Sunday, 31 March 2013

Quickly, Quietly goes the Quail

I'm sure Q is not the most difficult letter in the alphabet to theme a painting around, but it doesn't make for much choice.  Quilt, quill, quail.  I'm sure there's more but a quick glance through the google search for 'nouns starting with Q' didn't leave me too excited.

Quail it is.  Another google image search for a Quail, some mustard coloured pastel paper that ties in nicely with some of the feathers, random pastel pencils and pastel chalks and down to work. 

And here is the colourful little guy.  That was fun!  I haven't used my pastels for a long time and had forgotten how quick (and messy) they can be. I'm slightly tempted to pack a few in my bag to take on my European Vacation.  I'm imagining Tuscany scenes and buildings done with pastels. Nine days to go. Hope I can fit everything in my port.

Au revoir!

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Well better late than never.  H & I are off to Europe and the UK in 2 weeks time (OMG!!!!) for 9 weeks so I have been a bit distracted with flights, research on what not to miss and organising the house and bills etc etc.  It will SO be worth it.  I'm thinking that by the time I get to V we'll be in Venice and I will post a watercolour of the Grand Canal or a gondola or the old buildings or maybe a photo of us sipping cappuccino's in the main square. 

We're travelling light as we are training it around Europe so our clothes are minimal and bags are small, but am hoping to pack a small painting/sketch pack. 

Here's my portrait for the week - a simple sketch.  In an earlier post stamping with vegetables I played around with stamping with celery and have added a cut out of this to the portrait.  

Gives my lady a Spanish feel I reckon.  What do you think?


Thursday, 7 March 2013



I've had a busy week. Had a lovely visit from my Sister, my Niece and my Grand Nephew. Wow don't I sound old - Grand Nephew.  Boy, wasn't he a cutie!  Happy, contented and gorgeous to boot. Took some lovely photos. My family all groan when I bring out the camera, but seriously, there would be no record of family get togethers and special moments if I wasn't so snap happy. So I let them groan all they like and just snap away. I don't end up with many photos of me though, so I asked H to take a photo of me and my Grand Nephew.

So, what about my onions?  Well, I cheated this week. My studio doubles as a guest room and it was occupied for 5 nights and even though I bought some red onions to paint, they are still sitting in the vegetable drawer.

So I present my onions, painted in watercolour some years earlier. 

A portrait I did of a family friend last year has found a new home as of today.  His wife has bought the painting for his birthday. I called it 'Guitar Man' and painted it from a photo I took at a party at our place. I hope he likes it when he opens it on his birthday.

I have my studio back. Back to A to Z.

Monday, 18 February 2013

N ests

N proved to be difficult.....I just couldn't think of anything to paint starting with 'N'.  Neck and nails seemed to be stuck in my mind, so I googled 'nouns starting with n'.  I got n words for crosswords and scrabble and lists of all words starting with n. No quick fix for me. If anyone out there is bored and wants something to do please compile a list of nouns for every letter of the alphabet or if you know a website that lists nouns please let me know.

I nearly cheated when I came across 'nude' as I have quite a few nude drawings from life drawing classes I've been to.

But, I digress. 

I settled on 'nest'.  I decided to do some more monoprints only this time I experimented with 3 colours.

 I taped my paper (rice paper) to the tray and rolled out some yellow ochre. I drew the eggs and a rough idea of the nest and twigs.  Next I rolled on some burnt sienna, drew into the nest some more, then lastly used black to draw in some shadows.  The print ended quite thick. Here is the print after this process.

And here is the same print after I added some white paint to the eggs and cropped it.

Straight after the first print was pulled off the paint, I laid another piece of rice paper down and produced this print.

You can still see the burnt sienna from the previous print.
I added some gold leaf to the eggs and a touch of white paint and cropped it.

I then rolled out some more black and this time tried to draw with a finer stroke.

I rolled pieces of gold leaf into the paint thinking it may get picked up on the paper but it didn't and you can see the white bits where it was.  Next I added some blue paint to the eggs.

What do you think?  I really like the idea of using more than one colour but think I need to have a lighter touch or a finer instrument to draw onto the paper with. Also the brayer wasn't turning properly in the first two prints and left quite a textured background whereas the last print the brayer was turning and the background is much finer and even.

Some more experimentation awaits me thinks.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mmmmmm Mugs

I love still lives, I can't deny it, and I love old crockery.  I have also started collecting bright crockery for future additions to my paintings.  A few months ago I picked up a beautiful (well I think it's beautiful) bright red enamel small teapot. The sales lady was saying how handy it would be for that one or two cups of tea instead of the usual 5-6 cup teapot.  "Oh" I said, "I'm not going to use it. I'm going to paint it".  I'm sure she thought I was daft.  What do you think? (Opinions taken on the beautiful bit and the daft bit lol)

But, I'm getting side tracked, this week's letter is 'M'.  I just happen to have some bright yellow MUGS that I picked up from an op shop a little while ago so thought I would do something with them. I first thought of a small oil painting, then moved on to a lino print, then considered stencilling.  In the end I had so much fun manipulating them on the computer with Photoshop that I decided to present these images, starting with the original photo. 

Now I'm really spoilt for choice. I can see how Photoshop can be a really awesome tool for future lino prints or just to transform everyday items into groovy pop art prints. 

