Wednesday, June 28, 2006


My boss is leaving this week, its that time of year when we are all moving around in my little world. So the other two girls in the software section and I decided we would buy him a book on Mexico - coffee table type of book. We found a fabulous one, full of everything that makes Mexico the bright and lively country that it is. Yolanda said she wanted to think about what she wanted to write in it. I wanted a quote. In my search for quotes I came across this fabulous one from The Conundrum of the Workshops by Kipling.

And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, "It's pretty, but is it Art?"

And also this

"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles."
- Tim Cahill

I am blessed to have wonderful friends, many who I have met on this artistic journey. I hope you all know who you are! Thank you for being with me on my journey!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Which medium?

"The dilemma every artist confronts, again and again, is when to stick with familiar tools and materials and when to reach out and embrace those that offer new possibilities......." Art and Fear

I want to try everything - according to Art and Fear I am in the young artist phase and its as I become more sure of myself that I will settle to fewer mediums. In the meanwhile I go on buying more and different mediums in the hope one will speak to me loud enough to tell me this is the one!

I love graphite, but I also find it rather easy so feel that I wont reach with it because it is not such a struggle. Whereas oils are a daily challenge, from mixing the paint to applying it. Its a battle of wills and I often wonder who will win it - me or the paint. Maybe watercolour will be a happy medium for me!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What have you done today?

I look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears I know I’ve left behind
I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I’m on my way
Can’t stop me now and you can do the same
What have you done today to make you feel proud
Its never to late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud
You could be so many people
If you make that prayer for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud
Still so many answers I don’t know
There are so many answers
Realise that to question is how we grow
So I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending
I’m on my way
Can’t stop me now
You can do the same
What have you done today to make you feel proud
Its never too late to try
What have you done today to make you feel proud
You could be so many people
If you make that prayer for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud
We need a change yeah
Do it today yeah
I can feel my spirit rising
Change yeah
We need a change yeah
Do it today yeah
'Cause I can see a clear horizon
What have you done today to make you feel proud
Just make that prayer for freedom

From Proud by Heather Small

My motivation song - I have listened to this almost daily for the last 5 or 6 years.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Not another Portrait!!!

I really don't intend to become a portrait artist. But it seems its all I do right now. I have a painting on my easel and cannot finish it because the portraits keep getting in the way! Having said that if I could ever master portraits in colour I would be very happy. For some reason the colour defeats me completely. I have bought more tubes of paint looking for an elusive skin tone - yellows and reds and greens and violets and a dozen more colours in between. Every portrait I like I ask what the recipe is for the skin and go and buy the colours suggested but it must be the way I mix because I never end up with anything remotely like the colour I wanted to emulate!

Does anyone have a good skin tone recipe?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Smoked Salmon Sandwich and Mango Frappucino

Wonderful colour of Mango Frappucino and the pink of salmon rolled mixed with the green of lettuce - I've scarcely done it credit!

Setting goals - I am trying to set myself some achievable goals together with Robin. The infamous body of work still sits there wanting consideration and now we are also trying to decide on whether we will apply for competition/shows/art groups and if so which ones. Seeing others with a measure of success is both encouraging and at the same time rather depressing. You begin to wonder what it is your own work lacks that you haven't been recognised. Of course you have to put it out there in the first place and suffer the possibility of rejection. I had planned a couple of competitions this year but seem to have let those goals slip so Next Year - there is no turning back! Confidence is my biggest hurdle - I need to work on that!

Delivered this yesterday.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Portrait - a step further

Need to do more work on darkening the skin tones in comparison with the uniform - even though he has very pale skin I think it could do with some more tonal values. In the photo I used for this he was wearing a tank top/vest and I really didn't like the way it looked so I took another photo I had of him to get the uniform right.

Went out this morning before my other half was awake to do some sketching. Wonderful morning, cool but not unbearably, sunlight filtering through the leaves, no traffic, a few people taking some exercise round the park, perfect for sketching without disruptions. All the restaurants were setting up for breakfast. Mexico is playing Iran today in the World Cup so they are taking advantage of the possible extra business by setting up large screen TVs. Great moments was the elderly Jewish man, dressed in dark trousers, white shirt, tie, trainers and yamulka and doing his speed walking round the park. Also an elderly lady selling bunches of violets. I have fallen in love with palm trees. I love the shape of the fronds and the way they catch the light on one side on the leaves and what shows in the light is the dark spaces between and on the other side of the frond its the leaves that are defined by the shadows - wonderful Ying-Yang thing!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The best of this weeks sketches

The best of this weeks sketches.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sketching and portrait

Steadily plodding away at this. I can see myself tweaking it forever and a day. Strange how you think something is a good photo for drawing only to discover its absolutely abysmal!

