Saturday, January 31, 2009

Playing with pastels

Last night I pulled out this piece which I spent 5 minutes on back in December and decided to see if I could finish it. It was fun to do but I really found that I was missing colours that I needed, especially for the hair. The closest colours I had were very yellow so I do need a wider range of pastels if I am going to try portraits with them. I think I also need some warmer skin tone pastels as this looks very cool this morning. As I did it under normal lights in the lounge last night, it looked warmer then but I think that was the lights.

Looking at this now I can see some things wrong with it but as this was more for a play with pastels exercise more than anything else, I am reasonably happy with it and I won't go back and play anymore. I must admit though that I pulled out the coloured pencils for the eyes and lips. I just couldn't get the detail I wanted with the pastels for the eyes and I didn't have the right colours for the lips.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Horse Drawing - charcoal and carbon pencils on Bristol

I managed to finish this last night while we watched a DVD. I love my drawing board. It is one that can be propped up to provide an incline on any table or bench but small enough for me to sit it on my knees while on the couch.

I could have kept fussing with this but I decided to just stop there and say it is finished. Not bad I thought for my first drawing off a horse since I was about 12. I thought about including a background as I am aware it is highly focused on the left hand side but decided not to as I quite like the effect of the horse walking onto the white paper.

I used a mixture of charcoal pencils and carbon pencils on A4 bristol. I found the carbon pencils were more useful to get the darks on this paper as the charcoal seems to sit on top more and can be manipulated (or accidentally brushed in the wrong direction) whereas the carbon seems to stay put. I enjoy both types of pencils though and want to continue playing with using both.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A snippet.....

Here is a little snippet of my painting 'Escape' which will be heading to the LIFE exhibition next week. This is just the top right hand corner and of a fairly large canvas (1000mm x 600mm x 40mm) and I hope to put the finishing touches on today when the kids are asleep. I was really happy with the sky and today I will be doing the highlights and finishing the fence posts and perhaps another glaze on the hills. I will post the whole painting once I am finished.

Yesterday I managed to have a massive painting session as my kids wouldn't go to sleep. I put them down as per normal at 12 noon (they normally chat for 10 minutes then go to sleep) but they were having far too much fun in their cots, playing with soft toys and reading books and didn't actually go to sleep until 2:45pm. They then slept for nearly 2 hours so I had a good 4.5 hours in my studio which was brilliant. The kids were happy before they fell asleep and wouldn't last the day without a sleep so I had to leave them in their room until they fell asleep.

Getting back to LIFE, the exhibition opens next week on Tuesday night at the Bruce Mason Centre with an auction to raise money for the Leukemia and Blood Foundation and 123 people will be getting their heads shaved to raise money for this fantastic foundation as well. Go here for information about the event and here to check out the profiles of the people that are getting their heads shaved (and yes there are a number of women doing this, 8 out of the 13 in fact and some of these women have incredible beautiful long hair). You can sponsor these brave souls online. I need to do that myself, the trouble is I know a number of these people so it is deciding who to sponsor which is the difficult part.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And my word for the year is.........ORDER

Yes, my word for the year is Order. A number of artist's whose blogs I read have chosen words to focus on this year and when I was considering what was relevant and pertinent to me, Order came through very strongly. But I guess I should explain what Order means to me....

I have a very busy life with two toddlers, four businesses and art. I plan on increasing the amount of hours I spend this year on Human Resources work (things simmering there which I will explain at a later point) and as I do all the paperwork and accounts for our construction business and two property investment businesses as well as a minimum of 15 hours study a week, and having two toddlers that are only in part-time daycare, I need to have order in my life to get everything done and not be stressed.

In the past six months or so since I took over half the garage as my studio, I found that I worked so much better and was so much more likely to pick up a brush or pencil if it was tidy and everything in order. Because every minute is precious (and anyone who has had two babies within a year will agree with me) I need to just go for it if I have some time when the munchkins are asleep.

So we (my lovely husband and myself) have been expanding this concept to the rest of our house and getting things in the right places, getting rid of the junk drawer (horrors) and the junk container (which sat on kitchen bench as the junk drawer was filled) and clearing out what we don't use. I cleared 7 boxes of excess kitchen stuff I don't use from the kitchen cupboards (see my pretty dinner set all in order above).
As part of this Order campaign, I have been completing some of the projects I have been talking about for ages. The "Letter" wall in the kid's room is one of those things. I have been picking up different letters for a few months now and still have a pile to paint up and extend it, but I actually got them painted and hung on the wall and I really like the effect.

