Thursday, February 17, 2011

Painted Memories - A 60's childhood in St Andrews, Scotland - done at last!

My first book. Done at last. In the photo here, the slightly shiny cover is reflecting the camera flash, making it look washed out. Really, it's quite rich colours with psychadelic 60's flower-power flowers.
I have shown the book to a lot of people and everyone is amazed at the quality. The layout software was a pleasure to use and has enabled me to create pages that support the paintings effectively. The colours are really very good and the binding feels and looks beautiful. Best of all, I like the personal handwriting font - it really 'makes' the book. 
You don't have to buy a copy to see it - you can view the whole book on-line (click on the link in the side bar at right) though of course it's not the same as musing over a personal copy while enjoying a cuppa in the sun or by the fire.
Blurb does not seem to recognise fluctuating exchange rates so purchasers should check which currency would be cheapest for them to purchase in - for Australian purchasers, it would definately be $US.
Also - I recommend a hardcover copy as the binding is stitched as well as glued. The softback binding is only glued. The hardback with dustjacket version will have no title on the linen cover itself - so all in all, I recommend the hardback, wrap-around cover. Copies arrive within two to three weeks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I have been delayed by extra care duties but now I'm nearly finished the draft of my book, Painted Memories. There were also more pictures insisting they be painted than I thought there would be. I'm just hoping that the colours will print true enough but will have to wait to get a proof copy before I know. In the book, the text will not be in a 'box' like this - I had to scan this sample as Blogger won't (yet) do personal fonts.
Anyway, for now, I can only say Happy Christmas all.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Back at last

Well, it months since I've done any blogging - or painting. I have been distracted with gardening mainly, and I'm not sorry as we have had the best Spring for a decade and everything is looking marvellous. Recently I have been inspired to do some more upholstery. This 30's chair has been in a wretched state in our kitchen for the last 15 years but now she is in her glad rags and has announced herself to be Ruby. I had to learn  respringing and repadding techniques.
And below is Estelle. Yesterday, I went to drop off some garden waste at the recycling depot and popped in to the shed  'just to have a quick look.' Immediately, I heard Estelle calling, "Hey, over here - I'm Estelle - come and get me! Quick!" She'll have to wait for a new outfit because...

I have am now very busy getting my memory paintings into a book format to publish, initially at least, through Blurb. Above is the title part of the front cover. There are over 120 pictures with text, including quite a few new ones - I have about 8 pictures to finish, but hope to get a proof draft off in a few weeks. It's a very exciting project, watching the book structure appear, arranging all the pictures into a narrative of sorts, making my own 'handwriting' font, designing the cover - I think it's going to be pretty good. Watch this space!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A beer for the replay

Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40cm;16 x 16"
It must be the replay because he is always too anxious to watch his team playing live!
This is another class exercise. The 'brief' was a domestic scene, Matisse inspired - use of some black outline, areas of flattish colour, simplification, spontaneous, - the tutor used Madame Mattisse as an example - but reading later about Matisse working this painting, I discovered he required over 100 sittings - of course many sittings would have been for sketching, preliminary drawings etc. However, I won't be too hard on myself that it looks more like the controlled work of Australian painter John Brack - spontaneous-looking will require a lot more practice! In 'simplifying', I have dispensed with the mess and clutter in our heavily used 'sitting'-room - a great way to 'tidy up'.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rosalie Gascoigne - Icon painting

Considering Landscape
Acrylic, imitation gold leaf and collage on board
Each section 20x30cm

I have signed up for one more semester of a weekly painting class. This time we are 'imagining what if a medieval icon painter, Vincent van Gogh and Matisse came here - how might they depict the contemporary Australia?'
We first looked at icon paintings from Greece, Russia and elsewhere, especially noting the use of gold leaf, combination of simplified, flat depiction and often heavily modelled forms and drapery. Icon painters often begin with a red underpainting.
For our own effort, we were to think of a contemporary Australian icon - a thing or place such as Sydney Opera House, an activity eg. surfing, or anything else. I chose to depict Rosalie Gascoigne (1917-1999), an Australian/New Zealand sculptor who worked with found materials, particularly wooden drink crates, yellow and orange road signs, builders' used masonite boards, old sheets of corrugated tin, linoleum scraps and doll parts, to evoke the Australian landscape. She scoured local dumps (and sometimes traded beer with road workers) to collect her materials, being inspired by the landscape of the undulating Canberra region at the same time. Many of her images look like quilts eg All that Jazz and Off the Beaten Track.
This time we had to do a dyptich, carefully designing the composition. I am very hesitant about doing 'landscapes' but considering the genre through someone else's eyes was a good way in.The gold leaf is generally applied last and is very fragile and fiddly but I like the effect.
By chance, I found a book about Justin O'Brien, an Australian painter who lived for much of his life in Rome. He was inspired by icon paintings and painted a number of works which include landscape, interior and still life all in the one piece. There is a retrospective of his work at the Art Gallery of NSW in December.

Shadow tryptich

Acrylic on canvas
50 x 50cm
A class exercise from last semester, we were instructed to produce a tryptich, be graphic, experiment with shadows and use a limited palette with increasing amount of colour from one section to the next. I have played with shadows before in some of my other still lifes and I do like the way they can extend the image. I initially drew up a more typical division of the canvas to create a tryptich but found it uninspiring. I am pleased with the torn paper effect.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Masterpieces from Paris - Maurice Denis again

Dawn Start
20 x 20 cm
Acrylic on board
Last night, our daughter rang to cancel a dinner arrangement for this evening. She and her husband had just been called to help in a bush rescue in the Blue Mountains and they were hurriedly packing before driving 300km in the night, ready for an early morning start. This morning, I googled to see if I could find any details and learned that 6 canyoners were 36 hours overdue from a day trip. There was a photo of my daughter and several other searchers disappearing into the misty dawn. Of course, they were on my mind all day.
On the way back from helping my husband choose new glasses, I stopped off at the Gallery to find an inspiring painting and was drawn to Maurice Denis' Landscape with Green Trees. It is a mysterious picture, figures gliding through a forest towards an angel. I will do a painting about the rescuers.
Late this afternoon, the canyoners were located but tragically, it seems there was a rock fall and one of the group has died and two are injured. My daughter and son in law are back at the rescue base and will be home tomorrow.