30 September, 2010

My Creative Space - Lete-ing inspiration in*

Last night I got a little homage to my art-crush Nathalie Lete out of my system.

I have a few ideas for these hearts - hope they look as good when I finish them as they do in my head! (That's often not the case, unfortunately.) We'll see!

Kristy's back from her break so head over to Kootooyoo for more creative spaces.

*Sincere apologies for the dreadful pun.

29 September, 2010

My name is Anna, and I'm a groupie

A Nathalie Lete groupie!!!!

On Monday I drove two hours to see the wonderful Parisian artist, Nathalie Lete (seen here wearing one of her limited edition Blue Illusion cardis), paint in the window of the Blue Illusion store at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast. It was worth every kilometre!

I blogged about Nathalie painting a window in Japan back in March, and then Pip blogged that she was coming to Australia, then Cintia at  mypoppet mentioned that she'd seen her (and her window photos are actually much clearer than mine), and then I discovered that she was coming to Queensland, so I coerced my mother and sister to look after my kids and off I went.

I arrived at about 1pm, thinking I was late, but Nathalie had been delayed at the airport. So I browsed with the proferred macaron and French champagne until she arrived (it's a bit dangerous to shop with a glass or two of champers under your belt, and the clothes were VERY nice, I'm just saying) and got straight to work.

 She was dressed in black and navy, with stockings and sweet heels, a purple apron and with a quirky, aqua pendant hanging on a long necklace. She mixed up her own paint (from powder) and started with the Eiffel Tower - which she was obviously incredibly familiar with.

By the end she had decorated the pane with butterflies, birds (including one complete with feathered top hat), flowers, a rabbit, and ladybugs. She then very generously signed Blue Illusion catalogues (which she has also illustrated), chatted and posed for photographs.

Her artwork will also be on the next Blue Illusion Catalogue, and the painting will stay on the window until Christmas goes up in November.

I'm so inspired by her style of painting and her whole body of work. It's quirky, colourful and decorative - is there such a thing as 'mature naiive' painting? And as a person she simply oozes French-ness.

A lady in the crowd recommended this book to me -

so because I was in some kind of French frenzy I even managed to find a copy of it at a bookshop at Pacific Fair and am about 4 chapters in already. It's great. I'd love to take my daughters to Paris when they're old enough.

For the record I did not buy any Krispy Kremes while I was there. And that's significant.

 Because I was at the Gold Coast and love the beach, I had to put my toes in the ocean before heading home (via Ikea!).

A fabulous day. And the inspiration is dripping off me. Can't wait to put a brush to canvas.

27 September, 2010

Monday's Art Tip 4 - Choose the right white

I first found out that there were different kinds of white many years ago in calligraphy class. We were using gouache paints (a type of opaque watercolour) and I can remember learning that there were four different types of Winsor and Newton whites, and all had different degrees of opacity and permanence.

In my current, painting-in-acrylic world, there are two whites I use all the time. Titanium White and Zinc White. In the pic above I'm holding one of each, and they both come in the tube (Golden Heavy Body) form and the bottle (Golden Fluids).

If you look really closely, just above the colour name on both the tube and the bottle there are three black diagonal lines (the Golden paint people actually handpaint a swash of each paint onto the label) and by painting it over these lines, you can see how transparent or opaque the colour is. You can only just see the lines on the Titanium White tube.

So, now that you know what you're looking for, you can see that Titanium White is quite opaque, while Zinc White is quite transparent. (Just ignore the yellow and aqua splodges on the bottle - things get a bit messy 'round here.)

Great, so how do you use these two types in practice?

Because Titanium White is so opaque, it's great for covering the colours underneath - that means you can paint over parts of your acrylic painting and start again if you need to. I use this white to mix pastel colours and by itself, as one of my last painting stages, to add highlights and my signature 'swirls and curls'.

On the other hand, Zinc White is transparent, which makes it ideal for tints and glazes. To explain a 'tint', understand that when you start with red and add Titanium White, you'll get an opaque, rosy pink. If you add Zinc White, you'll get a transparent, lighter red. I've demonstrated this in the pic below.

I also regularly use Zinc White to overpaint my background colour - to lighten it, without taking away all the colour.

I used this technique to 'knock' the background back on each of the poppy paintings I featured last week.

Don't forget there's another week before I draw the winner of my Poppies Painting Giveaway. So, if you're keen, just leave a comment on this post, telling me which painting you prefer. Great, thanks for that.

Next week, I'll talk about a few alternatives to black and whether you should be using black at all. I can see you're on the edge of your seat!

If you're interested in buying some of the white paint I've talked about, read on...

FREE POSTAGE plus a free gift

Some brands of paint may not have the Zinc White option, and some may call it by another name, but I do stock both of these whites - and I'm offering FREE Australian POSTAGE for THIS WEEK on any purchase of white Golden Acrylic paint.

I'll also include a free trial size of another Golden paint colour. So if you're interested, just  email me with your order and I'll send you my bank details.