I have also been putting my books in order. As you may recall I have in the vicinity of 5000 odd books. This is a small selection of the sci-fi/fantasy genre in alphabetical order.

Order also applies to how I spend my time. I have worked out a schedule which specifies how I fit in everything I do and also have quality playtime with my lovely toddlers and some time for me. This year the kids are in daycare an extra day and I am currently using this particular hour right now which is dedicated to art to update my blog (as I am aware I've been a bit slack recently - too much housework and "ordering").

So to sum it up, my focus on Order this year is for everything important in my life to have its place and appropriate time and resources allocated to it. That means I will achieve all my goals, our businesses will thrive and develop in different directions in this new economic climate, I improve my artistic skills, successfully complete my art study, kick-start my new direction with HR and have a loving family that spends lots of quality time together.

What is your word for this year?

By the way, the last photo is just one I took before of some beautiful lilies I bought this morning that were reduced. As my husband reacts badly to lilies (sensitive sod), they are currently in the garage where their beautiful scent is going to waste. But I got some great photos and hope to draw or paint them at some point.

Monday, January 19, 2009

LIFE - NZ Art Guild and Leukemia and Blood Foundation

Image - Life - Tony Brown

The NZ Art Guild are joining together wtih the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation of NZ (LBF) to Shave An Artist. Yes - that's right - artists from all over NZ are shaving their heads to raise money and support the 6 New Zealand children and adults are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma every day. The Leukaemia & Blood Foundation provides essential support not only for those patients, but for their families - support that can last months, and even years.

Top NZ Artists - Sofia Minson, Tony Brown, Sally Blyth, Nancy Frazer, Sophia Elise, Tanya Dann, Beate Minderjahn, Helen Sherrock, Sharlene Schmidt, Marimba Powley, Jennifer Christiansen, Juliet Cryns and Victoria Anderson - have donated artworks which will auctioned off at a one of a kind, not to missed charity event. Watch while artists and friends have their heads shaved alongside their artworks being auctioned. To coincide with this event 35 artists from around NZ will be having a month long exhibition of artworks depicting "life" in all its facets.

100% of the proceeds from the art auction and head shaves and 20% from all exhibition artwork sales will be donated to LBF.
Please help the Leukaemia and Blood foundation by supporting our shavers by sponsoring them by clicking here. Every donation no matter how small makes a difference to the work of LBF and the families they help.

Come to the opening night and support these brave, generous people in person
When: Feb 3rd 2009, 6:00pm Where: Bruce Mason Centre, Cnr of the Promenade and Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna Beach, North Shore City, Auckland. Entry: Free - All welcome

Buy an Artwork at the LIFE Exhibition When: Feb 3rd - Feb 28th. Mon - Fri - 9am - 5pm and Sat 10am - 4pmWhere: Bruce Mason Centre, Cnr of the Promenade and Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna Beach, North Shore City, Auckland

While I will not be getting my head shaved (and I so admire those that are), I will be having a piece in the associated exhibition and if it sells, 20% of the proceeds will go to the LBF.
Also check out the piece by Tony Brown above. I am very lucky to own a Tony Brown which hangs on my lounge wall. His work is amazing in real life, photos just don't do it justice.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Charcoal horse drawing WIP

When I was a kid I was horse mad. I never had a horse of my own, but I wanted one so badly. I loved any book that involved horses from My Friend Flicka through to the Jill and the ponyclub books. I had a secondhand riding hat that I picked up at the school fair and I wore that around the house and in the backyard which had been transformed into a showjumping ring in my mind (and a little bit in real life) and I rode my imaginary horse over all the jumps to victory.

I used to love drawing horses then too and when my family moved from Timaru to Christchurch and I had to change schools, I became good friends with a girl called Kathryn after I saw her drawing horses and we realised that we had a shared passion. Over the years horses gave way to all those other interests that you have as a pre-teen and teenager and I probably haven't even ridden since I was about 16. However I still love horses and I still like drawing them as I am discovering at the moment.

