Flooded Friday

Well, it’s been an interesting few days here in Queensland.  To the north of us, there has been an enormous cyclone called Debbie, who has been wreaking havoc through the beautiful islands and beaches of northern Queensland.  But she wasn’t finished there, she has now, as I am writing this headed south of our property dumping unrelenting rain on Brisbane and the Gold Coast causing river heights and flooding we have never seen before.  I feel especially lucky that my family and I  have got out of this extreme weather event without any damage.  My thoughts are with all of those that have sustained damage and are at this moment being evacuated from their homes.  It has been that extreme that our government have shut over 1000 schools for the last 2 days, and urged all business to close by midday so everyone could get home safely before the flooding started.  So believe me this was a huge event for South East Queensland.  For such an extreme weather event that has affected millions of people, I can proudly say that there have been no fatalities as I am writing this.  So a big shoutout to all our emergency services and governments by being on top of this and getting everyone prepared before it hit.

Ok well, just a quick note on what I’m up to on the art side of things.  I have a few pieces I am about to start as there are a few competitions I would like to enter in April, so I really need to get my finger out and start drawing.  I am still totally hopeless at getting sidetracked, but this is a weekend that I don’t really have too much planned so I am hoping to get a bit achieved and start sharing some progress photos on my social media soon.

So until next week, stay safe and dry people 🙂

Advertisements

New Year – New goals

Welcome to 2017….   As the heading says, New Year – New Goals.  I had a few goals last year but unfortunately, I didn’t actually accomplish too many of them.  As with anyone who is trying to become an Artist, they know too well how hard that is to do when you are working a full-time job.

This blog for one is a big Goal I didn’t stick with, as you can tell by the blog post dates, this is the first one in a couple of months.  Plus I haven’t finished the amount of Artwork I was hoping to.  I think my biggest problem is procrastinating.  I seem to have all of these ideas but when it comes down to actually getting started on them I always manage to get sidetracked and before I know it, the time I had put aside for creating has been used up either cleaning, dealing with kids, or wasting time on social media.

So this year I have got myself a few tools that I hope will help me to stay on track.  I have purchased The Makers Yearbook. A 200-page goal setting & productivity workbook and 2017 planner designed especially for Artists, Crafters & Designer-Makers.  Already I feel as though by writing down my goals and filling in the planner etc.  I am on top of what I want to achieve for the year as regards to how many paintings I want to complete, what competitions I want to enter, online courses to complete that I have already signed up for.  So if you are having the same problem as me I highly recommend checking this book out.

Another thing I have done is get a free app for the Pomodoro method, which is a timer that runs in 25min increments,  you then have a five-minute break and then complete another 25minutes.  Try to achieve 4 of these in a row before having a big break of 1/2 hour or more.  Continue with this method until you have completed your task/goal.  Alongside this, you should have a list of tasks/goals you want to achieve for the day and once they have been completed you can cross them off.  By physically crossing something out gives you a great sense of achievement.  Another thing to do is keep a notebook near you while you are working so if you have any brilliant ideas you just write it down and continue working until the timer stops, then you can follow up on your idea later.

So I am happy that I have figured out where my weak points are in reaching my goals and am trying some new methods to try and fix them.

Happy New Year to everyone and I hope this helps with your own creative practice.

Kerri xx

Free Photo Friday!!!

Hey guys,  I saw this great idea on another blog and thought it would be perfect for mine and hopefully great for you guys too. And since this week I have talked about taking a great reference photo I reckon what better week to kick this off.

Each Friday I will add a high-quality reference image that has been taken by myself so is copyright free for you to use as inspiration for your artwork.  Sounds great hey 🙂

Just follow this link to download it from dropbox.

My Patrons over at Patreon already receive 2 free images a month plus line art etc, so this is an additional image to what I will be posting on there.

I know how hard it is to get good clear reference images that are copyright free for you to use in your own work.  I will let you in on one great site that is worth a look and that is Paint My Photo, everything is copyright free and is well worth the visit.

