My friend gave me a bunch of gorgeous roses from her garden a couple of months ago, and I immediately took pictures so I could paint them.
Watercolour paints and paper at the ready
Several failed attempts later I was happy with this one, painted freehand with the brush as my pencil.
Hate the light pink rose, love the rest of the painting
I have started a series of colour pencil paintings of Rylstone, New South Wales, a tiny historical stone village on the edge of the Greater Blue Mountains National Park. Many of the buildings date from the early 1800s.
My Supplies for Colour Pencil Paintings
- Stonehenge paper (specifically made for colour pencils)
- The photo printed at the size to fit the painting on the drawing paper
- A palette selection from my gorgeous Prismacolor™ Premier® pencils in
pigments to match the photographs
- Foamcore™ board for attaching the drawing paper
- Push pins to pin the corners of the paper to the board
- White plastic eraser
- White mounting putty for gentle erasing
- Sharpener (hand held) with sharp blades
- F or HB pencil for light preliminary drawing
The first two paintings
Historic Rylstone Station
The railway used to operate here and the old station building still stands, although is now privately owned.
Painted from a mid morning photograph with diffuse shadows.
A Stone Cottage
No one lives in this cottage at present. Constructed of stone quarried locally, it has interesting quoins. (Quoins are the joined corners at the ends of stone walls of buildings.)
I took the photograph for this picture in the late afternoon, so the shadows are dark and long.
I have several more photos and plan several more colour pencil paintings from around the village.
Buddi and his mummy came for a visit this morning to say goodbye and invite me to come when Buddi went to sleep. He was very frail and so thin, just like a human 90-odd year old would be.
I decided to finish his portrait so he would still be there for Denise afterwards. She was happy and is going to hang it in her bedroom.
Buddi Jack Russel Maltese cross
Buddi has been Denise's companion for fourteen years. He talks to me at my feet when I sit down in her loungeroom. My two little dogs love him, but he is old and sick now, and not too fussed any more about two young ruffians hooning around.
Working on the colour pencil drawing
I started his colour pencil portrait this week and Denise came to see the work in progress and was really moved.
The paper I am using is Canson Mi-Tientes in mid blue, which contrasts very well with his light coat.
Working for an hour each day, it is progressing quickly.
Buddi portrait in progress
Sadly, Buddi is going to say goodbye to his mum today,
so it's a timely pet portrait.
Watercolour paper is finicky. It is either too soft, too thin, too smooth, too rough, can have insufficient sizing ...
Paper for painting is sold by its weight in pounds (lbs) or grams, in sheets or blocks or pads, its surface texture, and its content.
In the picture at the top, I used 300 gsm sketchbook. This paper absorbed less of the water and so the pigment was more diluted, drying paler, and could be glazed for deeper colour. There is no cockling.
In the other (110 gsm) sketchbook, the cockling is very evident. The paper absorbed more water, making it buckle, and glazing would not be satisfactory.
Cockling on 110 gsm watercolour paper
In metric terms, the weight of 500 sheets of paper can be:
- 90 grams per square metre (gsm) — great for sketches, notan thumbnails, but too thin for watercolour. Imperial equivalent is 60 lbs.
- 110 gsm/74 lbs — often on a school requirements list, but not recommended by most serious artists for paintings. Again, great for sketchbooks.
The two most popular papers for watercolour painting are:
- 300 gsm/140 lbs is the paper of choice for many artists, although it may need stretching to prevent cockling, especially if you are using very wet washes.
- 640 gsm/300 lbs is excellent for painting your 'masterpieces'. Although the cost is greater, the results are far and away worth paying the extra.
Turquoise Flight (300 gsm paper)
When studying watercolour painting techniques, I kept hearing "Practise, practise, practise!"
Any discipline, be it physical or mental, involves practising. A marathon runner needs daily practice, so do artists. In order to get better at art, you can start your day in the studio with warm-up exercises, such as colour mixes or trying different brushes to discover their potential strokes.
I have been exploring palettes, water, pigments, paper, brushes, and reading many digital books on the subject. As well, I have watched several videos, and completed many online video courses on watercolour painting techniques.
Review and revise
On the opposite side of my studio from where I paint, I place practice pieces, beside works in progress. The distance helps me see 'errors' and decide which painting technique will fix these.
Techniques for painting with watercolour are numerous and, depending on the instructor's ideas, can be different from one book or video to the next.
Playing with watercolour is both exciting and frustrating!
Some of my pieces
Some of my latest acrylic paintings
Scraped paint, gel medium stencilling, metallics.
1st | Rylstone-Kandos Show
My latest watercolour efforts
The dictionary definition is:
uto·pia, n., Utopia, imaginary and ideal country in Utopia
(1516) by Sir Thomas More, from Greek ou not, no + topos place
an imaginary and indefinitely remote place;
often capitalized a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions;
an impractical scheme for social improvement
Imagine a place where quilters would have unlimited supplies of fabric, thread, sewing machines, ideas, coffee, food and no-one to say,
Are you ever going to come to bed, ( to make dinner), (to talk to us)?
That's what I started when I opened my retreat centre at East Maitland, New South Wales, in 2000. It's gone now, but the philosophy is present here on the website.
And the butterfly?
For centuries, the butterfly has been the symbol for new life, and that's the reason for my using it as the icon for my new life after my husband was killed in 1999, and the theme of my new world in cyberspace — this website.
WHAT'S ON THE SITE?
You can find my art, my quilts and bits and pieces of my life. I am eager to have you visit and stay awhile.
What was I doing for the last 30+ years?
I was happily making quilts from the early 1980s until 2011, winning many awards for my quilts — which number more than 200, from 1½″ wide to 12′6" square.
Making quilts using big bits and fast inspired me to develop a fast-piecing patchwork system called Listen With Your Eyes, a system that has been adopted by quilters across the globe.
I have written four books on making quilts and written countless Internet articles on patchwork.
I was asked to be a guest writer for a series on computers and quilting in Patchwork Tshushin which has over 6 000 000 (!) readership.
My column (written for almost all of the first 160 issues) in Down Under Quilts magazine — Computer Quilts — had lots of readers.
I have had four solo exhibitions, The first was at the launch of my first book, then
As well, I have entered quilts in solo and group quilt exhibitions around Australia. One of my books was launched in the USA. My quilts from that book went too, but not me.
Teaching (make that enthusing) people about quiltmaking, traditional and not so traditional for more than thirty years, was my life.
I travelled Australia teaching and made plenty of friends.
Because I taught many, many quilters how to use Electric Quilt software, they called me the EQ Guru.
You can find me in heaven (Utopia)
when I'm creating art!
The next 30 years
After spending 30+ years quiltmaking, what's the next thirty years (or whatever I'm allocated) going to hold?
So far some travelling in a caravan, and art, art, art!
I take my art supplies in a tool box and then when it's raining I get out the paper and brushes or pencils, and I'm in heaven!
My husband, Bob, and I are now retired in a beautiful little country village in the Midwest region of New South Wales. There is no patchwork and quilting, as we have downsized and taken a tree change.
I do have a studio in a spare room in the house we rent in town, so …
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: