Wednesday, 12 December 2012

More pictures than Words

I don't have a lot to say today. My photos will have to do the speaking. 
This is a billabong (noun: a branch of a river forming a backwater or stagnant pool,made by water flowing from the main stream during a flood.) by a dear friend's place.

The beach we went to. It was windy and beautiful.
There were lots of blue bottles, a kind of jelly fish. They are small, but this one's tail was about 5 foot long. I have never been stung by one. Apparently it hurts a lot but it isn't deadly or anything.

I was inspired by the shells on this rock, but I didn't stop and draw them. In my head I used my friend as an excuse, but the truth was I didn't want the discomfort of the wind. I regret it.

We went around a corner to a protected inlet. Suddenly the entire atmosphere changed. 
Interesting oysters on the rocks. They were in a state of petrification. What causes them to turn into rock? How does that work?

I have been working in the studio. I think I have finished another painting, but I would like to give it its own post. I am hoping to write about it like I did the last one.

Also I have started experimenting with some techniques from Alabama Chanin techniques. Natalie Chanin is a woman who runs a clothing business, Alabama Chanin, where all the clothing is hand-stitched. She has been generous enough to share her techniques in books. I will take some photos if it looks half decent as I get further along. So far I am starting slow and just planning to alter a t-shirt.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My Week in Photos

I got in a few days at the beach this week. This was before the heat hit and summer officially began.

One morning I was woken by the shooshing sound of a hot air balloon. I am sure they could see me in my nightie taking their photo.

All the wildlife is out and about. That includes the biggest ant I have ever seen. It was 1 1/2 inches. Yes, I measured it - but without getting too close.

I went for a change in direction with a pen drawing I had started a while back.  I liked the composition but it needed some colour. I tried some watercolour on a throwaway sheet of the same paper but it couldn't handle it and the paint splotched horribly.

So I found myself returning to a medium I haven't used much in 25 years. Coloured pencils. I am curious to see how it goes.

The wallabies have been around a lot. I think it is because it has been rather dry for this time of year. I enjoy their company.

This beach day was what I consider perfect conditions. Growing up in the  Pacific Northwest with cold oceans, I never learned to swim in the surf so I am most comfortable with small waves and no rips.

This is me. I went with a friend who prefers to take photographs rather than swim. 

And on my morning walk... a pademelon. They are kind of like small wallabies. They always seem so surprised to see me. I feel like saying 'I do live here you know'. (We have lived here for 15 years.)

And  just 10 metres down the drive from the pademelon. I almost stepped on him and he still didn't move. I had to skirt around him. He is a python so not poisonous. They are nice snakes but this time of year it is possible he could be snappy.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

a New Painting: 'will they Remember us'

I have finished my painting, 'will they Remember us'.  This weekend I will take it up to the Border Art Prize at the Tweed Art Gallery in Murwillumbah.

I have thought it would be nice to write a story about each painting as I finish, but the truth is that I find it difficult to know precisely what they are about. I tried to write a story for this one, but ended up with more questions than answers.

Beginning with who is asking the question in the title 'will they Remember us'? I think it must be the young woman. The lizards were here before humanity, and perhaps they will be here after we are gone. I wonder, will the animals miss us when we are gone? I know we would miss them terribly. How lonely humanity would be without the company of the animal kingdom.
Will they be relieved if we go? That thought makes me very sad and I hope it is not the case. I hope they would forgive us our hubris and ignorance, and miss us a little.

Who is the young woman? I think many of the women in my paintings are not completely human. For me that is somehow indicated by them being barefoot, which symbolises a connection with the earth.

In my painting 'the Shelter of Time', the girl is wearing galoshes and I feel like she is a young human girl. We humans think of ourselves as separate from  nature, but that illusion can be not as strong in children and adolescents.

On the other hand, Bee Girl wears no shoes and I think she is a liminal creature, standing between dimensions. Perhaps she has that mysterious connection that remains with some young children before they are conditioned out of it.

Whereas in a painting such as 'i Wait', I think she is scarcely human at all. Closer to what we call a nature spirit.

So is the woman in 'will they Remember us' a liminal person, someone who feels that connection with nature more than her more socialised brothers and sisters? Perhaps she shares a human mother but feels different, even outside normal human society and is more at home in wild nature.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

This Week at the Studio

 I received my copies of Journal It! in the post this week. It is exciting to be in print, and Jenny Doh did a good job. The book covers 19 artists and they are not the usual faces that are in many of the art journaling books. She has picked a nice diversity. You can buy it on Amazon.

I will tell you guys a secret though - I am a little embarrassed by the first spread of my pages. It is my own fault, it was my choice which journal I sent to her. 

I give myself free reign in my art journal to explore anything that takes my fancy. At the time it was dolls. The fascination lasted only a few months and then it was gone. It never entered into my studio work. I can only hope that I won't be thought of as the art journaler that draws big-eyed girls (not that there is anything wrong with that.)

There are a few pages where we give instructions on our favourite techniques. I still love undercollage.

It is spring in Australia and lots of animals are out and about. I have had a few times that I couldn't go to the dunny at night because of snakes. 

