Thursday, June 29, 2006

Two Ladies

I have been unable to post the last few days due to naughty house rabbit eating through my telephone extension lead forcing me off-line. However I used the time to write a couple of articles for my websites and to get on with my painting.

These are two examples of an exercise I did for my course. Firstly you wet the paper and then dropped Indian ink into the water to make interesting patterns. After they dry (which took all day!) you draw a face from a magazine in charcoal and white pastel incorporating the marks made by the ink. The actually drawing only took me twenty minutes in each case. This blonde to me looks ethereal like a water sprite.

The second face is of a NZ actress dressed in oriental fashion. She is not conventionally pretty but has a strong face and interesting features. With that thick neck she must be a Taurean! I think this exercise could be done in colour also with watercolours substituting for the ink. It's interesting how thinking outside the square can achieve some fascinating results.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Two Miniatures

Last couple of days I have been putting the final touches to a couple more entries for The Original Art Show. I didn't manage to complete the ten they said I could send due to ill health but hopefully the four I'm sending will allow me to test the waters before entering again next year.

I have embarked on another series of patchwork paintings but this time I'm using rabbits as the feature. This is Patchwork Rabbit No 1 (not too imaginative a title but at least it's descriptive). I decided to go with a Dutch bunny as I felt it's dramatic coat would stand out well on the patchwork. Of course the background took longer than the rabbit!

I decided to hedge my bets and paint a popular image that might appeal to the males in the audience. I enjoy painting tigers anyway as their coat is so beautiful. This painting is on gallery wrapped canvas and is 4x4" as is the rabbit one.

I still haven't heard back from the Affordable Art Show as to whether my four submissions have been accepted which is frustrating so I decided to send one of these up to TOAS instead (the one I didn't think they'd want). So now I am couriering Patchwork Rabbit No 1, Tiger Head, Whimsical Calico Cat and Patchwork Cat No 2 up to Auckland this morning.

Now I have got these away I can get back to completing my orders. I have been fortunate that the commissioners were patient and agreed to wait for me to complete my exhibition paintings before I began on their work.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I am having to keep a visual diary for the first time EVER. It's hard to think of what to include in it so have been doing preliminary sketches for paintings I'm working on.

This is a drawing for a 4x4" acrylic painting I'm doing of a tiger. Tigers are always popular with men for some reason. Perhaps they represent power? I know two people born in the Year of the Tiger and both are strong characters although they allow others to influence their decisions. Being a poor old wood snake I'm meant to avoid them as tigers "destroy" us. Must be true as I have to admit I have had some hairy moments with them!

This is a pendant I made a while back but the diary also shows the image I used to work from. I love monarch butterflies and it's interesting that their colours are the same as the tiger's. Of course in the butterfly's case it is protection against predators rather than camouflage but it doesn't work when it comes to my cats unfortunately. I spend a lot of time rescuing them from being batted around the garden by frisky felines.

This is a sketch of my cat Piper asleep on my bed. Piper usually never allows me to photograph her deformed tail but she had no idea what I was doing so I was able to reproduce her stump in all its glory. Poor girl has a face only a mother could love and since one visitor commented that she was "pig ugly" she now hides when people come calling. I think she has an interesting face plus she has lovely tawny eyes but the coat is a nightmare to replicate.

On the same page I was working on a sketch of my ginger girl Peaches but the light ran out before I finished and I haven't been able to encourage her to resume the same pose. Peaches was just about to nod off in this drawing. She is a beautiful girl with soulful "Puss In Boots" eyes.

Monday, June 12, 2006


I have been working hard on a couple of small paintings to send to The Original Art Show next week. In the meantime I have received feedback on the first assignment in my art course. The tutor was really encouraging and said she wondered who these teachers were that said I could not draw humans as I obviously could. I am much more hopeful now that I will get some positive help in developing different areas of my work. I am still happy with the two last exercises I did in that assignment- the black picture in particular was quite challenging as I only included the highlights on the woman's face.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Been a busy week as I put out a newsletter for the Ehlers Danlos Foundation of New Zealand. I remember the first one I did in 1996 which only went to twenty households. Now I am putting out over 150 three times a year. Just addressing the envelopes alone takes two and a half hours.

I have also been working on exercises for my art course. Have times when I feel really happy and others when I think I'm completely useless! Having to work so quickly is proving challenging as I don't have time to obsess over detail and also working in different styles is proving a challenge.

There are three exercises I found interesting. Firstly painting without a brush but with items found about the house. I used bubblewrap, cloth, sticks, a palette knife, crumpled up paper etc. When it came to complete an entire painting I chose the view from my front window but without the road running through it. I was meant to take only half an hour on this piece but ended up spending an hour. The painting is A3 size which means it won't fit on my scanner but this view shows the left side of the landscape.

The right side of the painting shows another few poplars and the view across the fields. The sky was done with a rag dipped straight into paint, the tree trunks were with the side of corrugated cardboard, the grass was done with carded wool (merino gives a soft effect) and the poplar leaves were finished with cotton wool. The colours have been distorted with scanning as the grass was much more green.

This yellow girl was another colour exercise designed to break down the tones in a picture. Using only two colours we were to paint a portrait from a magazine with the dark colour representing the shadows and the lighter colour the highlights. She looks a bit jaundiced but at least still resembles a human being.

Finally in drawing we did a few pictures with torn up photocopies which we drew in all their distorted glory. I made a photocopy of a photo from a real estate brochure and then tore it up and rearranged it so that although the landscape still looked faintly realistic it also looked a bit "off". Unfortunately the scanner cut off the right side of the drawing but this really only included a few shrubs and cows in the foreground.

Today I begin colour theory which is something I'm looking forward to and hopefully I will have time to do some of my own painting this afternoon.