Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye Beautiful 2013 - thank you!

#Flipagram / Music - by Civil Wars Eavesdrop

I really loved this year!
For many reasons...  It wasn't a walk in the park!  But then I don't think many years are.  But this year wasn't bitter and hard like other years... we worked hard and I think there is reward in that.  Personally, I love that as a family, it's a work ethic that we all have!!  Seeing my girls own that, is {priceless}.

For me, one of the greatest gifts of this year is seeing my girls coming into their own in the various aspects of their little lives.  Sometimes I get glimpses that the #hardwork is paying off.  Every year we do so much and this year was no different... I don't want to bore you with a blow by blow account of everything that happened.  But here are the top 10 things that happened this year...
  • I ran a half marathon, which I hadn't done in years.
  • I lost 30lbs.  This was major breakthrough for me.
  • My hubby traveled to Canada to IceClimb with his brother-in-law.
  • I turned 40!
  • My daughter went on her first date and had her first relationship, albeit short.
  • Took a few online courses and finally grasped the concept of mixed media, acrylic paints and other mediums.
  • I wrote my first article and did my first interview with some pretty amazing ladies.
  • My baby girl really thrived this year and ended the year with the Principal's Award for an incredible letter she wrote to be a school peer mediator.  Love seeing her shine.
  • I made and sold art and I did twice as much as last year... this is really a dream come true.
  • I am happy!
I have to say I'm excited for 2014... we have lots of plans, goals and hearts desires.  Not that I believe in resolutions but I think it is important that we dream out loud and in beautiful technicolor.  There is an anticipation in the air for the coming year, which I will share in another post.  But for now some of my fav shots for this year.

My absolute fav pic this year - Corks captured this!
My 2nd Fav pic of this year - Corks captured this
Finding peace in our 100 year old house

Tender captures of my beautiful big girl

Friday, 27 December 2013

Sleepy hollow....

I've been very quiet on all fronts... #InMyStudio especially.
And on all my social medias.  I'm on holiday but mainly...
for no other reason other than that I've been completely exhausted.
I worked right until the bitter end (December being our cultures yearly shutdown and holidays)
And Christmas shopping and school shopping was a mad-rush!
I feel like I hit Christmas head on, at the back of a heavy year... which has left me completely depleted.
I haven't been able to do anything but sleep... And sleep. And sleep.
I woke up on Christmas morning and shared beautiful tender moments with my sweet family.
And went back to bed.  Got up and went to family for Christmas dinner.
Came home to sleep.  Boxing day was literally just spent sleeping.
And today I got up to spend the morning with my girls and my niece and nephew in the forest.
All I could do was lie on a mat under the trees, I got home and slept some more.
This afternoon we spent the day on the beach and guess what - I'm now off to sleep.

I suppose I have some things to work on or I might just scrap them all and just start over...  I have this painting to finish and I've been thinking about some background ideas.  This evening, I managed to put down some ephemera on this piece, so maybe a background will come together.  I am also trying to rescue another piece I did in the middle of the year, but I might just abandon that as a bad idea.  I have schedule some studio time tomorrow morning because I'm missing it lots.  If I get it right I might finish some pieces in my diary of faces... I would like to get through most of that before some of my new courses start!  I guess I'm not stressing too much because I will have much work ahead of me when my courses start this year.  Just rolling with this downtime... whatever it may mean.

But for tonight... I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

#InMyStudio - When the Swallows fly low...

I can't tell you how excited I am about this piece.  I just love everything about it.  It just feels like she's completely all me... I think maybe it's because I just let her evolve... I literally let her lead me all the way.  And when I lifted my head again - this is where I ended.  I don't know if you remember she had a butterfly wing at first but I wasn't happy with it.  I always wanted an angel's wing... so I painted out the first wing and went with my first feelings.  And I'm so pleased I did, this works much more and I'm glad I went with my original feelings (it has encouraged me that I can trust that inner voice).  The Swallows are a part of my childhood - I remember us running around our garden and getting excited when the swallows flew low because we could predict that rain was coming... almost like a promise.  I'm not exactly sure why I'm feeling so connected to this piece - but I love that I am.  I have loved every minute of this journey!

Friday, 13 December 2013

#InMyStudio... getting in the mood to paint

I haven't done much painting the past two weeks... because life has been so hectic.
When I've had a bit of a gap - I like to just mess about and get myself into the mood.
I packed up a lot of items to send off this week... I think my last big send off before Christmas,
and I came across these two old pieces that I haven't really been happy with.

As you can see I've been struggling through this piece through the months.
I've changed her three times now.
But I'm finally happy with her.
Her eyes are finally right and I absolutely love where her hair ended.
And I'm loving the consolidated background much more... it kind of brings it together for me.
I love the depth of this shot below.

