Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Seasons greetings


I would like to wish all my readers and followers a Happy New Year and that it be be full of joy and wonderful creative endeavours.

It is swelteringly hot here and the exodus to the beaches has already started as Christmas is when most kiwis take their annual holidays.  For my virtual Christmas card I have painted the New Zealand Christmas tree - Pohutukawa.  It is festooned with gorgeous red flowers during December and January.  It is a coastal tree and adorns the beaches and sea cliffs - a wonderful sight.




See you in  the New Year.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Collages and a Tah Dah!

For the collage theme over at Art Journal Journey this week I have continued using up old scraps and failed paintings.


The above was a collage I started years ago and never finished.  I think it was at the beginning of my tea bag painting phase.  The trees are dried gum leaves.


This collage is a combination of three failed works!  I pasted them onto a large sheet of card and then added some leaves.  The tea bag in the centre I left unpainted as I thought it might get a bit too busy.

Now I don’t know if this qualifies as a collage as it is digital.


I used a watercolour of some apple blossom, a photo of my Mothers wedding day, (the two ladies with her are my grandmothers.  Christmas is a time of family and I feel the need to honour these ladies as they are no longer with us.)  I also used some bits of lace that I scanned.

Tah Dah!

For Paint Party Friday, I finished the painting from last week thanks to a suggestion from Denthe and others.  Denthe suggested that I paint the bird looking at the girl as if it was going to take it from her.  That really hit the mark for me.  I am going to call the painting The Last FlowerThe birds are upset that she has picked it as now they will be hungry and there will now be no flowers to form seeds and feed the earth.  I think the girl has realised too late what she has done in her mission to smell the beautiful scent.


People who have looked at my last post for Sunday Sketches will recognise the bird as the Tui.  There is a reason that I have been painting them a lot.  My younger brother had a stoke 3 weeks ago.  As children we were very close, but in late teenage years we became estranged.  A couple of years ago I got in touch again with him and we have been developing a relationship again.   As children we use to spend holidays with our grandmother and she still worked some mornings so we were dropped off at the National Museum in Wellington and we took turns at what we would look at.  Dave was keen on birds so I drew them and he took notes from the displays.  Then we would make a project sheet on each bird for our Grandparents.  

I think what we also like the most was when Grannie picked us up and took us to fancy restaurants for lunch.  She let us choose whatever we wanted.  I think that is where I got my love of fine food!! 
When we got in touch again Dave would send me photos of birds that live around his home in Canberra (Australia)  His favourite  NZ bird is the Tui, so I am painting a series of cards for him.  Below is a painting in gouache that I am going to frame for him.



It is so sad he is only in his fifties and his wife is dying of breast cancer.  They had just got back from Mexico where they had gone for treatment for Liz.  It is not working unfortunately; I think the stress of it all plus other family stuff caused it.  So, if could please send your prayers or healing vibes to Canberra, I would be grateful.

That’s it for today

Hope you all have a wonderful week and thanks for visiting.



Sunday, 7 December 2014

Birds and teabags

Sunday Sketches


I am killing two birds with one stone so to speak today.  I have been very fortunate to have a lot of time this week to create art.


For Sunday Sketches I decided to show two of a series of NZ native birds I am doing for cards.  I am trying to use the looser style that I have for my ladies.  (My birds and flora are usually very detailed.)
These two birds are one of my favourites The Tui.  It was scarce for a number of years but now is becoming more common as it is moving into the towns and cities as people are planting more native trees and shrubs in their gardens.  It has a beautiful song and a couple wake me up every morning singing to each other.  They are a largish bird and rather clumsy, but oh how they sing and their iridescent colours just gleam in the sunlight.


The male has a beautiful white ruffle of feathers under its beak and white thin feathers behind its head.  The Tui is a nectar eater and unfortunately gets very greedy in spring when the Kowhai Tree is in flower.  They can denude the tree overnight and leave a carpet of shredded flowers for us humans to sigh over!  Sometimes it seems as they are having a drunken brawl over the flowers and is rather funny to watch.

Art Journal Journey


The theme for art Journal Journey this month is collage.   I decided to get out my plastic box full of abandoned projects and make some art from them.



