Saturday, 10 December 2011

Merry Christmas to Everyone

Its always a bit touch & go as to how much creativity gets formally recorded in the lead up to Christmas - the silly season. So here is some silliness from our house .....
The Elf Moodle

and ... with friend

Visitors come & go

Superb Parrot

Butcher Bird

Monday, 28 November 2011

... and its final

I think I'm over drawing still life and doing my own thing for now - even with colour thrown in. I need to get back on track with Sian's project, and follow someone else's instructions. Cant leave without posting the last 2 - completely sketched with inktense blocks, & over a couple of sessions to let each layer dry before the next.

The bubble vase, previously

and showing progression over 2 different layers

and the paper bags, previously

and showing progression over 2 different layers

perhaps suffered from overexposure

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Vase with Gerbera

We were given this little vase as a wedding present 27 years ago. The gerbera was given to K 2 weeks ago before she went to France - its a sturdy little one.
I had the mantra "leave it for best" drummed into me when I was young. But I'm not going to do it anymore! I've been leaving the inktense crayons, thinking, "I'll do these practice, learning sketches with the cheaper ones". Why? Why? Why? The inktense are so much easier to work with. Once the ink crayon has been brushed with water it is wataerproof, so another layer sits on top. The paper doesn't degrade as much with the colour application either.

and here are my sketches.

 Left to Right (and chronologically)
water colour pencil and texta
water colour pencil and crayon
inktense crayons
... and I couldn't help fiddling later

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Snuggling out of the rain

Last week when it was pouring with rain, these two Rainbow Lorikeets sought shelter and snuggled on the back deck

and this King Parrot sat and chatted to itself

Friday, 25 November 2011

Back to the Bubble Vase

I am constantly amazed at how putting pictures on this blog makes deficiencies really stand out. I'm not going to go back to the beginning & rework everything, but sometimes I just cant resist fiddling with sketches from the last few days. I allowed my bubble vases to sit on surfaces (with water colour crayons - the pencils are a bit scratchy and hard on the paper - now that it is dyed).

and remember without the surfaces

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Paper Bag journey

I have some crumpled paperbags which I am studying and sketching

The one on the left was done about 2 weeks before the one on the right. I am trying to see the main lines, and to identify 3 major shades. It helped with the latest one that I had a strong light source from the top, so the lines and tones were quite well defined. I used watercolour pencils for the shading, then white watercolour crayon for the highlights.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Continuing highlights

My camera has just winged its way to France with K, so I've had to dig out another, & I had a very long argument with technology about the orientation of the photos when I post them here. I lost and took the photos again. This is a lovely glass port decanter - I just don't seem to be able to fit an object on a page.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Learning the Highlights

A few weeks ago at an ATASDA social day, we used the Brusho dyes kindly donated by Sandra Meech (way back in May). I transfromed my latest sketchbook into a lovely riot of colour. Resists were added randomly as was a bit of bleaching. Not a scary pristine page to be seen. At the same social day we had some t-pots and vases set up for sketching.

In all these examples I actually sketched the t-pot first and then painted the page. Above, extra colour was added with water colour pencil. Below, shading was done with fine texta and highlights with white chinagraph pencil.

Here is my favourite bubble vase sketched on the dyed page the next day. I like sketching and painting on the dyed pages - the watercolour pencils sit nicely on top of the coloured dye. However, must remember to make the pieces actually sit on surface, give them a shadow.

Monday, 21 November 2011

To retail ... or not?

Its a steep learning curve. I'll take it slowly. Didn't do well at the Fair - and I think its because I am suffering from all round "puffy chest" syndrome - ie thinking my work is worth more than anyone else thinks its worth! So I have reduced the prices on everything - ePOCK's are now $27 and postART cards are $8 each or 2 for $12. I know what the buyer thinks (after all, I was one at the North Shore Craft Group's Boutique Christmas Sale last Friday) - you have to really love it and the price has to be right. So I'll see how they go at Marie-France now.
And yes, I know its boring talking about sales.
So thats it for now.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I've been doing lots of everything ...

... but most important right now is getting ready for the Lindesay Christmas Fair with my friend Mally Ellis from Grasshoppers and Knit For Life!. I have ePOCK's and postART, and Mally has her beautifully soft hand knitted items.

