I got such a positive reaction to my recent pastel painting of Adventure Bay that I did another for my Mum’s “World’s Greatest Shave ” fundraiser auction. There’s already been anabsentee overseas bid for it so I hope it does well for the Leukaemia Foundation on the night. This photo is on the dark side- need to hone up my photography skills a bit .
A friend saw the first pastel on Instagram and asked if I could paint a small canvas for her as it brought back lot’s of childhood memories of holidays spent at Adventure Bay.So I went ahead and painted this one today. I think it’s my favourite because of the lively colours in the shadows on the sand.
Then I decided to break out my new Schminke watercolours and try a large (for me) painting. I really only use watercolours for pen and wash sketches these days so this was a bit of an adventure. I did find I’d forgotten a lot of the techniques but was happy I’d remembered any to be frank! I like the reflections, the clouds are OK ,the shadows are too pink and the foilage is overworked.
It was interesting trying the same painting in pastels, acrylics and watercolours and made we want to brush up my watercolour technique and try a few more. We’ll see how that goes!
I’ve been wanting a day trip to Bruny Island all January but The Writer was hanging out for the perfect day. He was after all those blue sky and sparkling sea shots. I was all for just going and working with the weather! So last Saturday I got up early , packed lunch and said “Let’s go”- and off we went.
I have to say I was quite happy with a few clouds- I’ve got lots of sunny shots from previous trips . My first solo art exhibition was inspired by a day trip to Bruny on an astonishingly beautiful summers day and I was looking for a different, more moody side of the island. The early morning light was subdued and the water took on a silver sparkle.
I love this into the sun shot at the Neck and have already painted a small pastel using it as reference.
I added a little more colour and used a square format. I’m a bit of a fan of the square for small paintings.
The clouds came and went creating some interesting skies and reflections.
…and the water kept on sparkling.
The tidal flats had just enough shallow water to make for great reflections of the amazing clouds…
And finally the sun took over the day and we had a swim and a snorkle in the fairly chilly water at Coal Pt with it’s weathered rocks that have been wind blasted creating a myriad circular pockets in the rock.
Then off to Adventure Bay for a few shots in the bright sunlight to satisfy The Writer.
The lovely tracery of shadows on the sand inspired another painting…
All in all, another stunning day on this small island off an island.
Three weeks into retirement and I’ve settled into it nicely thank you very much! My days have naturally evolved a schedule of their own which I’m feeling pretty pleased with. I was beginning to panic a little before the big R date what with all the plans and projects I had in the pipeline. Some time during the last 3 weeks I gave the pipe a bit of a flush and have been a whole lot more relaxed since then ( no metaphors intented there!)
So how do I fill my days? I get up when I please which is usually fairly early – but how nice it is to occaissonaly sleep in without any pangs of guilt at all that wasted time. I shower, breakfast and do a spot of spiritual contemplation to start the day. Next comes a quick check on Etsy and followup on any commission queries. Now The Writer gets some time and we usually head off for a morning walk along the beachside walking track at Blackman’s Bay. The water views are changeable but always beautiful . There’s a bit of an incline both ends of the walk – after 3 weeks l can already climb the cliff path faster.
Home for a morning paint, or a sewing session and then lunch by the pool at noon. I do some more work in the studio till 2’ish and then it’s a swim and a read in the deck chair. This is when I catch up on my art books- just choosing one at random and dipping into it can trigger off some new ideas.
Abstract gift tags
At 3pm I head inside and back to the studio for another session. The Writer and I share the cooking so if he’s on chef duty I’ll work through till dinner. The evening is family time , playing a board game, reading, watching a movie or catching up on computer based stuff.
The most wonderful thing about this evolved routine is it’s not really a schedule! If my niece needs a hand I can head off to help her, if I want to visit my Mum there’s no reason not to , if my sister drops by we can swim and chat for an hour without me thinking of all the things I should be doing and if I want to spend an hour leafing through a cook book that’s just what I do. There’s time for some gardening, a visit to my local art shop or a trip to the recycle centre. Of course somewhere in between all this good stuff I do a bit of housework and the odd spot of grocery shopping but that’s just a great counterpoint to emphasise the absolute joy of my daily pleasures.
The best part is that I’ve reclaimed art as a leisurely pursuit instead of something to be squeezed and squashed in between my working life and my family time!
It’s been a busy week! I’ve kicked off retirement with a few projects which has The Writer a bit worried- he thinks it’s just going to be one project after another and maybe he’d better go out and find a job again to keep out of my way! I had planned to start gently but I’m so used to squeezing the maximum productivity from my spare hours that I’ve just gone a bit beserk.
Monday started nice and gently with a trip to drop off my pension claim forms ( I’m now a pensioner!) and then down to Blackman’s Bay for a spot of snorkeling. It was a sparkling day and it was only enhanced by the thought of all those other mugs in their stuffy offices whilst I breathed the salty ozone and soaked up the sun on the hot rocks after swimming in the seaweed beds amongst the fishes. Just how retirement should be!
Abstract ink cards
Abstract gift tags
I followed that with some card making using a sheet of ink abstract doodlings and felt pretty pleased with my day.
