18 in 18

This year I am intending to broaden out my horizons by doing different things. You can check out the list in the original post. They are not wildly adventurous things ~ I am not¬†intending to do 9 different types of extreme sports. In fact sport of any stripe doesn’t get a mention! The intention was to extend the range of activities that I already do, to make me think outside the box.

And that’s how it turned out in January. Here’s an update of what I have crossed off the list so far.

I’ve had one (out of four) short trips away, to stay at the delightful, but busy, seaside town of Lorne, along the Great Ocean Road. Magnificent views, and very steep hills!

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I’ve made one (out of five) things for other people. My friend Denise and I had a delightful afternoon making cushion covers for her dining chairs. My help was also her Christmas present ūüėä

It has been rather hot to have the oven on, but I did get a plum cake cooked. That’s one cake (out of 8) cooked. Looks fancy with the icing sugar, and it tasted okay too.

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Looking for music has made me aware of the music around me. I have found one and have leads I wish to follow up, to make up my nine for the year. I may even surpass my target. Any suggestions? Darlingside was the group I came upon. I love the fiddle mandolin they use. If you like them too, do read about them on their website. It made me smile.

I am a fifth of the way through reading ten biographies or memoirs. But that’s not surprising, I am an avid reader. (I am going to post about my favourite books from 2017, hopefully before 2018 ends!)

Woman on the mountain by Sharon Munro was one of those books you read at a holiday home. The title sums it up….she lives an isolated, sustainable life on a mountain in the Australian Alps. She writes charmingly about the wild life around her, including the snakes, about bushfires and solar panels and how she got to the mountain in the first place.

In Four quarters of light Brian Keenan was searching during his four months of travel through Alaska for an answer to how wilderness impacts on people, especially their inner life. What does wilderness teach us about ourselves?

My intention when I decided to visit 12 art galleries and exhibitions during the year was to extend my knowledge of galleries, with an eye to finding some that might want me to exhibit. The two that I have visited aren’t new ones, but, hey, I make the rules, I can break the rules. I went to the Incinerator Gallery to see an exhibition of quilts put on by the Essendon Quilters, a local quitting group. The was other Romancing the Skull at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. I blogged about it here.

I am on track for movies ~ two out of 13. 3 billboards outside Ebbing Missouri and The Post. Both highly recommended.

The hills in Lorne were certainly different places to walk, and I also walked around Carlton admiring the terrace houses and then to Royal Park. So two out of 14 done. Wth this category I want to explore new places, the places that I have thought “I must go and walk around there” but never quite made it. I hope to knock a few (well, 12 more!) off the list this year.

Visiting 16 different places is another one to make me go beyond what I know. So I took the 96 tram to St Kilda. Not a big adventure, but now I know what the houses that I see so often from the car look like from behind.

Sketching outdoors can make you feel rather exposed as passerbys can, and do, look and comment. Usually it’s positive, like the guy in the coffee shop who said “You’re an artist!” I hope I got the punctuation right and he wasn’t saying “You’re an artist???” So, to have sketched in public three times is an achievement. I did some sketches down at Lorne, once in a cafe and then with my friend Janey at the NGV, along with about 100 other people! They were all following the lead of the artist while Janey and I did our own thing. I found this imperious chap.

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Lastly, my letter writing. I sent off some postcards just before New Year, so I am not counting those. However, I have sent off 3 cards and letters, only 15 more to go. ūüíĆ

So, off to a good start. Now to keep up the moment and not let these things drown in the sea of ordinary life. How are your goals going? Still active or going under?!

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Another adventure in the pipeline

Much of my time lately has been taken up with painting our hallway. Our house is an older Victorian terrace, with a loooong hall — over 11 metres — and ceilings of about 3 metres. It has been waiting to be painted for quite a few years now. Why it hasn’t happened is a story not worth telling…sufficient to say that the Fella and I made the decision in October that we would do the work. And work we have.

My job is the fiddly bits — the edges where the wall and ceiling meet, and the architraves and skirting boards. These were painted in gloss paint, which had to be sanded, undercoated and two coats of the top colour applied. While these boards are not the originals, I did choose them many years ago to closely match the originals I had to remove. So they are fancy, with fiddly curves and dips to sand.

