Sunday, 30 June 2013

#InMyStudio - AnEvolution of a Collaborative Art Piece

Over the past year, I've become friends with a lovely Swedish Artist, Camilla.  After my #collaborative pieces with Sharon Tomilson and Annie Hamman, we spoke about doing a piece together.  And on Monday, I received this sweet piece from Camilla.  I was blown away and felt nervous about it too.

I love the idea of collaborative pieces, it keeps you on your toes, ever challenged and working on difference pieces.

Not only that but it certainly makes for interesting stories, of sending and receiving art from all around the world!!!

I loved what Camilla sent me and decided to continue experimenting with my acrylics on this piece.

So I started playing with my charcoal and a monochromatic palette
and started to try bring her to life....

I wasn't sure how to move forward and was feeling rather unhappy with her hair.

Before I went to bed, I added some color and I took my charcoal and added
some squiggles to help her hair find movement.

This is where I have ended tonight... 
I am loving her hair and dress!
She's rather sweet... I am thinking about adding some
mixed media down the side...
More to follow.

Thanks Camilla - loving her so far!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

#InMyStudio - facingmyfears

When I started painting a few years back, I started with OilPaints.  Most people start with acrylics and progress to oils.  Well it was opposite for me... and quite frankly, I have never liked Acrylics.  I have never quite understood how people can be afraid of oils when I've found acrylics so difficult.  My friend, Annie Hamman phrased it perfectly... "Oil Paints are very forgiving".  I couldn't have worded it better.  Because oil's take days to dry, it means you can shift it around and blend and get it to do things before it dries...  So for a relatively slow painter, like myself - Oils have been gentle on me.  I know them and I feel safe using them.

Last year for my Italian trip, I bought some acrylics but when I got back, I hid them away.  But lately they have been calling my name... and I guess a small part of me hated the fact that they had the better of me.

So I knew I had to face my fears once and for all... which has been my homework for the past week, to conquer this thing inside of me... called FEAR!

I think this piece may stick in my mind as a turning point piece for me...
I may have to call her FEARLESS - she is a Warrior after all!
More about this piece to follow!

Up the Mountain and down again...

So the past 2 weekends have found us spending time on our beautiful mountain.  The one that I see every day because it's just always in view.  We basically live 2 minutes away from it.  I see it when I step outside my back door, I see it from Corks sport-fields and Kitty's playground.  I see it from the office.  And if I lie back in the bath tub - I have a view of her too.   No matter which way you turn... she's there in all her majesty and I am completely in love with her!

So to get to spend some time exploring new routes is always amazing!

My hubby is heading to Canada in 6 weeks time to see his sister who we haven't seen for 4 or 5 years now, that together with a little planned climbing trip with his brother-in-law.  So his climbing and hiking training has begun and what better way than training with us.  I love walking and I love walking with my family!  I value the quality and undistracted time!  I value the stories that seem to fall right out of their hearts!  And I value the extra bonus of keeping fit and getting outdoors during winter.

We are pretty much planning a new route every weekend!  This weekend our dear friends, asked to join us and it was a delightful morning out with them!  Special memories for sure!

What a beautiful way to stay connect as a family!!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

#InMyStudio - A Year Long Project!

Not sure if you remember when when I got back from Italy last year - I decorated my dining room wall with beautifully framed up pieces of art from Italy, from fellow artists and some of my own.

I love this wall and whenever anyone comes into my home - they always comment on it!  It's beautiful and interesting!

Well I've been working hard at putting together another 2 more collections... 1 in my Studio of all the wonderful postcards I've received over the past couple of months from artists from all over the world (Canada, Sweden, Texas, Virgin, Brisbane, Sydney, Cape Town, Johannesburg, France and more - which I'm just mad about).

They are almost all framed up...  I'm thrilled to say that I found some more wonderful frames this afternoon... So my hubby has a task this weekend to help me get them up.  I'll arrange them and he will have to hang them.  They look incredible framed up!  It's amazing how a frame can just finish off a piece completely!  I will share some pics this weekend.

And the 2nd collection which will probably be in our bedroom will be of all the pieces of art and prints I've been collecting throughout the past year, since Italy!  Putting the collections together takes months..  To find the right frames and mix and match my sets.  This has literally been a year long project.  I also have to pace myself because not only buying art and prints has it's price, but framing them up too can be a costly affair.

I am waiting for one more original painting to arrive, I ordered an Original Painting from Misty Mawn, which was a real splurge... (you know... for my year long celebration of turning 40!!!) to add to my collection and as soon as she arrives, I can start to finalize this set of pictures.  I can't wait to share some images as soon as I can.  Again this collection will include a few of my own pieces because my girls won't let me have it any other way!  Feel so blessed to have some of these incredible pieces of art!

