Category Archives: Canvases/Canvas Boards

days filled with colour


there is a quote that says ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’.  I had that experience this week when I happened across this graduation speech given by Neil Gairman  When I first saw it was almost 20 mins long, I thought I’d listen to a couple of minutes & see what it was like……….and in walked my teacher for this moment…….I was left with that Walt Disney feeling of wanting to do it over & over again.  If you are even remotely creative – grab a cuppa & have a listen.


AAA-GAIN i feel compelled to talk about Autumn.  we have in Melbourne enjoyed a week of spectacular days. and now the rain.  I know there will come a point in a couple of months deep into winter when I will tire of the ‘gloom’ but for the moment, the colours of my favourite season surround me.  I enjoy a spectacular view of deciduous splendour though every one of our windows & the yard is littered with leaves that create a colour wheel every time the wind blows. In the long evenings, our home is replete with candles, bringing a cosy glow to everything.  I love the soft light & the smell of melty candle wax!  Autumn is one of my great loves.

I have been working on a few secrets lately – some new collage sheets & my first range of papers – soon to be released at Alpha Stamps (some of you may be aware that I have formerly been a part of Leslie’s design team @ Alpha Stamps) & some artworks to be auctioned at a local woman’s function.  This is the first time I worked on ‘wooden cradles’ and I am TOTALLY in love – it’s a bit of a story – but cutting a 3 month journey into a sentence or two, my artwork came to the attention of an influential gallery curator, who expressed good things, but it was not ‘acceptable’ in books.  (ie art journals) I cogitated on that for a bit – knowing that I REALLY didn’t like working on canvases – they just were too ‘fragile’ for how I liked to work & my habit of really ‘manually handling’  my work as it was being created………I investigated canvas boards, but it still came back to having the cost of framing before they could be exhibited/presented for sale……….what to do…….what to do……I remembered waaaaaaaaaay back that I saw someone painting on a wood panel & investigated this a bit locally.  TOTALLY cost prohibitive & cos of the bulk of sending – the mailing cost + product cost from overseas worked out about the same…………another brick wall.  Enter MOTH…….(man of the house)……….I could make them – easy!!!!  I have to say he is a person with a golden heart & the best of intentions, but usually not so good with follow through………BUT low & behold – he made me a dozen 10 x 12in birch wood cradles (which essentially just look like


a thick walled canvas) & I am IN LOVE – TOTALLY in love – it’s a dream surface to work on & can take all the punishment I dish out……….can’t be sewn like watercolour paper – but I’ll just have to improvise with that one…………SO I am a happy little Vegemite (camper)……enjoying exploring a new surface
………AND – as an endnote – waaaaaaaaaay tooooo early for a drum roll – but I am excited to be working on my first range of rubber stamps which will also be available from Alpha Stamps.  It’s fun & scary at the same time – it will be months – but it’s why things are quite here……..lots of hush hush down under!! LOL!


not sleeping


It’s 2am and I am not sleeping – I know I should be – with a energetic 2 yo that will be awake in only a couple of hours, but once my sleep is disturbed, I find it so hard to get back to sleep – then I will be ready to sleep, just as she is ready to get up – body clocks are such wierdFhllayeredcolourweb things.  I managed to get a little art done during the evening – these are the beginnings of a set of 3 (12 x 20") canvases. These look a little wierd at the moment, they are just ‘shapes & tones’ at the moment – mid process & are titled Faith, Hope & Charity.   I am doing an online course at the moment  & we are working with stick figures!  Yep, you got it – stick figures!  I thought they were leading to a ‘face of the day’, but not so far and it has been quite a few days since I have done one!  Actually – they are ‘masked off’ spaces where the ‘figure’ is going to be – so I am hoping at the end they don’t still look like stick figures!  The strong red ‘blobs’ in the lower areas of the first one will be Solomon_abraham_the_acolytepoppies (for remembrance) when fleshed out………… the patch of colours at the bottom of the tree in the middle one are autumn leaves & Charity has a mountain & what started out as a row of trees, but will probably end up as bushes behind her. (I was trying to convey love directed outward)

Solomon_abraham_by_the_seaside_2 Today’s copyright free images come from the artist English Pre-Raphelite artist – Abraham Solomon who lived from 1842 – 1864.