Now we have lovely clean, white walls and slightly off white architraves and skirting boards. Well, the latter are almost all done. They are painted in a colour called “Pale Lady”. Fortunately the colour was perfect, as I think I would have bought the paint for the name alone. I am sure there are pale Victorian lady ghosts lurking in the house somewhere!

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I had a friend’s birthday morning tea, which I set up in the hall to celebrate!

You can see that the floor is still to happen, so the skirting boards are loose until we get that sorted. Now to the last few pieces of board to sand and paint.

But that’s not the adventure I am thinking about…..

The Monday before the Melbourne Cup Day holiday the Fella and I took off down the length of the Mornington Peninsular. It is the eastern arm that circles Port Phillip Bay and we went to Portsea, right at the tip of the peninsular.

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Why? Well, the local council has an Artist in Residence Programme down there. You may remember my Artist in Residency stay on Flinders Island a couple of years ago, and how that began my obsession interest with melaleuca trees. I am very attracted to the idea of having weeks away from my normal routine, where all I have to do is practise my art.

And imagine doing that in this cottage!

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And the view of the cottage from the lookout

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The view the other way, across Port Phillip Bay to the Bellarine Peninsular.

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We had a sneak peek in the cottage….

and I can see myself working here.

To top it off, the cottage is at the edge of the Mornington Peninsular National Park. The environment is coastal heathland, with trees and bushes to excite my creativity. Now, to get the application in, and cross my fingers that it is accepted, so that this sign will mean me!

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Embroidery ~ free form landscape

Winter textile work

When I create a post I write, add photos, edit and then press ‘publish’. Most of the writing has happened in my head, so I am usually happy with what I write. This post has been different; this is the third or fourth go. The post is about ‘where to next’ with my fabric art work, and as I wrote I learnt more about where I am going. Let me be more concrete…..

This is how I began, and I am satisfied with it as it is mostly straight forward.

In my last newsletter I was musing about the textile work I do in Winter. I try to keep that story telling part of the newsletter shortish, so I want to use this blog to work through some of the things I am thinking about.

I have always loved hand sewing. My early creative career as a bag maker was begun as a way to use the embroidery I was creating. Embroidery has run parallel to my painting, but since my return a couple of years ago from my artist in residency at Mountain Seas Resort on Flinders Island I have been more conscious about creating. Slowly I have been thinking more about where I want this to go. I will return to this in a moment, but let me show you what I am talking about.

There are two sorts of embroidery I am doing. One is on tapestry canvas. I have found beautiful merino wool from Fibreworks; it is the right weight for the work I am doing and Gill dyes the wool to create colours of the Australian bush. Perfect weight, perfect variegated colours. I use my photos for inspiration, set up some compositional guidelines and then sit on the couch, in the warmth and sew. You can read a tapestry post  here.

This is the sort of work I have been creating, works inspired by Flinders Island

and this from last year’s trip to Menindee

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This is my current work-in-progress, again inspired by the arid, salt-bush environment of Menindee. I think is much better than the earlier one.

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Then came this section, which is a second or third draft. What I wrote made me consider the options I had.

Which brings me to my deeper musings…..what am I going to do with these? ¬†I have written a few drafts about this, and that process has helped resolve the question. I was going to ask “Should I do this [put them in my Etsy shop] or should I do that [exhibit them]”. Thinking it through has made me realise that I want to exhibit them.

Using the E-word (Exhibit) in public is a big one for me. I find it difficult to approach someone to say “My work is so good that you should exhibit it”. There is the risk of rejection, and there is fear of Pride. There is the inner voice telling me I am not ready yet, that I don’t have time, to wait until I have done bigger pieces. You know the reasons, as I am sure we all have that voice which tells similar excuses.

However, there is a council-run gallery that has applications to exhibit in one of their spaces, and that must be the Universe telling me to stop procrastinating and just do it. That universe is made up of everyone I know yelling out to me “Do It Anne!!!!”. I can hear you from here! So, yes, I will.

Which is where I stopped. Something wasn’t right. Then the Universe came up with a weekly newsletter from Sara Genn. This week she was responding to a query about being ready for exhibiting. Her advice shows that you can’t rely on the Universe for any meaningful guide to the way forward, as it was this section that resonated:

Have you got a few hundred paintings?
Select from this year’s production your best 20. If you haven’t got an embarrassment of riches to choose from, go back to your room and paint. Your shortlist should be thematic but varied in ideation and show an evolution of imagination, technique and skill.

