Friday, September 19, 2014

evidence of rain

It feels as though it has rained a lot this winter, although I suspect statistically this is not true.
There have been plenty of opportunities to photograph raindrops during my lunchtime tramps around the park. 
 Lovely weather for ducks, in fact.
 And these really are ducks in a tree....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Studio visit

Fortify yourself dear Reader - you are about to see the current state of my studio. My friend and mentor Seth Apter is hosting a studio table show and tell via his blog The Altered Page.

I work happiest surrounded by stuff: if I put things away neatly and tidily they cease to exist in my mind. So when I'm working I have everything around me that I might need. Which means I end up with an actual work space of about a foot square...

Ready? Let's plunge in.

Here's the view from just inside the door. My studio is technically the laundry, although who ever heard of a laundry five metres by three?? So that accounts for the laundry basket and the washing machine at the back.

You can also see my wonderful stash wall of Ikea baskets that Kind Dog assembled for me. The baskets are full of paper, fibre, paint, pencils and other necessaries. And the top is covered with bigger stuff such as sheets of mulberry bark, wire, blank canvases and works in progress.

So, wall of storage on the left, painting area and washing machine and more cupboards on the back wall, work table on the right.  Decorations include dragons hanging from the ceiling, the jackolope that Emily gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago with my copper wire and feather sculpture hanging jauntily from one antler, various artworks from Central Australia, bone, feather and glass collections on the window sill.

And here is my studio table covered in the detritus and necessaries of my work this year. Mainly paper and paint - brushes, oil sticks, gorgeous soft pastels (which also work well with water), charcoal, graphite sticks, sketchbooks,  and my new book on watercolours from the Tate.
Seth introduced me to liquid acrylics so I have been playing with translucent layers of paint mixed with glazing liquid.  I've also discovered Daniel Smith watercolours which are just delicious - soft intense colours and, depending on the way you mix in the water, a lovely graininess of texture. The colour wheel has been getting a workout as I try and get different effects. That piece of textured white paper is actually a wallpaper sample drying off after I used it to add texture to the wet surface of the canvas.
 Here is the view to the left as I sit at the table - an old butler's tray that holds tools, pincushions, threads and my camera. That red globe is a vagina dentata piece in progress. It awaits teeth and solutions to reducing the shininess.
And here is my current hands on work space. I haven't done much textile work this year - life has been full of study and work - so I have focused on drawing and painting which I really love and am slowly improving (I think).
More studio spaces here via The Altered Page.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

new work in progress

I spent all weekend in the studio - luxury! Inspired by my workshop with Seth Apter, I played with paint and acrylic glazing liquid. I learnt some wonderful techniques in that workshop, especially about layers and using text in painting. And the great thing is you can cover up mistakes with another layer of paint.

I also realised that I haven't used yellow in my work - gold, yes and bronze but not yellow. I don't have any yellow in my wardrobe either.  So as a challenge I made some pieces that were all predominantly yellow (this did involve a trip to the art store...)


And then I started on the current work in progress. I had a stretched canvas that was already primed with black gesso so added some paint and white gesso for texture.
 Some text and more colour
 Then this afternoon went over it with more colour - not finished but waiting for the next stage.




Monday, September 08, 2014

night walk

this was our after dinner walk last night - the moon almost full, luminous flowers, softly warm air.



Sunday, September 07, 2014

Spring

Today really felt like spring has arrived - the bellwether sign is the butter. Left out on the kitchen bench it was soft enough to spread on my toast without microwaving!

It was Father's Day here in Australia so I made smashed avocado and feta with poached eggs on toast for lunch. Really, really good - especially with Betty and Vera's luscious eggs.
Then it was time to open the box of wonders from my favourite nursery and plant the summer bulbs - those glorious pink lilies that smell of vanilla, some deep red Bourbon Street lilies and Kind Dog's favourite - dahlias.
 The spring bulbs are nearly finished but there are still lots of iris
 and burgeoning tulips.



 I also spent lots of time in the studio this weekend. I stayed up until after 2am painting and experimenting, using the techniques I learned in Seth's workshop. Huge fun :)

Saturday, September 06, 2014

busyness and birthdays


Blogging fell by the wayside for the last couple of weeks as it has been full pelt at work and on the academic front. And in the middle of colliding deadlines I had a Significant Birthday.

As a token of his esteem Toby gave me a special birthday present:

 And the amazing Kind Dog gave me a present every day for Birthday Week, including:
 a sixteenth century amethyst ring;

a Chaucerian silver pendant;

and a Shakespearean bracelet.

In the park I saw a Birthday Cormorant

 And then back to the books