Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I always use this time of year to reflect on the year that has gone and to make goals for the coming year. More often than not I start off with the best of intentions which gradually dwindle as the year progresses. Next year will probably not be any different, but I will give it a try. Blog land has opened my life to so many new friends and for this I am extremely grateful. For all of your support, friendship, encouragement - it gives me the incentive and hope to go on and continue with my journey. If I try I won't succeed and I can and do learn from my mistakes. I look forward to continuing this journey with you, sharing in your joys, hopes, dreams, successes and together, let us fly to where our muse takes us and where our dreams unite us. Wishing you all a Happy New Year and may 2009 bring happiness and joy into your hearts and lives.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Back!

We're back from a wonderful holiday away. We had perfect weather and lots of time to relax, read and shop. The male family members enjoyed the fishing and caught some huge snapper, lots of whiting and crabs. I spent the majority of time doing puzzles, reading books about raising a teenager and a book about losing weight! Hmmmm. New Year's resolution coming up. I only sketched one picture while I was away and I am hoping to paint it in the next week or so - I'll show you once I get started - it is called "New Beginnings". I finished this doodle, sorry the photo is blurry. Well, it doesn't seem like I was even away, it was back to work today, a day off tomorrow to get my Christmas grocery shopping and organising done, then back to work on Wednesday. The child care centre where I work closes down between Christmas and New Year and I won't have to go back to work until the 5th January, so it will be a nice break. My sister arrived from New Zealand a week ago, with her daughter, to live here, so we have been busy looking at houses on the internet and having nice long chats. They will live with us until they get settled here. I have some photos to show you - the view from where we were staying, my DH and one of the DS's with the fish they caught, my daughter with a joey she fed (the owners of the villas were fauna rescuers and looking after 2 joeys), one of the joeys - how cute is he!, and of course, my doodle.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sharing some sketches

I have been too busy to paint this past week, yet I still have one more angel to complete as a Christmas present. It will have to wait unfortunately, as my family and I are off on holiday (vacation) to the beach (it is summer in Australia) for a week, returning 20th December. I will take my sketch book, so hopefully will have something to show you upon my return. These sketches that I share with you are just rough ones, I haven't even rubbed out a lot of the guide lines, but each night I try and sketch some girls. It is most interesting to look back on my sketches, some are really quite awful. A couple of these I really like and will paint them - I quite like my heart shaped girls and their spirally hair. I also just like to sketch and experiment, it's a lot of fun. Hope you manage to get your Christmas shopping done (I did majority of mine on line), and enjoy this wonderful festive season. Talk to you when I get back.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Cheer

Sorry, I haven't done any painting, but have finished this applique wall hanging (it is a pattern by The Chook Shed - well I think it is by memory). It is a teacher gift (school finishes next week here in Australia and the children start their new school year at the end of January with new teachers). Over the years I have made countless Away in the Manager wall hangings for friends and teachers - yes, that's right, so many I have lost count. Do I have one myself? Nooooo. I have never had the time to make one for me. Do you find that? Do you give away everything you make and have nothing left but memories? I love to see the joy my creations give to others, but gee I wish I had some of my stuff for display in my own home, LOL. Three of my angel paintings have gone to their new homes. My work colleague was thrilled with hers, so were the rest of the staff, they all want one of their own. One work friend was talking about how she hadn't had enough money to buy much for her Secret Santa person and asked how long it would take for me to paint an angel. I explained that it was quite time consuming and I wouldn't be able to do it for a week. Meanwhile her Secret Sister recipient asked if I could paint her an angel with brown hair and blue eyes and that she would pay me for it. When I got home I wrapped up the brown haired, blue eyed angel and gave it to my work friend to give to her Secret Santa recipient. She was overcome, and just about shed tears - she was so grateful. I said, if I had another one she could have that for herself and have promised to paint her one of her own as soon as I can. It was such a good feeling to make someone's simple wish come true. It was quite weird actually, because the painting was destined for someone in the UK, but for a couple of days I had been having second thoughts about sending it, so I guess that must have been the reason. Christmas really is about the joy of giving.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Two more angels completed