I really enjoy the monitor lizards. This is a young guy, only just over a metre long. I hear him rustling around looking for food. I watched one catch a rat outside my studio once. He grabbed it and slammed it to the ground to knock it out, then swallowed it whole.

I am finishing some paintings in the studio.

I can spend weeks doing subtle adjustments of colours, tones and drawing. I find it very satisfying. 
Many people can't tell the difference, but I can so I do it.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Drawing of Nasturtiums

 The inspiration. 
But just a bit too hot in the sun

So I brought it into the studio.
Flowers move, did you know that?

It looks kind of funny in black and white.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

There were Strange Noises

The other morning I was lying in bed when I heard strange noises. There are often strange animal noises at our place, but I hadn't heard these particular snorts and grunts before. 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

I Wish for Clothing with Meaning

I have never been very interested in wearing 'pretty' clothes. Even as a child, I felt a need to express something (not sure what) with the way I dressed. At a very young age I was wearing my father's hats. In high school I would wear his business shirts over my t-shirt. I didn't wear what everyone else was wearing. I would paint a flower on my face, and ridiculously hope that no one would say anything. I wasn't doing it for attention, not even positive attention, I felt a need to.

Some of you know that I have been doing some refashioning over the past year. I am a big fan of Ricë and her blog - she is a great inspiration to me. She has written in the past about 'soul clothing' (my apologies Ricë, if that isn't the correct expression).

I am not any kind of fashionista, I have always felt most comfortable dressed down. I am not motivated to 'always looking my best'. But there is this need to have clothes that have meaning, even though I am not sure what that means.

In quest of that I have been refashioning. I am not much of a seamstress, I don't like working from patterns, but I find that the chop and try it out method is pretty fun. I haven't come up with a lot of stuff that I am feel satisfied with. I have made quite a few things that I have not been comfortable with wearing.
Here is a good example. I dyed the t-shirt, re did the neckline, and tried out a technique called under-collage. It was all fairly successful. But maybe it is too cute for me? I never want to wear it.

Here is a refashion that is more successful, but not 'there' yet. It was looking way too crafty until I added the square patches. (If you want to see the steps I went through go here.) It helps that it is a jean jacket, I love jeans.

The painted flowers are only decorative. The cabbage roses are cut from the first bedsheets my DH and I shared so that has meaning. But to be honest, I am not very sentimental so it doesn't hold the 'charge' I am looking for.

The reason that I ended up loving this jacket is in the photo below. It is the writing. It was a message I had written into my art journal that has deep meaning for me.
I am finding that unraveling what clothing with meaning is for me is like making art. You try this, you try that. There are a lot of failures. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Drawing in my Art Journal

I am enjoying drawing at the moment. Well I always enjoy drawing; it is 'my thing'. It comes more easily to me than painting.

I have an A4 journal that I use to draw in in the evenings, often I listen to music on the computer or watch a video. I am really into iView- our public television station that you can watch online.

I don't know what I am going to do with these drawings. They are in my art journal so I would have to rip them out to sell them. I copy them in black and white on my printer so that I can use them for collage in my other art journal. I like that, because I can make them bigger and smaller and paint the same image in different ways. The only trouble is that computer paper isn't that great to paint on. But if I glue it down first with matt medium it works okay.

I would like to have the option to sell them. But I don't know if people would want to buy a drawing ripped out of a journal.

I plan to paint this one with some watercolour.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Going New Places

Don't you find it stimulating to go new places? They don't have to be far away. It can be as simple as driving a block over from your usual route on the way somewhere.

I drove my DH to the airport Thursday to visit his mother in Adelaide. I drove a back way home so I could check out some thrift shops. The thrift shops near where I live aren't very fruitful. Our area is full of tourists and poor locals, neither who make for good thrift shopping.

Here was one of my finds along the way. A beach I hadn't visited before.

It is in a developed tourist area. I had always assumed, for no good reason, that the Gold Coast beaches weren't as nice as ours. But it was breathtakingly beautiful. 
You can see the 'real' Gold Coast in the distance. It was a windy day.

There were people swimming even though the water was rough. Australians are fish in the water. Little kids 5 or 6 years old swim out in rougher water than I would venture into. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest with oceans too cold to swim in. I am still not capable in the ocean, but I love to swim.

There was a beautiful walkway over the water. I went for a windy walk. I had wanted to draw but the weather convinced me otherwise.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Jeans Skirt 2, another Refashion

I turned my Levi 501's into a jean skirt. The jeans fit around the waist but were uncomfortably tight at my thighs. I am moderately pleased with the refashion. The added fabric is from a beautiful maxi dress that I wore once. Sadly yes, only once. It was too bare on top.

There is a little appliqué on the front pocket.

Sorry about the photo distortion. My DH took the photos and he is not comfortable with a camera. The skirt is the length in the first photo.

Here is the appliqué on the back pocket. I just cut out one of the paisley flowers from the fabric. I regret that I cut the left side straight. 

