Friday, December 30, 2011

Retrospective Almost Finished!

A few weeks ago, I began a painting of a retrospective of another that I had done years ago.  I have been working on the fine details of it lately and just leaving it alone so I can get it right when I can get to it.  Seeing that it's around the Silly Season, I haven't really had time to sit down to it lately and really work on it.  Afterwards I will.  So, seeing I haven't had a recent photo of it up, I thought to take an nice photo of it this morning before going out with my iTouch (which I received for Christmas).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Art Exhibition Application!

I'm going for it!  I'm applying for an exhibition in 2013.  I have filled out most of the application and have to get together my cd with photos of the completed pieces for the board to look at.  The gallery I'm aiming to show at is where I work:  The Logan Art Gallery.  And I am hoping to get my work into the First Gallery; this is the one which is the first room to your left when you walk through the doors.  It's got an even feel about it, a great look and I'd love to have my work in there.
I currently have about six pieces which are finished and two more that are being worked on.  So, I'll have enough to cover the walls.  Wish me luck that my application will be accepted! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Work

It's the holidays, and I'm still working on my paintings.  This time around, I've got some flowers I've been working on that I love.  They are simple, yet not as easy as they look.
I have enjoyed painting this one... it's been the most relaxing out of all my paintings.  Now, I've found the one that began it and I'll be fixing it up to put it with this one as a retrospective piece and they'll be sold as a pair.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Progress In The Past Year

A lot has happened over the past twelve months with my art - and everyone else's.  As some of you know, I've had the most horrendous time with new neighbours and with all artists, it's our environment that can inspire us or make our muse take a hike for a long time.  For me, I found I couldn't work due the hostility of my next door neighbour's wife.  She didn't like me doing anything around my place; from reading to gardening, to do the laundry, I wasn't allowed to do it while she was around... pathetic and very childish.
Then, one of my art friends - Geoff - suggested I try out doing my self-portrait.  I'm not very good at painting people, and so it had never crossed my mind.  So, I grabbed a piece of Masonite, sanded it down and painted it orange and then tried my best to draw a picture of me.  But it didn't work.  So, I scrubbed it and painted over it green, put on some music and painted what my mind saw when I closed my eyes when the Red Hot Chili Peppers thumped through the speakers of my stereo.  The initial white outline didn't look much, but I took it from there.  Four months later, I had a finished work of art that I was happy with; and I cleaned off a new piece of Masonite, painted it up and started on a new painting that evening and haven't stopped since.
It's now December and I'm working on my sixth piece this year.  I have about four original pieces and two others that I have fixed up from my archives that I rushed when I did them.  I'm so proud of the paintings I've done and that I've achieved so much and come so far.
Also this year, I posed for Geoff as a model for a collection of work he was painting.  There were four paintings he did and had hung in Barsoma's in Fortitude Valley.  I had posed in March, when it was still warm and the paintings were shown in July for a week or so; along with a few others of his from his collection he had done.
A few months back, I went to an art opening at the Logan Art Gallery and chatted to Annette Turner (who used to be our Curator) and she asked how my work has been going.  I told her what went on; and that I did my first self-portrait and she was impressed.
I have been knitting still; just not as fast as I usually do in Winter due to the warm nights.  So, I have lots of nice knitting yarn still sitting around waiting to be used in a bag here at home.  Also, I have learned about a few things about my outsider art that's a bit sad.  My first tree that I attached my yarn bombing to in Kookaburra Park on Park road has been removed by the Logan City Council.  They fixed up the gardens and the park there - giving it a facelift - and that tree was taken out in the process.  So, there went the first tree.  I'm not sure about my other tree projects as I haven't checked on them lately, but it's been a few years since I did any yarn bombing so I'd say they've seen a lot of the weather and are most probably gone by now.
More recently, I've taken up a very old hobby that I thought I'd never take back up again:  sewing.  Mum and Dad bought me a Elna 1000 Sewing Machine for my birthday in October and I was kinda disappointed.  However, after looking at it for a week, I thought that the saying about having lemons you make lemonade rung true; and so I did.  I had noticed that books I was receiving through the mail were either smelly or stained and wondered if this problem could be avoided.  And so, my idea for my Book Baggies came about.  I've been perfecting them and making sure they are lovely and bright and in just the right fabric for everyone to use.  And I've been taking one everywhere with me to use as a prototype in a lovely eye-catching colour.  And now, my PayPal account is up and running, I'm hoping it will be easier for people to contact me about them.
'Lost Pages' - a painting about Writers Block.

All four paintings I had done by mid-year.

'Chained to the Sink' - an artworks I did at a knitting worship in Sept.

'Melting Flowers: A Retrospective' - My most current work.

'Message In A Bottle: Part 1' - From my Archives

My New Book Baggies.

