Muckin’ Abart In My Sketchbook

Here are some sketches I make with different lead and coloured pencils in the evenings, when I just sit and play with ideas and see where they lead – if anywhere.  Just ‘muckin’abart’ really!

At first, when I started painting again, I was just re-familiarising myself with some mediaJournal6

and faces11 8 16

Later, I tried timing myself to see what happened if I didn’t get stuck in detail

10minsketch

This ten minute sketch stretched to twenty minutes……

20min sketch

For some reason I spent an hour playing around with perky birds…

birds1

birds2

I’m not particularly good at birds and animals – but these were good enough to make me have a shot at Siddy last night – he doesn’t stay still long enough for me to get it really right – but I’ll keep going………

Siddy1

Someone else inspired me to play with modern day flower fairies….. the circled bits indicate I like that idea and want to take it further…….

Flower Fairy1

I really like this one, the one that I’ve coloured – but she hasn’t gone any further yet:

Flower Fairy 2

The first one made it onto an art journal pageflowerfairyfull

While the page was a bit of a wash out  – hence the lake and swans appearing – the fairy herself is great fun.  I like a fairy with attitude!

fairy detail

It’s coming along.  I’ve got several art journal pages to show you next time – I feel like I’m getting near ready to start work on canvas again…….

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

If the Earth Were Only

Here is a recent entry in my art journal – this one took about four days of work to get to ‘finished!’ status.  The main problem was that in my enthusiasm to get started I forgot to gesso the pages so was working on raw water colour paper.  It was inspired by a double whammy, picking up a verse I know well and seeing an artist at her work on You Tube.

If the Earth Were Only ..... Art Journal August 2016

If the Earth Were Only …..
Art Journal August 2016

Do you agree with me that the big-eyed girl is a bit of a worry?  I had seen videos on You Tube from an artist named Megan Saurez and am quite fascinated with her style – I have always tended to big eyes in my work, partly because I think the eyes are the window to the soul and are the most important part of the face – Megan takes it a step further and paints delightfully impish faces and I wondered what would happen if I made my eyes even bigger ………  I don’t have her talent or technique to make it work though – suffice to say I won’t go quite that big again…………

I’ve had the verse in my possession since sometime in the mid 80’s.  An older student gave it to me, thinking I would like it.  She was right!.  I’ve since used it several times when working with middle teens and even some adults.  I just found out the author’s name via Mr Google – don’t you love the internet!!  I couldn’t find out anything else however, just his name, Joe Miller, and the fact that he wrote this piece in a little book which got slated for being neither scientific or spiritual, just a woolly mix of both. Which says more about the reviewer than the work in my opinion.

It speaks strongly to young teens who are beginning to stand firmly in their ‘scientific facts’ and yet still have their hearts touched by something a little more intangible, resting in the realm of feeling.

Personally I think everyone should come in contact with this verse at some time in their lives.  And think about it.

Thanks to the kindly input of Derrick Knight after my last post, the issue with the biggifying feature has been resolved.  You can click twice to get a really good look at my appalling penmanship!

Here’s the text only:

If the Earth were only- text

And here’s a close-up of the face.  I like the hair – on the actual double page spread it looks like fields and hedgerows and forests…….

If the Earth were only - detail

What do you think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

I Am a Tree

I just want to say thank you to all you lovely people who have popped by in the last three days.  Thank you for your kind and supportive words and thank you for coming to visit in droves despite my long and unexplained absence.  I so appreciate each and every one of you!  You have quite made my last couple of days most enjoyable  :-)

As a result, here’s another post hot on the heels of the first – just because I’m really happy and you know I have months of missing posts to make up for ……….

After painting every day for almost three weeks I was still really struggling to find my way with colour and form and technique.  And because I was receiving so many private emails and messages wondering if I was okay because of my absence from the blogging world I decided to bite the bullet and share what I was doing.

I was frankly amazed, though I shouldn’t have been, for the community around this blog is made up of the most fabulous people!  All those messages of support, so kindly given, left me quite touched and I awoke yesterday morning to find something in me had moved and changed.  I couldn’t wait to get the chores out of the way and get to the work station.  I knew what to do and decided to just go for it.  By last night a double page spread had emerged in my art journal, almost seamlessly, and was finished and, most importantly, I felt really happy with it.

It is by no means perfect, but it will be I think the basis for another work further down the track.

This idea was sparked by my friend Yvonne’s post that featured relief heads of women found around Venice.  The final photo featured an unusual fresco and aroused a number of comments both helpful and unhelpful.  Mine was one of the unhelpful ones!  All was revealed in Yvonne’s following post.  I thought she was a tree sprite of some kind and even though I was completely wrong – or perhaps because I was – I fell to musing about the spirit of trees and how they might appear, which then led to some further musing on what they might have to say.

