31 January 2012

Paint with a Basketball?!

A Malaysian friend sent me this You Tube link today of his fellow-countrywoman, artist Red Hong, painting a portrait of Yao Ming with only a basketball and red paint...quite impressive! Loving street art these days..

19 January 2012

Online Art Project 1 (January): 3 colours

I have found that one of the best ways for me to keep motivated is to have a set goal or deadline. This ‘forces me to do it’ as such and since I have not been painting nearly as much as I'd like to, I have decided to commit to completing a painting a month for the next 6 months as part of about.com’s monthly painting projects.

For January the task was to create a painting, in any style, using a limited palette of 3 colours  being a blue, a red and an earth brown (and white). I chose to work with cadmium red, raw sienna and ultramarine blue and decided to keep the subject matter simple and paint a couch and vase in my room (as I only set myself an afternoon to complete the task). 

I have been looking at a lot of cubism inspired art of late and so decided to add some of these elements in my painting by ‘squaring off’ the vase, flowers and couch. See photo below as an example of the actual vase vs inspiration I found in another painting.

real life setting vs style influence

 Final Submission

These elements turned out to be more subtle than originally intended but I don't mind the final outcome and like the feedback I got in that this "gives an edginess to a serene domestic scene".

Couch in My Room|Oil on Paper|(c) 2012

I was pretty excited to get some feedback on my work and the submission was a great way for me to step back and critique the final outcome. Click here to view complete submission featured on the about.com website


18 January 2012

'drive through' art

I always notice this giant print driving to and from work. At first I didn’t make much of it, but it really grew on me the more I looked at it when stuck in traffic along Sydney’s Parramatta Road. Ever since I googled the artist, Anthony Lister, I began to notice more of his work around Sydney both in galleries and in public streets & places.  His work is amazing...it didn’t take me long to become a fan.

Anthony Lister billboard, Parramatta Road

15 January 2012

A New Toy: Canon Powershot G12

I hate to say it but the consumer in me wanted a new camera to go with my new blog (plus, I haven't had a 'proper' camera for a long time as I'd learnt to rely on my iphone so thought it's about time). As soon as I started asking around, a friend of mine recommended the Canon Powershot G12. After satisfying myself with the online reviews I decided to buy one off e-bay as I thought it was good value, good size, and not too over the top with functionality. After playing around with it a little I decided that I was quite impressed! I like the manual features and the various ‘scene selections' on offer...here are some shots I took as soon as the package arrived to my office (I contemplated reading the manual first but decided against it. I couldn't wait to go out and play!)

Street in Darlinghurst (using 'vivid colour' setting)

..same Street, different camera setting

I don't normally like foliage photos (find them very boring!) but now that I am taking them myself it's another story. I had so much fun with this, and the quality of the pics was great that I ended up taking almost 20 shots of the same flower bed.

Flowers in the Domain (using 'foliage' setting)

A view of the CBD and the lovely St Mary’s Cathedral from the park. 
(I think the setting for this one was 'nostalgia')

There are so many options and functions and I ended up taking lots & lot of shots that day...So in summary, a new camera and a great town makes for a great 'lunch break'!

12 January 2012

Accidental Snap

 I was testing out my new camera this morning and accidentally took this snap while stopped on a set of lights on Oxford Street. 

How cool is this guy's expression...

...worthy of a stroll across Abbey Road ;)

11 January 2012

Playing Around: Turning a Painting into a Graphic

Cuban Girl |Oil on Canvas|(c) Inspire April 2012

So after posting yesterday’s Dylan graphics,  which are graphics based on his original paintings, I thought I’d play around with my own work and see the outcome.  

This above image is of my original painting completed after my trip to Cuba, and below are the manipulated images after I played around with it a little in Picture Manager (don’t worry I am ordering a new Mac this month so plan to get a bit more savvy with these programmes!).

10 January 2012

Dwelling on Dylan's Words...

I am currently in the middle of reading Bob Dylan autobiography and caught myself dwelling on the following comment he makes about creativity:

Creativity has much to do with experience, observation and imagination, and if any one of those key elements is missing, it doesn’t work”Bob Dylan (Chronicles: Volume One).

No mention of being born with it or it being reserved for the special & the gifted, all these ‘elements’ if nurtured in anyone of us can create magic! This view coming from a music legend, poet and artist is reassuring as experience comes with learning and anyone can observe let alone imagine...


