Tag Archives: birds

Excitment all round – a Birdy blog hop!


As I said in my last post – Alpha Stamps have released my latest collage sheets – Nesting Instincts & Bird’s Nest & I am thrilled to see what Leslie’s amazing Design Team have come up with in using the imagery………..there are gifts, prizes & give aways if you follow the ‘blog hop’ between the design team’s blogs.

Visit each blog, leaving a comment you will automatically be entered to win a small piece of artwork from each Design Team Member! So if you go to all 9 blogs, between Thursday, June 7th and Sunday, June 10th you will have 9 different chances to win artwork!

That beautiful, hand-stitched coaster at right, by Theresa Martin, is one of the prizes you could win!

AND… check out this post here on the Alpha Stamps blog to find out how to win the new Birds in Hats Kit!

Theresa Martin | Visit blog
Alaskan Sapphire Rose – Shannon Tuttle | Visit blog
Starrgazer Creates – Rhea Freitag | Visit blog
Glitter Tart – Caroline Ouzts-Hay | Visit blog
Junk&Stuff – Kristin Batsel | Visit blog
Rhonda Mum – Rhonda Secrist-Thomas | Visit blog
Artfully Musing – Laura Carson | Visit blog
Pixie Hill – Nichola Battilana | Visit blog
Amys Blam: General Foolishness – Amy Mayfield | Visit blog
Below are my 6 x 6 collages using the newly released sheets – Nesting Instincts & Bird’s Nest.  Click on the link if you would like to purchase some from Alpha Stamps.


A Different Perspective


another month has flown by and our souls are starting to dry a little from a very wet winter (which of course we are thankful for!)  Life has gotten in the way of art this last month & I have been trying to find my artistic voice within constraints of limited space, limited supplies & limited time.  They all suck – but it’s just a season & that’s how life goes sometimes in families.  I wanted to create myself a new journal to work in & to be able to at least be doing a little something, & so I started out with to book board covers cut to A4 size & punched that & 20 pages of water colour paper for zutter binding.  These covers were subsequently collaged, layered, painted, glazed & rubbed on but when it was finished I hated it.  Although I recognize that I lean toward the ‘murky’ (clear colours look so insipid to me) I have just lost the plot here, & it’s so MURKY it’s just a green blob – had I just painted it in a mottled effect over some newspaper, I don’t think it would have looked any worse!  LOL!! the saving grace is the gorgeous vintage flower buttons that are on the cover.  They are a treasure & although you can’t tell in the picture, they are really finely detailed.  So I had a week or so mopping, dissatisfied, but not really knowing where to head next………….I am seeing amazing colour all around me as Spring transforms all of my senses.

Baby birds are everywhere & our garden is filled with gorgeous crimson rosellas & king parrots feeding on the seed we leave out for them daily.  As I type this, I can hear the chortling bell like sound of their call to a garden with a generous bounty.

spring light has saturated the dark corners of winter & the days are stretching out into early evening…….the canvas spread before us from our front verandah every night is jaw dropping and a photograph is a poor substitute – but here’s a glimpse

and of course the gardens are resplendant with a riot of colour which our grandblessings are just lovin’…………despite all of this, (I, the COLOUR guru!!! – note the irony,) have felt that I need to parr back & simplify a little.   I have shelved my ‘green lump’ book (the one with totally gorgeous vintage buttons wasted on it!! LOL!) & though I know that will come into it’s own at this point (I have a use in mind, but at the moment, I don’t love it enough to open it, or to want to work in it & when I am already time challenged) – an uninspiring surface to begin with is not going to help progress.

I  have been encouraged in one of my online art groups to contemplate “Sprezzatura”  or  deliberate carelessness.  Wikipedia defines it as: “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.” Vasari, Raphael and Leonardo were exponents. Picasso’s drawings are a good example- simple expressive lines with little or no attention to anatomy

Being such a perfectionist, I struggle here & I have found recently that perfectionism like a ball & chain, because my art is not that good – and my ‘artly vision’ for my piece is that it have a realism impact- and then when my skill deficit kicks in & the piece is mid process, it’s not what I had in mind at all.  Robert Genn (from The Painter’s Keys) has suggested:

  • Put speed into your strokes by lengthening them.
  • Leave parts unfinished- let the viewer complete for you.
  • Put the mark “near,” not “on” the place it should be.
  • & THE HARDEST ADVICE – Just for a while, don’t take yourself so seriously!!
  • Make notes of incomplete thoughts, fragments, figments
  • Let ideas freely associate and take you where they will
  • then, revisit your thoughts and ask, “What could be?”
  • then – Liberate yourself by consciously omitting the word, “I.”.. &.Circle, highlight and re-illustrate ideas in progress

