Monday, 30 June 2014

#InMyStudio.... Hello Beautiful

 Practice, practice, practice

Practice doesn't make perfect.  Practice reduces the imperfections - Toba Beta
(thanks Gilly)

I know I'm going through a season of practicing and reworking pieces and trying new things and practicing more and I'm absolutely loving it!  Each time I grab my brush - I discover a little more about myself and what I'm doing, or trying to do.

It's what keeps me coming back!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

News and things happening around here...

It's winter holidays... thank goodness!  You might think Summer holidays are my fav.  I guess they are my fav time of year but winter holidays are by far my best school holidays.  It's 3 glorious weeks at home.  When it's cold and dark for the better part of the day - nothing is better than staying at home, under the covers... watching movies, reading, doing art and sitting by the fire.  Sipping on hot chicken soup, with warm bread or munching on lamb stew.  I love this time for and with my girls.  We are half way through the school year and we have survived a busy term of exams and assignments and really settling into our routines.  Both my girls did exceptionally well this term and more so than their marks, they are working exceptionally hard.  It's all I ask for.  To me the secret to success will always be a sound work ethic and seeing both my girls have this - is a beautiful gift!!

So I am quite restless.  Maybe because a move is on our horizon... we have been waiting to house hunt until we know what high school Kitty has been accepted into and we have just sold our old house and that's about to be finalized in the next day or two.  So change is imminent.   But I have had a huge urge to simplify more (again) and winter clean.  So we have started off our holidays with a good clean out and a shuffle around!  It's definitely helped me feel more settled and more in control about our surroundings.  We should get our high school letter in the next week or so - needless to say we are sitting on the edge of our seats.  In among winter cleaning and sorting out spaces we have been doing art (of course), having Corks as an art student now means I have a partner in my art studio only during the holidays, which I just love.  And Kitty is always with us, listening to stories.  Telling us stories and being part of our creativity... I'm waiting for her to find her own way with her creativity and she's just started instagraming and taking pics... so lets see.

The three of us have worked out our holiday training program which we are all very excited about.  Training in the week together is challenging because of our schedules - so we need to maximize our holidays.

I booked my ticket for Italy this week - I won't write about it too much here - check it out on my Italy 2014 blog... but it's getting super exciting and the communications with the group have started and I'm already loving it!  Google picture.

Okay - off to get back into my tutorials, change a load of washing, finish and serve my Sunday stew... oh yes and go for a quick run!  Chat soon!!!

#InMyStudio - My Madonna - Lost in Roses!

It was supposed to be a journal exercise to loosen up.  I didn't find it loose at all - not my first few sessions anyway - it was only when I lost my way completely that I managed to let go... and find the freedom to loosen up!

 No matter how many times I thought she was done, she kept calling me back.  She was originally lost in the Roses but now she was lost to the Roses and I wanted her and me to get lost in the roses again!  I am chuffed to say, I don't get frightened when I completely loose my way anymore and have to scrap back and gesso over and begin to find my girl again.  I almost love how she always seems to comes back to me... And funny enough I seem to love her much more each time.  Maybe it has to do with all those layers.

Here is my #evolutionofapainting... "A Madonna - Lost in the Roses"

So I covered her completely with gesso and managed to pull back some of her face, a rather new look to her before I headed to bed a bit dejected!  All I was left with, was that I loved her mouth!  But that's all I needed (sounds a little like hope to me).   I went to bed with her on my mind and woke with her there too - I knew exactly how I was going to finish her.

 The layers, the etching and her sweet roses...  I'm not sure if my photo does her justice but she's incredible in real life.  You can see the deep layers to her and when I hold the paper, it feels so precious.  For me it's always in the layers.  I don't know why I forget this.  It's the layers and the calling back that I seem to go deeper and find a bit more about myself and a bit more courage and a bit more skill!  Even if it's just for me... it's in these deeper places I seem to let go of the tightness and find the freedom to experiment, to play and to take chances and see what will come.  And I have to say I'm loving get lost there!  She seems to be expressing a sense of peace and freedom to me too.

