Monday, December 10, 2007

Seascape Learnings

I am currently working on my first ever seascape. This is not an original, I am working through it along with an instructional DVD called 'The Wild Sea' by Byron Pickering. I am learning heaps and can't wait to get some photos of the sea so that I can apply these techniques to my own work. I'm probably about two thirds of the way through now and there are still a lot of highlights to be added in the back and all the front waves and the rocks still need to be completed. I'll post a picture of the completed painting.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Photo of finished painting

I decided that this one was finished today so it has been signed and given a coat of re-touching varnish (which really gives a lovely effect on oil paint). It is called 'Lady Dawn' which came from Sappho (Greek woman poet/musician from about the 7th century BC).

I've started another one which is one of Rangitoto and is for a commission for a family friend. He is in a rest home so I am going to try and make it more summery colours rather than just the blues/browns that I am fond of at the moment. When I get a little further I will post a photo of that - it's not at a very interesting stage right now.

I think I do have an idea for the NZ Art Guild Awards challenge which as you may recall must include the following 4 themes; cool blue, equality, circular and stamp. It;s still working its way through my mind but hopefully I will be in a position to start that before Christmas as I really want to do a good job on it and it will take some time.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I think it's almost finished.......

Well here is the big one (as yet un-titled) that I have been working on. It is 900x750x40mm in oils. As you can see it has changed substantially from the early photo that I posted below. I think it's almost there but I will leave it for a couple of days before I sign it just to ensure that I don't want to make any more changes to it.

I couldn't take a decent photo today for the life of me. It is a rainy overcast day here in Auckland and the painting is still wet so I can't take it outside to photograph. I haven't cropped it as I also couldn't take a straight photo today to save myself. Once I have decided that it is finished, I will sign it, varnish it and then post a proper photo of it here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Just a little one finished

I've just finished this little one entitled 'Friendship'. I may give this to a friend of mine at Christmas but not entirely sure yet. I used my favourite colour Phthalo Turquoise with just a hint of my other favourite colour, Burnt Sienna. I go through so many tubes of those 2 colours!

I am still working on that big one, I just can't get the colours right for the side panel. I need to re-paint it a third time and hopefully this time it will work.

I am also trying to come up with ideas for the Art Guild Art Awards. I have entered and have to have the piece completed in January. It is a Challenge-based award and you have to incorporate the following 4 themes - Cool Blue, Equality, Stamp and Circular. You can interpret these themes in any way you want. I am still trying to come up with the right idea. It is definitely a challenge!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fortnightly theme challenge - results

Guess what! My 'Earthwomb' painting won the People's Choice and tied for Most Creative Use of Theme for this fortnight's challenge. I'm really pleased with that as it is the first challenge that I have won.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

NZ Art Guild fortnightly challenge - Earthborn

Each fortnight the NZ Art Guild has a challenge which has a theme and a technique that must be incorporated. This time the theme was Earthborn and the technique to be incorporated was Stamp. This is my attempt called Earthwomb.

The trees are being nourished and are implanted firmly at both ends in earth's womb. Yes a little abstract for me I know. That is why I enjoy the fortnightly challenges in the Art Guild. I try and use it as an opportunity to try something completely different to what I would normally do. This one didn't take me long and I really enjoyed the process. For interest's sake, it is oil on canvas, 600x300x40mm and I made a stamp out of wood and used that for the foliage on the ground.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Paint while the babies are asleep!

It is great when it is evening and tea time is over, baby bathtime is over, the two of them are sound asleep and I can PAINT! I used to find it easier to put down the paintbrush when I painted in acrylics but now I'm using oils I find I have to clean up properly and that takes time so I try and make sure that they are definitely asleep before I pick up a paintbrush as I don't want to be trying to settle them while having oil paint all over my hands (and clothes).

Here is a photo of the big one that I am working on at present, I managed to complete the trees and hills tonight. Once that is dry I will do the side panel. I used masking tape to separate the three panels but some of it bleed through so I will have to tidy up that as well.

On a positive note, the Obi art auction raising money for breast cancer research was on Monday night and they raised over $7000 in total. I went along to see how it all went and my one sold. YAY! It's a great cause and I am really glad that I was able to participate in it. Thank you Jo for being my model (even though you are the other side of the world). Yay for the Internet and the ability to email sketches and photos.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back into it

I've had a few days this past week when I haven't picked up a paintbrush at all (which is quite unusual for me now as it is a bit of an addiction). However this week more mundane things called such as accounts and gst. I did get back to painting tonight however and both babies played ball by going to bed and staying asleep (bless them).

This is the next big one that I am working on. It also has a tree theme as you will see in later posts. I've only worked on the skies for the 3 panels at this stage. I'm really happy with the top sky but will probably overwork the other 2. I generally find that it takes 2 go's to get the sky right. Perhaps its having the colours and tones underneath that then give more depth to the second coat, I'm really not too sure. The colours haven't come out right as I have taken this at night but as it is work in progress, that doesn't really matter. It's oils again, I don't have a huge inclination to go back to acrylics at this stage - I'm loving the blendability (is that a word?) of oils and the colours just seem to have more depth.

I've still got a real thing for trees at present. On Sunday we went for a fairly long drive (2.5 hours each way) and I took my camera and just snapped photo after photo as we drove past. I have about 250 photos that I now need to scroll through and work out what ones are keepers and also to categorise them for when I need inspiration.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Better photo

I finally managed to take a better photo of this painting (well my dear husband did) so here it is. Haven't started anything new yet, just playing around with ideas but will update as soon as I start something. As I'm working with oils at present I find it good to work on 2 at once so when one is drying, I can still paint if I have babies asleep!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Well I completed the piece for the art auction. YAY! That is more of an achievement than it would have used to have been with having a 9 week old baby and a 14 month old toddler to juggle. Just as well that I have a wonderfully supportive husband. He also suggested the trees in the background which I like and think that it gives just a little more interest on that side.

Anyway will have to get it all packaged up for delivery on Monday. Hopefully it will be completely dry by then so that I can get it picked up by courier. However if not, then I will deliver it by hand.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Working to a deadline!

I am making progress on both paintings. I think that I have pretty much finished the tree one now. I did just the 3 trees and liked the look which was different to how I originally planned it so I have yet to come up with an appropriate title but it will be something around solitude, aloneness or something like that. I will have some little bits of tidying up to do on it but it's pretty much there. As it is oils, I can't varnish it for a number of months but I understand there is a retouching varnish or something like that, that I can use straight away so I must find out. Playing around with a new medium means that I have lots to learn again. I guess with art though, you never stop learning.

And here is the one that has a deadline attached to it. I have to have this painting delivered on Monday which means that I have 3 days to complete, ensure that it is dry and deliver it. The auction itself isn't until 19 November so I can always ask them to ensure that it is placed separately if it is a little tacky. I am using Liquin with it so hopefully it will be dry in time.

I still have to tidy up the fern leaf and the koru, complete the skin tones of the figure and do her hair, and paint in the dress. I've been a bit stuck about how to paint the dress. The auction is being run by a fashion label Obi and the artworks have to have a fashion theme so potentially I may do a black dress with perhaps some koru's incorporated and come up with a clever phrase about being a New Zealand version of the little black dress. Not entirely sure yet however so I will sleep on it tonight and hopefully have a clear idea in the morning.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Well here are the 2 paintings that I am currently working on at present.
The first one is for an Art Auction in 2 weeks time to raise money for Breast Cancer Research which is a cause I wholeheartedly support so I was very pleased to be asked to participate in this. I have done the background in several layers and tonight I will start the skin tones and fern. The figure is actually lying on a fern chaise longue which hasn't been painted yet. The inspiration behind this piece is related to New Zealand fashion. Because it is a fashion label that is sponsoring this art auction, they asked that the works had a connection to fashion. As I predominantly paint contemporary landscapes, my idea was to merge a female figure into the NZ landscape with her dress reflecting the background. If that doesn't make sense, check in a few days and I should have an update for you. This is in oils.

This second one (as yet unnamed) is one that I have been playing around with for a couple of weeks. I've had a bit of a tree fetish this year and I've really enjoyed painting trees. This painting is the biggest that I have done in oils. In the past I have pretty much stuck to acrylics but after starting to use oils, they are my new love affair.

I have a few things to still do and fix on this painting. The top hills need to be tidied up and little trees added and I am still not sure if I want the sky to merge between the top panel and the side panel. It does make it a little different but I'm not convinced that it works. The bottom part is done in a thick impasto which is taking ages to dry as I forgot to add Liquim to hurry the drying process up. I'll post a picture of the finished version once it is completed.

I have also realised that there are real advantages in trying to paint while you have babies and toddlers around. Time to yourself is so precious that when you do have a chance to paint, you paint and don't fluff around about it. For years before I had children I would have little moments when I would get in the mood and I would paint but I would wait for the 'muse' to hit me before I was inclined. Now there is no waiting for any muse, rather, any 10 minutes can be used to do just a little bit more.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First Post

Well, I have decided to start a blog purely to focus on my journey with art. I have dabbled for many years but in the last year (since I became a Mum) I have put more effort and time into my art and have started taking it seriously.

I still have a long long way to go and I thought that a blog would provide me with a record of charting my progress. I plan to put up work as I go along, both at different stages of completion as well as the finished work.

So welcome anyone interested in my journey, I'll let you know how I get on.........