Saturday, March 24, 2012

Painting Again!

What a huge relief to feel inspired to paint again! 

My friend here in Phoenix bought a bouquet of daffodils - a flower that doesn't grow here naturally but which reminded me of Victoria and the beautiful display of spring flowers that will be blooming there right about now.  In a fit of homesickness, I decided to try and capture their likeness in watercolour.  It's a quick watercolour sketch - done in my art journal.  The pages of the journal are not thick enough to withstand water media without buckling, so I took a glue stick and stuck three pages of the journal together to give me a stronger surface to paint on.  It felt really good to be playing in the paint again!

Doing that little painting made me feel like painting more!  This time I was inspired by a cluster of tomatoes all on a single stem.  They were laying on the kitchen island and lit by a series of overhead lights (hence the multiple shadows).  I really wanted to try and capture the beautiful red glowing colours and am very pleased by how the painting turned out.

I've also found myself feeling curious about other painting media lately.  There have been only two times in my life when I've been brave enough to try painting with oil paints - once at age twelve when I created a huge disappointing mess in an attempt to paint a stormy ocean scene, and once at age seventeen when I painted a colour interpretation of a black and white photo of a landscape from somewhere in Scotland.  I still have that painting. This week I decided to try oil colours for the third time. I'm using them to paint a different interpretation of this tomatoe cluster and so far it's going without incident.  It will be some time before you will see the finished product as it takes so long (compared to watercolours) for the paint to dry between layers.

I think I'd like to try painting with acrylic paints, too.  Watercolour is by far what I am most comfortable with, but if I am so curious to try other things right now.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

And last, but not least, there's been more fiber art in my life during the past few weeks.  A friend's neice is getting married soon.  My friend had the idea of personalizing some bed linen for the bride with embroidered names or monograms.  That idea fired my imagination.  First I took some of the design elements from the wedding invitation and came up with this design, which my friend embroidered in black thread on blueberry blue coloured pillow cases.

Next I designed another pattern for pillowcases so I could embroider something for the bride, too.

I decided to use dark grey thread on dove grey pillowcases, and here's how they looked when they were finished -

Last week I was out photographing at the ruins of a little place called "Scorpion Gulch", just south of Phoenix at the base of South Mountain. 

It's been a great couple of weeks and I am so thrilled to be feeling creative again!  I can't wait to see where inspiration takes me next!
- Fern

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pieces of Previous Work

I have been fighting a virus the last couple of weeks. Feeling unwell is a real creativity zapper for me.  : (  So while I have nothing much new to share with you I realized that there were a couple of watercolour pieces from December that I did not share with you yet.  Care to see...?

In one of the watercolur classes we were invited to paint a snow scene.  I chose one of the teacher's paintings (our teacher was Joanne Thomson) and painted my interpretation of it. I love how cold it looks... brrrr!  

The painting of rose hips was inspired by some photos I took last summer.  During our painting class Joanne advised us to only use the best quality of paper, but I tbought I'd test out some other lesser expensive papers mostly out of curiosity but partly out of thriftiness.  As I painted the rose hips I noticed the paint behaved differently on this inexpensive paper, but I told myself that I wasn't all that unhappy with it.  At last the painting was finished and the paper was dry so I began peeling away the tape that held the edges of the paper to rigid board... only to have some of the top layer of the paper peel away with the tape!  (Did you hear me yelling in frustration that afternoon..??)  I stared at the jagged strip of sparking white paper where soft green paint had previously been and felt quite sick.  This was never meant to be a masterpiece, but I liked it enough that I would rather have been able to keep it intact!  Fortunately I had a small bottle of rice paper paste left over from a craft product and with much patience, diluted rice paper paste and a teeny tiny brush I was able to glue the torn layer of paper back onto the painting. Lesson learned... always use good quality watercolour paper because it costs less in tears and heartache in the long run!

A few weeks back we had a lovely bunch of purple tulips in the house.  The graceful curving stems begged me to try and capture their likeness so one afternoon I made this coloured pencil sketch.

And I do have one photo to share, taken a few weeks ago - a sunset taken from the top of South Mountain on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona.

This business of feeling unwell and being unable to do creative things is really for the birds! I am so looking forward to getting into a new creative project soon.  Next post I hope to have more new things to share with you.  In the meantime, I hope you're able to put at least a little sunshine in your life through expressing your creativity.