Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas everyone! I hope you're having a lovely day. We're having a quiet family day, thunder is rumbling in the distance, so hoping for a good downpour to cool things down before I put the chicken in the oven!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On my bookshelf 2014

I've just updated my 'books read 2014' list in the side-bar, which I hadn't filled in for about 6 months. 

My favourite novel this year was The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, it's been out for a few years and very popular, but I'd judged the book by the cover, it looked too gothic for me !! Luckily it was a book group selection and I loved it, loved the characters, it's worth reading for the two handmade books that are incorporated into the story, and so much more. 

Other than that I've had a really bad run with book group books this year, very few are listed because I didn't finish them - we were reading Gone Girl when the movie came out, I was hating it, hating feeling so manipulated and that there wasn't one sympathetic character in there, and every time I turned on the tv or radio someone was reviewing the movie saying how good it was and how great the book was. I think I read half and then read the ending (sacrilege) which wasn't believable to me, so I didn't bother reading the second got some very good reviews from my book group, so just goes to show how different tastes can be! 

Nearly half my list this year is non-fiction, and my favourite (other than the Matisse book!) would be David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. I'd recommend anything he writes, it's always interesting and thought provoking, always turning what's accepted on it's head. 

I also loved Margaret Atwood's short story collection 'Stone Mattress', and so glad I finally got round to 'The Great Gatsby', I want to watch the movies now! 

As I have no art deadlines to work towards at the moment, I'm trying to take some time to play, here are some gouaches I've been doing, trying not to worry about subject too much and enjoy colour. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

end of year blues

Some weeks there isn't a lot to show, a tiny sketchbook drawing...

and a handful of cards...

On Friday I went into my kids school for the end of year assembly, it was lovely, the school band played and the choir sang, and lots of awards were given out. It's an emotional time of year for me, as my twins finish primary school in 4 days time, and our 13 year connection with the school ends (since my oldest started there.) I struggle with change, hate leaving behind teachers we know and love, feel sad that many of the kids' friends will be going to different schools or moving interstate, and at the same time try not to pass this on to my kids, so that they'll face the changes with open minds and even enthusiasm!

So there's been little time for art, and with all my xmas shopping still to do and xmas cards to write it might take a back seat for a couple more weeks...

Around the net - Kat McNally is running reverb, 21 days of blogging/journalling prompts to look back on the year. I'm especially enjoying the responses of Sarah's Heart Writes, so glad to have discovered her blog!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bird life

I'm lucky that I live close enough to be able to walk to work. Some mornings when I'm running late I take a short cut across a tiny suburban park. It's just a patch of green with a playground, surrounded by houses. In the last few weeks the magpie geese have arrived, as I cross the park they take off in an eruption of honking and flapping wings.

I've had a look online, and I don't think they're migratory, I think it's more that by the end of the dry season there's not much left that's green out bush, so they come into town to the watered parks and playing fields.

Down near the beach the nuts are out on the casuarina trees, and the black cockatoos are enjoying them - very noisily and messily - squabbling over each branch and dropping a carpet of nuts and twigs to the ground.

It's hardly surprising that birds keep turning up in my artwork, here's a recent painting I did of a curlew.

Lovely to see some bird photos on Cathy Cullis's blog last week - which partly inspired this post!

Hope you're having a great weekend, we've had some decent rain in the last few days - at last!!- so I'm feeling a bit saner!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Crazy weekend

I've survived a crazy weekend, lots of choir rehearsals last week and a lovely performance on Saturday night (Darwin Chorale at the CDU theatre) followed by a craft fair at the waterfront yesterday. That was the really crazy bit, it's the build up here, temperatures up around 35 degrees centigrade, humid but no sign of rain - the craft fair became something of an endurance test. I'm amazed and grateful that so many people risked heatstroke to come out and buy their Christmas presents!! It's lovely to have the ambiance of an outdoor event by the sea, but sometimes I think an airconditioned venue would make more sense. I was so hot and grumpy I didn't even go for a stroll around the other stalls...

The last couple of months have been busy, not only with choir and craft fair preparations but with a commission - a lady who bought some of my prints many years ago and then moved away from Darwin, tracked me down online and requested some ginger cat paintings. Luckily this is a subject I was happy to tackle as I have a ginger cat who turns up in my paintings now and again! Here are the three paintings which I sent down south a couple of weeks ago.

Today I've got the day off work to catch up on exciting things like cleaning the bathroom!! and baking cookies and apple crumble for my neglected family!
Hope you had a great weekend, and hope we get some rain soon :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

new lino print cards

Last time I showed you some gouaches I'd done, and here is a lino print that developed from one of those gouaches. It's a two plate print, which I haven't done before, tho I've done lots of reduction prints.