That’s what is missing, my body of work. It’s not my inner critic saying “You’re not ready”, it is this true statement ~ I am not ready.

So, now to create those few hundred works…… Realistically that number is not going to happen. However I do need to have a body of work that I can show a gallery, rather than an idea backed up by one or two pieces.

I am (almost) ready to press ‘publish’ for this post and then go back to my creating. But just before I do…..I mentioned above that I am creating two sorts of fabric work, and I only showed you the tapestry-style ones. The others use stitching, organza and other fabric to make trees (no surprise there!). You can see them on my Instagram feed.

Have you had any experience with exhibiting, or preparing a folio? I’d love other from you.

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Newsletter time ~ take 2

Well, the first newsletter came out last Thursday ~ phew!

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The opening section of the newsletter
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A little article about split complementary colours
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Some links that I added (NB this is only a photo, so the links won’t work!)

I still haven’t found a way of attaching the sign-up button to my blog. (Anybody out there know how to do it? Or know if it can be done?)

And I think I may have mucked up with sending the newsletter to blog readers who wanted to be on the list. So, if you didn’t receive it, and would like to, you can click on the link; you should go to the sign-up form. (Let me know if there are any gremlins here.)

Sign up for the newsletter

The next edition will be out on Thursday. Hurray!!

 

More trees

I have really appreciated the feedback you give me for my oil pastel trees. You have left me so many positive comments, as well some sales.

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Image and photograph copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

Oil pastels as a medium still excites me. In fact tomorrow I am going to a workshop where watercolour and oil pastels as mixed. You can imagine how my eyes lit up when I saw that one advertised!

I still have a lot to learn about colour, but I know that putting some colours side by side will make each one sing.¬†To create with oil pastels I layer marks over other marks, as well as sometimes smudging the marks together. My usual method is to¬†just pick up the colour that seems right; usually this works, but sometimes it doesn’t. I have decided to try ¬†more rigour.

So I started my experimenting with a colour wheel.

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The triangle in the middle of the wheel shows the hues that make up a split complementary. Those three were my my dark, middle and light tones. What would I get if I limited myself to these six pastel sticks?

First layer were the blue and purple, to create the dark park underneath the canopy. Some smudging to merge the marks.

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copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The browns add some vibrancy.

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Copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

Adding the light pastels creates the magic because they also smudge the other marks. Can you see how the yellow over the blue has created a blue-green? And how it changes the colour of the browns? So the six original colours have mixed to create more, and unexpected ones too.

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Image and photograph copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The next stage is to draw the ink branches and trunk. In black ink or brown? Probably brown, but maybe not…..

And after that I might have a play with another split complementary.

And the winner is…….

Drum roll please…….because the winner of my tree painting giveaway is……..but first let’s watch the draw…..All the names are in the hat, which is taken by Special Courier to the Fella, enjoying the Autumn sunshine down the back of the house…..

…..where he draws out the winning name…..

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which is ……..

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MARINA who blogs at¬†Letters from Athens!! ¬†ūüéČūüéäūüéČ Congratulations!

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So the painting will be winging its way to Greece. (No Warren Beatty opening the wrong envelope at this celebration!)

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who commented. I loved all your ~up towns, and was glad that I hadn’t made the competition about the best name. There is no way I could have chosen a winner! Thank you too if you didn’t enter, but still enjoy reading my¬†blog. It is one of my pleasures¬†to know that in this crazy old world there are people like you who delight in the simple things and enjoy the humanity of others.

If you are really shattered that you didn’t win the painting, you have the chance to buy one! They are in my Etsy shop, AnneLawsonArt. (You can also click on the feather drawing on the side bar at the right.) It is easy to buy through Etsy, but if you don’t want to, email me and we can work things out.

My email: annebags@optusnet.com.au

Just to let you know, I am working on larger versions of the trees that are not in the shop. They are 23 x 16 inches (59 x 41 cm). Again, email me if you would like to know more.

And lastly, Happy International Women’s Day to you all! Let’s celebrate the great gains women¬†have made, and work towards eradicating sexism and the barriers that still exist.

