29 October, 2010

Animation Friday - Butterflies

Today's animation is of a painting done this week and mentioned in yesterday's Creative Space.

It's more of a 'decorator piece' than anything. The numbers are from the pages of the lovely old butterfly book that I refer to.

At the end though, I changed one of the blueish butterflies to much brighter colours as I wasn't happy with the weight of the tones. I also lightened the tone of the background as the piece progressed, to give more contrast and interest.

Hope these are still interesting enough!

For quite a variety of different animations, head over to the not-very-well-today Cinti at my poppet.

28 October, 2010

My Creative Space - Shiny Shiny

Today's creativeness has involved varnishing two canvases.

The first is a butterfly scene to be donated to my kids' school at the Race Day next weekend.

The development of this painting will be the subject of my animation tomorrow. Really. I'll be doing Animation Friday ON Friday, as opposed to Monday's Art Tip that just happened to be on Wednesday this week. Promise. OK, well, I'll do my best.

The second is a commissioned portrait of four children, that will be a birthday gift, so identities have been disguised for now, just to be sure it's a surprise.

Now off to set up for more hanky screenprinting before the bub wakes up.

For more Creative Spaces, head over to Kirsty at Kootooyoo.

27 October, 2010

Monday's Art Tip 8 - Lost and Found

This is another tip that my Mum has taught me, and it's about directing the viewer's eye to the focal point you want them to, well, focus on!

There are a few ways to do this, and they can all work together.

You can make sure the focal point has the greatest contrasts (the lightest lights and the darkest darks). As in the butterflies below.

And / or you can make sure the focal point has the brightest colours (here is a detail shot of the full painting at the top of this post, it's by Diana Battle).

And / or you can make sure it has the most 'found' edges.  To explain. Here's a 'lost' edge.

It's blurry, not sharp... it's 'lost'.

Here's a 'found' edge.

It's sharper, painted more deliberately, more precisely, it's 'found'.

Here's another example of found edges at the focal point, in this mixed media painting by my friend, Nic Hohn (if you haven't visited her site yet, do go, it's lovely there).

Now you can look out for more examples of this tip! I was thinking Mona Lisa, Monet's waterlillies... and if you use it yourself, please add your links in a comment below.

And for the record, yes, I know it's Wednesday, but my son just bought himself an itouch and (strangely) our internet limit has been reached... so my speed is throttled and it's driving me slightly bonkers. Things are going to have to change around here, I'm thinking!

25 October, 2010

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

On Sunday morning, my little Masterchef made these Cinnamon Bun Pancakes from the "How Does She?" Blog.

And everyone loved them. THIS much.

So , here's the recipe (click for larger image), or, for a beautifully photographed list of ingredients and method, go across to the How Does She blog and have a drool.

23 October, 2010

Is anyone else watching this?!!

Our whole family has been seriously enjoying the clips from "Race Around the Island" on Saturday Disney. Honestly, my husband is 47 and we're all getting a laugh out of it.

Now, instead of having to appoint one member of the family to be the 'spotter' and call us all when it's on, I've just realised you can watch the 5 minute episodes online here. There are four so far.

So meet the 3 teams -

The Newlyweds - Doug and Toni

 They're fierce, athletic and cut-throat!

The Backpackers - Ronja and Sonja
They're European twins with great hair!

The Models - Hilary and Dakota
They're beautiful, fabulous and fashionable! 

Favourite line -

Sonja- "We are so close. We always finish each other's...." 
 Ronja".... (long pause) ... sausages."

Waste no more time here - go here and have a Saturday laugh!

Nathalie Lete Love - in miniature

Check out this terrific dolls house featuring Nathalie Lete (my art crush) paintings!

 ... hand tufted rugs and Japanese silk bed linen.

The whole story is here at Jenni's.

Makes ours look in dire need of a makeover - Nathalie style!