#InMyStudio - Sunflowr Angels are finished... at last!

I am calling this finished for now.
It's taken me months (literally) and I've worked on it pretty consistently.
I went back to it over and over... because she kept calling me back.
I know this picture won't do it justice but it's so hard to get a good photo of it because it's 1.5m wide and 1m tall (60"x40").  It's up in my room right now and I am nervous to look at her too much, in case she calls me back again because I just can't go there right now.

But as it stands - I love them all... I would love to say equally but these two are my favs.... shhhhh don't tell!  It was a journey!  5 Angels and 18Sunflowrs - what an undertaking.  But I'm so stoked!

To date it's the largest canvas I've worked and but more importantly, it's the largest piece I've actually finished.  It's a real sense of accomplishment for me.  This is my 3rd painting on this canvas but I was never able to finish it... So it's huge for me!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Operation clean up and finish up... #InMyStudio

My easel has been so crowded lately because I have had so many unfinished pieces and some pieces drying etc etc.  But I needed to tidy up and finish up before the new week started.  I have some online courses to get back into and start... and I've been playing so nicely but I need to get back to structured learning.
I'm feeling excited!

I wanted to finish my Mandala Girl's wing and I wanted to change the color of her flowrs - I needed a break from the orange/copper.  I'm so stoked with this piece - there is something about her that really speaks to me.  I think it's her quiet strength, maybe because she's so protective... I've decided to call her The Guardian!

 This piece has been worked on about 3 or 4 times.  She was one of the first acrylics I ever did and I'm finally happy with her.  With all the layers and with some scrapping back - I found beautiful colors and layers underneath - I'm loving playing like this - it's new for me.  She's very emotive - I have called her Soul Sister.

I still can't believe this painting of mine sold - we journeyed together so much.
I remember trying to sell her in her early stages - I now understand she wasn't ready.  In away, I feel kind of bitter sweet about saying goodbye to her - she kind of represents the start of my journey, in some ways.  But I'm so thrilled about where she's going.  I had her up in my hallway - and sometimes felt her eyes followed me around.  Sending her with much love!

Having a clear studio and easel has been such a relief and given me much excitement for new lessons, new projects and blank canvas'.... eeeck.

We had such a beautiful close family weekend and after all the exams, assignments, projects and events going on - it was good to regroup.   Long slow mornings, cuddling in bed together, long chats.  Went to see a movie together and sitting by the fire.  I love these kind of weekends.  The girls are almost on holidays!  And I absolutely love winter holidays because when it's so dark and cold - nothing better than snuggling down instead of rushing to school.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

#InMyStudio - Mandala Girl

I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying finishing this piece...  It was my first homework assignment from the FullCircleWorkshop - Mandala's... I knew I wanted a girl to be in or part of my mandala homework.  But I never finished it.  Coming back to it now has been so rewarding and I'm just loving her so much.  Her face/head was too small in hindsight and getting a chance to fix this - has been good.  There is something strong and guardian-like about her, maybe even a little protective.  Which I'm just loving.  Hoping to completely finish this, this week.  (Together with my Sunflowr Angels).

My studio is getting a bit crowded - I need to finish some pieces off so I can clear off my easel and make space for new blank canvas'. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Weekend Bliss...

We arrived in Greyton quite late to our little spot under the mountains and headed straight to register for our races and headed out for a late dinner together, all eight of us.

There was a warm berg wind blowing, which made it so beautiful to walk around this little village at night but it also meant rain was coming.  There was such a wonderful vibe in town!  Love race festivities.

After an early to bed and early to rise, we all headed to our races... 

Corks, Jono and I were doing the 10kms trail run, Merril and Dougie, the 21km trail run and Digz was mountain biking, the last leg in his series event.  Kitty and Jords were our supporters.  It was cold, windy, and stormy but it was fun!

