Monday, 23 January 2012

It's a bright and beautiful Monday morning. I've got buzzy brain, so I've been busy this morning tidying my workshop, labelling stuff, and generally making things neat - it's a bit of a worry, lol.

It was a busy weekend for us - 3 dogs and 2 cats to the vet for checkup/booster shots on Saturday morning (cats are overweight and need their teeth cleaned). At least everybody is now up to date.

I've ordered a piece of aluminium sheet for encaustic mono-printing, and was supposed to pay for it saturday am, but ran out of time, so paid for it this morning - something new to play with! It's 12x12/300x300, and 3mm thick. Should have it maybe by next weekend, depending when Ulrich's Mt Wellington truck makes it to Henderson.

Took son and daughter shopping on Saturday afternoon for shorts and t-shirts. DH had to take son back as the shop assistant hadn't taken the security tag out of his new pants, and the woman on the door didn't check them properly either, even when he triggered the alarm. sigh.

I spent the afternoon painting. Yes, really - painting! Then watched a couple of episodes of Criminal Minds with darling daughter, so it ended up a much later night than intended.

Sunday morning was up and out early - doing audio/visual for church. Once everything was set up, DD took over the worship powerpoint, so I got to just sing. There was a great lesson from Aaron. Must edit and post that tonight.

Went to a friends for late lunch, finally leaving at about 1600; then did grocery shopping, had scrambled eggs for a late supper, then more painting while the kids watched Madagascar; Escape from Africa and then Lion King. Nothing quite like being driven into my studio.

Bill (my father) got a clean bill-of-health from the specialist on Thursday, then from the physio on Friday, and left Friday afternoon. Just like that. Gave him a kiss goodbye on Friday morning, before I left for work - "What's that for?" he asks. "Um, I'm going to work and won't be here to say goodbye this afternoon." says I. "Oh, ok". sigh. He's left stuff behind, of course - pillows, his meusli, walking cane, lamp. David will drop that off this afternoon on the way home.

Becca has the Brown girls and little Zac for company today - suggested they do some baking, and maybe painting and papercraft. Bet they DONT!

Photo's to follow.

Friday, 20 January 2012


Three day migraine. Damn, I hate migraines. I hate the way they wipe me out, the pain they cause, and how my brain is just totally fried. Anyway, yesterday was a less worse day, with just an ordinary headache - didn't have drugs till late afternoon. Today, no drugs.

It's been a lovely two days - working at a slow pace, not trying too hard. Not doing anything too strenuous - tho I must admit, picking an order this morning may have been a bit too much.

The 30 day photo/journal has crashed and burned. But I did take a really cool photo today:

Isn't it cute? Iiz iz watching you! I won't say exactly what it is, but ....

One of my new craft books arrived yesterday - Making Handmade Books 100+ Bindings by Alisa Golden for the bookmaking course I'm taking on line. Still waiting for the Raw Art Journaling book to arrive. Made 2 little books from copy paper.

Visited what turned out to be the biggest branch of Warehouse Stationary - ooooh - it was like Christmas - but better. Got some lovely stamps (long stemmed plants, borders and an alphabet), a packet of really cool 'vintage' papers (spent too much on that), glue stick and, best of all, a 'bone' folder - actually made of plastic. The tip of the folder has gone flat tho - I don't think the plastic is strong enough.

Nearly hometime. Go home, make some ATC's for a swap, do some acrylic on gel medium painting (it's an ugly dark brown thing at the moment). Maybe do something on my cracked plaster (must take a photo and post it).

It's wonderful having buzzy brain cells again.


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Plaster Studio Workshop starts

The due date for the first piece is tomorrow - lol. I've used cheesecloth and joint compound, cracked it while still probably damp (we've had 83% humidity), and covered it in first Red Black and then black acrylic washes. Then it was scrubbed with a green scrubby, both when damp and dry, and then cut in half and glued with PVA over a couple of used canvases. Tomorrow, I'm going to make another plaster sheet, using some PVA, and then putting it on a sheet of scrapbooking paper, to be used for ATC's. Hopefully I'll also find time to paint the plaster canvases I've just done, and do some work on the acrylic piece.

Kathleen Conard, who was co-ordinating the workshop, has pulled back, with other things taking priority.

I'm shortly starting a bookmaking workshop, plus I've decided to do the Raw Art Journalling workshop, as I want to learn to journal artfully, and it makes sense to make my own journals. The course is an older one, but the book is coming, I have the worksheets, and I've been looking thru the albums.

I've decided I absolutely love plaster (well, joint compound), and hate the acrylic gel used in the acrylic course.

