Hello! Lovely to see you! Here you will find random posts about living a creative life in country Australia. I am an illustrator. I create, take photos, faff, collect, teach. Watercolour, collage, colour, cheese, travel and dreaming are my faves. And Turkish delight. And cushions. And gardening. And op-shops...

Saturday, 22 July 2017

PAINTING AND DRAWING A TEACUP!

 PAINTing AND DRAWing A TEACUP!



You know those cold mornings, when you need to fill your belly and your soul with something a little warm. You know those moments when you need to feel soothed and at peace. You know those moments when it is a cuppa you need to do these things? 

So much a part of everyday living, mundane but also bloody lovely. Something that can be elevated to a status of high tea, grand tea, even a tea ceremony.Brilliant. Well, A little while back,( OK, at the beginning of the year actually!) as a way to kick myself up the butt, I did a little challenge I made up called #projectTlove. 


The finished artwork from the video

I painted, collaged and drew cuppas and cuppa related things for 100 days on my Instagram feed, and it was a lot of fun, even if at times time itself was in short supply. 


But it was such an easy thing to draw and paint, with such a huge variety of possibilities... I could of kept it going really!


Others joined in too, obviously falling under the charms of a humble cuppa. There is so much scope for experimenting. It really is not hard to sketch out a cup, and then just "jooooj it up" a bit with pattern or colour.  Have a look at the little videos I did, and you will see what I mean!

                         



As a result of these 100 days, I now have a little portfolio of cuppa stuff, and could draw them in my sleep. But I would rather sit down and drink one right now. And so..off I go, to put the kettle on...





Tuesday, 4 July 2017

HOW TO DRAW A MUSHROOM... because I keep doing it!

DRAWING A MUSHROOM 


A looooong long time ago, I did a blog about mushrooms, and how it is quite ironic that as a vegetarian, I should devour mushies. But ... I am allergic to them so I just cannot do that. Along with being allergic to bananas, and mopping, and cleaning windows, this is another quirk in my genetic makeup.



Another quirk - I seem to just be a bit addicted to drawing and painting them. I know as a kid I had a stamp collection, and one of my little first day sets was of Australian fungi. I remember thinking they were so goddamn cute! As per lots of little girls, I imagined fairies playing and sitting on them, making little houses with them, you know, lovely make believe stuff. Of course, I am old enough now to know better, but I still find them adorably cute!


I have drawn them in crayon, texta, pencil, painted them in watercolour and ink and acrylic, on canvas, paper, and scraps of stuff. I have taken photos of real ones and made ones, I have made collages of them and I have even sewn them!



They are so super easy to draw, I often just sit and doodle with a pen and pencil, and find that suddenly, they have...well, mushroomed up all over the page!  So I thought I might share with you how I draw one of these little cuties, and how easy it is. Maybe you do this too? Or would like to try? Would love to know!




So here you are, a little video or two of me drawing some mushrooms. Nothing too fancy, just a few shapes and a bit of shading... and there you go.





A quick one in lead pencil...


And another little one... this time watercolour...


And so as you can see, I really do have a thing for these little fun-guys! And I see no time soon that I will stop playing around with them... endless possibilities still to explore. Go the Mushie!

BETWEEN HERE AND THERE In Country NSW and how a photography exhibition happened....


BETWEEN HERE AND THERE
In Country Australia


 Rainbow Sky

It is inevitable, when you live in the country in a continent as vast as ours, that you spend many hours and kilometres in a car, driving. We drive for family, friends & social events, we drive for sporting & cultural stuff, we drive for shopping trips, medical appointments, & we drive because we have to.

To be honest, it can be tiresome, and takes hours out of your day, week, your productivity. BUT for me - a guilty secret. Most of the time it is a quiet pleasure. 

When my hubby drives, I spend my time in the passenger seat dozing through half closed heavy lidded eyes. Light flickers through, trees blur by, and the rocking of the car lulls me to dream and think, and imagine. Telegraph poles, green and golden fields, they all move by at rapid pace while my mind wanders.


Canola Dreaming

When I am not dozing and dreaming, I am admiring the views, the vistas, the light, the colours, the shapes, the way the golden clear light creates halos around trees & weeds, the long shadows, & the lonely trees surrounded by an island of crops. Huge endless skies, whether grey, blue, or looking like magical fairy floss as dusk falls.