 

Time for a tree giveaway

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I have created one of my oil pastel trees just for you. It is small, A5 (8 x 6 inches; 12 x 15 cm) and on good quality watercolour paper. Unfortunately, it is only for one of you. ‚ėĻÔłŹ And you have to do a little bit to earn it. Let me explain……

To celebrate the launch of my new series of trees I want to give away this drawing. To win it leave me a comment by Sunday 5th March. Then, on Monday, I will write all the names on slips of paper and the Fella will pull one out of the hat. I will happily post it any where in the world.

So what do you need to do?

As you know I have recently been over to Western Australia. In the southern part of the state there are many towns with names that end in ‘up’. We stayed for a couple of nights in Manjimup ~ a wonderful name that is fun to say. How about this for a list:

  • Coolbellup
  • Kendenup
  • Myalup
  • Nannup
  • Noggerup
  • Wannaup
  • and many more

The suffix originated in a dialect of¬†Noongar, an¬†Indigenous Australian language, in which “-up” means “place of”. The suffix “-in” or “-ing” has a similar meaning in a related dialect of Noongar.[1]¬†Places tended to be named after their distinctive features, whereby the place names could be used to create a “mental map” allowing Indigenous Australians to determine where water, food and other raw materials could be found. These sites were often located near sources of fresh water, leading to the common misconception that “up” and “in” mean “near water”.[1]

The Fella and I had great fun with these names ~ well I did anyway! I created my own ‘Up’ towns.¬†Wheat fields would flash past the car window and all of a sudden I would ‘Pipeup’ with ‘Buggerup’ or ‘Fillerup’. It certainly whiled away the time! I came up with a good list, but most of my¬†pearls are¬†lost ~ my memory is not what it once was, sigh. Here’s a few I do remember

  • Shutup
  • Timeisup
  • Standup
  • Liveitup
  • CanIfillitup

So, your job is to help me compile my list. You need to ‘Makeup’ your own ‘Up’ town and leave it in the comments. I will happily accept other languages, as of course the originals were not English names. So that’s all you have to do….. Have fun!

 

The Nullarbor and trees.

It was at my artist in residency at Mountain Seas on Flinders Island that inspired me to focus on trees. Not just any tree, but melaleucas. I love their canopies, the way the top  parts catch the light while the underneath is in deep shade. I love the shape of them ~ flat areas and crevasses. But I also love their trunks and branches, which twist and bend. When they are massed together there is a rhythm to the shapes.

I am obsessed by these trees. I try to move on, but I keep coming back, either to try them in a new way or perfect what I have been doing. I have used pencil

I have painted with watercolour

I have worked them in yarn. This was probably the least satisfactory way of creating them, but it did lead me onto creating embroidered landscapes.

They all flowed from the Flinders Island experience, where I saw the melaleucas massed together. The trip across the Nullarbor has fuelled my obsession in a different way. The trees there are not melaleucas and, while there are hundreds of square kilometres of them, they are individual trees. I am not sure what species they actually are, and at the moment, that is unimportant to me. Like the melaleucas it is the shape of the canopy and the sculptural branches and trunks that make my creative heart sing.

Maybe you look at these photos and think “Nice pictures, but iI don’t quite get the obsession”. I love them partly because¬†they dovetailed so nicely with the melaleucas, so similar, and yet they shimmered in the wind. Partly because I had to wonder about the evolutionary process. What advantage is there to have such spindly branches? (Bendy branches help in the wind, I guessed, and maybe thinner trunks help move water more efficiently. Any thoughts?) But largely because when you are travelling a thousand kilometres (and another thousand back) staring out the window, you do get a bit obsessed by what you are looking at. I found I was trying to capture the individual trees in my mind.

So, the trees sat there for a couple of weeks and a couple of thousand kilometres. It wasn’t until I came home that I realised two things had come together ~ the trees and a set of oil pastels that were a Christmas present in Western Australia. And this is what is coming out…

The oil pastels allow me to smudge and blend and get carried away with colour combinations. I can layer colours over each other and drag pastels through areas. Then the trunks and branches have the delicacy of the ink. That’s like doodling! Mostly I use¬†black ink pens, but I have been experimenting with different coloured inks. (I show some of my¬†experimentation on ¬†my Instagram feed, AnneLawson54.)

Some close up photos so you can see how the oil pastel creates luscious textures and combinations of colour.

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Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2017
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Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

So far they are all either A5 or A4 size, but I am planning bigger ones. They are so satisfying, and such a contrast to the detailed work in my botanic art paintings!