This was my view while running (around 9.30am) - breathtaking!
I was so stoked with my baby girl who was the first young lady home in the U18 category and she won her first trophy!  Dig and the rest came in and all in all it was a good race day.  Near the end of prize giving, the heavens opened up and that was that - it continued to rain the rest of the day and night!  So we head back to our little rented spot to curl up next to the fire!!!  To rest, read and rest... did I mention, rest!

I can't believe how much we rested and chilled and how tired we actually were.  We headed to bed early every night and slept late and we didn't do anything substantial.  We stayed indoors and Sunday we woke up and had a loooong breakfast, in the beautiful farm-style kitchen.  We played games and sat by the fire all day, made a Sunday Roast and played more games.  It was so wonderful to rest like this... I didn't realize how much I needed it.  We have come home feeling so exhausted - I think because we really started to unwind.  Just wish we had had more time.

This weekend was the Instagram online auction for Lorraine and I was so stoked to have had signal, intermittent at times but I loved every moment of the bidding.  It was so exciting, right to the very end.  My piece, Eternal Sisters was bid on and is ready to be shipped to it's new home, in Utah.  I'm so blown away by the spirit of generosity I witnessed!  Wow!  I also managed to bid on some items and they will be heading my way at some stage!  So glad I could do my bit for this incredible lady!

I didn't do any art over the long weekend away.  We got home on Monday afternoon, which was a bank holiday and in among doing heaps of laundry and unpacking, I managed to work on this piece.  I also managed to package up some paintings that are being shipped this week.  

I started this piece in FullCircleWorkshop - it was our Mandala Homework.
My piece was a bit unconventional because my mandala was more secondary.  I knew I wanted to finish her at some stage.  I'm still working on her, so I will share more later.  But I'm adoring her look and her strong face.  She had a bit of a Greek mythology vibe to her but her new look has a guardian feel to her and all in all this piece is just feeling much more finished!  I think she may be becoming one of my favs.

Friday, 13 June 2014

#InMyStudio - Creative play!!!!

We had a strange week - power outages, major car services and repairs, business trips, fighting virus' and extreme cold weather.  Needless to say - it just felt like a cold bitter struggle.  We are heading into the mountains for a long weekend away to do some trial running and mountain biking in very cold temperatures.  I am totally having race entry anxiety and remorse due to not enough training and well, I always have remorse entering races - they just seem to do my nerves in.... after years and years of racing... I don't fully understand why?  Regardless of my fitness and the cold, I'm definitely running or walking but I'm doing it #facingmyfears.  And my baby girl is racing and it's her first 10km race and I'm dying to see how she does.

As much as I adore going away - it also does means 4 days out of my studio - eeeck!  A four day weekend are the moments I usually maximize #InMyStudio!  But I have a bag packed to do some writing, journaling and practice drawings and some knitting.  Long cold days by the fire - nothing better than little things to do.

I managed to squeeze in a chunk of studio time yesterday to just play and work on old pieces that I had long since abandoned - bringing new life... what a joy!

This is one I stared a long time ago but I just couldn't get her right...

Much happier with her now!

This one I started in Italy in 2012 - I didn't have a grasp on Acrylics yet, so I tried to finish her with NeoColors, which was okay but it still bothered me that she wasn't where i wanted her to be.  But I am happy to say, I managed to finish her last night.

This is exactly where I wanted her to be!  So thrilled!
I remember Misty telling me some things in Italy, what to do to make the earrings look less flat and the face and eyes... I know it's not easy to teach these things to people who just can't see it - I am happy to say after two years of practicing - I'm starting to grasp those concepts and see things I never saw before... I guess it's about getting my eye in.  I have to be honest - each time, I sit down with my paintbrush - I learn new things!
That to me is what makes this journey so exciting!

Funny enough, I also started this in Italy in 2012 and I also finished her in NeoColors but today she got some gesso and much needed facelift and make over...
I loved the piece but there were aspects I weren't happy with.  It's wonderful to just play and whatever happens happens.