Some time ago early last year I had a period of painting portraits on teabagsThe page above I pasted onto a small page of weaved strips from pages of a book that I am altering. Then I just simply washed some watercolour over the lot.

The page below I pasted the teabag onto some ripped squares from the same book and then pasted that lot over half of a spoiled watercolour of anemones.   Then did a bit of splashing!  Moral of story don’t throw anything out, it can be combined with other bits and pieces to make an okay page.


Um I still have lots of teabags and scraps and messed up paintings to use up, so no doubt I will be posting more collages before the month is out.

So that’s it for today so thanks Alexandra from Sunday Sketches

and Susi and Valerie for hosting Art Journal Journey.

Visit both as there is some wonderful art to be seen.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Caught in the Rain and WIP


Do you ever embrace the rain when out for a walk?  I did on Monday.  I got soaked, but it was wonderful.  The rain was so heavy I could have put my tongue out and had a drink!  When I got home my hair was like rat tails and water was dripping off me and made a great puddle.  But oh I felt so refreshed.  Crazy eh!  I just had to do this watercolour.  (I wish I was as lovely as this beauty when soaking wet, lol!)

The next piece is a WIP, I have had this canvas 30cm x 60cm for ages and had started to do the background in acrylic but had got no further.


On Tuesday I dragged it out and added more layers and used gesso to suggest a figure on the left.  I have been adding to it every day.  But, now I have got to the stage of not knowing where to go next.  Is it finished?  Do I add some text?


I quite like it as it is, it there is still a niggle.  The girl is meant to be holding a flower maybe I could add a flower on the right?  However, I won’t do anything to it for at least a week.  In fact I will turn it to the wall and hopefully next week when I will look at it again the answer will come to me.

I will post the finished piece I promise!

Have  a lovely week and thanks for visiting.

 I am linking as usual to Paint Party Friday, hosted by Eva and Kristin.  Head over there as there are some amazing artists taking part.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A love affair with roses

I love gardening, I love roses!  They make me curse when pruning, and often when picking them I scratch myself.  But oh my they have a wonderful scent -they give off a fragrance that surpasses any other.


I picked these a couple of days ago and they have been giving pleasure to me and my visitors ever since.

They are starting to droop a bit and I decided to try my hand at doing a watercolour of them.  Next to painting people flowers are a hot favourite.  Anyway it is about time I posted some of my flower studies.


I am really pleased with this.  It is the first time that I used the technique I use for my painted ladies.  It took a bit of nerve to splash acrylic on the painting though.


I was on a roll and decided to do another of some climbing roses along the driveway.  (Yes there is a grape vine intermingled with the roses!) They are the old-fashioned cabbage type rose.    Oh my how the mighty are fallen!  I made a botch of them. 


Time for a bit of splashing.  Hey presto a saved painting.  Sort of looks abstract.  I don’t know why I keep thinking of starry night!

Well that’s it for today, thanks for visiting and have a great week.

Linking with Alexandra’s Sunday Sketches


Friday, 28 November 2014

Inspired by Francis Hodgkins

I have finally got around to doing some painting inspired by a well-known NZ artist for Art Journal Journey’s theme of Inspired by the Masters for November.

I have chosen Frances Hodgkins - 1869 -1947.  She is one of the earliest Women Artists in New Zealand.  It wasn’t until she left NZ at the age of 37 and went to Europe that she obtained recognition for her art.  Luckily, nowadays NZ women don’t have to leave NZ to follow a career in art.

For the first painting (Two Women with a basket of Flowers 1915) I more or less copied, but in watercolour rather than oil that Hodgkins used.  This painting was before her more well-known semi abstract work that was influenced by Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson..  Looking at it I would say that Matisse was an influence, as I think of him when I look at it.

My Version


For the second painting The Farmer’s Daughter I decided to do my own take. 


I actually found it quite hard to put my spin on it, made me realise that I need my girls to talk to me!  

My version



In 1912-13Francis Hodgkins taught in Paris at Colarossi's academy, the first woman to be appointed instructor in the school. I found a picture of her that shows her as a fun person as opposed to the usual photo of her looking very stern and school mamish.


Now this talked to me and inspired me to do this painting.


That is it for this week, have a creative week everybody and thanks for visiting.