Primary Numbers


Img_0150_resizeThis is the last of my ‘country canvases’ either done or started during my little soujourn last week at Jenene’s in country Victoria.  I created it on a 16 x 20" canvas board using a found image (found by Jenene – lol!!) This ‘darkness’ was a bit of a departure from what I had been creating, but it really just happened….& the results were quite enchanting.  The numbers are pre-cut, but I don’t remember what the brand of them was & though you don’t see it very well in the photo, the RHS of the canvas has some of Jenene’s ‘wall & brick pattern’ stamps.
We are all Primary Numbers divisible only by Ourselves’…’s a bit of a cryptic quote by Jean Guitton.  To be honest, the quote was just chosen because of it’s link to the solitary, haunting, figure in the alley way, however upon further investigation it seems to have been a good serendipity.  Jean Guitton (1901-1999) was a French Catholic philosopher & theologian who was a prisioner of war held by the Nazis.  His ecclectic life experiences & learning helped form him into a highly acclaimed ‘thinker’ of the 20th Century & was the first lay person to be invited as an observer to the ecumical council of the Vatican, becoming close friends with Pope Paul VI.

she has wings


Img_0551_resize Here’s the ‘white’ canvas from last weekend…’s been transformed by the inspiration from my forest walk yesterday.  The canvas has real feathers that I found along the way taped on with ‘specimen’ tape, & then lots of other bits & pieces including numbers & labels I made myself.  AND YES – I DID DO THE little sketches….just don’t look too closely that’s all!  They look ok in this low res pic!!! LOL!!  The central bird is a Cavillini one & the text reads….’she sings, though the bough beneath her bends,content in the knowledge, she has wings.’  I know that Abby & Jenene were a little surprised to see me cutting out symetrical, square, straight edges last weekend, as this is a significant departure for me…….it IS different to the way that I generally approach things & I must say I did find all the straight lines more of a challenge.



Img_0139_resizeHere is another of my ‘country canvases’ simply titled ‘Doors’ .  It is approximately 16" square & a pictoral representation of where my life is right now, lots of decisions, each one with implications…. lots of choices, each one with unknowns & uncertain direction (I trust God, so that doesn’t worry me, however,  I just don’t know which direction I should be heading right now). 
Life can be like that Img_0143_resizesometimes & we look for talisman along the way……the quote says, ‘there are things know, & there are things unknown & in between are the doors’ – how true for where I am right now.  The stamps are from a company selling a great product called ‘Darkroom Door’ (introduced to me by Jenene).  I love them, they are really nice.  (this piece is already sold)

In the front of the canvas is on of the skeletons I have pulled from the leaf refuse I have swept from our deck lately.  It didn’t photograph too well like that, so here is a separate one.  Img_0184_resizeSweeping the deck with my little Princess ‘L’ is one of my special joys.  It is always when life is complicated the pleasure of simple things seems to be amplified.  Her mum has been quite unwell this week & they have practically lived here, so we have had lots of ‘deck time’ with the ‘boom’, as she calls it.  Our other joy is cooking – she LOVES it – we are up to 3 – 5 word sentances now & one of her regular requests is ‘Ellie cook, Nonna’.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but we are FINALLY starting to see the emergence of hair – YAY!!  She will be TWO next weekend, (where did that 2 years go???) & the fine little golden ringlets & waves are pretty much on track with her mum.  I gave birth to bald babies & it always took them a couple of years to get hair!


Down on the Farm


Img_0095_resize this is my w.i.p. (work in progress) from the weekend.  I have 2 other completed canvases to show you, however, I haven’t photographed them yet, so I can’t show you those.  As soon as I saw this image of a tree I was mezmerized by it.  It is solitary – & lonely, but serene & peaceful all at the same time.  I have Img_0097_resizeattached some nice papers to the piece as well, but I am not sure which direction to take it just now.  I gessoed over everthing & then rubbed it back……Jenene says snow, but that wasn’t really where I was heading with it (although all of the crisp white does give that impression)…… daughter says she will cut my fingers off if I add or take away anything from it, because she loves it just as it is……hmmmmm not sure on this one.  Now that I am back home, the country magic of the moment has broken & it’s very possible this one will sit for a while with no direction.   Here are some of my ‘captions’ & inspirations from a special artistic sojourn in country Victoria.  One of my lovely surprises was how incredibly lush & green everything was.  We have been in drought for such a long timDsc_0014_resizee & waterImg_0027_resize has been (& still is in short supply), obviously it is doing it’s job down in this area (though our over all water storage for drinking is quite low) I HAD to take a pic of Jenene’s fabulous bird house – it’s a work of art in itself!…. Img_0106_rosellathen there were the new alpaca guests being housed in the


