Monday, July 1, 2013

Selling Art

When I pulled back from doing craft shows, I removed the pressure of selling things that I create, and in the process I unleashed a whole new level of creativity. Drawing just for the fun of it. Learning to paint. Approaching things with reckless abandon! Not worrying if it would sell or not. How liberating.

And after doing a few burn outs in the carpark, I slowly, tentatively, submitted my work in a few art shows here and there. And low and behold, I actually sold a few things. Or "moved some units" as my sis-in-law would say. 

I submitted 5 watercolour and gouache paintings to Bathurst's All Saints Art Show in April and I managed to sell 4 of them! I was quietly amazed and grateful and a little bit shocked all at the same time. It is lovely when people you know admire your creations, but there is a whole other level of amazement when a complete stranger is actually willing to part with some cash to acquire a painting. Here is all that is left of a couple of gouache and watercolours that have officially left the building: scans. Oh, and the two new tyres on my car which the proceeds paid for. Practical Julie. That's what they call me :)



I've just finished "Steal Like An Artist" (thanks Snizza) -  an awesome quick read about admiring the talent of others and  regurgitating their ideas in your own style - usually not on purpose! I'd be deluding myself if I didn't admit that Lara Cameron's Birch Forest was a big inspiration for the Juicy Roo Birds above. I just hope I gave it enough individuality to not join the ranks of all the other people who have ripped off her design! 

Anyway! That's it for now. Adios xo

Monday, March 25, 2013

Art Class is Never a Straight Line

A straight line up, that is. As in, steady and continued success, getting that little bit better all the time. Sometimes I feel like I'm just getting better at making friends with failed attempts. I don't like the word "failure" much...it seems so finite. I understand that "failing" is part of the process. It is part of learning. So I have been LEARNING a lot lately! 

Here, I'll show you:
We all remember The Owl and The Pussycat...don't we?! I've been wanting to do an illustration of this poem for donkeys yonks. I finally did a scribble one night at art class that turned out quite interesting...it was one of my first watercolour moments, and I proceeded to paint the subject of my drawing first. That was my first mistake! How on earth was I going to paint the water and sky and get a nice even watercolour wash around those shapes? Well, I let it sit without colour for months on end, thinking about it, before finally accepting it as a write off. Knowing this, I decided to find out just how hard it would be to add colour to the background that was such an irregular shape. As suspected, it was a ridiculous thing to attempt. Write off No.1 looked like this:



Ooops.

Time for attempt number two. I spent a nice solid hour or so drawing my friends in their pea green boat before my pen decided to leave a giant blob on my drawing that made me grunt with disapproval. It looked like this:


It might not be that obvious in that scan. But it was enough for me to go back to the drawing board, and draw this image AGAIN (not easy to remain interested at this point I might add)...but I persevered, drew the image, took it to art class and painted the subject with masking fluid. (Note: that stuff seriously messes with your paintbrushes so don't use a precious one!) 
THEN
I got all cocky about a few recent successes with washes, and painted the sky and water...then....AAAARGHHHHHHH!  The paper somehow had dirty blotches on it that I didn't see until AFTER my wash went one! Failed attempt #3. Oh, I mean, my third lesson. See? How did those grotty finger print blotches get on there?


So here is what I have learned about watercolour.
1. Make friends with not getting it right the first 3 times (at least).
2. Don't paint the subject first.
3. Make sure your paper is really really really clean! I.e. try not to touch it other than to draw on it! Sounds easy enough? Not!
4. Use gouache instead.

OK maybe #4 is cynical, but I had a bit more success with gouache (my art teacher has been on my case to give it a bash for about six months, after watching me struggle with watercolour). 
Here are a couple of more successful Juicy Roo-esque drawings. 





These were a little more successful because I did a watercolour wash over the entire drawing first, then painted the detail using gouache after. The gouache is definitely more forgiving than water colour, and dries a lot flatter. A much better strategy. However I still love how pretty watercolour can be.

So there we have it folks. Art class, for me, is a series of peaks and troughs rather than a continual increase. The troughs do make the peaks sweeter. Sorry about the hiatus. From me, I'm sure you have come to expect nothing more. That's something I must work harder to modify. Later peeps xo

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stitching Just for Fun

I must admit I'm not missing the production slog of stitching in preparation for craft markets. However the itch to stitch still needs to be scratched, so I've been making a few things for gifts lately.

I must get a pic of the state the last bag I made for my sis-in-law ended up in. She loved it, and used it til it was very VERY well worn. So I made her another one, using beloved cloth fabric from my sacred stash. She loved it.



Every bag needs a place to hang your keys. I HATE rummaging.



The denim came from my partner's dad's old jeans. He overheard me saying I like making stuff from recycled denim and on the next visit brought a big bag full of awesome denim for me. Thanks Tony!


Man I SO love this fabric. Cloth rocks. 

I've also been making a few dresses for xmas gifts. This one was for my little friend Zoey in Canada who has delicious Jamacian colouring. I hope it fits her.  And I hope she doesn't look at this blog because it is still no doubt in transit! Well given she is only 5 she probably wont, but her Mum might!? Hi Donna! xo


Plus a little brooch for extra fun.


These are xmas gifts too. I probably shouldn't be blogging just yet! But I think I'm safe. I won't say who they are for...just in case!



