Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Yesterday I had fun spending my Christmas voucher from my Dad at The French Art Shop here in Auckland. I looooove that shop, it is such a treasure trove for art stuff and it was so much fun deciding how I would spend my voucher. I got a really good cretacolour charcoal set, some derwent tinted charcoal pencils, some Bristol paper (which seems exceptionally smooth so I am interested to try some charcoal drawings on that for very smooth blending), a beautiful squirrel hair paint brush and some Viridian oil paint. Viridian is the oil paint I go through most, with the exception of titanium white because I mix it with alizeron crimson for my blacks and greys. I love the greys you get with those two colours but you need much more viridian than alizeron and as it is a series 4 paint, it was nice to use a voucher to pay for it.
I hope to get out the paintbrushes this afternoon when the kids are sleeping as I haven't painted in weeks. I need to do more work on Carter's portrait which has been sitting there untouched for a long time and I am so keen for some more seascapes.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I have been quiet on the blogging and emailing front over these last days as I have had family staying and have been enjoying the holiday feeling over this Christmas period. I hope that everyone reading this has had a lovely time with family and friends and is feeling refreshed and inspired to greet 2009.
Yesterday my husband and I took advantage of having a babysitter (aka my Mum) staying and took off for a few hours. Heading over to the eastern side of Auckland we found Musick Point which has a large building that was the centre of radio communications for a number of years, especially during WWII. That is all closed down now, but behind the building is a number of very steep steps that you can climb down and it is just fantastic. Neither my husband nor myself have been here before and we stayed for a while, taking photos and enjoying the coastal beauty so close to home.
Monday, December 22, 2008
On Saturday I decided that I wasn't happy with the last portrait that I drew of Tayla and that it didn't match the one I had done of Carter. I looked through my photos but couldn't find one that worked for me so I decided that my daughter should do another photo session for me.
Well, 140 photos later, I had a couple that I really liked and the one that this drawing is based on was my favourite. So last night I sat on the couch and drew while half watching a DVD and I was so so pleased with the outcome. This is now definitely my favourite so far and I can just see how much I am improving with every portrait.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Last night my husband was out visiting clients and I finally felt well enough to paint so while the kids slept I hid away in my studio with the dog and cat. YAY!
As I mentioned previously, I really want to explore portraiture in the next year and have been reading up on it. So last night I thought I would do a grisaille underpainting for a portrait of Carter. As my husband had my laptop with me (which felt like a limb was cut off) which has all my photos, I couldn't print off a photo so had to work with what I had which was the same photo that I drew as a charcoal portrait last week. And that worked well. Because I was used to the photo and where the tonal changes were, I found that a really good base point before painting the underpainting and think I will probably do that again for the next portrait.
I spent a couple of hours on this, and concentrated on the face mainly. The hair and t-shirt are not terribly detailed but I didn't think they needed to be in this. I really want to get the luminosity of a child's skin coming through when I start the glazing which is why I spent a long time on his face. I did this all in burnt umber and am really happy with it. Now I am really scared of stuffing up the next stages so I am going to do more research today on how to approach the glazing for the skin tones before I start that tonight.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This is my lovely one year old daughter Tayla in charcoal pencil on A4 Arches HP paper.
Today is the first day I have picked up a pencil or anything remotely resembling a drawing instrument since I last posted. The reason being is that I have Strep Throat again, which means I have been sick for 6 days now and only now beginning to show signs of recovery after I went to the Doctor yesterday and got some antibiotics. Looks like I am one of the 15% of the population that carry the bacteria around with them all the time which is why I am getting it once a year at present. Lucky me. My poor munchkins are also not well, each with ear infections in their right ears.
