Thursday, October 20, 2011

Saturday, October 01, 2011

:: Days 9, 10, 11 + 12 of 120 Days of Making a Drawing ::

I'm still here and still doing this challenge! [just in case anyone is wondering...could've looked like I just gave up!] In truth, Day 9 was a toughie - the come-down after spending so long describing Nana Joy, perhaps - or maybe I'd psyched myself into thinking I had to achieve the same level of depth and I was a touch grumpy...ok - I was behaving in a fairly savage manner to those dearest and closest...and obviously feeling out of sorts...not finding inspiration in anything around me...oh, DEAR!
And then Aaron brought home a gorgeous pair of Oriental Lily stems - et voila - my muse for the following days...

 this drawing may look more than a little's called a 'Blind Contour Drawing' and it is literally made without looking at the page at all and all in one continuous line (which helps with the sense of feeling like one knows where the pencil is on the page). It is a way of training the eyes to really notice what they are seeing, so drawing as slowly as possible also helps this experience.  The concept was popularised by Kimon Nicolaides, who also thought drinking caffeine before drawing wouldn't really enhance the experience!! ooops!
These I drew using a hard-ish charcoal pencil - which gives a lot more control and a darker impression...liked using the pencil - much less messy...did I just write that?
took me awhile yesterday to get into it - so tried another blind contour, this time just looking at the external lines of the whole subject before me...quite freeing and fun - no attachment!
And this drawing also had a sense of freedom - this time very unexpected - as I often am so intent on interpreting what I see as the real thing, that I get a little too busy with the rubber (eraser - for non-rubber-understanding people), perfecting a line - and getting very 'caught-up' in this.  Whilst immersed in this drawing, I felt a switch and decided that if my proportions weren't going exactly true to the lilies I was looking at, that I would honour the mark in the position it was and just continue on...without the rubber and it's little petty tyrant commentary that went with it..."that isn't right, get rid of that!", etc As I progressed I sensed a strong improvement in the confidence of my mark-making...YES!!! And the drawing just is as it is...a drawing.

Monday, September 26, 2011

:: Day 8 - 120 Days of Making a Drawing ::

Nana Joy
The holidays...aaahhh! Day one - and as Jo over at Indigo Inspirations quite rightly says: "time to breathe out!".  Just a little more space is so welcome in these hectic times.  And when I have a little more space I can get all absorbed in something like this.  This drawing of my Nana Joy - who is almost 95, by the way - I have been wanting to use as a practise piece for my portrait-drawing for a while.  I took the photo last October on the evening of her 94th birthday and I think it is the nicest photo (if I do say so myself!!) of my Nana, who usually has to be sneaked up on to get any photo of her - she doesn't much like having photos taken.  She looked radiant at dinner that night.
I spent over 3 hours today on this easy to become engaged in a subject like Nana.  There is so much interesting detail to discover on such a wise face - and much compassion to learn as well - the person being drawn is almost under a microscope - so all their little vulnerabilities are there for inspection and interpretation.  I had a most intriguing experience drawing today - thank you Nana Joy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

:: 120 days of making a drawing Day 7 ::

...hmmmm...we had a big day began with a breakfast out at House of Gabriel, on the Tweed River, at Tumbulgum (I just love the sound of that little town - sounds like it ought to be in a fairy story...about mischievious gnomes, or gum-nut babies...?). Very entertaining breakfast - as all and sundry of the surrounding male gender were all out on show on the river in and on their various 'toys' - parading it up and down, using their very clean and flash automotive toys to deliver and receive back again said aquatic toys...very entertaining...all boys...and their - I'm not jealous! At all.
We'd thought we were achieving clever geographic-planning by choosing this little gem of a cafe for our special breakfast out, as we were then heading to the Tweed River Aquatic Centre for a fun birthday party involving waterslides!
Alas, technology let the day down and our festivities were relocated to...Ballina...only about 80km's SOUTH of where we'd so...cleverly (as we'd thought!) placed ourselves...with plenty of time to reach our party...we thought!
We hoofed it back down the highway and...would you believe...driving at the speed limit or less...were the first to arrive for the relocated party.
Big day on the water slides, which ended very dramatically as Ballina was literally bombed by a seriously heavy hailstorm which arrived after about an hour's ominous thunder and lightening grumbling foreplay...truly looked like it had snowed in Ballina this afternoon.
So today's drawing comes in the form of a fantasy sketch/doodle done in the car... : )

:: 120 days of making a drawing Day 6 ::

there are so many body-bits I'd like to not feet today? I found a pretty basic reference  book: The Human Figure A Photographic Reference by Erik A. Ruby at the Brunswick Heads Old + Gold Festival this year for the bargain price of $1! Basic and very seventies...but still has just what I need for my kind of drawing practise at the moment.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

:: 120 Days of Making a Drawing Day 5 ::

we have an old Kombi back bench-seat - salvaged from a van being converted into a travelling abode - residing on our back deck, facing West...perfect for slumping into, to watch the last rays washing everything golden, so all appears magical...and perfect!