Here they are on printing day looking a bit patchy. When I'm doing a 'serious' print to go under glass, I use proper printing ink and a beautiful holbein roller - not too hard not too soft! But when I'm making prints for cards or collage I use acrylic paint and a foam roller, and treat it more like a stamp. The results are not as clean and dense - but it doesn't matter because I work back into them with coloured pencils and paint, or cut them up and collage them. I think the fact that they're not 'perfect' makes it easier to be playful with them.

Here's a finished card, I'll have some of these at the Saltwater Craft Fair at the waterfront on  23rd Nov!! and hope to add one to my etsy shop this week...

I hope your November is going well, it's the hot and steamy build up here, also luscious mango season, and looking forward to the pineapples ripening in our front yard.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

little gouaches

After I finished the acrylic paintings for the garden exhibition, I dug out my gouache paints with the idea of doing regular little post card sized paintings... of course I've only done about half a dozen before other projects have intervened, but I hope to get back to these in the christmas holidays.

this one done in the nick of time for the garden exhibition!

this one inspired a lino cut I'll show you next time.
Coming up next month is the Tactile Arts members show - on the theme of Cyclone Tracy, and the Christmas Craft Fair down at the waterfront, not to mention a customer request I'm working on, so I'm very busy in the studio at the moment!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Cautionary Tale

Right at the end of August my computer stopped working, it just wouldn't boot up. I thought, never mind, lucky I took out the extended warranty. Little did I realize that it meant I had to send it away to Sydney to get fixed. It took a week for the freight connote to come by post from Sydney to Darwin, a few days for us to get organised with bubble wrap and the right sized box. A week for the computer to be freighted to Sydney, over 3 weeks for it to be fixed, and another week for it to travel back...about 7 weeks in all... next time someone offers me an extended warranty I'll be asking more questions!!

Now I'm back in the 21st century I'm looking forward to catching up on some blog reading :)

I'm sure I have lots of things to show you, but will have to get photos organised...and my brain in gear!! For now here are the lino prints I showed in 'The Magic Garden' exhibition at Tactile Arts at the end of August.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Where are you now and what do you love?

Next opportunity to connect

Over on Kat McNally's blog she is hosting August Moon a fortnight of writing prompts. This post is in response to two of those...

The second prompt is what are you doing right now? Maybe to record what you do through the days so you can see patterns emerging, habits, see things you can change maybe. I feel like I need to spend time on this prompt, particularly to keep track of what I do on my 3 days off (I don't feel there's much room to move on my work days...)

It's already made me consider ... We've been on economy drive this year, I've been baking more so that we don't spend so much on biscuits, treats, museli bars that seem to take up half my trolley. BUT if I'm spending prime time Saturday morning baking muffins instead of painting, or catching up with a friend for a cuppa, or dragging the kids out of the house somewhere, is it really the best use of my time? Could I be slotting the baking in somewhere else? It will be interesting to see what else comes up from this exercise.

some of the sketchbooks I have on the go

The third prompt asks what do you love? I love books, I buy poetry books and don't read them, I have such a backlog, I get a poem a day in my inbox and struggle to get to them... I love art supplies, I'm addicted to sketchbooks and journals - there's so much potential in a blank sketchbook or notebook - all the things I might fill it with, the projects I might start, they are hard to resist.

I love music, love going to choir, but don't listen to much at all anymore, the kids have their music on and they drag me to watch some you tube video or other, and my partner plays guitar, practicing a lot at the moment and sounding good, so there is music around me all the time. What I love is to listen to radio national while I'm painting or doing housework, I listen to books and arts daily the music show, science show... anything except politics!! on my old school portable radio.  I love the idea of gardening, but don't do that much, it's something I need to make time for.

What we have around the house is too much stuff!! We're a household of hoarders, and could do with a good cleanup and chuck out, but who's got time for that?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

making time

My intention this year was to make more time for art. I cut back my work days to 3 a week... but then life intervened, my workmate left, I worked full time for a couple of months, and now I'm back at my traditional 4 days work with Friday for art and the weekends for family, errands and snatches of art...

To be honest, working 3 days I felt guilty, lazy, flabby. I wasted a lot of time in my head justifying my 'slackness', instead of embracing the time and getting on with it. I'm probably making more art in a busy 3 days than I was in a lazy 4 days.

So nothing has changed, my intention is to live creatively, to give myself time for art - no matter what else is going on, I can spare 10 minutes to sketch or play with gouache or write each day.

