Thursday, May 29, 2008

WIP - another Carter pencil portrait

I started another pencil portrait of my son Carter last night. For some reason it is like a switch has been turned on and all of a sudden I am really really enjoying drawing. So much so, that right at this very instant when both babies are sleeping, I would rather draw than paint! I used to procrastinate with my drawing exercises, but suddenly it has come together and I am happy with what the end results are.

You can see in the photo above how I do it. I do a light line outline to get proportions right, and then when I am happy with that, I start with the eyes and then work through the face. I have a fantastic printer (HP C6180) which prints excellent photos, so because I am currently working on A4 Archers smooth 185gsm paper, I am taking advantage of printing out the photo in A4 so I can easily reference the detail. I also photocopy the photo in black and white on my printer which enables me to see the tonal variations and most of the drawing is worked from the photocopy, just using the colour photo for the detail that the photocopy misses.

Here's my board that I sit on my lap so I am sit wherever my husband is and talk to him while I draw and he does whatever he is doing at that present moment (tends to be drawing plans for the houses are we building this year at the moment).

I find it easier to draw my children from photos, purely because Carter does not sit still or stand still ever. He is like his father and is an exceptionally energetic boy. We are definately going to have to get him into some type of physical sports fairly young so he has an outlet for it. My husband is the same, if he can't wakeboard (like he can't at the moment as he is waiting for the third round of surgery on his right knee - landed wrong from a flip), he really suffers from not having that outlet.
Anyway, better go and do some drawing before babies awake. Enjoying the peace, especially as Carter has just reached toddler tantrum stage as well as loving the Wiggles stage, and while I'm not a fan of dumping kids in front of the TV, some times for my sanity, the Wiggles has to go on and it is scary that I now know all the words and actions and find myself singing wiggles songs at the strangest moments!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Here's a pencil drawing I've just finished of our beautiful labrador Connor. He will be 7 this year and is starting to get a grey muzzle. I hate the thought of him getting old. He doesn't think he's getting old - he can still do a variety of tricks from opening and shutting the door to crawling, tiptoes into the garage to eat the cat's food and can hear the word "hungry" from about 1km away. He has a great life, our dog. He gets to ride in the car to work with my husband daily and spends his daytime hours as a builder's dog. Our employees sneak him copious amounts of food so he is often on a diet when not at work, and he sleeps in our bedroom at night on the floor next to the bed (he would prefer on the bed but he is a large lump when he sleeps that tries to take over the entire bed so that is a no go). Connor thinks he owns half of Auckland as he remembers every house he has helped built and loves it when we visit tenants so he can check out one of his properties. The only place that he doesn't go, is when the boat goes out and we go wakeboarding. Connor loves the boat, but my husband loves it more and after Connor jumped on and stretched the brand new cover over the front of the boat he has since then been left at home!

Connor and my husband have one of those incredibly close man/dog relationships that you read about. I am definitely number 2 on the list (to the dog anyway, better not be to the husband), and it is wonderful to see the absolute devotion that Connor has towards his master. When my husband was in hopsital seriously ill with pneumonia about 8 months ago, everytime I drove up the driveway, Connor would come out to the car, peer inside and was so obviously disappointed once he realised that I was alone.

So this is Connor, based on a photo I took a couple of weeks ago while at the Auckland Domain. I've tried to diversify my marks with the grass and shadows to get looser based on feedback from my tutor. I am starting to really enjoy drawing now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Mountain Watches...and...the 3 Peppers finished

I have called this piece "The Mountain Watches" as the photo from which is is based on was taken at the summit of Mt Wellington, one of the volcanic cones in the Auckland region. The Maori name for Mt Wellington is Maungarei which means "the watchful mountain", hence the derivitive of my title for this. It is oil 800 x 600 x 40 and will be for sale on my website shortly and also if not sold prior, will be heading to The Original Art Sale next month.

I also did some final tidying up of this one over the weekend so I can now say that it is finished. It is oil on canvas 400 x 200 x 40 and will also be listed on my website for sale shortly too.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Almost finished...just need a title and some tweaking

First off let me say that the photo isn't good - I've taken this at night which upsets the colours and is the worst time to photograph a painting, but I wanted to post my progress as I am pretty damm happy with this one.

You will remember in a previous post, I posted a photo that I took a couple of weeks ago standing on top of Mt Wellington here in Auckland that won the member's choice for the NZ Art Guild photography challenge. Well for the last couple of days I have been painting it and I'm really pleased with it. I just need a final of bit of tweaking in the morning and then it can be signed and put aside to go into The Original Art Sale here in Auckland in June. I've been accepted for 4 pieces, so this is one of them, I'll add another 2 older pieces and will do one new one.

I still need a title for this one, so any suggestions please.....

By the way, it is oil on canvas and fairly large, 800 x 600 x 40mm and I really enjoyed painting this. I so have a thing for clouds at the moment. I did another drive up the top of Mt Wellington tonight on the way to pick up Indian takeaways. The sun was setting and while the colours were pretty, I wanted more clouds! Trouble is that the sun sets early at the moment as it is winter and right in the middle of that "witching" hour that all parents know off - when you are trying to feed and bath babies just before bedtime. Unfortunately that means during the week, I just can't take off and take photos if the sky looks good, so tomorrow is Sunday so fingers crossed for a fabulous interesting clouded sunset!

I'm also feeling good today because we are finally all over the flu that we have had this week. The whole house, from Husband, to me, to toddler, to baby. Not much fun, but now I'm feeling better I feel sooo good and just appreciate feeling good.

