Mark making

My primary medium for creating art is to paint or draw with pastels, soft chalk-like chunks or sticks of colour. Pastels are a medium that I have been learning to use well for several years and there is still so much to learn. Lately I have been experimenting with my mark making, a way of adding texture and interest to my artwork. It has been a fun yet challenging process, requiring me to resist falling back on old habits of softening edges, blending clouds and overworking the detail. Colour is also something I have been playing with, some of my paintings have no more than five colours in them but this one definitely features more colour.

The source photo for this painting was taken in the Mt Aspiring National Park on New Zealand’s South Island. Initially it was a crisp and clear Autumn day but the weather soon changed and the clouds set in, bringing the occasional shower of rain making the track towards the Rob Roy glacier slippery and a little nerve wracking at times.

New Zealand, Scotland and animals continue to be a great source of inspiration for me. I will be attempting to do more portraits this year, people portraits that is so stay tuned if you want to see how I progress.

Swell Festival 2016 – part 2

On my last post I shared some of the sculptures featured in the Swell 2016 Sculpture Festival. As promised, here is a part two of my selection of images.

Swell Festival 2016 – part 1

Up before the sun and with a hit of caffeine, Hubby, Bundy and I were ready to head south to Currumbin, host to the 2016 Swell Sculpture Festival. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to experience the festival, fewer crowds and better light for taking photos. Bundy loves the festival, it is his chance to run around on the sand and meet a few new faces (or sniff new butts to put it in dog terms). Alphy the turtle is the big hit this year, as are the huge deck chairs but I really love the dog walker sculpture and the timber freight boxes lying on the sand. With so many sculptures I have decided to break up the photos and share them in two lots, you will see more of the dog walker and other wonderful works of art sometime next week.

Which one is your favourite?

Azzedine Alaïa and the Borghese

RomeBorghese2015-1824
The Borghese Gallery, Rome

Poor planning on our last trip to Rome resulted in me being unable to get a ticket to see the Borghese Gallery, I was devastated and vowed that it wouldn’t happen again. After failing to successfully purchase tickets through the Borghese Gallery I decided to pay that little bit extra and get skip the line tickets through Viator. Our entry time was at 9am and we had until 11am to view the entire gallery, at 11am they kicked us all out and the next group of visitors went through. Two hours doesn’t seem like much, we could have easily spent another hour at least in the gallery especially with the addition of garments from the Azzedine Alaïa collection being on display.

The ‘no photo’ rule seemed to have been withdrawn from the Borghese, I vaguely recall reading in guidebooks and hearing on travel podcasts that photos were strictly prohibited and cameras would have to be stored in lockers. All around us people were taking photos with iphones, DSLRs and compact cameras and nobody seemed to care. After a few quick shots with my iphone, out came my trusty Nikon DSLR and it didn’t return to its bag until we were in the gallery gift shop.

The Azzedine Alaïa gowns on display were stunning, much thought had gone into the location of each gown or group of garments with some looking almost like a ghostly apparition among the sculptures and paintings. In the nineties I loved seeing Azzedine Alaïa’s designs on supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour, they wore them so well and the gowns looked like works of art. Moving around the gallery, my eyes flicked from classical sculptures to fashion items and while others crowded around Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne I was taking photos of the nearest design by Azzedine Alaïa. This gave me one advantage, by the time I had finished admiring the design most of the group had moved on and I could enjoy the sculptures in relative quiet.

The Borghese Gallery is a most magnificent place to visit, I walked out of there feeling extremely happy and it would have to rate as one of my most enjoyable gallery and/or museum experiences. The restricted number of visitors at any one time certainly enhances the experience, having been to the Vatican Museum where numbers do not appear to be limited and large tour groups crowd the halls and stairwells, I much prefer having to book in advance for a nominated time slot.

My latest artwork

A while back I shared some photos I took of a sweet little Tawny Frogmouth that paid us a visit. Like the subjects of several other photos I have taken, the Tawny Frogmouth now features in my latest pastel illustration. 

Happy Sunday!

  

Wordless Wednesday: Koala in pastels

Not completely wordless Wednesday, this week I’m sharing my latest illustration with you. You may have seen photos of a Koala in an earlier post, the images I took provided me with inspiration for this pastel illustration.

pastel illustration of a koala

A sample from Swell 2014

The annual Swell Sculpture Festival is currently underway at Currumbin Beach Queensland. Traffic was bumper to bumper and parks were scarce but after 20 minutes of stalking potential parking spots we were successful and joined the hordes on the esplanade at Currumbin Beach. Bundy always enjoys an evening stroll, he and the hubby spent most of their time people watching and patiently waiting for me to finish taking photographs. Here is a sample of some of my favourites from this years festival.

Enjoy!

The blue girl

2014 was going to be the year of the portrait for me, not having done one for many years I was keen to apply my developing pastel skills and complete at least one portrait this year. It was a little nerve wracking, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and had lost confidence in my illustration skills over the years (hence the art lessons) however recent success with portraits of my dogs had given me a boost.

The girl in the portrait is the child of a friend, a happy child with very pale, translucent looking skin. In order to capture the translucence and innocence I started with a blue wash and then built up the pastel, trying to steer clear of creating too much contrast in her features because it has a tendency to make a young child look much older. It took several weeks to complete, class is only once a week and I don’t do any drawing at home which slows me down immensely.

Pastel portrait of a child
Portrait of a child

The end result is that she looks a little blue, but I quite like it and am happy with how it has turned out and hope that the parents will be too.

The last of Swell 2013 (part 3)

The last of my images from the Swell Sculpture Festival 🙂

More culture at Swell 2013 (part 2)

Walking along such a popular and pretty part of the coast at sunset is a pleasant experience any time of year, during Swell it is made more interesting by the addition of sculptures scattered across the sand and along the esplanade. There are children, dogs and happy snappers everywhere, and even though the signs all say ‘Please don’t climb on the sculptures’, many of them are begging for interaction and it is possible to walk around and through some of the installations. Looking back, I have to wonder whether a theme for the festival could be one of interaction, encouraging children and adults to participate in the piece, firing up their imagination and expressing their creativity.

This gallery is the second of three galleries that I’ll be posting and featuring work from the Swell Sculpture Festival, I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as I enjoyed the exhibition.