Let me know if there is anything, in particular, you are looking for and I might be able to help.

Happy painting 🙂

Kerri xx

The importance of a good clear Reference Image

I am extremely lucky to live only 30 minutes away from Australia Zoo, one of Australias most iconic tourist destinations.  I have a yearly pass and am a regular visitor.  I haven’t quite got the confidence to actually sit and sketch the animals but I am working up to it soon I think 🙂  What I am doing at the moment is taking about a million photos of the animals.  I click away all day and then when I get home you can guarantee that only about 10% are actually any good haha.  I think I need more lessons with my camera.

Anyway, this is working for me at the moment so I will continue with it.  I don’t think you can have too many reference images, it’s all just a matter of keeping a good filing system on your computer.  I have just installed adobe bridge so I am keen to try and figure out how to use it as I have heard it is great for this purpose.

kangaroo-demo

I like to take photos of the animal in whole but I will then zoom up and take photos of individual elements such as the eye, feet, mouth etc.  It is also a good idea to get plenty of photos of the animal in various stages of movement,  I guess this is where most artists start sketching to try and capture that feeling but you can still get it with photos, or even better yet,  take a bit of video of the animal in motion as well,  if you really want to get the feel of what you are painting then it’s a great idea and great practice to set yourself up in front of your computer at home and try and do some sketches of the animal you have filmed.  It really helps to get the feel of that animal before you start on your masterpiece 🙂

flower                                                          When I am taking my photos I always try and look for good composition, I know that you can always crop etc on the computer but it definitely makes it a whole lot easier if you have an idea of composition whilst out on site.

 

I did a one-day photography course earlier this year with Chris Bray Photography at Australia Zoo and it taught me the basics of my Nikon DSLR camera.  It was well worth the money as I have had the camera for 5 years and was only using it on automatic,  now I know enough of the basics to see me taking great photos for my artwork reference.  Hey, I’m never gonna win any awards but I can still get some great photos to work with.

I pretty much stay in Aperture mode (A) on my wheel.  I find that I like most of my shots to have a short depth of field, which means only the subject I’m trying to shoot will be in focus.  Everything else behind and in front will be blurry.  My go to number on this is 5.6.  The only other thing I use a lot is the Exposure Compensate Wheel.  This is brilliant for adjusting the lighting.  Because I am always wandering around the Zoo, the lighting varies a lot.  Some animal enclosures are in the sun and of course, some are in the shadows or inside, so this little dial is a godsend to quickly adjust the exposure.

Its pretty much as simple as holding your finger down on the +/- button and turning the dial.  You will see a scale on your screen that will go up and down depending on which direction you turn your dial.  When the scale goes to the + side you will get lighter photos and when it goes to the – side you will get darker photos.  Just keep checking your viewfinder after each shot until you are happy with the lighting.  It’s quick adjustments like this that are crucial to taking good wildlife photos as the animals always seem to be camera shy so speed is necessary to getting a good shot.

Once I am back home and have some time, I will go over the photos I have taken that day and sort out the junk (blurry etc.) from the promising.  I then import them into Adobe Lightroom and sort out my favorites by giving them a star rating.  I find this is the best way to keep my photos organized.  5 stars are my images that I want to make a painting from so they are the ones that I set to work adjusting the colours, tones etc and working out composition.

To work out the composition of a planned piece, I first look at my photo and decide what size I think will work best for it, tall and skinny, wide, square.  Usually, the layout will jump out at me when I’m looking at the photo, this is partly due to my composition ideas I had while taking the photo, this is where I said it helps a lot to pre-think it during the picture taking process.

I don’t usually draw things small, the bigger the better I reckon haha.  My biggest problem was finding the paper large enough to work on but I have just solved this problem with my latest order of a 1.2mtr wide roll of pastel paper and 1mtr wide sheets of Arches Watercolour paper, so now I am not restricted in any way.

