Tag Archives: christmas

Some Christmas Cheer, and published here!


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Christmas this year has been devoted to ‘art with a needle’ and although I have been doing a few pages in my latest art journal ‘A Different Perspective’, intermittently.  I posted some pics on my flickr site a few days ago, so you may have seen them, but I am hoping to do a post about the new pages in a week or so.  (here’s the link if you want a sneak peek at the pages)  We are having our family celebrations a week earlier than 25th as our son & his wife celebrate Christmas with interstate relatives this year.  I don’t mind, ‘cos I prepare for Christmas all year – but it does feel a bit of a crunch now getting to the ‘pointy end’.   I wanted to create some personal gifts this year for people I care about, so I have hand made decorations for our childrens’ own trees & for a few special friends.   Another project I have been working on is some additional Christmas stockings.  Our SIMPLY GORGEOUS Princess Ariel Faith, newborn this year needed one (pictured below) & funnily enough, all though all our children, grandchildren & DH have hand made & embroidered stockings, I have never had one myself.  I have only begun it in the last couple of days, after everything else was finished, so I am not sure whether I will get it finished or not – it depends how I go for time, especially since it will be needed a week early!  Soft moss green/murky olivey yellow being my current ‘to die for’ green (that makes sense if you read this story), but wanting to stick within the traditional palette, I have chosen ‘A Partridge in a Pear Tree’ as my own stocking theme.  I will post it (if I get it finished) next week.

as an end note, it was a nice suprise to recieve an email from my fav. mixed media publication – Somerset Studios – & to find out a piece I created a while ago has been featured in the ‘Winter Gallery’, which is great fun!   I was especially ‘chuffed’ to see that they are using it to advertise the magazine this time.  Woo Hoo!  (my work is the Alice Spool made on a vintage reel)  I can wait to see how they have photographed it, cos it WAS  a tricky one!!   You can get all of the collage images  and stamp sets  that I used from the fabulous ALPHA STAMPS (including some of my own Alice collage sheet designs) Unfortunately, the article is still referring to my blog as at ‘typepad’ – so spread the word & change the link!  THANKS for your support & encouragement guys!!


life is galloping by


Night Owl Teal_resize After Rembrandt_resize at a great rate of knots – and yes – for the first time this year – the 'C' word was mentioned yesterday – yes, you know the one, the one my year used to be measured by….

it's 3 months,
or 111 days,
or 2669 hours, or 160162 minutes or 9609728 seconds until Christmas – whew – no wonder it's galloping – those numbers just escallate!After Degas_resize  I have had to (regretfully) acknowledge that The Princess (grandbaby) – Miss 3 – is NO LONGER a toddler and that I am approaching a very large number next year.

It's funny, having always been mistaken for being much younger than I am, age has really never worried me, but having suffered a whole raft of mobility issues in the last couple of years, I am now beginning to seriously consider my own mortality and aging.  It's not a pleasant thought. I am even wondering about my pursuit of drawing – will I finally get it, just before I die and not ever produce anything worthwhile?  I am STILL a fledgling – better of course – I would even hesitate to say MUCH better – but I am still heavily reliant on copying and having something already 'flattened' into an image rather than drawing from life.  oh well – at least I won't be a 'stale' old grannie – you can't get too old if you are still learning!  These are some of my recent dry point etchings – and NO – they aren't drawn – they are primarily traced. The decision of how & in what manner to shade is where the 'art' comes in, as it alters the whole look of the piece.  Still impacted by my 'Degas' visit last year, the little dancer was first etched and printed, then I bathed the paper in walnut ink & detailed it with white chalk.Toby's Magpie III_resize  The magpies are from photographs I took of our little Master 2 1/2 feeding a family of magpies they have befriended at their home (of course they end up reversed when they are etched & printed). IMG_0085_resize

Toby's Magpie II_resize
Countdown to Christmas!



It's all busy busy in our house, cleaning, cooking, visiting and having visitors, and tonight we are off to visit all of our local Christmas lights with The Princess.  No time for arting, or really even blogging, however, here's something digital I prepared for today, with my best & warmest wishes to you.  The background image is of Melbourne city skyline, a photo I took last summer at dusk. 2008 CHRISTMAS CARD 

Thanks for being a part of my art journey this year – I pray you have a happy and blessed festive season, surrounded by people who love on you!

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.

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

Quilted Angels


19_quilted_angels_web While this may seem a funny title for a Christmas Page………I spent the non working hours of this day (4am – 7am yesterday & 10.30pm – midnight!!!) working on the babies quilts for Christmas.  Ellie’s is all but finished, I am just attaching the binding………..but I have only just finished the quilt top for little Toby’s.  I got the fabric ages ago, however I got stuck on the whole gender thing……..things for babies seem to be either gender specific…..or pastel………& I couldn’t get inspired.  I eventually ended up using the fabrics that I started out with anyway…….so that was all wasted productivity time……..oh well…….who can figure the mind of an artist?!??!

This patchworky pieces on this page are the colours I have used in Toby’s quilt……the image is from an art friend (?Suze?) & the card is rubbed down with Harrison Bell gold leafing powder.  I spilt it on my work table the night before last & it’s migrated everywhere…..it is hard to clean up, I will just have to throw out my plastic cover sheet over my table, so I just turned the page over once I had stuck the images on, & rubbed it all around in a circular motion.  It (of course) looks much nicer in the flesh……….soft & etheral.