I love this pattern. No buttons or zippers...just a tie at the shoulder. I should reference the Butterick pattern. I will, as soon as I find it!


My first ever fabric flowers. 


Same pattern, a bit bigger for her older sister. 
I know, I know. Daisies again. They're just such a fun shape. I never tire of them. 

Ciao for now xo





Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Vietnam Adventure

I thought I'd share a few pics of our recent adventure to Vietnam. I totally fell in love with it. It was simply wonderful. The food, the people, the intensity...it was nothing short of awesome.


These boots were made for walking! 
Going to Vietnam was our first international adventure together. My man was an awesome travel buddy :) 


The textures were omnipresent and gorgeous. 


How cool is this? Sewing machines for sale on the street!


I saw exquisite flora that I'd never seen before.


Cafe 96 in Hoi An...a great little cafe with sensational food. 


Lovely lanterns everywhere.

I'll post the rest on facebook. I only took 630 pics in 17 days. Not bad eh?
Thank you Vietnam, I miss you. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Announcement: Gocco Ink is Waterproof...

...just in case you were wondering. I did promise after my last post I'd tell you if gocco ink is waterproof. Turns out it is! And I did the experiment the DAY after my last post, and here is the report two months later. Pretty standard stuff from yours truly. In my defense, I did promise to keep you posted, I just didn't declare a time frame. I wouldn't dare! So technically, I am holding up my end of the bargain.


Funnily enough I wasn't crazy how the prints looked once water-coloured. But it was a good way to clock up some brush miles, as my art guru teacher (the fabulous Merilyn Rice) would say.

I did finish the butterfly pastel painting I posted about a while back. I used an ultra soft and gorgeously vibrant Schmincke pastel for the white dots, which has to be the loveliest of pastels to do finishing touches with. Oh for the love of Schmincke.



And just for fun: 


I've noticed that I seem to place hand crafted softies in pairs. I think they are happier keeping each other company :)



Monday, July 16, 2012

Watercolour meets Juicy Roo

OK so it had to happen, right? Creatively speaking, you can only temporarily escape what comes to you naturally, right? I've spent the last twelve months exploring a creative realm that, at times, felt very unnatural! Drawing realistic faces with charcoal...tonal studies..playing with pastels....it only makes sense that I would discover a medium that made me want to revert to my natural quirky sticky style of illustration.

But that is what happened. My life seems to be currently revolving around this formula:

watercolour + ink + juicy roo = fun

Colouring with watercolour is way more fun that adding colour in photoshop, which is what I've been doing for the last 10 years or so! The little girl and her dog in this pic reminds me of one of the early Juicy Roo greeting cards that read "you can never spend too much time with your dog".



I'm thinking of digging out some of those old designs and revamping them with my Gocco printer, (just the black outline of the drawing) and colouring using watercolour. But first, I am going to do an experiment with a quote from my very talented friend Christina.  I've been meaning to do this for, like, well...18 months or so.  Shocking. But I'm nearly there! Here is the print design in b+w:


I have a beautiful old quirky scale that belonged to my grandmother, and I've been instructing myself to draw it for the purpose of this print idea for many many, way too many months. It felt like every day I'd realise I STILL HAD NOT DRAWN IT, and then I'd be CRANKY because every day was another day that I hadn't started on this print idea. Here is one piece of evidence of the many notes I wrote to myself with instructions to pull my finger out and draw the scale:


Does anyone else give themselves written notes, slightly snarky, to force one to spring into action? Or is that just me *blush*
Anyway the good news is I'm ready for Gocco action. Hooray! I'm not even sure if the ink is waterproof for watercolouring purposes. But I'm sure I'll find out! And as I always say, I'll keep you posted!
xo

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pastel Drawings

It is almost one year since I pulled back from craft shows, and started going to a weekly art class. As usual, I am terrible at posting my progress. So I thought I would share a few drawings. It is amazing how quickly Wednesdays come around, and for every class I need to come up with a project to work on. I have been pushing myself to do some more traditional drawings, because the whole reason I started the class in the first place was to get away from my natural style and try something different creatively.

I was really happy with how these pears came out. I guess I couldn't escape my style completely, given I chose fuchsia for the background!

After drawing the fairy wren last year, I discovered that I love drawing Australian birds. I wasn't over the moon with my first attempt at the lorikeet, but I do love working with vibrant colour. Might have another crack at this one day.

 I did fall in love with this little clown fish however. I found a photo (below) from Getty Images and you'll notice there was a bit of creative license with the colour....that would be Juicy Roo doing her thing again.



This butterfly is missing her white spots...I haven't finished her either. I really do find it SO hard to get to my art in between classes. Which is one of the reasons why I continue to go to the class - it forces me to sit down and focus on drawing for 2 hours - something that NEVER happens in my week.



And then there was watercolour.

I had no idea paintbrushes could be so precise! This really was an instant love affair, way bigger and more intense than my crush on pastels!  The Rules for Cooking Perfect Pasta. My very first ever attempt at watercolour. Merilyn (my fabulous art teacher) laughed when I said I only had four colours. When I was finished I declared I could have got away with only two colours!


I made this little pouch for my watercolour brushes. Water colour is crazy amounts of fun, and seems to suit my scribbles perfectly. 


It is almost as though I have come full circle, and am rediscovering my style yet again, with a different medium. How cool is THAT?!  I'm working on a fun streetscape that I will share as soon as it is finished. XO