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.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I will be getting 4 pieces ready for this and hope to have a couple of new pieces completed in time.
I also need to work on a blurb about why I am a vegetarian and my art today as the NZ Vegetarian magazine is doing an article about us vegetarian artists and the NZ Art Guild. So that's all exciting and fun and I will head over to Mt Eden on the day of the Festival to have a good look around myself.
I've been a vegetarian for about 6 or 7 years now. The initial reason I became a vegetarian was that I had really high cholesterol. As I was in my mid-twenties, not over-weight and fairly active at the time, I needed to make a change to see if I could reduce it naturally. My doctor gave me a year otherwise I would be on medication for the rest of my life which I wasn't keen on. It made a difference immediately and I noticed a big increase in my health following that as well. Obviously my body just doesn't like to process meat and animal products and I found I didn't miss meat at all. Now with a greater awareness of global concerns around food production and the like, I also believe that one day our society will reach a point where it can't sustain the level of meat eaten as that restricts land and resources that can be used far more effectively for other food sources. I think that will happen in my lifetime too (my husband will suffer as he is a big carnivore).
Anyway, must go as munchkins are both in bed for their nap (although not asleep quite yet) so I will see to the cat (who is wearing a collar still after surgery and hates it with a passion) and then I will take the opportunity to go paint as I have many ideas whirling inside my mind at present and I want to express them on canvas.
This is brilliant, highly thought-provoking and inspiring. If you have 20 minutes of listening time, please listen to this.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This is the painting that originally frustrated me as I didn't get one big work period to do the sky so it was done over a lot of half hour sessions. By the last few sessions, I actually began to like working on it over a period of time as I felt that I really was able to build up and almost sculpt the clouds. You can't see that so much in the photo but is much more obvious in real life. It also meant that I used a lot more layers than normal as I found I had to keep on painting over areas so that I could get the effects that I wanted.
This is a fairly dark skyscape as my husband pointed out and I think the reason it turned out that way is due to what has been happening in our lives recently. There are changes in my family which have made me sad and my stepson's mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer so all that stuff has been top of mind recently.
I'm not going to go into the meanings of the poem itself which is the text down the bottom except to say that it is about my marriage (and when I read it to my husband he said "that's deep"):
We are a plural
Entwined we keep tightening
These bindings we choose
Outside batters and storms
And bits tear from us
But we keep entwining
And tightening by choice
And before I go, please note that you can now subscribe to new posts by email. It's that box on the top right hand side, just put in your email address and then each time I post something new you get it via email in your inbox. I use Google Reader to keep up with the blogs I read but I know a lot of people don't use readers and prefer email updates so I have finally got my act together with this.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I used a mixture of Lyra Rembrandt, Derwent Coloursoft and Prismacolor pencils. I do like Prismacolors but I still think the coloursofts are the best for good black coverage with the softer lead.
Even though I didn't have toddlers trying to get in my way this afternoon while drawing, I did have to deal with my cat Lucy. She is currently wearing a plastic collar around her head to stop her tearing out stitches and it is driving her batty. She is very grumpy and can't get comfortable so wants to share this with me. Right now she is trying to climb on my arm while I type and this afternoon she was trying to rub the collar off on my arm when I was trying to draw. As this has to stay for for at least another week and a half, I hope she starts to get used to it as it in't pleasant being woken up in the middle of the night with a plastic collar digging into my face.
But I must go because I would like to try and finish this skyscape tonight, so hopefully if I do get it finished, I will post a photo of the final version tomorrow.
So far this year, I have been focused on getting paintings done for exhibitions or art shows. I tend to work really well with deadlines and it flicks me into achievement mode and I get very productive. The issue for me is that I start to feel like I am pumping out stuff that I find fairly easy to work on and I also get hung up on the whole "will it sell", "will people like it" mode. And to be honest, I don't want to be in that mode at this early point of my art career as I am still working out what I want to do with my art and I think the focus on selling would limit me and restrict me from experimenting (this is a personal standpoint - others may have a different view).
So right now I have no new exhibitions coming up, the main art shows are over until the middle of next year and I feel a sense of freedom in that I now have time to play and learn, but also a sense of confusion over what direction I take.
I had an interesting discussion with my tutor last week and I told him that I reach a point where things are working really well on a piece, it is looking good so then I get fearful of experimenting as I know that if I play safe, it will turn out a nice piece. However I think this is stopping me from growing and I feel like I need to make some changes and stop playing safe. It's a scary step though when you have invested hours into an artwork (especially coloured pencil artwork) and know that if you experiment and it doesn't work, then you have ruined a potentially good piece and those hours spent creating it. I think a big part of my hang up with this, is that my time is very very precious. In a week, I am a Mummy to a one year old and two year old (except for when they are in part-time daycare), I look after the business side and employee side of things for my husband's construction business and do all the tenancy stuff for our property investment business. I also am about to start cranking up my own HR work again and increasing that - I am taking a new direction with that which I am really excited about but need to do a lot of development work over the next few months to be ready to kick that off, and I am studying art which requires 15 hours a week minimum. So life is fairly busy and I love it. But I think it makes me just a tad too precious about feeling like I have wasted time.
So, I think I need to get over the whole "wasted time" thing. I need to really recognise that even if it doesn't work as a finished artwork, then the process is still the most important factor. I do work well with challenges (which is why I like deadlines) so I need to shift my thinking and instead of having time-frames as my challenges, to make experimenting and "playing" my focus.
