Friday, 30 December 2011

New and Blue to End the Year

I hope everyone survived Christmas with their sanity more or less intact and that we are all ready for the New Year that is rocketing towards us... Christmas in our house was pleasantly mad and full of sun and laughter and shameless cheating at Jenga and Monopoly, bowls of lychees and cherries and Swedish pear cider, and of course the all important Christmas Haul of pressies... now people say that Christmas is all about family and love and sharing and all that, and I agree with this, but let's be honest, it is all topped off by a good old fashioned pile of goodness under that tree! It is wonderful when you open a present that is so perfectly picked and there is a special joy in seeing someone's eyes light up when they see what you have found for them...and we all seem to get that one random gift that makes us scratch our heads, but that is all the fun of it isn't it...



Now this year the haul was magnificent.... fragrance reeds, tea and a tangine, great books and smelly things, beautiful wedgewood plates to match my cake stand, Donna Hay mugs and cake plates in her nostalgia pattern, and to top it all off a perfectly formed tea pot from my great friend  Tracey Grigc Potter. Yes I am spoilt, but I am soooo worth it, and to pay homage to the level of wonderfullness of some of these gifts I thought I would make them the centre of attention today and embarked on a little creative therapy to help regain some equilibrium... haven't painted for over a week and it was a touch dodgy in places, but then it came flowing back and I found myself sitting happily humming and getting messy... perfect way to end the year really...
Wouldn't these little beauties inspire you too... I am sure it will take many tries to get them just right,and you will all be sick of drawings and paintings of them before long, but they are just perfect and I am seriously in love... of course in a nicely serendipitous moment the challenge over at Inspiration Avenue is something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, so I am cherry picking just the new and blue part and saying these little paintings meet the prompt, new mugs, with blue on them is close enough I think.... I am off to make a cuppa now so I can spend some time checking out what others have been submitting, and also heading over to the last Paint Party Friday for the year.... can't wait to hear and see what everyone has been inspired by at this time of year and need a huge hit of looking at and catching up on all the inspiring blogs to end the year.... Happy New Year to everyone!!!!!!





Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A neglected desk


So here is what is on my work desk....
I wanted to have a play with some of the images I have painted recently 
and explore the idea of a little journal book thingy ....
this is the first attempt, and while I had hoped to be much further along
Christmas season has started with a vengeance here 
and there has been little or no time to be creative


Now I love all the fun of family and celebrations
but
I get a tad grumpy...
okay I turn into a complete and utter miserable whiny sod...
 without the chance to paint or draw
so things have been a touch on edge...
hopefully I will get a little done on this each day
which will not only save my sanity...
 but perhaps my marriage 
and my whole family from feeling the wrath
of me deprived of creativity....
we all get like that
don't we????
please tell me I am not the only one who turns into a complete cow when shut out of the studio!!!


So other than this....
and wrapping presents
and wrapping more presents
and baking
and cooking
and cleaning
and more present wrapping
and avoiding more cleaning...
and spending time gazing into the oven to see if it has magically cleaned itself...
it hasn't by the way...


I have done just a little...
and I am not sure about the tack I am on with it...
I am sure it will all come together in its own way though, and




I did finish the tiles and string them onto necklaces
and I love them
I can't wait until after Christmas when I can get in and do some more



I have ideas crashing into each other in my head 
so I feel that the year will be finishing with a session of pendant making...


and if things get too hairy I can always
settle down with the parcel of books that has arrived in the last few days
they look as though they are fan - freakin - tastic
and could be real sanity savers
and inspiring 
and all of the wonderful stuff



So I hope you all have wonderful, safe
fun filled Holiday season
and thank you all so much for an incredible few months
for your comments and time
and for your inspiration and support
those are actually the warm little nuggets of wonderful 
that will keep me sane over the next week...

If you feel like you are a bit short of Christmas cheer,
or need to feel alternately in awe of people and completely delighted by
other creative souls
head over to Stamping Ground
to see wonderful creative desks,
or to
for some wonderful posts and blogs...
xx

Friday, 16 December 2011

An Obsession Put to Bed... Finally

Over on Facebook I am part of a group that does a painting challenge every month, which is called... you guessed it the Monthly Painters Challenge... and this month the challenge topic was Design for Fabric...now this was actually a bit of a loaded topic for me because I had a wee problem with obsessively painting pattern for  months on end... and while I consider this idea of following obsessions quite a healthy part of artistic practice... I know that it can be a bit boring to live with someone who is obsessing on something... and while being submerged in a visual obsession is quite healthy and interesting compared to an obsession with say, I don't know, watching sport...I did put my toe back in the water with some trepidation....