'Flower Power' - From My Archives
 So, what has your year brought you artistically?  Has your work moved forward?  Or are you at an unfortunate standstill?  Have you sold any of your work?  Have you made the papers in any way?  Let us know, leave a comment.  Love to hear from you all. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seven In One Go!

Today, I made great steps in my Book Baggies.  It's been a few weeks since I started working out the templates and sewed my first few on the sewing machine.  Today, I wanted to see how it would go doing them with a straight stitch and working with the folds the way they are.  And, you know, it all worked!  Each time I put the baggies through the machine, each one became easier and easier to do.  I found better and easier ways to work it.  By around 3:30pm (I began work at 12:30pm), I had gotten seven of the baggies done!  How good is that?  There are the ones you see here, a green one with stars on it, another with reindeer on it and another purple one (as well as the purple ones you see here).
I also made two more new templates that made inbetween sizes!  This will fix the problems of having something that may be too big or too small... there's the inbetween size that I can make for people who wish to stash notebooks or a certain sized book that is too big for the small one, but too small for the medium one.  So, here they are,  I have found great, thick, brighter fabrics that will look great and feel wonderful once I get them finished.

I'm going to personalise the book baggies with buttons and letters/initials so that they get a feel about them; a more personal feel of ownership.  Otherwise, I'll be sticking to thicker, vibrant fabrics that hold books or notepads.  
The price listing is below; along with a flat rate of postage and handling.  Let me know if you'd like to know anything else about this item.  I'll be more than willing to answer any questions.

Small: $5.00
Small-Medium: $7.00
Medium: $7.50
Medium-Skinny: $7.50
Medium-Large: $8.00
Large: $10.00
P/H: $5.00 flat rate.

If there's something you don't see - and would like done differently to yours (like an initial or something else), let me know, however it may add to the cost a little.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Work - A Retrospective Piece

I've begun a new piece based on an old piece of work.  Years ago, I painted a vase of Melting Flowers that were sitting on my parent's kitchen table over a weekend as they wilted in the heat.  In my eyes, they were truly melting as each flower drooped in the Summer Heat and the petals fell to the table.  It wasn't hard to get the right feel for the heat in the painting.  However, my Mum hates the painting itself as she thinks it's creepy, to me it's just a vase of flowers with the colour of them melting onto the tabletop. 
This new painting it along the same lines, but it's a close-up of a couple of the flowers I painted all that time ago.  I only started it a few days ago; and I'm happy with the results so far.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bribie Island - Full of Artworks and History

Yesterday, I went out with the other volunteers of the Logan Art Gallery for our annual Christmas Party to Bribie Island where we visited some great arty places.  The first was the Matthew Flinders Art Centre and an arts market which was next to it.  As we disembarked from the bus, we found the carpark was a lot cooler than the bus itself... how bad is that to know that we had been sweating it out even worse than the people outside?  
Well, I gave the art centre a miss and hit the market as I hadn't been to one in over a year; and I scored some Byron Bay coffee ($8.00), a cake of Neem soap and some Lemon and Myrtle soap as well - both $2.00.  There were wood-turners, people who turned a piece of wire into a bracelet, gems, knitters, gardeners... all kinds of people who did all kinds of arts.  I didn't get to see them all.
Too soon, we were back on the bus and off to the Bribie Island Bowls Club to have a lovely roast lunch.  The beautiful air conditioning made it hard for us to go back out into the heat of the day; but we did after we received our gifts of a wood-spun pen in a matching wooden case!  Beautiful and it writes well too!
The next place was a Seaside Museum which housed many things about Matthew Flinders, Bongaree and Ian Fairweather (who lived in a hut on Bribie Island for many years).  There was a lot of different exhibitions in this museum - traveling as well as permanent ones - and it was a great place to visit.  The only thing the pulled it down was that the place had only one toilet to service the whole building.  I bought a money box resembling Nemo (from the movie 'Finding Nemo'; as he was my favourite from the film); but found out today that I couldn't put in 50c pieces as they'll go in but won't come out - damn!
The whole day went by at a steamy, slow pace and we all bundled on board the hot bus where the air-conditioning didn't work and tried to have a bit of a siesta (and failed) even with the windows open.  I was so grateful to arrive home and have a nice cool shower to get the sweat and sunscreen off me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

John Hancock... and that's it!

Well, after a few weeks' work, I've finished up 'Lost Pages'.  Now, that makes it two paintings awaiting my signature because I'm on a roll with getting onto the next one!  Yesterday, I sanded down the next piece of Masonite, painted it green and it's currently waiting for me to begin an outline on it... of what I'm not sure.  This will be my 6th painting this year if I finish it before the year's out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lost Pages Update

I've been working hard on 'Lost Pages'.  However, recently, I had to stop and wait for my pay to come around and buy some blue paint.  The problem with this is that the paint I wanted - and needed - for the background didn't come in the bottle I wanted.  So, I have had to compromise and use a darker colour.  This is something I thought this was going to ruin the way the painting looked, however, it hasn't.