Monday, 24 June 2013

A bit of a scare...

On Friday morning I discovered a rather large lump in my breast.  I tried not to freak out because I know woman can get lumps and bumps and it doesn't mean it's cancer.  But with so many people that I know falling prey to the disease, I didn't want to take any chances either.  I scheduled a mammogram for today... I thought if it's just a swollen gland, it could well be gone by today... that and the fact that now that I'm 40 it is mandatory that I have a yearly check up anyway.  So all in all - the lump, sinister or not got me to do my check up!

So by today my lump hadn't disappeared but more had appeared and it was pretty painful.

But I'm thrilled to say my Mammo came back clear of any tumors benign or malignant but what my breast is, is full of cysts.  Not one or two but over 10.  I'm a little shocked that so many appeared out of nowhere and with it being a little crowded in there, it would explain the pain and discomfort!

So this is what I found out about cysts...

A breast cyst is a fluid-filled sac within the breast. One breast can have one or more breast cysts. They're often described as round or oval lumps with distinct edges. In texture, a breast cyst usually feels like a soft grape or a water-filled balloon, but sometimes a breast cyst feels firm.[1] Breast cysts can be painful and may be worrisome but are generally benign.

So all in all a good prognosis... but who knew??? She also told me that it could also be due to hormonal fluctuations, which would make perfect sense because of my new metabolic balancing program - it does re-balance the hormone levels. So I'm trusting they will disappear as promptly as they appeared.

The reality that comes with turning 40 means keeping on top of our yearly check ups... in the next few months, both my hubby and I will be doing the rest of our yearlies!!!  Besides us all having cold's and flu's now at the start of winter, and with all the diet changes and considering we are in our 40's... have never felt healthier!  And long may that last!!

#InMyStudio - Starting new and not finishing Olds...

I've been naughty again...

I keep starting new pieces and projects without finishing old ones... as you know it's something I have to work really hard at not doing.  I've had such a heavy month, all of which kept me out of my studio.  I hate having long gaps without painting, as I loose my rhythm and mojo and because it takes such courage to find my way back there.

So I started by tinkering around and tidying my studio... 
That's always a great place to start.

I decided to work on my #Collaborative piece, my version of what I sent Annie Hamman.

I decided to use my Acrylics on this piece.  I haven't had the courage to use them since Italy.

 But figured it was time to face my fears!
I don't know what I'm doing or where this might go...
but for now there are no rules, just fun!
I have no expectations and no plans...
It's still pretty messy but just going with it!
Sometimes that's the best way to paint... out of my comfort zones!

My sweet friend from Sweden sent me this to work on... 
She was so inspired that Annie and I did some work together,
that she was keen for us to try do some pieces together.
After she sent it, Camilla asked me to just destroy it as she wasn't happy with it.
So I waited for it to arrive but felt I just couldn't destroy it.
I knew I could still work with her.
I gesso'ed over some aspects of her sweet face but kept to Camilla's original style
and shape keeping true to her and true to mine.
Well I actually love her!
I decided to continue practicing with my acrylics and
started with monochromatic and now I have started adding some colors...
I will see where this piece goes too...
Trying to finish her because Camilla has sent me a new one too!

It was so cold on Friday and being cold, makes me so mizzy!
So I just decided to draw and mess about on my lap.
So I decided to just play with me neo's and use a reference, which I haven't done for ages.
Just messing about - nothing serious!

So to date, I now have 6 unfinished pieces... can you see my old habits at play!
So this week will be about working on existing pieces
and not allowing myself to start any new projects.

I have also in turn sent Camilla 2 pieces of unfinished art to finish.
But luckily right now for me, they aren't my concern!
Will share more soon!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

#InMyStudio - Revisiting my first piece...

Wow - what a difference...
Her face was too round and squashed, neck too thin and small to carry her round head,
eyes too animated and mouth too pinched... nose undefined.  The list goes on.
But what I love about looking back like this - is being able to see growth!
And to me that's HUGE!

Sooo I was sorting out my studio this morning and I came across this piece.  This was the very first piece I did on Misty's Open Studio Workshop.  I was stressing big time when I did this piece about a year ago!  Because I knew I had to figure out how to use these Acrylics before I got to Italy!  And this was my very first attempt at my #monochromatic homework.

