Category Archives: Making art

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!

 

 

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.

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

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!!