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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Creative Tuesday

I blogged briefly about these pictures when I did them on my Diploma course, almost exactly two years ago. At the time I had intended doing more using the same techniques, but of course I didn't.

I have periodically taken photos of old buildings in my travels, still with that intention. Yesterday in Ballarat I took some more. And, thinking about it, it is still a good idea, to do more of these. So maybe I will.

They are very easy, even for someone who is as completely a duffer at drawing as I am. Take a photo (if you are going to sell them, onviously a copyright free photo!). Copy it in black and white, or greyscale, or whatever, aiming for enough contrast to be able to see major features through tracing paper. Trace said major features. Scribble all over the back, heavily, with a soft graphite pencil. Transfer to watercolour paper using a pencil or whatever you wish, but try not to press too hard as it is best not to have the scored lines on the page. When the bones of the picture are transferred, use the photocopy as a guide to go over the transferred lines, and add as many extra details as you wish, with a WATERPROOF fine line pen.

When you are happy with the sketch, and it has all the details you want in it, choose two colours of watercolour paint - complementary, analagous, warm, cold, whatever takes your fancy. We used a slightly different technique in each of the above pictures. In either case, wet the paper with clean water. (See why you need to use a waterproof fine liner!) Then either apply gentle blobs of colour and let them spread as they wish; or do the same and hold it vertically while they drip and dribble.

OF course you could use more than two colours. Or find other ways of colour washing the pictures. Whatever. I like these pictures. And of course you don't have to use old buildings, you could use the same technique with anything at all.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Scarves, beads and political cartoons

I have fitted in three exhibitions in the last few days. (It helped that two of them were at the same place!)

The first was Reflections Scarf Festival 2010 at the Geelong Wool Museum. This is run in conjunction with Craft Victoria. Every year I mean to enter some scarves. Do I ever? No of course not. I will try to be firm with myself next year! It was an interesting collection of artworks and there are various categories to win prizes in. Invariably I did not necessarily agree with the prize winners in every case - who ever does? It is always so subjective. But everyone had worked extremely hard and there was some amazing stuff there. Nuno felting was obviously flavour of the month, and very nice it was too. That is something that I know how to do but cannot be bothered doing, so it is nice to see the work of other people. There were also knitted, crocheted, woven and fabric scarves of various sorts. I deliberately wore one of my own creations, made for my Diploma course. Personally I think it was at least as good as the best that were there! Maybe I will enter it next year. I can't post any pictures of the scarves there as I don't think photography was allowed and even if it was, I wouldn't post someone else's creations without their permission. I left with lots and lots of inspiration for future creations so it was a very worthwhile visit. This was immediately after a pleasant lunch with my mum and brother instead of a 'wake' for my father.

The other two exhibitions were at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Brilliant Beads was an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Embroiderers' Guild of Victoria, and this is what the blurb said : Tiny brooches, flamboyant necklaces, framed pictures, tables, bottles, vases and small toys are included in a unique exhibition where diverse objects have been embellished with millions of beads to transform them into something new.

Brilliant Beads is presented by the Ballarat Branch of the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria as part of its 50th Anniversary. It brings together pieces as diverse as a beautifully beaded wedding dress to craft and an antique fire screen lovingly restored by renowned textile artist Alison Cole.
The beaded articles on display have been sourced from various places, including the archives of the Embroiderers Guild, the Art Gallery of Ballarat as well as pieces from individual Members' collections and their own work.
This exhibition is one of a series around the state hosted by branches of the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria.
It was really fascinating. I did take lots of pictures, which was permitted, but as I said above, I don't post pictures of other people's work. I took them for my own interest and reference, for display methods as much as anything else. In fact a great many of them were made from books and magazine designs, I think, whereas I design my own stuff, as I was going to point out if anyone accused me of taking the photos so that I could copy them! There was a lot of wonderful, precise work there, probably of a much higher technical standard than I could do, but I had the usual problem I find with the Guild work, in that technique tends to be more important than originality. Which is fine for lots of people, and it isn't really a criticism of people who prefer to work that way. It does, however, explain why I am reluctant to join the Guild! Again, there was lots of inspiration.
The final exhibition I went to see, at the same Gallery, was In Your Face! Cartoons about politics and society 1760 - 2010 :
This exhibition celebrates the tradition of making social and political comment in the form of the cartoon and caricature about current affairs, a tradition that goes back many centuries but has been at its most vibrant since mass circulation printing became commonplace in the late 18th century.

Visitors to the exhibition may be surprised to discover that the things which amuse, annoy, terrify and bamboozle us are in many cases the same as those which exercised the minds of our ancestors 200 years ago - sex, politics, religion, fashion, doctors and lawyers, and, of course, the Royal Family.

In this journey through two centuries of cartooning visitors will look back to Australia's British roots, with the work of satirists such as William Hogarth and James Gillray, with insights into contemporary society and politics from such household names as Nicholson, Tandberg, Leunig and Spooner.

The cartoons cover a range of themes, including John Spooner's personal selection of his favourite cartoons by the great 18th century artist James Gillray. It also gives insights into the things that have tickled Ballarat funny bones from the goldfields era to today.

This special paid-entry exhibition is drawn largely from the Art Gallery of Ballarat's own extraordinary collection of cartoons and caricatures, which is one of the best in the country.
Again, really fascinating. Wonderfully, I had the rooms to myself at that point, so I was able to linger as long as I liked and really read everything. I knew a lot of the cartoons, both the oolder British ones and the Australian ones, but there was still plenty there I did now know and it was wonderful to catch up with old favorites too. I bought the catalogue and there will be plenty of interesting reading there.
Next week we are going back to Canberra to finalise my father's stuff. This time we are taking the kids and staying for a week. Although there will be a lot of hard work, we are determined to include some galleries along the way.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blogging Changes

I have decided to give up on my five-days-a-week blogging for the moment. Things are possibly about to change dramatically at Sheeprustling headquarters in the near future - good changes, but disruptive ones if they do come off. So I will continue to blog about stuff, and include pictures of stuff, but not to a regular timetable.

Of course, maybe nothing will happen, and then things will return to what I laughingly refer to as 'normal'.

Since starting writing this post, developments have occurred, but in the backwards sense. Our house is dissolving around us and we either need to rebuild or move. After a lengthy period of looking around, we finally got into negotiations with a building firm recently, but had our third meeting with them yesterday at which the costings came out at way over our budget. If they had come within budget, there may have been a flurry of moving and rebuilding almost immediately, as we have to fit in things around Baby Bear doing Year 12 next year. While we still have to find an alternative, it looks like nothing with be happening quickly now. I was pulling back on the blogging because I thought I might have to do a lot of immediate packing and organising. But I have decided to keep to random musings for a while rather than the previous organised structure, which was fun for a while.

I went to the Bead and Gems Show at the Melbourne Showgrounds last week. I was looking for some specific stuff and won't post pictures. Lacey's Stiff Stuff is brilliant stuff for bead embroidery, and hard to get in Australia, but makes for very boring pictures when it has not yet been embroidered upon - for those who don't know, imagine a heavy white interfacing. I was also looking for cabochons that made me think of certain things, and I got quite a lot, but a pile of cabochons in various colours isn't necessarily very interesting either. Otherwise I don't think I would go to that particular show again just to browse - I went for the first time last year and it was interesting, I went this year because I was looking for these specific types of stuff, but for general browsing it wasn't really my sort of thing - nice to look at all the sparklies but most of what I do is in seed beads and, although they were on sale there, I tend to buy a themed selection online for a specific project when I want them, rather than wanting to right through crowds and then not find everything I want.

I may have a plan for a series of bead embroideries. Well, rather, I DO have a plan, but I;m not sure now exactly how it will pan out. It may also include small art quilts and be a long time in the making. But it is an idea that will not go away in my mind and it will still be there when I actually want to do something about it.

I have been knitting mindless stuff, even more mindless than socks. I am using up some of my novelty yarn collection (bought in single balls for things like scrumbling) to make mini ponchoette type things. They are good for keeping the shoulders warm and adding colour.
. I am not quite sure why I think it would be more efficient to store these yarns in made-up items in my overfull wardrobe, rather than as balls in my overfull yarn collection, but it made sense at the time.

Cooking has occurred. Well, living in a family of four, plenty of cooking has occurred, but only one recipe from the 'test the cookbooks' thing. I seem to have a million little pamphlet-type cookbooks, many of which come free with magazines and things. This one came from one of them: Easy One-Pot chicken Bake from Australian Good Food Italian Favorites. It's so good we have had twice! Of course I can never cook a recipe without tweaking it, no matter how much I swear I won't (except for baking, where I leave the general proportions strictly alone and only ever alter flavours). I used chicken breast fillets instead of thigh fillets, rosemary instead of thyme (it's the only herb I've got growing at the moment and it is wicked with chicken and potatoes), and this time I only had green olives, though the first time I made it with the black olives stated in the recipe.

This post has been in the making for two or three weeks, interrupted by the events related in the last post. I am going to post it now otherwise it will never happen.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Explanation of sorts

I had a blog post in draft all ready to go, just waiting to take some pictures. It was explaining why I had decided to stop using the blogging format that I had been using for a few months and just post stuff when I felt like it. Even the circumstances of what I was doing changed during the week I took to write that post, and I added extra notes here and there. It was turning into a novella, with footnotes.

Then life royally screwed me over and that post is still in draft form. I will still post it, possibly in its current form but with extra footnotes! and photos.

I have been estranged from my father for many years - the last ten years this time round, with many other intervals of estrangement in particular. Although a highly intelligent and interesting man, he was also very obsessive and cruel to those closest to him. The latest parting of the ways came after he said unutterably cruel things to me about my young son, and I decided that my children had to come first.

He died last week. And I had to deal with the arrangements. It involved a sudden dash to Canberra, finding the body (no-one knew where it was, for a while), finding the will, etc. He was an obsessive hoarder. Not just books and pictures and things, but empty cardboard boxes and plastic bags. Queanbeyan recycling won't know what's hitting them right now! We spent two days sorting things out, and will be going back in a fortnight to sort the actual objects properly so that they can be distributed according to his will (which he had placed in a safe place two years ago, then during a reorganising spree placed it on a chair and piled stuff on top of it and never retrieved it from there. It took a long time to find it).

I promise the next post, during the next few days, will have pictures!