Categories
Odds and Ends

Masks

I was inspired by Kate’s fabulous looking mask.

There is great debate about the efficacy of non-medical grade masks. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that, if you unknowingly have the coronavirus, wearing a mask may prevent you from spreading the virus further. They are not for preventing the virus getting into you. And I would imagine that this is more so for the cloth type that I have made. The US Centre for Disease Control has suggested that everyone wear a mask when outside.

Don’t forget that which ever mask you use it must be taken off carefully and disposed of/washed properly. The virus may be on the outside of the mask, or on the inside if you have it. Fold it carefully inside itself and dispose of. Then wash your hands. For 20 seconds and with soap. (The soap destroys the outer coating of the virus and it takes at least 20 seconds for this to happen.)

And of course, if you have symptoms STAY INSIDE!!! Mask or no mask!

Kate’s pattern came from CraftPassion’s blog and you can find out the details here. Watch the video, as it is for an updated version of the mask, which allows filtration material to be inserted.

The pattern comes in a couple of sizes. Yesterday I made the women’s size. When I was road testing it this morning I decided that it was too small. It wouldn’t stay in place, especially when I talked.

Today I made the Men’s size, and was happier when I road tested it. (I am not sure what that says about the size of my face. 😳) It stayed in place better, but talking was still a challenge, as the mask wanted to move around more. It may be a problem with the tightness of the strap. Conversation was doubly difficult because the Fella is quite deaf!

The issue of my glasses fogging up is better resolved now that I have a trusty bread tie to hold the top of the mask in shape around my nose. A pipe cleaner would probably be the best, but there aren’t any lurking in my stash.

I was particularly chuffed with the tie. CraftPassion has a neat tutorial for making yarn out of an old t-shirt. I realised that I only needed to cut one strip from the bottom of the t-shirt, about a cm wide, and cut it at one seam, to have a length that was ample. Tug it a few times and it rolls in on itself.

They are easy to make….well the second one was. For some reason I kept stuffing up the first one. One mistake was attaching the bread tie holder to bottom. That had me confused for a little while! And then annoyed when I had to unpick it.

I don’t do selfies, but it is hard to show off a mask without one….

 

Categories
Kindness Odds and Ends

A special gift

It is a busy time, but I just had to drop in…..

We know there are deep divisions in the world, and we despair over what we are doing to the world. We feel anxious. It is easy to succumb to the negativity.

But then along comes the postie, with a special gift made by a special person, to remind me that for all that is wrong with the world, there is an awful lot that is right.

The gift was from my friend Kate, who blogs at Tall Tales from Chiconia. I know that many of you follow, read and comment on her blog (and if you don’t, you should). You will know her as a very generous soul. I know her too as a dear friend, even though we have only met a couple of times ~ the distance between McKay, where she lives in tropical Queensland, and my home in Melbourne is huge.

These last six months for me have been full of medical matters for my partner and my Mum. Both are on the mend, but everything has been a distraction from my artistic work. Kate has picked up on this, and sent me a beautifully quilted brush roll. She hopes that it will help me get my creative mojo back, and I am sure it will.

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Kate has not only made something special for me, but her extra layer of thoughtfulness is that the pattern of the material is watercolour feathers. It was a special piece of material from her stash.  She knows that feathers are important  to me. How special is that!

I have often admired the brush rolls of other painters, but none compares to mine, because theirs have not been made by a thoughtful and insightful friend. Their’s don’t have feather fabric nor custom made pockets to hold a variety of things.

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So thank you Kate, for reminding me of all the good there is in this world. Enjoy your Christmas with those you love! 💕

Have a lovely festive time. I hope you spend it doing the things you love with the people you love. And that Father Christmas brings you an extra special something.

Categories
AnneLawsonArt My art work

Off to Police Point

I am spending all of June in a little cottage on Police Point, the edge of the Point Nepean National Park. You may have read about it in the letter from my studio that I sent out yesterday. Or you may remember me talking about it a while ago. But if you haven’t heard about it, don’t get my newsletter and don’t want to click the link to catch up, let me explain.

I have been granted an artist in residence position by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, to spend a month in the Gatekeeper’s Cottage creating and exploring art. How amazing, how luxurious, how special is that?

