Sunday, February 22, 2009

Herbaceous Borders

4" x 4", coloured pencil

Friday, February 20, 2009

Painting the Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge is a cantilever bridge that stretches over the Firth of Forth in Scotland. The story goes that painting it is never-ending - as soon as one coat is finished the maintenance crew goes back to the beginning and starts all over again. I begin to feel the same way about this painting. The back wall is still too warm, I need to cool it down to push it back especially on the right side.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Doodling through Recovery

Doodling, nothing serious. Been out for the count in a drug induced stupor for over a week. Trying not to overdo it and set back shoulder recovery.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lake Reflection

I've been considering ordering new canvases or panels - can't decide between the two. I have to start thinking about this long before I run out because or the time it takes for things to arrive. The question then raised some others in my mind. What sizes to order? Typically I paint on square or pretty normally proportioned canvases. But I am also drawn to oddly proportioned canvases - the long and skinny ones. I have come to the conclusion that the subject dictates the proportions of the canvas/panel that you use. I do wonder if more experienced artists have a permanent collection of differing sized panels and canvases - what sort of expense does that entail? I daresay its much easier when you have a ready source and can just buy a few at a time but with delays in postage I really have to buy at least a couple of dozen at once. I know I said that already - the postage delay thing.

So panels or canvas? I really like the boing factor of canvas, the spring back. But I do begin to think that I would be better off working on panels at least for smaller pieces. I have studied what is available on the market and am somewhat swamped by the choices - wood panels, gessoboard, linen covered panels, cotton canvas covered - both wooden and hardboard - the choices are endless! In my student days we used hardboard, nailed to a wooden cradle, sanded lightly with a fine sandpaper and primed with acrylic paint. One artist that I have been studying lately uses unprimed canvas and she stretches them over hardboard after the painting is completed. And Bonnard used to stick unstretched canvas on the walls and painted a number of pieces at one time (his methods are very interesting and worth reading about). I still haven't come to a conclusion about what to do. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Old Seascape

Seascape, acrylic on panel (seriously old piece!)

I may not be creating but I have got down to a number of things on my admin list (getting good at one hand typing!).
Ordered business cards with image on one side and name, website and email address on the other.
Also postcards and greeting cards.

A number of people have suggested I try left-handed work (I am very right-handed) and as I am going to have some extra time. Might turn out that I work better that way. Doodled an apple this afternoon in CP, discovered that I can't even draw a straight line , so "colouring" was decidedly outside the lines! I think abstract might work a little better! MRI results were severe bruising, ordered to rest it completely. Hopefully will be a fast recovery.

THANK YOU to everyone for your good wishes.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


No art today - I've done something excruciatingly painful to my shoulder (the right one, my painting arm of course!) and now have my arm in a sling. I'd like to say that it was doing something extraordinary, but it wasn't - just taking laundry out of the washing machine. My husband says I should try painting with my left hand. Who knows what that will look like! Maybe I will start a whole new trend!

Lots of time to read now, catch up with blogs. And no excuse on not doing computer based work like ordering business cards, postcards and the like. Though typing one hand is a little tedious.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Captive Light

pastel on paper

I was struck by the shadows from the bars at the windows. The light that came through the glass was much cooler than the light that came through the open door.

Linda Blondheim gave me this blog award - Big smile! I really enjoy Linda's blog. Her honesty about her art experiences is without any pretense. She shares her experiences and problems with such generosity. Thank you Linda!

I'm supposed to tell you 7 things I love

1. I love artists who willingly share their experiences so others can learn.
2. I love chocolate.
3. I love my family - across the world, from England to the USA, Australia to Iraq.
4. I love this glorious planet with its amazing sights and colours.
5. I love the seaside - empty beaches with rolling waves.
6. I love to create.
7. I love to a good cup of tea.

Did manage to do a couple of things on my list today and am going to do another one as soon as I finish this post. Nice to feel some of my weekend tasks are accomplished. Of course the ironing is yet to be done. I've taken to listing my tasks in the smallest steps that way I don't feel that I have failed to do something because I didn't complete the whole thing. Baby steps make miracles!

