Thursday, July 13, 2017

Index card art

I'm taking part in the index card a day challenge, which runs through June and July. It's a really fun, low stress, flexible art booster! It's organised by Tammy at daisy yellow blog, and you can find out more about it there.


There are prompts and themes which you can follow, but I tend to ignore those. In fact one of the most exciting things about the challenge for me is discovering what I'm interested in making work about - which can be the basis for more in depth artworks eg paintings or linoprints.



Some of my cards have been based on photos from my holidays. Many have a garden theme. I've been watching an English gardening show on youtube called 'The big allotment challenge', and have been pausing it to draw some of the gardeners. My kids are laughing at me for making 'fan art'.



If all else fails I do a mandala or any kind of doodle so that there's a stepping stone to the next day where I might do something better! I must admit that I haven't made a card everyday, sometimes I get behind, and then have a catch up day and make 2 or 3. It's ok, it's a challenge where anything's allowed as long as you're making art! I've been posting my work on flickr and instagram (which I'm new to but enjoying @fernyhoughkate). You can search #indexcardart or #ICAD2017 to see what everybody's doing.



In my last blogpost I had a bit of a complain about job hunting, since then things suddenly turned around. I had a call back, and an interview, and have been offered a casual job, which is a big relief. After being in limbo for some months it will be great to get on with the next phase of life.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Lifebook week 24 plus the joys of job hunting

At last I've got my art space organised and jumped back into lifebook. The week 24 lesson was with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. I couldn't bear to put down in black and white the bad stuff, so I wrote down positive words about the great job I'm going to get soon! Then it was a matter of doodling to turn the letter shapes into flowers, leaves and butterflies. I worked in acrylics but probably would have done better with watercolour or gouache.


I have also jumped back into looking for work. I've discovered that job hunting in the 21st century is a whole new ball game. Most jobs are advertised and have to be applied for online, even jobs I've seen in shop windows still have to be applied for online. After that you get an automated email to say they got your application, and then you never hear from them again unless you're one of the lucky ones who's shortlisted for interview.

It's discouraging to apply for jobs everyday and not hear back anything. I was told about a company up here who advertised for a receptionist and had over 100 applicants, so competition is fierce! I'm lucky that I've had some bits of casual work - which is good for my morale - and might be a better way of advertising my skills than sending out my resume!

In the meantime I've been busy adding a few new cards to my etsy shop, and getting ready for the next craft fair which is at a new location this year - on the Esplanade in Darwin city, on Sun 9th July.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Holiday sketching

Last time I went on holiday to England - about 8 years ago - I came back with 3 sketches. This time I was determined to do better, and I  did, though I  still didn't do a lot...



I made a tiny sketch pad with pink pages. It was light to carry and I didn't feel precious about it at all. I drew with a ballpoint pen and pulled out sketches and glued them in my journal.


I did this little sketch at the cafe at Saltaire, I took a couple of photos too, and then did this version back at my Mum's, using watercolour pencils and a little bit of watercolour wash.


I also did some drawings at Mum's of the views out of the window from different rooms. It's the house I grew up in so the views although slightly changed over the years, are so familiar to me. I really wanted to make a record of them this time.



This one I drew one evening while we were watching tv, and a blazing sunset was going on outside!

I wish I had made the time to do more, photos are wonderful, but a sketch is something different, it means I've really spent time looking, and putting down the elements that are important to me - quite an emotional thing.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Back home

Hello blog friends. I'm back from my holidays in England. I'm not the kind of person who looks forward to holidays!!! In fact I dread the long flights and being out of my routine. But once I was there I had a wonderful time. Here are a few photos to give you a taste.


Canal side walk at Saltaire.


Wonderful David Hockney exhibition at Saltaire.


Spring flowers in the rose garden at Gotts Park.


Beautiful gardens at Harlow Carr near Harrogate.


Amazing rainbow when we got off the bus one evening!

We did a lot of walking, talking and drinking tea, which is my idea of a perfect holiday! I did manage to do a tiny bit of sketching, and might post some of those next time.

