Friday, 3 July 2015

Hooked....


I finally have a hobby... and a real hobby too... not just sleeping, collecting vintage chemistry equipment,  telling atrocious jokes, stalking Clooney, reading Russian literature, contemplating the life of gnats,or gazing at my navel which are just some of the topics I normally declare as hobbies. Of course I also sometimes declare that making up random hobbies is my hobby, but that does some people's heads in .... big time...

Finally having a real hobby is quite the watershed moment for the person previously known as the Queen of Pinterest fails I tell you!!! I am not crafty... in fact sewing is a blood sport in my hands and recently after a very frustrating afternoon trying to teach me to knit, Phantom forcibly removed the knitting needles from my hand and declared she would stab me with them if I attempted knitting ever again. So it was with mild trepidation that my good friend Rach and I headed off to take  a crochet class at Sidestreet Vintage a few weeks ago... but it was great fun... plus we only got in mild trouble, although looking back I seem to recall I was the only one who got the stern reminders about shoddy technique lol... and they were very tolerant of Rach and I, who even on our best behaviour can be a handful, though I must say we did behave ourselves exceptionally well.... perhaps we are mellowing. 


Aside from managing to make it to the end of the class and not being kicked out for giggling, snorting and inappropriate comments... we actually had a great time and didn't suck at it at all. Rach is actually very crafty and competent in all other things yarn and sewing related... which makes me think she may have been foxing a bit... but a patient teacher who indulged us made the whole thing great fun... and I was pretty excited to be able to declare at least mild competence with the basics...but the thing that got me to actually pay attention and want to be good at it was these beauties.... the colours of this yarn are insane... bright and vibrant and truly perfect for a colour whores like Rach and I. We stood before that joyous wall of colour, looked at each other and quietly giggled like mad women, knowing this was meant to be... 


Since that glorious day I have been crocheting like someone possessed, well at least someone possessed in the evening while the football is on, and it must be magically making me easier to live with as Sinus and Phants ordered me some more yarn to keep me going and basically are now feeding my habit like crazy which is great fun all round...  Am I good at it? ... nope... is there any chance that I will ever create anything beyond a dodgy blanket?... not likely... but am I having fun?... you betcha baby... well except for the whole managing your yarn thing


In class we were shown how to get the yarn from the centre of the ball so it didn't roll all over the place while you were working, which sounds great in theory, but in practice has led to me pulling half the ball out trying to find that end , not to mention I magically get tangles no matter what I do which lead to much hilarity from the peanut gallery, and there may have been an incident where I somehow managed to get tangled in half a ball of yarn so thoroughly that I couldn't get out of the chair without being unwound. But that was only one small incident so I am declaring myself generally competent and let's leave it at that.


Happy painting all...xx


Friday, 26 June 2015

Painting Demonstration...


 Today I am keeping it brief which is a small miracle for me I know
 but I am madly painting the most deliciously weird set of objects for an illustration job
 and I have absolutely no clue how I am going to pull them together
 but that is half the fun and I am kind of impatient to see if I pull it off
 of course it may all end in a whole mess of paint and require medicinal doses of chocolate
 which is actually quite a distinct possibility because I spent the last half hour trying to fix the  weird dots of paint that kept appearing on the drawings
 I couldn't work out how I splattered them and I just couldn't seem to fix them
 turned out it was some paint on my glasses

so today's post is a bit different and involves a video
every month I illustrate an amazing product called The GoodnessMe Box
which is a subscription service that send you healthy products to try
I love getting my box, have learnt so much, and our pantry and fridge look very different now thanks to being introduced to so many fab new things
 and Peta, and Kara and the crew are just a joy to deal with
so I made a video of how I painted up the June box
there are two versions... the top one has narration if you are interested
and the other has music, which of course you can also mute if you like the whole zen watching thing
hope you enjoy them and happy painting all...xx

Narrated Video...


No narration...

Friday, 19 June 2015

My Week Part 2 ...


