Sketching over watercolour wash background

watercolour and pencil
 I have been creating in various ways - here's a journal page I did as a free form sketch with colour and pencils. 

things i've learned about blogs

Well here I am.  Getting all set up with a brand new / old web space, that should hopefully allow me to do lots of interesting things, without taking time away from the studio.

I was here before ( on blogger, on this very blog) then went away to squarespace for a while... but technical issues, and the cost, has brought me back.  I'm thankful now I left it set-up - I've only tweaked it a little.

Technical things I have learned in the process:
- Research doesn't always tell you everything you need to know - unless you know the right questions to ask. 
- Things change
- keep things simple
- blogs take more time than you think

All the posts here under todays date appeared originally on my squarespace blog.  I have not re-created dates posted... but they were over a number of months from approximately November 2011 - March 2012.  I didn't bother with random posts - but picked the 'best of'  - because I could.

Mixed media works...

Recently completed works...

Untitled. Mixed Media. 2011

 She Says. Oil pastel.

Waterlilies. Watercolour, 2011.

I have really enjoyed experimenting with a wide variety of media as you can see: mixed media with collage, watercolour, soft and oil pastels.  Maybe one day I'll settle down and focus on just one...
one day.

Tryptych... she calls

A small mixed media triptych on re-purposed cloth book covers.   I experimented with what I can do using iphoto in making slide shows.    Recently friends, and friends of friends, have been diagnosed with different sorts of illnesses, including cancer.  It is in those times of need, when you really need someone, that you know you can call 'that' particular friend, and they will come, and offer what support they can.  So this was for the friends in need, and the friends that hear the call.

Bounty from the garden

I went out to the garden early this morning ( Well actually 1.11.2011), and discovered a basketful of produce to harvest: sweet potatoe, capsicums, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, carrots, parsley, celery, mint, kohlrabi, and some asian cabbage.  But to look at the garden , at first glance, it looked rather bare, as I have not visited much lately, or done any new planting for summer as we are selling our house and the new people may not even want a large vege garden.   It pays to look a little closer, and to look slowly!   I feel sad to think I'll be leaving this behind... but it is easy to start a new garden - and I know within a short season it will be producing just this this one did.  Unfortunately the three little peaches you see will be it this year - the dreaded fruit fly got the LOT!  I think we have had a handful that did not get stung.  But that was my fault as being so involved with house renovating, selling the house, and of course being in the studio - the garden was very neglected over spring - right at the time I needed to be setting out baits, netting or bagging, and spraying. 

You know when...

When do you KNOW you are an artist? When do you front up just admit it?  What do you say when people ask you what you do?    In having to make a few erands this afternoon, I fully intended on changing out of my paint stained clothes before I left home ( old 3/4 camo cotton pants, and a getting old, don't care if it gets paint splattered white T'shirt).  But then was completely distracted by questions raised about what we needed, etc, and it was only AFTER already visiting 3 stores, that I glanced down and realised - yep I was still in my old, arty clothes.   Who knows what people thought - camo painterly pants, havianas on my feet, crochet hippy style cross shoulder purse... and I decided, as I really still needed to buy some groceries - that I didn't care.
I think, at that moment, I took one more step closer to realising a dream.
That and buying 1litre of titanium white!
Enjoy who you are, today.  I did.

Gesture drawing

Gesture drawing is super fun; but it is also a very useful skill for any person wanting to develop their drawing skills.  By focussing on the overall image, and trying to record the overall 'impression' of what you are drawing, you end up with a fun, often quirky, representation.  The idea is to limit your drawing time to 60 seconds or less (that's how I usually approach it).  As a bonus it frees up your drawing hand, and develops your eye to hand co-ordination!  This is Bella, my almost full grown Maltese x Chihuahua - who thinks she is a Wolf and is a MOST naughty dog who loves to dig and chew!

Mixed Media works

A peek at one of my finished Mixed Media works... I am working on a series at the moment.   I have a stack of ideas, and works in various stages of completion, just ready and patiently waiting for me to hit the studio!
Fly. Mixed media on wood. Linda Richardson, 2011

Random foot photos...

