Online Shops, paints and pens, stuff i've made

Craft-bottomed girls, get on your bikes and ride!

A girly retro pink bicycle, resplendent with wire baskets and crocheted doily wheels—don’t snigger, this is actually a pretty accurate representation of the bicycle I still ride…only mine’s red and named Ruby Belle—sets off (on her own, because I wasn’t confident enough to paint a rider!) to have an adventure some place exotic and fabulous!

Just posted this in my Society6 shop today.

Art is afoot…society6 has added rugs to their list of products.

The original was painted some years ago, and disappeared en route to Germany by post. Luckily, I took high-res pictures.

 

Handmade journals with this design are coming, too…no, not on Society6! I mean my own handmade and bound journals, covered in beautiful linen-cotton canvas (as soon as I get my Spoonflower fabric…I’M SO EXCITED!). Stay tuned!

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A vintage cosmetic travel case, tarted up.

Jacobean case

There’s been a lot of interest in the fabric. It’s P. kaufmann’s “Brissac”…also available in the colourway ‘sea glass’. GORGEOUS stuff.

So here’s what I did with my time yesterday: I have been meaning to tackle this project ever since Kris found this vintage cosmetic travel case at the dump a few years ago.

It was very dirty and discolored, but structurally still perfect, and it took hardly any time at all to wipe the leather down with methylated spirits, give the case 3 or 4 coats of matte pastel green acrylic primer, and then paint some crazy Jacobean flowers on the lid. I lifted the flower designs from a gorgeous piece of upholstery fabric in my stash, thinking I would line the inside of the case with it, and the lid would match. Not so sure about that plan, now…at $70 a metre, it’s the most expensive fabric I own, and  I’m reluctant to use it on just anything. We’ll see.

I finally fixed the case up because I need something to hold my greeting cards at craft markets, and after toying with various DIY card rack and display stand ideas, thought it would be simpler (and cuter) to just stand all the cards in this little lockable case.

Jacobean case

Jacobean case

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art print : : Legends meet

Legends Meet by the smallest forest on Society6Another illustration I’ve managed to scan and post for sale as an art print. Mostly paint, but the ship is cut from tea-stained paper (a biography of Mata Hari…I soaked the whole book in tea many years ago, and have been using it very slowly in various mixed-media and other small projects…such as book beads, and making kusudama.

The original is very small (5″ x 7″) so even scanned on high settings, the largest print Society6 can offer (based on my original scan) is 13″ x 18″ (330mm x 457mm).

If you go today, there’s a promo spread across the whole site—$5 off each item and free shipping worldwide—and an archival Giclée print of 13″ x 18″, on 100% cotton paper, costs a whopping US$19.00 on my page. Pretty amazing. I even ordered prints of my own stuff, the prices were too good to pass up! Bought some to keep (originals had been sold) and others to add to my craft market offerings. Can’t wait for the prints to arrive, I am dying to see how my illustrations translate.

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more teacups…

gold roses tea cup

Gold Roses of the Sun…a one-line poem from Monochords by the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos; a teacup inspired by Islamic tiles, a tea-stained page from a book about Australian Literature…

Still making teacup illustrations. I have done 7 or 8, now. It’s impossible to paint teacup after teacup, and not get fancier and more ambitious as I go. I really can’t repeat a series of steps over and over, it bores me silly…I don’t know how other artists do it! For me, every teacup has to trump the one before; I have to accumulate what I’ve learned previously, and bring that to bear on the next illustration. Eventually I will hit a ceiling, where my teacups (or anything else I’m illustrating) become so baroque, so slick, ornate, and extravagant, that they are monstrous and kitschy, and the balloon I have been soaring in pops, sinking slowly back to earth again.

The Sea Dog’s Teacup, below, is maybe two or three cups away from that point at which my designs and ideas will collapse under their own weight. Still, it was fun while it lasted, and I loved, loved, loved drawing the seascape and albatross on the side of the cup…as well as the magic realism of the sailing ship inside it.