While I was away my partner took the opportunity to paint the verandah which is also my studio. All my art stuff is packed up in boxes, and will be in chaos for a while as other bits of the house are being painted and the verandah will be a bit of a store room.... So it might take a while to get back into the full swing of painting. 

I am doing the ICAD (index card a day) challenge through June and July. It's organised by Tammy at daisy yellow blog. I took part last year and it was great to do a little drawing, painting, something everyday, some of those little quick pieces were the basis for lino prints and cards that kept me busy for months afterwards, so I'm excited to see what will happen this time.

I hope your May was great and your June has got off to a good start!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lifebook wek 13 and 15


Here are my latest lifebook pieces. Week 13 with Annie Hamman was probably my favourite lesson so far. She talked a lot about working intuitively and letting the piece evolve, such as letting words or collage elements from the under layers to be seen and add to the story of the work. The techniques of blending the charcoal drawing with a wet brush, and activating watersoluble crayons with watered down acrylic meant that it fell somewhere between painting and drawing. For the longest time I've been wishing for a way for a way for painting to be more like drawing for me - more fluid I guess. Well this lesson turned on a little light bulb in my brain!!! It's definitely one I'll come back to.



Week 15 with Jodi Ohl was a lesson about using lettering. I went off on my own tangent with a piece about looking after my back when I'm gardening - it has a bit of lettering, but not much.



I've just finished a second attempt at the class, following it a bit more closely. It feels a bit like a graffiti wall! It's a long way outside my comfort zone, and as a piece of art I prefer my first version, but I'm glad to have a go at something new.



I'm a few weeks behind on lifebook, but that's ok. When I signed up I thought if I get value out of half a dozen classes I'll be happy. Well, I've already done more than that, and we're only a third of the way through. Next month (next week!!!) I'll be going on holiday to England to see my mum, so I won't have time for Lifebook for a few weeks, that's ok, I can jump back in when I get back.

I'd like to send you over to my friend Nat's blog, she's in the same group exhibition as me and has written a couple of excellent posts about some of her gorgeous work that's on show.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gypsies vagabonds and wild mad women

I have work in a group show that opens on Thursday 5.30 at Tactile Arts - Gypsies vagabonds and wild mad women!!

One of the pieces I'm showing is a handmade concertina book of dancing girls. I think I blogged about this a couple of months ago, and it did take weeks and weeks to come together. I'm so pleased I got it finished in time! Here are a few photos.



The girls are painted in acrylics with collaged paper dresses a bit like paper dolls, the front cover is a lino cut. On the reverse are silhouettes of the girls cut from scrapbooking papers.


April has been a bit of a disaster health wise. At the start of the month I strained my back pulling out weeds in the garden, and had to spend a couple of days in bed. Every time I start to get better I tweak it again, so over a week later I'm back in bed again. I think I have to admit defeat and really rest properly....

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lifebook weeks 10 and 12

Week 10 was a lovely lesson from Effy Wild - a tree created with lots of layering and glazing. I folowed the demonstration videos very closely for this lesson, so I can't take any credit for the design right down to the colour choices. The glazing was amazingly effective, it's a technique where you have to plan ahead - creating underpainting to glaze over. When I paint on canvas it's usually not very planned, I kind of do a random underpainting just to cover the blank canvas, and then see what that suggests and turn it into something! There is a lot of relying on chance and hoping that inspiration will appear... On the other hand when I do a linocut it's carefully drawn out and planned in advance, so maybe I could get my head around planning out a painting to use glazing!



I spent so long on week 10 that I didn't get around to the week 11 lesson.

Week 12 was a watercolour with Susana Tavares. Watercolour is a medium I'm not confident with - particularly because you can't go over your mistakes! So I  was surprised how much I enjoyed this lesson and learned a lot. Again I followed the demonstration very closely.



I do feel a bit ambivalent about copying the lessons so closely. I guess in the past that's how artists learned to paint, by copying old masters. These days it's all about being original, doing something new, it's hard to put that attitude aside. If nothing else I'm putting together a folder of techniques that will be a great reference for me in the future.