Grasshoppers modern, yet classic and timeless, simple and soft hand knitwear designs are HAND made from 100% high quality cotton by the Knit for Life! co-operative of over 200 indigenous women in the South-East rural areas of Zimbabwe.

Grasshoppers is Australian designed for babies wear, children's wear, adult jumpers (special orders only) and homewares. Each piece is hand made stitch by careful stitch with dedication and pride by the Knit for Life co-operative of knitters.

Grasshoppers is a Fair Trade registered label, providing sustainable income to a community of women and their families in Zimbabwe since the business started in Australia in Oct 2001. All revenue from sales goes back into the long term sustainability of the business.

The Fair is on from Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th November, 10 - 4 daily at Lindesay House, Darling Point Sydney.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Retail and marketing - friend or foe

I have developed (maybe its just because I'm just thinking about it at the moment) a bit of a love/hate relationship with retail and marketing - and the ideas behind the buying and selling of the goods in our lives. I mean, they are not called "goods" for nothing - no one would be tempted to go and buy "bads". I've always been the recipient of marketing information, & now, with no idea of what I'm doing (apart from self directed research) I'm making and selling "goods". And, my word, what absolutely marvelous goods they are. I've been rescuing lovely hand embroidered doileys (thats what our grandmothers spent their spare time doing) from left, right and centre, and morphing them into contemporary-vintage electronic pockets (epocks) to carry mobile phones and music players. They really complement this summer's fashions. My first batch is now available for purchase from Marie-France Group - Boutique Hair Salon and Art Gallery in West Pymble in Sydney.

I've created an advertising page
 and here are some of the little pockets themselves

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Feathered Fascinators

The Melbourne Cup was run yesterday. I had my fascinator all ready to go, but someone borrowed it to wear to school. I thought just the one feather was quite lovely.

For some people, one feather is just not enough though ...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Beware the Protea

What was that I said yesterday, "might try the protea again"? I became obsessed with getting those stamens. I was using so many layers of watercolours, I even had to move onto some canvas paper (4) and some water colour paper (11 & 12) rather than my (rather cheap) sketchbook. I even remembered I had some inktense blocks to use. The first set of photos are part way through ...

... and these are the same 4 pictures after I called a truce ... (with the Protea stamens).

My brain was exhausted. With my reading of Betty Edwards "Drawing on the right side of the Brain" book, I finally realised that the task of "playing" with the effects of different media (with my science background this became "experimenting" with layers and effects) was being controlled by my left brain, and the drawing was right brain. I became very frustrated and confused, and it turned out to be not such an enjoyable session. I think I even started to lose sight of it being a flower.
A flower sits up in the air - why did this one end up needing to sit on a surface?

Anyway, I learnt that it was good to start with a dark ground layer. Dark inktense blocks on wet paper did this well. Once it is dry, the ink is permanent & doesn't bleed any more. Then the red went on in sharp strokes onto dry paper - mix the reds up, and brush over each stroke with a wet brush to dissolve the ink onto the page. Lastly the pale colours for the highlights. Inktense pencils would have been better than the blocks for this. I have a white chinagraph pencil, and its great for drawing a white line over all sorts of surfaces, & worked well here. The layers and variety of colour and stroke thickness seemed to provide the keys for "success". These wouldn't win any prizes for Botanical illustration - but thats not what I set out to do.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Day 11 - colouring

I rejected my aqua theme, as I wanted to do a capsicum, so its an orange/red theme. I have some red fabric for the ground, a protea flower, a capsicum and an ornate red frame dont want to do the frame just now tho' - so I need 1 more item. Now that I've finished for the day I realise I could get a nastursium flower. Do that tomorrow.

(It's a very wonky capsicum)
I want to practice drawing and painting the capsicum and the flower before starting on the project task (gosh I'm glad I'm not already enrolled in a course - I have a lot of skills to learn and techniques to get the hang of first). Here is a page of capsicum sketch paintings using some different mediums.

Clockwise from top left : watercolour pencil (Derwent), watercolour crayons, watercolour pencils (Micador) on tea bag stuck down with golden matte medium, watercolour pencils (Micador) and Kohinoor watercolours - round white palatte - the ink ones. My attentiveness to detail peaked with the bottom right one.

