Category Archives: Face of the Day (FotD)



African-Girl-web  I used an old photograph c. 1920 to do today's face of the day.  I am a bit stuck on the 'colourfix' paper at the moment, but have TERRIBLY sore fingers where the soft tips have been 'rubbed' away from the tooth on the paper, while blending in colours.  Again, this doesn't look quite like the image that I used - it doesn't look childish enough – in the picture the girl looked somewhere around 8 or 10 years old.  I am working on some 'gypsy' drawings tonight for my next 'tip-in' obligation, which is brightly coloured & a bit of fun.  IS there ANYONE else travelling through some painfully slow process of learning like this????  TALK TO ME – PLEASE! Some days I see progress and others (to quote my dear art friend Charlene) – I want to chuck the whole mucking fess into the BIN!

I have been offered the opportunity to return to study next year, majoring in drawing & printmaking.  I was absolutely terrified presenting my folio of drawings at the interview however I recieved really positive feedback and was offered a place on the spot (which I was told was practically unheard of).  I have been living with some stress related physical issues that at times severely limit my mobility, so hopefully, with something positive to look forward to, it will be onward & upward, & the pain will settle.


The Quest for Progress


A week or so ago when I did my first Rubenesque-B-web'RubenesqueRubenesque-web' I feel really frustrated that although I was happy with how the end result of my drawing & painting looked – it didn't actually look that much like the original.  I have spent this whole week on a quest to make progress on my powers of observation & to improve the likeness of my 'copy' of this great master's work.   Drawing the same image over & over – DH says that the last one is the best – which kinda suggests that all of the practice has been worth it and ONE more attempt and I'd nail it – but I am really over this girl for now – I need to do something else at least for one evening.   I started out on watercolour paper using watercolour & chalks – then I moved to just chalks on colourfix paper (coloured paper sized for chalk drawings)       Rubenesque-D-web   Rubenesque-C-web










THIS IS THE REFERENCE IMAGE THAT I HAVE BEEN WORKING FROM (obviously just the upper half)  I have spent considerable time this evening trawling through countless websites to try to get some specific information about this piece of work, however without success.  It has the non descript name of 'Woman's Head and Right Hand!' – so it doesn't tie it to any particular piece of finished art – or whether it was a piece of finished art in itself – although practices of the day suggest not….. it was typical to complete sketch studies to prepare for a larger, or more complex work.   One site describes it as oil on canvas which surprised me, it doesn't have that appearance at all – but you never know just looking at it electronically.  Peter Paul Rubens art career was fascinating & well worth a read if you have the time.


Lucky if found Accidentally


These are a couple more of my Christmas drawings, another ‘Rubenesque’ – I have titled ‘Queen of the May’ – just because of her neck ruffle.  The next Every day matters drawing challenge – something Lucky…of course I couldn’t go past a 4 leaved clover, which I read is only considered lucky if found accidentally (I am not sure how many people hunt for them!)……. I am practising underpainting my watercolour faces at the moment, which is producing some interesting results….. I have underpainted ‘Queen of the May’ with an olive wash, & created the shadowing with Graphite – I had to be careful not to give her a ‘5 o’clock shadow’ but I like the appearance of the graphite over the watercolour.  Interesting & worth exploring a bit more.Queen-of-the-May-web Miss-Prim-&-Proper-Purple-w Dancing-web 200-Lucky-web

A little taste of Christmas


Christmas-Belle-2-webHopes-of-Fine-Weather-web I thought you might like a bit of a 'sneak peak' at some of my Christmas paintings for some of my art friends.  Hopefully they will have recieved them by now & so their suprise will not have been spoilt.

I know, I know – it’s terrible


Christmas-Belle-webI know – I know – my blog looks TERRIBLE at the moment – I have had to down grade my typepad package to a cheaper one & there are a whole lot of restrictions I now have to consider with design.  Bear with me while I jiggle it a bit and work out how to make it look better………I KNOW this isn't it!  Here's something nice to look at……..Oriental-Christmas-web a couple of my Christmas faces for some of my art friends.  I am moderately computer literate as far as a user goes, but the whole website & blogging thing sometimes does my head in – I know just enough to be dangerous – but not enough to get myself out of trouble!  LOL!!  It just seems like SUCH a waste of time spending so MUCH time trying to sort this out when I COULD be making art!!!

