Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Letter A Week - I, J, K, L

This month has flown and my letters are due again. As always they are colourful, sort of untidy (compared to the VERY well crafted calligraphers work - see them at A Letter A Week), and could probably change slightly towards the end of the project.

I, J, K, L

Still can't decide the best way to display them.... box, concertina book, or one BIG collaged piece. Does anyone care to suggest an option?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekly Collage: Crime Scene

This week's 'Scrapiteria' theme is ... 'Scene Of The Crime'.  The collages submitted to this group must be cut and paste only, no mixed media, no digital images.  While this is not strictly my thing, I love a challenge and find the weekly theme exercises my creative brain.  Exercise is always a good thing.

My images are usually cut from glossy magazines that are past their prime.  National Geographic is a wonderful source of obscure images. Perhaps there is copyright attached to some of the photos, but they are so cropped, altered, and rearranged that they could generally not be recognised and so avoid that problem. 

My collage this week is a simple one.

The Maccas Murder or The Crime That Saved The World

I rather liked the message myself. Hope other people find it appealing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

From Photo to Easel

These days most of my work is done in the studio. Trekking around the countryside carrying masses of heavy art stuff is physically much too difficult.  Drawing al fresco is something that can be continued, and should be, ad infinitum.

Painting inspiration is sourced from the many 1000's of photos I take.  Not all of them are good, but even bad photos might just contain something catchy.... a composition, a range of colours, a connection between people. Like this shot, a snap taken at a birthday party.

A little alteration here and there, a little more expressive colour, and hey presto!

Of course many 'artists' pooh-pooh working from photos, but you still have to make lots of informed decisions to translate a photo to canvas with any degree of individuality.

I regard this as successful as it sold within a few hours of exhibiting, so someone liked it enough to open their wallet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Whale Watching

While we were visiting the Gold Coast last year, Richard & I did a whale watching trip.  It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. We had several whales around the boat, diving and breaching, so close that you could reach out and touch them. Naturally enough I was inspired to paint whales for this year's Rotary Artcoast Exhibition.  The result below is a relatively good photo of the work.

Whale Watching

I have three works entered for the Rotary Award.  The other two are not yet photographed.  Perhaps next post.

Scrapiteria's theme this week is 'Hands' and already there are some wonderful posts.  Mine is 'average' compared to some of the very creative ideas submitted.

"I've Got The Music In Me"
Definitely worth a look at: http://scrapiteria.blogspot.com/

Soon it will be the end of the month and I will need to have my next 'letters' done.  Where has the time gone?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Marat Revisited

In the course of 'playing' with collage I have been revisiting some favourite 'Old Masters' as a learning exercise.  It is not a new thing, copying famous works. Students of painting have been doing this for centuries.

The Death of Marat is a 1793 painting in the Neoclassic style by Jacques-Louis David and is one of the most famous images of the French Revolution. This work refers to the assassination of radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat, killed on the 13th of July 1793 by Charlotte Corday, a French Revolutionary figure from a minor aristocratic family. Corday, who blamed Marat for the September Massacres and feared an all out civil war, claimed "I killed one man to save 100,000."

My image, by the nature of collage, is much less detailed.  I hope that it captures some of the feeling of the original.  I regard it as a homage to Jacques-Louis David

Marat Revisited

Practising art is, as stated, constant practising, in the hope to one day be able to say with conviction... "I AM an artist".

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Since starting this blog I have neglected the fact that, until this year, most of my time was spent making pots... relatively successfully. That is, if the sale of everything I made is a measure of success.  I did win a few decent awards, mainly for non-functional, or funky, teapots. While in Sydney I won two firsts in the Sydney Teapot Show, and since moving here have also won the 'Creative Teapot' award at the Maleny Teapot Show.

"Hello Sailor" - (non-functional teapot)
"The Flasher" -(non-functional teapot)
These teapots came from a complete series, over many years, of 'conversational' pots that I will soon add to this blog in my portfolio. I will need to scan some photos (when I find time) as I began this series before digital cameras.

This is the year to give up pots in favour of painting.  It is far too difficult to do both successfully, and I really love to paint.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Exhibition Opening

Saturday night fellow bloggers Fiona and Barry opened their exhibition at Studio 4 Gallery on the Sunshine Coast.  It was a beautiful Queensland evening and the gallery was buzzing.  The work is exquisite and the collaboration between the two is perfect.

In the above photo I am holding some earrings that Kim won in a giveaway by 'Altered Alchemy' blogger Luthien Thye. She brought them to the opening just to show me. I sooo admired them she let me hold them for a moment or two.

I purchased a gorgeous bowl made by Barry who explained the in-depth construction process. Not only does he use recycled metals, timber, etc., in his work but he also makes some of the necessary tools required.