Point Nepean is the eastern arm of Port Phillip Bay, and you can see the red dot way down on the edge. Can you see the white dot for Moonee Ponds, just north of the word Melbourne? That’s where I live, about 2 hours drive away.

Map of Point Nepean

And in this photo, can you see the red roof? That is where I will be, with the wonderful national park away to the right. (This photo came from the Mornington Peninsula Shire.)

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Some photos I took when I visited in late 2017.

A couple of years ago I was an artist in residence at Flinders Island. Fantastic experience, which lead to my obsession with the shapes and textures of that windswept coastal heathland. Point Nepean has similar vegetation, buffeted by the winds off the Southern Ocean. I want to wander through that environment, with my sketchbook, looking at the shapes, noticing the details. Then back in the cottage I want to explore how to translate what I see onto the paper.

I will be using watercolour, and sewing onto the paper. (My sewing machine has gone for a service, to make sure it is in tip top condition.) I would like to explore ways to work larger because at the moment I am constrained by manoeuvring the paper around the machine.

But I want to be open to creativity, to let the ideas dance and sing in my brain.

On the practical side, there are art supply shops in towns along the coast road down the Peninsula….just in case I need something vital! And while I don’t want to come back home, it is nice to know it is only a few hours away.

It will be important to not fritter my time away, and I know how good I am at doing that! So, to make myself accountable I am going to try to post on Instagram and Facebook each day, and have a weekly round up here. So, if you would like to follow along with me, I would love to have your company.

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I would like to thank.... Kindness Odds and Ends

A quick update, and lots of good people

It’s a busy day today ~ shopping, tax time, the day to write my newsletter (in this one I will do the full reveal of the 3 trees I have sewn; don’t miss out, so sign up here), and time to work on my new WEBSITE 😄 ~ so it’s only a short post about things that have been playing around in my mind.

Yes, I have made lots of progress with the website, and am going with WordPress. Now there’s a surprise, especially to me! I will tell you a lot more about it soon, promise. Today I want to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post. But I want to give a big shout out and thank you to Catherine from Hillview Embroidery. She set up a WordPress.org site and her detailed emails have given me a thread to follow through the decision making. Hugs to you Catherine, 😘 Have a look at her sumptuous embroidery, including her gold koala!

Now, onto other good and generous people…..

The world has been mesmerised by the rescue of the lads from the cave in Thailand. I am sure you were like me, marvelling at how many people came together to achieve that miraculous rescue, donating equipment, time, expertise. Sadly Saman Guana even gave his life.

The rescue is a glorious example of compassion, generosity, selflessness and co-operation, traits that are as much a part of humanity as competition and greed. It shows what is possible. It shows that if we took out political interests and profit we could solve climate change and other problems that beset our world.

There were so many Good People in the story of the rescue of the boys and their coach. I urge you to have a read of Jill’s blog Filosofia’s Word “Good people doing good things ~ the rescue”. She tells of so many wonderful people, but my favourite is the rice farmer. To quote Jill:

Her name is Mae Bua Chaicheun and she is a small-scale rice farmer, owning about 5 acres of land in a small village near the mountain where the boys’ soccer team was trapped in the cave.  When news broke that an entire soccer team was trapped in a cave, Chaicheun dropped everything and headed to the mountainside to help.  Chaicheun spent a week at the cave, cooking meals for the rescue workers and pitching in wherever she was needed.  But when she returned home, she found her rice fields in ruin.  The water that was being continuously pumped out from the cave during the rescue mission, along with heavy rains, had flooded the area and her rice crop was gone.

But Ms. Chaicheun is not complaining.  “When I got home the water was two feet deep, and the young plants were flooded. Children are more important than rice. We can regrow rice but we can’t regrow the children. I feel people have shown more love towards each other. There’s such a strong community spirit, people all wanting to help each other.”  What a beautiful attitude – a beautiful woman, yes?  An addendum:  the Thai king has pledged to purchase all the ruined rice crops from Ms. Chaicheun and others whose crops fell victim to the pumped waters.

My other Good Person is on the other side of the world, on a bike.

You may or may not know that I am a Tour Tragic. Last night I was up to 1:30 in awe of the cyclists in the Tour de France as they pounded their way up the steep roads of the second Alpine stage. And then they sprinted at the end!