And here's another fantastic idea that encourages imaginative play without destroying the beds every day -

It's from Curbside Style and makes me think we may need a square edged table around here ...

22 October, 2010

Animation Friday - Well Hello Dora

It's my niece's birthday today. What was going to be a Dorothy cake, became a last minute request for a Dora cake.

And that became today's animation!

gif animator

NOTE - My mother looked at it and said 'is it a cow?' and I said 'no, it's Dora the Explorer - it's a girl' and she said 'well, what are the horns for?'... and now I see them...

More of such things over at the lovely my poppet!

Happy weekend to you!

21 October, 2010

My Creative Space - Recycling

Things are very busy here this week.

During bub's sleep time today, I got started on a painting that I'm donating for my school's fundraising Race Day, coming up in a couple of weeks. I said I'd do two decorator pieces, as top prizes in one of the draws, which, for me, is better than doing one 'masterpiece' to be auctioned (which is like saying 'take my heart and see if someone can get a bargain' - usually awful).

I'm painting this first one over a painting I did two years ago (that hadn't found it's destiny yet), and it's nice to farewell the old and welcome the new.

By the way, I've just found a description of a terrific way to mark where you want to hang a picture  on a wall - here at 'Tatertots and Jello' - read down past the tutorial on specimen art (which is pretty cool, actually) and there it is. Involving painters tape and a thumbtack. Are you intrigued yet?

For more creative spaces, head over to Kootooyoo.

20 October, 2010

Strange Company

Check out the totally bizarre and amazing ideas at this Finnish site - COMPANY.

This is prototype for a dress and playhouse in one ('for all the busy moms'). I can see that it would be handy at church, especially if we're late and need to stand at the back. Hard to get up the aisle for communion though...

How much fun are these dance shoes 'for the father and the daughter' - €95 + delivery.


And what about these Riding Pants 'for families without ponies' - at only €185, that'd be cheaper than a real pony, no?

How amazing to think of something (that would possibly be regarded as silly) and then make it (anyway)!

19 October, 2010

The Cluedo Party - Part 2 (NO BAKE)

I do like to put on a birthday party. But it occurred to me last week that this is possibly the only one I haven't actually 'baked' for. And perhaps that deserves a post.

The Party Theme - Cluedo
The Reason - Eldest Child Turning 12
The Guests - 9 boys and 7 girls

The Menu

Starters - 3 bags of chips and a heated box of 64 'party pieces' (spring rolls, etc).

Meal - a "DIY Burger Bar". With on-special bun rolls, pre-made burger patties and pork chipolatas.

Dessert - a "DIY Ice Cream Bar". Modelled on the 'Cold Rock' idea, just with less choices - and without a cold rock, obviously.

I did make a layered jelly that my kids call 'Awesome Jelly' - always a winner.

Birthday Cake - Icecream Cake.

I've done this 3 times before - simply softened icecream (this time it was just vanilla), piled into a metal bowl lined with glad wrap and refrozen. I've found it's best to also freeze the plate you're going to serve it on. Then when you turn it out, tip about 1 1/2 bottles of icemagic on top and spread it around. Just before it sets, stick plastic figurines of your choice into the chocolate. Ta dah!

The cake was the icecream that they added their toppings to.

Goodie Bags - a few lollies and an M&M Cookie (packed by me in a CD envelope with a thank you sticker on it) from Coles.

Extra prizes - disposable gloves (not the latex kind, more like the home-hair-colouring kind) filled with coloured popcorn.

And there you go. Done! The kids had a great time.

I really recommend the burger bar idea when you have such a variety of appetites at the party - and it's great now that they are all old enough to serve themselves. Am thinking it'll work at my 40th next year actually.

Now our 'birthday season' is over, and life can resume it's usual pace. It's been fun.

Until next year...

Monday's Art Tip 7 - Spice it up with VaRiEtY!

Just a quick one today (it's bad enough that it's actually no longer Monday) - something that I remember that my Year 9 art teacher, Mr Foley, taught me, oh, back in 1984...

break the line.