Had a good day in the studio today, completing two more angels. I rubbed gold rub 'n buff on the molding paste angel wings and it looks quite effective and incidentally, quite festive (she is meant to be a Christmas Wichtel angel). She flies off to the US tomorrow. The other angel has embossed cardstock on her wings, rubbed over by a Brilliance gold inkpad and surrounded by seed pearls. I'm really happy with how they have both turned out. Only have my blonde angel to finish off and that's it.

Yesterday I received this gorgeous painting that I bought from Sherry Carrigan, a wonderful artist. It is my Christmas present to myself. I could really relate to the sentiment of this painting - getting older and greyer "age is nothing more than maturity of the heart". It's just beautiful. Check out Sherry's blog and Etsy store, you are sure to find something you like.

Back to work tomorrow, so not a lot of art will happen at home. My cold isn't any better, in fact I think it has got worse but I'm sure I'll get better soon.

Oh, check out my niece's website, Chavah Kinloch, she has a special giveaway on her blog - you need to perform a random act of kindness and blog about it linking back to her site.

Monday, December 1, 2008

First completed angel

Yes, today I completed one of my angel girls. Thanks for everyone for their suggestions for wings. For this angel I used mulberry paper (I've had it in my stash for years, and years, and years ...). I think it works quite well as a wing. I've used German scrap for a trim around her gold and bronze lumiere painted dress. The quote on the pictures says "We are each of us ANGELS, with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another". She is for a work colleague for our Secret Santa swap on Friday.

My other angel has a wing courtesy of Golden molding paste. I masked her body and around the wing with masking tape, placed a crocheted doily on top and used a palette knife to smooth the paste over the doily. I then peeled off the doily (and immediately washed it), and the masking tape, and was left with this beautiful textured finish. (See the close up photo) I am thinking of rubbing some gold on it - what do you think? I really need to get her finished so I can get her in the post to the US on Friday. She is being sent to an unsuspecting secret sister as part of the Milliande Wichtel swap.

I still have a horrible cold and constantly sneezing, wiping my nose and my eyes streaming but I am having such fun painting these lovely girls. I already have my next project in mind - bought the canvas today for it - I am going to paint a pretty girl (ala Willowing and Suzi Blu) for my daughter for Christmas - can't wait!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shading complete

I have finished the shading on two of my angels. I need to have these in the post by Friday latest so they reach their destination in time for Christmas. Next step is the wings and clothing, finishing touches to the background and voila - they'll be complete. I'm still trying to decide what to use for the wings - there are a few options I am considering: fantasy film (which I have never used before), some glittery opaque fabric, or painting them and using some Perfect Pearls. What a dilemma - any insights welcome - or additional suggestions (not too many though - I get confused when offered too many choices - keep it simple, LOL). For your information, these are both 8"x10" canvases.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hair and blog award

I managed to paint two of my angel girl's hair - as you can see, they are redheads. I rather like red hair. I was going to paint one blonde but didn't have the colour paint needed (that's the trouble when you are just starting out - getting supplies in dribs and drabs). They have two coats of hair colour, and I need to add in the texture, highlights, shadows, etc, but at least I have made a start.

Trish, my wonderful, talented friend has awarded me my first blog award. This award states that: This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY- nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends, they are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.

Such a nice award - I'm supposed to pass it on to 8 bloggers for the reasons stated above:
1. Jo 2. Linda 3. Katherine 4. Annette 5. Teri Leigh 6. Vicki 7. Heather 8. Sherry

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Continuing Progress

I've had a productive day in the studio again. I still had a lot of difficulty with the shading. Reflecting back to my first portrait, the only difference is the stay wet palette, so as suggested by Sherry, I will try using it a bit differently to how the manufacturers suggest. Today I completed the touch up shading, the highlighting, painting the eyes and base coat for the mouth. I don't know that I would paint four of the same pictures again, not at the same time anyway - it becomes a little monotonous, but it was better when I did the eyes as each girl has different coloured eyes. So, that's it for today, I have to work tomorrow so not a lot will happen, and the day after my youngest turns 10, so she has a full day planned for us all.