I actually ended up with two canvases and while they look like a lot of work they are actually quite therapeutic and calming, and especially as I did absolutely nothing to extend or deepen the imagery or process, or blah blah blah....sorry for a minute there I almost slipped into art theory speak.... that was a close call... and at the end of the day I just wanted to play with pattern again and it was lovely to not think or push myself or worry about skills or anything like that... just put some paint down on a canvas... more like colouring in.... except in this case they really do look better in this case if you stay in the lines....


It must be said though that despite all the lovely memories and calming process and things it did get a bit old quite quickly and I think I can say the pattern obsession has been put to rest... cue applause here...though not too much applause becuase the same can't be said for my obsession with tea, and tea cups, or flowers, but hey one step at a time people, one step at a time....


So here are some, and just a small selection mind, of the older canvases, all shown with various degrees of bad photography, but it gives you an idea of how much these things took over the studio... just walking in was enough to give the most die hard pattern lover a headache... it can never be said that I do things by halves... So in the spirit of not doing things by halves you should head over to Paint Party Friday which is hosted by the lovely Kristin and Eva, and is full of wonderful wonderful artistic obsessions, or of course you can hit the Monthly Painters Challenge link on the side and see the other submissions and happy painting obsessions all...xx




Wednesday, 14 December 2011

A day in the life.... of Desk


So my days aren't always that easy...
 you would think that I could have a bit of a break come summer holidays...
but no...
the one who calls herself a painter 
is still up at 5.30am...
covering me with paint and dingy, neglected palettes 
that haven't been cleaned in goodness how long...
not to mention a coffee cup placed straight on me...
there is a coaster...
but does she use it...
no...
so after painting she gets stuck into some glass tiles for necklaces...
sounds good until you realise just how clumsy she is...
and how often she sticks things to me...
Rather than using prints she wants to use originals
she kind of likes the way the colours have bled...
but I'm not quite sure they are there yet
and ready to be made into final pieces...
These are small collages that she started with...
and you don't want to know the mess she made making these... 
I was covered in paint and glue for days it seemed...
maybe next time she will use paper that is less porous...
less mess for me and less bleeding in the end product...
no doubt there is more nightmare play in my future...


Had a wonderful break while she was finally catching up with 
her friend Elizabeth...
and she scored the most beautiful ornament for the tree and
a dancing sugar plum candle....
the studio smells pretty amazing about now let me tell you...
though not too happy that more stuff has found its way onto me...
how much does this woman think I can hold...


I had some peace and time to get used to the new weight...
then home they came and yet more pens have found themselves my newest friends...
normally I wouldn't mind, but I have to tell you the sight
of white out pens gives me a bit of stress... 
can just see me covered in the stuff permanently...

then she worked a little on her painting for the reveal tomorrow...
and cursed a lot....
mustn't be going well... 
and I must say I don't really care for the language she was using...

then she finished off the ginger...
and didn't even spill anything on me while doing it...
so we both had a win...
here it is...

So now she is off over to Stamping ground to visit some desks and see what other desks have been subjected to...
last week was hectic and she missed out of visiting some and now is in desperate need of some stalkage...
check them out for yourself at
What's on your Workdesk Wednesday
at



Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Family Christmas portrait


So it is the time of the year when thoughts turn to family photos for the Christmas card.... and if I was any sort of Uber mum then I would have done that, in fact I would have done that months ago, but we all know I am not that on top of things so... instead I have decided to combine the Inspiration Avenue Challenge this week of Christmas balls... and creating a family portrait of a sort.... think it reflects our family anyway.... 