Also when I see the news footage each night of what is happening in China in the aftermath of this horrendous earthquake, I feel silly for being concerned about a little flu when I am incredibly lucky to have my family safe with me. That's my big feeling grateful thing for today and my heart hurts for all those people that have lost their families and when I hear of parents waiting outside the ruins of their child's school hoping against hope that their child may have survived, I just want to cry. I can't imagine anything more horrible.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tayla's Pencil Portrait

And here is a pencil portrait that I just finished now of my beautiful 8 month old daughter Tayla. Isn't she just delightful. She is the happiest little soul ever and such a sweetheart.
And here is the original photo that I took last week.

I was reading a book last night called The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women (really good book by the way - would definitely recommend it). In the chapter I am currently reading, it talks about prosperous thinking and scarcity thinking and what does it mean to feel prosperous. I thought about it and realised that I am so incredibly lucky and so very very prosperous in all aspects of my life. I have a wonderful husband who is also my bestest friend and we have the most beautiful children in the world. We live in a nice house, have enough to eat, drive nice reliable vehicles, have a great dog and cat. We are self-employed so responsible for creating our own work environments and we live in New Zealand which has to be the best place on earth to live.

So many people equate prosperity with money, whereas that is such a small part of life and is given so much more importance than other factors. How many people work in jobs they hate, purely for the money. How many people focus on what they don't have rather than what they do have. That is scarcity thinking, about how everything you don't have impacts greatly and diminishes your gratitude for what you do have.

When I think about what is happening in the world right now, the earthquake that has just occurred in China with thousands of lives lost and many more affected. The tragic situation in Myanmar/Burma and the people that are going hungry and are dying purely because a selfish regime that will not let go of their egotistical power in order to save their people. How grateful am I? Exceptionally.

One of the exercises in this book is to think of 5 things every day that you are grateful for. I think I can name hundreds, from my family to the beautiful cold crisp sunny winter's day outside to my cat purring in my arms through to the soft couch calling me to have a nap right at this very minute while my wee girl is sleeping.......

Thursday, May 8, 2008

NZ Art Guild Photography Challenge - Beauty

Each fortnight the NZ Art Guild has a photography challenge for its members with a theme which they can interpret any way they want. The last theme was 'Beauty' and I am really pleased that one of my entries (we are allowed 2 entries) won the member's choice award. This is it - called 'Clouds of Beauty'. Taken on Monday with my Nikon D40X standing on top of Mt Wellington. The clouds were just incredible that afternoon and as my husband and I were driving to the accountants, I just had to get him to make a detour so I could take some photos. You can see Auckland city down at the bottom and the skytower absolutely dwarfed by these incredible cloud formations.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I've had a productive morning!

Today is Monday which means that both babies are in daycare. That then means that I can balance that free time to myself with art and work. This afternoon I have to work, so this morning I tried to get some things finished.

I think I may have finished "Twilight Dreaming". I still have to varnish it but I think I'm just fiddling now. I think my problem is that I purposely did an unrealistic colour scheme (as I loved the colours on the first photo I saw off this) and then I did the tissue underneath for texture, and then I painted more impressionistically than realistically. So up close it isn't as tidy as more realistic stuff I've done but I need to remember that it is the impact from standing back that counts and when I stand back I am fairly happy with it. Thanks so much to Leanne and Mario Brischetto for sharing your photos with me. I really appreciate it and one day I think I will paint the realistic version of this scene as I really love your photos. This one is 750 x 500 x 35mm, oil on canvas with tissue paper texture.

This is the other thing that I have finished this morning. Every year the NZ Art Guild does a collaborative project which ties in with its annual exhibition. This year the theme is "on your mind" and will be one big piece made up of 90 small panels done by 88 individual artists. I am assisting Sophia Elise (Manager of the Guild) with this and my dear husband has been roped into doing all the practical building stuff for putting this together once all pieces are ready. It is so useful being married to a builder who is very practical and also very clever when it comes to things like this!

The rules around the collaborative project is that everyone is given a piece that has a background colour/colours already painted on it. You have to keep some of the background colour so that the big piece works. Here is a picture from a previous one to illustrate what I mean.

'Fusion' - NZ Art Guild Collobarative Piece 2006

So time to remove painting clothes, get into business clothes and go do work stuff!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Carter's pencil portrait

I just had to post this tonight as I am pretty pleased as to how it turned out. The photo is crap because I've taken it at night so I will try and replace that tomorrow.

This is a pencil drawing of my beautiful son Carter who will be 20 months old shortly. Here is the reference photo I used that I took yesterday.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Still a work in progress but slowing getting there...

Still more to do and lots of tidying up but I thought that I would post a photo of progress with this one. I have spent so many hours on this painting and I am not satisfied. I think part of the issue is that I love the photo so much (taken by Mario Brischetto) that it is impacting on my satisfaction with the progress of this. I have changed it a wee bit from the photo, for example taking out some of the houses on the hill and just suggesting others and the land at the very back as well. But I love the photo and I love the effects done on the photo with the colours and I want to capture that on canvas.

Please keep in mind that this photo was taken in full sunlight which is not ideal so the colours seem more vibrant than in real life. The sides are wet so I couldn't put it in the shade as I would have spread paint around in places where paint shouldn't go again!

A week or so ago I managed to track phathlo turquoise throughout the house all over the carpet. And our house is fairly new as we only built it when I was pregnant with Carter. After quickly clearing that lot up before DH saw it, I managed to do the same thing the following night and then a couple of nights ago I finally got paint over the nice new beige couch. Go me!