Saturday, March 18, 2017

The mini dahlias

Brightening up this rainy Saturday. I'm a bit obsessed with these mini dahlias. Mainly because you never know what will appear – will it be a perfect tiny creamy white ruffled flower or a larger magenta streaked beauty? Seriously. They're just so marvellous. Best frivolous garden purchase ever.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

After Singer Sargent



This term, I've treated myself to a watercolour short course at the National Art School. We're up to week three now and I'm loving it. Gina Bruce is an absolutely amazing teacher, who has already introduced me to new skills, as well as being so positive and encouraging about everyone in the class.

This week we had to choose a painting then try and transcribe it – in preparation for plein air painting next week. Once we'd transcribed it once, we had to go again and again, painting the same picture over and over – pulling out all the elements we found interesting and trying to abstract or rework it. I was a little skeptical before we started, it felt a bit like copying or forging (not that I could EVER be skilled enough to reproduce a Singer Sargent). But by the end I was completely in love with the exercise, plus I had an ever greater understanding of the amazing genius behind the artwork. The rapidity with which the colours were applied, the layering and mixing, the depth he managed to achieve, the absence of colour in certain places (which I kept wanting to fill in!) and the skill he had in creating a composition. All astounding. Seriously. Could happily spend days just copying and abstracting masters' watercolours!


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Friday, February 10, 2017

Sacred Space

A few years back [while in my midst of sleep depravation and confusion on being a new mum and loss of sense of self and wondering what on earth I'm doing], I attended a couple of Alex Falkiner's creative workshops. And somewhere in there Alex said something about everyone being an artist, and how we all need to play creatively sometimes. This resonated. It isn't a waste of time. It doesn't need to be elite. It just is. It is what I enjoy.

Last night I attended a workshop with Emily Besser. Rodge was teasing me, how frivolous, a pom-pom jewellery workshop! But it was exactly what I needed. Some moments of frivolity.

Emily gave us all a sheet of instructions, and read us this wonderful quote –

"SACRED SPACE is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day where you don't know what was in the newspapers this morning, you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen." Joseph Campbell.

So, slowly, now that the fog of newborns has lifted (well and truly really), I'm working on finding this space. Sometimes its on a Sunday with Bettina, sometimes its in a frivolous workshop. But I'm getting there.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

BONHEUR



And AMOUR and LIBERTE, ma cherie!

When in Paris last year, my mum and I stumbled across a shop full of wondrous goods, including these CSAO cushions – gorgeous wax print fabrics hand embroidered in beautiful designs by artisans in Senegal. We were entranced.

The bonheur cushion was one of the few souvenirs I came home with. I found myself marvelling over the wax fabric and itching to sketch the designs in my sketchbook over and over again. So I did. Something about the resist and the translucency, that just lends itself to watercolours. Plus I always love a good repeat pattern. The mechanical exactness vs. my wobbly hand sketches. I don't know what I'm trying to say, but drawing them felt so right, that I ended up doing a couple of larger versions for myself. Maybe they'll end up on a wall, maybe they'll stay in a drawer. But I enjoyed the process of painting them – and it has given me many ideas for future explorations.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Summer garden







It is so hot today. I'm seriously thinking maybe an aircon is necessary. Nostalgia or frugalness or some (possibly misguided) environmental reasons has stopped us from getting one, but I've found myself feeling so lazy and unable to think and adverse to doing stuff at home this summer, that I'm thinking it may be a good idea.

But anyways. To our oasis. Here are some backyard snaps from this summer. Mostly taken in the evening time – just as the southerly hits (thank goodness for southerlys, I'd be well and truly crazy if we didn't have them). Our backyard has been kinda productive. The fruitflies demolished our giant tomatoes (we only got about two), but we've had pumpkinny squash things (zapallito del tronco), cucumbers, cherry toms, passionfruit, grapes, carrots, chillis, strawberries, midgen berries and beans. Plus some leafy greens and herby bits and pretty flowers for picking. And Oscar's sunflowers scattered throughout. And blue-banded bees (which I'd never seen before, so I got a bit excited). It is all well and truly unruly right now, but it has definitely our most productive summer garden yet.