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

 

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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.

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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
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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

I’ve been busy…..

I meant to post more often once I retired but I’ve been busy…. so here’s a collection featuring my “busy” for the last little while.

Mini pastel painting book

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Mini pastel painting book

I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a mini book filled with pastel paintings. The big problem is the smudge factor as the pastel is so delicate. I finally hit on the idea of placing a sheet of framing acrylic straight on the painting, securing with tape then glueing the painting to the inside covers of the book.

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Pastel painting book

 

 

Next I added a mat to hide the edges and joined the covers with a painted canvas hinge. I think it could be a goer- I’ll sit it on the shelf and see what I think in a few days time.

Now that took a lot of thinking and fiddling round and a fair chunk of my “busy”….

 

 

A few You Tube demos

I wanted to get a couple of YouTube demos done and put away for a rainy day. It’s good to have one sitting ready to upload if I have a dry idea week. So I did a couple of small paintings, edited the videos and now I have a spare. That took a medium size chunk of “busy”….

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McWay Falls

 

A trip up the coast

Hey this was work folks! I needed a few more photos of the East Coast of Tasmania. Seriously, I’ve only got a few thousand and that’s just not enough . We left early in the morning and I got some shiny sea shots on the way up which I was pretty happy with.

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Early morning sea
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Shining sea

 

Then some sunny ones at Honeymoon Bay ( a fantastic little beach in the Freycinet National Park). In between the photography I squeezed in a spot of snorkling so as not to waste the sun, warm water and prolific marine life.

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Honeymoon Bay
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on my lunch break

 

Then back home again with a few stops…

Friendly Beaches, Freycinet National Park
Friendly Beaches, Freycinet National Park
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Friendly Beaches
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Golden fields
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and those orange lichen rocks – totally untouched!

and that was a very full day of “busy”.

I unleashed the sewing machine

A trip to the home furnishing shop a few weeks ago saw me grab  few bolt end fabrics and they ended up in this trio of bags.

aaaaaa

 

And I made another mini watercolour painting book.

Just wanted to play with my new Schminke watercolour set which is lush!

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In between the busy I’ve swum and snorkled, baked and eaten, walked and talked, written and read so forgive me for my blogging slackness please.

What’s your “busy” been ?

Feedback and questions about your paintings.

If you want to ask for feedback or advice about your own painting, or you have a question about something I haven’t covered in my You Tube videos, or you have a suggestion for a topic you would like me to cover you’re in the right place!

Just leave me a comment with your question and/or a link to your painting and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Happy painting!

Day Trip

On Monday I headed down to Cygnet to drop off some paintings at an exhibition. It was a glorious sunny morning and The Writer was headed in the opposite direction to Port Arthur to take the Tasman Island cruise. I would have joined him but for the need to drop off the paintings and the fact that I’m such a bad sailor there was no way I was ever going to get on that boat! The waters down there can be pretty rough and the boat is a very bouncy ride – all adding up  to a green and nausious experience for me which I preferred to avoid.

So, back to the Cygnet trip which was by road and much less bilious all round!

I packed the car with my painting kit, trusty Red Velvet (my camera) the paintings to be delivered and some lunch. This took a bit of time. Painting kit makes it sound like a small box you might fit your first aid items in-try imagining a 1940’s film star heading off on the Orient Express for a 6 week grand tour of Europe and you might get a glimpse of the magnitude of the packing job. I had acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, my field box of pastels, rags, charcoal, pencils, alcohol ( not the drinking kind- I’m driving!) paper, sketchbook, easel and a kitchen sink just in case I might need to wash up after the painting! Then I decided it wasn’t quite enough so I threw in the tripod in case I wanted to YouTube the painting.

Red Velvet got quite a work out on the way down. As soon as I hit the Huon River I was stopping every few minutes- the reflections were fantastic and the blackberries lining the road were ripe and luscious- so between the snapping there was a fair bit of berry browsing!

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The big bend at Huonville
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The wetlands magic.
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Boat on the Huon river.