Tuesday I did a BIG grocery shop to stock up the pantry after two years of living on whatever The Writer thought we might need that week. When I got home I couldn’t stop myself from rearranging the pantry which inevitably led to an all out assault on the kitchen cupboards . The IT Geek caught me at it and wanted to know how long it was going to take since he wanted to make lunch – I gaily replied – “about half an hour”. He laughed derisivly and grabbed an apple to sustain himself. It was a sound move as I finally wiped down the last shelf three hours later. All this necessitated a guided tour of the kitchen for the rest of the household as I managed to reshelf and redraw every single item by the time I was done! The IT Geek could sense I was in an organising mood so cashed in by getting me to help him put together a flatpack wardrobe and then get rid of his old one.
Wednesday I looked at the old wardrobe still sitting in the middle of the lounge room and decided it was too heavy to move over the paddock to the storage shed . What to do with it? I pondered on the fate of the wardrobe while spending the morning helping my niece clean her house (she’s in the middle of house moving ). Got home around 2’ish grabbed a sandwich in one hand and the circular saw in the other and headed outside to repurpose the wardrobe as a customised entertainment unit for the IT Geek who has every game machine from his first Nintendo up to the latest PS4 and has run out of space in his bedroom. Around 8 pm I dusted off the sawdust, packed away the tools and crawled to the shower! Dinner at 9pm.
Thursday I painted the unit – which you will not see a photo of as it is not a thing of beauty despite it’s absolute versatility with 10 moveable shelves and a clever little gap I built in for all the cables to easily connect to the TV. Then off for a walk with The Writer . After that it was a good 2 hours as dusting and cable assistant to the IT Geek as he unloade the old shelves of all his gaming equipment and reloaded the new unit which looks pretty great. Then I had to find a home for his old glass shelving unit – you haven’t seen my house so just imagine a second hand shop that’s outgrown it’s accommodation. There’s not a spare inch now both sons are home again so it requires a lot of ingenuity to fit another bit of furniture in – but the thought of hauling the darned thing across to the Potter’s shed to join all the other rejected furniture was just too daunting and I started moving potplants and whatnots until I had a space in the lounge room. The Writer could be heard muttering in the background but I just ignored him! Mission accomplished I finally started in on a large painting I need to finish by Saturday morning. Just couldn’t settle on the subject so had been procrastinating all week hence the many projects. Anyway this is what it looks like so far – a lot more to do tomorrow!
Now, I love painting, you all know that, but this last month has had me on the annual Christmas rush orders overload and I am definitely looking forward to a break over Christmas. I’ve only had time for my day job and painting. Staying up to midnight and getting up at six has been the only way to get through all the custom orders – I’m still waking up with only 10 days to go to find hopeful emails from distant lands requesting 2 x 3 ft paintings to be done , shipped and under the tree by Christmas morning! It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a polite way of saying ” Are you out of your mind!!!!!” Still, I finished the last order I was prepared to take on 2 days ago and only have one small commission for a very fussy customer ( me) to finish off and I can put away the brushes for a few days. No doubt I’ll be itching to get back into it after the break .
Here’s a peek at all the commissions that will be finding themselves under far flung trees this Christmas. Whilst some of them might not have been my first choice of subject , all of them have real significance for the people who commissioned them. I’ve enjoyed helping others bring their ideas to life and being part of a very special and thoughtful gift giving experience. My favourite is the prairie sunset…. what’s yours?
Last week I was working on a commission for a client of Lone Mountain and here it is after I added in the foreground trees covered in snow. I echoed the purple /blue shadows on the mountain in the foreground and really piled on the snow on those tree branches. It was very satisfying laying on thick swodges of snowy blues and whites to build up believable snow laden trees.
After the snow settled I started in on an entirely different scene of the impressive cliffs of Moher in Ireland. What a contrast to all that snow! Now it was green, green grass and those stark cliffs plunging into the ocean. The client wanted me to focus on the light on the foreground grasses and that bright sky against the distant grasses, and I’m happy with the end result because she’s happy!
On Monday I posted off my latest commission and was waiting for a client to get back to me before I could start the next one so Tuesday found me with a RDO (rare day off) and no paintings waiting to be done! That really doesn’t happen often at this time of year with a steady stream of Christmas commissions coming in( as I write there’s already a new painting on the easel and 2 more waiting to be started).
With no painting on the go I found myself eyeing off my stash of fabric and favourite black sheep stamp . I love cottons and had a lovely earthy piece with tan,cream and terracotta stripes that I decided to pair with a tan cotton drill and turn into a couple of bags. I stamped away happily , making some decorative patches to sew on the flaps and backs and then spent a few hours at the sewing machine which has been feeling very neglected lately. By the end of the day I’d finished off 3 bags featuring the sheep print and felt reconnected to my sewing machine !
But now it’s back to the easel……………I need to get some big snow covered pines on the foreground ridge , and maybe a few falling snowflakes.
My sister came up today and helped me rip off the old rusted roof from the Potter’s shed and replace with new colorbond sheets. It was a big job jemmying out the old rusted nails and power drilling in the new roofing screws while balancing on the wobbly ladder! But girl power prevailed and 6 hours later we had a new rain proof roof.
While we were ripping, banging and balancing someone bought one of my pastel paintings from my Etsy shop so that paid for half the roofing sheets. Happy days!