Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Things I Don't Know....


There are many things in this world that I don't know
but some are more puzzling than others
the main puzzler at the moment
is how on earth I am supposed to know
what every abbreviation of a country is on the Olympics coverage
and then when I have a stab they Sinus and Phantom decide that can't be right
and go and google it anyway... 
so why not just google it from the start
and leave me to gaze at those fit young men in peace...

After all I am not watching for the sports
because anyone who knows me understands
that I don't do sports 
in any form
and yes I married a golf pro
but that doesn't mean I know the rules of badminton
or understand the intricacies of weightlifting 
though for some reason I find it endlessly hilarious to watch... no clue why
just get the giggles every time I see their screwed up faces

And for the record I have any understanding whatsoever about shooting
table tennis, or that slalom canoeing thing
or most puzzling of all
why the beach volleyball girls seem to be unconcerned
 with having permanent wedgies????
the Olympics is shaping up to be quite a long few weeks
filled with me being asked random questions 
and being reminded that I basically have no clue...
and while we are on the subject of having no clue
some other things I totally don't get are...

Why the dog freaks out when it is windy weather
but loves to stick his head out the car window????

Why there is a person who walks her Shetland Pony 
every Thursday afternoon when I go to pick up Phantom
and how big is that poop bag????

Why boys are wearing their hats sort of half perched on the side of their head
don't they get one side of their nose burnt
or do they even it up by
 propping it jauntily to the other side on alternate days???


And why even though I started out wanting to paint this
gorgeous pastel teacup that my friend Tracey gave me
it still ended up being super bright????
Better go and make another cup and ponder that one at more length
happy Tuesday Tea all...xx

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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bamboo Boo Boos....


I have had this idea floating around in my brain for the last few weeks
and am on a mission to get it out of the brain and onto paper
mind you my brain must be quite a cushy place
because it is showing no great desire to leave its roomy confines
and is  staying firmly locked in the grey matter


Along the fence near the studio is a stretch of bamboo
which over the wet season has exploded into a riot of shoots and green
and softly clatters in the breeze
and seems to make me feel warm no matter what the winter is delivering
and the bonus is that in the summer it will shade the pool and studio
and keep me cool


All day long I sit and gaze out the window and see it swaying and moving
and it is always in motion
it can be quite mesmerising
and I want to capture it
I can see it in my mind
but just can't quite get it out on the page

But I am hanging in there
and these are the experiments
and rough sketches
all the ones I make mistakes on
which is where the boo boos comes in
which is a bit sad but couldn't resist
and while they aren't where I want them
they are kind of on the way


I am starting to like the effect that gouache is having on the backgound
and think I want to explore that idea
and in my brain it is quite a detailed line drawing over a soft background
so that the background suggests the movement
while the detailed drawing shows the lovely lines and shapes
and obviously these aren't the detailed drawings


but I have fallen into that trap before
doing a detailed involved drawing and then mucking it up with the paint
so I think I have the background down
and so the next step will be to do some close sketches of the bamboo
and then put it all together


It will be fun to watch it come together
because they have already come along way
but that is all in the nature of it
and it is always satisfying to smugly sit back when it works out
and look back on the ordinary beginnings.... xx

Linking up to Sunday Sketches...

My week so far has been about



Friday, 27 July 2012

Sandblasting my Brain....

Time to come clean
my husband Sinus Man gets a bit of a bad rap at times
Yes his snores have been likened to everything from
than landing of a 747
to having the ability to suck curtains from windows, and strip paint from walls
but he is not alone is being cursed with dreaded sinuses
I too am cursed, though with a much milder more ladylike form of course
and while I don't manage to produce the truly awe inspiring amounts of mucus
that Sinus does
it is gross none the less and does drive me a bit nuts
so when my local pharmacist suggested I tried this stuff
and he said it would change my life
and that while it would be unpleasant for a few days it would be worth it
I figured I would give it a shot


So I headed home
read the insert, scoffing at things like tingling sensation and a watering of the eyes
and blithely sprayed my right nostril
dear mother of god it was like
someone was trying to sandblast my brain
and I swear I could have broken droughts with the amounts of tears I produced
I ended up sitting on the floor in a half foetal 
holding my nose, cursing the masochistic pharmacist
 and alternately trying to stem the water gushing from my eyes
and disgusting amount of mucus streaming from my nose
with the dog helpfully offering sympathy by licking my elbow
all the time knowing that I was only half way there

Nothing in life prepared me for the second nostril
this stuff could take down a hopped up wrestler
it is the pepper spray of the sinus world
how something made from cyclamen petals could induce such burning pain
is totally beyond me
and from that moment on I knew I would never
 be able to have another cyclamen in the house
their beauty hides pure evil... 


fast forward an hour and horror of all horrors
the stuff actually was working
my eyes were still watering and it would appear 
that there is an endless supply of gross stuff residing in my nasal area
but ears were popped, headache gone and I actually felt pretty good
which meant that the endless cycle of taking sudafed type stuff 
great news , not just for me but for the family who has to put up with me
bouncing around like a maniacal bunny
but the bad news was that it would have to be repeated every day for 7 days