While I have been sick I have been reading lots of art magazines and books and am so so inspired to get stuck into painting again and have some big ideas for a total change in direction. I really want to focus on portraiture next year and the figure and in painting as well as drawing. I feel much more confident drawing a portrait than I do in painting it and my attempts are self-portrait are hiding away in my studio at the moment waiting to see if I can rescue it or whether I should sand it back and start again. So I am mulling at the moment inside my head thinking about how I structure my art and my artistic development next year.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Okay, so I have done the first two rules, now six random things about myself:
1. In my last year at High School, I played First Witch in a rock version of Macbeth. Imagine a mix of genuine Shakespeare interspersed with rock music and a purple Lycra catsuit and really really big hair (my hair was very long and it was teased out so much it would take at least 30 minutes the follow morning to get the knots out in preparation for it to all happen again that night at the next show).
2. I am a book addict and have in the vicinity of 5000 books. I read most genres and categorise my books alphabetically within genres. I have a real thing for sci-fi and fantasy books thanks to my friend Jo after turning down my nose at that genre for years. Now nothing beats a good fat fantasy series for complete escapism.
3. In my non-art, non-mummy life I am a Human Resources Consultant. I have my own business set up and do contract and consulting work and will be increasing that next year as I have been doing this part-time while my munchkins were little. It is coming up to a decade of being in HR but I do enjoy the people aspect and feel passionate about being able to make a difference.
4. I never did my big OE in my twenties as I was so focused on my career but I still really really have itchy feet. I can't wait to see Europe, the great art and the history. In saying that, the thought of dragging two toddlers on 24-hour plane trips to get to the other side of the world is just far too painful to contemplate so until they are a bit older, I will live vocariously through my friends travels and drool over their photos and stories.
5. I did a double major at university so have a degree in History and Feminist Studies and my passion was for women's history and revisionist history. One day I will go back and do all my post-grad. I loved being in academia and would really like a PhD one day. Dr Melissa..ummmmmm
6. Before I had my own babies, I was terrified of babies and if I ever had to hold one, I was frozen stiff ,so scared that I might damage it and always felt a sense of relief once I got to hand it back. Then I had my own and realised they are robust little things and I am now very comfortable with babies and toddlers. Nothing like cuddling a little baby to make me think, hmmm, maybe more,......one day..... but jury is still out on that one and after having two within a year of each other, I need a few more years break before we will make that decision!
Okay, now is the point where I have to tag six people. Because I slacked around with this, most of the people I was going to tag have already been tagged, so I am going to manipulate the rules (just for me) and list six blogs of which you should go visit and if those people from those blogs feel like playing along, they are more than welcome to feel tagged if they haven't been so already.
1. Sophia Elise - manager of the NZ Art Guild, abstract artist and all around fabulous human being
2. Leanne Brischetto - photographer extraordinaire and if she lived in NZ I would so get her to take photos of my babies
3. Tanya Dann - Artist, art student, check out her blog to see the incredible variery of stuff she has been doing from sculpture to photography to really cool unique soft toys
4. Sandra Toornstra - life drawings that are vibrant and immediate, I really enjoy her work
5. Marimba Powley - check out her landscapes, they have such style to them and are stunning
6. Jen Longshaw - fantastic animal art and musings on country life
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So I thought about it and then this purple moonlit image appeared in my mind, not realistic, more stylised and I thought that I would give it a try. And it came together very easily and I sent the painting off today. It is acrylic 500 x 500 x 40mm and the photo doesn't really show it properly as I used iridescant paint in different parts so it is actually quite shimmery and the glazed areas don't look patchy in real life like they do in the photo. I also took a not-straight photo so the bottom left side is cropped.
This painting is for a young woman that I have never met, who has overcome some incredible things in her life and is now facing her biggest battle health-wise. She really loves dragonflies so this painting is for her and I just really hope that she likes it.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I managed to do this when the kids were up and about and set my son up with his own drawing board, some paper and a pencil and a copy of this photo of Daddy so that he could draw Daddy too. I would post his two year version however last night his one year old sister tore it to bits when she wasn't too happy with her brother after she decided WWF-style wrestling isn't that much fun after a while (and as I write this now they are practicing wrestling moves on each other on the lounge floor).
