October Bed Post

A vintage Kantha quilt, a batik cushion and some vintage pillows this month!

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Wooden Hamsa Hand Model

Sitting in my studio the other day looking at my wooden artist’s hand model and thought “that would actually make a really cool Hamsa!”

I pulled out a pencil and I started drawing an eye and some patterns over the little wooden hand.

Then I traced over my lines with a dark blue sharpie.

Initially I thought I’d just use the sharpie, but it lacked definition, so I thinned a little blue ink and painted in some of the sections.

Much better! 

It looks perfect with some of my blue and white vases in my living room.

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Kantha Love

Today I thought I would share another of my collections with you. 

Indian Kantha quilts. I love them and at last count have 10 of them (not to mention half a dozen kantha cushions as well!).

I realise this may fall into the “obsession” category and I’m ok with that!!

I use them everywhere in the house, on my sofas, my bed, as a tablecloth, even as curtains although be aware that they fade really really quickly.

The patterns are so pretty, and they’re completely reversible too. 

The vintage ones tend to be patchworks of fabrics on both sides. The modern ones are usually a plain colour on the reverse but still with the traditional hand stitching, usually in two colours.

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More boho decoupage tins

After the success of my paisley decoupaged tea tins (which you can find here), when I found more gorgeous Indian wrapping paper from Ishka and they had a 50% off everything sale, I figured it was fate!

So I headed to the op shop for some tins to upcycle! Cheap biscuit tins are readily available (you might even have some in your pantry!)

A can of gold spray paint….

Then my gorgeous papers and my old faithful, Mod Podge, and I have a bunch of gorgeous bohemian tins in my kitchen, ready to fill with all the yummy things!!!

Gah!!!! I loves them!!!!!

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September Bed Post

Nefertiti wants me to show you two different Bed posts from this month. (She was really quite insistent, and she’s the boss!) 

So there’s the soothing blue above, and the bright, spring inspired pink below!

Frodo is a fan of the pink…

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Painting Gum Blossoms РSharing My Process 

I got chatting with a fellow artist friend, Lynette K, the other day about sharing the creative process. She asked me if I’d ever made videos of me working (I haven’t, I’m not comfortable with the idea), as she was considering sharing her own. 

Check out her funky art here, it’s very cool.

I did say to her that I had thought of sharing the process here on the blog and she told me it was something she’d like to see…. I hope you all find it interesting too!

First things first, a support to paint on.

I chose a canvas for this demonstration, but I more often work on paper, which I prime first using Art Spectrum transparent gesso, also known as pastel primer. It’s gritty and provides a good grip on any type of paper.

Next I need a subject matter! Sometimes I work from life, but more often from photographs. My process takes time, and it’s easier to have a static, unchanging subject.

I chose this photo of gum blossom that I took on a walk in my local park.

The first step is to draw the outline of the gum blossom. I usually use pencil or biro to do this. Pencil works fine, but the biro is waterproof and doesn’t smudge as much, especially on paper.

Next comes the masking fluid. Again I use the Art Spectrum brand, mainly because I go through a lot of it and they’re one of the few brands who sell it in big bottles.

I carefully paint the masking fluid over the subject matter, leaving only the background exposed.

A word of warning, this stuff really clogs up brushes, so don’t use your best ones for this!

Next I dip the brush in the masking fluid and flick drops of it onto the background. 

The very first time I did this was because of an accident! Some drops of masking fluid fell where I didn’t want them because I’d loaded my brush too much. You pretty much can’t remove it when it’s wet as it will just smear, so I decided to go with it and created more spatters in my background. It turned out so well it’s become an integral part of my style.

Then I leave it to dry. It takes anything up to a few hours to dry depending on thickness and temperature, and it absolutely must be completely dry for the next step.

All dry and now it’s time to paint the background. I use acrylic ink for my backgrounds as they have very vibrant and rich colours that contrast beautifully with the softer feel of the watercolour pencils I use for the subject.

I use several different brands of ink including Art Spectrum, Daler Rowney, Liquitex, Windsor & Newton and Derivan Matisse, this way I get a wider variety of colours for blending.

Once the background is painted it also needs to dry completely, which also takes a while. I can get impatient with this process and have to force myself to leave it alone. As a consequence I sometimes lose my muse and I always have a pile of UFOs in the studio. (Unfinished objects!)

When it has dried completely the masking fluid gets peeled or rubbed off. If I’m using paper, this is where the primer becomes crucial. I’ve found that without it the paper often tears, especially if the masking fluid is thicker, and there’s nothing more frustrating!

Then I start building up layers of watercolour pencil to draw my flowers.

Once I’m happy with the pencil layers I brush them with water to blend the colours.

Sometimes I go over them again with another layer once dry, to add more depth.

My favourite watercolour pencils are Derwent, especially the Inktense range, but I also use Faber Castell Albrecht Durer.

Finally I outline the flowers. 

Generally when I paint on canvas I use ink, sometimes a felt tip pen. On paper I mostly use a black pencil.

I have often been asked why I use thick black outlines in my work and I think it goes back over twenty years ago, to when I majored in printmaking at University. 

I primarily did reduction linocuts then, and my final layer was always a black outline. It feels somehow more “finished” to me!

My greatest inspiration back then was the work of Australian artist Margaret Preston…. this is one oh her works from 1925:

And so my gum blossom painting is complete. I hope you enjoyed reading about my process!

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Feathery Decor

Sometimes I have no idea where my brain gets inspiration from! These feathery wall plaques are one of those times!!!

They started life as pages from a “kaleidoscope” colouring in book.

I spent a couple of happy hours with my textas and coloured the patterns in.

Once they were filled in I glued them to a piece of thick cardboard from a grocery box.

A layer of Mod Podge over the top to seal them, then once they were dry I cut them out with a Stanley knife.

Next I got a bunch of pretty dyed feathers I’ve had stashed in the studio for I don’t know how long, and hot glued them to the back of the cardboard.

And they were ready to hang on the wall!

They’re kinda funky?!

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