Photo's later.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Linda’s Quest Test - Finding Balance

Nicked this from Linda Womack's blog, with alterations:

1. Does it feed my soul/creativity?
2. Does it further my creative learning?
3. Does it nurture and support me?
4. Does it improve my health and well being?
5. Is it good for my family?

Linda's criteria for 2 and 3 were: 2. Does it further my art career?
3. Does it pay me a living wage?

These aren't relevant for/to me, so I changed them.

Blue Acrylic Colourway - version 2

This is the blue colourway, this time with acrylic matt gel on, and a new image.

It certainly makes a difference, and prevents the image from getting lost, which is what happened on the one just on plaster - basically the image got 'scraped off' with the paint.

I'm very pleased with this.

I was aiming for it to look as though one is at a great height, looking down thru the clouds to the sea, where the tree of life is waiting in the doorway to welcome you.

30 day challenge - day ??? - seven! already!

Visited Waitakere Central Library this evening to pick up 3 books. I suspect the 'owners' of these 'homes on wheels' are using the Library's computer centre. I like the t-shirt hanging on this one:

["Hey, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask someone else."]

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Colour Palettes in Encaustic

Yay - I got a chance to play with hot wax this afternoon after church. I've repeated the colour palette exercise in encaustic, again with a limited palette:

Red oxide powder
Yellow Oxide powder
Payne's grey oil paint
Ochre yellow encaustic (from oil paint)
white encaustic (from oil paint)
Dark brown (from beeswax crayon)

In some ways it's harder to achieve the same colours, but because you can scrape layers off, I just love the texture achieved in the second half of the process. All the ridges in the joint compound have been exposed, scraped back to the white.

The brown colourway is on a board that had the acrylic matte gel on it (the missing one, that had briefly been kidnapped!) The encaustic has NOT taken to it well, it is highly reflective, and my least favourite.

The three 5x5" panels of MDF:

Red-gold colourway:

Brown colourway:

Blue colourway - my favourite:

The blue board for the acrylic exercise has had a new image and a thick coating of acrylic matt gel put on it - waiting for it to dry.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Colour Palettes

This is Lesson 4 from Texture Town. Creating 3 colour palettes from a limited colour range.

The first is the 3 5x5" panels together:

This is the red-gold colourway: (happy happy)

The blue-gray colourway::(

The brown-gray colourway::happy happy:

The palette is limited to the following colours, (Golden Fluid Acrylics) + Acrylic Glazing Liquid (AGL):
Titanium White
Titan Buff
Payne's Gray
Yellow Oxide
Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide
Transparent Red Iron Oxide
Van Dyke Brown

The panels were first covered in joint compound and textured, then a piece of sheet music (Mendelssohn's Elijah), then in Heavy Gel Matte. Once it was dry, it was painted.

I really like the brown and red colourways, but the blue just isn't working for me - suggestions?

I enjoyed the high/lowlighting part of the process best. I'm going to repeat the exercise again, but with different imagery.

Not sure if I'll get any more painting done today - we'll see.

Weird Stuff in Weird places

A glass, beside the cask of wine, all ready for tonight.

A squashed milkbottle, on top of a glass vase, on the stovetop.

Why, I ask? Bill, I answer. This is a sufficient answer in and of itself.

The 'quick trip' to the bank and supermarket grew to a major expedition this morning, when Bill decided to come too. In the torrential rain. Cancelled the bank. He got his own trolley - 'Don't want to walk around the whole supermarket', he grumbled. Ok. Again, over $300. Having 2 extra people in the house, who use condiments like they're ... water? ... is certainly adding to the bill.

Never mind.

I have painted. Haven't encaustikated, because one of my panels has gone walkies. Rats.

Friday, 6 January 2012

30 Day challenge - Day 3

Sunset and Moonrise
Taken at 2115 at night. 21C- 68% Humidity. Warm, no wind, a beautiful end to a beautiful day. The moon was covered by a soft haze of clouds - bad weather is coming, just in time for the weekend. Taken the dogs for a walk, and they've all collapsed on the floor in exhaustion. A steady day at work (16 units Wed/Thur, 17 today) so I've spent quality time researching art projects. Raw Art Journaling and Bookmaking/binding - two things that seem to go naturally together. I have a 'vision plan' underway, and a 'to do' list.

Back to it.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Welcoming 2012

Judy Shreve, on her Mountain House Studios website asks a number of interesting questions, which I’ve tried to answer:

Journals: I’ve always used spiral bound commercial ones, that have rarely got pictures in them, because it's the words that have needed to get out, with my left brain in control; "you can't paint, draw, sketch, you're useless, etc" Lying flat, and even bendable backwards (to take up less space) is important. The paper hasn't been important up till now. (LB: why waste money on fancy paper when it's just for writing on! - LB also doesn't like me using my fabric stash, because I might mess it up)

This will change, as one of the things I’d wanted to do last year was book binding, after a trip to Paihia and Pompallier House. I now have more info from Judy Shreve, Judy Wise, and a course on ARTists of the Round Table which is free. Making my own will give me added impetus to use them, I hope.