I have a growing collection of random foot photos... here is but one


 I'm following a Dream...

architecural shapes

With Christmas around the corner I am forced to evaluate how much I can do.  I have a variety of artwork in various stges of completion... but realistically how much can I do between now, with Christmas, and then packing and moving? Probably not 1/2 as much as I'd like.  I think realistically I should start down scaling, packing and sorting, and just keep my sketchbook handy for some daily drawing.  One thing I have really enjoyed whilst doing the art lesson recordings is the focussed picture study - I see more each time I look!  I enjoy the chalenge of trying different styles - always something to learn, and I look forward to finishing these off before I pack most things away.

I love taking interesting photos - this snap is from an heritage building, and the design in the iron work is beautiful with lots of detail.


My Minimalism. Digital photo. 2012.

Altered book - Readers Journal

It is Australia Day here.  Our National day to celebrate being an Australian.  After a late sleep in; brunch of bacon and eggs on the Barbie; taking the family to the movies; shortly an afternoon nap; then a walk on the beach, followed by snags, coleslaw and potato salad!
Here is what I was really going to write about - altered Books!

Altered Books - I love them!  The whole idea of taking an otherwise useless, unwanted book and turning it into something both beautiful and with a purpose is very satisfying for a bibliophilelike myself! 
How did I create this?  These are the steps I followed:
1. I found a foreign language book ( in german) at the op shop for 50c.  It had to be hardback, not too big, not too small, and stiched binding.  ( If you bend back the covers a little make sure you can see stitches - otherwise it is glued and will fall apart!)
2. I tore/cut out some of the pages - maybe 1 in 4 or 5.  Leaving the end pages intact.
3. I glued together some of the pages - mainly because I was experimenting.  If you do glue some together becuase you want them extra thick make sure you close the book up and press hard - to get the pages aligned, otherwise you'll end with crinkles.
4. Add gesso.  This is optional.  I gessoed every page in this book.  I left interesting images so they became a feature of a page.
5.  Add some colour - I used cheap acrylic, and a credit card using a few colours on the page, and then scraping.  That way it is very thin and dries very quick, and  you get nice marbling paint effects.
6. Add embellishments:
* tags - I tagged every page, using cardboard offcuts, thick scrapbooking paper, and other found opjects.  All just stapled on using a vintage stapler that has bronze coloured staples!
* interesting papers
* stamps
* your own doodles
* add more paint to blend things in together
* try adding some black ink from a ink pad or distressing ink
As I intended this book to be used as a readers Journal ( where I record each book I read and a few thoughts about it, I wanted to be sure I had plenty of writing space.  You can add as much collage / embelishments as you desire!  Just make sure you can still close the book without forcing the spine or it will break.  Mine is borderline, but if I treat it gently it should be O.K.
Things I really love about this book: the thick pages, all the tags, and the quirky cat drawings all throughout!  It just has a very satisfying feel in your hands! 

Doodle - Oogle continues

Here is the 2nd Oogle Altered Page I promised...
 Oogle 2, Learning to Forget. Altered page, ink, pencil, gesso.
I really had a lot of fun with Oogle 2.  I used the chapter title at the top of the page as inspiration, and really tried to put a lot of expression into her eyes.  I used a variety of writing inks, coloured and watercolour pencil, markers and gesso... and probably a few other bits and pieces as I 'played'. 
Can you spot the word 'altered' on this page?  I thought that was funny being that this is a altered page!

Pastel for terracotta

I finished this pastel painting the other day, and fine tuned it yesterday.  I am still exploring with this media - but must say I am enjoying it.  I have had this large, old terracotta pot for about 25 years!  It has travelled with me from house to house, and at each move I have to decide whether to keep it or not because it is useless to plant in because of the narrow top.   But I really like the shape, and the texure, so I keep it as a garden 'feature'.  I worked from the photo I took the other morning, and squinted a lot as I was trying to capture that early morning haze. 

random, quirky, vintage books

I bought these books at various Op Shops, and book sales over the past couple of years.    Most I bought because of the bright and quirky covers and artwork, and I just love the cover illustrations of this edition of Peter Pan.  I usually started off buying a book thinking it would be a good one to alter - because of the paper, or nice feel, or quirky little drawings.  But along the way I fell in love with them.   Most have a story to tell behind it, of where I found it, or why it appeals, or if I've read it or why I want to read it, someday.  

