Friday, 30 November 2012

drawing and collage

Today was my last mixed-media drawing class and I feel I have learned so much. I seem to see things differently now, noticing the light and shade, proportion, etc.. Earlier in the week I drew the rhino at the top and added a little watercolour. Today in class we did collage so I decided to collage the rhino. I'm pleased with the result :)

Now for new challenges! 

If you look in the sidebar you'll notice a new button. I've joined the reverb12 challenge. Click on the button to go have a look. It starts tomorrow and goes on all through December and I, for one, am looking forward to it. Thanks to Gumnut for putting me on to this.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Fall Fearless and Fly #5

When I logged in to Artists in Blogland to find the new challenge in the Fall Fearless and Fly series I was delighted to find that I had won the giveaway for the challenge #4. Not only a brand new challenge but a bonus as well :) Thank you, Jessica and Carolyn.

So, challenge #5:

Headline Prompt:  Lifelong Fan:  What or who have you consistently valued or looked up to in your life?  What lessons have you learned from people you admire?
Color Prompt:  Your favorite color now or from childhood or both!
Quote Prompt: "Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator; but among those whom I love, I can:  all of them make me laugh."  W.H.Auden

Again, so much material! Favourite colour was easy - red. As for the headline, I could have done half a dozen pages. Instead I ended up making a list of what I admire in others, what I am a lifelong fan of, in no particular order.

Integrity - people who stand up for what is right even when it costs them something. People who are the same wherever they are and whoever they are with.
Humility - those who serve others and do not seek to gain at the cost of others.
Friendship - as an only child my friends have always been precious.
Courage - those who face fear, especially when they are doing it to help someone else.
Learning - I love to learn new things!
Giving - there is something so satisfying about being able to give something to someone, whether it is in terms of money, time, or skill.
Loving - so much more powerful than hate and more useful than apathy.
Sharing - I so appreciate those people who are good at what they do and secure enough in their skills to share generously with others. They do not hold tightly to their expertise but take joy in teaching others.

This is the sort of woman I would like to be.

I am a work in progress :)

Linking to Fall Fearless and Fly and Art Journal Every Day.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Into the wilderness...

I've had this background sitting in my current journal for a while now. When I looked at it yesterday the two pictures of plant cells just looked like tired eyes to me, so I flipped the book around and did a portrait orientation double-page spread. 

These tired eyes are just how I'm feeling at the moment, so I put them into a face. They seemed to be looking off to the side, so what could they be looking at? My daughter had a pile of kirigami that she has been doing lying around on the table. One of them looked just like a sun to me so I took that but it melted into the background of the page a bit too well, hence the darker pink behind it.

I've been feeling a little flat lately - tired, the heat sapping my energy a bit. I've also just realised that after a victory in my life, I'm back out in the wilderness again, building the beginnings of growth for whatever is next. The tired woman under the hot sun just described that beautifully for me. (Even if she does have an Adam Ant stripe across her nose - which probably just shows my age :) )

So where are you on the journey? Climbing the mountain? Deep in the valley? Crossing the desert? Or resting beside the still waters? Wherever you are, relax into it and don't resist. Each place has something to teach us.

Friday, 23 November 2012

More sketches

Week 5 of the 6 week drawing class I'm taking. I find myself looking at things with a different eye, taking in where the light and shade fall. The thing that was the most fun today, though, was that the teacher wanted to know all about art journalling :)

Last night I found a stack of pages I'd removed from a book to thin it out to journal in. They were really thick, good quality pages, so I bound them together to make a book for journalling quotes. I like the square format.

Also, a new K-Mart has opened in the city centre and I managed to pick up enough erasers to carve a lower-case alphabet for $4! Guess what I'll be up to tonight...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Does not compute!

Here in Dr. Seuss-land the bright red of the bottle-brush trees has given way to the mad mauve jacarandas. Spring is definitely here.

And that's the problem.

For a northern hemisphere girl Christmas is firmly ensconced in the winter. It comes when the days draw in, the weather turns colder, and all the pretty lights appear in town centres. Christmas in the summer just isn't right.

Yes, there are fairy lights and decorations (inflatable snowmen, anyone? Yes, really) but the sun is shining, the temperature is starting to soar into the thirties and promising to go higher, and the days are long. We are enjoying time at the beach, swimming and beach-combing. In my head it's July or August. It is not approaching Christmas.

During the rest of the year I am pretty organised - I manage to send out birthday cards 3-4 weeks early so they arrive on time - I am always looking ahead on the calendar to make sure I don't miss anything. But it hits November and all of that seems to go out of the window. All of the environmental cues are wrong.

I lose the plot.

So now you know. For the next few months I will be disorganised, unfestive, and too hot. Such is life.

Friday, 16 November 2012

What's growing?