I am a tree Aug 16

Detail

I am a tree detail

And the words, if your eyes like mine can’t stand the struggle ……… and because I have lost the ability to have you double click on my photographs to enlarge them  – I don’t know why……

I am a tree Words

Thank you for your support and encouragement – it really does take a community doesn’t it!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

It’s August – Really?

Well HELLLLOOOO!

It’s been quite a while since my last post – it’s not that I forgot about you or anything, it’s just that I got – well, side tracked really…..  Lots of inner rumination and pondering and thinking about the state of the world, not to mention my own role in it, led to a need to just be quiet and contemplative for a little bit.  I visited some of you, others I missed, but I’ve been picking up the slack for the last week or so and getting back into the swing.

I also made stuff, some successful, some not so much.  The really exciting thing for me was I picked up my paintbrushes for the first time in over 15 months.  I decided – wisely as it turns out – to work in a journal to begin with.  I’d lost all my skill, not to mention my stuff and the first weeks were a combination of starting to paint, searching, finding, organising, painting a bit more.  I use the term ‘painting’ loosely here – you’ll see why if you stick with me.  As usual my photos need work – but you’ll get the idea…….

First up, I made myself a couple or three vests.  I tend to use patterns as a suggestion if I use them at all and therefore my results are often a surprise to everybody, even me. From this latest foray at plying the hooks,  two will be wearable when blocked and finished – the third is an ill-fitting nightmare and will be undone.

crochet vest Aug 16This is crocheted, adapted from an original pattern consisting of lots of little hexagons all stitched together in long panels.  Made from Lion Brand ‘Shawl in a Ball’ I used three different colour ways all featuring my favourite colour.  The back neck requires building up a bit – I might even do that this evening.

Next up here is a Tunisian Crochet attempt at a vest – otherwise known as ‘Railway Knitting’.  This is my first time making such a big item – but I love plying the huge crochet hook and I love the texture you get from the two step process.  This still requires blocking and a bit of finishing off with a fancy plait thing I’m stitching into the back:Tunisian vest 1 Aug16Here’s a closeup of the bottom edging:Tunisian vest 2 detail Aug16So, here’s some bits from the art journal – I’ve done something every day for a bout two weeks – some pages were complete in one sitting – others took days to come to anything.  It’s all practise and remembering while playing about with colour.

This was the first pageJournal1 bAfter that first attempt I resorted to something I knew well – I’d made quirky houses for years, long before they became a staple of art journalers and I was figuring I may as well give myself some therapy while I tried to remember how to apply colour and use paint to come to form…….

Journal2

Journal3

This next nightmare became more a paper piecing exercise followd by a splendiferously gleeful wallowing in glitter and sparkles, none of which you can really see.  It reminds me of paper dolls – do you remember paper dolls?  Journal5

It’s going to take a while before I’ll feel competent with a brush in my hands again – but just having it there has made me very happy!  Who cares if I can’t paint!!

It’s been a long hard winter down here in the Riviera of Antarctica.  This morning I woke to -6 C; a world whited-out in frost.  The upside is it will be a blue-sky day and walking with Siddy, despite the obvious risk of me ending upside down in a tangled mess on some unseen slippy-slidey icy bit, will be a pleasure*.

Here’s the boys all lined up for treat time for those of you who missed themTREAT TIME NOV 20 cropped

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

*I did and it was.

April – Slipping By …………

The month is slipping past and while I am daily engrossed in blog land and catching up with the writing, photography and daily doings of you my friends – not much attention is paid to my own posts.  So, more to keep a record than to add pleasure to your day, here’s a quick catch -up.

It’s Autumn here and the last rose in the tiny courtyard is making a break for it

Courtyard April 16The crochet shawl got finished – it’s beautiful and oh so soft………..  worked in an alpaca/silk mix and edged with beads.  Learning the art of blocking is finally paying off – I just wish my photos were better.  Each edge scallop has ten tiny red beads hooked through.Jo's shawl April 16

There’s some new light catchers being worked on – some simple ones and some very ornate ones.  Here’s a glimpse of two versions of the Simple Single Rainbow ‘Catcher.  Can you spot the difference?Simple Rainbow x2 April 16

And just for Alys, in lieu of a ‘fairy garden’ here is a glimpse of the guardians at the front entrance…….Entry Garden April 16

Can you see them? No?  Move closer to the door and look down.  They make me smile!

There’s the green wobbly headed dog with the waggling tail and little Winnie the Pooh smiling hopefully up at visitors.  Everyone smiles!

I’m not a collector of twee garden ornaments usually.  These two turned up in my Christmas stocking and wandered out to the front potted garden and stayed…..

Entry Guardians April 16Everything in the garden is dying back now, even though the weather remains unusually warm for this time of the year.  Soon the tiny courtyard will be without any sun and will stay that way – barren and unloved until next August when both the sun and I will return to replant and enliven once more.