Cyclists expect to fall and be injured. Of course they want to stay upright and try to do everything they can to stay safe, including using their excellent bike handling skills. One cyclist, Lawson Craddock, fell on the first day. Ironically his number is 13. I don’t know how superstitious he is, but he has turned the number on his back upside down!

He fractured his scapula in the fall, but got back on the bike. I can not image the pain that a fractured shoulder blade would cause, especially to a cyclist who needs to be able to push and pull on the handle bars. Craddock was easy to pick out over the next few days. He was the rider in the bright pink and lime green jersey (his team’s colours) who was always at the back of the peloton and usually riding in a lopsided way to protect his injury.

But he continued on, and lately he has been harder to spot as he works his way into the middle of the peloton.

But the courage (although some may call it unwise) that Lawson Craddock shows is not why I am writing about him. Many cyclists ride with injuries, some much worse. i am mentioning him because after his fall Craddock said that he would donate $100 for every stage he managed, and asked others to contribute. The money is to repair the Houston velodrome, damaged in a recent hurricane, the velodrome where the Texan Craddock began his cycling.

So far donations have topped $100,000, and Craddock is still in the race! I hope he makes it to Paris. There will be many cheering him on.

And now on to my newsletter. (But maybe a cup of tea first.) Click here to find out more about my latest art creations.  

Categories
In My Studio Odds and Ends

Getting organised

I treasure things, little quirky things, small things that I find on my walks, special gifts from people who know what makes me smile. Then there are the things that might be useful one day. A third group of Things In My Life are things that I never really know what to do with.

So I end up with a playroom studio that looks like this….

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and this….

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and this….

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until I feel weighed down by all those things.

The time has come to make a start. Not just tidying, but sorting and throwing/composting/recycling. A real clean up. I am not good at this, as you can see by the things I accumulate around me.

Asking myself three questions was an excellent sorting process.

Does it bring me joy? I have rephrased that, as ‘joy’ is a big expectation to put on an object, to Does it make me smile? Unexpected things got to stay when I asked this, like the origami birds and the jar of sea treasures gifted to me by Jan and the babushka doll from my trip to Russia in the 80s.

If the answer was ‘No’ my next question was Is it useful? The pin cushion was in, with the bonus that it makes me smile! The old maybe-I-will-use-these manilla folders  were out.

Which lead to the next question Can I get another one if I need it? This was the key question for all my natural treasures. Can I get another gum nut/feather/leaf? Yes. Amazing as they are, do I need a whole box full of feathers? No. Off to the compost. My nests went back and forth from one pile to another, but I decided that I couldn’t get others, so they have stayed. And they make me smile.

As I went I found another question waiting to be answered  — Does it weigh me down? These are the things that I find difficult to part with, but don’t really want to keep. For example, a gift made for me by a child I taught. I appreciate the thought, time and care she put into it, but I never used it. At the same time I felt that moving it on was disrespectful. Whenever I saw it there, cluttering up the desk, the negative emotion froze me. I was unable to deal with it.

Now I know I have well and truely given that gift enough of my “oh my, she created this just for me” emotional energy. (She would have moved on from the creation many years ago!) So, it’s off to the op-shop and hopefully someone else will love it and use it.

Now I have a clean tidy mantelpiece and a mood board ready for the next inspiration, an uncluttered computer desk, where I can get to the printer, and a reasonably tidy work table. Still lots to do, but beware the woman on a mission!

Treasures to keep….

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It’s the fortnight my letter comes to you, straight to your inbox. In this week’s letter I show you some of my latest work, a series of trees, not unlike the oil pastel ones I did last year. These ones have sewing ~ now there’s a surprise! And I explain how my reading on creativity has helped me understand how these came about.

Like to sign up? And receive a free feather drawing? Just click here.

Categories
Odds and Ends

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 😊

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. 💌

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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Categories
AnneLawsonArt Birds My art work Texture

Now, here’s the nest

Last post I put the nest in the title, and made no more mention of it! So, here’s the nest.

Kate from Tall tales from Chiconia had the joy of watching a sun bird build and raise a family in her nest, hanging just outside Kate’s back door. There’s a photo of it here. I was delighted when Kate sent the nest to me.

