Category Archives: ART CHALLENGES

More Lists and Free Images Too


I realized two things when I came to post this morning – firstly that I DIDN’T press ‘publish’ last week when I posted AND – my post read like something that is probably rambly introspective trash that people imagining themselves to be insightful (minus an editor) writes.  (also a hazard of posting infrequently – you don’t know where to begin to catch up your readers – if I have any of those any more!)

In several forums of my life at the moment, I am being encouraged to thankful and there really is LOTS…………one of the significant things that kept coming up on my lists were my ONLINE art friends & forums that I belong to…….you all have made such an impact on my artistic journey.  SO – my list is at the bottom of this post – but to start with a THANKYOU – I wanted to gift you some of my ‘altered’ images – to use in your own art work.  I retain the copyright, they are images I have taken myself & altered – however, I release them to you to use in your own work & your own work for publication (BUT NOT for redistribution or resale).

Unfortunately – they are not very big as I have used iphone apps to alter them, and it kept crashing the larger sized files.  They print up nicely at 6 x 4 & 5 x 7’s or even better sized as ATC backgrounds.  They will increase with a double click – then right click to save.

For those that don’t know – I am  participating in Misty Mawn’s Open Studio Workshop.  There are many adjectives that could be used to describe it (I COULD write a list!!!) but in short its the best I have ever been exposed to.  She has certainly sorted ‘the men from the boys’ as we say here in Oz and set the bar high for online courses. It is affordably priced, content rich, beautifully presented (name me one thing of Misty’s that isn’t!) – both challenging & achievable………..and YES – I am in love with her all over again!

The course covers both anticipated & unexpected inclusions like sculpture with paper clay, writing poetry, mark making with interesting mixes of materials, & other fun things.  You can certainly notice the difference between someone formally trained in art & and those that are not in the depth & intensity of material included.  If you have the chance to participate at some point – can I highly recommend it?

Having said that – and noting my post from a few months ago about ‘soooooo many faces’ – I am back to painting faces!  Of course I have returned to my first love (the start of my ‘learning to draw’ adventure began with faces in July 2008)  HONESTLY – they are 100% better than where I started……BUT I am not sure that I’ll ever get really good at this – even IF I paint them forever! LOL! (although, I must admit when ‘altered’ with my iPhone apps [as above] they look better) here is some of my work I have done throughout the 5 week course.

3 lino cuts (bud, blossoming, bloom) printed on vintage text. Pen & ink & watercolour drawings on page

inspired by summer beach trips to 90 Mile Beach, Victoria. Pen & ink w. watercolour

GHOST GUM - a linear abstract

myself - as a shape

i AM grateful…………………
for healthy children & grandchildren
for sky canvas set out before me daily (any one who has read my blog for any length of time will have seen one of our beautiful sunsets – for new readers – I have added one below as a treat!  Taken a week ago from our front verandah)
for freedom to worship
for my home
for the gift of creativity
for pristine beaches
for the clean environment we live in here
for dear friends
for the online art community
for accessible, affordable education
for the wonder that is creation
for the smell of newborn babies
for the joy of a toddler laughing
for the wonder of childhood discovery
for the pleasure of sharing a life
for the privilege of growing old with someone you love
for the freedom to choose