GOLDEN Heavy Body Titanium White (tube) $13.20 AUD
GOLDEN Fluid Acrylic Titanium White (bottle) $20.35 AUD
GOLDEN Heavy Body Zinc White (tube) $13.20 AUD
GOLDEN Fluid Acrylic Zinc White (bottle) $20.35 AUD

They are lovely, lovely paints to use, so thanks for your interest!

24 September, 2010

Animation Friday - Poppies Galore

As promised in last Monday's Art Tip, here are animations of the process of the two poppy paintings I featured. One on a black background and the other on white.

I'll be giving one away in just over a week - all you have to do is leave a comment on last Monday's post, telling me which you prefer. Good luck!

On white

online gif animator

or on black?

online gif animator

There'll be more Animation Friday discoveries over at my poppet!

Have just discovered that the wonderful French artist Nathalie Lete, who I posted about here, is painting at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast on Monday. Am definitely moving heaven and earth to be there.

23 September, 2010

Some crafting in the dead of night

I made this owl last night.

I did it because I was egged on by Chantal who is putting together an etsy owl treasury. But I've accidentally fallen for it. So it won't be for sale - it's for my daughter.  Her name means 'wisdom' so I've decided owls are her thing (until she tells me otherwise). Plus I've realised I'm never going to be a making-softies-for-sale sort of girl. There are much more competent sewers out there with marvellous ideas. I might just make a couple more of these for my own present shelf.

The table is my creative space at the moment. I am making some more hobby horses that will be for sale, so it's good to know that's all underway.

And the undies - well, the lovely Cintia of my poppet put me onto Project Underpants and I was in Kmart
and knew it is a little project that I'd be happy to help. Maybe you can too.

Or join in my "Great Hanky Drive" and pick up a handy hanky for charity. More designs are on their way.

So it's all happening around here this school holidays. I'm a bit tired of cleaning up spills (lemonade on the carpet, anyone?) and having no chairs because of the climber we live with is wearing a little thin... But hey, the
mornings are a LOT cruisier. Love it.

22 September, 2010

Love Note Cushions - Lovely Idea

I'm off babysitting nieces and nephews this morning, but thought I'd post this link to a special project by the extremely talented Alisa Burke. Who can ever have enough cushions?

21 September, 2010

Post 314 - special, isn't it!

The lovely MMMC tagged me for a Versatile Blogger Award yesterday. I'm not usually too good at these things - always having the best of intentions, but rarely remembering to follow through. But it's miserable and rainy and we're all on holidays, so hey, I've remembered!

You HAVE to read her entry about driving a car down a set of stairs. I was in stitches.

MMMC has been blogging a few months and has done 200 posts. I've been blogging for years and this is number 314. That's how amazingly prolific she is. But the quality is excellent. A laugh here, a bit of educational content about Danish design there... it's something I look forward to reading every day.  I thought that maybe one day I'd see her on Oprah, talking about her blog.Of course, now that Oprah's only on for one more year, if she doesn't make it to the Oprah House we might have to settle for Kerrianne. Or The Circle. That'll do.

She says I have to list Seven Evil Things you don't know about me. I think she's using some creative license - I'm pretty sure they didn't HAVE to be evil... not that I'm baulking at evil... 'cause there's nothing wrong with that MMMC... but here goes...

  1. My favourite illustrator in the whole world is Quentin Blake. His website is fabulous and these two videos of him working are brilliant. And I've just found out he's done wallpaper. Makes me sort of tingle. I'm going to have to earn some dosh and build a wall so I can paper it.

2. In Year 12, I could do the most sit-ups in a minute of all the girls (and most of the boys) in my class. Now, after 5 caesarians, I can barely do one. Actually, I just got on the ground and tried, and I can't do even one. Hmmmm.

3. I can't drive past an empty shopfront without trying to figure out the sort of business that would work there. And whether I should do it. Of course, the fact that I have 4 young children usually puts the kybosh on any grandiose plans of business empires. So the flesh is weak, but the mind is free!

4. I dream of having story about my art in Country Style magazine. But need to lose the weight first. It's literally a weight around my neck (and thighs and tummy and chin). I'm sick of it, but haven't managed to coordinate my desire for weight loss with an ability to stop stuffing food in my mouth while I rush from one task to the next. Probably contributes to point 2.

5. I did 6 parachute jumps in 1993, and honestly thought that it was something I could be good at. But then I travelled for a year and lost my nerve. Also, the thought of me in an jumpsuit... see point 2 again.

6. Sometimes having kids drives me crazy. I wouldn't swap them for the world, but it's often a lot harder than what you'll ever see on my blog. Sometimes my husband also drives me crazy. I just don't write about that stuff much.

7. Blogging keeps me sane. The night I read someone's blog entry about how they stayed up the night before a wedding and made a jacket from an Ottobre pattern, complete with mistakes, meltdowns and cursing ... but simply had to do it... I felt like I'd found my tribe. People who like having birthday parties at home, making things for their friends, and showing their love through cooking for friends and family... and doing it all creatively, but not necessarily perfectly... yep, these are my people. Thank God.

