paints and pens, stuff i've made

Lace on the skin

A Night in MoroccoInspired by North African henna deigns, I put paint in a fine-tipped squeeze bottle and applied it to a painting of hands in exactly the same way that one would apply real henna. then I stamped the dark blue background in gold acrylics with a small hand-carved wooden printing block from India, and picked out the petal shapes in a lighter perriwinkle blue. So simple and quick, but very satisfying. I love intricate ornamental patterns. Very happy with this finished painting: romantic, feminine and it looks like lace from across the room.

All in all, a good way to have spent the day! :)

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I love abstract painting…probably because it is so much harder to do well, because there is nothing familiar, recognisable to comfort the viewer or fool her into thinking that she understands anything about the work or the artist behind the work.

It is paint dancing on its own, when paint is not being coerced into parading as something else…like a tree, or Magritte’s treacherous image of a pipe that is not a pipe (because, hello, it is paint). I’m still amazed when I meet people who will discuss a painting of something as though it is that thing, and not a skin of paint dried on canvas. Reminds me of the simple folks in the Philippines who would throw drink cans and rubbish at a movie screen when the bad guy appeared…

“I’m very interested in when something coalesces, so when something that could feel random and chaotic stops feeling like that and feels balanced, and at ease with itself, when it stops being cacophony and starts being rhythm and music…”

I’m very interested in that, too. Counting the days till the Mermaid I work for comes back…

Exhibits, journaling + mail art, mixed media, paints and pens, stuff i've made

The Art of Tea Exhibition is on this weekend

Tactile Arts Exhibition: The Art of Tea

Tactile Arts Contemporary Craft Studios & Gallery
19 Conacher St., Fannie Bay, Darwin, NT
Opening 10:30 AM on Saturday, May 3rd
Runs till May 25 2014

Tactile Arts comprises dozens of talented craftspeople and artists working in glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and anything else you can name, so if you love tea motifs you’re sure to find something delightful at this themed exhibition. These are what I’ve put in:

tea journals

gold roses tea cup

albatross tea  cup

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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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paints and pens, stuff i've made

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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I experience a visceral delight whenever I see anything made by mad genius Jesse Reno. A real “Artist’s Artist”, and one of my absolute favorites, he is often grouped with the Outsider Art (a.k.a. Art Brut) movement, an artistic environment I find compelling, irresistible, alive and of-the-moment. Abstract narratives. Contemporary primitivism. A large and strong dictionary of symbols and icons that come together to form maps of Reno’s wisdom and experiences. Unapologetically personal and confrontational and courageous.

In addition to being a brilliant painter, Jesse composed, recorded, and produced all the music.

This video is over 20 minutes long, though I always find myself wishing it would go on forever. I could spend the rest of my life just watching Jesse paint. Every one of his books is a must-have.

paints and pens, stuff i've made

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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paints and pens, stuff i've made

aquarelle, ma belle

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I’ve got eight days off, and by the time I go back to work it will be 2014. The monsoon moved in about a week ago, and it has been grey, damp, and rainy most of that time. To while away the dark and gloomy days, I’ve embarked on something new. Two weeks ago I was given a really special present by my favorite mermaid: a 12 half-pan tin of Schmincke Horadam watercolours. Such beautiful paints (or so I’ve heard…I’ve never actually used real watercolours, as people were always telling me that watercolour is the hardest medium, and I never worked up the courage to try them)!

Claudia Nice “Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor”

My mission, now, is to learn how to use these paints. I’ve bound a little painting book of 100% cotton rag paper especially for this adventure, and I have one reference book (by Claudia Nice…it’s from Jacksons Drawing Supplies) to help with achieving the look of different textures and materials (good tips on creating the effects of glass, metal, rust, wood, stone, fur, feathers, heaps more…) using aquarelles and pen & ink. That’s all I wanted, really: someone to show me how to make a calm sea look smooth and glassy, or a bear look deeply furry, and not the other way around.

(I tease Kris about this in his acrylic paintings…everything, from human limbs to stone walls, looks like it is made out of plasticine. ;) )

The planning ahead and keeping things light and translucent was a struggle for me but—headphones in and set up at the table outside, with plenty of natural light—I really lost myself in it.

UntitledI started with the blue bottle from Nice’s book (but my wonky drawing has produced a square-sided bottle with a round base) and then tried the techniques out using a real perfume bottle. Then I got ambitious and spread some acrylic plastic beads on the table, and tried to paint them.

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There’s something so wonderfully simple about this medium…the idea that a small paint tin, a demitasse of water, a soft brush and a pocketbook of rag paper are all you need to go into the world and start painting what you see. It all fits into a small shoulder bag! It really is the ideal traveler’s medium, and I can’t wait to take it with me on all my big trips next year.

Before that happens, though, I really must work on my drawing skills…look at these wonky half-pans of paint! Talk about distorted view…

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