there are plenty of other things…………..but they will be for a list…..another day


looking for a quiet place


I have had an interesting few months since last time I wrote.  I think this is the longest time I have gone without a post since I started blogging in 2006.  Yes there have been life distractions – but more than that, I have sat at the keyboard so many times thinking – I will not go to bed until I post – only to be distracted by the slightest thing.  No, not writer’s block…….I am wanting to break away, break the mold my art has settled in – I am still searching for my voice………..I am want to find something – inside me……  It started in about late October last year when I created that ‘murky’ greeny, collaged junk journal…….which I loathed (& still sits on the shelf where it landed after I photographed it!)………..I parred back and started to create a journal using white, titan buff & burnt umber – with just small amounts of colour on the pages…………and while it is a ‘nice’ journal (BTW – by the end pages – I was in FULL colour again! LOL!) – it is still not authentic…….it’s a mish mash of things I have seen in books, life experiences, You Tube vids, coffee conversations……I spent the two years I was at art school trying to figure out where the dividing line in the sand was between art & craft (so mercilously distained)……..and I think I am kinda getting it……its about contemplation, reflection, gestation, inspiration, time…… much of what is around at the moment is the same…………. and I was making more of it……….what began as intuitive, use what’s on hand, use ANYTHING art of mixed media, has become formulaic & predictable……..In the world of everyone being published it seemed to me that much of what is around (whilst beautiful & inspiring publications in their own right) are just variations of the same thing.  Gel transfers & stencilled lines & dots & texture paste & stitching & golden paints………..and sooooooooooo many girls faces…………..soooooooooooo many journalling books.   ..I felt like a fraud…..whilst I believe the plethora of resources is equiping & encouraging people that may never have tried in the past – it is also almost creating a ‘style bias’………. I ache for fresh.  I have it.  I just can’t find within me yet…….. so I just stopped.  I didn’t do any art.  My family noticed it first.  I was crabby and not nice.  Too often.  I realized that I can’t separate the creating thing from who I am.  I must art.  Misty expresses it, as ever, with such poetry & elegance…………

So much of what Misty says here resonates with my soul – but I want more.  I spent a disproportionate amount of money to cross the country, thinking a different environment, with different tools & different influences would produced……….um, well………..DIFFERENT art……….alas – NOT.

So, little by little I have been playing – not turning any heads – nothing of any significance…………..dabling, sorting, questioning, writing………hoping………..for fresh.

I am blessed to be surrounded by influences like Seth Apter………who encourages & nutures artists into being………& am honoured to be a part of his blog this week… can check it & other entries out here:

I’ll keep you posted………….

Apprenticed Art


I’ve been spending extended weeks & months with one of our little Princesses who is now a very knowledgable four and a half years old.  My goodness how that time has flown.  Having had restricted reign in my art studio since she was born, she is very happy surrounded by ‘things’ to

Hey Nonna - what IS this white stuff anyway? (16mths)

working on first collage

create with.  Her first experience with PVA was very tactile as you can see from the picture.  Her mum & I were talking in the kitchen & realised she had disappeared…….such a funny memory of discovering her – covered in PVA……much to my daughter’s horror – MY first instinct was to grab for the camera – I AM SO glad I did.   The first collage she made just before she was 2 years old is one of my most valued treasures.  Over the weeks of February, we have been creating some ‘larger’ projects that have been far more intricate than miriad of little notes & drawings & paintings that appear as a part of her imaginative play of the day. 

1st collage (23 mths)

We have spent time discovering the different look & feel of various mark making tools – pencils, crayons, stamping & she has experimented with watercolour and acylic paints.   I don’t have any inflated dreams of her being a famous artist – I am just enjoying the pleasure of nurturing her own passion to create – what ever form that might take, now & in the future. 

We have played with creating colour wheels & I found this site had a great range of free resources that were easy to print out & use. (keep in mind if you are adding any kind of wet media, the print out needs to be lazar copy so it doesn’t bleed).  Kinda Art & Deep Space Sparkle are a couple of my fav sites (although the activities are for children a little older – I can usually adapt it).

The day she discovered sticky tape – about 9 months ago – a bit after she turned 4 years old – we had been ‘working’ in the studio and she said – Nonna, can I have my dinner in here – I don’t want to stop working in the ‘shhtudio’ (as she says it).  It was a first indication of a growing passion, which excited me almost as much as the priceless comment.  It is now common place for her to wake up & head straight for the studio, or for me to find her there, at her ‘desk’ drawing or colouring & sometimes painting (although I still enourage supervision for this)  – sometimes she just gets everything out herself.  At Christmas I bought her the whole range of Imaginisce – Enchanted Collection – Snag ’em Acrylic Stamps for her & she is JUST getting the hang of how to use acrylic blocks with a clear stamp. (you can get them from for about $1!)

I feel compassion for the generation of women who are ‘choosing’ to have their children so late in life, that not only will they not enjoy them as adults, but they will not ever experience the joy of grandchildren.  It is an amazing pleasure and joy, sprinkling delights & sunshine through the day like glitter – you don’t know when the sun is going to ‘catch’ it and you are bathed in sparkles.  Like these recent little conversation starters:

‘I am very busy today Nonna, I am going to have 18 babies and they are JUST about to be born!” (hmmmm…….sounds like a busy day to me! LOL!)