Portrait Progress

I had to work today so didn't get much opportunity to paint. After dinner I went to the studio and attempted to do some shading on my angel girl, but the sun was setting through the window and the light was too bright (if you can believe that), so I am not completely happy with the shading. I'll be down in the studio tomorrow morning (the morning light is best for me) and attempt to re-shade to my satisfaction. My stay wet palette works really well - maybe too well - I found the paint has thinned somewhat from the moisture in the sponge under the palette paper - so we'll have to see how we go tomorrow. The first photo shows the base skin colour and the second photo shows the first shading. Tomorrow I will finish the shading and highlighting and hopefully start on the eyes and mouth - I'll have to see how far I can get (remembering I am working on four of these at once). So until tomorrow - stay safe and create.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New painting

I've had a great day today, spending the majority of time in my studio. I really don't want to go to work tomorrow, not while I'm on a roll! I painted four backgrounds on canvas in preparation for painting some angels. Today I transferred the drawing of the angel for the Christmas swap I am involved in. I decided that I would do the same painting on all four canvases. Why you might ask? Firstly, I have a Secret Santa present I need to have done by Friday next week, plus other gifts to make for Christmas. My quilting supplies (I usually make applique wall hangings) are trapped in the back of my studio storage area thanks to someone I won't mention who cleaned out his shed and transferred lots of stuff into my storage area. OK, I admit, it is all my stuff, but at least a pathway could have been left so I can actually get to the stuff I use ALL the time! Anyway, I digress. Secondly, I got myself a new stay wet palette which is fantastic, and I can now make up a big batch of say, skin colour, and it won't form a skin and dry out, so I figured I may as well paint lots of portraits while I'm at it. Well, that's my reasoning anyway. I'm going to use different colourings on them all though, so they won't look like complete clones. I have been sketching every day, but haven't shared those, thought you might be getting a bit tired of my daily portrait sketching by now. Oh, this background is collaged and then gessoed over, then I inked it with chalk inks and rubbed at them. She is actually going to have a few wrinkles in her neck from the tissue paper I used in that area - but it all adds to the charm I think - and what's a few wrinkles between friends. After I transferred my drawing, she received a few coats of titanium white fluid acrylic where her skin is. What I haven't taken a photo of yet is her skin - I have finished her skin colour but haven't done any shading yet - my next step!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dream Girl finished

Yes, the "Dream Girl" is finally finished. Just added the finishing touches today. The quote says "Dreams are free, so free your dreams" by Astrid Alauda. I am really happy with the way she turned out and can't wait to get started on the next ones - I have already prepped the canvasses. I figure if I get into it straight away, I am more likely to remember the techniques Paulette taught in the classes.
Oh, and this portrait is my submission for the November challenge of "lace" at Embrace the Face. Make sure you check out the fantastic artwork there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You've got mail!

While I was eating my lunch at home today the parcel post lady knocked on my door with a large parcel. Yes, it was my birthday present from my husband, my tin of 84 neocolor II crayons. How exciting to see all the beautiful colors - can't wait to play with them.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Check this outAll you need to do to have a chance to win it is to go visit Kristin's blog. Better be quick!

