Hello there

I have been away from this little blog for a while but I have been busy living. I hope you have been well and happy and I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to.

Last year saw lots of changes in my life and I lost my creative spark. Well, it’s back. I have so much to show you and tell you. First, I was lucky enough to have a much needed holiday in Fiji. This is the painting I did after that holiday. When I look at it I can smell coconuts, frangipani and the warm sea breeze…

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Coconuts, Frangipani and a warm sea breeze

Fiji Time 75 dpi for etsy

Fiji Time

 

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Lemon and lime

Presenting Budgie number 2. This is the colour of the wild Budgerigars in Australia that fly freely in flocks in dry and arid areas (of which we have much of). They like to nest in small cavities and hollow tree trunks, especially in Eucalyptus trees near dried up rivers and billabongs.

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Hello my Pretty 2, from my series of 50.

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Hello my Pretty 2 is available here: Winter Owls Shop

Getting my creative drive back

This year, I’ve been feeling a little down. It has really flattened my ability to dream and get in a state of flow through my art. So, to try and kick start the process, I purchased a beautiful pad of 100% Cotton Rag Water Colour paper and some artists’ inks which I have not used before. They sat in a paper bag for a few weeks. I peeked inside occasionally but didn’t take them out.

On Monday, in my art class for people with Intellectual Disabilities, my 80-year-old volunteer Judith, brought in a book of nursery rhymes from her childhood. It was beautiful. The rhymes were on the right side of the book, on the left were illustrations, all surrounded by lovely borders of tiny flowers and curlicues. I don’t know why, but into my head popped the idea of drawing Budgerigars or Budgies as we call them in Australia, bordered by a lovely edging.

I have decided to set myself a goal of creating 50 of these. The first one I abandoned half way through as I managed to smudge the pen and I wasn’t really happy with the oval shape. You can see my first completed effort below. I wish I was a speedy illustrator, this took me rather a long time. A feathery look was quite challenging for me, I really wanted to capture the softness of the little Budgie. What colour should I paint next?

for blog

“Hello my pretty” 1 in Winter Owls Shop 

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I planned the border first, then I painted a very soft pink background and sketched the Budgie in pencil first.

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I’m quite happy with this for my 1st effort, stay tuned to see the next 49!

An owl commission

One of the most exciting things that happened when I started selling my paintings, was getting a commission. A lovely woman had seen my paintings in a local café and asked if I would paint ten small canvases with different owls on them. They were for her school friends who were turning fifty that year. We met for coffee and she described each friend and we chose colours and expressions for them based on their personalities. Some had to have sparkly eyes, one a very gentle expression and, from memory, there was a grumpy one too.

Recently, I was asked by the same woman, to paint a family of three owls as a gift for a yet to be born, long awaited baby.

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A family of three

Running away in my mind

Last week I had a horrible art session with my group of disengaged teenagers. It’s too ghastly for me to look back on and give you the details, lets just say, they were very, very hard work, and, well yes, disengaged. I felt so grumpy afterwards that I couldn’t eat lunch, just chocolate and a strong coffee.

Usually, I turn to my painting when I want to escape and go to a happier place. I haven’t been able to paint lately and I’ve realised it’s because I’ve lost my alone time at home. At the moment I have my six-foot three-inch teenage son at home waiting to start university. He’s lovely, it’s just that I can’t seem to get in a state of flow with others around. There’s the sound of the television, a large lounging presence, constant pinging of text messages, music I would perhaps not choose, and frequent kitchen raids accompanied by sighs and comments that there is nothing to eat….

Next week though, he starts university and I will have my two days at home of peace. Hopefully, I will have something new to show you then. Until then, here is a little owl painting that I did last year.

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” Tent on a magical island”

A Street Art tour

One of the features of Melbourne is its tiny lane ways that criss cross the city. I went and saw Hosier Lane recently get repainted which I’ll show you another time. This week I was lucky enough, to tag along with the group of teenagers I teach art to, on a guided Street Art Tour run by Blender Studios, which I highly recommend.

The teenagers have become disengaged with school for various reasons, the program we run aims to create a pathway for them to reengage with education. After this tour the students will create a piece of art on a large panel of wood, they’ve been excited by this project and wrote me a shopping list. So, I have been buying multiple spray cans and things called Fat Caps, Vegan Caps and Widow Makers. I’m kind of excited too, I’ve seen lots of street art I admire, but haven’t been involved with making any before. My paintings are on a much, smaller scale. I can’t show you all the amazing art we looked at, because my students are in the photographs, so here is just a tiny snapshot.

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Material in Hosier Lane, Melbourne

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Hosier Lane yarn bombing

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Kaffeine’s beautiful work in Rutledge Lane

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Deb’s restored work in Hosier Lane

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Shoes hanging out around ACDC Lane

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A bird glows at the back of ACDC Lane

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A tiny fairy in Blender Laneway

The art of icing

I have very fond memories of going to the National Gallery of Victoria with my father as a little girl. He would take my brother and I to see exhibitions, and to do creative workshops there especially designed for children.

The NGV remains a place of wonder for me. I do have one rather traumatic memory though. As an art teaching student, part of our course was to take our tutor and class there and give them a tutorial about a particular artist. I chose Turner. My tutor and fellow students stood around listening to my Turner talk. A large group of visitors to the gallery chose to come and listen for my entire fifteen minute tutorial. As I was very shy at that time of my life, I could feel my face redden and start to twitch all over. As my Dad would say, it was character building.

Yesterday my husband and I went to Federation Square for a coffee and popped in to the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia. In the foyer, there appeared to be the detritus of a dinner party. Rather intrigued, I moved closer. There were plates piled up with scraps of food, empty beer bottles, glasses, a crumpled tablecloth. A gallery attendant noticed my interest and wandered over. “It’s all made of icing”, he said. Oh my goodness, it was! The cushions are icing, the food scraps, the wallpaper, the labels on the bottles, the light switch. I can’t tell you who made it unfortunately, as the exhibition it is part of is still being set up. It is part of Melbourne Now, an exhibition of 300 artists. I have included a link below which has a great video of what will be included. I am so excited by this, I can’t wait!

Melbourne Now will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and NGV International from 22 November 2013 – 23 March 2014. 10am – 5pm. Free entry.

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Icing prawns and icing peas

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Icing wallpaper and icing gravy

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I wonder what an icing cushion would feel like to sit on?