Five sold paintings
I exhibited paintings in two local exhibitions during the last five months, resulting in three sold paintings. At one venue I sold an acrylic painting, while two watercolour pictures were sold in another.
In addition, I sold an acrylic painting and completed a commission in coloured pencil,
Sadly, I only took photos of one of these sold paintings: Jasper.
Commissioned 'portrait' one of the sold paintings
Jasper is the faithful companion of Kevin and Marsha, who own other paintings of mine.
Using Prismacolour Premier pencils on Colorfix paper, I enjoyed painting the portrait. It was very satisfying to do. One thing that surprised me though, was how quickly the sanded surface wore down the colour pencils. Had to buy more white and ginger pencils!
As a result of painting this picture, I have another commission for a portrait of Buddi, who is a very old Jack Russell/Maltese cross much loved by his owner.
The new owners of the Park asked me to design and deploy a website for them. How web design and the rules for that have changed since I last designed a site!
Web design trends
The trend in 2016 is flat or one page design, which is so changed from 2012, where hierarchical page design was still the norm. As well, HTML 5 and CSS 3 are quite different from what was current a few years ago, so some brushing up was necessary.
What does flat website design mean?
Definition and purpose. Flat design is a style of interface design emphasizing minimum use of stylistic elements that give the illusion of three dimensions (such as excessive use of drop shadows, gradients or textures) and is focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography and flat colors.
Flat design – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quite a bit of studying and video courses were required to update my skills to 2016, but I have so been energised by the challenges. I forgot how much I loved doing web development.
The most challenging part of the web design was the need for a booking plugin. It was much trial and error finding the right plugin for booking cabins and sites. After trying many, I settled on the one which delivered ease of use as well as functionality.
The new site design starts with a one page template, OnePress from Fame Themes, and is customised by me to a very large degree. The single page scrolls through many sections. While there are a some individual pages, most of these are linked in the section settings.
David, the owner, is so impressed that he said it was maybe too flash for them! Of course it’s not!
The front (almost only) page of the site:
I have been helping to produce a small (4 page) in house newsletter for a local aged care centre. The centre is called ada cottage, so I called the ‘paper’ Cottage Capers.
I have since become the editor, as it is a good way for me to continue in a volunteer role, without the 60km return trip to Kandos, where ada cottage is.
Here is the masthead:
Challenging for the grey matter again, but enjoyable.
Watercolourists use a hake (pron. har-kay) to help them when painting
Artists use hake brushes in different ways, but I was impressed with how it was used to re-wet areas that were drying and to dampen areas that are next to paint, while watching a video boxed set course by Paul Taggart, Learning to Enjoy Painting in Watercolour
Paul showed how to use a hake brush in several ways:
- Wetting the page
- Wetting the area you are about to paint
- Removing extra water before it causes problems
- Blending areas together
Of course I had to go straight away to the art supplies store, Express Hobbies to buy myself one.
The hake I got from Bob at Express Hobbies was like the largest one in this picture. It has soft goat hair bristles packed thickly together, which makes it a ‘thirsty’ brush which will hold a lot of water.
How to use a hake successfully
- To stretch the paper before you start to paint
- Thoroughly wet the brush and starting at the top, brush across the paper moving down at the same time.
- To wet or re-wet an area you about to glaze or paint
- Wet the brush thoroughly, then flick it to remove the excess water and gently stroke the surface where you want the wetness
- As you paint, runs may start if you work at an angle
- In the same way, blend an area of sky with a mountain or hill top
While I painted Cudgegong Afternoon, I used a large squirrel hair mop brush but wasn’t able to get it flat enough to do what the hake will do.
Now that I have my own hake brush, I will get more control of the wetness, an issue for me as I paint on the verandah outside the cabin.
I will let you know how I fare with it.
I made Cudgegong Afternoon to put in the show in town. Although it took me several weeks to finish as I painted it in layers of very diluted pigments, I really enjoyed the process,
The new owners of Cudgegong Waters Park were so delighted that I consented to let them buy it, because they absolutely loved it.
Please enjoy it.
Update: Veronica called in to show me the framed painting. It looks spectacular!
Arches™ cold pressed paper, A2, watercolour tube paints from Art Spectrum (an Aussie company).
I painted a watercolour close focus picture of a beautiful rose from my friend’s garden, and presented it to her for Christmas.
Loved doing all the glazing in this one. 8in x 8in Fabiano cold pressed paper and Art Spectrum paints.
Remember my replacement acrylic painting of the lotus made for my friend? She insisted that I put it into Rylstone Agricultural Show.
Prize winning acrylic painting
Lotus Blossom which I entered into the acrylic painting section, was hung in a really prominent position. On Saturday it won a first prize. Very chuffed.
The judge was impressed by the way the background created reflections in the water.
Also entered was a watercolour of Lake Windamere. Used Art Spectrum watercolours on Arches cold pressed A2 paper. No prize, but may be sold.
In January, 2016, it was my 70th birthday!
Hard to believe isn’t it? My darling husband gave a surprise 70th birthday party (because when you turn 70 years old that is a milestone), that wasn’t a surprise because he couldn’t keep lying to me.
The girlfriends from here and in town — even one husband who is also a friend — were all here and we had a lovely afternoon.
The girls referred to on the cake are Daisy and Poppy, not my daughters!
Bob lights the candle. Only one, so we didn’t burn the house down.
Cutting the cake.
Layers of my life
Since I was two and a half years old, my life has been fill of loss and sadness. The black areas of the work symbolise this darkness.
But there have been many bright times, happy and joyful. Colour fills my days, as in the painting.
Threaded through all this has been my strong faith, which helped me cope with the really bad times, and rejoice in the great times — thus the cross.
I asked friends to give me a word to describe me. Some said they needed more than one! These are the words in the painting — me through their eyes.
Lastly, the eye is others seeing me and my life in colourful detail.
Mixed media on canvas
Here’s our new, smaller than Daisy, four months old dog, Poppy.
Poppy never keeps still long enough to have her picture without blurring!
Mine is all of my media! Whatever I am currently painting with.
I have painted with acrylics for more than 35 years, because when I enrolled in a paining class at TAFE im 1980, I was so allergic to the other artists' oil paints, my eyes swelled shut and my asthma flared up. Sadly, I had to leave the class.
Acrylic paints to the rescue
Back then, the quality of the readily available acrylic paints was not so hot, but still made painting an enjoyable pastime. Student colours by Chroma are now pretty good quality, and are used by quite well known artists here in Australia.
Watercolours have no strong smell
My favourite watercolour paint comes from Art Spectrum. These Aussie paints are juicy and full of pigment. The range has many colours that I know you will love. There is a Landscape set, and a Starter set, both of which I have bought. The Starter set incudes a mixing palette, 12 tubes of colour, sponge, assorted brushes, all in a lovely wooden box.
I painted the picture at right, and lots of others, with these delicious paints.
If you are wanting to buy some wonderful, juicy, watercolours, you would be extremely happy with these.
More of my favourite painting media next time.
Read what some renowned artists say about their favourites