 I think the darker blue brings out the colours better and I'm now happy I bought it instead of trying to get the lighter colour exactly right.  I am still going to put the white where it originally was, and update all the other colours as well.  I hope this painting ends up looking better and fresher than it did before.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


There's a few people out there who know I love to photograph pretty much anything that's out there; even if some people don't like it.  I'm often not without my camera and it's amazing what you can photograph when you're out and about these days; especially when you're not looking for anything specific.  I thought to share with you a few of my favourite photos I've taken in the last few months - and years - since I moved from film camera to a digital.  
Me meeting Sir James Galway and his wife Lady Jeanne 2010

A garden art piece outside the Con in Brisbane take last week or so.

A Temple given to Brisbane by the people of Nepal 1988.

Taken: 17th, Sept 2011 at 4:30pm

 I enjoy taking photos and these were taken on a Canon point and shoot... a very basic camera that I've had for a few years now; and takes a great photo in almost any light.
What photos have you taken with your most basic of cameras which has turned out great?  Please do share your best.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lost Pages Revamp

Years ago, I had writer's block in a serious way; and so seeing I was painting a lot, I thought to do a painting about it.  And so, 'Lost Pages' was created.  However, I have found - years later - that it was rushed even though it's mostly finished.  So, I've decided to get stuck into it over the next few weeks and see what I can do with it to complete its colours, texture and feel.  
Now, it's got a very basic message:  Writer's Block sucks.  And it does.  But I really wanted to say it in a very graceful way; however, it doesn't look all that graceful and on closer inspection I've found that the painting doesn't have the polished look it could have had.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Scrounging Pieces of Work

One of the most fun things I love to do in my spare time is to go scrounging when it's Council Pick-Up time.  People can have the most fascinating things to throw out.  I once saw a broken up stereo system and grabbed a piece of it, brought into my place all because I saw a $2.00 coin stuck in the back of the mechanics of it!  Yep, I was money poor and needed the cash, but I pulled it apart and got that coin out and put it away the Sunday paper the following week.
Most times, whenever there's scrounging to be had around a unit complex, we have people who do what is commonly called 'a runner'.  It's where they haven't paid their rent and are in trouble with the law and they don't have any money to move their stuff, so they just leave everything - but their clothes - and the rest of us grab what we like from the car port (once it's all out there).
Another time - this year in fact - I was walking down Kingston Road and found a bag full of books sitting outside somebody's house.  I checked the whole bag and found it was just books - and nothing else (as these people have little kids and I didn't wish to have their old toys mixed in) - and so I bundled up the books and took them home with me; leaving them just inside the front door before I went out again to go grocery shopping for the day.
One time, one of my friends (they've moved since), minded some furniture for a flatmate in their car port.  They covered it all over with a tarpaulin and made sure it was secure.  When they hadn't heard from him in a month, and tried to contact him and found that he was nowhere to be found, they let everyone have a go at his stuff.  I scored a little black coffee table and two nests of 3-legged shelves.  The rest of the stuff vanished within the weekend of it being a free-for-all!  A week later, he came back and was shocked they let his stuff go.  They did explain that they couldn't find him... so he had to start over again with furniture; unfortunate but true.
The old black coffee table I've had for about 5 or 6 years.
The new coffee table I found outside a house at Keperra yesterday
Over the last year or so, I've been looking for a coffee table to replace the little black one I've had for around five or six years - since that time of scrounging from that car port of furniture and only needing that one thing - and yesterday, I spotted the new one I needed!  It was sitting on a footpath outside a house at Keperra and Mum and I drove past it!  And being the kind of person I am, I spent about half and hour at my brother's house before I walked back to the house and found it still sitting there waiting for me!  Yay!  I looked it over - and made sure it wasn't damaged or had any broken rungs - before looking around the street.  Once I knew the coast was clear and nobody was coming out of the house to stop me from taking it away (as some people do), I picked it up, balanced the top of it on top of my head (with the legs sticking up skyward) and began walking back the way I had come.  Yeah, I looked peculiar with a coffee table on my head, but it was the best way to travel seeing nobody else came with me.  So, there you have it, my most recent find!  What have you scrounged lately that has made your place look great - and you'd swear it looks a million dollars?  Leave a comment and let us all in on your secrets?  Until my next post, keep creating!

Monday, October 17, 2011

From Prototype to Finished Product!