So I started with a sketch of ideas on a page in my sketchbook, which I wanted to include for two reasons, one is I had a great time being part of Sunday Sketches over at Blue Chair Diary Blog last week, and I wanted to link up over there as well, and also because I wanted to show that work does not spring forth from my desk fully formed.... anywayyyy....the idea was to make Christmas baubles.... have to change the terminology from balls because I keep thinking of Santa scratching his, well you get the idea.... not the image I think the lovely host was thinking of putting in my mind.... and yes I did go there, and no I am not proud of myself...so back to the plan... a design that reflected the different members of the family.... and our family


So here it is in all its Christmas glory.... of course Mushu is top of the tree because he rules the roost and is just too cute for words and is the only member of the house who doesn't mouth off at me continually.... my lovely loyal little fur baby... 


To the right of his is my darling darling Sinus Man.... truly cursed with the snot inducing summer weather, which leads to copious amounts of mucous and truly awe inspiring, ceiling rattling snoring, but despite all this he is pretty special because he is off at the hardware store buying paint to give me a lovely freshly painted dining room for Christmas.... and he did the vaccuuming earlier... the man is a keeper even with all the snot!!!

Next down is Phantom... my delightful evil fifteen year old daughter.... we actually discussed how Phantom came about earlier, and neither of us can remember, and we know it didn't represent this Phantom, but it is kind of hard to paint a phantom, so this one fits the bill.... she is actually thinking of returning to her previous name, which was Steve.... which is probably preferable to the one I had chosen, which was Cockroach, after a quote last night where she was discussing the skills she had learned from watching Bear Grills and that Man vs Wild thingy, and I was saying she could survive anything and her reply was,  and I quote... Just call me Cockroach...  It was like she was begging to be renamed Cockroach , but I decided that Phantom had to stay for one more day at least because a cockroach would have ruined my family portrait, but I am kind of relieved that Steve is coming back as  it is you don't get the stares that you get when you call her that Phantom in public, and no doubt that cockroach would also lead to...

As to me it couldn't be anything but a tea cup... and the family portrait is complete!!!



Friday, 9 December 2011

The curse of the Frangipani

So it turns out that Karma does come and bite you in the bum when you least expect it.... though probably when you actually deserve it.... you see I have cast many many aspersions upon the poor humble frangipani... when I was young I loved them... it meant the beautiful sweet smell of summer holidays every bit as much as the smell of chlorine, and coppertone suntan lotion... I loved walking trough the sea of flowers on the way home from the train station... but then I got older and all that changed....
Frangipani went viral... everywhere I looked there they were... on every second canvas in every decorator store, to being all over photo frames, tacky necklaces and all those horrible horrible cushions.... what is the story with decorators and cushions????.... they are all obsessed... so my beautiful summer bloom was ruined... it had been relegated to cliche... a sad sad time in my life....


Of course things then got a touch worse because they became the symbol of bogans driving SUV's... for non Australians.... change bogans to redneck... I think... don't quote me on that.... but basically every second bleach blond bimbo with any cash at all had an SUV with frangipani stickers on the back window... and I have mercilessly flogged the fact that they are a tacky symbol of tastelessness, and it is a running joke, especially after Sinus Man bought me a brand new SUV two Christmases ago... he has been threatening to put those wretched stickers on my back window when I least expect it ever since... my nerves haven't been the same since I got the car I tell you... yes I am getting to the point... be patient...


So the thing is I was stopped at the top of our street waiting for traffic and the window was down and all of a sudden I was overcome by the heady gorgeous fragrance of the frangipani at the top of the street.... it was glorious, and then later the same morning I was sitting in the studio and looked out the window and was drawn to the deep magic pinks and oranges of some blooms... change glasses, and you guessed it... frangipani... so I thought it was time to make my peace with them and I would attack a painting... that enough time had passed and I could maybe have a shot at rendering their wonderfullness... turns out I was wrong... the drawing went just fine but the painting has been a disaster... so much so I can't even put post it... my biggest bone fide painting disaster in many moons... 


so I abandoned it and painted in my clivia, which I have posted at the top of this... to restore my faith in my own ability... and to an extent it did.... but it isn't summer, clivia don't sing about humid days and long lazy afternoons to me... even in those bright colours... so I tried to get my tropical back on with this painting of a coconut water that I had bought for Phantom to have with her lunch... purely bought it for the packaging.... and it has restored a little seasonal cheer... I am off to apologise to every frangipani tree I see over the next few weeks in order to try to restore my Karma so I can paint the suckers... and to soothe my battered creative soul I am heading over to Paint Party Friday to see what everyone has been has been up to... 




Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A desk of unfinished!!!


So my desk is full
 and I mean full
 of half finished things at the moment...


I am adding my work to the front of all of these journals
so they can go Into The Collective Store
and of course some will be used as Christmas presents...


I have three line drawings
from yesterday
a clivia..
a ginger... and some Frangipani..
which are all in bloom around the neighbourhood
making everything smell summery...
I am hoping to get to add some colour to them later today... 
or at least make a start


I have done a border on a journal page...
which I have idea how I am going to fill...
just wanted to do some painting
in summery colours


Maybe I will fill it with one of these cute little girls from over at
Manon has generously posted an outline on her blog for 
everyone to play with...
head on over and have a look

and if you have some time...  head over to 

for a little desk stalking... 
my favourite Wednesday activity!!!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Hoovering Lady Grey



So I am having a bit of a day... you see we bought some new chairs and they are just the right height that you can pop a cup of tea on the floor beside you and not have to reach and stretch, or use the coffee table....just perfect lazy must be starting to get old when this is how I am judging how perfect a chair is... only trouble is that the dog has decided he likes my tea.... he has never really taken any notice of it when it sits on one of the tables, but he seems to have decided that if it is on his level it is fair game....so if I don't keep an eye on him I reach down to grab my mug and he has his snout in there hoovering my Lady Grey... very off putting.... so offputting I haven't really managed to find my feet creatively all day and now I am paranoid and keep having to check my tea for tell tale white hairs... all this meant that I managed to smudge my painting in about three places, and while I had grand plans of doing something spectacular for my first link up with Sunday Sketches and also to link up with Artists in Blogland as I haven't visited them for a while... and instead of that I have a distracted by the dog drinking my tea sketch....




Friday, 2 December 2011

North and South with five thumbs


Yesterday was a huge day... first day of summer holidays... gloriously cool for a change... no huge time pressures and commitments and first day without Art Every Day Month... but it turned out to be a bit of a let down... I had thought I would have a day of doing sweet bugger all, but it kind of was a bit boring and I missed doing something and having blogs to visit and all that and so I got stuck into a painting that would take more than a day so that I could post over to Paint Party Friday and Inspiration Avenue and secure my fix of blog visiting.

The topic over at IA was English literature... finally we have a topic that won't send me to therapy... I love English lit and my top two books of all time fall into this... Now top of the list is Tess of the D'urbervilles, but quite honestly it is a bit like being put through a ringer backwards and having your heart completely and utterly trounced upon... which is surprisingly cathartic to read on a regular basis, but couldn't really say I felt like tackling it for a visual feast... so that left me with North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill and some of my favourite lines in all of literature...
one of which revolves around tea... lucky twist of fate there you might say...
So the deal is Mr Thornton is seeking a bit of learned company and he is a bit of a brute... and a Northerner and he meets the lovely Southern lady, Margaret and  there is a part quite early on where he sees her pouring tea, and he is mesmerised by how graceful she is and it is the first time we get a sense that there is more to him... and I always see her using a tea pot that has the leaves and flowers that she refers to from her garden in the south, which she is missing so much...and throughout the books she is pouring from pitchers and talks about the urns of ivy and things like that so I kind of wanted to get those images in there as well...
So I jumped in and did my first image transfers... thanks to all those blogs that kept mentioning them and made me want to try them... and then I did my second, third, fourth.... had a cup of tea and grumbled, bitched and moaned about how they all should have told me it was an impossible process for someone with five thumbs and no patience... then on magic number five they were as I wanted them and so then I draw in an old fashioned enamelled tea pot and I am finally into painting mode.. I added ink and then some watercolour and was pleased with how it was coming along so I decided to write in the quote from the section of the book... 
Of course I didn't allow for the fact that my writing is like a chicken doing the hokey pokey across a page, and adding some water did not help it at all... so I attacked it with paint...
This may have been great if it had not been for not waiting for it to dry properly and hence the odd grey tinge, but it was a bit better, and once I had added more watercolour and strengthened lines and things I finally got the top image... I am pretty happy with it... in parts especially, but it hasn't quite got to where I want to be... almost, but no cigar... still it was great fun to work bigger again and to spend more time on it, and I am sooo looking forward to checking out the work at PPF and IA... if you haven't done so then you have to head over to see some great work!!!