Good morning. How are you? Got yourself a coffee and a comfy seat? Great, me too.
As I made my coffee this morning I thought about what I need to have a day that’s enjoyable and recharges me.
It’s pretty simple – I need coffee and paints. (Okay, I like an almond croissant too, you got me!)
Realistically, I need shelter and my fluffy dressing gown, I’d like my couch and something in the fridge I can turn into a late lunch… but if I pare it back, a cuppa and a way to create is what really turns me on these days.
As I haven’t posted a 52 Paintings update for a while, and now that The 100 Day Project is over, I wanted to share some of this weekend’s #creativeplay with you. This is my version of BabyMac’s luscious home and garden photos.
And it wouldn’t be a weekend without a little Saturday sketches action.
So, what do you need to relax? What recharges your batteries?
If you can count decades since you’ve reached for a colouring pencil or a paint brush, if you’re convinced you have little or no artistic talent – I’d like to throw down a creative challenge.
Disengage your “busy, adult” brain for about 20 minutes, grab yourself some art supplies and just doodle, draw, create, trace, sketch. Look out the window and draw the colours you see. Look at the latest thing you picked up at the op shop, and see if you can get a vague likeness on paper. That’s what this rose is.
The biggest challenge is to say no to your inner critic or any whisper that drawing, creating, simply playing is a waste of time. It’s not. That I can promise you.
It makes me so happy.
So there you have it, a little creative progress report, from me to you.
Have a great Sunday. Let me know if you need some pencils or watercolours, I’m happy to share.
Yesterday I went on a little adventure and so, good blogger that I am. I shall now regale you with the tale.
It was a freezing cold morning in Melbourne town, the temperature had dipped below zero, and yet, when my alarm went off, I gladly threw back the covers and readied myself for an outing.
What force could draw me from my cosy, cosy bed, out into the frosty morning light?
A meet-up! I was off to meet some of the people I’d done an online course with precisely one year ago.
You won’t be shocked to hear that the course was facilitated by author, blogger, maker, doer and be-er (may not be an actual word) of all things crafty and ace, Pip Lincolne. This course was called Inspiration Information and it was a month long adventure into unlocking your creativity.
We created collages, we painted, we used pastels and pencils, we read books and watched documentaries and discovered old crochet projects. We created little studios on our dining room tables or in the living room. We talked about loads of creative people, from Patti Smith to Sister Mary Corita.
It really was inspiring and informative, every single time I logged in to the course, I was encouraged to try something new, and to disregard my inner critic’s sly words about things being childlike or wrong or not very good. Creativity is good, in and of itself. That’s what sticks with me.
We chose the NGV for our meeting place, which turned out to be absolutely perfect. Where better for a group of people who met exploring creativity, than the National Gallery of Victoria?
Tables were snagged, hugs were exchanged and we spent a couple of hours getting to know each other, face to face. Deanna organised the day, and she, Carolyn, Emily, Karen and I had a ball.
We talked about creativity, about books, about Pip (the general consensus being, we are PRO-PIP!), we talked about our families, kids, parents and parenting.
We talked about literary speed dating (who knew that was a thing?) and making space for creative pursuits.
We talked about drawing and dealing with cranky people, the tyranny of housework and being consumed by the mundane. I believe I uttered this decree: “Fuck skirting boards!”.
We talked about how creativity is part of our everyday lives.
The BEST part of the morning was how easy it was. We already knew each other from the online classroom and our Facebook group, but it was wonderful to translate that to chatting over coffees and chai teas.
As we sat chatting, I looked around at the interesting, diversely experienced women I was with, and thought about how enriched I am by the time I spend tap-tap-tapping on Facebook or here on the blog. To sign up to an online course about creativity may seem strange, but I think the old adage is true – you get out what you put in.
I am certain that each of us would say that Inspiration Information gave us amazing gifts. I wish I’d asked everyone that question now. Oh, why don’t I? Hey, if you read this girls, tell us what II meant to you in the comments please.
As we hugged and planned our next catch up, I decided to explore the gallery, as I hadn’t visited for a few years.
It was WONDERFUL.
If you’re in Victoria, or visiting, you must come. There’s so much inspiration and beauty, and diversity in the NGV collection.
Here are some of the works that caught my eye.
I lingered for a while in this space, it really is something to sit in front of a wall if works painted hundreds of years ago.
Oh, these ladies are exquisite.
This Turner stopped me in my tracks, I actually turned around and came back to it… so, so beautiful. The photo does it very little justice. So much happening in the colours and brush strokes.
This was painted in 1845. Yesterday, 170 years later, it caught my eye as I passed it and drew me in.
That’s nothing sort of incredible.
The moral of the story here… create, you never know where it might lead you, or who will be drawn in by it 170 years from now.
A grey autumn afternoon seems the perfect time for a post about colour, don’t you think?
At the start of the year, I decided to do a weekly creative post here at I Give You The Verbs, so 52 Paintings (a category on the blog) and #paintisaverb (for Instagram/Twitter etc) were created. (If something’s worth doing, it deserves its own blog category and hashtag, right?) Here’s the first post in the series.
Over the past 14 weeks, I have painted more than I have over the past 46 years. Some weeks the paints were out day after day, and some weeks I was less motivated or found it hard to make the time. When I got a job, I treated myself to a couple of one-on-one art lessons with Selina of I I Can Draw With Selina and I discovered that I can actually draw. I think I’ll stick with painting, but it was awesome to achieve something I thought was completely out of my reach. I drew a cupcake! Selina taught me so much in our lessons; I have new skills, and more importantly, I have new confidence in my creativity.
A couple of weeks ago someone in my bloggy Facebook gang shared a link to The 100 Day Project, which you can read all about here. In a nutshell,the 100-Day Project is a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the 100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishising finished products—it’s about the process.
The great thing about the project is that the manner of making is up to each individual who decides to get on board. I know people who are doing #100daysofhandlettering, #100daysofmakingmandalas, and #100daysofrandomcreativity to name just a few.
I am doing #100daysofpausing. I didn’t think I could commit to being creative in the same way for 100 days running, so by choosing to pause, I can take a photograph, paint, write, cook, reflect, strike a yoga pose, look at the sky, sing a song…. the options are only limited by my imagination.
Here are some of the things I’ve paused to make, see, enjoy, appreciate and feel so far.
I am posting every day on my Instagram account. If you don’t already, why not follow me and we can count off the 100 days together?
This challenge is an extension of what I wanted when I started #paintisaverb, which is to be deliberately creative, to make creativity part of my every day life and not some far off, only for the ‘talented few’ thing that I couldn’t enjoy. For the time being there might not be specific 52 Paintings posts each week, but I’m still creating and making!
There are about 80 days remaining of #the100dayproject – it’s not too late to get on board, and commit to making as a daily practice. I am loving it, I’m thinking more creatively, and appreciating the time spent on making. It’s not something I have to ‘squeeze in’, it’s something I look foward to every day – it might be as quick as taking a photo, or painting for 10 minutes or longer. It’s the act of making that counts, not the amount of time spent or the results.
And don’t we all need that? Something that we do for FUN, not for a result or a critique? I think so.
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.