I still have a way to go on this one as it is sucking up a fair bit of time, but I'm pretty pleased with the outcome so far. We live fairly close to the Meadowbank Pony Club smack bang in suburban Auckland so often see horses being walked or ridden around the streets. I took this photo out of the car window while my husband was driving us past. I was pleased that I actually managed to capture the horse in the frame and actually like the angle which is good as it is the only photo that actually got the horse.

This is charcoal pencil on A4 Bristol and it is interesting on the smooth paper how you can move the charcoal around and it doesn't grab easily. That helps for certain effects but I'm not getting the real darks I want in certain places so I think I will finish drawing it and then fix it and then go over certain areas again. Hopefully I'll get this finished in the next few days.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another portrait of Tayla - charcoal and carbon pencils

This is just a relatively quick drawing I completed this afternoon while the munchkins are sleeping (and they still are - bliss!) but I thought I would post it here as I tried a couple of new things.

Firstly, I used Bristol paper, A4 size. This is very smooth thick paper and I like the charcoal on it as it is smooth and very easy to blend. Will be using this more I think, and I think it made it quicker too. Secondly I pretty much did a few lines and smudging for the clothes and I like the effect. And thirdly I tried scanning the image rather than taking a photo and I think it may be better. What do you think?

I get so frustrated at how grey the white paper comes out on the photo whereas this seems pretty white still. But does it come through as clear? Any thoughts or hints on what settings to use with scanning would be greatly appreciated. I tried a few things and then ended up 200dpi on the 256 Greyscale. But are there better options???

Also, quite a number of artists whose blogs I read have been choosing a Word for the year and applying that to their lives. I've been thinking a lot about that and think I have my word, so will be back with more detail once I've done more thinking....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Charcoal and pastel drawing and some new year art resolutions!

This is the portrait I drew today using Charcoal pencils, a white pastel pencil and a carbon pencil with great use of the tortillion. It is on A3 Mi-Teints paper in a grey shade.

The subject is my step-son Alex who turns 16 this month. The drawing however was based on a photo I took of him sometime last year and I loved the photo so much, especially with the distinct lighting (pure coincidence as his sister was on his knee and it was just a shot of the two of them together) that I wanted to try drawing it. I thought I would try a toned paper so I could use white on it for the highlights and I'm really happy with it.

Anyway, enough of that, not on to my New Year's Art-Related Resolutions!!!!!

1. Set up my own website that I manage myself (I already have my own domain name and that is done through Artfind but you can't change the look and it has limited functionality so I would like a website that I can group different styles etc in logical ways rather than just having everything listed on just one page.)

2. Participate in at least 3 exhibitions/art fairs (have an exhibition coming up in a month so that will be one down).

3. Draw at least one portrait a week to continue to develop my drawing skills

4. Paint a minimum of 5 portraits during the year

5. Complete Stage One of the diploma I am doing at TLC

6. Participate in at least half of the fortnightly challenges for the NZ Art Guild

7. Do another life drawing class

8. Continue to learn more about photoshop

9. Have enough work in progress to replace art in the cafe every 3 months with fresh and improved work

10. Donate artwork to at least 2 charity type auctions

I think that might keep me busy!

Happy new year and a new oil painting

I hope everyone is having a lovely day for the start of the year. I have had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in my studio while my husband and step-son entertained the kiddies. I gesso'ed some small canvases, painted one painting and drew a drawing (which I will post later).

I am currently preparing for the swap over of paintings at Cafe Apollo which will happen in about a month. Given the economy and the fact people are tighter at the moment, I have decided to do a smaller series of seascape type paintings on smaller canvases at a lower price. This one above is the first and it is 600 x 300mm, oil on canvas. I am also using DAS canvases for this series as they are significantly cheaper than the canvases I prefer to use, especially at the moment with 50% off in New Year sales. I figure that with a reduced cost to me with a cheaper canvas I can work out an affordable price-point for these. Not entirely sure what that will be yet but I am thinking around the $120 mark. I don't want to impact on the prices of my larger works on high quality canvases so I need to do some more thinking about that.

I really enjoyed painting again today as I have been doing more drawing than painting lately. I might see if I can do another one in the next few days. The one above is called "Sunset Dreaming" and is artist quality oil on cotton duck canvas.