It is a beautiful little thing, delicate, and yet so strong. There are feathers tucked into the dried grasses.

 

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But, because it hangs rather than sits on a branch, it is not the usual nest shape. That’s the basic issue, I think.

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I have had a few attempts at creating it….with pencil

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and with ink and pencil.

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And one with only oil pastels

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These were studies to learn about the shape and tones.

Then I went to Mark’s workshop in Bendigo, and thought that I would use the technique he taught me with the nest.

First step was to lay down the watercolour.

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Then to go over it with oil pastels.

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Does it work? Well, I think the basic problem is the shape of the nest. I love it, but, as it is not a classic nest shape, it is hard for the viewer to understand what it is, hard to read visually. So other parts of, such as the materials it is made of, need to be very clear. I like the texture in the oil pastel only, and it comes closest to the grasses, feathers and seeds woven into it, but still doesn’t explain it to the viewer.

I would love to know what you think. Do you think “nest” when you look at any of the studies? Does one work better for you than others?

[It may be hard to see all the versions at a large size, so this gallery may make it easier.]

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AnneLawsonArt Artists My art work

A workshop and a nest

Way back in May I did a workshop at Bendigo Art Gallery with Mark Dober.

Bendigo is a regional Victorian town, with a very good gallery. I had only been up there for special exhibitions, so I was pleased to have time to wander. I thought I had taken more photos, however, this one shows how spacious and pleasing the rooms are.

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Mark is a landscape artist who works en plein air. He uses a mix of watercolour and oil pastel, and is soon to have an exhibition of his work created in the You Yangs at the Geelong Art Gallery. [The You Yangs are mountains between Melbourne and Geelong, that rise up from the flat volcanic plains around them.] He says of the work he is exhibiting:

This body of new work made at the You Yangs consists of 6 multi-sheet watercolours. Four of these are 112 x 380 cm. These were made at Fawcett’s Gully, around the back of the You Yangs, accessible by the unsealed circuit road.

His exhibition is running from 12th to 16th October. It will be alongside an exhibition by Fred Williams, one of Australia’s foremost landscape artists.

So, you can imagine my interest in his workshop to learn to work with watercolour and oil pastels!

We set up in one of the galleries, and had the choice of two paintings to work with ~ a Fred Williams:

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Fred Williams: The Yarra at Kew 11 (1972)

or a traditional watercolour by Ernest Waterlow’s ‘Gathering fuel, Cornish Coast’, c.1887. You can see the painting in the photo below.

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My first step was to loosely draw in the figures and landscape features. Then I had to lay in large watercolour washes over the main features. I think this was the most difficult thing for me. I am not a confident colour mixer, and often don’t mix enough paint to cover the area which is a problem when working on such large areas. Even with enough paint I have trouble manipulating the paint over large areas. It dries before I can work into it. Washes in botanic art work are little things, the size of a leaf or a petal, not vast areas of sky or beach!

I tried to suppress my panic, to just let it flow. After all, it was purely for my pleasure. Embrace the wonky!

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Then there was the fun part of going over the (dried) wash with oil pastel.

Some areas worked, some didn’t. I think I put too much oil pastel on some areas, and didn’t have time to get to others. Of course, I thought I would finish it off at home……

My drawing strengths are tone and fabrics, so I was very happy with the work I did on the woman’s dress.

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And a closer look….

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It was quite a complex painting to work on over a day, but I enjoyed the challenge and it has given me a new way of working.

 

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Categories
AnneLawsonArt My art work

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.

Categories
Beckler's Botanical Bounty Odds and Ends Plants Texture Travels

Travel theme: Earth

Thanks to Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? for this theme, which is in celebration of Earth Day. Hopefully we will be able to encourage our politicians to have policies that support our Earth too.

It is tempting to publish beautiful photos of sunsets or mountains or glorious landscapes. I want to show you one of my favourite parts of the Earth, the area around Menindee. It is an arid area of Western New South Wales, an hour away from Broken Hill. It is flat and looks uninspiring. However, the more you look, the more beauty you see in this unique landscape.

Big skies…..

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red dirt…..

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and amazing colours.

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What part of our Earth do you cherish?