Friday, July 30, 2010

not quite finished with July...

(August's girls)

I cannot quite believe we are nearly into August, how did that happen so fast?  I am still not quite finished with July...

These girls above are the start of my August set of works,  I just put them on the gray background for this post but I am really liking how the bluey green works so well with the gray of the background... hmmmm.  As I look back now I am not completely happy with my last lot of work, they are not really what I had in mind when I started.  But this is the first attempt on my imaginary friend topic and I guess you have to start somewhere.  I only have two more sets of works for my exhibition in October to get done and I have an idea what I am doing for them both so that is a good start.

I bought this DVD the other day and I was mesmerised, it was so clever, so scary, and so beautiful all at once.

I thought I felt a glimmer of spring the other day but it was short lived we are back into a chilly start to the morning.  If you are at the end of your summer please enjoy a little bit of the warmth for me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

some sort of vitamin...

During our flying lessons, Kelly Rae posted a link to Simon Sinek’s video, where he talks about the why of what we do.  I have been thinking about this a lot since seeing the video and I am really finding it hard to put the why into words, so here are my thoughts so far...

Making things is something I have always done, it is a part of who I am and it feels more like a need than anything else.  I guess for me it is one of the basics needs, food, water, shelter etc... the room to create sits right up there.  I know when I don't fill that need for a length of time it feels like I am deficient in some sort of vitamin.

 Being creative is like the vitamin supplement that my body craves... it makes me happy, it settles me, calms me and it makes me feel good about myself.  Maybe that is why I am doing this... because it is good for me. So then if it is good for me then maybe what I create is good for you too?  Maybe I have created my girls to make people a little bit happy...  I have created my own vitamin supplement and I am going to call it vitamin y.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How I do what I do #2...

So here is the second part of my how I do what I do tutorial...  the background.

For this background I am going to use my favourite background ('full moon' from the Vintage moon collection by Pink Paislee) I rip the edges rather than cutting them so they have a nice deckled look.

I then start painting over it deciding what to keep and what to white out with pebeo super covering white as I go.  About now you are probably thinking why on earth does she even bother to have a background paper at all, she has covered it in paint!  Your not the only one thinking this the owner of the shop where I buy my paper from wonders the exact same thing.  But you can see subtle little bits showing through, which I like.

Once I have the right look I am wanting for the background I then add a little detail in coloured pencil around the edges (this is a slightly closer up view of the top section of the background).

The next step is to put in a horizon line, I often make the sky part of the painting a third of the whole piece... it feel good to my eyes.  I use the Pebbles Inc chalk pastels to colour the bottom part of the painting and then once it is covered I dampen a rag and rub the chalk pastel in and some of it off (sometimes I also rub a little of the paint off as well so you can see a bit more of the background paper showing through, but you have to be careful not to use too much water and not to rub too hard as you can wreck the paper underneath).  This technique picks up a lot of the texture that you don't see before adding the chalk pastel.  I discovered this by accident one day when I spilt some water over the chalk pastel and tried to wipe it off.  It turned out to be one of those happy accidents that life throws at you now and again.

Then I blue tack the girl in place so I can work behind her if I need to...  penciling in her wings and adding a few other little details with pencil and white pen.  I find with this process that having the girl separate from the background is a good thing, if she doesn't suit her background I can do another one for her or vise versa... and also if I make a mistake with either one the other is still okay. I have tried painting the face right onto the background but it just wasn't successful for me.

(without your wings I'd be gone)

Once all the detail are done I glue her in place with a Pritt glue stick and add any finishing touches, like the little bit on top of her hat...and that is pretty much how I do it.

Note for Kelly... I have added a little about her dress paper in the previous post, sorry but there wasn't that much information about the name of the paper only that it was produced by K&Company in a pack with others.

As a special thank you to all my blog readers for your kind words and support, I am going to give one of these prints away for free if you order another print in my shop over the next week... if you type "your wings" in the comments to seller box, I will send this print free along with your order.  After next week I will add it to my Etsy shop, so keep an eye out for it.

Thanks again and I really hope this tutorial was helpful in some way.

Friday, July 16, 2010

How I do what I do #1...

I have had many requests inquiring what materials I use and how my girls are created.  So here is a little insight into how I do what I do... (I don't mind anyone having a go at this technique but I just ask that you don't copy my style, bring a bit of yourself into the technique). 

The first part of my how to is showing you how I create my girls.  This is my technique that has developed over years, the materials, process and media has evolved as my needs have changed and will probably keep doing so as time passes.

Sooo... I start with a paint colour called cloud, made by Fas, as the base of  the faces.  Two or three coats should do it onto 130 gsm cartridge paper.  I usually do a whole lot of faces and in two different sizes so I have a stock of them.

