Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Week Of Roses

 Given I am still without all my art supplies (they are somewhere on the Pacific Ocean), I have been enjoying going back through some old sketchbook pages from last year.  This week I have found myself in a mood for roses, and yes, they are one of my favorite flowers.

To finish the week, I thought I would show you this yummy rose I painted in my Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" Series Sketchbook.  It's done using Delta Ceramcoat Matte Acrylic, Luminarte's Silks Acrylic Glaze, and Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencil.

The leaves were trimmed with a flutter of gold leafing, just for fun.  

Drawing roses is not easy for me, but I love the way the light plays within the petals. They are a beautiful subject and although this weeks series of blog posts may have been better suited for the Valentine's Day week, it was fun to present nonetheless.

Have a great rest of the week, and weekend.  

Thanks for checking in. xx

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Zeta Rose

When Stillman & Birn were about to release their newest line of papers called "Zeta", I was lucky enough to test out some sheets.

I did quite a lot of playing around with different media and was completely thrilled with the results.  The "Zeta" paper seemed to take anything and everything I could throw at it.

"Zeta" is 180lb smooth surface, much like traditional hot-press.  It has strong surface sizing and is a beautiful natural white, which brings out the vibrancy of color like nothing else.  I favor water soluble media, and for fun I thought I would try out my Sennelier Soft Pastels on the "Zeta" paper. 

This rose was done by washing the pastel with water after it was applied. Most soft pastels are water soluble, but often the colors are dull and diluted.  Sennelier pastels hold up well to wet washes, even though that is not what they were designed for.  I would recommend a fixative to seal it once you're done.  

I defined the rose with black marker to finish.  

Enjoy the rest of your week and thanks for checking in. xx

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Practicing Roses

Roses are one of my favorite flowers. When I was younger, I owned a house in Australia that had 28 incredible rose bushes, all of them spectacular. I became quite good at growing roses, but learning to paint them has been a whole different ball game.

Practice makes perfect, and because I seem to stumble when painting roses I've been practicing by studying the art of some wonderful botanical artists.

This rose was inspired by Michael Lakin, although it's a little out of proportion, I was fairly pleased nonetheless.

This page is done in ink and Caran d'Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble Wax Pastels.  I'll have more roses for you tomorrow.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Monday, February 24, 2014

Twinkling Art Workshop

After a lot of preparation, marketing, and anticipation, I'm excited to say that my new online class, Mastering Twinks Part 2 - Twinkling Expressions has finally started.

After only a few days I am astounded at the quality of work that the participants are sharing.  It's humbling really!

Many of the participants have come from Mastering Twinks Part 1 - Twinkling Discoveries and it has been joyful to watch their evolution as artists.

Twinkling h2O's are the tools we use, but the class is all about watercolor technique, with the emphasis is on "Luminescent" watercolor. That means using color, blends, and light to create breath-taking art. 

 Twinkling h2O's are infused with mica and other minerals which enhances the vibrancy of the color pigment and leaves a subtle twinkle on the page. 


Works done with Twinkling h2Os appear to have their own light source.  The pages glow with color and and the subjects dance with light.

I am so thrilled to be guiding this amazing series of classes.  Both Twinkling Discoveries and Twinkling Expressions remain open for registration, so if you'd like to explore the exquisite world of luminescent watercolor, please join me.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Sketchbook Challenge

I'm blogging on "The Sketchbook Challenge" blog today.  The February theme is "Windows".  Pop on over for some sketchbook inspiration and join in the fun.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Words To Live By

 "There is only one thing for us to do, and that is to do our level best with where we are, every day of our lives."

~Orison Swett Marsden

I wanted to say a huge thank you so much to all of you who left me comments or sent me emails in response to my blog post on Monday.  I was so moved by your support and understanding, and I was energized and uplifted in ways you can only image.  Thank you.

Tthe past couple of months have given me so much inspiration for thoughts, journal pages, and art in general.  When we face major changes we are also faced with choices about how to deal with them.  For me, my sketchbook becomes my confidant.  It is the place where I use pictures and colors, along with words, to work through my process.  It often challenges me to think differently about what I am facing.  

