Sunday 21 December 2014

A Koala Christmas

They don't call it the silly season for nothing! I have been feverishly catching up with everyone and everything and trying not to have a meltdown, as the festive season gets into full swing! Making list after list and then forgetting where I put them!

I have had so many things to be grateful for this year, among them teaching on Life Book 2014 thanks to the terrific and talented Tamara Laporte. It has been so amazing seeing everyone's artistic growth throughout the year. Equally amazing seeing all their wonderful art bound into their own Life Books. If you have not heard of Life Book, check it out Here! Registration is open for Life Book 2015.

Australia's festive season is certainly different to the cold Irish winters I grew up with. It still confuses my mind seeing all the imagery of winter snow scenes in the shops, then you step outside and you could literally fry an egg on the rocks! Especially when it get into the high temperatures. Spare a thought for the farmers who do it tough in drought-affected areas.

Since time was so pressing, I thought my colouring pencils would be a nice quick way of bringing this adorable koala character and scene to life. Firstly, I sketched my idea onto 140lb hot pressed watercolour paper using a mechanical pencil and clean up any areas with a fine eraser.

 I wanted to include this little Charlie Brown inspired Christmas Tree as a reminder to embrace the true spirit of Christmas and not to get too caught up in all the commercialism.

So...with that in mind, I want to take a moment to thank you for all your love and support and to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a happy 2015! Be well, enjoy life and keep moving forward!

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Monday 24 November 2014

Ladybird on Strawberries

Summer is almost upon us and the hotter weather has made its presence felt here in Australia. While enjoying a refreshing bowl of sweet strawberries in the garden, a ladybird landed nearby. This little encounter inspired this whimsical illustration. It also brought back happy memories of going strawberry picking and looking for the best ripe fruits to bring home.

Art materials for this piece included coloured and watercolour pencils, along with acrylic paint, watersoluble crayons, chalks and spray inks.

Do you have a favourite summer fruit? What are your happy memories?

Lastly, just to let you know society6 have FREE shipping worldwide, now through to the 30th November midnight PST on all products in my shop. Stop by and have a look, more designs available, great for Christmas gifts!

Have a great week!

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Thursday 13 November 2014

Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, is a joyful Mexican holiday to celebrate and honour the lives of loved ones who have departed. The holiday's origins date back nearly 4000 years! It takes place on the 1st and 2nd of November each year.

What started out as a quick art piece turned out to be a very personal tribute. The three butterflies represent the three family members that I have loved and lost with one red rose for each of them. In paying homage to the Mexican tradition of using yellow orange marigold flowers, I included these in the bodice of her dress and in the decoration around her eyes. The imagery of the skulls in the butterflies and pendant are a representation of times past and of change. I didn't want to make up her face too elaborately, so as not to take away from her gentle reflective mood.

I was hoping to finish and post this 4x6 copic marker artwork during the days of a de los Muertos but I was finding it difficult to blend the original copics I had on hand. After a quick search online, I realised that I needed extra colours within the colour families to allow for smoother blending. I had to wait until I purchased some copic ciaos, the only type the craft store stocked. If you have not heard of copics, they are double-ended alcohol-based dye ink markers.

With any new art materials I am not familiar with, I have to practice and experiment with them in order to see what they are capable of, and what cool effects I can possibly achieve with them.

In hindsight (always a wonderful thing!) I made mistakes with this copic artwork. I think my problem was that I tried to take the same approach with the markers as I would with paint. To pull it all together, I had to resort to using a white sharpie paint pen to correct or add highlights here and there. However, I will use the copics again, but this time in more of a mixed media context.

Comments are welcomed and encouraged.

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Friday 7 November 2014

Christmas is Coming

Yes Christmas is just around the corner! In an attempt to organise myself a little early this year I have joined Society6 to offer my artwork on a variety of products. To be honest I really wanted a couple of items for myself and I thought it was a great idea for giving gifts to my family and friends also!

My order is in the post! You can avail of this terrific promotion from Society6, you get Five dollars off everything in my shop and Free shipping worldwide. *Offer excludes framed art prints and stretched canvases. It is for a limited time only, so be quick!! Use this link

I put two designs up for now that I felt would suit the products. I have heard good things about the quality of Society6 items. I will be like a kid in a candy shop until they arrive!