There is one ( 9th from the bottom) titled, " An Episode of Sparrows", which has a lot of meaning for us as at the time my husband was waging a most humorous battle against the sparrows that kept eating our chicken feed!   Now I keep it for those memories.  I could always alter it inside and leave the outside title, so I reserve that option, but at the moment it is safely nestled among this quirky little stack of random vintage books.  Mind you, I have a quite a collection of random, quirky, vintage books that are of negligable value, really.  I have found a few rare editions along the way, but mostly I just have a growing colleciton of classics, or historical fiction, or old History texts that mean nothing to most people these days.    But they mean a lot to me.   I also know I have instilled a love of old books in particular in my own girls, as when we go to a book sale the first table they check out is the "Old & Antique" books, looking for; G.A. Henty, or early edition Alice & Wonderland, or Poe, or the Australian Billabong series by Mary Grant Bruce.

Such is the life of a lover of books - they make lovely displays, they can be read and re-read, handled and looked through, organised and catalogued (one day!), or even altered and re-purposed into a new life!  But for now I'll enjoy just admiring this stack, and maybe someday soon I'll find another random, quirky, vintage book to add to the top of the pile!
Do you also love books or altering books? Please share!


Mum, daughter and two dogs go for a walk. 

Interesting shadows are cast in the late afternoon... and  I thought these shapes might make for the basis of a drawing one day.

Doodling on

Literary Oogle. Mixed media altered page.

Things happen while you are on the phone.  If you happen to be sitting with a pen in your hand you are very likely to start a doodle or two.  Just random swirls, and dots, leaf shapes, rocks, lines and dashes.  Put them together, add a splash of colour - and I find myself looking at another little person!  As part of the Sketchbook Challenge I have been playing with doodles this month - and it has been a lot of fun too!

How to complete unfinished works


untitled work in progress

untitled 2 work in progress 

After leaving a few unfinished paintings sit around for a while I actually find it hard coming back to them.  I've lost that initial thrill of creating, and now it just feels a little too hard.  What do I do next? What needs adjusting or fine tuning? DO I even like what I've done so far?  These and other questions run through my head and I usually end up doing nothing!  So - how to overcome this fairly common dilema?  Here's my list of tips  I've just brainstormed that I'm going to use to complete some unfinished works and half started projects.

How to Complete Unfinished Works or projects:

1. Just do it!  Yes, just like the Nike add.  No I don't even own any running shoes, let alone Nike, but the sentiment is a good one and it applies to lots of things.  Especially when it comes to procrastinating!  Think you need to change a colour/ eye/ background... then just go with your gut instinct and... Just Do It. simple.
2. Take a photo, print it out.... play with the photocopy first.  You can make alterations, and 'play' freely as you have removed the fear of 'wrecking' it.  When you are happy with your results - then transfer onto your original artwork
3. Do a little at a time.  There are no awards for finishing everything in one sitting.  Set a plan to just do a little somethign everyday.  Breaking a large task into small steps stops it being overwhelming.
4. Play at Art more.  Don't worry about that unfinished painting.  Get some scrap paper and play with colours, and shapes; use an art journal if you have one and do free writing, then paint all over it.  It might just tweak some action in other areas of your art too!
5. Make sure you have given yourself the gift of time.  Time to sit and ponder.  Without interruptions or worries.  Set a timer if you have to so you aren't worried about keeping a track of time.  Then you are just free to be present in the moment, in the time you have. 
6.  Ask anothers opinion or advice.
7. Ask yourself - is this painting worth the effort.  Or do you really just want to start all over again.  That's O.K. too.  Then it is no longer unfinished - grab the primer or gesso and prepare the surface for a new art work.
8. Put them away, out of sight for a day/ week.  Maybe you've been looking at it too long.  Have a holiday from each other - and then try again when you feel fresher.
9.  Just work through one at a time..... OR  Work on lots of different aspects of lots of things.  Only you know what perks your creativity and keeps you motivated!
10. You really, really can't finish, don't have the time or energy even to re-paint over, or have boxes of unfinished bits and pieces? Then box them up and give them away!
Finally - Be kind to yourself, and allow art and being creative to be nurturing.  I'll let everyone know how I go following my own advice next week!
Hey - if you've read this far - thanks!  Leave a comment as I love to hear from you :-)