Thursday, 31 January 2013

X-ray Monoprints


I am a bit of a hoarder. Not one of those hard-core hoarders that you see on those tv shows, just a minor hoarder of things that I may be able to use one day in my art.

That's why I have every x-ray I have had taken, plus my husband's and my kid's. Surely that wonderful pliable plastic could be used for something?  I thought of stencils when I packed them away, but yesterday I decided to do some monoprints for my 'L' letter of the week. Of course when I decide to do something I want to do it NOW! Not tomorrow, not in a few hours and not even in 10 minutes, but NOW!  So I was madly searching for a surface to roll out my paint on when I thought of my x-rays. 

Beautiful! I chopped it to size, rolled out black water mixable oil colour. laid down some rice paper and free handed some gum leaves on the paper. Peeled back the paper to reveal the print below, which I later applied a watercolour wash to.

Here are some others that I printed but left as is.  I love the texture left by the paint on the x-ray.  In some places you can see the slide marks made by the brayer.

The print below, I drew straight onto the paint laden x-ray, laid the rice paper gently on top of the x-ray and lightly pressed the paper onto the x-ray with the side of my hand.

What a fun afternoon!  

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A to Z minus J

So, what letter am I up to this week? Mmmm must be 'L'....but wait....what happened to J !!!

Poor forgotten J, I just skipped right on past it.  It must have been hiding in the corner at the party, quiet and shy, not standing up for itself, just a wallflower.  Trying not to be noticed, not wanting to be noticed, not wanting all the eyes of the party on J.  Invisible.  
Yeah, I can relate to that.

So why don't we talk about Jealousy for J.  Read Margaret Olley's biography and see if you don't feel a bit of jealousy for the life she has led.  

Her life, to me, is everything I imagined a 'real artist' would lead.  That bohemian lifestyle, parties, painting trips, overseas travel, close friendships with artists that would all become well known, and painting. Painting was the core of her life and she did it with passion.

I have passion too.  But mine is spread between my family and all that it involves as well as art.  At different times one takes a more prominent role than the other so it is a constant give and take.  While reading Olley's book I would yearn for a life like hers, then I would think of my family and realise that I could never forsake that experience for art.

I will never be a Margaret Olley and while her life sounded so exciting, I'm happy with mine. She has inspired me though. She has inspired me to paint. To just get in that studio and paint. She has also given me the green light to paint what I love - still lives. 

What artist/s inspire you and why?

If you want to read her biography - Margaret Olley 'Far from a still life' by Meg Stewart.

Monday, 21 January 2013


I've been reading Margaret Olley's biography recently and remembered a part where she and an artist friend did some rubbings.  So as we have a bowl full of untagged random keys I used them to do some rubbings of my own.

Who remembers doing pencil rubbings of coins as a kid then cutting them out and playing shop with them?  

Sunday, 13 January 2013

"Igloo in Australia"

This week letter is 'I'.  It doesn't make sense, especially living in Queensland where summers are hot, but the first word that came to mind was "igloo".  Go figure!

No, don't groan, I didn't paint an igloo.  I tossed up 'indigo' and 'ink' and thought I might do an ink drawing.  Then I remembered my glass ink pens I bought last year in Eumundi and thought I would share these pieces of art here instead.

Aren't they beautiful?  They are made by Wolfgang Engel who has a workshop in Tina Cooper Gallery Eumundi, Qld.  Wolfgang is a Hot Flame Artist who is known for his beautifully crafted glass objects as well as his glass pens, an ancient tradition from Venice, Italy.

I visited the gallery in May 2012 and Wolfgang was there making small glass animals and had many of these glass pens with stands available. The nibs are spiralled and hold a good amount of ink. I have not used them yet, I am happy to display them as a piece of art and enjoy their beauty and craftmanship.
You can read more about Wolfgang here Wolfgang Engel

Friday, 11 January 2013

Tea Cup

This week my letter is 'I' but I've been working on something else. 'I' is still to come.

I have been collecting old crockery for quite a few years and have some Carltonware, Johnson Bros, Meakin and other bits and pieces.  It all started from my Mother's Shelley tea set which I fell in love with at a young age.  She received it for her 16th birthday, 63 years ago.  My Mother passed it on to me quite a few years ago as she knew I loved it and would look after and cherish it.

I am considering doing a series of paintings based around a  cup of tea so was looking for a teacup and saucer.  Originally I wanted a red one or something modern, but due to lack of enthusiasm for shopping and a great lack of shops anyway in my area, I settled on a teacup from the Shelley set.  The pattern is called 'Blue Spray'.

I seem to have developed a 'thing' about gold leaf and find it creeping into my  paintings of late.  I'm not sure about the orange background but have decided to leave it as is.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Stamping with Vegetables

I cut the end off my celery bunch yesterday 

and look what I saw

A Rose!

So I did some stamping on some brown paper and some white cartridge paper.  

A celery rose. How easy was that. 
 I might squirrel away the brown paper for future use in a collage painting.
And I may start looking at vegetables in a whole new light!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Red Hat

Got to love a big red floppy hat, not that I wear them, but they always look good on models.  

I drew this with black ink and a nib pen straight on to the paper without any preliminary drawings. I was feeling lucky!  Added some ink washes then went over the hat in red ink.  Jazzed it up with some torn brown paper, cut to fit around the hat, then added a few drips and spots then a touch of orange ink to the lips. She looks ready for the races.