Playing with acrylic & mediums: Golden Landscape 7

I have been working on some small 4×4″ canvas again, in a continuing series, this time using more mediums and a high gloss resin-type glaze over the top. The series alludes to, but does not replicate, the land I see around me here on the West Coast of New Zealand. The strong hot colours refer to the weather we are having at the moment – really hot and quite dry. I love working in this format; I can put 4 or 6 canvas on my desk and work on all of them at once, so that there is a relationship between them.

I use mainly Golden products – in this case I used light modeling paste, pumice gel, garnet gel, gesso, and a then gloss glazing medium.  The colour is all Golden Fluid acrylics – I buy the small bottles and just love them. When I first get them I smear some of the colour on the lid of the bottle so I can see the colours when they are all standing in the drawer they’re stored in – saves me picking up the bottles and checking the colour as I work. I put the paint on with brushes, my fingers, a palette knife, a sponge and even a syringe I got from our local vet. My hands always tell the story of what I’ve been doing, what colours I’m into at the time…

Works in this series are for sale in my Etsy store. golden-landscape-7

Pears on the brain

I’ve been putting my pear collages into Photoshop and playing around with them. Looking at crops, colour schemes and textures – just seeing what works and what doesn’t. Some of these ideas may well turn up in a series of new paintings I am doing for exhibition in Auckland later in the year. Originally I was going to do a series based on my obsession with the moon but, to be honest, I think the pear shape affords me more opportunities.  I have to do what are, for me anyway, some quite big canvas – up to around a metre square – so I need a basis for the series which I feel can translate in a variety of ways, shapes and styles.

In case you are wondering, this is a follow-on from Michelle’s Crusade No 27 which you can read about here. So inspiring, thanks Michelle.

Playing with fabric

My friend Trisha and I have got a private blog going where we are challenging each other to do some textile work right through 2009. (Trisha was one of my mentors when I did Stage 3 at TLC last year)

I decided my challenge is to take a photo of Patea Beach each month and then interpret it in fabric, stitch, paint etc. Trisha came up with quite a different challenge to mine for 2009 and it’s fun  to watch it unfolding. This is my ‘almost finished’ first attempt.


West Coast Sunset – new abstract paintings

The sunsets out over the Tasman Sea here on the West Coast in New Zealand have been just stunning lately. The sky is so clear, and the colours are so very vivid – the light catches on the sea and can be quite dazzling. Sometimes I watch out our kitchen window and just think “if I paint that exactly as it is, no one will believe me!”. I guess that is always one of the challenges for an artist; to take what they see and to make it believable even when it seems to defy logic. Or, as I usually do, to skip the reality and instead capture the feel of it; to capture the song it sings in your heart.

I think one of the things that I really value about living in rural New Zealand is the clean, fresh air – our sky is so clear that sunrise and sunset can be just amazing. I’m not much of a morning person so it is rare for me to see a sunrise. Okay, very, vary rare…   On the other hand, I am a terrible insomniac. Some nights, when I’m up at 2 or 3 in the morning drifting round the house, I sit and watch the night sky – clear and bright and full of stars. How incredible is that?

I have just completed two new paintings, both abstracting the view and colours I see from our house in the evenings. Do they capture what the view from our house looks like? No they don’t. Do they capture the colours of the view? Yes, I think they do. Do they capture how the veiw makes me feel, the joy it brings me? Yes, absolutely.

These are 6×6″ on gallery wrap canvas and are for sale on my Etsy site and on TradeMe



Pear-ing at my canvas – new pear painting

Having spent half the day yesterday stamping, masking, stencilling and gessoing pear shapes as part of the GPP Street Team Crusades, I could not get the pear shape out of my mind. I already knew I would end up taking the shape onto canvas, but what I could not know as I cleaned up my mess last night, was that by the end of today I would have finished 2 16×16 canvas with – yep – pears on them!

With the one shown I started by masking out the words and the pear, then spray painting over the top in orange and purple. I use Plutonium G aerosol spray because it smells nice, has a lovely powdery matte finish and is CFC free so it is good for the environment. And besides, the c0lours have great names like Hot Sauce, Vegan and Manko. I fixed the spray paint, drew in the black lines and let thin black paint dribble down the canvas then added some swipes of thin black at the bottom. As the paint dried I dabbed it here and there with a tissue, taking the paint off again and leaving behind textural highlights.

I underpainted the pear, then re-sprayeed to get rid of some white gaps round the pear from the first spraying. I fixed it again (getting spray in my hair), splashed some black onto the canvas for a bit more texture and added a few more layers onto the pear. When the paint on the pear was nearly dry I scraped back into the paint to get down to the initial layers in some areas – these sort of glow through. Finally, I added some oil pastel here and there on top of the scratchings to really make the highlights sparkle.  

For the record, my hands and arms tell the story; I have spray paint, ink, varnish and quite a few colours of acryclic paint on them – and to finish things off nicely, a little oil pastel under my nails!


Crusade 27: Shape Up

6a00d8341c6e6653ef010536ac0171970b-700wi1Michelle’s challenge for Jan 2009 is to explore just one shape – stencil it, mask it, stamp it, gesso it…   It didn’t take me long to decide on the PEAR for my shape. It’s a shape I was using in some figure paintings about 3 years ago and the idea of rediscovering it really appealed.

I spent today in my art room and made stencils, masks and a stamp. I played with spray paint, gesso, acrylic paint and Indian ink. I am so excited my what I’ve done that I want to make an art quilt featuring a pear, and do a big painting using the pear shape as well.

I like the ones where the pears are not so obvious; I think this is perhaps my favorite.


Loosening up

I came home from work tonight incredibly, physically, tense. Not sure why – it was an okay day. I guessfigure some days I feel my job and its responsibilities more than others; or perhaps I started the day a bit tired anyway. Who knows …  Anyway, what I  needed was to relax once I had all my ‘chores’ out of the way. So I’ve aspects-of-the-land-3had a play with acrylics, ink, pastels, oil pastels – just loosening up mentally and physically. Now it’s time to set breakfast out for the morning and head off to bed with a glass of water and a book on fused quilting.

My word is …

Along with setting some goals for the year, I’ve been doing some creative thinking using a journal mydear friend Steph gave me called “The sacred journey daily journal for your soul”. At the start of the year the books encourages doing lots of thinking about key words, goals, attitudes, affirmations. My word for 2009 is balance. My creative expression is “my art is mine and it is OK“. More on that in another post. But back to balance; why balance, and what does it mean for me?


  • between my needs and the needs of those around me
  • between work and home
  • between time doing art and time marketing art
  • between the process of making art and the goal of the piece of art
  • between time enjoying the net and time wasted on the net
  • between wanting things now and wanting to get our $ under control
  • between creating for joy and creating for profit

And a more balanced attitude about:

  • food
  • exercise
  • putting tasks off for another day
  • taking on other people’s worries

I can think of a lot of ways in which BALANCE is what is needed in my life in 2009.

Many of the artists whose blogs I follow are also talking about their goals and key words for 2009: Martha Marshall, Tina Mammoser, Vivien Blackburn,and Jeanette Jobson all have interesting posts for you to enjoy. Happy reading! 

Creating a base layer

salles-ed-2Although I can do all kinds of things I suspect I have only scratched the surface of what can be done with Photoshop.  Not that I am wanting to create digital art as an end in itself, more that I want to create things that I can use in my art that are solely my own work. That way there are no tricky copyright issues and that has to be a good thing, right?

These pieces started with photos I took last night at a friend’s place and have two or three layers each. I’ll be transfering them onto canvas and them painting more layers over the top.