And from that very comfortable spot I sat late yesterday afternoon, with drawing book and chalk and wondered what the heck I would the end of another very full and wonderfully-inspiring day at eyes first focused on the cactus - so that was it - couldn't even think enough to make a choice further, the cactus on the ledge it was!!

Lady with an Ermine (left)
 And this is the inspiring stuff we co-created at school yesterday!  We were each asked to choose 13 tiny (4cm x 3cm) rectangles randomly from a paper bag, each of which were one of 90 rectangles, which together were a da Vinci masterpiece...although we did not know what we were creating - we were not allowed to see the print of the painting!
We then received 13 pieces of painting card - each 20cm high x 15cm wide and set about painting each piece as best we could represent what we saw.  We used acrylic paint and each mixed all the colours we 'saw'. The group worked feverishly to complete this within the day - seven of us, including the tutor, Michelle Dawson, since we were a small group on Friday. Once the pieces began to be placed onto the grid, it suddenly became thrilling to watch our image materialise...very exciting!!

The course we are taking is run in two groups - a Mon/Tues group and our group is the Thurs/Fri group.  The Mon/Tues group created the painting on the right and ours is the beauty on the left...Lady with an Ermine...and on the wall she hangs proudly at 2 metres tall by 1.35 metres wide!

What do you think about that?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

:: 120 Days of Making a Drawing Day 4 ::

Here she four...not much to say really, other than - I fitted it into a busy day and pleased I did - maybe suffice to say I was well-supported by husband to make the effort and get it done!  Looking forward to the weekend and days with a little more breathing space in them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

:: 120 days of making a drawing DAY 3 ::

I appear to be on a roll.  So I will just go with it.  As I chattered my way to sleep late last night after tumbling into bed closer to eleven than ten, I vaguely remember annoying poor husband with some notion that there was a life-drawing class on every Wednesday morning right here in Mullumbimby, just a long the road.  And I think I remember Aaron asking me "was I going to go?" and then thinking that I didn't really have a good reason to not go.... I went. To the Dynamic Drawing class at the Drill Hall in Mullum with Ron Curran.
LOVED it!  Apparently we had just a small class today, which meant extra help when required.  I managed 26 drawings in the 2 + hours of drawing...lots of 1-2 minute poses to get us loosened up and then into some longer ones.
Again, a most refreshing experience and one I'll definitely repeat.  By the end I was beginning to feel really confident to just make marks on the paper.  I found myself less in the rush which I've associated with life-drawing for myself in the past and more relaxed in my approach.  Also, to see what everyone else had produced in the session was enlightening and inspiring!'s a couple I feel brave enough to funny is that - who do you reckon was really the more exposed???

:: 120 days of making a drawing DAY 2 ::

It was quite simply the largest near-naked derriere I have ever seen and it was perched high above a pair of sky-scrapingly-high, glittering, platform court shoes, holding up not only the bottom, but the very substantial limbs, also.  Very refreshing - so large and so very feminine and so very out there.  I came away feeling humbled by the boldness and the courage of the soul in that luscious female body. And realised how narrow, indeed, our common media-driven concept of the parameters within which we females generally are supposed to fit, is. And...corsets do WONDERFUL things to form...

Right - well - back to the drawing...the lights were dim-ish, I scuttled in, alone, hurried to a corner seat, where I hoped no-one else would be able to overlook my shoulder and settled in...not knowing what to expect. was good fun!!  I have not enjoyed myself so much in a very long time...and I got in my drawing practise for day TWO of my challenge as here are just a couple of pieces of evidence of my foray into dr.Sketchy's burlesque life-drawing...

...bring on day three...I'm off to Dynamic Drawing for my third day of the challenge...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

:: the 120 Day Do What You Love Challenge ::

ok, so I was feeling like I needed a little something extra to motivate my own artistic practise generally, of a day, type of thing...  Sure - I attend the visual arts course and attend to the homework, etc and I also want to be able to just draw everyday as an independent thing I love doing...
...and then I heard about the "120-day do what you love" challenge on the lighthouse lounge on Bay-FM yesterday morning and I thought: "that's it! Make a drawing everyday."  And, so I have begun...
...and it is brave to make the posting here, showing you what I'm doing...and I think it's important for me, too, as it will be another little check-point along my path to motivation.

