Yesterday I got to spend the day with some of my favourite folks. Most of them are, technically-speaking, strangers to me, yet we are a tribe, a gang, a diverse, talented, amazing bunch of people who have one super cool thing in common.
We are bloggers.
Each year Kidspot runs a great blogging competition, which brings creative people from all around Australia together.
I’m still feeling a bit punch-drunk from all the energy of the day, and I know I can’t remember all the amazing people I got the chance to chat with, but to all of them (to you!) I have a common message – thank you. Thank you for being who you are, for your words, your images, your positivity, your passions. Some of the ladies I chatted to yesterday even knew this blog, and told me they liked what I do… that makes me a #Voices2015 winner!
I had a GREAT day. The best thing wasn’t the range of speakers, or the goodie bags or even the gorgeous venue and food, it was the people I got to laugh and talk with. I came away from the day feeling so FULL and so encouraged.
Blogging is beautful, because bloggers are beautiful.
We do what we do for you, the people who take the time to read our words and join our conversations. You’re the only prize I need.
I open the curtains and notice how pretty the morning light is. Just light on a brick wall, but I notice.
I make a cup of coffee.
I look out my kitchen window. The sunshine is so beautiful.
Now I can hear traffic, the sounds of people heading to work, ferrying children to sport, their days already boisterous and busy.
I’ve chosen my snuggly dressy gown to ward off the chill. The heater comes to life.
I contemplate what today will bring, and what other people are up to.
I love this quiet time I have.
I know there will be art and Instagram, reading and the call of the dishes, and perhaps a visit to my youngest sister, who has just announced she’s pregnant. Such a momentous path she’s embarked on. I wonder about that baby, and so look forward to meeting him.
I feel tired, comfortable, happy to hear birdsong.
This is my cocoon. My sanctuary. Quiet moments, I need them.
What will today bring? I’m not sure yet, but so far I like it.
I had my second painting lesson yesterday. It was great! We’re now at #paintisaverb 11/2105, and as we head into autumn, I’m feeling happy about being an explorer of the arts.
Tip 1: caffeine is essential to the creative process.
During our lesson, my fab teacher Selina said something interesting to me – that now I wasn’t ‘playing’ anymore because I have developed some skills.
I always find it interesting how words can mean different things to each of us, in small ways or really big ways. When I use play in relation to painting, what I mean is not being boxed in by a standard of whatever you may see as ‘good’ art, it’s the making that I’ve been enjoying. But I see Selina’s point, once you have skills, it goes from play to something more deliberate and doable – I hope!
Lesson 2 was all about tonal washes, creating shapes and thinking about light, knowing when to flood the page with colour, using long brush strokes and remembering that all important negative space. I even have homework to do. Nerd alert!
These art lessons are such a great experience. There’s SO MUCH more to watercolours than I thought there would be… I was tickled pink (and teal) with the colours I was able to create yesterday.
As Selina’s studio is in Collingwood, I decided to tootle up the road to Fitzroy to visit Deans Arts. I am surprised Deans was still open when I rounded the corner on foot, it took so long to find a car park. Those hipsters suburbs really are for cyclists and pedestrians!
Luckily it was a GLORIOUS day, so round and round I went, with the window down and a breeze on my face.
It’s true that the tools you choose have an impact on what you’re able to create. I didn’t know that a few months ago.
In fact, I think one of the best things about putting yourself in the position of being a student is that you learn just how much there is to learn about a topic; whether it’s painting, or kitchen renovations, or scuba diving.
Let’s make that Tip 2: learning is lovely.
Eventually I scored a park and made my way to Deans. So many options! Tonnes of brushes and different types of paper and walls lined with paints, row upon row of thingamajigs and whatsits which I have no clue about. Luckily, I had a list! Even so, I forgot to buy myself a colour wheel. I need one of those bad boys, pronto.
The traffic was utterly mental by the time I’d stocked up on art supplies. Multiple diversions due to tram works, it was bumper to bumper everywhere I turned. I may have taken a few odd turns as I tried to avoid the jammed main thoroughfares.