So I write this at the day three mark
and while it is still painful and feels a bit like someone is spearing my brain 
with a pitchfork dipped in chilli sauce
it is indeed giving me relief so I am going to hang in there
and while  I think they should rework the packaging
and that calm looking face
should have someone howling like their brain is exploding
maybe the pharmacist was right and it is life changing
if for no other reason than I now know that 
either I have no pain tolerance what so ever
or that the people who write inserts are lying masochists
either way good to have learnt something from the experience...

happy Paint Party Friday all ...xx

This week I have blogged about










Thursday, 26 July 2012

My Travel Kit with Gatecrashers....


Not quite pen and ink for The Artist's Play Room this week
I have pens in there and they have ink in them right
so I am making use of the whole close enough is good enough concept

I used to use quills and ink bottles
but for the chronically uncoordinated
the idea of open ink bottles in a studio with carpet on the floor
is so stress inducing that I avoided using them
and don't get me started on how many times I stabbed myself
putting those fiddly bloody nibs in the holder
and then there is the splotching, drips, and running out of ink half way through a line
 and black fingers
or green or blue fingers
and the need for bandaids
basically it was a whole saga


I do apologise to the purists
and yes I love all the bottles and things
and have quite the collection
but I tend to use ink with brushes... 
partly because I never get cuts on my fingers from using brushes
but also for some odd reason I never spill paint


Of course on meeting Sakura Microns
 I am afraid the love/hate thing I had going with pen and ink 
tipped over into the distant memory category
these puppies never splotch or injure... they are just so dependable

So this painting is of my travel kit... no clue why I have pencils in there
because I never take pencils
because then you need erasers, sharpeners etc
and the watercolour pencils rarely put in an appearance for the same reason
plus the watercolour wheel is so much easier to use
but with out them it all would have been a bit boring looking
so not really my travel kit, but travel kit with gatecrashers


The main thing is all my favourites are covered
Microns, the watercolour wheel that I use every single day
whether on the road or not
waterwell brush thingy, and a couple of favourite sketchbooks
those few things and I am set no matter where I am
well set if I also have chocolate, and tea
and I considered throwing in a couple of teabags and chocolate wrappers
but figured you could all do with a rest from them...xx


You might be interested in the last few posts...



Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Hearts, Peas and Cream of Earl Grey...


Tuesday has started with all sorts of wonderful
I am drinking Cream of Earl Grey 
which has heaps of bergamot and a hint of vanilla and is just delicious
I sometimes wonder if I convinced myself to like Earl and Lady Grey
just because of the gorgeous blue ozmanthus petals
it is just a pretty tea to look at
but this one is simply delicious
and it really does have a bit of a creamy taste
even though I drink tea black... that vanilla makes it very smooth... delicious


I think it is extra special because it came with love
and a whole package of wonderful 
from my treasured friend Jenn over at Justaddwatersilly
there were so many wonderful things in the package 
that it would simply be embarrassing to show them all off at once
but you can see the crazy great watercolour painting
which is about to go off to the framers
and there were bookmarks, perfect earrings, tea
and for a brief moment there was chocolate
but by the time you read this that will be pretty much demolished
which is actually a necessity
because Phantom and Sinus have caught on to me hiding the good stuff 
in the vegetable crisper in the fridge
so nothing is safe any more....


Phantom was also showered with all sorts of candy 
and bookmarks and earrings
and as her candy container was simply huge
she declared she was favourite
and retired to her study nook to read something suitably obscure
while doing her best to rot her teeth 
and give herself one of the great sugar highs of all time
in short she was in heaven!!!


So I now sit at my desk
drinking this gorgeous tea from my latest favourite tea cup that was a gift
and feeling very special as I start to do some little sketches
of teapots and generally trying to finish off some things


like the teapot teabag sketches I started the other week
and playing with some idea for some bamboo paintings
because I sit and look out on a wall of the stuff from my studio window
and it seems wrong not to try to paint it
 all play... fuelled by chocolate, tea and wonderful friends
it simply doesn't get better than that...



The last few posts are here in case you have been busy...




Sunday, 22 July 2012

Scary Tea....


I didn't think I would ever write the words scary tea
but I have
scary coffee would be totally expected
after all just recently I had a scary coffee moment
and my friendship with Jen
and when you add that to the more recent 
I think you can start to appreciate why trying chocolate tea
may be making the heart beat just a touch faster.


