Saturday, January 30, 2010

New toy

I am the proud owner of my new Bosskut Gazelle personal electronic die cutter machine. I can see I have a very steep learning curve ahead of me - it comes with Funtime software which is a learning experience in itself.

I really needed to learn to use it quickly as I had to make 40 invitations for a church meeting in a few weeks time. After much trial and error and some help from the wonderful lady I purchased it from (thanks Alisa)I was able to accomplish the task I had set out to do. I learnt a huge amount in the process, making many mistakes but I know that as I continue to use the machine and software that my knowledge will continue to grow and this little machine is going to make life easier for me, my family and friends!

This is the project I made. I wanted to make some cupcake invitations to go along with the theme of the evening "Dessert First". I found the cupcake invitation design when I did a google search and came across Elizabeth's blogs. (For some reason when you click on that link it adds a %22 to the end of the URL, just delete those and you will have the correct link). What a great find! I was saved endless hours of work because of her generosity in providing the template. I needed to convert the .gsd file to a .wpc (another steep learning curve), but it was very satisfying to have the job finally done.

I have been sketching as well - I will show you next week as I am still awaiting my pen eraser. I am a week plus behind with my on line class - hopefully I will be able to catch up. The lessons with Misty Mawn have been great - I am in awe of her techniques and results. I can't wait to try them - the results could be quite interesting!

Wishing you all a great, creative week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sketching and Productivity

Hi everyone,

Although I haven't posted anything on my blog for a few days, I haven't been slacking. Why is it that all the fruit trees ripen at the same time? I have been madly drying apricots and bottling (canning) them. The plums are ready too, so on my next day off I will be making plum jam and plum sauce. The peaches are just about ready so on the weekend and early next week I will be doing more canning. The nectarines are ripening in batches thank goodness!

I did a few sketches a week ago that I haven't got around to posting. So here they are now.

I have started my Misty Mawn on line Drawing and Painting Portraits workshop. My first lesson is about pencil drawing and our first assignment was to draw a ball or egg. Here it is:

The second assignment in the lesson is to fill a page with faces, trying to make them have different expressions - well I filled the page, don't know about the expressions. I found it very difficult to draw that small - my eyesight isn't that good. We also have to draw some faces but I don't have all the items I need yet - am awaiting a stick eraser and some blending stumps - I really can't do much without them - my finger (my usual blending tool) is too big. Can you believe we don't have stick erasers in Australia - or if we do, I haven't been able to track one down. With a stick eraser you can get into very small areas to erase, such as the eyelids and pupils - something you simply can't achieve with a regular eraser. Can't wait for these to arrive so I can get on with my sketching.

Comments have been made about painting the sketches - yes I intend to get back into that too - just warming up at the moment ;)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Contour portraits

Just to prove I haven't been idle and that I have actually been doing some sketching!!

My 11 year old daughter wanted me to show her how to draw faces as hers always look a little, ummmm, odd shall we say. So, I went through the procedure with her showing her how to put the guide lines in and where the eyes should be relative to the shape of a head etc. This is what the sketch turned out like:

I have done several more sketches and excuse all the lines on them but I didn't have an eraser handy so they are there warts and all.

Yesterday, Misty Mawn issued a pre-class challenge and that is to draw some contour portraits. What is a contour portrait?? You need a picture of a face. You have the picture in front on you and also a piece of paper and an HB pencil. You look at the picture and move your eyes over the outlines you see in the picture and at the same time you draw the outlines on the paper, without looking at the paper and without lifting your pencil up from the paper so you end up with a continuous line. It was actually quite fun - maybe that is how Picasso got his portrait style! Here are mine:

It is very hot here today. I was up at 7am picking apricots and then halving them to prepare them for dehydrating. The temperature is in the 40's and tomorrow it is expected to be 45 or 46 degrees celsius (115 F) - not pleasant at all. The hot weather is continuing into next week as well. Thank goodness for airconditioning that's all I can say!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I was too busy last night watching episodes of "Chuck" to do a sketch but I did one the night before which I share with you. She has this look in her eyes and I was trying to put a name to it when I came up with "yearning". I don't know what she is yearning for; maybe I'll have to think on that one.

We have a hot week here - most days in the high 30 celcius bracket - thank goodness for effective air conditioning.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bushy Eyebrows

At 10.30pm yesterday, I was trying to unwind, doing a little sketching of this girl. The children come into my bedroom to see what I'm up to, bouncing up and down on the bed oblivious to the fact that it makes it a little more difficult to sketch when the paper has momentum. "Her eyes look funny", "It's not a her, it's a boy - look at the eybrows", "are you going to leave her lips like that?". Hmmmm, I patiently finished the drawing and sent them packing off to bed. Oh the joys.

Tonight, my muscles ache. After over a week of not carting a baby around for most of the day, my muscles went into meltdown. It was lovely to be with them today - my repertoire of songs and fingerplays included: "We wash our dirty hands", "1 2 3 4 5 once I caught a fish alive", "Here is the beehive", "Twinkle Twinkle little star", "Baa baa black sheep" and "Galumph went the little green frog" to mention a few. I love my babies.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Quick sketch

I have had the week off work between Christmas and New Year and what a productive week it has been! I need to go back to work for a rest - just joking. I cleaned out and reorganised the storage room in my studio - I couldn't even walk into it, now it is streamlined with shelves and I know where everything is! Wow - I have already saved myself so much time not having to look far to find things. It was a huge job and took a couple of days but it was soooo worth it. I also sewed drapes for my studio, repurposing some old lounge drapes, cutting them down to size and adding some contrast fabric on the bottom of them - they look great.

I also used my solar oven for the first time. It arrived the week before Christmas and one of my goals for my week off work was to give it a go. I cooked a chocolate cake in it and our evening meal - all turning out delicious and not a cent of electricity used in the process. Very satisfying and yummy to boot.

I repaired a doll, replaced elastic in two dress-up skirts, made a heap of texture cards for my babies at work and a tablecloth.

I spent a day at work too, getting all the resources organised, hanging a curtain rod and curtains and mobiles. It feels so good to know that when I go back to work tomorrow everything has a place and is readily accessible. Yay!

Of course, there were some jobs that I didn't quite get to - but all the things I really wanted to do have been done and there will always be jobs on the list of things to do.

I digress from the title of this blog post - last night before I went to sleep I did a quick portrait pencil sketch - it was pretty dark in my room but I'm quite pleased with the way she turned out - maybe I should draw in a darkened room more often.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my blogging friends. I have been somewhat absent from the computer the later half of 2009, but am looking forward to getting back into my art. To give myself a kick start I have signed up for Misty Mawn's Drawing + Painting faces online class. I can't wait to get started - I think it will be just the boost I need. I also notice that there are a number of students signed up that I already know from blogging land and other online classes I have done - so that is an added bonus! My studio has had a good clean up so I am as organised as I'm ever going to be. I am looking forward to sharing my sketches and paintings with you.