My husband asked me when he saw this, if he really does have that many wrinkles. Well he was looking into the sun at the time with his head turned and he is a builder who works outside. And then for his hobby and his passion he is out on the boat with wakeboarding so he does look like he spends quite a bit of time outside but I love each and every wrinkle and I think they give him character. And I do really like drawing his face, it is a change from the smoothness of baby and toddler faces. So I am pretty happy with this one although can anyone give me a hint on how to sharpen charcoal pencils? I've tried different types of sharpeners and the lead seems to break so easily and I can't get a sharp point. If anyone reading this does know, please leave me a comment, I will be very grateful.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I drive past this house at least four times a week on a tiny little road called Risk Road and I have never noticed it before yesterday morning when I was obviously looking for the first time. It is this tiny villa with peeling paint, overgrown gardens and I wouldn't like to guess if it is inhabited or not (or if it is inhabitable). Especially when you consider it is smack bamm in the middle of Remuera which most New Zealander's know to be one of "those" suburbs, by which I mean, established old money type suburb. And here tucked in this tiny little road which has such a great name - Risk Road - which leads to many imaginative wanderings in itself - is this little house that is so beautiful in its weathering and the life it has lived that I just had to take some photos.
And how beautiful the shadow/light dance is on a gravel walkway between swaying trees?
And then when I decided that real life had better intrude again (and I was getting hungry as I normally have breakfast after the kids are in daycare) I drove off to see a friend walking in the park. I rolled down my window, she asked me to walk with them so I did.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the completed tree. Unfortunately I can't help out with the decoration itself as I would like as it is happening Friday afternoon which is one day that I have no childcare options and is right smack bang in the middle of sleep time. So the thought of juggling two toddlers that want to be sleeping while trying to keep their hands away from the beautifully decorated trees doesn't sound like too much fun.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I've had a bit of a block for the past few weeks and it has felt like I have had so many unfinished works and just wasn't getting any traction. Finishing this yesterday afternoon and then almost finishing the dragonfly piece last night has made me feel really good and all inspired again. Now I just need to figure out what to do to finish that seascape I posted a week or so ago.
It is also Virtual Sketch Date week again and I would like to participate but as it has to be completed by Saturday, I am not sure if I will get a chance given we have family coming to stay today that I am really looking forward to catching up with. Hopefully lots of photos from their travels from Europe as well to give me itchy feet (until I think about the realities of plane trips with a one year old and two year old which puts me off in a hurry).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Finally made some decent progress with the dragonfly piece too since I switched to oils for the dragonfly itself so once that is further along I will post that too. Hope you all are well, I have actually been doing quite a bit of art, just have heaps of things in progress and nothing finished.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I had the TV on mute during the day to see the results coming through (was working on some HR stuff so couldn't take the time to listen but I could look up at the screen and see results every so often) and when I had to go out driving, I listened to it in my car. When I heard him speak his victory speech, I cried. It really bought home to me just how important this election is, both for the past and for the future.
I have a degree in History and have studied American History and for an African American person to win this election is incredible and I hope it brings hope and belief to the many many children who have thought that they can't achieve certain things due to the colour of their skin. And I think it says something great about the amount of American people who voted for him because he was the best person and that it wasn't about the colour of his skin.
Here in New Zealand (and probably the rest of the western world), we have been so put off by the Bush administration and couldn't believe how such an imbecile could be in charge and make such damaging decisions that were affecting the rest of the world. The leader of this country has such an impact on how the rest of the world views America and I see how interested and invested people here in NZ have been about this election and how excited and hopeful we are about Obama being President. Even though McCain probably would have been better for NZ in terms of the Fair Trade Agreement, I think we all thought that Obama was better for the world.
