2nd NZ Art Guild Challenge

The second of the new series of NZ Art Guild challenges is due by 8am tomorrow morning. This time the work could be in any medium but had to include, in some way, the following: umbrella, orange, innocence, triangle. The orange background in my work is a painting I did while studying orange about 18 months ago. The baby is my grandson Rory. The umbrella is obvious I hope. The triangles? There are two triangle shaped groups of flowers and a lighter triangular patch of orange in the centre. The final piece is a mixed media digital work, 10x12cm, titled “sleep of the innocent“. sleep innocent flowers

Working on the art quilt

A few posts back now, I showed you an art quilt I’m working on. I decided it needed more ‘oomph’ and my good friend Trish suggested couching. So I had a wee read, thought “I can do that” – and here is my first try. This area is the bottom left of the quilt top, where the grasses grow on the sand dunes, in front of the sea wall that divides the Tasman Sea from Patea Beach. My idea is to do lost of overlapping grasses. If my eyes hold out LOL.  couching

Thinking about the next step

I’m not painting on canvas at the moment, I’ve gone back to paper for a bit. Why? Two reasons. 1. I’m wanting to try out some different ideas and materials, so using paper is very freeing. 2. The recession means people are looking for works in lower price brackets. So I’m considering offering more works on paper for sale on ArtFire and Etsy.

One of the ideas I am playing with is combining some of my favourite, local, photos in Photoshop and then testing them out in different media. I haven’t used much pastel lately and I miss it. I have some wonderful inks I’d like to try layering with the soft pastel, and perhaps even with oil pastels. I have cut a few stencils lately for use in my scrapbooks and now wonder about trying them out in my artworks. There’s a sort of cross-pollination going on.

And there’s a third reason why I have switched to paper. Reason number 3? It’s way, way too cold to work out in my art studio. Seriously way too cold. My fingers start aching in just minutes no matter what I do; unfortunately I have arthritis, but it is confined to my hands luckily.  But I can work on smaller sheets of paper in my office. Even though that is not why I have an office – it’s really where I work on the newspaper we publish, and take care of life’s paperwork. But that’s okay, I promise to keep paint etc off the accounts. Hopefully!

Here is an amalgamation of 3 of my favourite photos, radically simplified in Photoshop. I think if I simplified it some more I could attempt to cut some stencils to get this look, then work over the stencilled image in pastel and ink. I’d ike to use Atelier Matte paints for the stencil work to get a really flat finish to start with. They provide a similar finish to gouache but I find them much easier to use. Has anyone else tried these newish paints yet?


Latest NZ Art Guild challenge

I love the NZ Art Guild challenges and I really appreciate the time the guild puts into running them. Recently they have changed the way the challenges run, and this is the first one under the new guidelines. The quick version is; they provided a photo reference as a starting point and guild members are free to interpret it any way they choose.

The original photo is of a huge city building, all glass, with amazing reflections. I was interested in how unwelcoming the main building appeared; the door seemed small compared with the building itself, and in the photo is almost out of view. It reminded me that, in much the same way, many of us protect our hearts…hence the doors, lock and single, incomplete, key.

This is 23x30cm, mixed media. Digitally altered photo, collage, rubber stamping, ink.

where is the key

One of the reasons I tackled the challenge this way, instead of painting the building, is that I wanted to “make it my own”. Over at the Crusades, Michelle has been blogging about making our art our own. Michelle talks about taking something and adding your own twist – making the artist’s hand visible. I hope that is what I have achieved with this piece. Thanks, as always, for the challenge and the inspiration Michelle.

Still stitching

details 001kA few weeks back now, I grabbed some fabric, foam stamps and acrylic paint and got to work. My objective was to colour the fabric to give me the broad tones of Patea Beach and the sea wall, using alphabet stamps. Once that had dried I started stitching. And stitching. And stitching.

What I discovered pretty quickly was – 1. stitching is slow. 2. I tend to do tiny stitches. 3. I am not very patient (okay, really I knew that already).

I realised I needed to know more about stitching, and so have been reading Stitch Magic. Unfortunately the fabric I used is too tight a weave for me to use wool to stitch with, but I am learning to stitch looser and bigger. I’m also trying to be more patient; enjoying the process instead of rushing for the result.

I have included some detail shots, but it’s fair to say I found it quite difficult to get a decent scan of the stitching.

This is such a change of pace for me; normally I paint, and quite quickly. I love the process of painting, the speed of it, flinging the paint at the canvas to get background drips, sloshing the paint on the canvas, the floor, my feet… so I am not sure where this “slow stitching” is leading me, but I’m happy to meander along for now.

Playing with light

One of the things I love about the view out over the Tasman Sea from our kitchen window is the constantly changing light. Sometimes when I’m thinking about starting a new work, I drag an old one into Photoshop and play round with the colours, cropping and the light.

This started as a square work, in lightest blue and deep purples, capturing the sea just before sunset one night. I’ve been messing round in Photoshop tonight – not thinking realism, just thinking light and colour. What do YOU think?



Painting returns home for a brief stay

summer-floodsWell, I thought this painting was on display periodically at a local gallery. Umm, no – it was stored in a carton upstairs above the gallery. I guess I should have kept a closer eye on things – won’t make that mistake again. So now it is home for a short time, then off to Auckland for a big art sale that’s coming up.

This was done, from memory, about 18 months ago in response to some summer floods. It was incredibly hot, hence the hot colours, and there was water just everywhere. Such an odd combination weather-wise for here, and one that made me head for my paints.