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.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Portrait in pencil

I haven't done much art today, instead I spent the day searching for economical recipes to start doing weekly menu plans. I have also started up price books to track prices of regularly bought grocery items, and making up a list of items I regularly buy - my own personal shopping list. I am doing this to try and make the dollar stretch a bit further. Every time I go to the supermarket prices have gone up, and not just by a few cents. We have to tighten our belts and look at ways to cut costs. I belong to a couple of Australian groups that deal with saving money - both are great. The first is Simple Savings, and the next is Cheapskates - both have simple ideas on how to save lots and lots of money each year (which will give me more money to spend on art supplies!) See where I'm going with this, LOL. Before I head off to bed, I decided I better do a quick sketch, and this is my effort. I think I might turn her into a painting - there is something about her that appeals to me. I will fix up her lopsided chin before I paint her, hehe. I am going to sign up for the Embrace the Face monthly challenge, which is lace, and I can see this lovely lady with black lace covering her head. Does that mean I'm committed Jo?

You wouldn't believe what I have just heard outside - some rain. Earlier this evening one of our cats was washing behind her ears and I said to the children that it meant rain was on its way. I guess it is an old wive's tail? but it always seems to happen that way. The cats don't often get to clean behind their ears in South Australia - driest State in midst of a drought - so a few drops tonight would be lovely.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Portrait update

Lesson 5 from Paulette Insall's faces class yesterday was using neocolor II soluble crayons to enhance the face and features. I added more shading and highlights, blush and more dimension to the lips. Next week, we work on the clothes and background some more. I am loving this class and if you have the chance to take a class from Paulette, jump at at - she is a wonderful teacher.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Art Journal page

Here is my latest art journal page - from a prompt from Milliande's Art Journal group. We had to imagine an angel claiming her wings, and what those wings might look like. I don't believe angels have wings, they are symbolic, but I found this great quote on the internet that I thought worked well with reaching out for angel wings.

The quote says:
We've never had to look far to find our angels.
Angels have never really been out of reach.
We can always discover angels from the inside out, because it is the angel inside us who can point the way to all our other angels.

Author unknown.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Portrait Progress

Yes, I managed to set aside some time today to get up-to-date with my portrait, in time for tomorrow's lesson. Here is progress so far from initial sketch to finishing the hair and eyebrows today.

Mixed Media Collage

Here is the finished piece, given to a friend for her birthday this week. It is basically the same as the other frienship mixed media piece for a German friend (see older posts), but with different colours, reflecting her taste. I find it quite relaxing doing these, must take me back to my childhood - tearing, pasting, cutting, dabbing, painting, etc. I'm hoping to do more work on my portrait canvas tomorrow, wish me luck.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Covering notebooks

Being a bit run down and tired and still suffering from my cold for more than 2 weeks, I decided to have an early night last night so didn't blog. I have finished off another collage for a friend, but the gel medium is still drying so I'll post a photo of that tomorrow. In the meantime, last Tuesday night, for Mutual at Church (like Youth Group), my young women and me covered horrible hardcovered notebooks with some beautiful, coordinated scrapbook paper from the cheapie shop (dollar store). You should have seen their faces when I showed them the notebooks and asked them to choose one *giggle*. Then I brought out the scrapbook kits! Big smiles! Since some of the girls were away sick, so I used some of their papers and a book to make my own journal. The girls had a wonderful time, and it was so amazing how different their journals looked, even though everyone had access to exactly the same supplies. I will attach a photo of my journal and the girls holding up theirs.

While I was searching for some quick and easy ways to cover notebooks, I came across this great tutorial for sewing a journal cover - it even comes with a pen holder and clasp. Heart of Mary. I hope to try it soon - would be a great gift idea. She has lots of other great tutorials as well - one clever lady.