Girl discovers Sticky Tape (4 yrs)

(I was reheating some left over Indian food for lunch & she commented) ‘I don’t like Indian food – I just like the yarn (nann – bread); not the saucy stuff’

Nonna could I please have some Mangoes  on my mosquito bite’ (mistaken for ‘Stingoes’ – bite relief)

& excitedly recounting our shopping trip to the local shopping centre – ‘Poppa we used the alligator (escalator) to go up stairs!’

One of my proudest moments recently was when she told a complete stranger…… “My Nonna is an Artist – and I am one too.”

Anyways – I began this post some time ago & was determined this morning to finish it BEFORE I went to bed – & it’s 2am THE NEXT morning!…. all of this rambling I am doing about my grandaughter is all to say – it’s never to early to share your passion to create – start with a colour wheel! Colour is SUCH fun to share! (see the tab at the top of the page)

Mermaid - 26in long

WIP fairy - 30ins

Spreading the Christmas Cheer


Once the dust has settled from Christmas Day, I bet you'll all be keen to get to some art, so I am posting the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec 25th – Jan 5th) with FREE IMAGES for you to download everyday to create with.  Use the images in some artwork and then post a comment and link on the day that the image appeared on my blog.  On 14th January, I will do a draw of all the people that have posted links & some one will win an original piece of my artwork.  OH the FUN!

at last something a little 3D


  IMG_2114_resizethis is a tiny little fold out book, supplied by the gorgeous Beks was to be made up for random exchange to celebrate Paper Trader's 3rd Anniversary.  IMG_2102_resizeIMG_2115_resizeIMG_2110_resizeIMG_2117_resizeIt's a lovely little thing (not much bigger than about 2" square) but it stumped me for some time.   I ended up using on of my own journal pages, reduced WAY down, for the main image.  The birds on the outside come from a vintage ship menu from 1950's.  What looks like murky distressing, is actually moonglow, and looks much nicer in real life.  The verse I used is well known - 

Use what talent that you have
The woods would be very silent
If no birds sang there
Except those that sung best

Mine is off to lucky Melanie in USA – I hope she likes it.

the day for songs


Pieta 170dpi

You may remember my post from last month to LK LUDWIG's 'words' challenge.  This month the challenge is to share a song, it's words - with a related image or collage.  My song choice is very personal - but then I am thankful for the freedom that allows me to express such a personal choice. FIRST though – the concept…..(posted from site) 
A Day of Sharing Song
The idea:  Songs can move us to places we haven't been in a long time, places we long for every day, or places we some day hope to be.  The combination of music and poetry can transport us across distances, and through the years. While we listen,  perhaps we grin wildly, or are moved to tears.  We all have songs that  are "ours"  in our very hearts. We have songs that touch us, move into our hearts and resonate, creating a feeling, taking us some place- past, present, future- perhaps some place we have never been and may never go, but for whatever reasons, the song sings for us. Meeting new music, musicians, composers, poets,  new ways for my soul to sing, is an intruiging concept. Want to go on this adventure with me? It will be easy to travel along. Many of us already do this sharing; this idea is just to help us find each other and hear the words we have to share.  The Date: Wednesday, December 3.

The Plan:  on your blog, post a song that moves inside you, touches you, reaches you.  You can do any or all of the following: 

  • link to a youtube video (done as you would normally post a link)                     
  • link to itunes or amazon for a sample of the song
  • embed the youtube clip post just song lyrics  
  • post multiple songs, if you can't choose just one.

Then: Include the composer and/or musician and source (book, album). Perhaps also include  the amazon or itunes link if there is one.  no explanation required, no other revelation necessary.  One last thing- Perhaps add an image. a photo. a video. a painting. a collage, if you would.