So I feel hope, hope that this person is one that will continue to change history and make a positive impact on the world. Just seeing the synergy of the people who believe in him and are wanting change is incredible in itself and I believe there will be change and hope.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I am happier with this attempt than Tayla's portrait but it is still not quite where I want it to be. I did struggle a bit with the photo I based this one off, as the back of our son's head was actually cutting off one side of his ear, cheek and neck so I left that to last and last night when he got home from work I had to get him to pose for me with his head on that angle so I could try and get where his neck should be.
This is on A4 Arches smooth paper again. I am almost out of that pad so I might try another brand next time to see the difference.
I also have two paintings on the go that I plan on working on more today - the dragonfly one is slowly coming along and I also am inspired to start another large seascape today too. I find I get into the flow more when I paint landscapes and seascapes versus more detailed subjects. I enjoy the zone when you are just blending colours and are able to get large areas of colour done in one hit. So I think the dragonfly one will be done in bits and pieces and I will do some landscapes/seascapes in between for refreshments. Also all our walls are quite bare at the moment after taking a few of them down to go to Cafe Apollo so I really need to get some large ones done soon.
Friday, October 31, 2008
So this isn't the best outcome that I wanted and I left the clothes and neck pretty undeveloped as by that stage I figured this was a learning piece and not one that I will give away or hang up myself. I do really love the photo that this is based on though so I would like to attempt this one again, perhaps with a mixture of graphite and charcoal? I do really love the intense black you get with charcoal pencils and I am pretty happy with the eyes and hair, it's really the lack of smoothness with the change in tone on the face and because my baby girl has such beautiful smooth clear skin I really wanted to capture that and I don't think I did.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thought that I would check out You Tube to see if the video was there and of course it is so for those of you that haven't heard this song for a while, here it is!
It is called "We are the World" as my interpretation of community is that we are a global community right now. Look at how inter-related we all are with our systems such as the finance markets which is top of mind at present. Look at how technology has meant that you can communicate instantly with someone the other side of the world. When I thought about our world as our community, it made me remember that song "We are the world, we are the children..." I remember singing that at primary school and I loved it so for this challenge I thought that I would do three girls singing this from different cultures/ethnicities but together in our global community.
I have no idea what I will do with this piece, but it was fun to play and do and gave me a break from this self-portrait which I am still battling with and the dragonfly that I have decided to give up the acrylics with and break out the oils.
This particular piece is 300 x 200 x 35mm and is acrylic, collage and mixed media on canvas.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
What has put me off charcoal in the past is the messiness and the lack of control I feel I have with a charcoal stick. So a charcoal pencil gives me the control I like (am I a control freak?) but the beautiful intense dark which is a change from graphite. I need to figure out the blending side of things and may use a charcoal stick or willow charcoal for that softer part but I was pretty happy with the eyes.
I am nervous of smudging it and was wondering if I should have started top left and worked my way down. The trouble is that I like to draw the eyes first after I have done the outline as that makes the picture come alive to me and I really love seeing my daughter's face appear on the page. I guess I will just have to be careful.
One interesting thing I found when drawing Mackenzie recently, was because I have never met her in real life and only see photos, I didn't get that sense that I get when I draw my children of "that's her". Even though I am working of a photo of Tayla, I know her face so well from life that I think it adds something. I can understand why portrait painters prefer to meet the subject in real life as I think it helps with knowing when you have got that true likeness and sense of who they are.
In terms of other art, I have actually done more work on that self-portrait and it is looking better so once it is further long I will post it along with some of the exceptionally "ugly" stages this particular piece has gone through. I have also been battling with this dragonfly. I have been painting it in acrylic but I keep getting frustrated with not being able to blend and manipulate the paint like you can with oils. I was doing it in acrylic as I was intending to resin it once it was finished as it has a very textured mixed media background which would look great under resin but I think I might just paint over the dragonfly in oils and then just use a gloss varnish. I like acrylic for certain things but I find oil paint so much better for blending and manipulating and I almost feel like I have lost my skills in acrylic and the quick drying frustrates me immensely.