I have had the added distraction of preparing my next offering in the Mastering Twinks series, with my upcoming online class "Twinkling Expressions".  This has been a welcome distraction over the past few months, and has grounded me in very powerful ways.  Tomorrow when this class goes live, my artistic heart will be opened and exposed to you all once more.

It's easy to let go of those elements of ourselves that sometimes feel like indulgences, but think carefully.  Are they indulgences, or are the fundamental to your health and well being?  My art, especially my focus on the sketchbook has been vital to helping me move through the past few months in a meaningful way.  That, and my focus on building my class offerings.

"Twinkling Expressions"  has been my labor of love and is a journey that reflects the growth and changes that have taken place for me this past year. Plunging my brush into my Twinkling h2O's every day has felt like a life-line to sanity, a shroud of light and warmth, and an old familiar friend with whom I can be totally real.

My studio is gone now, what's left of my art supplies are in a box, somewhere over the pacific ocean destined to come back to me sometime in the year ahead. When they arrive, I will have the joyful task of setting up again from scratch.  Unpacking each of my precious Twinkling h2O pots, brushes, and sketchbooks with such joy and excitement.  I can't wait.

In the meantime, I have filled every sketchbook I had kept aside.  When the art flows from change, it flows fast, and in abundance.  I am headed out now to pick up a new book in which to play.  But in the meantime, in the spirit of philosophy, I thought I would share this page that I did whilst in the depths of my decision making. The gum-leaves are done in Twinkling h2O's, the background is mat acrylic, and it is finished in black ink and white and gold gel pen. . The sketchbook is my treasured Stillman & Birn "Zeta" series

For those of you enrolled in "Twinkling Expressions", I'll see you tomorrow.  

Thanks for checking in. xx

Monday, February 17, 2014

Change & Transition

Change and transition are both a blessing and curse.  I believe our most profound growth comes from these places.

I've been going through one of those periods of change and although it's been challenging, it is resulting in an exciting and beautiful transformation for me.  This transformation, I know will have ripple affects across all the aspects of my life, especially my art.

Change is never easy, but when the familiar ground on which one stands begins to break away it can become quite frightening. Artistically, this can be a serendipity, learning to let go fear and expectation, learning to trust in a process that is unfamiliar, and letting your instinct take you in a direction that is completely unfamiliar can be so powerful.

The landscape of the coming year has already changed from what I planned. But that's OK, the landscape around me is changing everyday and I must change along with it if I am to thrive.

 Over the past few months, my husband and I made the impossible decision to pack up and return to the USA after only 8 months in Australia. The main driver behind this decision has been the quality of care and support available to our Autistic son.  

Quite simply, we found that there is so much more available to an Autistic child in the US, so many more opportunities for learning and development, much more emphasis and acceptance of the Autistic community, and a plethora of Autism specific programs, that in our minds, it was an easy choice and one that was available to us.


 Plus the medical team at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital is world class, and given Thomas is still battling medical challenges, we felt it was better for him to be back with the people who have been caring for him all his short life.

I have no interest in sparking a debate about the pro's and con's of one countries support for Autistic children over another.  Both countries are different and each offers something unique.  But this decision was available to us, and although it meant leaving my precious and beautiful homeland and my family there once again, we realized that Thomas only has one childhood, and one chance to maximize his learning and development. 

So in our experience (and we have more than most), the US gave us what we believe to be the best options for our son. End of story!

I am multicultural.  A person who is part of two cultures, and although this can be hard, it is also a gift.  I will always have two homes, I will always be pulled between the two countries I love so much. I am an extremely lucky person, and very very happy to be home in the US once more.  

 Life is slowly getting back to normal, we are setting up home in Iowa again, I am reconnecting to my friends and my community, and I am awaiting the start of Mastering Twinks Part 2 this week with much excitement and anticipation. I have a lot of wonderful things planned for my blog and artistic offerings over the coming months, including two new online classes and a return of the much anticipated "A Taste of Silks" online class through Luminarte.  So stay tuned.

Thank you again for your patience and support while I have been in transition.  

And as always, thanks for checking in. xx