It has been a fairly awesome week...busy and full of lots of different and new things and the only down side being very little time for play drawing and painting. I did squeeze in an experiment with painting a water bottle while I had my morning cuppa which held the frustration at bay that I usually feel when I don't get to get the million images and ideas in my brain down on paper. I am trying to work out a way to combine watercolour and ballpoint pen so that it has the structure of a pen drawing, but also the looseness of a painting. I can see it in my mind... well sort of see it, it sort of is still a bit fuzzy and with this I am not quite there yet... but it is totally on its way. I actually scanned it without the black pen to finish it and I am still not sure that it was needed ... it just felt a bit weird to not finish it off with black to tell you the truth... basically I just couldn't help myself

A big part of why it was a good week was the amazing comments than emails that people sent in response to last week's post... it was humbling and uplifting and wonderful all rolled into one magnificent virtual hug... and I really started my week off in an amazing frame of mind. So much so that a slightly odd grocery shop experience didn't dent my glow...I was waiting in the endless line when a random stranger in the line smiled at me and asked me what I did for a living... that is a weird thing to ask someone in a line isn't it?... anyway I said, artist/ illustrator/teacher/ blogger and she asked me why on earth I would ever want to blog... and isn't it a bit odd to share your life so publicly... of course I assured her that why I may be a bit odd at times, it actually represents a sense of community that seems to be sorely missing from society today... I was actually quite proud of such a response, though I admit to being relieved when another checkout opened and the Nosy Nelly bolted over to that one with a pace that made my hair blow back... randomly weird... of course when I got home I noticed that I had some paint in my hair and a smear on the hem of my shirt, so maybe that sparked her curiosity... who knows... maybe she is just nosy

But it did get me thinking about why I love blogging so much. Yes it is an amazing community, and the whole finding your tribe thing is pretty cool too, not to mention the support and friendship and all that...  the response to last week is the perfect example of that...they are all totally great reasons, but I think there are some others that maybe aren't talked about so publicly sometimes and maybe it is time to bring them out in the open.

I totally love that I can visit my friends in my pj's and see what they have been up to, and nose around their world... how could you not love that

Even better is I can sit and catch up with them while eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon and they don't say a word. They also don't mention when I have bed head, my lack of make up, the fact that I am wearing two different socks,that I am working in pajamas and it is 11am, or that dust bunnies are being blown across the room like tumbleweeds. It is like total acceptance by default... awsome... what is there to not love... 


I could wax lyrical about how awesome blogging is for hours, but I am off to do some editing... I filmed the process of painting up the June GoodnessMe Box this month and I am sort of eager to get to the editing... it is always exciting as I am slightly dodgy on the filming side of things and who knows what I will have to work with. But hopefully there won't be too many faux pas in there and I will have a video to post soon... happy painting all...xx

Friday, 12 June 2015

My Week....

Mug from Yolanda 
I don't expect every week to be giggles and whoopee cushions, although to be honest most weeks around here are just that, but some weeks things are decidedly out of sorts. This has been one of those weeks where the whole world has been just a bit off kilter, not a bad week, and nothing terrible happened, in fact it has turned out quite glorious, but sometimes you have to stop and remind yourself to look for the good. You see it has been a bit of a cancer-ish week. I am fine... in fact I am doing amazing, but it has been a week or so with lots of tests and things for baselines for new medication, managing new side effects and booking the upcoming two year scans and ultrasounds. Nothing major or bad in any way, shape or form, but you kind of get out of the whole medical swing and heading back into those environments again kind of gives you a bit of a jolt.  
Mug From Mary
Added to all that I got back into the Cuppa With Friends Project  as part of ICAD. I started this two years ago and was in the middle of loving every minute of painting up peoples' cups and mugs when I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and faced those initial awful, scary weeks of tests, operations and all that. It was all pretty horrifying as you can imagine and the project fell by the wayside. I have tried to get back into it a few times since then, and every time I have done a few it stirred all those memories up all over again and being the shallow pool that I am I just moved onto other things rather than deal with it all, but I am feeling so great and life is very very good so I figured it was time to dive in again. 

