, until I find out 40 minutes into the edit that one of the clips is corrupted and I can’t recover it. Well, I don’t find out about the not being able to recover it until an hour later when I’ve exhausted all the online advice I can find ( and let’s be truthful here- all the online advice I could find and understand).

Now the thing with doing painting demo videos is that you can’t do a retake of a painting. If the video doesn’t work it’s pretty difficult to unpaint a finished painting. It can be done- with a tub of white paint- but I didn’t feel like doing the whole thing over so I gave it some thought.

That’s when I came up with the idea to paint another version on a very small square  right up to the spot where the video file cut out on me. I filmed the missing bit of the painting and then patched that into the existing video, zoomed it up and another 2 hours later….yes there was another problem!….I finally finished the edit and sent it off to renderland.

I have earned my sleep tonight… and am very glad I’ve only committed to two full videos each month!

PS I did enjoy both paintings. If this Patreon thing works out maybe I can hire a video editor!!!

Taking a risk.

There’s nothing like putting yourself out there to make life feel a little risky. I’ve just set myself up on Patreon and made a little intro video to launch my new venture to my public – and I feel a bit wobbly.

What if noone is interested? How will that make me feel? Probably a bit deflated and despondent , maybe it will curtail my enthusiasm for putting so much time and effort into my You Tube channel. The truth is I needed to do it because I would like to improve my video recording and editing but to do that I need better equipment and some up skilling and to do that I need some income which I don’t get from You Tube. So If I don’t put myself out there my videos won’t improve – and if none of my 4360 You Tube subscribers are interested then I guess it means they’re happy with my current production values!

What have I got to lose? Only a little self confidence and a bit of an ego bruising.

So here goes…..

Could try harder…

In my first retirement year I went a little ballistic and took on some big projects. I tried lots of new ideas and by the end of the year needed a quiet Christmas.

Twenty years ago I was into a lot of crafts and feeling that I could do many things well but nothing seriously great. It was about then I started focusing on painting and that became my passion. I stopped dabbling and concentrated my dwindling spare time and my creative budget on progressing in this one field.

Though I continue to learn and try new mediums my years of focus have given me  a certain confidence in my art skills that’s let to a successful You Tube channel and local art tutoring.

So why does my retirement report card read ” could try harder”?

Well, it’s funny how life is cyclical. Twenty years on and I’m again reminding myself I don’t have to try every new craft or technique that catches my interest. My artistic confidence and extra time have led me down that dangerous, but so enticing , dabbling path again .

I firmly told myself to get a grip and let go of all those projects…and there I was five minutes ago chatting to my sister and the whole conversation was sprinkled with new ideas for more projects. I think she might have referred to me as a dynamo or some other tightly wound object.

So- I must try harder!  To de-project, to do more of a few things, to resist the urge to splurge on those silk dyes . I must focus in and simplify my creative pathways.

Today I took the first step. I went down the paddock and picked eucalyptus leaves from three different trees, I placed them in separate tubs and covered them with water. Now I will patiently wait 4 weeks before I use these leaves in my first carefully documented eco printing experiment.

This is something I planned to do when I retired and I jumped in feet first , producing a few interesting fabrics and then a few more very uninteresting prints. Other ideas and projects got in the way and I never persued that idea. I have a habit of wanting instant results, I paint quickly, I read a book in one sitting , if I can’t sew a dress in one night it’s not worth making.

I will try harder – to start at the beginning , to work through the middle and complete my eco printing goal . I have a plan, and it’s a long term plan. I know this is something that I can’t master easily, that needs documenting as I go, that will be very rewarding if I invest the time it needs. So here’s to a year of trying harder!