Linking to Paint Party Friday hosted by Eva and Kirstin

And ArtJournal Journey hosted this month by Valerie with Susi

Friday, 21 November 2014

Paint Party Friday


This is Samantha, she is in a whirl!  She has been listening to grown ups talking when they thought she couldn't hear.  She is confused and  unhappy.  They are saying things she doesn't understand.  Why are they angry ?


There is shouting, she wishes they would stop, it makes her miserable she wants to go and hide.

She goes up to her Mum and says “Please Mummy, make it stop……..”
Her Mum says, “It is nothing dear, we are just talking, go and play with your brothers and cousins  outside.”


Samantha doesn't want to.  Her brothers and cousins are fighting also.  So she goes into her bedroom and hides under the bed with her hands over her ears blocking the world out.

At a family gathering I witnessed this sad episode.  I know that emotions were raw because it was a funeral.  I wanted to be like Sam and go and hide under the bed!  It is so sad that history will go on repeating itself generation after generation.  Children see more than we realise sometimes, they have big ears and copy what the grown ups do, or like Sam and me, we withdraw.

Being conscious of our behaviour and giving them good guidelines will create well-adjusted happy little people like the cutie below.


(The first of the four Samantha’s is the actual painting, the other three I played with the hues on my computer.  Proves that colour tells the story!)

Have a happy creative week and thanks for visiting.

Linking to Paint Party Friday hosted by the lovely Kristin and Eva.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Taking a Break


We don’t really have Halloween here in NZ, but it is slowly creeping in. I have already had a little Dracula toddler at the door.  Totally forgot and had to raid my chocolate stash!  Drat!  But he was so sweet and his Mum was a supper vampire (?).

I have been absent from the blogging scene for a bit and will continue to be for a while as there are things going on in my life that take up all my physical and emotional energy.


 However, I have managed to do some art this afternoon.  Below is a painting of a statue I saw on Flickr a while ago, I loved it because it looked so creepy, suitable for today!  It is Halloween isn't it?


I will try and get around fellow PPF people over the weekend.  But please excuse me if I don’t. 

Hope to see you all again in the near future.

Hugs Sharon.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Owls, a Fairy and a Pear


I have been deep in the forest this week painting owls for Art Journal Journey’s October theme.  These two are having a great old gossip about the naive little fairy that noisily woke them up from their slumber.  They were very indignant when she screamed out as a spider jumped on her wings.  What was she doing there anyway, they asked each other.


Well, Miranda was being brave, very brave in fact.  The big fairies told her that deep in the forest there was a wonderful treasure chest by the old oak tree.  In it there was a lot of special fairy dust.  Now this fairy dust was wonderful - beautiful iridescent blues and greens with gold and silver highlights.  Miranda thought that if she could get some and made a wish she would become beautiful and slender like the big fairies. 

The spider terrified Miranda and when the owls hooted with laughter, she decided that she didn't like the darkness of the forest and perhaps it would be better if she went home and ate the pear her Mum was painting for lunch.  Pears would make her skinny!!!!  Also her Mum’s kitchen was full of light and warmth and love. 


The owls were done in ink, pencil and watercolour.  Miranda was done in pencil, watercolour and gouache. 

The still life was done in acrylic, it is also being linked to Mix it Monthly hosted by Conny, where the theme in October is still life with the colours red, blue and yellow.

Have a wonderful creative week and thanks for visiting.

Linked to
Paint PartyFriday hosted by Eva and Kirstin
Art JournalJourney hosted by Susi
Mix ItMonthly hosted by Conny

Sunday, 5 October 2014

People Watching

I have always watched people, their emotions, attitudes and body language.


These days I take my A5 size sketchbook with me wherever I go and try to sketch at least two people per outing. Often it is only an outline and if so I finish it at home.  The first one was an outline, as I didn't want to make it obvious I was drawing her.  I find it works as if I tried to sketch the full portrait I get bogged down in trying to get an likeness and often it ends up a mess.  The one on the opposite page only took about 5 minutes.


The other bit of sketching I do is when watching TV.  I sit on the sofa with my coloured pencils and doodle draw.  This is how I get my quirky faces, as I am not looking at the drawing so am not fussed about detail.

Are you a people watcher?

Linking to Sunday Sketches hosted by Alexandra of Blue Diary 
Illustrations.

Have a great creative week.