The sketching is definitely becoming addictive. You can find me roaming the halls at work with sketchbook clutched tightly and on breaks snatching 10 minutes to put something down on paper. I can't leave it at the 10 minute stage though. I have to carry on tweaking it after. A bad habit? I need to allow myself to do something unfinished - something to be learned!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Drawing Magic

A little bit further with this. Its beginning to appear out of the page which is something that always amazes me. It reminds a little of doing photography and when you slip the exposed paper into the developing fluid and then like magic the image starts to appear. First soft greys and then the tonal values build.

I've been thinking more about the comments I posted yesterday on painting a body of work on the same subject. I can see how that makes sense. Leading from that the more you paint something the better you are going to be at painting it - practice makes ....... no perfection is not what I want to say. Practice makes better! To quote Art and Fear

"Believing that artwork should be perfect, you gradually become convinced that you cannot make such work (You are correct.) Sooner or later, since you cannot do what you are trying to do, you quit."

"So when you ask "Why doesn't it come easily for me?" the answer is "Because making art is hard!" "

Oh and it can be SO hard!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Teensy weensy sketch book



Sketches from this week. I'm finding sketching in small format quite hard. Instinct for sketching is to be loose and this definitely isn't. Thinking of working in pen next week - something about ink is freeing in some way - if you make a mistake you can't do anything about it. I've ordered watercolour moleskines too.

New problem to overcome - I will be at least two months without my art making stuff so need to think how to take a small amount with me. We are going to be travelling for at least three weeks (Texas, Colorado, Missouri and Iowa and then DC), and then a month there before our stuff will arrive and I would like to have some art making things with me to sketch and possibly do some watercolours. Looking at boxes that will hold a reasonable amount of stuff without taking up huge amounts of space or weighing a lot. More research time!
I've been reading about how to get representation. What is recommended - build a body of work - that doesn't mean lots of things on lots of different subjects but one subject, in many different ways. They go on to say to do 12 in the same format of the same subject. Eg id you paint flowers they should be one sort of flower and only one colour of that one sort of flower. Interesting thought, but is it true?

Friday, June 02, 2006

"I'm not an artist - I'm a phony
I have nothing worth saying
I'm not sure what I am doing
Other people are better than I am
I'm only a [student/physicist/mother/whatever]
I've never had a real exhibit
No one likes my work
No one understands my work
I'm no good"

"The first few brushstrokes to the blank canvas satisfy the requirements of many possible paintings, while the last few fit only that painting - they could go nowhere else. The develpment of an imagined piece into an actual piece is a progression of decreasing possiblities, as each step in execution reduces future options by converting one - and only one - possibility into reality. ........The irony here is that the piece you make is always one step removed from what you imagined, or what else you can imagine....."

From Art and Fear

This is so true. I am constantly fighting the negative thoughts and long to be one of those artists who have faith in themselves and their ability - and yes, there are some!

As to the second quote - I find this all the time. It used to frustrate me extremely that what I had in my head never appeared on paper/canvas. SO now I try very hard not to even try to imagine a finished result but rather to only have a concept - that way allowing it to appear organically - and then try to fool myself that what appears is what I really wanted!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Struggling with a still life, but at least I have it now on the canvas and ready to paint at the weekend. Evenings I'm doin this portrait - the last of my Marines. Really not happy with the eye and might have to redo that

Trying to be more focused. Robin is keeping on the straight and narrow and wont let me stray from art. Bless you Robin! Stocking up with supplies to take with us - paper of various kinds, watercolour, drawing and looking for some coloured ground too. My moleskine sketchpads arrived yesterday so now no excuse as to sketching. Have also ordered the watercolour version.

My quote for today
"Artists don't get down to work until the pain of working is exceeded by the the paint of not working." Stephen DeStaebler

I'm reading Art and Fear again. A little a day. I must get the Artist's Way again (lent someone my copy and they kept it and funnily enough then wrote to tell me how they had borrowed this amazing book from someone and that I really should get a copy!

Food for thought - using contrasting colour.
all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009