After almost two decades of living here, I am still thrilled by the beauty of this place, the Central West of NSW. It is never boring - the change of weather, time,crops and seasons ensures that.

As a result of this love of place, it is not uncommon for me to be randomly pulling over into the verge to take photos. I often have one of my cameras with me(Canon 60D or Olympus OMD)& always my phone(Samsung Note 5). All of the photos here have been taken with one of these. If I do not have a camera on me, I feel a bit bereft actually!


Cotton Candy Clouds

And it is not unusual then for me to take twice as long for me to get home as it does to arrive anywhere, because with appointment and commitments met, I am free to dawdle and stop along the way to get a shot I like. A line of trees, a windmill, a lovely crop, a windy road…

When I look back on these photos I see they tell the story of the journey, of the places BETWEEN HERE AND THERE, the unknown, unnamed, unnoticed, quiet spaces between places. Not the destination itself that matters. If I was going to get a bit deep, I could say... this is not unlike life itself, eh?

Single Lovely  Tree

And so, what to do with all these photos? Well, from an initial pool of about 600 pics, I edited, and culled, and edited, and culled. And squeezed it down to about 35 photos. Why? Because well, they have become an exhibition. 

They have become something hanging on walls, printed professionally on archival rag paper, framed and on display. They have become a thing I am sharing with others, which is always a bit nerve wracking! Will they see the beauty in the blur and the movement, and the golden light? Will they scoff instead?

Well, really, all that matters is that I love them, and for me they tell the authentic story of how I get between the here and the there... and the bits in between!





 My exhibition, Between Here and There, is hanging at Japanese Gardens and Cultural Centre, Ken Nakajima Way Cowra, NSW, for the month of July 2017. Here is the online You tube Catalogue of the exhibition!  All pieces for sale!


           

Friday, 24 February 2017

Finding Creativity Again... or...how I feel like I am chasing my tail over and over... and then caught it!

Finding Creativity Again... 
or
How I feel like I am chasing my tail over and over...


Creativeness, Creativity. You find it. You lose it. You seek it. You crave it. You reject it. You embrace it. You fight and struggle with it. You chase it around like my new kitten chasing its tail.

Sometimes you are too caught up in domesticity, work commitments, family needs and dramas, financial  demands, physical or mental pain, lack of time or energy... any number of one or all of these, and  creativity slinks away, retreats to lick its wounds and lay quietly in a dark corner.


And it can stay there, sad, lonely, feeling overwhelmed and useless, not needed. With no attention, deprived of stimulation, it just sighs and goes even quieter. 

Will it ever be found and cherished again? And the longer it stays there, it seems like often it becomes more reluctant to come out and play. Shy, afraid of rejection. What can entice it out? Coax it? 

Soothing words, the promise of fun. A safe space and place to do it, with no judgement if it fails to live up to the hype it has heard?


Maybe something little and small to ease into gently? Not so intimidating.

Well, it is true, in the last few months my creativity has really been waxing and waning. I have struggled with pain and this has derailed me quite a bit. And there was been some rather large and personal, not for sharing, family dramas, that have pressed hard against my sensitive soul and squeezed me dry.It was an awful end part of the year. But 2017 came along, all shiny and new, and I expected greater things. 

But when you lose your mojo, your momentum is bloody frigging hard to find it again!


So that is why I started #projectTlove. Which has been great, and definitely helped me connect with others and get my drawing fingers busy again. But by chance, scrolling through Instagram I found a great feed called Creatively Squared.

There I found an abundance of lovely images, varied and fun. Stylish and imaginative. And enough people to feel invigorating, but not so many it felt overwhelming. 

Creatively Squared have challenges every week, with sponsors... and at first I was bamboozled by what was going on.

So I messaged them, and one of the lovely members sent me the email links to the website and info.  Straight away I signed up. 


Now please know, my email gets full of crap. Lots of it. Tonnes of it. Even when I delete and delete and unsubscribe, it seems to gain monumentally staggeringly large amounts of crap. But these guys actually have short, sweet, lovely, useful stuff. I actually read them. Shock horror!

So without thinking about it too much, I began to take part in the challenges on Instagram. I have only done a couple, but what has been lovely, has been the stirring and whirring of creative juices that I have felt going again. I am hoping I can keep it up, because I know that this problem solving and task orientated challenge really helps to drag that shy old creativity out into the sunshine to play again. Because she really is quite competitive and bullish at times. She does like a challenge, one she feels she can actually really be in the mix for.