I was ordering some teas recently and in a complete mad rush of blood moment
ordered a sampler box of chocolate flavoured tea
with the grand idea that they would replace my after dinner scoffing
of chocolate biscuits and/or chocolate
but ever since they arrived early last week they have been staring at me
and for the life of me I can't bring myself to try them
chocolate flavoured tea
it just seems wrong
wrong in the same way that pizza flavoured crisps is wrong
or celery flavoured jelly beans
or tomato flavoured bubble gum


Phantom tried the chocolate and coconut one and pronounced it drinkable
but she is an evil pixie and could well be lying through her teeth
just to be able to see my face contort when I try it if is indeed awful
she is that sort of kid and she has gotten me often enough
like with wasabi flavoured peas... 
not that hot she said
and smiled and giggled gleefully as I turned beet red and had trouble getting my breath
and while they did clear my sinuses nicely... they were freaky hot
so history dictates
that I am pretty much suspicious of any recommendations


I have sat here this morning drawing them in my sketchbook
in an attempt to bring myself to crack open a packet
and take the plunge
and I think my being tentative has bled through into the drawing
which is looking a touch muted and sketchy
maybe I need to do a few more drawings
and once I have a drawing I am happy with then maybe
just maybe
I will be ready to give them a go
in the meantime I am linking up with Sunday Sketches
and sending Alex all my get better soon wishes....xx

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Friday, 20 July 2012

A Bit of a Step by Step Thingy....

I have had a couple of emails lately asking me about my drawing style
and so I thought I might do a bit of a step by step thingy
based on a sketch I have been doing over the last day of two

So step one
find something to draw
never a tough thing when you have tea tins like this sitting around
but just as lazy easy
 is a quick trip to raid the cupboard or fridge 
and then try to get a bit of an outline happening
I draw the outline in pen
so I don't get too precious
I appear to be unable to use pencil without an eraser
and end up correcting and getting hung up on details
Pen also makes me focus
as I do tend to suffer from being insanely easy to distract

so I  just try to get the major shapes in
and then try to get some paint on it as quickly as possible
putting detail in at this stage is completely useless
 as I am pathologically unable to paint carefully in the lines anyway
and if I am honest I kind of can't be assed being too neat about it
and figure I can fix problems as I go
which sometimes bites me big time
but it seems to work more times than not...
I am just sort of blocking in some colour
and yes it really is that messy
you thought I was kind of kidding didn't you
nope the first layer always looks like a dog's dinner

Next is the ugly child phase of the work
if we are honest then we all know
even the best looking kids go through an ugly patch

I remember Phantom having a one sided mullet 
from always sleeping on one side of her head
that was not her most attractive phase
but she has turned out to be completely mulletless and is now pretty gorgeous
and you have no clue 
how hard it is to not post a photo of said half mullet
but she would kill me 
16 year olds have no sense of humour

Where was I ... see what I mean about distracted
anyway....
to get my work through the ugly phase it is all about colour
I try to strengthen it up
and add some shape and a touch more detail
 and if the mood strikes
 a bit of tonal work in the to give some shape
I work from a little watercolour wheel and don't mix quantities of colour
so there are often little pools and uneven bits 
but I try to leave them unless they are too glaring


Once it is dry
I attack it with Micron pens and "tidy" up the outlines
and add details and pick out shapes
and all of a sudden it starts to come together
it goes from ugly child to one you can show in public 
and then it is just a matter
of some highlights in white goauche for the light source
and any other white bits like lettering
that I have inevitably not left and painted or drawn over along the way
and a final lick of micron to add a bit of tone and define the shape


With that it is done and dusted
and before I start picking it to pieces and finding fault
I pop on the kettle on and drink my subject
which is crazy delicious 
while heading over to check out some other painters at Paint Party Friday...xx


This is what has been happening in my blog world this week




Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Hello Winter Term....


Yesterday was first day of Winter Term
which got a big two hands in the air WOOHOO from me
I was so ready to wave Phantom off to school with a song in my heart
and give my poor tortured brain a rest
I seriously have no clue where this kid came from
and I think there may have been an alien involved
its the only answer I can come up with that explains
someone who watches crap reality tv, while listening to show tunes
and wants to discuss obscure maths and physics concepts
or the bizarre latest obsession of surrealist theatre and the plays of Artaud
It does my head in to spend time with her
but at least she is never boring... 


All was quickly put back to rights 
and my brain was given the rest it needed
with some therapeutic  pear sketching and painting
and after giving up on trying to get the three of them to stand up 
so I could draw them in a soldier straight line
I gave in and drew the drunk pear that kept falling over just as it was
first time I have drawn a pear butt
and was quite a fun angle to draw
who knew....



So pears duly sketched up and coloured
I attacked drawing up some new work
which I will be able to do
UNINTERRUPTED
so spoons were duly drawn up


but of course there was an interruption
inevitable isn't it
but it was an order from Republic of Tea
and I am getting quite the collection
I am almost embarrassed
almost...


so Lady Grey was pushed aside
and I said a big hello to Cranberry Blood Orange
you all know what I am going to be drawing and painting 
for the foreseeable future don't you
what a joyous Tuesday Tea....

My last few blog posts have been

which has a yummy recipe in it... just perfect with a cup of tea!!!