Apart from the prints, I think the artwork looks gorgeous on the tote bags, cushions and phone cases, what do you think?

Have a great weekend!

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Friday 31 October 2014

Not So Sweet

I could not let this time of the year pass without sharing with you one of my Halloween favourites "Not So Sweet" from 2012. It was created as part of a Halloween challenge. 

I drew the girl on paper, scanned her into photoshop, where I added elements and finished it with some digital painting.

Have a Spooktacular Halloween!

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Spring is in the Air

"Spring is the time of plans and projects" (Leo Tolstoy). It is Spring season here in Australia, and that quote is so true. Spring for me is a time for getting organised, ticking off the tasks on my "To Do List", and cleaning out the cobwebs so to speak.

One big project I have just finished is the recording and editing of my main videos for Life Book 2014. I am delighted with the response to my previous lesson and look forward to seeing what everyone creates for this one. It was a pleasure to share my art, methods and techniques with such a gorgeous bunch of people.

Well folks, I have gone big with my painting; not on paper or canvas, but on walls!! Are you thinking murals? Nothing so exciting I'm afraid. I was roped into the project of painting our daughter's bedroom because of my skill with a brush and eye for detail; more specifically, doing the cutting in to paint areas that are too tight for the paint rollers, such as the ceiling line, corners, along with the baseboards and trim. The finished result was well worth the effort, the walls are now white with one feature wall in pistachio green, lending a bright and airy feel to the room.

I put a post up a while ago "Frida with Roses" where I said I am in danger of becoming an art supply junkie. I think I can add paper hoarder to that as well! Really! My art supplies are getting out of hand and they need some serious organisation!

I don't have the room to fit all the supplies into my little art nook, so instead they are piled on top of each other in the garage. The trouble with that is I forget what I have in stock, and more often than not, the items I want to use are typically those buried at the bottom of the pile! What's a girl gotta do? Well apparently the answer when you are searching for inspiration is to join Pinterest! 

Pinterest is a virtual "board" like a real-life bulletin board where you can pin and share ideas. I discovered it is a fantastic place to dream and visualise how your idyllic life would look. Before I knew it, hours had slept away, pinning and repinning wonderful ideas and images. By this stage, I was creating all sorts of cool boards, when suddenly I realised the reason I joined in the first place! You can check out what I got up to on my Pinterest page link: or click on the Pinterest pink button on the sidebar of my blog. So now I can add "Pinterest Fanatic" to my list of personal traits!

On the subject of dreaming, I have listed "Dream" print and "If the Shoe Fits", in my Etsy shop, They were created in Life Book in 2012 and 2013. These two glamorous girls can be purchased with or without the quotes. Watch out for more listings over the coming weeks.

Ok, It was time to take action with my plan to organise my art materials! A trip down to the hardware store and then a few hours of assembling shelving for the new plastic storage containers felt like a great achievement...until I realised that was the easy part! The thought of removing all the art supplies from their boxes, sorting them, labelling them into their new containers, not to mention the time, still seemed like a mammoth task! I think I will have to tackle it one bit at a time, eventually I will get it all done, right?

I could definitely use your help! What are your tips for staying motivated and focused when organising your art supplies? What have you found actually works?

All comments are welcomed and encouraged.

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Friday 3 October 2014

Creative Projects

How are you all keeping? It's a little while since I last blogged and I promise you I have not been slacking! I have been super busy with lots of different projects. I was asked to help out with a birthday scrapbook album, decorate a birthday cake with a make-up/beauty theme and create a make-up inspired graphic print. To add to that list, I also worked an over painting on canvas and did some intuitive art... Phew!! Each project required a completely different technique but they were equally enjoyable and satisfying even though they stretched me in different directions.

I can't upload any of the scrapbook pages as they are very personal to the birthday girl but I can show you her cake and graphic art print. It was a double celebration as she has just graduated as a make-up artist.

I have to give a big shout out to my good friend Mish who lent her creative skills in helping me with the cake. Thanks Mish, a great team effort!

