Not quite complete, but getting there...

April 2nd, 2014

Isn't it just typical that as soon as you think you can plan things, life throws you a curveball?  Here I was, all excited and seriously looking forward to having my friends around for a good dose of inspiration when my darling son got horrific tummy troubles. He barely slept last night, was hot to the touch and spewing vomit.  I had no option but to cancel my play-dates.  I left him to sleep in a little (after bringing up the mutti I gave him) and would you believe, he's absolutely fine since waking up?  Oh well, we just have to go with the flow.

Romeo Montague

Today I want to speak about fear.

I am quite honest when I say that I experience terror everythime I start a new piece of work, every step through the work and then, at the end, showing it to other people.  I haven't yet identified what I'm afraid of, just that I am.  I know that people are generally too polite to tell me that my work is terrible, so it's not the fear of criticism.  In spite of this, I have managed to produce many pieces of art, especially in the recent past.

There is one painting-in-progress however that seems to have me totally stuck.  I started it some weeks back and just cannot complete it.  I suppose it could be because it is an attempt to capture the image of my school days (and, I suppose, if I'm totally honest, continuing) crush.  I have been deeply and madly in love with Romeo since about 1978.  There, I've said it and I don't care who knows!  The particular Romeo in question is from the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli production starring Olivia Hussey as Juliet and Leonard Whiting as the hero of my dreams.

Now, to harbour undying love for one person for such a long time, you must agree, must surely have an effect on ones art.  You cannot imagine my excitement when I stumbled accross a photograph of him in the scene where he has just crashed the Capulet party and sees Juliet (whom my 11 year old self sees as ME right up till he drinks the poison.  Even for such a powerful love, I wasn't willing to plunge a dagger into my belly!) for the first time.  He has a look of stunned surprise, awe, longing, regret and undying love in his eyes.  Sigh . . . .  Fantastic acting as well as wonderful cinematography - but how to capture that feeling on canvas with some pigments suspended in oil?

Basic sketch with background and shirt filled in

First shin tones and hair added

Well, I grabbed a canvas and began by making a basic sketch.  I painted the basics of his shirt and added a background.  So far so good.

After a couple of days letting the paint dry,  I started adding skin tones with basic light and shade.  This was quite challenging as it would appear this boy has never seen the sun.  He is SO white that there are barely any shades.  I'm guessing that it might have something to with his being Brittish.  Apparently not many people see the sun there.  

After putting a few tones together for his hair, it seemed he was taking shape.

Some detail added to the mask

The next many, MANY days saw me moving him about the room, putting him onto the easel, moving him to a counter, I even added a hanger to the wall so that he could hang there.  In other words, I didn't add a single lick of paint!  What was stopping me?  

One morning, I decided to work a bit more on his skin tones (remember, there aren't very many tones, so I had to make some up) and I decided that if I added some detail to the mask, I would feel better about the painting.  Something was still niggling.  I know that hand still needs detail, but there is something else.

The days following this work saw more restless moving and placing and viewing and agonising.  Easel to wall to counter to other easel to table to . . .

Romeo's eyes

What was I still displeased about?  I painted the little blue of his sleeve peeking out of his tunic and agonised about the hand.  Then it hit me, The most triking thing about the Romeo I fell in love with all those years ago were his eyes!  Yes, and they were like ice cold marbles in my painting.  Not the eyes of a besotted lover, but those of a cold killer!  A little paint mixing, a few strokes of the brush and I could see him looking at me from the canvas.  Yay!

He's not quite finished yet, but I now have confidence that it won't be long till he's done.  Phew, what a process!

Play time with my friends

April 1st, 2014


Inspiration from my friends

Tomorrow I'll be having some friends around to do some pottery.  I really love going potty with my friends.  We seem to bring out the inspiration in one another.

Last time I had two of them over to play, these mugs were the result.  Now, although I say in my tag line that it is sometimes okay to colour outside the lines, it's not particularly easy for me.  You will not believe how difficult it was to make these, apparently causally unexact flowers!  Phew, I had to concentrate SO hard to not make the insides and the outsides of the petals touch all over.  I'm quite pleased with the final result though.  What do you think?

The Artist's Way

April 1st, 2014


Audrey Hepburn resting her chin on her arm

I have recently started on a new and interresting journey. It's called the Artist's Way and is based on the book by Julia Cameron.  It is a 12 week road to self discovery.  So far it has been frustrating, rewarding, surprising and quite bumpy. A group of four of us have embarked on this journey together and one of the first things I had to do was to enter into a contract with myself that I would stick to the tasks as well as I could. I'm not entirely sure I would have got to this point had I not made that concious decision (letting the other three down by pulling out has also possibly contributed.)

Now what I would like to do is to write about my travels through both the Artist's Way as well as my life of creating. I'll be posting photos of my work and writing about the thought processes, maybe techniques, pitfalls and triumphs encountered along the way. I'm planning to use this page as my sounding board. Let's see how long I can keep it up for.

See you back here soon,