Being Organised/Stressed/Projects: Yep, I need to be organised - or at least know what I have/don't have, so I don't buy anything I don't need. My problem is I don't write down what I want to do, and 'lose track' of it. Or if I do write it down, I don't understand what I was thinking. I don't work well stressed/under pressure any more. I've just had 9 days off, and it took at least 6 of those to wind down enough to start doing 'stuff'. The whole ‘getting older’ thing has messed with my brain, so I have a greater need to take things slower, with less pressure. While Right Brain still wants to do stuff, Left Brain wants to be told How and What to do.

No, I don't think there's a 12-step programme to cure computer addiction. For me, the interwebz is my connection to the world and people I *want* to talk to. My art and gaming friends are scattered round the globe. Hand-writing is NOT my friend - OOS/RSI in both hands. (Caused by computers)

OnLine-Virtual/Actual Classes: Oh, I would so LOVE to be able to go to REAL art classes on subjects I'm interested in. Which would work if I was interested in 'ordinary' stuff, but I'm not. So - Online ROCKS! Land of Lost Luggage classes are great, Judy Wise's classes have been fantastic, Linda Womack's was also good, but not long enough. Signed up to the A.R.T site - waiting for access, so I can look at the bookbinding.

Studio Mess: Definitely in the eyes of the beholder. Can you find stuff? If yes, then not a mess.

Stitching on Paper: Do you find the needle tends to cut the paper, reducing its structural integrity? Do you use a backing support? I would think embroidery, while beautiful, would cause big problems. Have you tried the multicoloured threads - can't think what they're called at the moment - some of them are truly lovely.

I've just drawn up a mind-web-thingy of what I want to achieve this year - and of what I'm already doing/about to do/want to do ... having regular B12 injections will help me have an active, happy mind, which is key to doing anything. Last year I did 2 part-time papers at College, and got an A- for both. This time, I want A's or A+'s. And most especially, I want to make art, and keep my right brain happy!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

30 Day challenge - Day 1

Take a photo, write a paragraph:

Better living thru pharmaceuticals:

Well, at least happier living. Ran out of Omeprazole and Gliclazide over Christmas. Glic is a meh, but Omeprazole is a necessary - I like to eat without throwing up!

So - Omeprazole, gliclazide, simvastin, metformin, dicolfenac, citalopram hydrobromide. Nom nom nom.

Best of all was, quite literally, a shot in the arm - of Vitamin B12. Got ma fix! Been feeling really tired, exhausted and a bit brain dead this past week. There was no way I could wait till March when the next shot was due!

Took the scenic route home from the doctor's - up Henderson Valley Road - saw an Ostrich - daft looking bird. The bush is looking lovely and green. Nearly time to start dinner. Alex is out tonight, so it's just for ... 4.

Geographically challenged

Had to add this email from David:

"Bill's just given himself a fright. Went off for his 10 minute walk and seems to have gone along Brookwood and then up either the street by the Shah house, or up Roy Malony, went along a cross street, thought, "About time to head home," and then found himself on upper Highfields Tce. Disorientated, he asked a lady for directions. The first I knew anything was amiss, aside from thinking, "That's a long ten minutes", was when a huge 4x4 pulled into the driveway. I thought it was Marcia but it was the nice lady from number 13 dropping your Dad off!"

I can and will do art!

Fri 30 December 2011
23C/73f and 88% humidity. Torrential rain and gales last night. Now it's just hot and sticky. With the sun glaring thru the clouds. Fish tank is cleaned, dishwasher is on, almost enough clothes in the washing machine to do ANOTHER wash.

Dad decided he needed human company, and spent about 40 minutes in the studio with me. Showed him my encaustic and acrylic stuff - blinded him with 'science' I think - 'it all looks very complicated'. Um, no, not really. Frustrating not being able to do anything with him underfoot. His visit with the physio on Friday was very promising - he's got a whole heap of exercises, and has been told he should be able to walk into the specialists' office at the end of Jan with no crutches!

Black dog has the itchies - took him for a walk a couple of days ago and he's had an allergic reaction to the tradescantia/wandering jew in the watermeadow. He keeps trying to hide inside/under things - like desks. Bathed him again, and blowdried him - hopefully that will help.

Got a cold cup of coffee sitting beside me from dad's visit. ugh.