Sometimes things don't quite go how you expect. You teach a class or lead a retreat and the reactions aren't what you anticipated. Those are the times I have to remind myself that God is planting seeds that I don't know about. Just because things didn't go the way you planned doesn't mean that people didn't learn something or go away with new ideas. Sometimes we have to widen our horizons and realise that there are way more links being formed than we can even dream of. 

So don't sweat it when things go awry!

Here are some close-ups:

stamp embossed in white

I shall be linking this to Art Journal Every Day. Go check out what everyone else has been up to!


This is my second go at the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge #4. I had a lot of thoughts to work through :) I drifted a little from the questions that were asked as I thought about what security allows me to do. It is like the anchor that allows me to try things, take risks, but still with the safety of knowing I'm loved even if I fail.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fall Fearless and Fly #4

Fall Fearless and Fly Challenge #4:

Headline Prompt:  Security:  What makes you feel safe and secure?  What rattles your sense of security?  Where do you go for comfort and refuge?
Color Prompt:  Cool colors (blues, greens, violets, etc.) 
Quote Prompt: You can't make a place for yourself in the sun if you keep taking refuge under the family tree.  Helen Keller

I used the colour and headline prompts. I started with a page covered with Chinese writing which I then gessoed (with an inadvertantly blue brush - whoops! At least it fit with the colour scheme :)) and added circles which I find pleasing, comforting even, like the enveloping arms of someone you love.

Next I photoshopped a photo I took a few years ago of a tower, giving it a bluer caste. The tower represents the comfort I find in solitude. When I need to think something through, or just need some space, I come to my art room - not quite a studio yet, but I'm dreaming. It's where I run to.

I added a border to the photo and some tape.

Then the words 'security' and 'safe' and 'comfort' coloured in with Copic markers. 

Thinking about those words led me through the usual places. My home is a safe and secure place for me; a place where I can lock the world out and retreat. But like Carly at True Color I know that it is not the physical building that makes the home but the people - my husband and daughter. They are my home.
My security comes not from riches or possessions but from being loved - by my family, but ultimately by God. I added some verses from Habakkuk: Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17-18) And from Psalm 46:1 about God being my refuge and strength, always present in times of trouble.
If we put our trust in riches or in other people and use them as our security, we will be let down at some time. With God as my security I know I stand on solid ground.

At this point I added more circles and some rays with water-soluble oil pastels and the word 'refuge' down the side of the page.

The finishing touches were the definition of security being the freedom from fear, anxiety, danger or threat, and the words 'God, home, family, solitude' - the things which bring security, safety, and comfort; the places I run to when I'm rattled. 

So there you have it - the journey thoughts about security led me on. Why not use the link at the top or the button in the side bar to check out what everyone else thought about this challenge. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Making progress

Does your life ever feel as if you are rowing into the wind? It just feels as if you are working away and not getting anywhere - like the red queen in Alice you have to run to keep still. It's draining. 

I feel a bit like that at the moment. 

I started to think about how sailboats deal with this sort of thing. Instead of heading straight into the wind, they tack back and forth across it. Sometimes the shortest way from A to B is not a straight line but a zigzagging one. Sometimes you have to go sideways to go forwards. 

Are there any places in your life where you feel you aren't making any headway? Perhaps you can find a way to come at them from a different direction. It may take a little longer, but you get to conserve your energy when you work smarter. 

And on the drawing front, a visit to the zoo yesterday yielded these:

A drawing of the sculpture of a chimpanzee's finger that stands near the entrance to the zoo. I had to work fairly quickly as the sun was moving and the shadows kept changing.

A napping koala captured in a ten-minute sketch.

Hope your weekend has been fun!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Not pumpkins but lemons...

Week 3 of drawing lessons had us using watercolour pencils. I found that they aren't my favourite medium. According to my husband this picture just lacks eyes and fins...

I had been practicing my shading with graphite pencils, though. Quite pleased with the results:

And the page where I get to try out different types of shading. I like the stippling and basket weave. Must explore those further.

Missing next week's lesson, but it's on collage, so at least it's not something completely new to me. The week after that is free choice so I need to find something to draw...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Doing your best

Are you ever dogged by perfectionism? It can come from within or without, but wherever it comes from, it damages us.

When we demand that we be perfect in whatever area of life, we ask for the impossible. We will never achieve that target. We set ourselves and others up to fail.

When we are realistic about what we ask for, we are more likely to be pleasantly surprised. When we urge and encourage people - and ourselves - to give their best, they pull out all the stops. When we ask them to be perfect, they know they cannot reach that goal and will often give up before they really get started.

So why not be kind to yourself - and those around you - and ask for people to give their best rather than something that is perfect?

Friday, 2 November 2012


This week's drawing lesson was on shading using different amounts of pressure, cross-hatching, and lines. The one on the left is done with two coloured pencils, the one on the right with an HB pencil. Next week we get to do the whole pumpkin....