The collage above is an ATC made from my own photograph of the Pieta at the Vatican by Michelangelo; it is the most amazing thing I have ever seen, it is so beautiful (beyond the subject matter) that it's almost etheral - and reading his story of creating it (in the book I mentioned a couple of days ago – the Agony & the Ecstacy) makes it seem all the more special.  The tombstone angel is my own photograph, you are welcome to use it in your art work but please acknowledge me as the owner of it & link back to my blog)  My song is an adaptation of the original, by Todd Agnew.




Today it's 20th November in Oz, but only 19th November in USA – it's always a bit of a conundrum when participating in a link or a challenge which is the appropriate day to post – ANYWAYS – on with the story – the one & only – amazing LK LUDWIG has posted a challenge at her Poetic Words blog for today (ummmm….yesterday!).  I love her work & am lucky enough to be teaching with her in June next year at the Artistic Journey Retreat in Sydney - so I am looking forward to catching up with her.  I own both of her books – Mixed Media Nature Journals AND True Vision - I highly recommend them - True Vision in particular is a mix between gorgeous eye candy and prompts to make you think about how you work.  LK manages to illicit more reflective and intriguing responses from you as you read through the treasure trove between the covers - her work has such an organic – easy feel about it, it's infectious.   

(??!! I CAN'T believe how cheap they are at the moment – I guess everyone is having bargains to generate business during tough times.

HERE'S the challenge –

A Day of Sharing Words

(pasted directly from challenge site)

The idea:

We have words that touch us, move into our hearts and resonate, creating a feeling, taking us some place- past, present, future- perhaps some place we have never been and may never go, but for whatever reasons, the words pulse in our blood. Meeting new words, new poets, new poems, new ways for my heart to beat, is an intruiging concept. Want to go on this adventure with me? It will be easy to travel along.

Many of us already do this sharing; this idea is just to help us find each other and hear the words we have to share.

The Date: Wednesday, November 19.

The Plan:  on your blog, post a poem that moves inside you, touches you, reaches you.  (quotes and song lyrics welcome).  Include the author (or composer or musician) and source (book, album)- perhaps also the amazon link if there is one.  no explanation required, no other revelation necessary. 

HERE'S my 'WORDS' with curtesy to author Kavanagh A. McGeough from Poetry in Nature

Plunge into the glinting fjord,
Dive into the deep rushing river, IMG_1268
Glide across the muddy swamp,
Float in the green lake,
Submerge in the salty ocean,
Freeze in the icy sound,
Immerse in the soggy channel,
The winding river is gushing into the artic ocean,
A swirling puddle reflects traffic,
Changing life,
Sustaining water.

It has taken some time, but I think that 'city bound' Australians are only JUST understanding the value of water as we are now entering our 4th or 5th summer of drought – which has escalated in severity as it has dragged on.  Today we have had some morning rain and the whole world looks cleaner, fresher and happier.  I am trying to grow my own herbs and vegetables, and I have my VERY FIRST TOMATO on the bush – I am thrilled and of course it's a great lesson for The Princess to learn that tomatoes don't grow on the shelf of the supermarket……. however it is a twice a day exercise to keep them watered & nurtured when there is no rain & it's hot.  I am not complaining though, I do have help with that job.

IMG_1219_resize   IMG_1233_resize

And the winner is


Angie_platten_autumn_postcard_resizThe winner of this month’s art challenge is Angie Platten from Arizona.  Congratulations Angie, your fibre art’s ATC is a wonder to behold.  I am incredibly drawn to the magnificent colours that are surrounding me at the moment with all of the decidious trees preparing to shed their leaves for winter.  It is just delicious.  It is very difficult to keep my mind on the road because of the beauty all around me!  If you’d like to see more of Angie’s work, here is the address for her blog



As the gorgeous colours of Autumn start to surround us, I thought that for THIS MONTH’S ART CHALLENGE it would be great to create a mixed media collage themed for AUTUMN.  It can be a journal page, atc, 4 x 4 or any other size that you’d like.Autumn_graffiti_merge_web_2


Your entry should be scanned or digitally photographed & emailed to me no later than 12pm on 25th of the Month.  It needs to be clearly noted & should have the month & art challenge in the subject line ie  APRIL ART CHALLENGE, as I generally receive about 200 emails daily, and it is easy to miss an entry if it is not clearly marked.  Good luck & have fun creating!