Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Extreme Close-up

Today I did a drawing exercise for art school which involves blowing up something small and drawing it very large (A2 paper used). I found a dead leaf outside (handy that it is autumn at present) and drew this. I've put the leaf on the paper in the photo so that you can see how much bigger I had to draw it. It was a really good exercise in terms of observation and although I had a few false starts, I am fairly happy as to how it has turned out.

I still prefer painting over drawing anyday though and I get frustrated drawing and it seems to take me longer. I know that it is good for me though, especially when thinking about tone and the better I get at drawing, the better my painting will be.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hidden Lights I

Today is Anzac Day so we are having a family day. I'm just grateful to have my family around me in its entirety as we currently have my step-son here for the school holidays as well. I do feel so incredibly luck to live in New Zealand and not be at war. So my thoughts are with those that have fought for their countries and those that have lost family to war.

So anyway today we did a trip up to the Albany Garden Centre as I have some paintings there at the moment. This particular one is the one that I forgot to take a photo off before it went but I did want a photo for my records and now I have it.

It is acrylic and lots of modelling mediums and very very textured.

Totally off the topic but something really good to do, is to visit the website http://www.freerice.com/ . This is a great website in which you get to increase your vocabulary while donating rice to the world's hungry. Every word you get correct means 20 grains of rice is donated and if you think that doesn't sound a lot, then look at the stats and you can see that each day millions of grains are donated by more and more people doing this just for a few minutes a day. Great for kids as well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lunch break exercise

Today I have had a morning where my toddler lived up to everything toddlers are supposed to be. By which I mean, he drew all over the nice near-new beige couch in purple pencil, food is everywhere from the dining room to the lounge, toys are strewn everywhere and it took an hour to get down for the afternoon sleep. I also got some beautiful cuddles from him too which makes it all worth while. My boy is 19 months old and I also have a girl at 7 months old - I managed to have both within a year by 4 days which makes life interesting and busy.

So after this morning, and once they finally went to sleep (as they have only just started sharing a room which also makes life interesting!) I decided that I couldn't face the mess and that I needed to do something to de-stress me. So I decided that I would do one of the exercises for art school which is to paint a still life in a hour, firstly doing it dark to light and then secondly doing the same still life light to dark. I decided that I would paint peppers/capsicums (not an original still-life choice I now) but I really like the shapes and colours of them. Several days ago I set them up on a shaft of morning sunlight and took photos as I knew that I might not have the right light when I got a chance to paint them. So this is my dark to light exercise. I did manage to complete it within one hour. It is 400x200x35mm and is in oil painted wet-into-wet. I do want to go back when it is dry to touch up the white highlights as they kept on picking up the wet colours underneath. I'm not entirely happy with the green pepper at present but it had a lot of white highlights so hopefully that will resolve it once I do those. I haven't done the light to dark yet (and I am not really looking forward to that as I prefer dark to light with oils) but once I do I will post it here. And I get confused, are peppers and capsicums the same thing or is there some difference that I am not aware off. Please feel free to illuminate this for me if you can.

So my house is still a pigsty but the babies are due to wake any minute and I have managed to relax and actually get something done so I feel so much better!

I am still working on that other painting too but I'm feeling a bit stuck at the moment as I can't get the water right. I still need to finish glazing the sky and the houses etc need tidying up but I thought I would post a piccie here for interest sake. Just remember there is still heaps and heaps to go on this and it is still in that messy rough stage.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Some more progress...

Managed to spend a couple of hours on this last night. I was tired and grumpy and just wanted to crash on the couch thinking I couldn't be bothered painting, but then thought about how if I do just sit and do nothing, then my mood and tiredness wasn't going to improve, so I might as well paint which really does energise me and improves my mood 110%.

Still a long way to go but everything is blocked in now with the exception of the boat. Hopefully today or tomorrow I will finish the sea and then start putting in some of the houses on the hill and finish the white shed with the red roof. In the original scene, there is sand hills right at the very back and the sea doesn't meet the sky if you know what to mean. I'm not too sure if I should stay true to reality or leave that out as I kinda like the composition without that added in. I'll think some more about that in any case.

I won't be painting tonight as it is our wedding anniversary today so me and DH are going out to dinner to celebrate. We have been together almost 8 years but married 2 years ago in Rarotonga with our close friends and family there. We spent 10 days in Raro and loved every minute. Stayed at the Royale Takitumu Villa's which was superb and beautiful. I absolutely love the Cook Islands and I would hop on a plane to go to Raro again in a heartbeat. Today in Auckland it is gray and drizzling so the thought of sun, sand, snorkeling and cocktails sounds fabulous!

Our wedding was perfect, really small and relaxed with a BBQ dinner following the ceremony. We couldn't have had a better day so it is nice to remember that 2 years on. Here's a photo from the balcony of our villa in Raro taken by my friend Jo. The great thing about digital camera's is that everyone that was there sent us CDRoms with all the photos they had taken so we ended up with hundreds of photos which was fabulous.

Don't you wish you were sitting on that beach or swimming in that ocean right now? The snorkeling was fantastic as well with so many fish.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

WIP - Sumner journey (or something)...not too sure of title until finished

I feel like I have lots of unfinished works and I didn't want to post until I had something finished. However I have put all the others aside so I can work on this one which is based on the photo taken by Mario Brischetto from LMB Photography as per the post below. You can see the photo printed out on A4 above the painting. Leanne (Mario's wife and co-photographer) sent me the original photo as well as this version with the intense colours. I wanted to try and capture those deep turquoises so this is where I am at so far.

Still a long long way to go, the sky needs more glazes to get the depth I want and I've only just started on the water this morning. You can see my rough pencil marks for the boat and where the real highlighted reflections will be. I'm hoping to work more on this when babies are sleeping this afternoon but thought I had better post progress as it has been a week since I last posted!
I stuck tissue paper onto the canvas to give a subtle texture as then did a light wash of Indian Yellow because I wanted that warmth to come through. At the moment I've dropped the boat a little from the original photo, but not sure yet if that will work, it may get moved up.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


....Sophia Elise (Manager of the NZ Art Guild) and I hung the next lot of paintings to be exhibited at the Albany Garden Centre and Restaurant. It was exciting for me as I have some of my pieces hanging there now. I finished one the night prior that I was really happy with but then forgot to take a photo so instead here is a photo of a similar one (in terms of the heavy texture and long thin canvas) but completely different in every other way, including colour (the one I was happy with was all Turquoises and deep blues). I'm not happy with this one and it needs something more but just not quite sure what yet.

I am also really excited because a friend of mine that I have re-gained contact with through facebook who is a very very talented photographer along with her husband, has graciously given me permission to paint one of their amazing photos that they took when they were in Christchurch a few months ago. Leanne is based in Australia now and we worked together many many years ago briefly but I love catching up with her photography through her blog and facebook page and it is amazing. If she is ever in Auckland for whatever reason, I so want to book her to take photos of my babies! Check her blog out here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Charcoal portrait

Over easter we had family staying from Australia and I think we took about 350 photos over the long weekend - mainly of the kids (5 cousins, 4 of whom are 2 and under). I have to do lots of drawing exercises for my study and normally my dear family are the ones who have to pose for me. However in this case, Max my nephew is the star of this particular drawing. He is such a smiler and we had dozens and dozens of beautiful photos of him. I drew this one so I thought that I would post it here. My drawing is improving the more I do. I really want to improve my drawing and I know that it will really help my painting, I just prefer to paint so getting motivated to do my drawing exercises can take a while (I never need motivation to paint). Once I start though I do get really engrossed and enjoy the process.