I didn't mind the one below - I just wasn't wowed by her but the dramatic red changes her vibe completely.
I did fix aspects of her - her eyes, her jawline and mouth, oh and of course I completely changed her hair.
I love her new hairstyle - she actually looks rather old fashioned... which I just love!

 My daughter asked me if I'm in a "bright" mood because both these pieces are bright...
Hahaha - I guess they are fun and different - the best part is that #creativeplay the past two nights,
certainly has got me back #InMyStudio - and that is indeed, very bright!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Quiet and Gentle Weekend...

Nothing gets you quicker into a relaxed summer holiday feeling than hitting the beach on a beautiful day!  After Digs' ride and my morning pages - we headed out for a beautiful drive and an hour on the beach... which actually turned into two hours!  We travelled light so it was more spontaneous!
Digs and Kitty spent some time in the water (as long as humanly possible without their wetsuits)!
And Corks and I did some walking and talking and mainly catching rays!
We have all been exhausted and a bit end of year edgy!
But nothing like some hours on the beach to bring in the "chill" factor!
We had forced rest this weekend.  Afternoon naps, reading, blogging, chatting and listening to music!
I didn't do much painting this weekend, but did work on my #Project40 blog and I am happy to say I'm halfway with my SelfPortrait captures but almost halfway with my writings.
Although Digs and I aren't on holiday yet - we are starting to unwind!
All in all - a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Misty Love

About two weeks ago I bought a little Christmas present for myself... yes I do that every year!

This beautiful girl that Misty called "The Girl with the Flower in her Hair"
Could there be any other place that she belonged, other than with me.  Besides her name - I love her to bits!
Misty was selling some stocking fillers in her Etsy shop and they sold like hotcakes and I managed to get one before they all sold out... well she arrived yesterday!

I swear every time I get a beautiful package from Misty it's like a sacred parcel.
Not only were there extra printed postcards for me (I have a beautiful collection now)
but there was an extra girl that Misty included for me... her words "she wanted to come live with me".
I love that so much - your ladies are always welcome Misty!

It really was a Misty day yesterday because she also announced her new online course called "FullCircle".
I absolutely love what she will be teaching next year!
When Digz asked me what I wanted for Christmas - it was a no-brainer.
So last night he booked me on!!  Thanks Babes!
I got my Christmas Presents early this year!!!

#InMyStudio - so excited my postcards arrived.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am with my postcards... they are gorgeous!
I've been trying to find a local printer who can do these for me at a quality that's acceptable!
It's literally been a year long struggle for me.
So I think that's part of my joy - that now I've found something that will work and it's easy for me to arrange and collect.  So I'm thrilled!
Taking chances and finding ways forward - always exciting.

RIP Nelson Mandela

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead".

Remarkable man!  It's a sad day!
No one lives forever and 95 is a long life and his life is a testimony of calling and purpose!
You showed us what true courage, forgiveness and kindness looks like!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

#InMyStudio... "When the Swallows fly..."

I found this image of Barbara Streisand a while back because for years now I've been saying in some ways my Kitty girl looks a little like her.  By the way, I think Babs is absolutely gorgeous!  I'm not the only one that sees this in Kitty!  Some of her friends at school have also said it.  This is one of my favorite images of Barbara.  I hadn't planned on using it for anything!  It's just been lying on my desk for ages now...

And I guess every time I walked past her - she was calling out to me.  So I stuck her down... and the rest started to come!

In most of the faces I use in my collages or as references - I usually loose the face, but I guess in many ways I wanted to hang onto the strength of this incredible face and also because I see so much of my daughter in this piece.

I was sorting out all my ephemera box which always leads me to create.  So playing and putting this piece together, if nothing else was so therapeutic.  I love the depth of this third image to bits!!  I've called this piece... "When the Swallows fly low... the Rain will come"  There is a story behind this title.  It feels prophetic in many ways but it's also glimpses of my childhood!

She's starting to come together.  I still have much to do on this piece.
I've already been working on this for a few days and I can't wait to still dig a little deeper!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

#InMyStudio - Painting Hands...

I have been so challenged at the concept of painting hands and trying to include them in my paintings.  I went through a stage when I did try include hands, they would end up with 6 fingers... don't ask me why.  It's what my mind wanted to do and without fail and on a subconscious level - 6 fingers would appear!

It's been my nemesis this year.  But I'm determined to push through and learn.  A while ago, I found a good image of hands in a magazine and I painted over them.  Funny enough - it worked well and I think it's a wonderful way to learn how to paint hands.