I’ve started work on an open vest for me for the cooler days – the knit pattern stolen from the jumper knitted for ED for her birthday last monthVest 1

I’m moving it along a pace because I want to start this – more alpaca and silk and maybe some beads too ….  Isn’t it a stunning colour?Artesano Shawl April 16

April has been a time of concentrating on health and well-being.  Walking and creating and reading and spending quiet times concentrating on gratitude for all aspects of my life and enjoying the quiet way everything unfolds around me.  I live simply, I make time every day to hold others close in my thoughts and also to seek understanding of what is going on in the world.  There’s more good going on than the news media would have us know, I look for that and do not give my attention to the other.  This long Indian Summer lingers on and Siddy and I go walking every morning, me enjoying the subtle changes in nature and Siddy- well Siddy just enjoying being alive really……..  I say it often – and mean it – I love retirement!!March 16 3

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

Happy Birthday Siddy!

So many of you who have been following along, these past two years especially, are familiar with possibly the best puppy in the whole world.  For our new friends and casual readers, here’s a wee overview of the boy himself and for our longtime friends I hope you enjoy the recap.

Two years ago today a little Shih Tzu and random mixture puppy came into the world.

He was still so tiny when I met him at six weeks old

first meeting 2014

 

And took him home – even though I was at first reluctant to take on this little ball of energy …..May31 First walk3

 

Orlando and I did not know what had hit us!

Yikes!

after siddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I quickly discovered I had been found by my own personal happiness guru

12 6 14 profile

He was named Sid-Arthur, for Siddhartha the Prince who became the Buddha.  I had no idea at the time how fortuitous that was.

RedshoeOrlando meanwhile had retired to the top of the refrigerator and other high places and there he spent most of the ensuing year25 10 14 1

 

But even he eventually caved – how could he resist?Play3aa

 

 

 

Morning Smooch

sleeping duo June

Who knew one little black and white ball of happiness could change my life so completely?

2nd Bday 3

 

Happy Birthday Siddy – 2 years old today  2nd Birthday 1

 

He made a gif with his second favourite person for your amusementS&D gif

 

 

 

 

And today he will celebrate being a big boy by visiting the older students at the Sara Cohen School for Special Needs who have just completed a module on how to interact with dogs.

Soon he will be visiting a local Retirement Home to spread even more of his particular brand of joy.  Life is going to get busy for Siddy the Happiness Guru!

Thanks for coming by today, we love that you did!

Pretty Things

I’m currently having a few days in Wellington with my eldest, it’s her birthday month and we are making the most of it.  The Official Photographer went first and spent several days helping the celebrations get off to a good start…..

"Oh," she said "this photo makes my glass look bigger than theirs ......"

“Oh,” she said “this photo makes my glass look bigger than theirs ……”

Then she came back to baby-sit

Siddy Jan 16

He misses his mumma when she goes away.

Prior to deserting my boys, I was playing with beads.

I put some new light catchers in the shop, including this little beauty ‘Marine’

1 2a 3a 4a

Which is just chock-a-block with crystals and shimmery goodness – I’m a little in love with this one!!

I made some bracelets

Single strand crystal rondelles & acrylic pearls

Single strand crystal rondelles & acrylic pearls

Single strand mixed acrylic beads and charms

Single strand mixed acrylic beads and charms

Stretch Bracelet Double layer with acrylic flower

Stretch Bracelet Double layer with acrylic flower

 

four layered, natural pearls & seed beads.

four layered, natural pearls & seed beads.

Bracelet 5 Bracelet 6 Bracelet 7 Bracelet 8

As I like bracelets, and they are the only jewellery I wear these days, I’m learning how to make simple ones that are robust, don’t fall apart and are fun to wear.  I’ve been wearing this selection for over two weeks now, gardening, housework, playing with puppy – so far so good.

The knitting was blocked.

I discovered a rubbery – foamy kit-set type of mat at Mitre10  [local DIY store] used for kneeling on in the garage, lining the car boot [trunk] or the children’s playroom or suchlike and did my best Archimedes “Eureka!” impression  [minus the bath tub].  And Lo ……

Blocking

You get a pack of four jigsaw sided pieces, each about 50 cm square so you can use what is needed to meet whatever shape you are making.  It works brilliantly.

All the parts were blocked separately, then sewn together, washed again and laid out to dry – someone said  ‘Oh, for me …..how kind………’   Sigh

b'day present 2016 w Tig 2

The project was finished on time despite attempts to sabotage – wrapped in pretty paper and delivered to ED who kindly modelled it for you despite having on her red sneakers and standing in the baking heat of Wellington

Model jumper

And now I’m working away at my crochet project a very fine alpaca and silk scarf, currently about one third assembled – destined for the birthday girl sometime after her birthday, but hopefully before Christmas.  Please note the careful colour matching………Shawl

If I’m missing from your posts, please forgive me – I’ll be back to normal in a few more days.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!