One last  tool I use before I am satisfied with my reference image and before I transfer it onto my drawing surface and that is my photoshop overlays of Composition Guides.  I have 3 of these which are:

Rule of Thirds – Probably the simplest of all composition guides and if you only use just one then this is.   The most important elements of your composition shouldrule-of-thirds be placed along the left or right vertical thirds and/or the top and bottom horizontal thirds. In addition, the four intersections of these lines are called the “power points.” This is where a subject should be placed to give it emphasis, and it is here where the eye is automatically drawn.

 

Golden Mean – The golden ratio appears in some patterns in nature, a spiral shell for example.  It has been used by the greatest painters to proportion their works and keep it aesthetically pleasing.

 

diamond-guideDiamond Guide – Probably the most complex but still can be used in most situations.     This one is useful for creating strong lead lines to the focal point.  Imagine where you might place a face, where the eyes will look.

 

I hope this has given you an insight into how I compose my work and also given you some ideas for your own interesting compositions.

Now don’t say I never give you guys anything, here is my Photoshop File of all 3 different composition guides for you to use on your own layouts.  Just place this file over your picture in photoshop and hide the guides you don’t want to use.   Simple 🙂

The only way I could figure out how to share this photoshop file with everyone was as a dropbox link,  I hope this works for everyone.  If not comment below with your email address and I will send the file directly to you.

Happy Painting 🙂

Kerri xx

 

Art Exhibitions – do I or don’t I?

Art Exhibitions – are they a necessary evil?

 

These are the questions I keep asking myself as I get ready for my first ever exhibition at Hillier & Skuse Gallery on the Gold Coast.  I have never really been able to get a large enough body of work together to hold my own exhibition but this has come along and there will be around 27 different artists all exhibiting in the same gallery.  This has given me the opportunity to try an exhibition out with my limited number of works and see if it pays off.  The cost for a 2mtr wall space is $300 along with the gallery keeping 20% of all sales.   Now as I am new to this I am not sure if this was a good deal or not but I am thinking it is, although time will tell if many people actually visit the exhibition.  What sold me on being part of this is it is running for nearly a 3 month period across christmas and is at a gallery in the queensland tourist capital of the Gold Coast.  With the large amount of artists involved in the exhibtion also comes a large amount of their family and friends that will visit plus each individual artist should be doing there own marketing campaign.   It is also going to be marketed by the great art tv show “Colour in your Life” so with all these pluses i would expect plenty of visitors through the door.

Now I volunteer at another Art Gallery local to me and the price for hiring it out is $150 per week.  So over the same amount of time as the gold coast exhibition the cost would build up to be much higher.  I know that this price if for the entire gallery but for someone like me who has really only been painting seriously for a couple of years then my body of work is not big enough to fill an entire gallery space.  Actually another bonus with this Gold Coast gallery is that we can change our paintings throughout the course of the exhibition which not only helps out the artist to get more work hung but also makes it more exciting for visitors.

The only downside I can see is that my work is possibly tied up for a long period and if nothing sells i am out of pocket $300.  But in saying that I have no other plans for my work to be hung elsewhere anyway and hopefully it will be worth $300 just for getting my name out there a bit.  I know I will have plenty of business cards on hand with all my details and links to social media etc.

I think my biggest worry about signing up for this and over the period of the exhibition is to be able to produce enough works.  I really don’t want the same work hanging in my space for the entire 3 months and if by chance any of my pieces sell, I need to make sure i can replace them.  So if anything, this will actually give me a kick up the arse to get more work finished and out the door.

I will keep you all posted with how I go with this as a first time exhibitor.  Any questions or if you have any tips for me just leave a comment below.  I would love to hear your opinions on Art Galleries and Exhibitions.

Next week we will be looking at Reference images and what equipment I use etc.

Happy Painting 🙂

Kerri xx

 

Well I figure I should at least have one blog post about me so you can all get to know who I am and what got me into Art.  Well theres no sob story or cliff hanging suspension in my life history haha.  I had a pretty normal middle class upbringing in a fairly small community (at the time) north of Brisbane, Qld Australia.