Not long ago, I put up a prototype of a book baggie for the protection and safe transportation of any beloved books I happen to borrow from my friends on Bookcrossing or family; and I thought to show some of my great friends on to see what they thought.
I received wonderful reviews from all of them.  A few of them saying they'd buy one off me once I got the bugs all fixed in them.  Well.... guess what!  I ran the design by my Mum (who knows a little more about sewing than I do; as I'm really rusty at it) and she suggested a few small changes; I took them down, changing how the whole bag looks and feels.  And here are the first two baggies I've made for a birthday gift for a friend on Bookcrossing.  Now, I may have wrecked part of her birthday gift; but I'm really eager to have the opinion of my followers and friends on this.  Then, I'll get in and make some for anyone who wishes to own one of these (or more) for Christmas.

See how you can fit more than one book inside the baggie.. great, eh?

and it closes comfortably too...
I found with my prototypes that when I took one of them places, people noticed how nice they were - even if they were made from cheap material - and they were bright enough to ensure I didn't leave my book somewhere it wasn't supposed to be.

My First Sewing Project - Finished!

I've had my Elna 1000 Sewing Machine for a little under a fortnight now and I've already finished my first project around the house.  It's a cover for my turntable.  I've had a stereo system - with a separate turntable - for some years and it's always sat in the sun.  So, I made a calico cover to protect the plastic lid and so it didn't become brittle over time.  This was supposed to be temporary; however, it stayed for more than three years!
This year, I hunted around for a nice fabric and found some at a fabric store at Logan Central for $4.00 per metre and it's purple with musical symbols all over it; perfect for what I want it to express.  So, I took off the calico cover, unpicked it, and spread it over the wrong side of the purple fabric and pinned it on each corner and one pin on each side.  Then, I cut it out. 
This was my first attempt - hemming the whole thing up with pin first.

My second attempt - not hemming it and sewing it inside out.

I love the contrasting white stitching.
At first, I pinned up a hem and thought about sewing up that way.  However, Mum suggested that I just turn it inside out and pin the corners at the back and fold it in at the front and sew it all inside out and see how it goes.  So, I did; and it worked out fine.  Besides the white stitching showing (and really I don't care if it does), it looks as good as I thought it would.  Until my next post, keep creating.

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Techniques

When I went to Chris Zantis' Workshop at the Logan Art Gallery, I learnt a few new techniques in knitting that I could work into my own style.  In the last couple of days, I have been working on trying them out.

The first one was knitting a cord.  Now, how you do this simple.  What you need is a pair of double-ended needles and some yarn.  Cast on 3 - 4 stitches, then, instead of turning the needles around, you push them to the other end and knit them.  Then push them to the other end and repeat.  Keep doing this until the cord is as long as you need it to be and you've made a cord; as you can see in photo.  If you use a tri-coloured yarn, it turns into strips; very cool!
The next thing I learnt is how to knit with Cinderella Yarn.  This yarn is corded yarn - instead of wool - that has pom-poms attached to it to make knitting a challenge.  Now, at first, this made knitting too hard for me; and I didn't know how to get into this yarn; not until I went to Chris' workshop.  I was advised to knit the cord and not the pom-poms and to make sure the little pom-poms are kept to the back of the front needle (the one you're knitting onto in your right hand).  Otherwise, keep an eye on how many stitches are on your needles and take your time as it can be really hard to begin with.  I'm on my second attempt right now and it's going okay.

So, what have you learnt recently that you'd like to pass onto us?  Leave a comment and let us know.  Until my next post, keep creating!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Old Hobby Returning

When I was a teenager, I went to night-school and learnt how to sew.  I did this because I was failing high school; and didn't want to look like I was flunking out of everything.  Now, back then, we had to obtain the permission of the school I attended for me to go to night college/class to do this.  Nowadays, our teenagers can go and just get their parent's permission because it'll add to their overall score.  
Well, last week, I celebrated my 38th birthday; and Mum and Dad thought it was about time I owned my first sewing machine.  Now, I used to sew and could follow patterns easily a long time ago; but now, it's a matter of re-learning how to make a template, measuring the fabric twice, cutting once, then pinning and hoping I get it all correct.  
Today, I made my own custom-made Book Baggy.  It's a smaller version of a pillow case and it looks good.  here's the photos of the first one for my journal so I can leave it out and yet nobody will know what it is.

It's a little bigger than I thought it was going to be... but I guess it just needs tweaking.  Oh well, I guess it's all to do with how people start out in designing things.  Besides, it's a new thing for me to begin with.  So, what do you think?  Nice or not?  Would you use one?  If not, why not?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Leaps and Bounds

Since the ending of the Name That Painting Competition, I have been working hard on the finishing touches on 'Flower Power'.  It's been coming forward quickly and very well as the week has passed by.
I've been adding details to the petals of the flowers and dimension to the flower centres to make it really jump from the canvasboard.  Here are a few photos that I have taken of its progress.

I hope to finish it completely within the next week and sign it; then move onto the next painting to fix up from my archives.