side paddock & early morning Rosellas (which is the reason that the rest of my canvases aren’t photographed – I got distracted!) One of my great joys was seeing the sunrise – as we don’t have a clear eastern perspective at home, (it’s a mountain) we don’t see the sunrise…..spectacular sunsets (off our front verandah) – but no sunrises….. so seeing this was VERY special.


(as usual, I have to apologise for the formatting of the pics – sorry they are all over the show, I can’t seem to get them where I want them to be, but my friends at Typepad assure me that some new tools are on the way to assist with this)

Away to Play


I have been away a couple of days in the country with my special friend Abby, at my other special friend – Jenene’s house (who HAPPENS to be Abby’s mum!)….what a lovely, restful & peaceful time I have had……such solace for the soul…..Img_0093_resize(thank God for precious friends) I made several 16" x 20" collaged canvas boards….this first one showcases my new collage sheets (that will be available from Alpha Stamps soon) called FishTales.  I have used acrylic’s watercolours & pearl & metallics….it’s really difficult to tell from the pic, it is soft water tones with slithers of bling all over.  This is made from all of those hand cut stamps that I made a while ago….the text on the piece reads… only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been posioned, only after the last fish has been caught, will you realize that money cannot be eaten.’

I have an early morning tomorrow – so I am off to bed, I have heaps more to show you from my time away, but I thought I’d just quickly post you a little sample of what we got up to.



Nest_egg_web This scan doesn’t show this new canvas up too well, because the background is deep green & forest floor colours.  It is No. 3 of my 5 ‘Nesting Instincts’ canvases, & will sit on the top row either in the centre or on the RHS edge, depends how the next one looks.  I have used the same method again, in an attempt to have some symmetry between the peices & although each piece is individual, that they all look like a group together.  The vintage ticket is from an old side show operator in Melbourne & the lettering is from a local supplier.  I have taken the liberty of using MoonGlow on the eggs to give a speckled look to them. 
Only 3 sleeps to go til my special art visitors arrive AND I have had my first glimpse of colour on the theatre room walls – (where they are sleeping) IT’S FABULOUS!  I LOVE IT – it’s dark & dramatic & DH is quite unsure at this point, but for me it was LOVE at first sight – LOVE when they opened the can after mixing it – LOVE when I carried it in – LOVE now that the first coat is up!  YUM!  (I am sure there are people in the world who don’t understand that expression being applied to paint or a colour – but I do it all the time!)   

Sparrow’s Nest


Sparrows_nest_web This is image no 2 of 5 canvases, which will, as a montage be called Nesting Instincts.  This peice individually is called Sparrow’s Nest (not rocket science!)  The canvas is 8in x 10in….it is created with an acrylic painted base, with oil crayons & embossing powder over the top.  The text is from an old french book that describes the anatomy of birds & some bible verses that are important to me right now.  I am starting to resign myself to a last minute flurry as my house is still in chaos despite all of my preparation work – men can do that to a girl! – oh well – I married a tradie – what can I say?????  With only 4 sleeps to go, it’s still a little way of taking shape  BUT tonight we will have colour on the wall!  I have chosen bushfire tones – blackened flame & charcoal suede.  YUM – it’s edible!



Anticipating_web This little birdy, sitting on it’s nest, is watching, waiting, anticipating…….it’s about where I am right now……my DH has decided to take on major plastering just before I recieve a houseful of guests – bless him!!!  (I have other things to say – but I’ll leave it at that!)  It seems sureal that the 18 months since we organised this has gone by.  I am SO excitedly looking forward to this – I just can’t wait – only 6 more sleeps and counting (almost the hours now!)  My usually pretty organised studio is full of all kinds of ‘space invaders’ & access to work space & supplies is somewhat limited.  I was SO over plaster dust that I squished through & got out my drawer of oil pastels & a canvas…… is the result….I have decided to make a bit of a montage out of it & include some others, so I will post those as they come along…..IKKKKKKKKK…… keyboard is chalky – not good for it I’m sure.