Some other thoughts he has are:

  • Choose your brush, then take a bigger one.
  • Think of your brush as part of your voice.
  • Fight the common tendancy to tighten up.
  • Try working with ‘idea,’ not style.
  • Don’t fret the Freudian slips.
  • Be esuberante (exuberant).
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Sing Italian arias…….not that I sing them – but I often play THIS in my studio

A sweet & dear friend who has seen my recent state, gifted me a gorgeous journal book by Sabina Ward Harrison – The True & the Questions.  The perfectionist in me prevents me from actually writing in it! LOL! but it is provoking & influencing me right now, especially to work with ink again, which has been set aside for for a while.

SO – here’s the new journey – I HAVE parred back, AND AGAIN, parred back – for the moment I am working with a palette of Titanium White, Titian Buff & Burnt Umber, with little splashes of colour, that I am then wiping back & ‘whiting’ over to lessen their impact.  I am also working with stamping & alcohol inks for highlights & text.  Here’s the results so far…………I have titled this new art journal..”A Different Perspective’…………. as it began life by me finding a broken magnifying glass in an antiques junk shed……….

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spring treasures


only when you have been without it, do you appreciate rain.  In Oz, we have been experiencing severe drought for the past three years or so, but it has been moderately dry for about the last ten.   Our drinking water storage facilities have been gradually depleting, water tanks in suburban yards have become a more common sight and even public and commercial buildings have had water tanks installed to capture every drop of this precious commodity.  We have an old english cottage garden at our 90 yo home & I decided early in the drought that I wasn’t going to ‘bucket’ feed the garden (except for my pots) as I figured that in it’s long lifetime, it must have had dry periods before.  We have lost alot of ‘lush foliage’ type of plants, & (very sadly) a large Japanese Maple – but most of the trees have survived & the ivy trails over & fills the gaps! LOL!

I think it is fair to say, that the drought has broken.  Green is brightening up our barren landscapes & the sleepy decidious trees are filled with buds just waiting to burst at the first hint of sunshine & warmth.  The strict water restrictions that we have been under have been eased as our water storage is up and still filling.  We are expecting FOUR inches (100mm) rain in the next couple of days and the earth is OOOZZZing ‘wetness’ !  It’s a great time for all the gorgeous spring blossoms & of course the birds are lovin’ it.  I happened across this delicate looking moss recently and was facinated by it’s tonality.  The mossy yellowy/green is my MOST favourite colour, so of course I would be drawn to it, but it’s form was so delicate, I could imagine it would have inspired lace makers of the past.  Speaking of inspiration – I have been inspired by the very special Jenn White (a fellow Paper Trader) on a recent visit to regional Victoria.  Although Jenn does lovely mixed media and altered book work, her first love is wood cuts.  I have been considering creating some small etchings to turn into a little book, impacted by the film ‘Bright Star’ and some recent ad hoc life drawing sessions I have been doing.  Jenn VERY graciously let me have a play with some of her plates & do some ‘hand burnished’ prints.  It was fun to work so simply.  Mixed media at times can be so complex and layered, with so many different materials that it is a big set up and big clean up.  Jenn just had primary coloured inks (plus black and white), a small piece of glass, some burnishing tools & old book pages.  Dispite using a block,(ie replicating the same image) they were almost monoprints because each ink mix was a little different and colour combinations and varied text background gave quite different effects.

Simple – but interesting result.  I stuck mine between phone book pages to take them home, and some of the pages stuck a little, but I don’t even mind how that looks – adds another dimension………ok – so there I go ‘layering’ again!LOL!!  I started work on a lino cut, a process I REALLY did think that I had left behind at art school, but I have been more than a little inspired by the fineness & detail of Jenn’s work.  More soon.

Post Script
only a week after this posting, Victoria experienced extreme flooding & it is OFFICIAL, the drought HAS broken.  Thankfully, our dams are filling, and our water restrictions have been eased.  The era of dirty cars is over ………which some may consider a problem – particularly, if dirty cars have been your art canvas! 

etchings abound


Back at uni after almost a month, and I have had the chance to print up some of my more recent sketches.  Like anything that looks amazing – it's simple to do, but deceptively complex – with a thousand things that can go wrong at anytime.  You never quite know what you are going to end up with.