Anyway - I'm off to pack - have a beautiful weekend everyone!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

#InMyStudio - OpenBookJournal Fun

This was the first page in my OpenBookJournal... from FullCircleWorkshop.  Well it's kind of a journal but all my pages are still loose.  The idea of an OpenBookJournal - is just fun, loose and creative play!  I wish I found journal play easy - but I tend to overwork it.  Or take my pieces to finished and perfect.  I had been thinking about this piece all weekend that I wanted to continue playing in it and perhaps adding some color and just playing with more loose ideas.

In hindsight - I could have left her here - I love it!
And love the looseness of the roses and leaves.
Sometimes, it's hard to know when to stop.  Part of me wanted to cover the words more.
So I kept on adding...

I love the clearness of her face. And the drama of her veil/hair.
Even though it changed quite a lot... I'm still having so much fun!

This is where I ended off.  I ended up trimming my canvas to this size - 14"x16" and not sticking to the journal... but let's see how my openbookjournal evolves.
She's more of a finished piece as opposed to a loose creative journal page... but I still love her and I still had lots of fun with this piece.  I love that she's different for me.
Not sure if the photo justifies it but she's rather striking in real life.

More valuable lessons tonight... knowing when to stop... together with playing with neo's, gesso and the freedom to play creatively!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

#InMyStudio - Emergence... Beauty out of Ashes

Would you believe me if I told you these two paintings are one in the same....

I loved my new painting but I wanted to work on the hair a bit and her eyes weren't quite right.  And I wanted to fix or finish her dress.  Anyway - I completely lost my way.  Terribly.  After trying many different things, I eventually took my rib and I scraped back all the paint... and tried again.
Scraped back all the painting again... and tried again!
And had to scrape it all back a 3rd time and used white gesso to rework my surface...
until I was left with this.


Even though not much was left I could still see her emerging from under the gesso.
I took my rib and scratched in my outlines... And I knew I loved her already!
I love the butterfly looking earring and bun and simple beauty.

I grabbed my red and started working on her mouth, added white to the already gessoed face.  And my burnt umber to her neck.  And then I continued to build her up until I crawled into bed - soooo stoked.  Even though it looks like a completely different piece - I'm so thrilled with a few things...  That I didn't give up even though I wanted to a few times and even when it was so bad and I had lost my face completely - I tried new things and I didn't feel completely panicked like I usually do.  I love that when only a mess was left - I could see her emerging and I could see she was beautiful!
I loved that more than anything.

Whenever I'm stressing through a piece and going through the places where I'm really not liking what I see and I'm huffing and puffing.  My beautiful daughters always say... "Ahh mommy, it will be okay - she will come to you".  I love their gentle encouraging words.  And I love that they are always right... 

Friday, 6 June 2014

FromWhereIStand - It's getting crowded in here...

From where I stand....

After everyone was in bed I started painting - I just thought I would do a draw up and get a new piece ready... but my paintbrushes took over and I didn't even draw up - I just started with my new paints and this lovely lady on the left emerged.  I crawled into bed around 1am and on my way there, I passed "Dreaming of Orvieto" and I knew exactly how I needed to fix her...  I've been working hard on my sideways faces and getting my proportions right and I'm feeling like I'm getting there.

It's getting a little crowded in here!
But it's lovely and I'm working hard, digging deeper and having so much fun...
with my brushes and paints and crayons.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

#InMyStudio - Finishing Dreaming of Orvieto

Artworks are never finished, only abandoned - da Vinci

This piece is quite symbolic for me.
Finishing this piece after almost 2 years, feels good. Because it's coming "full-circle" - it's where I first started almost 2 years ago after I got back from Italy with Misty and the gang.
And it's almost time to head back there to be with Misty and the gang.
What I loved about the evolution of this piece, is that at the end of each session, it felt kind of complete, in a sense.  I also love how her eyes changed at each new stage... 
But for now she's drying and in this weather that might take about 2 to 3 weeks.