Monday 29 September 2014

Yay!!! Number 30 in the 30 Day Challenge

Ah! I feel both fulfilled and free all at once!
I'm thrilled to have completed Leslie Saeta's 30 day painting challenge for the second time. This time being a comparatively easier journey than in September last year because of doing sketches rather than acrylic paintings.

 I scanned this picture and realise now that the scanner is probably only the best option for black and white sketches - it seems to wash out the colour somewhat compared to a photo.

Now that the challenge is over, I have no more excuses not to get stuck into writing and finishing off my book!

Almost Done! - #28 and #29 of 30 Day Challenge


Head on Precision
Not really! Just a play on words as it's not very precise at all! I was just about to go to bed when the inspiration came upon me to sketch this at the very last minute. It took around 40 minutes which made my late night even later. However, it was good to get another one in the bag with the deadline fast approaching.
I did this view this morning while I was visiting my Dad where he is being cared for at the moment. There is a lovely view of the river and the traffic bridge. He enjoyed seeing the scene unfold.
At the very last moment, after bemoaning the greyness of the photos I've been taking of my sketches, I have realised that they come up better if I scan them (I'd already photographed these when I made the discovery so I will scan them later along with the rest of the 30 for the collage). I don't think scanning had occurred to me because in the past I'd always found that photographing my acrylics made for a better outcome than scanning.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Before the Lunchtime Rush - #27

On the spur of the moment my daughter suggested we pop down to Hillarys Marina for a bite to eat at around 11.00am - breakfast for her, lunch for me. She was happy for me to take my sketchbook along and I was able to get this down in 15 minutes flat before my bruschetta and cappuccino arrived. It was rather exhilarating getting something down so quickly.

Lovely cloudscape from the carpark.

On the Shelf - #26

I sketched this last night (27th) before going out for dinner.

 I can't seem to get away from the white paper looking grey when I photograph my sketches. Does anyone have any hints on how to improve them? I dread to think what my collage will look like at the end of the 30 day challenge!!

Friday 26 September 2014

Orange and Blue - #25

I left a few slices of orange to sketch this morning, now I will finish them off!

Thursday 25 September 2014

Grandma's Colander in ink and watercolour - # 24

What a great start to the morning! I have been in an atrocious habit of getting to bed after midnight lately but last night I somehow manhandled myself into bed very early and was asleep by 9.30pm. Up with the parrots this morning to sketch this and was finished by 8am! Oh how I would love to make "early to bed and early to rise" a regular occurrence! I need to transfer some of my artistic willpower into my sleep routine.
Below is an acrylic painting I did of the same beloved colander that I painted during last September's 30/30 challenge. Today's was a much quicker and easier version thankfully as I'm getting seriously behind!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Sketches 22 and 23

#22  After the Fire
I did the above sketch this morning from this photo I took in 2007 of some grass trees recovering from a fire earlier in the year.
#23 Fruits of Neglect
My poor standard ice-berg roses should be looking beautiful at this time of year but they've been terribly neglected and instead are a mass of rose hips.
After doing two sketches today, I'm still one behind - will try to do another two tomorrow to catch up.
Check out other participants' work in the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge here.