And with a bit of play, the creativity muscles build, the confidence picks up, and soon that creative beastie is running and jumping and whooping it up again. Yahoo! And so bloody flipping fab!





















Sunday, 12 February 2017

SUMMER LOVIN' (or maybe not)



SUMMER LOVIN'(or maybe not)

Summer.
Endless blue sky days.
Heat.
Salads.
Water to cool down.
Sunscreen and beach towels.
The tight feeling of sun kissed skin.

It is now February, and we have just endured 2 days of blistering, scorching, officially catastrophic weather conditions. Any novelty that Summer brings has well and truly lost its appeal. Really. It is actually a bit scary. 

We are very lucky, because we have a lounge room in our house that we can keep air conditioned and cool, and we have had no power cuts to interrupt it. Thank gawd.

My family has resorted to sleeping in the lounge, this oasis. There are mattresses strewn about and cushions proliferating wildly. It looks a right bloody mess, and we do have cabin fever, but we still feel grateful.

We have drunk frappes galore, gorged on watermelon and fruit, eaten a tonne of super dooper frozen ice blocks, played dominoes and cards, read books, watched DVD's(including Frozen). We have a new kitten too, that has proved very entertaining for us all.

But seriously, it is no longer fun. I want to be able to snuggle my hubby without feeling that I will melt. I want to be able to use the oven to cook with without feeling like I live in the Sahara. I am sure camels would feel right at home in our house. And I think the kids might be permanently scarred by the sight of me wandering around naked but for undies. Years of counselling ahead for them all.

Truly, I am trying ever so hard to remember the good things about Summer. The lovely things...

Summer fruits. 
The smell of gardenias and beautiful summer blooms.
Golden fields.
Bright happy colours.
Ice cream and ice blocks. 
Swimming and splashing and frolicking about.
Xmas and New Years'Eve 
with family and friends.
Holidays.

Trying hard... but really, I am over it. How about you? Are you staying cool? Or are you on the other side of the world, snuggled under blankets?!

So, now I have had my whinge, here are some photos that seem to sum up some of the nicer things about Summer. Stay cool my friends, stay cool. x

















Sunday, 5 February 2017

Oh my gawd, I have been FRAMED by Instagram!

 Oh My Gawd, I Have Been FRAMED by Instagram!


 As you know, I love Instagram! Even if it does weird me out. I love finding feeds that bring me joy. I love connecting with people whose work inspires me. I love when people connect with me too. 

Whenever someone follows me, I try to respond and look at their feed. And though I am eternally grateful for everyone who follows me, I do not do the follow for follow thing. 

I made a pledge to myself that on Instagram I would be as authentic as I could be (without showing the grim stuff. So I do not schedule posts, or assess how each photo will affect my feed or 'gallery', and whether it will make it look unbalanced or cluttered, but instead I do it randomly as I get inspired or when in the mood. Yes I realise this is a bit old school, a bit in denial of how many great apps there are for analysing posts, when the best time to publish is, target audience etc... And I am not saying NEVER. I might do it one day. Perhaps.

And as for the Follow for Follow, and like for like... I only follow feeds that I really like or feel a resonance with. Is this nasty? I admit that sometimes I miss some feeds that I adore, and find them later. I admit that I am not as interactive as I could be, but I am scared of being sucked into a vortex of time lost.

Anwho, as I said, I do look usually at the feed of people who follow me. And I was doing just that a few weeks ago, when I stumbled upon HEY PRESTO FRAMES. And I was interested. I was intrigued. Because after a few exhibitions, and lots of trials of frame types and Blutac, I had still not found the perfect way to display my Instagram snaps. And these looked pretty fab!So I popped over to their feed. AND...

I made contact with @heyprestoframes, and was impressed when I found out that it is a little startup company, a Mum with a dream and ingenuity, pizzaz and a great idea. How cool! And Australian too! And with sass and some crowd funding, making dreams come true for her. Cool bananas. Awesome sauce. Inspiring. You can read more about them here... at HEY PRESTO FRAMES, and donate too if you feel so inclined. 

So cut to a few weeks later, and I actually have one of the first batches of these frames in my hot (and I mean hot, it has been a bloody hot Summer!) hands, ready to decorate that bare white wall. YIPPPPEEEEEE!!! I had already ripped open the box, I had read the instructions, and even selected the photos I wanted to put in them. 