recycled materials

We drove out to visit Reverse Garbage today.   They have an amazing array of clean waste, scraps, and re-cycled material all rady for the aspiring collage, assemblage, or mixed media artist to go gaga over!  This was what I discovered today:
3 types of plastic waste: large circles, small circles, and a horse-shoe shape
fine tule
embossed wall paper (? or at least I think it was meant for wallpaper - it is uncoated however)
A large ply circle
A small square of some type of light weight building material
And a black metal display stand ( not pictured)
So - how will I use these in an art journal? Stay tuned!

Go with the flow...

Journal page - Go with the Flow - A play moment today resulted in this Art Journal page.  Watercolour, acrylic, gesso, collage, neo colour water crayons - lots of drippy fun! 

I generally start art journal pages with no intention of content.  But just start playing with line or colour; adding details as they come to mind.  I made the circles using a spagetti measurer - it is a handy thing to have on my art desk in my 'tools' pencil pot.  But for all that unintentional play - the end result and the words are just so true of where I am at; going with the flow is really the only way I can keep on top of things when life is just super busy!  It is certainly less stressful than worrying about anything!
I love this about Art Journalling.  You can be as creative as you like.  Intentional or not. Colourful or not. Lots of writing or none. Faces or stick figures. Deep and meaningful or just for fun.  Regardless of whatever you put of yourself into a journal you get back something back - even if it is just a few minutes spent doodling to de-stress and Play.
What I used: Mont Marte 150gsm journal (very cheap), and the paper is great for dry media like pencils.  If you want to add wet like watercolour or watercolour pencils you will need to gesso first ( as I did here) and then it is fine.  Watercolours, collage elements: sewing pattern tissue paper, black pen, silver gel pen, neocolour II crayon, gesso, tapestry  canvas, a small brayer, cheap acrylic paint, alphabet stamp and archival black ink.


After four solid days of admin, creating, printing, typing, packaging etc of my art and prints for the new store display... I took time last night to create this page.

I started with 2 scrappy bits of old pattern paper, and a half painted page as I was going over the top of an experiment of materials page.   Then without any planning I more or less did the following:
put down a splodge of black gesso, becuase it is more fluid than I am used to I had extra, so I scumbled it over the rest of the spread; watercolour pencils ( Inktense), and crayons (Neocolour II), chalk pen, and ink with stamps.  The lacey pattern was created using the saved backing paper from some black lacey paper tape I used in the packaging of my prints, and a black ink stamp.  I like the effect it created, and I always use  both sides!  The bold stamps to create HARD - I used the reverse side as well - one side with the silver letters, then overstamped using the squared outline side in black.

Playing Hard?  To me, at the moment - giving it my all, not worrying about the mess, finding the joy each moment, validating the creativity in many different areas of my life!
How about you?

Art of Children

There is something special about the art of Children ( and the young at heart!).   Their different way of looking at the world is reflected in their drawings.   I love looking at their colour choices, and line drawing.  It should not be labeled simplicity, because that might suggest  a lesser level of artistry, although often the lines are simplified.   But rather it seems to be they come to their art from a different perspective, which in many ways seems instinctual.
This first drawing is watercolour texta on watercolour paper.  It was  a 'Fun Art' exercise from week 1, where the class was instructed to create a drawing using various marks and patterns, and then it was washed with a wet brush, or sprayed with misted water to allow the colours to bleed.  The purpose was to 1. determine the limits of using textas in this way, 2. to explore mark making in general and patterns in particular, 3. create an imaginary scene.  I just loved this one for the combination of colours, the use of pattern to show the fine intricate detail of the foam in the crashing wave.