 

I often have trouble committing to a painting spot when I head off plein aire. I want the perfect subject , the perfect place for the easel, not too much traffic to disturb me and a bit of shade nearby. So I kept on driving and was very tempted by the reflections here…

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Golden grass reflections. Huon River.

but all the time I was thinking of Drip Beach so I kept heading south past more perfect reflections…

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Reflecting on the Huon River.

…and then I arrived. I love this small beach because it has such interesting shadows from the gum trees behind the beach. I’ve painted these shadows before and I thought I might try a different format this time…

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Drip Beach shadows.
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Sparkle on the water.
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Green water, red rocks.

 

I parked the car in the shade, hauled out the easel and set up. It was a lovely spot and I enjoyed being out in nature painting for a change. There were a few locals out walking their dogs and we exchanged greetings as they trooped on by. They stopped to check my progress on the way back and wanted to know if I was famous- not really- but they wanted my name anyway!

A couple of happy hours passed and here’s the result…

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Shadows on the water. Drip Beach.

I’ve promised myself I’ll get out and about more this year and this was a good start!

 

 

 

Painting snow in pastels.

Setting up.

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Tablet with reference photo

I like to use my Samsung Galaxy tablet to view the reference photo on as I paint because it has great colour and I can zoom in and out for detail if I need to. I just hang it up next to my paper. Then I choose the boxes of pastels I’ll be using and set them out. I’m using my Unison Lights for the snow, a box of greens I’ve made up myself for the trees and some Sennelier Darks for any area that needs a punch of deep, dark colour. The Unison Landscape set is for extras I might need. I chose a purple/violet MiTientes TEX sanded paper and taped it to a foamcore board.

 

set
My boxes of pastels all set out.

Blocking in.

Next I sketch in the main composition lines with a white charcoal pencil and block in the main shapes with my harder pastels then wash them down with a watercolour brush dipped in alcohol.

 

Add in other basic shapes.

Now I start working from background to middle to fore ground.

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Blocking in middle trees and warming foreground trees.
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Adding some detail to the middle trees.
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Laying in the bright snow
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Snow on foreground trees.

 

Finishing off with a snowfall.

I choose a few very light blues and a white. Holding the pastel above the painting which I’ve now laid flat I scrape lightly with the knife and a little shower of pastel dust falls onto the painting. I start with lighter blues and end with some bigger flakes of white for the closest snowflakes.

Now I take a piece of greaseproof paper and place on top of the painting. Pressing down gently I move my hand in a circular motion to press the pastel flakes into the paper.

 

Finished painting and reference.

I was concentrating on the snow and didn’t realise that I sloped the paddock the opposite direction until I looked at it later. Doesn’t really matter as this was just a demo for my YouTube channel.

snow3

sn

Why not use the reference photo and have a go at a snowy winter scene. It’s lot’s of fun. Send me a link to your painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scepticism reigns supreme

My mum gave me this clipping of a writeup her local paper did to promote a charity fundraiser work shop I’m running for Mum. At 81 she’s doing the full head shave to raise funds for the Leukeamia Foundation and although I’m not quite brave enough to crop the locks I’m doing what I can to support her.

Anyway I left the clipping on the table and The Writer duly admired it. Then out troops The IT geek who takes a peek and asks who it’s about. “Why, me” I coyly reply. With a look of scepticism he flicks it over and says “Oh , it’s just the local rag” Numder two son strolls by later. He being of a more generous nature at least trys to be impressed but doesn’t  quite carry it off as he can’t resist rolling the “renowned”off a few times with a big grin on his moush.

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I’m keeping it though. There might be some of you out there waiting for grandkids to take to the park, provide an excuse for eating icecream at the beach, and the odd grandbaby cuddle. All I’m hoping for is a fair degree of easily impressedness, cause there sure isn’t any in my own offspring!

To be fair I did get a bit of a giggle myself at the use of the word Renowned. At least they didn’t try to pin down were it actually is I’m enjoying the status of “renowned” but I can report it isn’t in my own house!

Life is art and art is life!

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