Anyway, that's where I am at. I am almost finished Connor's portrait and the cloud painting is almost done - I'm just hung up on experimenting with it and I will go for it, it's just working out how to do it as I am really happy with where it is at right now as a skyscape and I am about to change that with what I plan to do. I won't say anything more until I post the final version.
And also as promised, here are some links to other fantastic art blogs that I keep an eye on and get inspiration from. The incredible Making a Mark by Katherine Tyrrell which is pretty much the most information art blog that I have come across and I highly recommend.
Edward B. Gordon does wonderful work and posts a new painting every day. I love the dark/light contrast he achieves regardless of the subject matter. Karin Jurick is another artist who is a master that the dark/light contrast and I especially love her art gallery pieces (with figures standing in front of famous artworks) - just stunning. She has also started a new blog Different Strokes from Different Folks in which she posts a reference photo each week and then her painted version and then invites others to do their interpretation. Last week was the first one and she had an incredible response. I'm going to try and participate - if not this week, then next.
I also love Tracy Helgeson's work and even if she isn't painting, she still updates her blog with the going's on in her life which is always interesting reading. And her studio is incredible - I had to show my husband the photos and have instructed him that in "THE" house, I want something similar.
And finally, given that I am enjoying playing with coloured pencils at present and loving drawing Connort our black lab, I am in awe over the incredible work that Laura from Animal Art Adventures does - her animal portraits are just incredible.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The other creative thing that I ended up doing this weekend was icing birthday cakes. My daughter is one on Monday and my son is two on Friday so we had the birthday party yesterday which was lovely. I want to do the tradition of making a themed birthday cake each year and I have a couple of cake books with different decorations. My son chose the cat cake as he loves pointing out cats (or meows as he calls them) and I figured the the moon cake would then match going with the nursery rhyme 'Hey Diddle Diddle'. So I had the cat and the moon and would just need the cow to complete it but as there are only the two kids we only did two cakes and that was enough. Why don't the final outcomes ever come out as pretty and perfect as the pictures in the book? Anyway below you can see my daughter with both cakes in front of her. My son had moved away at this point but you get the picture.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Today I started a coloured pencil portrait of our dog Connor. I've been wanting to paint or draw this particular photo for a long time and as the wip of Tayla is down in Wellington with my tutor at the moment, I thought that I would draw Connor to keep me busy in the meantime. Drawing black fur is an interesting exercise and you have to be so observant to see the different tones. It's surprising how little is actually pure black. I'm doing this on ColourFix paper which I prefer as it is more robust and can handle the handling.
The weather is so beautiful today that I ended up sitting outside in the sun drawing while the munchkins were asleep. Spring has truly arrived and I am so grateful. I am not a winter person when winter is rainy and cloudy. I can handle winter if there is sun, but this particular winter in Auckland has been so wet. Yesterday I took the munchkins on an hour and a half walk (which included a stop at the library and pet shop) and it felt so good to be outside. My son Carter found a cocker spaniel puppy at the pet shop that he wanted to take home saying "Mine Mine Mine". At home he has Connor, our black lab, but I think he likes the smallness of the puppies as Connor weighs at least 3 times as much as Carter and while he is good for climbing on he isn't the right size for tug of wars etc. Carter used to love playing with Stray when he used to visit.
I am still working on this skyscape but still a long way to go. I prefer to work wet-on-wet with big skies like this, just doing highlights when it is dry. However I haven't managed a large enough gap of time to do that so have been doing bits and pieces so I'm having to work differently which I'm not enjoying so much and you lose the opportunity for the real blending when parts have dried already. I think I will end up doing lots of glazing to get the effect I want. Ignore the bottom, I haven't done anything with that and the only reason it is blue because I painted over an unfinished painting and that was the sky.
I probably won't have another crack at this one until Sunday as we have a birthday party for both munchkins this Saturday. Tayla is one next Monday and Carter is two next Friday so it is a joint party. My Mum is coming up for the entire week so hopefully I can get some extra painting time next week as I feel I really need to catch up.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Several months back I picked up a plastic mannequin cheap off Trade Me. I've had it sitting in my studio ever since with the idea that one day I will paint it. So over the weekend I gesso'ed it as a start and it looks pretty good all white, much nicer than the plastic skin tone.
Today I needed to get some more drawings done to send off to my tutor so I sat the mannequin in the sun in the lounge and proceeded to do several drawings of which this is one of them. It is on A3 sized paper and is conte crayon. I haven't managed to attend another life drawing class for a couple of years now so while I need to do that soon, this mannequin might keep me busy for a wee while. I wouldn't mind painting a picture of it before I actually paint it.
I am also part way through several paintings of which this skyscape is one. it is still in the very messy stages and I haven't even blocked in all the canvas but you can get the picture. Hopefully I will have some energy tonight once the munchkins are off to bed.
On a positive note, spring has arrived officially and I am damn pleased. I am completely and over winter in Auckland this year as it has rained and rained and rained and then to top it off, it rained just a bit more. It was lovely to have sun shining and blue sky and to see blossoms on the trees as you drive around. Bring it on. I'm not a winter girl at the best of times but I grew up with the Canterbury winters which are dry and cold with frosts in the morning and then crisp cold sunny days. I would much prefer that to the warmer and wetter winter we get in Auckland.