I found this bowl particularly appealing because of the different metals and the folds. His work can be found here:    http://barrysmithart.com/

Fiona's quiet, reflective calligraphy and bookmaking was the perfect counterpoint to these robust works. I loved this book.
"No Return"

"No Return" - detail
You can find more of her work here:    http://fionadempster.com/

Congratulations to both artists.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Matchbox Collage

I came across collage site (http://scrapiteria.blogspot.com/) in my travels across the ether.  This group of collagists posts a challenge each week and I couldn't resist this one.

The brief was to collage the inside of a matchbox!  Too good to pass up. My efforts are not too neat, but hey, neatness is not my forte these days.

"Eye In The Sky"
My matchbox was 5 x 3 cm, very tiny, and might not even be published on their blog, but I felt compelled to give it a go.

Last night I went to Fiona & Barry's new exhibition opening at a lovely, intimate little gallery at "Town Of Seaside" (romantic name) on the Sunshine Coast.  When I sort through the umpteen photos I took, I'll post some next blog.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the Easel

The local Rotary Club is having its second  annual 'Suncoast' art exhibition next month, and I've been fortunate enough to be invited to show. Am working on three paintings, all on a coastal theme. Two are still not ready to show you but this is almost done.

Dicky Beach
An aerial view of my favourite beach named after a wreck, the SS Dicky, an iron screw steamship washed ashore during a storm in 1893. There's a little flare in the bottom left of the photo. Not ideal conditions for camera.

Last year we were away for the opening but I am looking forward to  attending this year.  It is held in the very glam 'Rumba' resort in Caloundra.

Exhibition openings are always fun, tho' R tends to disappear into the woodwork (if he comes with me). I value his support, but that doesn't mean he has to endure hours of 'artspeak' so I leave him at home unless I am actually showing work.

Monday, March 7, 2011

E, F, G, H - the ALaW project

At last! Have managed to find the camera and get into the studio. Where does the time go?  When I eventually get there I find soooo many projects that I don't know where to start. This is a stack of paintings in various stages of completion, all awaiting attention.

Ignoring all that, I have photographed my February letters for the 'A Letter A Week' project. (see http://aletteraweek2011.blogspot.com/ )

As always, when I revisit my work I find areas that require 'tweaking' and perhaps so will these but, for the moment, here they are. Nothing if not colourful.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Working with Adobe

I love altering my photos with Adobe Photoshop.  Any ordinary old snap can be miraculously changed to provide inspiration for my art.  To demonstrate, here is a VERY ordinary snap of some eroded ground taken on my morning walk.

Step 1: Adjustments - Hue/Saturation - Hue +10, Saturation +59, Lightness –22

Step 2: Adjustments - Brightness/Contrast =   Brightness –9, Contrast +24

Step 3: Adjustments - Selective Colour = Blues... Cyan –100, Magenta +100, Black +62

Step 4: Adjustments -  Replace Colour, select mid range brown on image with cursor = Fuzziness 40, Hue +180, Saturation +100, Lightness +41 

 Step 5: Adjustments- Selective colour,Yellows = Cyan +100, Yellow –100, Black + 15 

Step 6: Adjustments -  Replace colour, choose brown/grey portion with cursor = Fuzziness 38, Hue+ 180, Saturation +100, Lightness +84

 Step 7:  Adjustments - Replace colour, choose pink edge of cloud = Fuzziness 40, Hue +90

Step 8:  (hard to see in photo) Select an oblong section with the rectangular marquee tool -  Filter/Rough Pastels = Stroke Length 8, Detail 5, Texture canvas, Scaling 100%, Relief 14, Light Direction bottom

 Step 9:  Same selection – Hue/Saturation = Hue +38, Saturation +55, Lightness – 23

Step 10:   Copy same selection using Ctrl C Ctrl V, "twice".  This will give you 3 layers on layers menu. By selecting Layer 1 or 2  you can use the move tool to move these pieces around until happy with the arrangement then in the layer drop down menu select flatten image

Step 11:  Using rectangular marquee as previous step, choose horizontal oblong, copy, move, flatten image

Step 12:  Filter/Dry Brush = Brush Size 5, Detail 5, Texture 2

From Step 12,  I arbitrarily chose a section to crop into a square format.  It could've been from anywhere in the image.

Thus the original became my own special inspiration.

Quite probably some Adobe 'whiz' could've arrived at the final destination a lot faster, but the journey from start to finish is an exploratory one.  Each individual makes his/her own decisions along the way.

This project has taken me away from the studio and camera, so my next blog will be my second 'A Letter A Week' which is sitting there waiting to be photographed.  Stay tuned.