Category Archives: Just musing

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?

Advertisements

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….

15100260509690
Texas Mountain Laurel
15082235292171
Holidays by the lake
15120265478010
Gold coast summer
15124714927200
The flood rescue
15128913838760
A romp in the snow

15121988358650

15129818954140
Derwaentwater Cottage
15132052209612
Our House
15132314494110
Mountain Mist
15114706693070
The Barn
15113035230830
A Family Outing
15104680512350
Holiday memories
15119069318920
Walking the Dogs
15109778932880
The Life Guards Chair
15109782912631
Church in the Snow
15095311489550
The Cabin in the Forest
15087348616600
A Favourite Forest Drive
15066679961280
Boating memories
15076924602521
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.

15096957524496

 

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.

15096956984295

 

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!

15096956159652

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
15096955365550
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.

15096954750319
Alcohol inked mugs

 

….and there’s more!

gumleaf watercolours
Gumleaf watercolours all framed up

 

15096953346394
Handmade concertina artbooks

 

15096952753052
Acrylic disc pendants all ready to string up

 

15096952401521
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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pre historic artist.

It’s difficult to put into words how and why some art moves me so. I’ve often seen reproductions of pre historic cave paintings and found them interesting. Interesting is such a bland kind of word and accurately describes my reactions to these reproductions. I admired the semi accuracy of the bison and horses, I idly wondered what pigments they used and assumed they painted what they saw in their daily life.

It wasn’t till I visited my first cave with pre historic paintings that I experienced a visceral reaction to the dimly lit animal outlines painted as they were reverently introduced and illuminated by the guide. It surprised me and excited me. It caused me to speculate on the how and why of these ancient works of art. It sparked my imagination in a way I hadn’t expected.

This first cave I visited was Pech Merle and the visit was so memorable  because of the art but also because the guide was the grandson of one of the two boys who rediscovered the cave in 1922 . It was obvious by his reverence for the paintings and his patient attention to seeing that every visitor got a good view of each  that he felt a special connection to the place and the artwork

Image result for pech merle spotted horses

Since then I’ve visited several caves and each time I find myself inexplicably moved by the simple renditions of animals. I wonder what drove ancient man or woman to make torches , grind and mix pigments and then walk deep into a dark cave, using valuable time and resources to carefully create an outline of an animal. To seek out and use rocky contours to suggest the flank or shoulder. To re emerge from the darkness and leave their artistic expressions without an audience.

Cave art in Europe was not done as decoration for living quarters. They didn’t just think ” that wall could do with something to brighten it up” and mix up some water and ochre pigment from the floor and get the kids to do a bit of finger painting. There has been no evidence of occupancy of these caves. So was it for some kind of ritual, part of their spiritual life? Some cave art depicts animals not found in that region at the time the painting was done. This prompts the thought that art knowledge must have been passed down from one artist to another – to accurately depict an animal never seen would be a very difficult task. Was the artist an important member of the clan? Was the art part of initiation ceremonies? My list of questions goes on and on.

I paint for many reasons. In response to a particular light effect, because I want to capture a feeling, to express gratitude for this wonderful earth, to calm my racing mind, to create someting of meaning, to bring joy to self and others. My most burning question is what motivated the pre historic artist. Do we share the same artistic DNA? As I visit each new cave I find it easier to believe that the people who created these paintings were artists foremost , no matter what the role of the art in the social, ritual and spiritual life of their clan. The paintings reflect a delicacy, thoughtfulness and immediacy that I associate with art rather than design.

I imagine one artist teaching another to draw with sticks in the sand, to mix pigments and to make their first treck into a cave . They must have practised many times before their first cave painting as there is an economy of stroke that is only accomplished through repeated practice. Was the artist born or chosen? Was it the role of women or men or was it open to both?

I know the stories of Van Gogh, Da Vinci, of Rembrant and Vemeer and it adds context to their paintings. I long to know the stories of these pre historic artists and in their absence I make my own stories. One day maybe I’ll flesh out my stories and fill a book……

One thing leads to another…

You know how it is …. you go to the hardware store for a tube of putty for a project you want to finish today , you end up buying a new workbench for the studio and spend the rest of the day reorganising the whole room. At least that’s what I did with my day! What did you do with yours?

…. and no, the project didn’t get finished, but the workbench is a peach!

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 .

14940640540784
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!!!

 

14940638665150
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.