I painted this gorgeous girl this week.  I chose this reference because of the hands.  Tad overwhelming.  My reference picture was in black and white which was tough going but I guess in many ways it helped me find my lights and shadows.  And I have to say I'm thrilled with these hands, they aren't perfect but I know it's a good start!  As for those flowrs... harder than you think!  But also happy with them!  Mini-breakthroughs.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Best DateNight Ever!!!

We have been waiting all year for Dave Matthews and his band to arrive.... that's how long ago we booked our tickets.  But more than that we have honestly been huge fans since we got married and swore to ourselves, that if they ever came here we would be going... well that was almost 20 years ago.
Listening to Dave for almost 20 years in our home, their songs, lyrics and
sound has just been part of our lives.  So to see them live - was rather surreal!
The image below is Dave singing "SpaceBetween".
It's one of my favorite songs, mainly because of the are just so brilliant!
#DreamComeTrue!  #GoosebumpMoments!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

#InMyStudio - PoppyLove is finished!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am with this sweet piece... it just felt so special to me.
I love her colours and I love the hanging poppies!  She just feels so interesting and such fun!
You can find her in my Etsy Shop, original and prints!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

#InMyStudio - Will I ever get it right...

So this is one of my earlier pieces... and has been up on my wall for ages.  But in the past while she had started to annoy me... and Kitty started teasing me about the fact that she had no shoulders.  It was a mistake I often made in my earlier paintings.  I love that my girls can call me on my mistakes and lovingly tease me about them.

Anyway Miss Sweet Lily got a facelift.

It wasn't easy going - two weeks ago I was having a really tricky time with my faces, nothing was going right.  I almost also tore Lily up if it wasn't for the beautiful textured wallpaper, I think I would have.

Yesterday, I was waiting for something to download, I grabbed my Neocolors, which I do sometimes when I want to make changes.   I didn't blend the Neo's with my hands, like I usually do because the paper was too textured.  It was almost like drawing/painting on sandpaper.  (That's still something I would like to try... Misty did that in FacetoFace).  This time I just kept applying the colors over one another until my desired color, shading was achieved.  I've always loved Neocolors but I've never used them like this before.  I'm amazed that how through messing about - I discovered something so delightfully new!  I'm thrilled about this little discovery and I'm pleased to say, Miss Lily didn't land in the bin in pieces!

And I have to say I love her soulfulness and her dreamy eyes!

#InMyStudio - Art courses for next year...

Misty's Online Course                                Misty in Italy

Holding my breath for the announcement of Misty's new online course!
Hoping it will start in January 2014

And then of course - there's Misty again in Italy 2014

This starts early January.

I'm still working on Part 1 but will finish that now in December
and will sign up for Part 2 in January too.

This is a year long course and will take me up to August next year

This is probably all I will do next year - it's definitely a lot and maybe it's a bit much!
But I'm so passionate about growing and learning and taking my ability to new levels.
I haven't just chosen this or that - I've chosen artists I am completely mad about and really admire.
Who I honestly believe have beautiful teaching styles, knowledge to impart!!!
And who I can really learn from.  I know they put a huge amount of effort into what they share!
Being able to do these courses online - is an incredible gift to myself!

Monday, 25 November 2013

#InMyStudio - EvolutionofaCollage - still a #WIP

The absolute first thing I start with is the face... and the rest I build around that!
I can honestly say I didn't plan a single thing... I never really know how it's going to evolve!
I guess that's the mystery and adventure of each piece.

When all the elements are in place - I start blocking in some darker colors so she can find her way forward!

What I love about these pieces, is that no matter what face I use, the face I find is never the same.
Almost without exception each piece I've done, somewhere through the process -
I am not loving it and have at times almost given up and binned it.
And this piece was no different.  But I'm glad I didn't stay in that place too long!
Because I'm really loving the colors of this piece!
This is far from finished... it's just a start!
I still have much paint to lay down!
I can't wait to finish this piece.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

#InMyStudio - Play Dates and a Picnic

Wow - we have had such a busy weekend!!
Kitty had one social event after another which left us on constant standby for her!
Corks is still very much in exam mode as she has 2 exams left to go!
I have one week left of November (my crazy busiest time of the year).
And then the girls will basically be on holiday!
So I'm kind of holding my breath over here!

This morning I got up early because I had a play date of my own!
I had a paint-date with my friend, who I met at Kitty's school!
We teamed up this year painting sets for the school concert!