Here she is, number 1.  Guess who, at nearly one?  Now, there is PLENTY I can see that needs improvement just from the distance of a day, etc - it's a start, though! YES!!!
And, number two will be something from tonight's attendance at Dr Sketchy in Byron...nervous... wish me luck!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

:: home garden update ::

as I mentioned a post ago, what began as a soggy, grey Winter has turned into a period of golden weather with picture-perfect bright-blue skies arching over our abundant corner of the world...and, really, now it isn't even cold anymore.  Time to creep outside a little more and begin the waking up of the garden.  And that is what we did this weekend.
We worked steadily at weeding and ruthlessly removing plants that were really 'finished' and then tucking everything neatly back in place with a fresh bed of straw to encourage more worms and retain a little more moisture.  We actually need to water now - that is how dry it has become over the past several weeks!
I did discover we still have a healthy crop of small herbs including Italian Parsley, Oregano, Lemon Thyme and triple-curled parsley...the basil has finally given up and I was very disappointed to uncover the remains of the common thyme, which obviously hadn't enjoyed being overgrown and shaded out by its larger neighbours!  The chillis are delightful to spy, like Christmas ornaments and I'm leaving them there as long as possible...
And along those lines, this lovely Calendula bloom blazes with bright yellow-orange in a few places in the garden beds - I love seeing colour, as well as it being a healing plant and the possibility that a few more bees might visit our little patch of the background are the starry-white clusters of alyssum flowers...another helpful little flower-friend in the vegetable garden.
And, we are being nourished by these tasty greens over in the next bed...Kale, Cavalo Nero, Tat-soi, mizuna, rocket, red mustard (well, red!), silverbeet and perpetual silverbeet are all pretty happy bed-fellows, now that the heat and intensity of the Summer sun has gone.  Also popping up are some lovely self-sown lettuces, which is an extra-nice bonus...I'm all for letting a few plants go to seed and then waving them 'fairy-wand' style over the beds and to see what might come of it!
Most exciting was deciding to make a new 'no-dig' garden bed, extending West of the existing raised beds.  This is significant, of course, as we are only renting!  But, growing our food is important to us and we are running out of space - especially with tomatoes, zucchinis and broccoli on the seed-sowing list!  We scavenge quite a lot for our gardening all up this bed cost a total of $10, which was for the 2 bales of straw.  Aaron and Phoebe went to the skip of the local supermarket for cardboard boxes, which we lay down first (overlapping) - this is called sheet-mulching.  Then, we've found a great source of free wood-chip mulch, which is about 10 minutes away by car - so, admittedly there were two trips of filling buckets and tubs full of this mulch.  This was laid over the cardboard to provide drainage and to begin the process of making a soil base, eventually. This mulch also is heavy enough to hold the cardboard in place itself.  On top of that is laid the straw, quite thickly. The edging material was even free - it is palm tree-trunks, which were also at the mulch-spot!
When it comes time to plant into this bed, of course we will need a mixture of compost/soil - so will outlay some money on buying the compost - as ours is still in the process of maturing.
All in all it was a happy and productive weekend, in the open air, all three of us enjoying being part of our food production and making our home that bit more lovely to 'be' in. NICE!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

:: mid-winter in mullum ::

it is this kind of a day outside here in Mullumbimby today...all wispy clouds wandering over the expanse of the vast blue canvas we call the sky, stretching and morphing endlessly and almost impossibly. Today's variety had me walking home from a meeting with one eye mostly turned upwards...not wanting to miss anything...all so interesting!

This beautiful moon was on display in the morning sunshine back in June...this was the Winter weather we were sold on.  For awhile there it was looking like we were going to have to ask for a weather-refund.  Fortunately, we are now experiencing some gloriously-sunny days and the mud, the puddles and the mold are memories, quickly receding into the recesses of my mind...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

:: sculpture results ::