This second one is a drawing from week 3's skill lesson on contour drawing.  I love the simplicity and economy of line.  Just superb.  If you saw this in a art gallery with the name Picasso under it, you wouldn't think twice.   What was the artist drawing?  What do you think of when you look at this?   It doesn't matter what she was drawing.  What does matter is how it makes you feel when you look at it.

There are many more lovely examples of art happening in the class, and  I could have easily choosen any of the others to show here.   As we start week 4 of Bright Wings of Summer Art Class, I am very excited to see what the next four weeks bring, and I am very proud of all the students achievements to date! 
Leave a comment! - that's half the fun of stopping by :-)

Transparency - what we have

Almost finished this I think... a new work.  It is on recycled circular ply (46cm across) and has: collage background, pastels, acrylics, texture medium, pencil, graphite.   The support came from Reverse Garbage, and even some of the collage elements included torn parts of their brochure!
Inspired by the theme "Cycles of Life: A window opens" (being used as the theme in an Art exhibition I was thinking of entering), and the collage elements that had been used. 
This style is more within my comfort zone.  After feeling like I had completely failed the other morning after struggling with a small, icky, too rough paper, too chuncky pastel, difficult face portrait, it is nice to sit back and feel a certain sense of accomplishment!

altered pages for a swap

I can't believe it is Friday already!  It has been a super busy week with the family: homeschooling sorting  
and checking; dropping teens to work; buying new musical instruments; finances to sort through; dogs to pat and walk; who have I forgot? Oh yeah and Husbands to care for!  Whew!  No time for much else this week...  although I did finish a set of altered pages for a swap I am participating in...
There are ten of these altered book pages on their way to America right now - probably somewhere in a plane over the Pacific as I write.  They were all created on the pages of a 1960's german text on child care, with cat pages from another old german book on cats, with collage added from a chinese newspaper I picked up this week... adding some acrylic, watersoluable crayons, stencilling, gesso, pen, and black ink to distress.   When done two at a time these were really fun to do, and  I could have added even more doodling, but I was running against the clock to get these in the mail :-)  As someone once said, easy peasy!

Enjoy and Love your comments!

Altered geography book

I started this project before Christmas... and it is finally seeing some action happening on the pages.  Starting life as an old childrens geography book, I have removed some pages, and added gesso, and now some paint, and drawings, doodles, images etc... as part of a book club I attend.  This is a stress free way of being creative around a purpose...each night when we get together to talk about a book we are reading, we each have a journal or a sketch book, and we work on a page while chatting.
What type of book?  Anything can be used for an altered book.  BUT it really, really should be stitch bound!  I am not worried about the torn binding, as when I sand and paint the cover, I can add masking tape to repair this and then paint, over the top, and add embellishments etc.

This is what the pages start out looking like - the original text and images.  Sometimes I leave part of the page show through.  Sometimes I highlight certain words.  OR other times I gesso and paint right over everything... feel free to leave as much or as little of the original page as you like!

This is the inside cover and first page I did.  You can actually see the cut stiches from where I removed a lot of signatures all at the front.  I was intending just removing all the pages... then decided to leave a minimal amount to allow for lots of tip-ins ( additional pages), added pockets, and lots of paint and collage...

Third page... lots of drippyness, and a image torn from the Matisse Exhibition catelogue... done over a few days - essentially just playing with colour.    At a later stage I might add writing about a book we are reading... (I also bought the black Paris tape at the art gallery too - too cute not too get some!)

One final page... you can see I have added some writing here - leaving some text showing, added some drawn and collage elements, and played with colour...

The beauty of this process is the complete freedom it offers.  An old book, some gesso, and some coloured pencils, and watercolours - and you are off and running to be as creative as you'd like :-)
Love your comments!  What do you use your altered book for?
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