An 8th thing could be that I never pass on chain emails. OK, perhaps once in a very blue moon, if it's EXTREMELY funny. But never if it says something bad may happen, or that you have to send it to six people, etc. It's nothing personal, and I don't mind being sent them, it's just a policy that works for me. Plus, I start thinking who the seven people may be, and then I get distracted. So I may never be tagged for anything like this again, but MMMC I was honoured and it was fun to play!

So thanks for listening. We'll resume normal programming tomorrow. Or the next day. There'll definitely be some animation happening on Friday anyway! Loving school holidays.

20 September, 2010

Monday's Art Tip 3 - A Giveaway and "What a difference a background makes"

I may be oversimplifying this tip, but I want to point out the difference between painting on a white background and painting on a black background. Of course, you could also paint on an orange or red or blue (or any other colour!) background (and I have done all of these), but for today, let's stick to black and white.

Can you pick the undercolours used in the two paintings above? And which do you prefer? Read on for details of my giveaway...

To demonstrate, I did these two paintings at the same time, starting with the sketch above. As a point of interest, I was looking at the composition and arrangement, making sure the focus in each picture would fall on a 'third' line, not slap bang in the centre or anything.

I then sketched the images onto the freshly gessoed canvases in yellow because it would compliment the eventual colours of the poppies.

There you go, now you know which is which!

When I got stuck into each painting, I was watching the tonal variations - making sure the black background didn't make the whole painting look dark... a problem I've had before. So I deliberately lightened the blue of the background towards the end, overpainting with zinc white (we'll talk about a couple of different whites next week).

I also underpainted parts of the white-background-painting in red and yellow - because red is the complementary colour (opposite on the colour wheel) to the green of the stems and grass that would go on the bottom of the painting, and yellow is almost the complementary colour to the mauve-y blue I planned to use for the sky... being able to see hints of these complementaries through the final colours adds life and movement to the painting. In group exhibitions, this can really make a painting stand out from the rest, and look more professional.

In general, I do like the effect that painting on black gives, as the edges of the poppies seem more subtle and blurred ... you can see here how the poppy was painted on the original black, but the bee was painted over the colour of the sky...

... and you can see the underpaint colour in the grooves of the canvas - which I think is more interesting in a painting like this than panes of flat colour would be...

You can see the yellow outlines a little in the white-background-painting, and the poppies are quite defined...

which is still a very acceptable way of approaching a subject like this.

So it really does come down to your personal choice. But if you've always painted on white, I encourage you to try black, and then other colours. You'll see your paintings come to life!

Now, which do you prefer?

or White?
Leave a comment on this post, with a contact email if you don't have a google account, telling me your preference, and I'll draw a winner in two weeks time - on Monday 4th October (which is the day my kids go back to school - so I won't forget!).

These paintings are painted with Golden acrylic paints on a canvas panel and measure 20 x 25cm. You can frame them without glass, or mount them in a box frame, or simply perch them on a shelf or windowsill, it's up to you.

I'm keen to hear your preference!

I'll be animating the process of these paintings for Animation Friday later this week.

If you haven't read them already, my other Monday Art Tips can be found here.

Next week, my tip is about white paint - now that sounds exciting, huh!

17 September, 2010

Animation Friday - Flashback

This is a painting that I did a couple of years ago, so I haven't photographed as many steps as usual. Sorry! And I did an extremely brief blog post about it here.

But I think it demonstrates next Monday's Art Tip, which will be about painting on a coloured or black background.

gif animator online

I love all the bright colours and the freedom in this one. And it was bought by a family with four kids, three girls and a boy - that's them, floating in the sky! I think this animation also shows the variations in colours possible with photography. And they're not all good.

Once again, this is my contribution to Animation Friday, over on the lovely my poppet.

16 September, 2010

My Creative Space - Paper Blooms

This week I made some VERY SIMPLE tissue paper flowers for a tea party birthday.

And because I had one person ask me how (and I really like her), here's the instructions. I'm sure I didn't think this up myself though, so if anyone can remind me where I saw it, please let me know!

This is the only tidy space in my house today.
I started with this $2.50 pack of multi-coloured tissue paper, from the $2 shop (I know, so why did I pay $2.50?), and a pack of 30 florist wire pieces that cost $2.95 (how does that happen?).

I cut a strip off the end like this (this is the third strip I cut, the paper was longer to start with).

Then I laid out the strip, tidied it up so each piece was on top of each other properly (not staggered like they are in the pack), and cut it into three (didn't measure - just approximated), and trimmed the corners like so.

 I then had to fix this situation. Hmmm, does dirt count as a protein?

Then take 3 pieces and pinch in the middle (I tried to put the lighter colour in the middle, but that's just being perdantic).

Wrap a piece of florist's wire around and twist to secure.

Fan out the 'petals' a bit, and you're done!

Before you know it, you'll have done another two...

... and maybe some green ones for leaves...

And you'll have a lovely bouquet like this.

Which you may like to try wearing on your head. And setting the timer to take a photo.

Totally up to you.

For more creative spaces, head over to the lovely Kirsty at Kootooyoo.
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