... so here are some of the pieces I've been busy creating to meet the requirements of the course I'm studying this year.  It is Certificate III in Visual Arts and Contemporary Crafts.
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a needle-felted piece sculpted around a wire has two outfits so far...these Summery leaves with fruit and a limey Spring canopy of leaves with pink blossoms...Phoebe, as you probably can tell from the 'accessories' had quite a long wish-list of things I really ought to create to complete the setting...for the moment, I'm planning on making a set of 'Autumn Leaves' as adornment for...well, Autumn, when that time comes!  I'm going to be brave and enter it into the Ocean Shores Art Expo - first time for everything, they say....well, I shall suck it up and enter...soon.
Arnhem Land style coiled basket
There was tremendous satisfaction in making my first basket that looked like a basket...this one is made from raffia, as opposed to the spinifex grass that is the natural, organic choice in the desert of Central Australia, where this style of coiled basket-weaving originated in the hands and hearts of the beautiful Arnhem land original people.  For some variation, the green is strips of a green silk dress that never did fit me very looks pretty in the basket, I think.
Organic glazed coiled vessels
Green, being a theme running along the celadon glaze in the interior of these little ceramic vessels. "Make something organic using the coil-work" was the brief on day two of our first ceramics experience ever...frozen at the thought of having to turn a squidgy grey square lump of wet clay body into something 'organic' (other than the shape in front of me), I went for the rounded rectangle of an anchovy tin in my 'creative' room at home...and this is the product that emerged...a glazing workshop several weeks down the track at our tutor's studio in the rainforest led to the delicate colour on the insides...they are glazed plain white on the other faces.
funny little houses for the season table?
 These funny little houses are just a crack-up to me...another 'frozen', "what the hell am I going to make?" moment...brief = architechtonic [specifically with angles] and habitat had me petrified and finally I went very angular...tealight shades, perhaps?  they've made a visit to our Season Table as gnome abodes...hmmm
Dodecahedron Family
And these guys...the Dodecahedron Family.  Paper, Scissors, Rock.  The Rock was the clay part.  Here's what I did with paper and scissors for the Assemblage part of our 3D/ Sculpture learnings...I just had to know whether I could make internal cones fit inside a dodecahedron, and then make another...somehow they're the parents and they made an! With external cones...our tutor liked it...hmmm. there you are...a progress report!

:: what has been keeping my fingers and brain busy ::

Phoebe's buff beauty rose...
I love roses, drawing and beauty and this is about 40+ hours of it from me.  The rose is special as it is a lovely, gently-apricot-coloured old-fashioned musk 'Buff Beauty' rose growing steadily over the fence at Possum Bend in the Hawke's Bay, on our property there.  It is very special because it is Phoebe's favourite rose and the photo I drew from was taken by her, although I composed the image for drawing like this, from her photo.
Much was learned through this piece of art...including unexpected physical pain from some rather extended drawing sessions! It is A2 size - so, decently large - and we intend framing it for the home. I did most of the drawing in 2B and 4B and then used a nice smooth graphite PROGRESSO pencil for the dark, glossy leaves - had to darken them three times in three separate sweeps! (oh, I mean, passes!)
Became a labour of love...and in the end...dedication!
Funny thing that happened:  I worked on it the other way - portrait (vertical) and as soon as it was finished I turned it 90 degrees to the landscape view as above and suddenly decided it was much better this way.  Well, I think that was funny!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

:: blog makeover ::

...time passes and seasons change...plans hastens and transforms...and here is the latest  version of my blog.  As we're in Mullumbimby, NSW, I've decided a new name is in order and Mullumbimby Musings feels right for here and now.  Inspired by another blogger's beautiful background pattern she got from Shabby Blogs, I decided I quite like this one...and...they're available for: free!
I've been busying myself with a Visual Arts and Contemporary Crafts Certificate, which is full-time study for me this year.  I'm feeling settled into the new rhythm now and am thinking...I have a little space for blogging again.  so, watch this space...I'm back! ; ) 

Monday, February 28, 2011

:: thank you, my family ::

there are so many things one can be grateful for and today I am so very grateful for my family in all senses of who they are for me.  THANK YOU, MY FAMILY.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

:: and the clock struck twelve ::

...we have an elderflower tree outside our bedroom window and after the flowers come lovely deep burgundy...elderberries cluster droopingly on the end of arching boughs.  Berries most attractive to this little guy...AT MIDNIGHT!
he THUNDERS over the roofing panels of our back deck like a heavy-footed, stumbling drunk, then on over the rest of the roof, until he settles on this tree next to our bedroom window...!
Finally we snapped him - proof!  For those that do not know, he is a 'possum' - and here in Australia they are a protected creature.  Hailing from NZ we are more familiar with an over-abundance of these 'introduced' animals and them being treated as a pest. Our disdain for them is met with confusion as most people here think they are cute and special...hmmm, not at midnight!