One of my tutors said to us this week - that when ever an artist creates something – they begin with an initial idea in their head, and then go about creating it.  Sometimes, in the process, the work evolves from the original idea, which leaves artists often unhappy with what they create.  When someone else, who has not had the original 'picture' sees it – they only judge the piece on it's merits – not on what it should have/would have/could have been.  Fish-&-Feather-web Therefore – as artists – we need to be brave - and put our work out there for all the world to see – risk the rejection – and embrace the actual process of creating something – rather than looking to the finished product being the end all & be all. 

In Melbourne at the moment, can you believe it – there is a 'symposium on happiness' happening over the next couple of days.  As I am writing this – I am wondering why it seems obscure – why do I think it's odd to do this???? On reflection, I think that I must feel that it seems trivial – (a bit like some people feel about those who create!) however I am reading more and more how our state of mind impacts our longivity as much as our eating habits or exercise routine (what is that?)  Anyways – I was listening to a radio interview with the forward thinking Edward De Bono who (apart from practically saying his books were universal cure alls! LOL!) said that there were two states of happiness:

1. Tranquility – a sort of peace & calmness AND

2. Excitement, glee & joyfulness – an overt adrenaline charged feeling

Tree-small-web He then went on to discuss how it is almost impossible to create with the first and you probably don't feel like creating if you are experiencing the second, you are more likely to seek pleasure to enhance that feeling & often in the company of others, as opposed to taking yourself off some where & pouring your 'happiness' into a work of art of some description.  I have to say, I am significantly more prolific when I am more melancolic – but being committed to being creative daily – it more impacts my colour choices & the subject matter – even my mark making tools and the way I apply mediums………..What about you – how does your mood effect the way you art – have you noticed a difference in what you produce or which tools you grab for?

If you'd like to see more of my recent printmaking this is the link to my flickr album.

Below is a Japanese Moleskine Exchange I have been working on with Jennifer Krashka, if you'd like to see that up to date – here's the link to that photo album.03-Gardening-Shoes-web

Life is busy – and complicated


US-heros-RHS-web US-heros-LHS-web Life is busy and as I have said in the title – complicated – at the moment.  I am doing a whole lot of experimenting with metals in the hopes to produce something per-itttty spesh – BUT it's been much trial – MANY errors and NOT much result lately.    HUGE mess – my kitchen has looked like one of those ferral back alley factories where 'widgets' are made.  You know, the ones that lean, gawky looking, grime covered men come out of at 4 o'clock, carrying an aging esky (themal lunch carrier) & a time battered thermos with only remenants of the colour it used to be… ……urkkkk………it's a mess….I need to work in the kitchen as I don't have water in my studio (which is really a big bedroom that was seconded the day my youngest moved out)…………I am hoping in time to have a bigger studio with plumbing – I have been saving an old enamel sink 4eva – especially for this purpose……..THIS IS THE DAY THOUGH – I have some new process and products to try today and I have spent DAYS talking to 'knowers' so I have a whole lot of different ideas to try today.  Hopefully one of them works!

The collage pages above are for a fellow Paper Trader's RR journal on American Idols, depicting one of my 'non art' passions – THE WEST WING – my life would be complete if it just went 4EVA – I mean – how many shows do you get where there is no constant soap opera drama's, needless swearing, overly embarrasing steamy sex scenes, and there IS fascinating dialogue that still intrigues me despite having watched it 27 times!  These pages are quite 'clean' work compared to what I ordinarily do for collage, but I didn't want to obscure the elements of the page – and wanted to keep it RED, WHITE & BLUE (ie the colours of the flag) without 'muddying' it up as I normally would with Walnut Ink or Moonglow or something.

And of course all of this set within the context of our state being on fire – I don't know if it is possible – but I think that I have run out of adrenaline – we have been on fire alert for so long now (2 weeks) – everytime the fire siren rings out (we are at the base of a mountainside, & the  township below us) – I furtively look around the house – check the fire service website (when I have a connection) – and feel a little disoriented - I keep looking around me – wondering whether this could be it.Adorn-segment-web

With each alert – I have continued to par down with regard to ‘packing to go’ – the first time I threw a whole lot of my rubber stamps loose, into a 'green' shopping bag (I realized the folly of this later – faced with the  mammoth job of resorting them and putting them back afterward), I had some of my art journals and handmade books

I am resigned now with getting just my portable harddrive, (about the size of a small hardcovered book) the dogs and I have two boxes of photos that are living on our kitchen bench at the moment – if the rest goes – it goes – that’s just how it is. 