Not the first thing that comes to mind when you think Bob Dylan but he has also created some great (visual) art. Here are some works I like.
Cassandra - Yellow (c) Bob Dylan
Still life with Peaches – (c) Bob Dylan

Train Tracks – White (c) Bob Dylan

You can see more, or purchase limited edition graphics based on the original paintings at http://www.bobdylanart.com/


9 January 2012

Panic & Painting: It's Okay to Stray

It took me a while to truly come to believe this philosophy but I think I am finally getting it. So many times when learning something new we feel like we have to do it ‘the right way’. It is ingrained in us that there is a process to follow and one can only achieve a good outcome by following a set of steps or rules and taking a text book approach, literally. We may not completely realise it but our mind loves the comfort of this, it makes us feel safe and if you’re like me, ticking off the steps as they are completed can be very satisfying. 

Although there is nothing wrong with following a process it can be detrimental to the way we create if taken too seriously. The risk being, we end up doing nothing at all and become too obsessed with getting it ‘right’. I struggle with this all the time and end up procrastinating for months on end pretending to ‘look for proper inspiration’ when the truth is I am too afraid to start in case I mess it up and get it all wrong! So I thought I’d share some advice that has worked for me and pushed me into getting started.

  • Let Go of Expectations: forget about any expectation you have for your work, just for now and just so you can allow yourself to act. 
  • Take Action: grab the materials, put pencil to paper or paint to canvas – whatever, just physically do it. Scribble, scrape, smudge or blot, release whatever it is that is holding you back and expect nothing. 
  • Loosen up: Try techniques you haven’t tried before, use your non-dominant hand if painting or drawing, to try materials you have been too afraid to try because you ‘don’t know how’, use a longer brush and step further back not focusing on the details and allowing your application to freely flow. 
  • Get it ‘Wrong’: We can get so fixated on wanting to make something look a certain way and getting it ‘right’ that we forget why we started it in the first place. Just have fun with it and enjoy the process. 
Reminding myself to think this way each time I feel blocked has allowed me accept that it is okay to create for the sake of creating, and contrary to popular belief, there doesn’t always have to be a point!

Let me demonstrate:

Initial Task: Create a great still life using oil paint that will realistically resemble the subject matter I set up.

Setting up and Composition
Final Result: An abstract painting using acrylic paint and a palette knife. Noting that I have never used acrylic nor a palette knife to paint before...for some reason had convinced myself I’d hate it.Crazy huh!

...actually I think I like it better this way?!

 How this Happened?

When I was planning for the still life I couldn’t get motivated. I was too overwhelmed to start, knowing hadn’t allocated enough time that weekend to get done what I wanted to, including thumbnail sketches, first layers and all the fine details I had envisaged for the piece..

I was very tempted to turn away and do something else like I normally would, and come back to paint maybe a month later...but I didn’t , instead I decided to use the same colour palette I had selected for the still life to create a something else. And here’s the result!

I am not yet sure if I like it or not (leaning more toward like) but I don’t care. I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise of just letting go and creating something completely different to my original concept. I am proud for actually taking action rather than running off and distracting myself with something much less fulfilling.

I think I will come back for the still life but with a much more relaxed approach!

Lessons Learnt: 
  • Creating something unplanned and seemingly pointless is better is than creating nothing at all.
  • If the task is too daunting to commence don’t run away, just slow down. You’re better off strolling on the sidelines than giving up on the race altogether.
  • Try new mediums and techniques that you thought weren’t you, you may end up surprising yourself. 
  • Allow yourself to keep going even if half way through and you find it’s not according to plan. Remember its okay to stray!

8 January 2012

First Post: Why Art & Why Now?

I have been thinking about blogging for the last year or so but excuses such as lack of time and the already overflowing blogosphere have overwhelmed me. Then it occurred to me: no two journeys are the same and this is mine..!

One of the main reasons for creating this online home is to explore my recent reunion with art and creative expression after spending almost a decade apart. I don’t know how it happened but after being a great visual art and art history student in high school I went on to study Economics at university and have been working in property development for the past 10 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my office job and am very grateful for my career but there’s something about appreciating and creating art that has stuck with me after all these years. This only surfaced two years ago during a quiet period at work when I decided to sign up for an “Art for Beginners” evening course.  I am not sure what it was that pulled me to enrol in that course but it was then that my really life changed... and there’s no going back.

My intention was to complete the 6 week art course as a pass time until work at the office got busy again but it wasn’t that simple and I soon realised that I was maybe headed here all along. Throughout my life, in all my relationships, conversations, hobbies and travels (and there’s been quite a bit of globetrotting) there has been an underlying desire to express and explore...and for me this seems to be best done via painting, drawing, sketching, scribbling, carving, colouring, writing and my new found medium, blogging. So here it goes!

Hope you enjoy.