I managed not to let it make me cranky, thank goodness. It gave me time to admire the trees and the utter gorgeousness of the sky.
I spotted one tree that was way ahead of the neighbours, already a blazing glow of autumnal red. That’s the reason I’ll be using #crushingonautumn on Instagram again, I love autumn!
Even so, the drive home took so long, I decided to pull over in Camberwell for a late lunch break. I felt like I was breaking a day trip, rather than zipping home from an art lesson.
Happily, I stopped outside a gorgeous little eatery with a Julia Child quote on the window. That, and the name, The Butter Dish, drew me in.
I ordered a coffee and a tomato turnover. The turnover was so good, I snapped up a second one as I left.
All in all, it was an utterly delightful Saturday.
Saturdays are made for grabbing coffee and art lessons, shopping and people watching… especially when the weather is as delicious as it was yesterday. It really made me smile to see the leaves changing on Punt Road.
How was your Saturday? Are the leaves changing where you live? Are you heading into autumn or spring?
Yours in autumnal giddiness,
Keep your eye on my Instagram feed to see more – you can search #paintisaverb, #creativeplay, #52paintings, #verbslearnstopaint and #verbslearnstodraw. Yep, I love hashtags!
The lovely Rachael, from my online creativity course gang, heard about a watercolour workshop being held on Tuesday evening, so she tagged me in a Facebook post.
It really grabbed my attention, and I quickly looked up the artist, Selina Braine. I couldn’t make it to the class, but I was intrigued, both by her painting style, and her obvious passion for teaching art beyond the walls of a classroom.
I saw that she offered private lessons and before you could say ‘dude, you can’t even draw’ I was emailing her with an enquiry.
Fast forward to Saturday, and I’m pulling up in her gorgeously tree-lined street, feeling a teensy bit nervous, but mostly excited.
As I come through her gate, Selina pops her head out of the front door, and I’m ushered in to her fab studio space where there’s art everywhere, books stacked waist high on one side of the room and my learning space awaits. I feel instantly welcome and like I’m in good hands.
I sit down, and before me there’s paper, brushes, and a gorgeous vignette of a polka dotted teapot, a bottle with baby’s breath exploding from its neck and a delectable looking red velvet cupcake nestling in front of the pot and bottle.
Selina’s website I Can Draw With Selina shows off the kind of artist she is. You can also find her on Instagram. Pop over and have a look, her work is utterly beautiful.
Like Maria Von Trapp teaching someone to sing, we started at the very beginning.
Colour manipulation with water. I could have painted pages and pages of slightly varying blobs of reds, greens, blues, purples, and I’m sure I will at some stage. And how rad are the egg shell tones? My kiddie palettes haven’t let me explore like this, so I’ll be upgrading my equipment pronto.
Selina had done a bit of research on me via my Instagram feed, which was why the lovely vignette on the desk included baked goods! So after we got warmed up with colours and curved lines, she asked me to do the thing I do not do – to draw.
Gulp. I was in trouble now.
I decided to quiet my inner protestations and just try. What was the worst that could happen? My drawing would suck, and I might cry. Heck, I cried at work, in the stairwell, on the street and as I ordered coffee this week… I’m clearly not afraid of crying.
So I tried… and Jimminy Crickets, I did it!
I started with an outline in pencil, then I painted the base of the cupcake, then Selina whipped out her trusty hairdryer and dried what I’d done. I layered other colours, worried it was looking crap, but secretly was feeling super stoked that it wasn’t.
I added some pencil, erased some pencil, tweaked the colour mix on the icing, listened to Selina’s guidance and gentle encouragement… I was smiling a LOT by this stage of the lesson.
It’s kind of amazing how simple it actually was to draw that cupcake. I don’t even care about whether you (or I) think it’s a good drawing or a crap drawing, it’s a drawing that I did, then painted. Woo hoo!!!
I CAN DRAW.