Most of the paintings are available in my Etsy shop AnneLawsonArt. There are details of each if you are interested in finding out more. Some of the other drawings I have shown you in this post are there too. However you don’t have to buy through Etsy if you don’t want to. You can email me at annebags@optusnet.com.au and we can sort things out.

In my studio, December 2016

What’s happening in my studio?

Well, not much painting-wise. Like you, I have been busy with other interesting things that this time of the year throws up, including a very interesting talk by Dr. Tom May, who spoke about “From mushrooms to the mycobiome”. But that’s not what this post is about…..

My Cullen painting is at the same stage as¬†last month. It’s not going to be finished in 2016. ūüė¶

I have sent off my #stitchingsanta parcels. It is a fun idea organised by Sheila at Sewchet.¬†Back in October she sent out an invitation to play along this year. I love making connections around the world, so I was in. I asked for two people ~ a sewing and a knitting/crocheting secret santa. Then Sheila’s email arrived telling me who I was going to collect for. I had so much fun collecting things. But challenged too. They need to be things the present-opener would like, as well as having an Australian theme and flat¬†enough to go through the post as a letter. I think I did well, but, as it is a secret, all I can show you is this…..

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In my studio I have some new treasures……

I can never go far without picking up something to bring home. These caught my eye on the path near the Botanic Gardens. I love how the weighty seedpods contrasts with the delicate wings, the smooth and the finely textured, the green and the pink, the shadow and the light ~ all this in one little miraculous package.

The other treasure is a print from my very talented friend Melanie Lazarow. I saw her recent exhibition and enjoyed her abstracts. Some are large and a wild mixture of vivid colours, some are small with detailed geometric shapes. She is also a wonderful photographer and her passion is recording how people fight against injustice. However, it was this print that cried out to go home with me.

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Image copyright: Melanie Lazarow

I love the colours in it, its moodiness, and of course the plants.

While my Cullen painting has been languishing, I have made progress with my embroidery.

It is such a different process to my botanic art. When painting I know exactly how I want the final image to be. The point of botanic art is to replicate the plant in fine detail. Many of the¬†decisions about composition, colour, tone, the process¬†and so on are made before I¬†start. Major problems I encounter during the painting process have usually arisen¬†because I haven’t thought through issues at the beginning. The colour may be wrong or I haven’t really considered how I am going to paint those fine hairs or realise that the original drawing was incorrect.

The embroidery is so different. I have an idea of how it is going to be at the end, as I often work from a photo, but that only gives me the broad outlines, the shape of the tree or where the sky is going to be. I am always problem solving as I go. What stitch is best to make this look like grass? How am I going to show the highlight? Is my yarn giving me the tones that I want? Why don’t I try this thread? So many ‘What if….?’ questions. And I love that about it. It’s playful.

So‚Ķ.what’s happening in¬†your creative space? You will notice that I am not saying ‚Äústudio‚ÄĚ except in the title. I like the sound of it there!¬†Creative space¬†is much wider ~ I‚Äôm thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

Leave a comment below with a link to your blog post, Instagram photo, Facebook entry….whatever.

 

Some blatant advertising…..

On the blog I do mention my Etsy shop. However, I try to show you behind the scenes of my creative process ~ how I go about making the things that end up there (as well as a lot of other blathering of course!) But today I want to be more blatant.

If you are planning to buy any of my paintings and drawings for Christmas presents, and they do make unique gifts for people, then you will need to do so before the middle¬†of next week. If you are not in Australia that is.¬†I don’t want you anxiously waiting at the letter box for the parcel, so I am giving you a more comfortable buffer.

Let me explain. Usually I allow¬†10 days to reach somewhere overseas. If I set a deadline of 7th December, given a good run it should reach you by 17th December. But we know that postage will not run smoothly during December, so it may take a few more days. That will take it to the week before Christmas. Of course I make no¬†guarantees even if I post it then, but¬†if I post it later I can almost guarantee that you won’t get it in time.

And just so I don’t feel that this is totally blatant advertising, let me say that it will be same for most online deliveries!

Now to show you a small selection of possible gifts from the shop. All shown here are originals; there are a few prints in the shop.

Click on the photo to be taken to the listing.

(The paper they are painted and drawn on is actually creamy white, not the blue grey that seems to show up in these photos.)

Enjoy!

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014
Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013
Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014
Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014