Thursday, 27 October 2011

Getting my mojo back.

Thanks to my own silliness in the forms of a head injury and a cut thumb, I have not painted for almost a year and getting back into it seemed a huge task.  Poor Tracey must have gone nuts listening to my woe is me attitude but then she introduced me to the Poppy Spree and it is all clicking back into place.  Both Tracey and Margot have inspired me to get back on that horse and at last I am back in the saddle.

I sat down yesterday and produced a work that is up there with my old paintings and I even did it on watercolour paper, not my usual big canvas.  I have to say doing little A4 pics are so much quicker than a 3' x 4' canvas.  With the inspiration of the last 3 weeks I just let myself go and with great results. 

The painting is in acrylic with watercolour pencil accents and grated charcoal flower centres.  Something to note, when you shave the charcoal make sure you close the window and turn off the fan or you get an almighty mess all over youself (luckily I didn't have a white top on).  After three attempts and one badly timed sneeze, I managed to get the charcoal where I wanted it.  The other problem was sealing it in place.  I used a gloss varnish as it doesn't come out with a whoosh and blows the charcoal (I was actually thinking that time).

Something great is happening tomorrow, I am going to Ikea to purchase a plan drawer and then I can put all my bits and pieces into it, you may recall the chaotic mess which is my room. Hopefully I might have a little floor space now and even use the drawing table for what it was intended and not to hold clutter.  I will miss the exercise that I was getting, just to approach the computer was like a cross country run, with all sorts of traps on the way.  I won't get my arm exercises that were from frequent arm waving and yelling whilst trying to find things hidden beneath the mire.  Maybe I will need the calorie conversion that Phoebe gave Tracey as I will put on weight now that I will be able to find things.  The more I think about it the more I wonder if decluttering is a good thing, but yes I will go and I will get clear, even if it only lasts a few weeks.
I love Ikea, you never come home with just one thing. Lucky that I don't tell my husband I am going until after I have gone, works better that way. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Another week of poppies.

I had some fun with the poppy spree this week, mainly because I shared it with my 10 year old daughter, Audrey.  
Audrey is ahead of me on the watercolour front as she has done it in art class at school.  I never took art at school, really wish I had now but I was going to become a mad scientist and did all of those subjects instead.  I achieved half of that mad scientist dream (shame it wasn't the scientist bit). 
I have carefully studied the poppy posts on flickr and I think I am getting the gist of how watercolour should be applied.  I spent some time last week practising, with most in the what was I thinking pile.  Here are some of the better ones.

The middle picture is not my imagination, I copied a layout from Tracey, so I cannot claim this picture as my own, apart from my apologies for not doing Traceys work justice.  I used it as an exercise on how to get those darn white bits in there without accidently painting over them. A few did get lost.

On the weekend I sat outside on the patio with Audrey and we had a wonderful little painting session.  Here is Audreys gorgeous poppy field. 
I managed to get two rather decent pictures out as well, just a shame we are using cheap paper as I think they would have been really nice on the good stuff.

We also managed to have a play with the polymer clay and here is a really cute turtle with turquoise and some other gems on his back.  He still has to be cooked and have a coat of varnish on him yet.
I hope to get some time this week, to make some tropical flower brooches, so fingers crossed nothing gets in the way.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Poppy Spree

I have been doing the Poppy Spree along with many other people around the world.  It is so different to the style of painting that I usually do and I have to say, I am really enjoying it.  I am definitely not a watercolour painter (Tracey can certainly attest to that) but I am determined to make it look at least half decent.  For some reason my brain can't get past the leaving the light bits blank part and I always paint over them.  For years I have painted in oils and lately in acrylics and with that I start dark and lighten with layer upon layer (sorry Sara Lee) and the more I tell myself not to paint the light bits the more I seem to do it. 

I am a podantic painter and do heaps of little bits of strokes, all carefully orchestrated to get it just right, which takes ages and ages.  I can take months, even years, to do one painting and still think it needs tweaking.  So with that said, I have embarked on the free flowing watercolour paintings of poppies.  At first they were quite stiff, but I have to admit, yesterday I seemed to let loose a little and really enjoyed myself.  I made heaps of mistakes and it doesn't look like a perfect poppy (or even an imperfect one at that) but it is colourful. 

There is one thing that is holding me back (quite a bit) and that is the materials I have at my disposal.  I am painting on shiny paper and yesterday I used watered down acrylics, so the paint doesn't flow across the page as it should.  The first days I used Mont Marte watercolour paper and a colour wheel and what a mess I made of that.  The paint soaked into the paper as soon as I touched it and luckily I photographed it quickly as it is now a blurry mush.  I am using my acrylic brushes and they don't seem to soak up the paint and flow like a water colour brush would. 

I am posting these pictures to show what not to do with watercolour pictures.

This picture is of the poppies I painted yesterday on shiny paper with watered down acrylics.  I think it is much better and hope to keep trying this method and see where it takes me.
I have called this painting Poppies for Pop in memory of my father in law, Keith Holman, who was always called Pop.  He passed away on 11 October 2011.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

School holidays are over.

The last two weeks have been hectic to say the least.  I have had art withdrawal.  Early in the holiday I attempted to do a water colour, nothing special just a cute picture of a kitchen scrubber set my mum gave me.  Easy you may say, but you try to do it while watching a child in a swimming pool, with her pet guinea pig in tow (yes he  was in the water too) and trying to chase three naughty chickens that are getting into every thing.  I have attached photos of my attempt, just to give you an idea of the bedlam which erupts in our house every holiday. 

This is the simple little scrubber set and below is what I did to the poor thing.

The picture was hand drawn and as you can see the bottle is very bent, probably from me leaning around to see what Audrey and the guinea pig were doing.    That is all I managed for the whole two weeks, shameful really.  At least I gave it a try but learned a valuable lesson.  It is far better to give in and just play with my daughter and animals for the two weeks than trying to do both at once and creating a disasterous picture like this. 

Audrey has returned to school, the new chickens are still destroying my garden and I have to run errands for the rest of the week, but next week is mine.  I hope to start a painting, make some clay brooches and attempt to make some greeting cards.

I have a real problem with straight lines (refer to my painting of the soap dispenser above) and this especially applies to cutting.  With my brooches I hand cut the backing cardboard and paper bits and they take around four to five attempts to look slightly straight and yes I use a ruler and set square but it still doesn't work.   Yesterday I went shopping and bought myself one of those cutting boards with the blade and rulers attached and I can't wait to see if I actually cut something straight for once.  If it works (and I hope it will), I have also purchased some blank cardstock and heavy paper and will attempt to make some cards from my old pictures.  I even bought some double sided tape (thanks for that tipTracey) so that I won't get glue up to my elbows.  There is nothing worse than trying to get up after glueing things and you find half of the paper is stuck to you. 

To go with my Marine Madness brooches, I am going to attempt to make some tropical flower brooches.  Not sure exactly what they will be yet but will play with the clay and see where it takes me.  I find it is best not to plan this sort of thing and just let the imagination take over when designing new things.

Now to go chase some chooks off the flower beds, still don't know how three tiny creatures can move so much dirt in so little time.