This post is in response to the first prompt Ă­ntention' - in Kit McNally's August Moon writing challenge, you can find out more about it here.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

pain and pleasure of painting

There hasn't been much evidence of painting on my blog this year, and I guess that's because I haven't been doing much! I've been really dissatisfied with most of the paintings I've started, and ended up discarding them or painting over them. It got to the point where I was avoiding the studio, going for a walk or baking muffins instead!!

I had a chat about all this with a friend who was visiting Darwin last month. Marita is an amazing painter, her work is exuberant, colouful, wild, playful....and she's prolific!! Her advice was to stop worrying about the end result, to set aside some time each week to paint for the fun of it, just to see what happens, not to censor it before it's started, to play!...

I've tried to hold onto this idea of play as I've started these garden paintings over the last month. I'm still dissatisfied, they fall a long way short of what's in my head! But at least I have something to show you, and a beginning to work on, or develop further in the next painting... and something to show in an exhibition coming up at the end of the month.

These are small 6x6 inch canvases, inspired by things I glimpse in gardens on my walks around the suburbs!
Best wishes to blogland, xxx

Saturday, July 19, 2014

more menagerie...

I've been meaning to show you the other pieces I made for the dream menagerie exhibition. Again I was inspired by the designs on my indian skirts, and made some felt camels, a palm tree and a woman (camel herder!)

I'm not skilled enough to make a 4 legged animal that stands up!! So I made them as a wall piece. Working on these kind of projects is very much 'PLAY' I don't really know what I'm doing and just start somewhere and hope for the best! I love that I get to indulge in different materials to my usual paint and lino, especially to be playing with bold colour. You can see work by some of the other artists in the exhibition over on the smallest forest blog - here and here...Nat's photos are infinitely better than mine!!

It's been a busy few weeks, I also had a stall at the craft fair at Tactile Arts 2 weeks ago. Here's a photo of some of the paintings I took along, this was in my garden when I was getting everything organised...

It was a lovely day, perfect weather, lots of visitors, lovely tea and cake!! It was great to make some sales, get good comments, and come home inspired to get to work in the studio. July is whizzing past, the kids go back to school next week, I've started on some garden paintings and hope to show you some next time.

Hope you're having a creative month :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

walk 13 around the neighbourhood

Not one walk but lots over the last month, I've been paying attention to people's gardens because I'm starting on some garden paintings...

and enjoying the park too. I've got lazy about carrying my camera, so haven't been posting my walks, but hope to get back on with the project soon!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dream Menagerie

I'm part of a group exhibition that's opening on Friday at DVAA. The title is dream menagerie.

I've known this show was coming for nearly a year, and had hoped to have half a dozen or so good paintings to exhibit, but sometimes a long deadline is as difficult as a short one. For some reason I found it so hard to find a way into this theme... maybe I got too stuck on the idea of animals and not enough about dreams!

We had a great blurb about exploring the animal in our nature, but I needed something visual to latch onto. I started taking photos and sketching dogs and horses at the beach. I noticed there are animals in the patterns of the indian skirts that I wear, and did some drawings from them of strange birds and girls leading camels. I got a corner of an idea about including the skirt with the pattern of the animal, and playing with positive and negative. I guess that doesn't make a lot of sense, and makes a better lino print! Here's a sneak peak at two of my pieces.

I can't wait to see how the other artists have interpreted the theme. If you're in Darwin it would be lovely to see you, 6pm at DVAA Friday 20th June.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

walk 12 The seabreeze festival

Way back on the first Saturday in May I took my regular walk by the sea at Nightcliff, and enjoyed the seabreeze festival.

graffiti wall
I spent an hour or so at the dance stage...

belly dancing
and had to stop for a few tunes from a brass ensemble. I didn't make it as far as the main stage, but had a great couple of hours. My photos don't do it justice!

Best wishes to all :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

All work and no play ...

So I wasn't around much in May, partly because my son was hogging the computer and partly because I've been working full time. My workmate left and I'm filling in with extra days until a new admin person starts.

The downside of this is the lack of time to make art. I've been trying to squeeze in some card making, 10 minutes in the morning before I head to work is enough time to handcolour a lino print or cut out some foam prints and juggle them on different coloured backgrounds. Here are some of the cards I've made using up some of my stash of foam prints and painted papers.

Last weekend was the garden spectacular and the writers festival and I missed them both. I hope you had a great time if you went along...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Walk 11...from april...the pretty bit of the park

My son's laptop is back, so now I'm playing catchup. Here are some photos from a walk I took at my local park (Jingili watergardens) in April. There are a couple of ponds with fountains and formal gardens, the canna lillies are looking great and might turn up in a painting!
Hope your May is going well, and hope to catch up with some blog reading soon!