A little Rubenesque



Rubenesque-web I have been busy the last week or so painting Christmas gifts for friends, (I am not going to post them just yet, because I don't want to spoil the surprise) I needed a bit of a break from painting – so when the family congregated at the weekend, we pulled out one of my FAVOURITE things – a jigsaw puzzle – it is something carried over from when the kids were little – we used to save it for a wet day activity…..& they all love them…. it kinda goes with the whole 'whodunnit' fascination I have.  We have done a couple of smaller 500 – 1000 piece puzzles in the last couple of weeks – but it was time to pull out something more challenging (AND inspiring)… and so – into the attic I went to retrieve the MOTHERSHIP…. A gorgeous Italian made puzzle of 3000 pieces depicting the Sistine Chapel ceiling……… it had literally been about 7 years since it had seen the light….. and down she came…. as you can see from the photo above, it is huge and whilst I LOVE it – the physical challenge of doing the puzzle is having some way to store it when you are not doing it.  As you can see in the picture at the top it is taking up our whole kitchen table (8 ft x 3ft).  DH had a great idea when he purchased it of buying one of those 'roll up' puzzle mats - but it reaches right to the perimetre – so that's of limited help too….  ANYWAYS – all of this exposure to classical art has made me cast off Christmas, and use some classical influence as models to do my face of the day….. this one is modelled from a drawing by Rubens. 

Sistine chapel ceiling  

iF you are remotely interested in the story of any of Michelangelo the most fascinating book that I have read is The Agony & The Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It goes through his life from quite a young age through to his death – the intricacies of the religious politicing as various Popes & patrons moved through his life, the background and development of each of his works – his life with the Medici's – its a REALLY a fascinating read!  Its a great gift to give anyone creative and a very insightful holiday read!


I have visited the Sistine Chapel in Rome twice – in 2000 and in 2003.  Both times the overwhelming thing was this amazingly bright cornflower blue.  It is my lingering memory of the visits.  And yet, surprisingly, no photos of the ceiling ever capture that, because it is in the upper wall frescos that it is most dominant and the glimpses of it in the ceiling appear more prominent when you are standing there, because you first have to look up past the walls to get to the ceiling frescos.  Here's the story of the chapel, from one of my travel books:

The chapel was built between 1475 and 1483, in the time of Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere. A basic feature of the chapel itself, so obvious that it is sometimes ignored, is the papal function, as the pope's chapel and the location of the elections of new popes.  The Chapel is rectangular in shape and measures 40,93 meters long by 13,41 meters wide, i.e. the exact dimensions of the Temple of Solomon, as given in the Old Testament.  It is 20,70 meters high and is surmounted by a shallow barrel vault with six tall windows cut into the long sides, forming a series of pendentives between them.  A marble mosaic floor of exquisite workmanship describes the processional itinerary up to and beyond the marble screen, to the innermost space, where it offers a surround for the papal throne and the cardinals' seats. The architectural plans were made by Baccio Pontelli and the construction was supervised by Giovanino de'Dolci. 

The walls are divided into three orders by horizontal cornices; according to the decorative program, the lower of the three orders was to be painted with fictive "tapestries," the central one with two facing cycles – one relating the life of Moses (left wall) and the other the Life of Christ (right wall), starting from the end wall, where the altar fresco, painted by Perugino, depicted the Virgin of the Assumption, to whom the chapel was dedicated. The upper order is endowed with pilasters that support the pendentives of the vault. 

The wall paintings were executed by Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Cosimo Rosselli, Luca Signorelli and their respective workshops, which included Pinturicchio, Piero di Cosimo and Bartolomeo della Gatta. The ceiling was frescoed by Piero Matteo d'Amelia with a star-spangled sky. 

Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II della Rovere in 1508 to repaint the ceiling; the work was completed between 1508 and 1512. He painted the Last Judgement over the altar, between 1535 and 1541, being commissioned by Pope Paul III Farnese.

Totally Inspired


Old-Time-Dreaming-web WOW – WHAT A MOVIE - as I posted last time I was off to see the movie Australia & it was FABULOUS.  Great story, believable characters, some sad home truths (I was ashamed of the treatment to our Indigenious people depicted in the film).  Like any good film – there was both tragedy & triumph – love lost & love gained.  Although it's cast is flanked with famous Australian actors, I felt that the key child role of a small mixed race Aboriginal boy stole the show……. and his grandfather ('King George' an Aboriginal tribal elder – played by David Gulpilil) was my fav. I guess for anyone that hasn't ever been here – it gives some sense of the enormity of the Outback & the Top End of Australia.  Our land is incredibly huge… and sometimes people don't realize just how HUGE.  OF COURSE I had to come home & try to capture 'something' of what I had just seen – I came back with pages of scribbles made in the dark (hmmmm….that's what I really do in movies!)  This is my 'Old Time Dreaming' – he's a bit 'sanitized' looking which really was not my intention, and DH says he is too smily – however, I felt a little limited by using watercolour as a medium and perhaps will have another go in a couple of days using acrylics……..where I can build up some layering & colours in a way I can't achieve yet (I don't even know if it is possible) with watercolours.  I have a dear friend who loves tribal stuff, & I had been wondering what to do her for Christmas  & this will be perfect for her.