If you’d asked me at 1.55pm, as I walked up to Selina’s house, ‘excuse me miss, can you draw?’ I would have answered resoundingly that aside from a fetching stick figure, I could not. Fast forward an hour, I’d changed my opinion of my abilities.
How rad is that?
Next challenge, the bottle with the baby’s breath (gosh, that apostrophe is worrying me, welcome to my brain) – big gulp. This was translucent and had branches and water and teensy tiny flowers…. I was worried about getting the shape of the bottle right. Thank you eraser inventor, thank you!
I had a crack.
The colours here make me so happy. I took a little creative licence and changed the cupcake colours. I think the yellowy orange is really happy next to the brown bottle.
Here’s a thing – I am not good at negative space.
Selina kept encouraging me to stop… oops sorry teach!
The two hour lesson flew by, yet felt completely unrushed. Selina was easy to chat to as we drew, painted and explored, and I’m really looking forward to another lesson next week.
I think the thing I liked most, aside from everything, was the ease Selina has in her teaching style. There was nothing intimidating or yes ma’am-ish about the way she taught me. Really, she just guided me to do what I didn’t know I could do, while simultaneously dispensing a lot of amazing tips, tricks and techniques that I didn’t have a clue about.
I can’t wait to go back and learn more next week.
We might try painting some buildings – eeek! That seems kind of ambitious, but it didn’t stop me from pulling over repeatedly on the way home to snap shots of interesting roof lines or buildings I passed.
I think Selina’s website is perhaps the most aptly named I’ve come across, because now I can draw with Selina!
Keep creating and playing, and don’t be afraid to get schooled.
PS Don’t forget to pop over to my Instagram feed where you’ll find more #paintisaverb photos.
I’ve ventured into new territory this week, to match the changing of the seasons.
Drumroll and standing ovation for the best, most colourful and glorious season of them all….. autumn.
You’ll probably see #crushingonautumn pop up a lot on my Instagram feed, as I post snaps of chilly, cloud scooting skies, the changing colours of the leaves and my kitchen bench loaded down with delicious things to slow cook and roast and turn into soup.
Even the language of the season gives me a thrill – think about the word autumnal and how it conjures up crunching leaves underfoot, fireside catch ups with friends, putting on your cardigan before going out, reaching for a scarf, loading up the kids and driving through the hills to find a pub with a great roast lunch special and a playground you can see from beside the fire.
The wine drinkers change from enjoying crisp chilled whites to warming reds. Salads give way to soups. Dining out morphs into staying in, being cosy and the age-old dance of the clothes horses in your living space commences.
The days are getting shorter, but we’re not in the depths of winter yet… oh, it’s just heaven I tell you. Easter approaches, we seem to collectively be changing gears as we prepare for the colder months.
I decided to try and capture my love of all things autumnal with my watercolours.
I’d love to be ‘better’ at this kind of painting – perhaps with practice that will come, but for now I’m happy to be exploring, playing and wishing for the temperatures to drop so I can pop the heater on.
Are you an autumn lover too?
Tell me your favourite things about my favourite time of year.
Hello art lovers! Welcome to #paintisaverb 8/2015. I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but one-sixth of 2015 has already rushed by. There are only 44 weeks of #52paintings to go.
How was your week?
Were you flat out, with no time for creativity? Or were you able you prioritise some time with the hook, the brushes, charcoal, clay, your musical instrument or other creative outlet?
I’m still working on making – not finding – time for creative pursuits as well as earning a living.
It all takes discipline doesn’t it? Even, and perhaps especially, the fun stuff!
Drumroll please…. here’s the art.
I painted this with someone specific in mind, but now that I look at it again, days later, I see other meanings and potentialities in it. Isn’t that a great thing about art? An artist can mean something very specific as they create, imbuing the canvas with that emotion and mood, but the viewer can see something totally of their own – as they respond to the work. I love that!
Do you want to tell me what you see? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment. And remember, there’s no right or wrong here!
Here’s to SEEING rather than judging art – and people, and situations and well, everything can benefit from quiet reflection don’t you think?