Lucky for me, I have HEAPS of photos printed from my exhibition last year, and ones I love in general. I arranged them into groups of 9, played with them in a grid. I came up with at least 4 themes and combos I loved... So lucky the photos are easy to change, just sliding them out. I know I will change them over whenever I get an urge to shake things up a bit. More YIPPEEES!

choosing which photos to use

For this first little grid, I chose to do a blue sky and cloud kinda theme.  Nice and Summery.  I am a big sucker for blue Skies. And yes, I have even blogged about my love for them. 

So I slipped them into the frames, and then stuck the clicky cool strips on the back,  and then stuck them up on my wall. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey! I did not measure, just used my eye. If you were really fussy and particular, you could measure, but after years of framing stuff, I trust my own judgement. So it took about 15 minutes all up. AND I LOVE THE RESULT!

clicking the strips on the back

my finished and framed grid. I LOVE IT!

Do you think it looks cool?  Well, I certainly do. And I am thinking about other photos to get printed in 6x6 size, like ones from recent holidays, family kid snaps. For this grid  I used the photos I had which were 5x5, and on white card already that made them perfect for the frames. My daughter suggested I could also use them to put my artwork in, if I did them to the right size. Clever daughter.

So once again, as much as I do not always understand Instagram, and it poops me, frustrates me, confuses me... I have to admit being seriously thrilled to be part of its community. Because all negatives aside, it has helped me connect with some truly awesome and fab people, businesses, sites, products and places. So yep, I do love it. Framed by Instagram and happy to have been!

LINK HERE FOR Hey presto on Facebook too...

**NB**
And no, Hey Presto Frames DID NOT pay me to write this post. What they did do, is give me a chance to road test the first batch in production, but I am proud to say they did not have anything to do with what I have written, told me what to say, which picture to use etc. Just so you know!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

TEA TEASER... #projectTlove




TEA TEASER...#projectTlove

Pull up a chair, sit at the table, relax. Take a breath. Take a moment. Time to have a sip. Ahhhhhh...bliss.

Orange rose, watercolour and Micador Aquapainters

I am not a tea snob, and not tea true. I also love coffee. I know, I know, shame... but I am not a fussy woman, and I am too much a pleasure seeker to deny myself too much.

But there is something so much more refined and civilised about a cup of tea than a sturdy brash coffee. Where coffee is a rush, tea is slow. And depending on the day, the location, the situation, I will take either to be honest.

Maybe because I am on holidays, and life is cruiser than usual, I am currently binging on tea. I have a little stockpile of different teas bought for me by a loving, kind and generous friend, as well as my standard morning breakfast brew.

4 Teacups blue, sharpie on paper

Of course, maybe the other reason tea is part of my rocking my world at the moment, is because of the challenge I set for myself of #projectTlove!

 Because babycakes, I am totally LOVING this task I set for myself. 

I am drawing like a mad woman, finding time everyday to draw or paint something tea inspired. At the moment I am hung up on doing teacups, but there have been a few other tea things creep in. A tea tree, for example.

To be honest, I often do more than one at a time, because I get into the swing of it and cannot stop. I am also not unrealistic, and I know that inevitably there may be days when due to illness, misadventure and perhaps even good stuff, I will not get the minutes I need to do any art. So just in case... there are a few spares on standby!

By doing this challenge, I have set myself up so that in a quiet, little, nice way I have achieved a small thing for myself, practiced my drawing, added to my portfolio, and now that others are joining in, have 'met' and connected with some other lovely creatives. All in all, very lovely things.

If you would like to join in, please feel free, just post on Instagram with the hashtag #projectTlove! 

You can dip in and dip out, like or comment on the posts, let someone know if you think they would like to join in... or just have a cuppa and just look at the feed here.

For now though, I leave you with a few of the tea whimsies I have completed. Hope you like them!

Tea tree, pen on paper

 Spot-tea, watercolour, ink and pen

 7 Cuppas for 7 days, gouache, acrylic, watercolour, ink and pencil

 Delicate tea, pen and Micador Aquapainters

 Teacup Circle

Hot tea, mixed media

 Simple tea

Messy tea, pen and watercolour and tea

 Collage teacup, water coloured paper hand-cut, spray painted doily

 Teacup repeated, pen on paper