Just allowing time to create can be such a gift to ourselves!
And this morning was just beautifully gentle for both of us!
For her - to have this time to create and for me - to have someone to paint with!
We had Nespresso, brekkie and a chat and then started playing #InMyStudio!
My sweet friend is incredibly creative and her composition was stunning!
I can't wait to see her finish her incredible piece of art!
Corks was supposed to be studying but couldn't help herself and came to create with us!
And she kept our Nespresso cups full!

After my friend left we jumped around and headed out to Kitty's Grade 6 end of year picnic!
We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day!
It was absolutely perfect!!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

#InMyStudio - Creative play is leading to greater creativity!

So besides my collage work and having so much fun there - I've really been struggling with some of my painted faces...
The other day I actually tore up some pieces!!! And I have to say, it was most satisfying.

I am terrified of doing the same thing over and over!
I don't want to get stuck only being able to do just one thing, just one way!
I've been working hard at mixing it up a bit!  Pushing myself to paint other things,
other ways and expand my techniques and styles etc.
I guess that's where the wonderful play is coming in and why I'm enjoying it so much!
I think right now, I'm working so hard in so many aspects of my life,
especially in growing and learning - that I forget to just play sometimes!

So I'm delighted to say that the creative play has led me to do some really special pieces and started having some mini breakthroughs for myself.  In fact, it was so wonderful that I didn't want to stop!
Which left me crawling into bed around 2am... I know I will pay the price for it, but oh so worth it!

My piece on the left is with no reference... and the one on the right is referenced.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

#InMyStudio - creative play!

So I've been having so much fun with my painted Collage Mixed Media - I think I will keep doing them because they feel like creative play and I'm having such a good time with them.  To me, they are just so creative and so interesting and it kind of mixes things up a little from my usual "safe" places.

But the most amazing thing I'm discovering is that I'm actually learning quite a bit in each piece and it's really helping me in other paintings.  This to me has been such an exciting discovery!  It's like something has just clicked inside of me. I think I have the tendency to forget to have fun and forget to play!  And this is bringing out my artist child for sure!

I did this little piece... for no reason, other than for fun!  She's completely different to the other collages I have been doing lately but I completely love her uniqueness.

All considered... a happy ending!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

#InMyStudio - a Special little Set!

When I see all these pieces together - I am moved by how linked they all are... in some way.
They look like they all belong together!

My hubby suggested that I put them together and sell them as a set!!!

Why didn't I think of that... 

So I decided to do just that... in a Giclee Fine Arts Print Set
and to sell them together at a discounted rate!
Especially for Christmas and Gift ideas.

My printers have put them together beautifully on heavy Hahnemuhle Etching paper!
And you can find them in my EtsyShop

I also won't be charging shipping, as a way of me discounting this set further.

I am so excited about these little ladies and I hope you love them as much as I do!

#InMyStudio - "ComeOver"

I can't tell you how much I am loving this style of work.
In this piece, I doubled up in size from my previous piece, which is harder than you would imagine.  All the pieces of ephemera have to be in the correct proportions to one another!
I wasn't sure how I was going to link her and the teapot to make these two features feel connected! The teapot was a bit far of a reach for her arm to be holding it... But her arm close to her chest just felt so special!  And the little indication of the table meant it wasn't a floating teapot!
I just love how this piece came together.
I called it "ComeOver" because her hand looks like she is beckoning one to come over for tea!

I think it's a wonderful way of learning about composition and for me, a kind of storytelling!  Which I'm just huge about at the moment!  I really want to keep doing more of these interesting pieces and see where they lead me!

I'm thrilled to say this special piece sold even before I finished her! I seriously can't tell you how deeply that touched my heart!!! 

Friday, 15 November 2013

#InMyStudio - whose coming for tea!

I was just messing about #InMyStudio last night while I was putting together another collage painting and I came across a teapot in my reference folder and I had a scrap of canvas lying right next to me so I decided to paint it #justforfun!  I was killing time...

If you know me you will know how much I love #teapots.  It's quite funny because I'm not actually a huge tea drinker... I'm more of a coffee addict.  I am not sure what it is about teapots that endear me so but they do!  Maybe because it has something to do with things of old.
I've started including them in some of my paintings... but I kind of love this isolated still life too!  I think I might do a few more!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

#InMyStudio - My Mind's Eye

doubled up on the size of this piece, compared to my last two and today I'm hoping to go even bigger.  I'm loving the mystery to these pieces... they are so interesting to me and and kind of pulling me in to find the story!  I used South African elements in this piece... the old ship and mapwork you see in the shadows is from an article I found about with Bartolomeu Dias who in 1487 headed up an expedition to sail around the southern most tip of Africa in hope of finding a trade route to India.  On his return to Portugal he discovered The Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town).  I also used original old South African stamps.

I seriously can't wait to do more of these wonderfully exciting pieces of mixed media!