How I felt about it????  Well let's put it this way - she's been hiding for the past year!  I almost threw her out this morning but then had a change of heart - I thought I would just mess about on her with my NeoColors.  If I still wasn't happy then I would definitely bin her!

But I'm thrilled to say - I really love the new modified her!  I think she will look amazing framed up!  So I guess I may just have to keep her!   There is a serenity in her face which I just love.  I love the colors too!

#InMyStudio - My version of my collage #Collaborative piece

On the LEFT is the piece I sent Annie Hamman and the one on the RIGHT is my version of the same/similar piece.  It's not exact, of course, finding the exact same ephemera is almost impossible.  But I think I came pretty close.... that in line with the fact that I'm not great at replicating my own pieces!

So it's rather busy and it's totally distracting me and sending me a bit in to sensory overload but I am trusting I can calm my version down some.  I thought I might start with gesso and also the background.  I'm dying to do their sweet little faces.  I've been testing a new way of doing my faces, using my Stabilo as a base and continuing with Payne's grey and white and a hint of red on the cheeks and lips.  I've used this on another piece and I'm totally in love with it!  And then I will face the collage dresses and how I will incorporate that into this piece.  I used the chickens in the background, because I was mostly brought up on farms and they are are so playful in this piece.  I used napkins for the chicks - so I will still have to spend some time painting those.  Feeling excited that my piece has started and I can start playing with it!

After two weeks in bed and absolutely no studio time... this was a great place to get my artistic mojo back up and running.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Hoarse Whisperer!

Wowser - It's been tough going!!! Action packed, full and demanding time lately!

After 5 weeks of being in lock down mode for my girl's exams and another stressful week waiting for the results.  We are all feeling a little swiped.  That together with birthdays, projects, helping build school concert sets and making play costumes. Out of town cycling stage races... and the list goes on.  Not to mention being busy with work demands... it's tax filing season!  Need I say more!

Being around very sick people for most of May, with this hectic schedule and really foul weather -  has left me in bed with quite a bad lung infection.  I've been in bed for 10 days and still feeling rather low that I'm not up and at it already!!!!  That together with the fact that for 10 days I haven't had a voice!

My family have started calling me the Hoarse Whisperer... I guess the upside of having no voice and whispering is that everyone quietly whispers back to you - makes for a very gentle quiet home!

But my family members are missing me and quite frankly I'm missing myself.  But most of all I'm missing my studio.  I haven't painted in two weeks.

This week - I have been more up and about but going back to bed in the afternoons and sleeping for a few hours before the evening run!  Which I guess is helping!  So I'm forcing myself to rest... today I decided not to waste my time in bed, so I sat watching some tutorials by Sharon Tomilson... I learnt some new things today and it's got me really excited about venturing back into my studio... Thanks Sharon! Can't wait to get back!

Here's hoping that I will be much much better by the end of this week!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Pick me up - for sure!

Soooo after a week full of extreme weather conditions (freezing) and an extremely heavy full weekend.  It totally left me in bed on Monday with a hectic dose of flu!  Yes, not a cold but flu... fever and all!  I hate being sick and have been feeling very sorry for myself!

But today I got some happy pick me up mail - to lift my spirits out of bed and head myself over to the doctor...

Not only did I receive this incredible big postcard but also stamps, butterflies, flowrs and such a beautiful letter! Thank you Rachel for your generosity and kindness - this totally made my day, more than you know!

I feel like I've been making friends from all over the world this year and that just makes my heart swell!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

#InMyStudio - Collaborative work - my send off to Annie

I know what you are thinking...
That my collaborative piece is completely different to what Annie sent me.
And it is.  And I completely love that!
Our own unique ideas... for each other to work with!

Annie has always showed me how much she loves my collage work so I thought I would send her a collage piece.  I didn't do much in the line of painting because I use oils and I didn't want to limited Annie.  I am dying to see what she does with this piece!

It was hard for me to send this piece off to Annie - because my girls fell in love with it and were begging me not to send it away.  I also fell in love with it!
And the Ephemera that I used has literally come from all over the world...
Texas, Italy, Virginia, Nebraska and Cape Town.
I hope that this piece will become a special and beautiful piece for Annie, as hers did to me!

So unlike Annie - I am not good at making replica's but we wanted to do the same sort of thing for ourselves to keep, to see what direction we moved in (sep from each other).
So I wasn't able to do exactly the same piece for myself - but I did something similar.
I still need to collage my own... and that I will try and do as closely as possible to the one above!  I already added some tiny chicks that were sent to me on a napkin.
I've been dying to do chicken for ages.
Looking forward to finishing my interpretation of this piece.