Teacup from Robyn

The first few were a bit of a task and I sort of did them at the end of the day, but as I am getting into the swing again and cup and mug paintings are starting to accumulate on my desk in a satisfying pile, I am finding I am just enjoying it all.  I even managed to start the day with one today which is at the top of this post, and it didn't make me think anything other than extreme pleasure. The mug is from one of the members of my class called Yolanda, who just this last week or so has faced her own cancer battles and is dealing with it all with grace and creativity, and quite frankly is inspiring.

Mugs from Arnoldo, Tracey and Susie
Throw in some mugs from people like Arnoldo, who not only had sent in a glorious pun mug, but who also wrote about vulnerability so eloquently on his blog last week that it started me thinking about dealing with some of this, painting the mug of fellow survivor and friend, Carol. Plus others who are just from people who I admire and like, and who have awesome taste in mugs and cups.

from top... Katie, Jill and Carol

So all good and positive, but then the book A World of Artist Journal pages by Dawn Devries Sokol arrived and I sort of plunged back into a bit of a mini funk. My work is in there... just a single image,but I painted the page and sent it in during treatment, which was quite the task. At the time it was really positive because it gave me things to focus on when I was deep in the horrible chemo, but when I thought of that page post treatment I thought of the cancer and quite frankly it doesn't even look that much like my work. I have actually been avoiding buying it for just that reason. which is a bit wimpy really but then a friend bought it and emailed me to say how wonderful my page was, and that it was just where I was at the time, and I am not there now and it is something I should be proud of, not just because my work was in a book, but also because it represented how far I have come. I have some pretty awesome and wise friends I have to say. So the book was ordered in a wave of pep talk induced bravery.


It arrived two days ago and I hardly looked at it... but on the back of the whole getting over the hump with the Cuppa Project I decided to stop being such a buttercup and have a good old look. It actually wasn't as bad as I had thought it was, and I think my friend is exactly right. It may not be my normal bright and colourful splotch of creativity, but it is where I was at that time, and I have come such a long way since then. So I am finishing my week feeling quite accomplished and happy again and reminded of just how wonderful life is and how special it is to be surrounded by wonderful friends, an awesome class to teach, plenty of painting and creativity to fuel my days and  an incredible family, which all adds up to life feeling back to its normal awesomeness... 


I am so completely and utterly blessed it isn't funny
happy painting all...xx

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Pug Life Chose Me....


Some people know me so well it is scary
  the mail man delivered an amazing little box the other week
  and inside was a lovely surprise from Nic over at Nic's Earth
 she got me a Pug in a Mug tea infuser
 how adorable is he
 I am loving stuffing his lower half full of my favourite tea
 and then sitting him on my desk to infuse and keep me company
how could you not love this thing... he hangs there on the side of the mug
tea infusing out of his butt and just cracks me up
Nic you are a treasure... seriously awesome


I have been playing with different names, trying them out
and while Stanley has been getting quite the run lately
I am thinking he looks more like a Wayne
I adore him so much I keep him in there once the tea is infused
and just spin him around to the other side
which means I am getting my nose butted by a pug butt as I drink
not to mention I am hopped up on tea that is so strong I may actually be bulletproof
it is just win after win I tell ya


which is a good thing... the being hopped up thing that is

not the bulletproof.... although that would be cool wouldn't it
although as an aside can I say the bulletproof thing always made me wonder if that meant you were immune to all projectiles... or just bullets 
like are cannon balls bullets? ... or could they take you down
or even worse, it would kind of suck if a bullet wouldn't take you out
but someone throws a pea at you and you would be down like a pack of cards

but I digress ... I was saying it is good that I am hopped up
because I have these awesome students taking my class at the moment
and they are freaking me out with their enthusiasm, willingness to try new things
and sheer creative wonderfulness
the classroom is hopping I tell you
the collage below is just a small selection of their brilliance
they are so productive I could make about 10 collages by now
there is a week left to sign up and we have a few spots left
 details are up the top
happy painting from Wayne and I ...xx