on the face of things


FotD-061108-SELF-2-webI have been busy the last couple of days & nights creating a special assemblage on behalf of a dear friend for her mum's 70th birthday.  Silly me – I forgot to take a pic, but it's focal point is a dear little quilted shoe with a little satin rose on it.  The birthday girl wore it as a baby, so we are hoping it will be special for her to recieve it back from her daughter!  Re-invented so to speak!  Everytime I saw the self portrait I did a few days ago – I couldn't stand it – I had to try to make it better.  So you will see that I have had another go.(there is a photo of me in the sidebar a bit lower down if you want to compare)   Have managed to 'capture' my wild & woolly hair – I think that the eyes are ok – there's something not quite right around the 'character lFotD-051108-webines' and their implications for my mouth & the lower part of my nose – so there will be 'Take 3' – interestingly the first person to see it was The PrincessFotD-071108-web – who immediately said 'That's you Nonna' …… everyone else had to be told that it was a self portrait.  what's that about 'from the mouths of babes?????? LOL!!! This attempt is an improvement & I am not sure how to change it further now – so I might leave it a week or so & see how I feel about having another go.  The day before I drew my 'girl in red' – these kind of 'cute' but 'non descript' girls are getting a little boring so I thought I'd explore some other cultures.  My first go was this Polynesian woman.  I used Diox Purple & Raw Sienna for facial tones, which I know sounds a bit odd, but it worked ok. 

Jenny Wren


Jenny-Wren-web My face of the day today is called Jenny Wren.  Jenny Wren is a pet name of a friend of mine who I don't see a whole lot of anymore.  I have been thinking of her recently as her birthday is coming up next week…and then, with out consciously doing it – this drawing looks remarkably like her.  There is a scripture that says 'from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks' well I think that 'from the abundance of my heart' – my pencils have spoken!  Thanks Jen for being in my life line in a watershed moment.Friends  Below are a couple of friends you might like to use for your artworkGarreta_Raimundo_De_Madrazo_y_La_Toilette

Talk about inspired!


Birth-of-Christ-Lk Regardless of what your beliefs are, you MUST click here  & see what I have discovered today.  Thanks to Danny Gregory for his original post on this…. today I learned that, for the first time since the refinement of movable type in Germany about 1450 AD & the subsequent printing of the 'Gutenberg Bible' approx 1455 AD that a team of artisans have created a fully hand scribed, illuminated Bible called 'The Saint John's Bible'.  The artists are known as 'The community of The Saint John's Bible', & are located in a scriptorium in Monmouth, Wales – the headquarters are at Saint John's University in central Minnesota. It was created under the direction of Queen Elizabeth II's own scribe – Donald Jackson.  Oh MY GOODNESS – the pages & illustrations are TOTALLY amazing…..this one (from the site) is depicting Christ's birth – you can just see it oozing beauty of meaning in its wealth of layers.  As you would expect some of the world's finest 'hands' have been penning this work & every page is a wonder to behold – go – look – you will not be disappointed.

Acts-frontispiece-and-incip The work was being created using all natural handmade inks, gold leaf & hand-ground pigments, on vellum.  Of course the artists are using quills to create the thousands of pages. I am told it is even be available to the masses (you know – ordinary folks like you & me – well me, you're not ordinary) - for the incredibly reasonable price of $145,000 USD per copy! I hope to buy some 'gift cards' LOL!

Some of the art was exhibited earlier this year at the Phoenix Museum.  The pics from this exhibit are actually better than the official site.

This article has a lot more info on the project & details of it's execution & you can view the timeline here.
For the calligrapher's among us – and anyone who is fascinated by this form of art – you'll love spending some time here.

I drew 3 faces today – my first one was quite black, in fact, mostly black & I don't want to show it to you.  The second one was dark & shadowed & this one, called 'Sad Eyes', was the third one.  I thought that if I just kept at it I'd work through the dark & that Iight & sunshine would eventually come – but not today – perhaps tomorrow.