THANK YOU – THANK YOU to all of you kind, dear heARTed people who have emailed to see Mothers heART segment webhow we are going – and that we are safe.  You don't have to worry – we are fine – the main fires are no where near us – we just live in a quite vunerable area that has a major fire every 4 -6 years and despite my DH INSISTING – it'd never happen in our particular street because of some geography – fire doesn't go 'down a mountainside' yada, yada, yada – I just don't know where he gets such trollop – in these fires he'd have be the one burnt in the car trying to escape after realising that infact fires can and often do – WHAT they like!) – and it's just all a bit worrying being amongst it right now.  One of the LOVEly sides of the art community has been how many people have been emailing and keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.  AGAIN – thank you.  Lately I have been battling my old enemy, then tension between anonymity and recognition – sometimes I want to tell the world everything and have you all laugh, cry and love with me – and other times I don't want to talk at all.  Add to that a few change of life hormones and ongoing financial challenges, and BINGO! – a perfect combo for dissolving into a sad and sorry lump.
My jewellery pliers have been busy - working hard on some new 'story telling jewellery'.  Darling Nina calls it 'Narrative Jewellery' how I DO love that name – she is SO clever!  Alpha stamps is releasing a whole lot of new jewellery product & it is just starting to trickle into the online shop – it's from Bekky Nunn and it is JUST divine.  I can only show you snippets at the moment, cost it's not all released – but it's really nice….go check it out.

On the FOURTH day of Christmas


On the FOURTH day of Christmas – my true love gave to me – FOUR calling birds….aren't they lovely?


















The significance of the four birds are the four gospels in the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke & John – each one calling out the message of Jesus' love for us and God's desire to reconcile the world to Himself.













Please leave a comment and a link on the day with the image of any of them you use and on January 14th I will draw a winner – to recieve one of my original pieces of artwork.

partidges in pear trees


this weekend saw the culmination of a couple of months work as I collated a whole lot of bits & pieces I had prepared for my IMG_1314_resize'partridges in pear trees' for a Christmas gift exchange.  You saw the watercoloured cards I did a couple of weeks ago – well – they were to go with these little treasures.  Firstly I created a pattern for these little felt partridges.  After trialling several design shapes & styles, I settled on this look & went about making them.  They are only about 1.5" long and tall, so as you could imagine – it was pretty fine work creating them.  They are embroidered with my own hand dyed threads and gold filament. After I had made all my little partridges, I needed a IMG_1324_resize'truckload' of pears & some leaves for 'pear trees'.  Fortunately I was able to pick up some quite small ones, already cut from chipboard – first I painted them in ochre & then sponged on moss green, so they had a yellowy green look, but I wanted them to be extra special - so I also added gold leaf.  After painting the leaves with several colours of acrylics – they had a little dust of Moon Glow so that they didn't feel like the 'wall flowers' next to the golden pears!  I made labels & tags, lined the boxes – more Moon Glow – more IMG_1310_resizewalnut ink….TIME to assemble the trees & add the pears & in some of them – leaves and leave to dry – NEXT – oooooooo…. then I made lovely wrapping paper for them to be wrapped in.  I used some of my lovely pear stamps – NOT Christmassy – but all about the PEARS!!  Then sprayed with Moon Glow & Walnut ink.  The colours I used for this project were Burnt Umber IMG_1419_resize(which has a rusty red shimmer) and Desert Moon Tumbleweed Sage (which has an olive green tinge)  Both of these tones are really subtle – but I was ACHING to use 'bucket o'blood red' - it's divine!   I DESPARATELY wanted to have 'brown paper packages tied up with string' however our post office people (whom I MIGHT add are not REMOTELY friendly or helpful to someone who regularly sends and recieves overseas parcels) REALLY frowns on string, protesting that it gets caught in their sorting machines and 'COULD' delay the parcel – can you see the luminous sparkles????  It's the Moon Glow – I SWEAR I IMG_1414_resizeshould buy shares in that company – I LOVE this product! (see IMG_1381_resizeProduct Info

& Reviews to learn about Moon Glow).  Then it was time to 'build' the nests for my little partridges.  I used some old chicken coup IMG_1398_resizewire from dearest Jenene (thanx J - more supplies needed now please!  LOL!!!)  I used a domed bottle top to create a cupped shape & shreaded a whole lot of fibres that our little birdie might have collected along the way.  THEN – finally – time to put it all together – each one is different and has it's own unique watercoloured card.  Thanks to all the others that participated - it was a big effort, but I know it will be a fun time recieving the parcels from the other artists in return.  IMG_1379_resize