This Christmas, I have challenged myself not to tackle doing any animals at all and have returned my hand to more traditional, botanical art-forms. Actually, it was in response to someone asking me, if I ever did botanical works.
Long ago, when I first started out painting - like many artists, one is destined to tackle plant forms only because one often finds the painting - less strenuous when one is trying to master a new medium.
For me, it is an opportunity to revisit 'control of the medium' - in this case, watercolour. If you have read my last post, you will realise I also wanted to tackle new techniques that I have not had an opportunity to do so. Christmas time not only provides time to relax, but allows one time to extend one's abilities. So in this piece, I have tested salting my baubles, to get a shimmery effect. It's not quite as I had experimented, but you will have to agree, the natural flow of pigment pooling to one area on the bauble, works well in this watercolour piece.
A weekend filled with glassing, framing, matting with the odd coffee or two, proved to be quite successful this October. Time seems to have got away over the years and catching up on the odd, artistic job that should have and could have been done years ago, was on my list of things to do.
I don’t tend to outsource any of these jobs, as many of you realise; keeping a firm hand on quality control until the very end is important. Especially, if the the job is close to one’s heart and has significant meaning.
I grew up being part of the framing process, when my Dad was alive. He would mat and frame all sorts of things - from greyhound prints to wedding and informal photographic prints that seemed to forever multiply on the workshop bench. As a young kid, there was always something for me to do - glueing or measuring- being careful to line-up all the markings to just right spot.
Dad was a perfectionist and a great teacher, and I guess over the years of me being a great watcher - for all things ‘workshop’, I would like to think I became a great disciple.
Dad was a great tinker and could put his hands to just about anything and miraculously, it would be fixed or made into something one would never expect. Yes, it was a great privilege being an observer in my father’s workshop - filled with magic. There was always something to learn from those gnarled, skilled and caring hands.
I am all in for re-vamping old things that have stood the test of time and have served one well over the years. Sometimes, they are really hard to replace because they are particularly unique or just because they remind us of things that have occurred in ones life, or they mark a turning point in our lives. Either way, giving them a major overhaul keeps the cherished item in one's home, but allows it to continue being memorable, but also useful.
So out came the screws, off came the seat - with a bit of grunt and grind - and away I tossed the inner dead foam to reveal a tired old piece of hardboard. What to do with it was a challenge and how was I not going to waste, but not going to buy anything new...?
I wanted to make the covers washable and I also needed to still protect the board. I had a few old cushions lying around and decided to clip them into a new round shape by removing the white piping and zipper. Yes, I need to put the zipper back again, once I changed the shape and had to insert the new foam from the original square cushions.
The board I re-glued, sanded back and covered with mounting board because I had surplus of that lying around. Then, I edged the circumference with good-looking, but used braid that I had collected over the years.
Once I finished the seating, I repainted the chairs with gold enamel paint and the job was done! Yes, it did take a couple of days, some sewing and a bit of clever thinking, but now I have a brand new setting that will last me - quite a while longer.
Yes, its’ definitely busy at this time of year and I’m feeling the spring vibes. Everything seems to happen at the same time. Once the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers hit our city with the blossoming energy of a million and one delicious flowers, visitors seem to arrive from all corners of the globe to see what our festive region will provide.
With visiting Korean Government delegations, art exhibitions, dance eisteddfods and finalising school exams – even my small platter of activities has me wondering whether it might be beneficial for this region, to share its abundance of activities with other periods of the year when our city appears non-existent.
It would be truly be lovely to visit all the wonderful, award winning gardens; the food and wine festival or the FirstCoat mural event; see every dancer compete for our Sketa Oz trophies at the Brisbane Eisteddfod; have time to exhibit for events such as the Downlands College Annual Art Exhibition or to partake in family events like my son’s 21st birthday or even see Spring Polo played in Queens Park.
Yes – there is just so much happening – not just here, but in every large and small town across our country. The Brisbane Riverfire Festival kicks off around now, as does Comic Con; The Desert Festival in Alice Springs and Crock Camping in Darwin; cycling and car racing events at the Gold and Sunshine coasts; museum and gallery events Australia wide; Fringe Festivals, the Burlesque Festival, Tulip and Footy Festivals; Mango events, Melbourne Southbank Festival, Sydney’s Floriade; the Blessing of the Fleet, the Oyster Festival and even the Perth Fried Chicken Mother Clucka Event! There’s just too much to do and see during spring and I love it!!!