And just for fun, I’ve posted it on Society6, as well (everything I make, pretty much, is going to go on there from now on…sorry if it gets boring, but a girl’s gotta pay for her art materials and South American adventure somehow! ;)

Sea Dog's tea cup

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Online Shops, paints and pens, stuff i've made

Society6 promo : : 48 hours left

$5 OFF + FREE SHIPPING ON SOCIETY6

It’s midnight, in Pacific time, and the day of March the 8th is just about to start.

That means 48 hours to go before the end of the crazy sale on Society6 at midnight Pacific Time on March 9th. They’ve chopped $5 off the price of most items in my Society6 shop, AND offered free shipping worldwide on top of it, now’s your chance to pick up some of my stuff (if there was anything you saw on this blog and liked). This deal was so good that I actually went and bought some of my own prints, for the first time ever, so that I can check up on the quality of the products, and have copies of my own work (most of which were sent off into the world soon after they were made, and never seen again)!

I am still really new to all this, and so I don’t have a whole lot posted on there, yet. I’m working on it. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve got to offer (click a picture to access the special promo…if you go to the website the normal way, special prices and free shipping don’t apply).

Dresden Doll by Smallest Forest on Sosciety6

Always Be A Mermaid by The Smallest Forest on Society6

Green TEa with Moths and Moon by The Smallest Forest on society6

H.M.S. Pomp & Circumstance by The Smallest Forest on society6

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Tea for two (and free shipping on Society6 prints!)

levender front mock

A couple of designs on the subject of tea, in anticipation of a tea-themed Mother’s Day craft event in April. Another four designs are coming, as soon as I can get the originals scanned. I’m still pretty hopeless at this online hustling :)

Green Tea with Moths and Moon

Tea with Lady Lavender iPhone case

These are available as cards, art prints, and iPhone cases on my Society6 page…and until the 9th of March you can get free shipping on the art prints by clicking on the button below…

Free Shipping on Art Prints till March 9

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The Pocket Alpaca

pocket alpacaCouldn’t resist sharing this funny guy with you…he’s one of 9 strange-ified animals I’ve done, so far, for a group show in the middle of the year. Other characters are a Spangled Jerboa, a Scaly Marmoset, an Arctic Salmon, an Omniscient Raven, an Elizabethan-Ruffed Lemur, a Panzer Wombat, a Wooly Armadillo, and a Firehaas (or Firestarter Hare). They all began life as a left-handed drawing, which I wrote about in the post Sinister drawings. (They were painted with my right hand, though.)

A playful bunch, and so much fun to make!

So it hasn’t been all family drama and birthday cake…I’m chugging along steadily, making things, doing things…just not blogging about things, much, because we’re still having problems with our solar power on the boat. If you see the sun, tell him we miss him in Darwin.

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Sinister drawings

sinister |ˈsɪnɪstə|
2) of, on, or toward the left-hand side. The opposite of dexter. From Old French sinistre or Latin sinister ‘left.’

Drawing with your non-dominant, usually left, hand. Have you tried it? You’ve probably heard about it…there’s even a book, Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain, that explains how the left hand is controlled by the right brain and so on.

I’ve been aware of left-handed drawing for ages, but didn’t seriously consider it a tool for producing the drawings I wanted to do. It was like a funny psychology exercise, right? Like writing while looking at your mirrored hand instead of your actual hand…it was something you did to prove some abstruse theory about the way the mind works, to make yourself feel uncomfortable, and to shake up your rigid ideas about how to do things…but after a few amazed comments and some laughter, you’re meant to go back to your good ol’ right hand drawings, because that’s the hand you really get important work done with, right?
barn swallow (RH)

Except that I tried to draw a simple swallow (using an old Reader’s Digest animal book for reference) two weeks ago, with my right hand, and the drawing was crap. This is not unusual, this is actually pretty much the norm with me. Most of my drawings are crap. They’re messy, overworked, spider-webbed things that don’t look quite right. Sometimes, after a laborious and geeky process of using grids and picture plane glass and all the gadgets and tools to help with drawing, I’ll have something I can use. Usually, though, I’ll end up taking a photograph (I try to use my own, so at least that bit is original), doing a line-drawing (often via drawing grids and things, sometimes by tracing the photo) then enlarging the line drawing using a pantograph. By this time, I feel disgusted with myself, for having to use these tools and ‘cheats’ to lay the foundation of my painting. By this time, I hate the painting I am making, because all it signifies to me is that drawing doesn’t come naturally and I have had to get around my inability to draw by using tracing paper and a photocopier.