I think my love for animals definitely came from my childhood,  I was pretty renowned for bringing any stray home, sometimes not even a stray.  I remember clearly buying a cat from the pet shop and telling my mum it followed me home hahaha.  And my friends pets seemed to always be having babies so of course I would try my hardest to convince my parents that they really needed a home.  Luckily my mum and dad were also animal lovers and were pretty cool with it.  So I’ve had my fair share of Dogs, Cats, Birds, Mice, Rabbits, Fish, Lizards, Hermit Crabs.  All the standard pets for a kid.

I think Art was also always in my blood.  While my friends were out playing I would come up with an excuse to stay home and draw.  I loved copying images from the Sunday Newspaper comic strips.  I could draw any of them straight from memory and Snake Tales by SOLS was by far my favorite.  I even used to make little plastercine models of him.

snake

I of course took Visual Art as an OP subject through to Year 12 but decided not to further that Art education by going to University.  I think mainly because I didn’t really have anyone pushing me to do that and none of my group of friends were taking study further than yr 12.  We were all just glad to get out of there haha.

I did however end up working as a Face Painter at Expo 88 in Brisbane and then later became a Signwriter which I have been ever since, with my own business working along side my husband of 25 years.  So even though I do not have any formal training in Art, I have definitely stayed in the field, which had always been my dream.

I hope I’m not boring you with my history but like I said its nothing to write home about 🙂

Even though art was incofolk-artrporated in my daily job as a Signwriter, I think I truly started to take it more seriously when I opened a Market Stall selling hand painted picture frames and house signs.  I would paint a little frog, lizard, kookaburra or anything really onto old rustic timber and turn them into frames.  It was really a form of Folk Art actually but it gave me the bug to get back into my own Art.  So once my 3 kids were in bed I would sit up each night and paint these little animals to my hearts content.  I don’t really consider Folk Art as a serious form of painting, its more of a craft but it was a great stepping stone for me to actually believe I could become an Artist.  I think everyone has to go through these phases in their own artistic journey to get to where they want to ultimately be.

So I spent many years playing around with Acrylics and then progressed into Oils and Graphite.  I really do love all mediums but I don’t think I actually felt like I was good enough to enter any competitions or approach galleries until I discovered Pastels, which was only about 3 years ago.  So after 20 odd years of playing around and learning different Mediums I think I have finally found the one I am meant to draw with.

As an Artist you can never stop learning and over my years I have attended a number of workshops and lessons by a varied group of wonderful tutors in many different mediums and styles.  The eye opener though was a 5 lesson workshop with David Wells,  I saw his course advertised while I was taking Oil Lessons with Marcel at catBrisbane Painting Classes, the flyer showed a beautiful realistic dog portrait and I thought well here is something that suits me,  I would love to learn how to draw animals that look that realistic, even though I had never really heard of or tried Soft Pastels before I decided to give it a go.  And from that first lesson I was hooked.  It just felt natural to me and I love that by building up the layers of pastel, you can achieve a softness to the fur that actually looks like you could run your hands through it,  there is no other medium that can give this effect,  plus you can get your hands dirty, kind of like finger painting really 🙂   So here are my first ever pastels from my lessons with David.

puppy

I am definitely in love with this medium and since then have painted 6 Dingoes, 2 Leopards, 1 Tiger, 1 Cheetah and 1 Red Hot Poker Flower and am currently working on a Cassowary, which you can check the progress of all my work on my facebook page.

My next phase will be to take it to the next level and become a full-time Artist.  Hopefully if all goes to plan, by this time next year I should be living the dream and producing a hell of a lot more work.  It is quite difficult working a full-time job and then trying to work on your passion at night, as I’m sure many of you would understand, so this can’t come quick enough for me.

I have plenty of ideas in the pipeline so stay tuned for exciting things to come.  Next week I will start to talk about techniques etc. 🙂

 

Kerri xx