I then draw the features in with coloured  pencils, add a few highlights and rosy cheeks with Pebbles Inc chalks.   

Then I cover with a light brushing of  Pebeo gloss varnish.  Although the varnish only takes a few hours to dry I usually do these last thing in the evening and let them dry over night so they will be good and ready in the morning.  A few times I have got impatient and touched them while they were still wet and wrecked them!  

The varnish really softens the coloured pencil and chalk pastels.  It might look a little grey in parts, but that is just the scanner having problems with the glossiness of the varnish (I tried scanning it about 9 times to get rid of the gray bits.  But don't worry it will loose it's greyness once it is cut out).  

Which is the next step once they are good and dry I cut them out, I have some super fine scissors that I use to do this... and see the grey has all gone.

I then choose a patterned paper for her dress...  although this step may seem simple it can sometimes take me all night deciding what dress paper to use... Once I have finally decided (K&Company pack of 150 classic papers... sorry but the individual papers didn't have names in the pack).  I cut out the dress shape (I use a template that I trace around for this). Then I paint in the arms adding a few stripes, either with a white pen or pencil and some colour with Derwent Drawing pencils

I glue the head to the back of the dress and choose a swimming cap out of scrapbooking paper and trace around the head shape, cut it out and add a few shading details or spots and glue it in place.  I also added some dots with a white ink pen around the neckline of her dress.  That is her finished, I hope this has been helpful…  

I have learnt a few things doing this tutorial, one of them is that the scissors I use are called bonsai shears, I never knew that... so from now on I will say "can you please pass the Bonsai shears... thanks"

I will post the background how to and the finishing painting next week.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

follow their hearts...

I have finally completed my etsy and felt shop updates, one of my main goals for the school holidays.  It actually takes a lot of work getting these up to date and then keeping them that way, scanning, writing descriptions, adjusting images, listing etc... But it feels really good to have them all up to date now.  Especially my felt shop... I had a few prints for sale but because of the layout of the site my images had their heads chopped off for several months.  Which is actually quite apt, during the early days of my girls development I read this interesting book about the lives of the virgin saints, stories of brave women who fought to follow their hearts and how they meet their fierce punishment with smiling grace rather then fear... along with being stabbed and burnt alive many of them were beheaded.

I have also been doing a bit of sorting out during the holidays and bought these two wooden boxes on sale for my buttons and ribbons... they have some silly pictures on them and I am planning to redecorate them.    But there is something stopping me from starting this project, I think I am scared of ruining them, or it could be indecision... I am not actually sure how to redecorate them, what to put on them, what I want them to look like.  I'm not sure how many times I have opened the button box and run my hand through them, lifting up a handful and then dropping them...  it is like a box of treasure, gold coins or jewels.  I am just hoping that in three years time my buttons and ribbons are not living in boxes that still have silly pictures on them.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

plans of her own...

As she tells me what she wants from her life I am speechless and I don't think I will get over the initial shock of seeing a face I know so well... with plans of her own (plans, I might add that don't altogether coincide with the plans I had in my mind).  I think when you have children it is like letting a little part of your soul go walking into the world with a will all of it’s own.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

I had a rabbit...

When I was little I had a rabbit… his name was Rabbit, when I was little I also had an imaginary friend… his name was January.  I still have my Rabbit but I don’t need January so much anymore.  

Although he sort of came back when I started this blog... I kind of imagined myself typing these words to him, it made it easier somehow having someone in mind to be 'talking' to.  

I don't remember much about January but I do know he always wore black and I know he was a him.  My mother, who also had imaginary friends when she was little, said she thought January came while I was waiting for my brother, who was two years younger than me, to get interesting.  I could say something nasty like January is around even now because I am still waiting for my brother to become interesting... but that would be very unkind so I wont do that because he is a good brother.

So this next series of works are going to be about friends, imaginary and otherwise... and it is funny, last weekend I watched Donnie Darko.

Friday, July 2, 2010

time to myself is a jet plane...

I am looking forward to the weekend, I am going to make some soup and make some art...

I have been feeling quite emotional the last few weeks, I am not sure why, but one thing I know is it's happy emotion.  I am just so pleased to be where I am, who I am and what I am doing.  I look back to the me of a year ago and I really feel sorry for that old Katherine, I just want to give her a big hug and tell her that things are going to be ok...

We are nearly at the end of the last week of the e-course.  Where we are talking about burn out... the ebb and flow of living a creative life.  I think one thing that really has helped me with this is to think of life as a 50 cent mixture of lollies (sweets).  To make sure your week has a bit of everything in it. I think of doing my art as a jube, my family are jaffas, my friends are jelly beans, time to myself is a jet plane etc... and I make sure there are all of these in my week.