Friday, February 06, 2009

People Sketches and Sketching

Some sketches of people. I have to admit that I tend towards pictures that don't have any people in them. But I do quite enjoy sketching people - especially when they have their backs to me! I'm a people watcher, nothing like sitting in busy places like airports and city centers watching people hustling and bustling about.

Someone gave me this photo they had taken of me sketching out in the gardens. bad repro as my scanner is not connected and I had to take a photo of the photo!

Weekend tomorrow and lots of work planned.
1. Hoping to play with the new pastels and do some painting too - plein air if the sun is shining.
2. Need to order some panels (decisions to be made over which sort to get - input welcomed) and a wet canvas carrier too.
3. Admin time too - no escaping that.
4. Also need to think about a sketchbook for the sketchbook exchange I have joined. To make a homemade one or to buy one? Another question!

That will do for a start.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Other Loves

I've been blog reading today instead of creating - that and designing my new house and tidying my "studio".
I'm taking Katherine's "thinking is work" to heart. I've a number of ideas going on in my mind and I'm trying to decide how to bring them to fruition.

This bamboo grows in the lower part of the compound at work. I am a keen gardener (job of my dreams would be to be a landscape gardener in the style of Diarmuid Gavin - the Brit readers of this may know him). And bamboo is one of my favourite plants, it is incredibly sculptural and can add structure while retaining an untameable quality. It grows like a weed (preferably plant it in a container sunk into the ground to contain its roots) - and comes in many shapes, colours and sizes. There are two different ones here that I have seen - one that is yellow and has green stripes on it that look like paint dribbles . And this one which grows to about 50ft high and was so fat that I could not encircle one stem with both hands!

Another love of mine is needlework. I have been sewing as long as I have been painting. I remember making dolls clothes when I was 6 using the scraps from a dress my mother made me. I also embroider and have long wanted to learn long and short embroidery. I started this iris on a scrap piece of fabric. Now of course I wish I had done it on something better! Still its good practice. You use several colours of 6 strand embroidery silk and start with 2 strands of one colour and then when you move to the next you use one strand of your first colour and one strand of your second. And then the next shade will be two strands of your second and so it goes until you have a very subtle change of colours like shading with paint.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Pastels

Half of my birthday present arrived today - yes I know its late but better late than never. A lovely box of hard pastels. I just love the way these colours all look in the box. Now I have to figure out how to use them! I've read some interesting techniques lately and I want to experiment a little an see how they work for me. Not sure if what I want to do will work with Mi Teintes paper I'm going to have fun playing! Also received a couple of new colours to add to my oil paint collection - mineral violet and quinacridone gold.

Transport for getting around work - if you are too lazy to walk!

There was a feeling of spring in the air here today. Though there was a slight ground frost this morning by lunchtime it was lovely and sunny and wonderfully warm without being too hot. Its amazing how nice weather can put a smile on your face. Several locals were out gathering firewood. There is a lot of development near work and they were out collecting up the chopped down branches and piling them into huge mounds and tying them onto the back racks of their bicycles. Down by the river people were out doing their washing and draping the wet clothes over the branches of trees that lean over the water. Cars were lined up being washed. The batting nets were up and cricket practice was in full swing - I've never seen two or three games being played in such a small area! I wonder if the outfielders get muddled as to which ball they are supposed to be playing with! On our street business was as usual - a policemen praying on the pavement, his washing draped on the guy ropes of his tent. Neighbours sitting on their haunches, drinking tea and passing the time of day. Boys kicking a football on the street, guards leaning against the walls, their weapons slung over their shoulders.

Monday, February 02, 2009


pastel on paper

I have mentioned several times recently my struggle with trees. Admittedly in paint and a desire to make a recognisable painterly tree. Today Jeff Smith posted these really wonderful trees on his blog in pastel.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I've had one of those really frustrating days - had a list made of things to do - managed to do two of them. HUGE pile of ironing done including all the sheets! And I ordered my supply of walnuts and brazil nuts from my favourite supplier. Apart from that nothing done on my list.

Could not get myself motivated to do any art at all ................. well, I started several things. thought about a lot of things and did nothing at all. I've got a number of ideas brewing and as a result can't decide what to start with.

One thing I have been thinking about is having a separate blog for my sketches. I can't decide whether this would be a good thing or not.
all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009