Some artists talk about the immediacy, a connection, a current of living energy that flows from what the eye sees to what the hand draws, the joy of drawing. For me, arriving at the finished thing has always been a pain in the arse, and the finished work is always disappointing. Whatever I make this way feels false. Like a lie I am ashamed of and try to hide from others. For years I have agonised over the fact that I never seem to have a connection with the subject I am drawing—it’s like I’ve used math and measuring sticks to transfer the image, seen by my eyes, to the paper. It’s mechanical and lifeless. Most of my paintings are based on this kind of drawing…no wonder I seem to hate everything I paint! If the foundation is a lie, how can the painting that goes over it be anything but a continuation of that lie?

I drew my crappy barn swallow, then thought I’d try using my left hand…what could I lose? If the results were even more hopeless, I would just have to do the old ‘trace, enlarge and transfer’ rigmarole again for my upcoming Menagerie-themed group show. No grids, no rulers, no measuring, I just put the pencil down on the canvas, and started.

barn swallow (LH)A second of stunned silence when I had finished. Certainly, the left-handed swallow looked much better than the right-handed one. There were none of those hesitant, spidery lines that I usually use to ‘stroke’ a drawing into existence. There were no huge malformed parts to erase and correct. My lines were more assertive, they started and ended strongly, and I didn’t have to go back a squillion times or rub out huge parts as I usually do. Also, the bird positioned itself perfectly on the square canvas…there was nothing to change. It just sat there, with great negative spaces around it, using up the square shape in an interesting way.

I had, maybe for the first time in my life, been PRESENT at the event, instead of trying to draw while the mind tried to measure the distance between this wing and that tail feather, or rattled off the qualities of birdness and what it was ‘supposed’ to look like, or tore the drawing apart with criticism and loathing as I went. What you can’t see in this photo is how wonderful it had felt to do the drawing…how simple, how easy it suddenly seemed, and how perfectly content I was to just draw; how quiet and meek my (usually merciless) critical mind was, and how satisfying it was to reach the end of the bird drawing and find that I liked it, basic line drawing that it was. It was pure Joy. The joy of drawing. At long last. And I realised with a start that there are two parts to drawing…the action, and the thing you get at the end, and that the action was, by far, the more rewarding and precious of the two. I understand, now, how some people can draw countless exercises and sketches, and never show them to anybody or even keep them…because the point wasn’t the piece of paper at the end, the addicting, ecstatic feeling comes from the doing. It was a revelation to me.

So, back to the swallow…I was very surprised. Is it just a fluke, because I’ve already had some practice drawing this bird with my right hand? I tried again…an atlantic salmon, then a marmoset, then a wombat (which I later crossed with a Galapagos giant tortoise) and *amazement growing* the magic held…each drawing was extremely simple, but nevertheless was confident, proportioned, perfectly positioned on the canvas (without me doing any measuring at all!) and looked great.

menagerie paintings in progressI’m still in awe. Now I stare at my left hand, sometimes, like it’s a separate entity from myself. All this time I was fighting to control the process with my right-hand-left-brain autocrat, and you’ve been sitting there quietly all along?

Well, better late than never…what if I had never given my left hand a try? I might never have discovered my left-hand’s aptitude for drawing. And now my left hand and I must make up for lost time…what else can we do together? So far I’ve done 14 drawings of animals with my my non-dominant hand, but did all the painting with my right hand. What would happen if I painted with my left? I can’t wait to try and find out!

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