Every man, woman, child and his dog suddenly find travelling wings, to visit a least a couple of events during the school holidays; when families do their best to catch up on sharing ‘the love’.
Yet, wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we could all share ‘that love’ at other times of the year, too? Maybe cities need to revisit the yearly entertainments’ schedule. Spacing things out – might be helpful. Citizens could get out more often and cities would not be competing for the same dollars, at the same point in the year. Purely my opinion of course.
I am sure, well-spaced events would bring families closer together, bond communities and would create a greater sense of attachment to our cities, which would also give families a breather from hearing the adolescent phrase – ‘there’s nothing to do’.
The fact is, there’s so much to do in spring, one needs a holiday - to get over the holiday!
Happy Spring Holidays! 😊
Don’t spend all your pennies at once!
Treasure each and every moment - they are precious diamonds - priceless, irreplaceable and totally unique; never to be replicated and once they’re gone, they’re gone. There will be no shopping for a new one and no cubic zirconia will ever scratch the surface for these beauties. Trust me, there will be thieves lingering, who will selfishly pinch those moments from you - to fill their pot of gold. So guard your treasures well, hide them if you must, tell not a soul, for they will disappear before your very eyes.
Life really is, what you make.
Get out there - be brave, live new experiences, find undiscovered places, enjoy being with new friends and find you.
It is sometimes easier said than done. For some of us, the task will be a real challenge because we all have begun to lose that natural knack of just saying ‘hi’; lost that inquisitive nature that once sparked our dreams and desires.
Life, responsibilities and what the world expects from their trustworthy, reliable citizens always seems to come first. The model citizen does have its draw backs. One tends to stay in the same job, respond in the same way the population would expect and you find yourself caught up in a dull, uneventful world of being proper.
So I declare, starting today - an entire week of new discoveries; where reporting back is obligatory - telling the world just how, what and with whom you spent this new period of discovery! :)
Type - ‘I’m in!’ and we can keep each other accountable. :)
Can wait to hear your tales!
Everyone sets aside a collection of tools they prefer to use for watercolour. I am no different, although I do believe making time to experiment with new mediums and tools that you haven't yet given the time of day, is really necessary. In the creation of art works, one is often inclined to stick with things that work, but without taking a look at what is really out there, your true talent can't be recognised, because you are scared to push the boundaries. It is sort of like scaling a hill. Of course you can go around it, but if you run up it, you become so much stronger and your technique improves.
When I first got back into watercolour, I was inclined to tentatively use my old palette and fine brush, as I did as a kid. I would plod away, working in far too much detail and the quality of painting suffered, as it would always look over worked. So, I literally had to put my old faithful brush and paint palette in a box, so I could learn to use new watercolour mediums such as gouache and watercolour pencils. Yes, I do realise these mediums have been around for quite some years, however if you are a creature of habit because you're scared to make a mistake with your watercolour, you will often stick to what you know.
So, on my last trip to Seoul, I took nothing but my wallet and visited Kyobo underground Bookstore, which has more than just books. It is full of great art supplies and is a creators' paradise for both the creation of art and author works - that is, if you really love snooping through pen, ink and writing sets, too. I have to say, I was very much spoilt for choice as the local ink, watercolour paper as well as the watercolour pencils are of exceptional quality. Shinhan art products and tools have been around for years and I am very much partial to using them. They flow easily across 300 gsm paper and produce that wonderful natural, trademark wash.
So although my task was to use only Derwent pencils to lay down my sketches, I did cheat a bit, using the Pro Artist watercolour paint to complete my tests. Either way, the Derwent pencils are smooth to use, but tend to leave a gritty finish on the paper if you are not careful. They definitely need a good deal of experimenting to master but are great, if you like to be in control of where you place your lines. So, if you love your colour pencils and enjoy the overlay process, watercolour pencils will allow you that freedom.
When it comes to pen an ink, my initial tools are a good Unipin fine liner or micron Pigma, to whizz about the page. However, I do use dip pens into Winsor and Newton Ink for continuity of natural tones across the page. Black is quite harsh and doesn't always deliver a natural feel. However, I do like to use the black micron to quickly sketch my overall scene as it makes me focus in on the subject and I tend not to worry about making mistakes. I don't get stuck on the details and my hand naturally places the marks across the paper.