I mentioned an over painting on canvas in the opening paragraph. I had ordered a canvas print of my "Fairy Watching Fireflies" for Mish's birthday but I was so disappointed when it arrived in the post. I saw the lightest spaces were very blown out, meaning these areas had very little colour or definition. I figured I could either throw my hands up in the air and put the canvas in the bin, or I could try painting over the areas on the face, arms, hair and flower. I went with the latter option. I have to tell you I was so relieved when it was finished as everything turned out beautifully. I even put on lots of glitter paint on the wings to give them that extra fairy dust magic. After a few coats of picture varnish spray, I can now giver her over to her new home.

Starting to rework the fairy.

Putting the finishing touches of glitter paint to the wings.

For anyone familiar with my art, I normally work with an idea in my head first, or from a sketch. The lovely Tamara Laporte from Life Book gave a lesson in week 36 on intuitive painting. She says this does not come easily to her; I find myself saying the same thing. However, I thought why not get out of my comfort zone and give it another try? There was no planning this time, just layer upon layer of acrylic paint and watercolour pencils, going with my gut feeling putting marks and strokes on the paper. I have no idea what this painting is about but I love these cute red birds.

The last few weeks have kept me on my toes and it certainly was a mixed bag of creativity. What I have come to realise is I enjoy variety and that carries across the board. After all, they do say "Variety is the Spice of Life". I am looking forward to this weekend to recharge my batteries and spend time with my family. I hope you all have a great weekend also.

I would like to hear what makes you tick and gets your creative juices flowing? Comments are encouraged and welcomed.

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Friday 29 August 2014

Matilda and Specs

I hope that you are all keeping well and looking forward to the weekend.

Unfortunately, I have been feeling very blah for the last few weeks due to a bad dose of the flu and bronchitis which has left me with very little energy. Thankfully, I am starting to get back on my feet again. This mixed media piece reflects that along with a bad case of bed hair!! I blame the flannelette winter sheets!

Matilda has evolved from a girl I created in 2013 in an artwork called "Daydream". This latest version of her still has the deadpan look but this time with a little bit of an attitude taken from the stereotypical moody teenager. I also enjoyed creating the polar opposite of her personality in Specs the dog, her happy go lucky companion.

I have had hit and misses with image transfer techniques in the past but I thought I would give it another go for the background. I believe there are other ways of doing image transfer techniques but in this instance, I used an ink jet printer and Golden soft gel matte medium. I am delighted with the result and how it has the feel of faded wallpaper.

Acrylics, watersoluble crayons and watercolour pencils were the art supplies used for the main figures and elements. The reverse of Matilda in the mirror was achieved using a pencil and tracing paper.

This finished piece makes me smile and who knows maybe these two might make an appearance again some time.

Comments are encouraged and welcomed.

Until next time, Happy Creating!

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Ladybird Fairy

What do you do when a ladybird fairy lands in your flower garden? Invite her in for tea of course!

I did a digital version of this cutie a couple of years ago and what with a special little granddaughter's 1st birthday coming up I wanted to see what she would look like as a mixed media collage piece. My original inspiration was a little wooden doll I made in the first year of Life Book with red boots, striped black and white stockings in a black tutu! Also I have been making ladybird embellishments for my scrapbook pages. I have always considered myself to be an art and craft gal at heart. I really want to complete a couple of my albums, so that has taken up my time recently. A couple of new gadgets have made it really fun.


Once the image of the fairy and flower were drawn onto the 140lb hot pressed watercolour paper, I masked the four sides of the image with low tack tape to give a nice crisp edge. I applied shades of teal acrylic paint to block in the background colour in a soft gradient. I could have included lots of texture here but my vision for this piece was a clean cut look with the two main elements as the focal points.

After carefully peeling off the low tack tape, the petals of the flower were cut out from old dictionary pages and glued down. 

Thin washes of gesso and detail colour gave the flower added depth with the print of the pages still coming through for added interest. Undiluted Gesso was applied to the fairy's hair, wings and wand as a good clean base before painting.

Layer by layer acrylic paint and watersoluble crayons bring the ladybird fairy to life. At this point I reassess everything and correct some tones and highlights in the areas that need it.

After a delightful tea and chat, it was time to wave the ladybird fairy on her way.I love how this mixed media version turned out and hope you do too.

Comments are welcomed and encouraged.

Until next time, Happy Creating!