Then I started on the protea flower - in the Kokinoor watercolours. Had a bit of trouble trying to get all the flower stamens - I think my left brain had taken over and it all seemed a lot of trouble. Might try that again tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

NEW from epocktextiles

I haven't done any quilting for a long while now, as I concentrate on the artistic side of my creativity. I've spent some time with my sewing machine producing these lovely "electronic pockets". Perfect for a phone or music player. The beautifully embroidered doileys would never have seen the light of day if not for me ... and maybe you ... You can purchase them by contacting me directly

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

from the stitching ladies in India

I love the contact with my quilting friends. We recently made a quilt for Janet using sitched squares from Fiona Wright in India - see Our Pukka Place. The quilt doesn't have a right or a wrong side - they are both as beautiful as each other. The pieced stripey blocks on the first side are finely stitched with running stitch (kantha stitching) by the ladies of the stitching project.
the first side

the other side

Here, the black blocks with the kantha stitch are the other side of the stitching project blocks. The "wonky" pieced blocks are ours - foundation pieced onto the plain fabrics showing on the first side.
The whole quilt was constructed as "quilt as you go" with the black tram lines on the back stitched by hand on both edges.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

the Princess and the Pea

Do you know the story of the Princess and the pea
... was the princess well enough bred to be able to feel a pea under 20 feather mattresses? ...
... well, here is Princess Amber ...

Monday, 17 October 2011

For Claire - fingers crossed for tonight

My friend Claire has a big function on tonight, so I have my fingers crossed that everything will be smooth sailing and successful.

I think there is a little bit of "gestalt" here.

A step on from "pure contour drawing"

Time flies by, and I am determined to continue drawing. Here, I am really concentrating on the edges and the spaces in between. Betty Edwards speaks of these as the "perception of edges - line or contour drawings" and "perception of spaces - negative spaces".

I kept 1 eye closed here - this is meant to put it into 1 plane, or 2 dimensional, and didn't rub anything out.
This just gave me a stiff neck as I tried not to move & change my focus!

There is also "perception of relationships - perspective and proportion".
Both eyes open here.

and luckily I have extra glasses

Then there is the "perception of light and shadows - shading" and my favourite  - the "perception of the gestalt - the 'thingness' of the thing"! I've got a lot of work to do on these last 2.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

.. and on another tangent

Last week I went to a 1 day workshop with Pam de Groot organised by ATASDA. We made this amazingly fine felt - I had fun adding a fragment from here to there and a fragment from there to here.

Now it just needs some delicate stitching

Carving it up

Yesterday we carved at an ATASDA Social Day. I managed to leave everything at the front door at home, so I did my carving at home last night. Stamp carving - into softish lino type stuff.

I made 2 stamps - carved the opposite pieces away - just to see what sort of difference is created. I do love my banksia imagery, & I like the idea of using my own stamps to personalise my artwork in every way.

I have also wanted to make my own stencil for a while, using a different banksia image. I got to and did it this morning.

quite dramatic I think!

Why epocktextiles?

I have been making little bags/pouches/pockets like this for a little while now. Hopefully I will find somewhere to sell them. I need to make some mony to feed my voracious textile art obsession. I have these lovely sandwich tray covers, & I enjoy giving them a second life. Just think of the time that went into their creation. So this is just one ePOCK - it is an electronicPOCKET, or maybe an essentialsPOCKET. There is a cord to wear it over the shoulder or to tie around the waist, or the loop on the back is large enough to thread a belt through.

.....  a very vintage look  .....

.....  teamed with some eye poppping fabric on the back & inside  .....

 opened to the outside on the left ... and the inside on the right  

Friday, 30 September 2011

Day 10 - day of rest

I've spent some time cleaning and tidying up my workspace, while reading about my right brain, and in anticipation of my upcoming week of colour. I'm starting to look around for my objects in related colour ways. One advantage in following the sketch project once the development of it is complete - I can skip ahead & see whats coming up. Aqua is the accent colour in my family room/kitchen, so when I started with my favourite squat vase, it wasn't too hard to find other objects of the same colour way.