I think it turned out more interesting than the first jeans skirt reconstruction. Which one do you prefer?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Added Ruffles, a Quick Refashion

 Here is the before. It was black and white checked when I bought it from the thrift store over a year ago. I dyed it purple and liked it.

Button down shirts can be a little serious for me. I wanted to add a bit of fun or humour so it wouldn't take itself so seriously.

So I added a bit of ruffle that I had. It has owls on it.

Will I wear it? I don't usually wear ruffles, but I do like it. We will see.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

I am in a Book

I am in a book. I haven't seen the book yet, but I am pretty chuffed. It is a book by Jenny Doh (of and one day out of the blue I got an email from her asking me to be in a book she was doing on art journaling. I knew who she was, but was pretty surprised that she knew who I was.

It has been over a year later and now it is coming out. Pretty cool. You can preorder it on Amazon.

Thanks Jenny.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Giveaway on my Facebook Page

I am giving away a free art journaling class on my Facebook page. If you would like to enter, go here, like my page and leave me a comment telling me that you would like to be in the draw. I will pick a winner next Monday morning for my first art journal class of this term on Wednesday the 10th of October. Please make sure that you are free that morning and that you will be able to get there (this is an in-person class in Byron Bay, Australia.)

Good luck. I would love to see you there.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Flowerhead and other newly finished Art Journal Pages

I have had renewed energy for my art journal since I returned from the States. I have been collaging and writing in my 'old' art journal and beginning some backgrounds in my new art journal. Here are some recently finished pages.
It might be a little strange but I finished off this art journal page with writing that I did quite a few months ago. It is a kind of writing where I ask questions and then write down whatever comes. Often I find the 'answers' helpful after months or even years later. And I find my art journal a great place to put them.

(The drawing I am referring to in the art journal page is called "Kikuyu Grass". If you want to see it go here.)
 This is a page about a repeating dream where I am exploring a specific 7 story house. In this dream I remember the house and am excited to be there again. I explore the first floor.

The woman in the transferred photo is my mother. She is talking to a neighbour girl.
Finally this page is a little embarrassing. I ran across this question in my saved quotes and realised that the answer for me is "no". I live for creativity yet it didn't even cross my mind to bring it into my social life.
Now I am fascinated by the idea.

I looked up "creative social life" on Google but there was nothing (so maybe I am not the only one.) I wrote down a few suggestions from related searches but I really think we could do better. (See how subtly I bring you into this? haha)

What do you do with your friends for fun?

By the way, the little girl is actually on the next page. She is in a cut out window.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Back from Overseas and Back to Blogging

I am back from my overseas trip, happy to be posting in real time again. Thanks for those of you who stayed around, or came back.

I have had some intense and challenging family time in the States and am looking forward to absorbing and integrating it over time. You know how it is sometimes when so much is happening that you hardly have time to think? I realise that many people live their lives that way but I never have, always having been the introspective type. But that is how it was while I was overseas so I am looking forward to some time to contemplate and integrate.

One of my main tools for the integrating is my art journal. I did journal while overseas, I spent time everyday just writing what had happened that day. I don't have a great memory and I want to be able to recall all that happened. It was a simple journal with mostly writing and some drawings.

Now I am looking forward to something more introspective. And to do that I am starting a new art journal (yay!)

It is a shape I have never used before. I like changing shapes, A5 - (8.3" x 5.8") to A4 - (11.7" x 8.3"), landscape, portrait, and now square! They all effect composition and how I put together the page. Because these pages are square, I might be inclined to create them as two pages rather than using a spread as one composition like I usually do. I have begun some backgrounds.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Reasons Art Journal Page

I am taking a blog holiday, so forgive me if I don't get back to your comments. I am reposting some older art journal pages that I created when I first began.
Here is a page that I don't know what it means. It is almost like there is some message about my father's side of the family, maybe about him and his mother? But I don't know what it is.

I tell you though, I think symbolic stuff can work on us without us understanding what is going on. Like dreams do. And when I look at these pages there is a feeling of healing though I couldn't tell you what it is about.I began these pages by writing down a dream.

I put a coat of gesso over the writing so that it wouldn't show as much. I painted both pages with a watered down layer of raw umber acrylic paint. The thin paint goes blotchy on the moleskine paper. I don't mind that in backgrounds.

But for my next journal, I am going to try a different book with different paper. I want to do more painting in the next one.
The moth is a magazine cut out. Again, no plan for these pages. I am working completely on impulse. I went through a bunch of images I had cut out and felt drawn to the moth. Butterflies symbolise transformation, I don't know what moths symbolise.
I like her little fuzzy body.
This is a photocopy of a photo of my grandmother on my Dad's side. I never knew her. This was her wedding photo. 
I tore it rather than cutting so the edges would blend into the background more.
That's a picture of my Dad in the canoe when he was young, maybe 19. The star is foil from some chocolate. I drew on the other side with a ballpoint pen that was out of ink, then glued it on. 
The border is water soluble crayon linking cut-out patterns from a magazine.
The writing is gel pens. Love the gel pens. The white is the wonderful ZIG opaque writer that seems to go over anything.