Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Tortured artist

When we create a piece we think about it, we sketch it, we plan it, we have dreams about it. It is so forefront in our minds until it is completed that it can become an obsession. When a piece isn't working its a constant source of frustration, like a jigsaw with some pieces missing. When its going well we dread it being finished, like a good book. When it turns out how we envisioned it we fret that it may be the best piece we ever complete and may never live up to it again. If we don't sell it we question what is wrong with it and if we do sell it we want it back. Why would anyone choose to be an artist - well I guess the real answer is...its not really a choice is it? Its certainly no way to make a living! An artists just is and that all there is to it. Its a strange thing, I never tire of looking at other peoples art in all different genres and I am always so eager to show mine to others (especially other artists), yet I am normally very private. This blog is a very strange place for me, to share my thoughts about art with whoever happens on to it is kind of therapeutic...anyway enough dribble for is a picture of a tortured tree by a tortured artist...

'The Scenic Route' Terracotta Colourfix 50cm x 70cm

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Must Practice my demos

You know try as I might I couldn't draw or paint a decent animal on Sunday! I was so daunted by being watched so closely by other artists! Then today I had no plans to paint, walked past the studio and wandered in and started painting from a loose sketch I had done previously, anyway about two hours later I had 'Security' (although I like to think of him as Cyril and Friends). He needs another hour or so yet, but I am glad he appeared because I was short a painting for an upcoming exhibition so that takes some pressure off. The background was a lot of fun, I took inspiration from my weekend students and went mad with the alcohol and a stiff brush. It dripped and made a mess and I used pastel over it while it was still wet and enjoyed the freedom of creating. Sometimes we need to take our own advice and lighten up...:)
'Security' 70cm x 50cm Colourfix Elephant

Sunday, 26 May 2013


I think I will have a smile on my face for the next week at least...I spent a great weekend at the 'Art House' that is run by the Armadale Society of Artists of which I am lucky enough to be a member. I started four demos, but I only really completed two, but I enjoyed the company of seven lovely artists who threw themselves into every piece that we did. On Saturday we experimented with alcohol underpaintings and using texture grounds, and coloured paper for landscapes, then on Sunday we painted animals and everyone found their own way of using the materials. I forgot to take many pictures because I was having so much fun but I did get a couple. By the end of the day the room we were using smelled like a distillery from all the underpaintings lol.


Monday, 20 May 2013

What Fun :))

Well this was a lot of fun! I am enjoying experimenting with textured surfaces at the moment, it has really added another dimension (pun intended) for me...this piece is a practice run for a couple of demos I will be doing on the weekend during a workshop. I wanted to bring something new to the table, some of the students are already well established with pastels and some have acrylic backgrounds. I am hoping to show some exciting techniques that maybe they haven't come across yet. It was also just a complete abandonment of sensible colour which is always great fun right? Also the results are quite a surprise when they appear, what looks like nothing with one layer of pastel suddenly takes on a life of its own as you add layers. This piece is loosely based on some amazing rock formations in the outback fittingly called 'The Devil's Marbles'. They are fascinating for artists and photographers and the desert light changes the colours of the shadows and the rocks in quite dramatic ways.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The end...maybe

ok so I couldn't leave it alone...I hated that tree on the right and I had to fit it into my only available frame at the moment so here is the final cut. I framed it passé partout (directly under the glass, no spacer) which is a first for me but it has to do some travelling and I am sick of pastel dust falling on the mat. We shall see if people here are ready for a pastel framed matless or not, personally I prefer it and it wasn't that hard to's hoping :) Oh yeah I have changed the title to 'Yin and Yang' as the way the slopes and path curve around each other reminded me of them.

Monday, 13 May 2013

and then...

Time to let this one just be for now I think, it definitely needs to sit out of sight for a while, although not for too long because its entered in a show in a couple of weeks and I need to frame it :) I have called it 'The Ups and the Downs'. It is inspired by a photo my other half took while we where hiking in our local national park. All of a sudden, after hiking up rocky hills and though typical harsh Aussie scrub this little scene appeared that, to me anyway, looked like something you might happen onto in Italy or France (but what would I know, I've never been to Europe!). This part of the park looks to have been reclaimed from old farmland and still bears the marks of a large scale garden in was quite a surprise and so out of place. A beautiful little secret and worth the hike to get there!

70 cm x 70 cm Pastel on colourfix with an alcohol and soft pastel underpainting

Sunday, 12 May 2013

And then...

Just goes to show that photographing your work points out all sorts of wrong stuff, I can see now that the values in the cypress pines are off quite a bit so not finished yet by any means...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Here we go again...:)

Back on the horse again yesterday, another piece that seemed so clear in my head but got lost at the start. Beginning a painting, for me at least, is absolutely the hardest part. I have a solid concept with reference material and notes and ideas...but as soon as I see that blank sheet of paper everything evaporates! The first image is my initial block-in, then I washed this down with alcohol (at this stage I was still pretty happy)...Then something happened and my brain started to make me do stupid things to the shape of the hill :(. So out came the foam brush and a fresh start. My next attempt was a much more solid effort and I am now caught up in the groove of finishing a piece (thank goodness). this is my favourite place to be, when I am not working on it I am thinking about it, this is my happy place and I know many other artists feel the same way. I just have to let go of the feeling of having wasted a couple of hours at the could have ended worse, garden hose maybe!

Monday, 6 May 2013

With a little help.....

So with a little help from my wetcanvas friends who had some really good ideas to make this image work (especially Jackie Simmonds who always gives generously) this is the final cut...
I am feeling quite happy with this piece now and it is no longer in the 'hose off' pile, thanks everyone!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Yesterday's effort

I feel in a bit of a creative doldrums lately..this is yesterdays painting...not terribly pleased or displeased, just kind of indifferent for some reason. Anyway the postie just delivered my cop of Liz Haywood-Sullivans new book so I am sure she will inspire me! Fingers crossed anyway!
 I think cropping makes me feel a bit better about it?