It's as simple as knowing that (when drawing) a plain, straight, consistent weight line can be boring.

Of course, sometimes a solid, even line is the look you're going for.

But if you want a more realistic image that 'dances', it's good to make your illustration more calligraphic, by pressing harder and softer with your pen or pencil, and leaving gaps in the line - this means the viewer subconsciously fills in the gaps, and becomes more 'involved' with your picture.

(notice the ebb and flow of the lines now?)

I thought I'd draw you an example - so here is a quick sketch of our old tricycle in all it's wonky back wheeled glory.

And then I was going to draw it with a single weight line as a comparison. But one of my children rode it away while I was distracted by the phone... and I can tell you where all the children are now, but I can't tell you precisely where the tricycle is ...

So here is a chair instead (much harder to be ridden away).

And it's late now, so I'm not going to redraw the chair at the moment with a stop-start line. (I might do that another day this week and add it in here.)

But can you see that the chair is quite bland in comparison to the trike and the flowers? And by giving yourself permission to let the line 'dance', you are very likely to make your whole image 'sing' too.

Go on, try it.

It is harder to colour images in photoshop or similar, if you have breaks in the lines so 'dropped in colour' escapes. But there are ways to handle that too, which I'll cover in a future post.

You can use this method with painted lines too - and I'll talk about "losing and finding" edges next week.

Tomorrow I'll reveal the menu for the 'no bake' birthday party too. Promise.

And (this is my last 'and') if you're sweet enough to have read all the way to the end of this post, and you'd like to leave a comment, I'll draw a name at noon this Wednesday 20th October, and send the winner the original of the watercoloured sketch of alstromeria flowers at the top of this page. Just as a little thank you.

So 'thank you'. And happy line dancing!

15 October, 2010

Animation Friday - Rule of Thirds Demo

Last Monday's Art Tip talked about The Rules of Thirds (not exactly sure where the plurals should go there...).

This animation shows the development and application of the rules I mentioned.

gif animator

For more fun Friday Animations, be sure to visit Cintia at my poppet!

The Cluedo Party - Part 1

To be honest, I was a bit worried about how this party was going to work. Especially when we were looking down the barrel of cold, wet weather.

My eldest had his mind set on some sort of Murder Mystery Party, and we borrowed a board game for one from a friend... but it seemed like too much for 12 year olds.

So we settled on Cluedo.

We designed the invitations based on actual Cluedo cards. These are the actuals -

And this is the front and back of the invitation - 
Then did up our game cards. J got photos of all 16 of his guests to make cards for them, and decided on 16 motives and 16 weapons (including a pineapple and an octopus).

When they arrived, the 'Butler' told them all how it was going to work and gave them all one card and their Clue sheets.

Then they all played four games, with the winners getting more cards. They were encouraged to form alliances (although one boy came and asked me what an 'alliance' actually was - obviously not a Biggest Loser or Survivor watcher), but not to show their cards to just anyone.

They started with a general trivia game -

And then there was a game involving throwing tennis balls at a hanging piece of dampened pita bread (which I thought was going to be stupid, but it was possibly the standout game),

And the classic donut game -

And they finished with a "Guess this tune" music trivia game (and a spontaneous rendition of "Hey There Delilah" which was terrific).

After that, they all had to write their guesses for Murderer, Weapon and Motive on a piece of paper, and amazingly there was only one winner, who got to take home the cardboard trophy.

And then the three hours were up, and parents started arriving! And it had been a fantastic party.

The kids themselves were terrific though, and they all took the game very seriously (but oh, the NOISE! Their fun was deafening). We certainly couldn't have done it if the 'Butler' hadn't actually been a real-life teacher, used to dealing with huge bunches of kids. So, amazingly, it ended up going very well.

I'll do another post to talk about the food and how it ended up being a total NO BAKE party.

Hope these ideas help someone else at party time!
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