Monday 22 September 2014

Blog Hop Around the World - and #21 in the 30 day challenge

I felt very honoured to be invited to participate in a Blog Hop Around the World by my friend Debbie Nolan who lives on a beautiful rural property in Ohio. She is a watercolour artist, photographer, gardener, writer and lover of animals. She takes much of her creative inspiration from her own garden and surrounds. Her garden is both stunning and productive and being a consummate cook Debbie whips up wonderful creations with the advantage of being able to source some of her ingredients fresh from her vegetable garden. She shares all of these exploits and more on her beautiful blog which you can visit at View From Harmony Hills I'm sure you will feel inspired!
In the spirit of the blog hop I would like to introduce you to two other bloggers - the first being
 David Teter. David is a very talented artist from California who creates series of works which include everything from wonderfully unique industrial landscapes to dramatic ocean scenes and characterful locomotives. He puts a lot of thought into his compositions and colour choices and generously shares his creative processes. There is never a dull moment on David's blog.
The second is Shawna Lampi Legaree  who is from Northern Canada. Shawna is both a textile and water colour artist and hugely talented in both arenas. Her quilts have been juried into international shows and her watercolours are simply exquisite. Her flower paintings are ethereally beautiful and her playful still-lifes are wonderfully original. I was lucky enough to win some of her greeting cards depicting her original paintings - not once, but twice!! Shawna is also participating in Leslie Saeta's 30 day challenge and doing a fabulous job of it. I hope you will take the time to visit both of these truly wonderful artists.
Here are the blog hop questions
1. What am I working on now.
I am currently participating in Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I was thrilled to successfully complete the challenge last year by doing a small acrylic painting each day. Even though I was a dried up husk by the end of it, at least I was a very thrilled and enriched husk. This year I have made it a sketching challenge instead, which I have found quicker and easier than when working in acrylics but it's still a major commitment and feels very satisfying when completing my sketch of the day. At the moment I'm a sketch or two behind but feel optimistic that I will complete 30 by the end of the month.
This is today's effort. I ran out of daylight to paint it from life so I may add the watercolour tomorrow - or I may leave it black and white.
#21 in 30 day challenge
I am also writing a non-fiction book, but I haven't done much writing on it of late due to being otherwise engaged with a recent jaunt to the UK - and also with taking on this 30 day challenge. I am hoping to revisit it soon and still hold out hope that it may be published by the end of the year.
A picture of me not writing in the seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales.

2. Why do I create what I do?

I feel the need to express myself creatively in much the same way I need to breathe, whether it be in the form of painting, writing, photography, gardening or sewing (not that my fingers have become weary lately from wielding a needle, but the passion is there lying dormant nonetheless).
I am a genuine tree hugger and find the beauty of nature a huge motivating influence in my creative life. I feel a compulsion to try to translate the beauty I see around me - whether it be of the natural world or man made - into some form of art or writing. I find that the act of creating in whatever form to be thoroughly engaging, stress reducing and life enhancing.

This massive, ancient oak tree in Glastonbury looked like it needed a hug. Apparently, hugging trees in Glastonbury isn't frowned upon - in fact, being the rather eccentric town it is - it's frowned upon if you don't!  
Living by the ocean is a constant source of inspiration.
I am a sucker for pretty china and anything else that is shiny or sparkly or flowery.
3. How does my creating process work?
 Even though I have no problem with the inspiration side of things, there often seems to be a barrier to making a start, particularly if I leave it too long between projects. I find the challenge format works extremely well for me - particularly when I have made a public commitment to it. I find too that blogging is a fantastic motivation tool. The blogging community is wonderfully supportive and inspiring. It is great to see what others are doing and to be able to share what I am working on. 
I'm not a very organised person, so strict schedules are out (even when doing a challenge) and instead on some days I squeeze things into what time is available and other days I postpone essential things like the laundry to make great swathes of time for my art or writing. One thing I have learnt is that it doesn't pay to sit around waiting for motivation to bite you, while that sometimes happens, often I find I must be proactive and simply push through the initial inertia until the creative juices begin to flow.
Thanks for visiting
I look forward to seeing David and Shawna's posts on Monday the 29th September.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Birthday Card - #20 in 30 Day Challenge

The birthdays are coming thick and fast at the moment. I composed this illustration today based on the recipients interest in Beethoven's music. I created part of the illustration from two different paintings of Beethoven I found online and the rest I made up.

It is a cold, rainy, wintry day today after yesterday being the hottest September day on record at 34C (93F). Quite the contrast! During the week I took a few photos of things flowering in our garden.

Memories of Childhood Lunchtimes - #19

I just did this sketch of these kitsch salt and pepper shakers circa 1960s (I think).
They reside on a dresser in our meals area where I keep treasured pieces of china. These little birds evoke very special memories of sitting down to lunch when I was a young child. They also evoke the memory of a very colourful stripey seersucker tablecloth that I would love to lay eyes on again but it disappeared long ago - no doubt having served its time admirably but not able to survive the onslaught of wear from three young children.
P.S. Maybe I should have mentioned that I sketched these from life and only took the photograph once I'd finished. I'm enjoying sketching from life as much as possible.