New sketches

Today is my birthday - I had to work but the children sang Happy Birthday to me at the tops of their voices - so cute (I teach 3 and 4 year olds). I got spoilt, as it should be, even my children got up especially early so they could see me before I headed off to work at 6.30am. My eldest son gave me a box of chocolates so I can get even more fat, my second son gave me a wall plaque which says "My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it", and my daughter gave me a gorgeous polka dot apron and a much needed pencil sharpener! My husband paid for my order of Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Aquarelle crayons, a set of 84, which I can't wait to get. I have so enjoyed working with them in the portrait class with Paulette, I decided I needed the full complement of colours. I decided to have a little fun sketching tonight, I did a "normal" girl, and two fun girls - LOL, now you can see why I stick to more conventional drawing - it suits my conservative style more. I so admire you artists out there that can be more free with your creating - maybe one day I'll loosen up!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More face sketches

Thought I'd better do a couple of sketches tonight seeing as I didn't get into the studio today as I had planned. I'm going to have a lot of painting to do!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I've been tagged, again

My new artist friend Katherine, in New Zealand has tagged me - thanks Katherine. Make sure you visit Katherine's blog, she is a fantastic artist and has her things for sale on Etsy.

Here are the rules...

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules.
3. Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
5. Go to each person's blog and leave a comment that lets them know they've been tagged.

OK, on to the six quirky yet boring things about myself, hmmmmm.

1. I hate hanging up laundry with a passion - I have to do it at work sometimes and we always hang our laundry at home (hardly ever use the dryer), but I love seeing the laundry hanging on the line, blowing in the breeze - I get such a sense of satisfaction.
2. Water is my favourite drink - I rarely drink anything else.
3. I twiddle my thumbs - something I never had noticed until my sister was visiting me and she said "oh look, you twiddle your thumbs just like mum used to"
4. I have never broken any bones, or had to have stitches (not counting the childbearing ones)
5. I can't swim, I dog paddle and can float on my back - that's it.
6. Apparently, I fart while I am asleep and stink the bed out (well, that's what my DH says and I don't really know if I believe it or not!!)

If you want more interesting trivia about me than the boring stuff above, go look at an older post on my blog a couple of weeks back.

Now, I am going to tag six bloggers, who are:

Annette - a wonderful Aussie artist
Linda - a wonderful artist from the US
Letha - another great artist from the US
Debbie - another fantastic Aussie artist
Sherry - an amazing artist in the US
Trish - a fantastic artist in the US

Hope you can play along ladies.

Look forward to seeing the boring, quirky unspectacular details of your lives!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick Portrait Sketches

Hello friends,
Glad so many of you enjoyed a glimpse into my past with the mountain sketch.
I have been busy this week so have only done a few quick "tilty head girl" sketches in the evenings. The lady with spiral hair is going to be a painting for my secret sister in a Milliande swap. Everyone in the swap has to create an angel, any medium for their secret sister. I tossed up whether to sew an angel, but seeing as I have just finished my last portrait class with Paulette Insall, I decided that really I should keep on painting portraits. I am going to place a quote alongside her "We are each of us ANGELS with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another". My angel is only having one wing. The portrait is 8" x 10", so in the sketch you don't actually get to see her wing or clothes, so stay tuned for progress. I am really enjoying sketching portraits, and some seem to say "paint me", so I will be working on those that appeal to my muse. Oh, the portrait that I was painting for Paulette's class - I haven't finished it, still need to do the clothes and a few finishing touches, and then I'll post that.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mountain Sketch

I was very inspired by Annette in Oz today when she displayed the sketches she drew when she was in her 20's, on her blog. As you know, I haven't been back into art for very long and these last couple of days I haven't done much at all - and can't see much happening in the next few days either as I will be very busy, so I thought I would share with you a drawing I did when I was 18. On the back of the frame I had written "Dear Mum and Dad - my first frameable drawing, love Brenda". It is a mountain in New Zealand, Mt. Ngauruhoe, and is done using pencil only. It is very large in real life, done on a sheet the size of a sheet of cardboard - I don't know what size that is, maybe A2? This is the only sketch I have kept from my younger years unfortunately, as I was a prolific drawer back then. Maybe I can regain some of my old talent with practice and persistence.