It is also Virtual Sketch Date week and I haven't done anything yet so will try and do that today. It is pears this time so might be a good chance to try out the charcoal pencil on something different that people.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I think for the next coloured pencil piece I do on canvas, I will use a lighter colour to prime it as I couldn't get rid of the black base and haven't made my mind up to whether that adds depth or would a figure drawing be better on a lighter background. The only way to find out is to try another one on a light background.
I enjoyed working on this size as I could cart it around with me and ended up doing quite a bit of it in bed before going to sleep at nights (was a change from reading which is my normal wind down activity).
I just need to find out what varnish to use on this now as I have a horror of spraying it and then finding that it dissolves colour pencil and the drawing runs off the canvas. I am sure that is highly unlikely to happen but these coloured pencil pieces take so damn long that I am not willing to risk it so I will be doing some research first.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I am currently experimenting with using coloured pencil on canvas with this piece above. I primed the canvas with Art Spectrum Pastel primer and thought that I would play around with this because I do love works of art on canvas and it would be fantastic if it does work and I can draw on canvas then seal it and it to be able to be hung just like that. I am also experimenting with using solvent which is interesting - it seems to dissolve the pencil and you can manipulate it a bit like a turpsy oil glaze really. It can muddy it a bit but I will persevere with this as I can see the potential.
Here is a photo of it on its side. As you can see if is gallery wrapped canvas, 200 x 200 x 40mm. The image that I am working from is courtesy from wetcanvas from a virtual life drawing class last year. I will find out more details before I finish it so I can properly credit the photographer.
I also met with the owner of Cafe Apollo in Mairangi Bay on Friday and checked out the space in the cafe for hanging artwork. On the left hand side you can see about half the big white wall space available and there is also more space for two large works by the door at the end (behind me in the photo). I will be assessing whether I have enough works to fill this space appropriately within the next day or so and if I do, I will hang on Wednesday. I will rotate works every 3 months so it is another great opportunity to get my work out on display and hopefully some sales! I've had some good outcomes from displaying my work at the Albany Garden Centre and this opportunity has come from the owner seeing my work at the Pizza de Casa restaurant and taking my business card. So you do have to get out there to be seen and get sold.
If I do paint some new pieces for this cafe I think I will focus more on colourful landscapes. I do enjoy doing them and I think they would fit well in this space. For my personal development I really want to start doing some figure painting and portraiture but that is for me. I've been meaning to sign up for a life drawing class at the local high school so I better check and get on to that as I do have a feeling it was an October start!
I have almost finished the graphite portrait of my god-daughter Mackenzie, just the clothing to do now so I will post that as soon as I have completed it.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
This is coloured pencil on AS Colourfix paper. I mainly used Prismacolor pencils which I think may be becoming my favourite out of the coloured pencil brands. The size is 260mm x 230mm and this is now my fifth coloured pencil piece.
I do like working on the Colourfix paper but might try HP watercolour next time to see what the difference is. I went through one and a half white pencils on this as this paper does eat pencil.
I notice on the overseas blogs, that people keep referring to Stonehenge paper as being the best. I haven't come across this in NZ yet but I might do a ring around and see if any of the art shops can get it or already have it. I do have some Arches smooth paper so that will be worth a try. I use the Arches normally for the graphite portraits and it is lovely paper. I also want to play around with using solvent on coloured pencil so that will be interesting to experiment with.
Anyway it is a Saturday morning and I have two exceptionally grumpy toddlers as they both have colds so I'm glad I got this one done well in advance of the deadline as I get the feeling that today is going to be one of "those" days. I have got a large oil painting that I have started out in my studio but I don't think I will be getting a chance to work on that today!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This morning I am off to the museum with the toddlers so I am hoping to get some inspiration and some ideas for a direction to take with my painting. The weather isn't great today which is a pity as we were hoping to have a picnic lunch outside on the domain afterwards but I am sure we can find somewhere to have a nice lunch. Speaking of this, I better go start getting kids dressed and ready.