Time to go get some fresh 'eye candy'? Every so often I treat myself to somewhere really interesting, like a junk or craft shop, or a trip to the hardware, or a walk thru the trees. I think sometimes we forget to feed ourselves, and give ourselves a break. Who me? a control freak and perfectionist??? Um ... well ... yeah.

Ok. Enough procrastinating. Time to get some fresh coffee, see if Lesson 4 of Texture Town (Colour Palettes) is close to finishing downloading (we're on dial-up speed broadband at the moment for some reason) ...

Sunday 1 January
Good grief. We managed to stay up late enough to see the New Year in last night – Becca had started a WASGIG puzzle, (because the Fairy Procession was too hard) then abandoned it. Started having a play with it about 10.30pm ... just one more piece ... and suddenly it was 0120!!! Various neighbours let off fireworks and partied down. Kama tried to climb in, under and on various things to escape the noise.

Woke up relatively early, and took Alex to work. Found out why we've been suffering from dial-up speed broadband - the kids have topped out our cap playing an on-line tank game, and Telecom pulled the plug on us with no warning! Broadband and a 20gb cap return in 24 hours - hooray!

Basically didn't achieve anything today, spending all afternoon visiting mum. Picked up a nice ‘picnic afternoon tea’ of strawberries n dipping sauce, cheese, almond finger biscuits, and sliced smoked Chicken (which of course had an ingredient list!) Sat in the staff smoko area, out in the wet. Typical bossy, not listening dad, eagle-eared bolshi mum. Had to have a nana-nap to recover from the frustration of BOTH parents.

Tuesday 3 January:

Happy Anniversary to us - 16 years together! Not bad going.

Oh dear. I had to laugh. The ladies on Painting Friends were talking about their palettes – mostly for watercolour – and whether to wash them or not. Some even put them in the dishwasher.

A couple of years ago, when I first became a Christian, and made friends with Deb, our Pastor's wife, who is an acrylic artist (and even sells some of her paintings), she promised to teach me to paint in acrylics. Now while Deb is a very accomplished artist, as a teacher it just didn’t happen.

Anyway, last month I signed up for an on-line painting course called Texture Town. I bought the paints I needed (7 + Acrylic Glazing Liquid - $100!!!) This meant that I could actually paint! (This doesn't of course count all the other acrylic paints n stuff I've collected over the years, in the vain hope I'd learn by osmosis).
Here’s the finished? Implied Texture painting. (I need to finish the sides, but I think the top is done):

So ... here's my 'painting corner', with painting and palette:

My 'palette' is the plastic guide from under the lid of a photocopier. Every so often I scrub the dried-out patches off. I don't think David would be too happy if it went in the dishwasher. There is a big blob of 'Sullivans Night Sky' there - not a 'class' colour - will see if I can revive it for the stencils I put on the edges of the canvas last night.

My work surface is the glass platen of a photocopier. The remains of breakfast (vogels toast with yeast flakes and strawberry jam) are to the left (coffee cup just out of shot). Water is in a plastic pasta sauce container. Curtains are closed because of the sun (now gone, replaced by rain) Out of shot to the right is a plastic box which has my 'class paints' in it, and there's a home-made paint-covered stencil sitting on top.

Talk about low-tech!

Got out with Becca and we went and did the Dam road stoat line together. I think it's been 3 months since I've been up there. The eggs had 3/09 on them! No bodies, and a couple of sprung traps. Dogs and us enjoyed the walk. Lots and lots of water, overflowing the dam down the spillways, and down over the cliff.

Wednesday 4:
The ladies on painting friends have been commenting on how much energy I seem to have, that comes thru in my writing. I try hard - some say I'm very trying!

It's nice being back to the bouncy tigger me - I lost me for a while with the B12 deficiency - and then of course the depression comes thundering down, and plays with those peri-menopausal hormones. But I'm back! Bounce Bounce Bounce.

I checked out two links that had been posted on PF:
30 Challenges for 30 Days
75 Day Sketch Challenge

Of the 30 challenges for 30 days, I picked these ones:

* Use words that encourage happiness.
* Dedicate an hour a day to something you’re passionate about - art/Christ
* Treat everyone nicely, even those who are rude to you - especially Dad
* Every morning, watch or read something that inspires you.
* Do something every day after lunch that makes you laugh.
* Document every day with one photograph and one paragraph.

Brenda Swenson's 75 day sketch challenge scares the daylights out of me - 'you can't draw' my left brain hollers! That could be the one thing I do daily that makes me laugh. I think LOL Cats would be better.

I'll do the documenting on my blog, I think.

Of course, all this may fly out the door quicker than the dogs if real life gets in the way.

Well, that brings me up to date to today. I need to come back and drop a couple of piccies in.