Friday 19 September 2014

Italian Motorgiro - #18

Eeek, I'm getting behind on my sketches for the challenge! I had hoped to get two done this morning but this one took a couple of hours in the end and now it's the afternoon already! This is from a photo of one of my husband's mates taken while a group of them were riding their motorbikes around the Dolomites in Italy in 2010. This is another birthday present. Because I wanted this to turn out worthy of giving as a gift, I did the initial drawing in pencil. I forgot to mention that I also did part of the last motorbike one in pencil first too. I will nip this pencil habit in the bud as I've loved what has been developing with going straight in with ink - a kind of spontaneity that I've rarely achieved with my artwork in the past.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Near Dusk - # 17

I did today's sketch from a photo I took in 2008. I will be giving it to my friend today for her birthday.

Now that I look at the photo next to my artwork, I can see how much better I could have done the values and colours. Also, I was rushing to photograph this to post before midday so it would look like I did my sketch on the 17th.  In my rush I noticed that I hadn't painted in the seagull's beak but at that point I didn't want to use precious time to re-photograph it or I would miss the deadline. 

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Oops! - Day 16

I thought I'd do one more motorbike sketch tonight and quite liked this composition. I knew that work had recently been done on the bike but it hadn't occurred to me that everything might not be back in its place. So I was a bit disappointed to discover after I'd finished it that the fuel pipe wasn't connected. So, being clueless as to what it was - let alone where it should be - I've depicted it in the wrong position (the curving pipe to left of centre). Oh well, I guess mistakes always add to the story behind the picture.

Under Instructions - Sketch # 15

My husband wanted me to sketch these for a bit of a laugh (an inside joke - you had to be there!)
I missed doing a sketch yesterday so I will have to make it up by doing another tonight or doing two tomorrow.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Flowering Peach - Day 14

This was pure pleasure to sketch today - we are having day after day of perfect spring weather and it is wonderful to have any excuse to get into the garden.

Saturday 13 September 2014

Under Wraps - Day 13

 I lifted up the dust cover on my husband's motorbike this evening to see if I felt inspired to sketch it. I did, but I only uncovered it a little to keep things simple.

This morning I popped back to the beach to take photos of the curious balls of seaweed I had seen down there yesterday. I have seen one here and there from time to time but never en mass like this. It was a bit like an art installation compliments of Mother Nature.

 There were also a lot of crab holes with attendant claw prints from all their scuttling in and out.

 The pigface was flowering prettily near the rocks.

Friday 12 September 2014

Day 12 - In the Pink

I did this sketch last night so I would have today free to do other things. This is supposed to be a pink rose (hence the title) but it looks more orange of hue here. I drew it straight from the photo I took a few days back that I posted on my blog. I felt very in the pink today due to it being one of those impossibly, unsurpassingly perfect spring days. I spent some time at the beach and in the garden soaking up the sumptuous scents and scenery before getting on with my jobs.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Try, Try Again - Day 11

Today was a glorious spring day. There were some stunning lingering rain clouds from recent days of rain and storms but it remained dry. A friend and I made our way to this vantage point to do a bit of plein air sketching. I had been planning for years to work from life in this spot and today was the day. I faced north intending to do the above scene and my friend faced south armed with her oil pastels.
All was going swimmingly as I began from the left (actually, this photo hasn't captured the long spit of land to the left) and outlined the groyne and marina along the horizon line. Then I continued to the right following the outline of the water's edge. From there I began to work my way back up to the horizon from the right. I was horrified to see that they didn't meet up at all. It was unsalvageable. I felt disappointed as so far my ink sketches have all worked out despite my missteps.
I couldn't stomach trying to re-do that view so I joined my friend and faced the other direction. I had lost my confidence and thought I'd just do a very quick little sketch and decided to do it underneath  my original attempt as it seemed there was still so much blank paper. In the end I was quite pleased with the second one and regretted not just starting afresh as the first one impinged on the second more than I had anticipated. But now I am pleased I did them on the same page as it tells the story of how my first ever sea-side plein air sketching expedition panned out.
You will have to click on the image below and look closely to see the hash I made of the first attempt. Unfortunately, I didn't think to photograph it before I began working on my second view.
second view below
Below is one cropped photo and one badly masked out photo of how it would have looked without the first attempt sharing the limelight.

This was the view looking straight out to sea. Can you see the long smudge on the horizon? That is Rottnest Island.
Despite the false start, I really enjoyed doing both sketches and getting out in the elements with my friend. Also, I learnt a lesson when it comes to sketching a landscape - don't work on the horizon line from two different ends.