This is not a lifestyle blog! But as I was updating my Etsy pics and putting my artwork in context I thought I’d muse (I think that’s the blog word de jour!) on how to make your house a little you friendly. Hands up those of us who read magazines and look at designer blogs and secretly want, want, want, that look! It’s ok there’s only you and me here so you can admit it. Then you look around your house at all the stuff piling up which doesn’t match and give up.
Well, there’s hope yet. I was at a friend’s house the other day and she was overwhelmed by her kitchen. Sometimes life just gets in the way of purging your stuff. And when you have a few precious seconds there’s always something better to do – like reading a book. Anyway, back to my friend. I helped clear a space on her bench top, where the kettle sits, and popped all the tea making paraphernalia in a cupboard. And voila! A clear space. She was so happy! And it looked 100 times better. Then we put a lovely picture on the wall.
Once you’ve got around to clearing a little bit of space, then you can start to look through all those decorative ornaments, photos, bowls, teacups – whatever you love – and place little scenes around the house. But don’t put everything out! Just begin with one or two in areas that make sense – on top of chest of drawers or cabinets. Colour is often a good way to decide if objects go together. And the magic number is three. You may think it means more dusting but because you’ve created some visual excitement no one’s going to notice a little bit of dust. They’ll be too busy admiring your handy work!
As an aside I always think a piece of furniture below a picture or photo on a wall is a good anchor. Couches especially look great if you can put something of interest behind them. You don’t need to spend a lot of money either. Places like K-Mart, Freedom and Ikea sell fantastic picture frames which are simple and stylish. I find it pleasing and surprisingly calming when my eye is drawn to objects around my house that I like looking at. It beats lingering on the pile of washing I haven’t put away yet!
This time of year is perfect to stimulate the senses and gain inspiration for new paintings from my garden. Here in South Australia, the days are gradually becoming warmer as we emerge from the throes of winter. Spring did burst forth with a couple of tantalisingly brilliant sun-filled days but then it was cold again. It was warm enough for flowers to start budding and I’ve been noticing them emerge tentatively.
First, the nectarine tree shyly displayed the odd spot of muted colour then suddenly revealed its breathtaking dress of glorious pink. Every time I glance outside it compels my gaze. Then elsewhere in the garden, one lily unfurled its tightly wrapped creamy petal out of a horde of lush green leaves. I watched its lone existence hoping there would be more to come. And soon joining this trailblazer was a group of lilies so expertly arranged, there was no need to cut them and put them in a vase. They had artfully prepared themselves and graced the garden so perfectly it felt like it must be by some superior design.
Over the weeks I’ve been watching the echium prepare itself to flower. This shrub pours all its efforts into looking the best it can in spring. The flowers raise themselves up like warriors presenting their spears; the muted sage green a welcome counterpoint to the lime green of nearby agapanthus leaves. Just when it seems there will only be this sea of green, tiny purple explosions of colour erupt and each spear eventually fulfils its fecund purpose attracting a few busy bees.
I’ve now turned my attention to the acanthus plants whose flower fronds have thrust torch like out of decorative leaves chewed into lacy swirls by very hungry caterpillars. Eventually, they’ll attract hovering bees when their thistly segments open to reveal tiny white petals which will ignite into full flower.
Then there’s the delicate quince blossom sitting at the back of the garden. The tree delivers the most brutish looking fruit but at this time of year it is covered with pretty corps de ballet dancing in the breeze; their green tutus ripple and white flower heads nod in unison.
It’s all too breathtaking really and I haven’t even had to leave the house! Hopefully, I’ll find time to paint some of these beauties.
My kids love drawing. It’s a no brainer really when you consider genetics. I’m forever urging them to go outside and play! Climb a tree, roll in the grass, smell the roses. As a mother who’s trying to do the right thing I’m constantly aware of all those nature play messages. I get it! I’m listening. But unfortunately my kids aren’t. They love reading and listening to audio books and drawing. Yep, we’re all nerds. No sporty types present here. We do go for walks on the beach, national parks and local parks. And it’s fun. But never as much fun as those other brain stimulating pursuits.
One of my favourite activities with my kids is sitting down to draw with them. When they were little I thought our art escapades would be grand adventures involving paints and easels and slapping messy colours onto big pieces of paper. But they just like to draw. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we listen to spotify or an audio book. It’s just great to be with them and enjoy something we all love doing.
My one wish is drawing and creating art was a bit more valued in our culture. It’s a bit heart breaking when you see your child’s skill devalued by their school peers. So while I say yes to nature play, l also say yes to drawing-quietly-and-disappearing-into-your-imagination-play as well!
I love this image I found on Pinterest and used it as inspiration for my new painting. I’ve always adored succulents and cactus plants. The colours and composition really drew my eye and I knew it’d look amazing on a very large canvas my sister rescued.
The canvas, which had a truly terrible machine printed abstract, was being thrown out. Gotta love recycling!
I painted over the original canvas in white and then dark green, drew on some basic white chalk circles and started painting.
It’s a bit haphazard but that’s the way I like to work. I do have an image in my head and sometimes I can achieve that. But on other occasions something else emerges.
This is where I’m at presently, but I still have a long way to go.
I really want this work to pop, so I may spray water and see if I can get some beautiful mingling of colour. But first I have to decide which way to hang it.
Do you like to paint? What’s your method? Controlled or happy accidents? I’d love to know.
And I sold my very first painting today, so I’m very excited. It’s called Pears. I like to state the obvious.
I’ve been painting for a very long time and art has always been core to my well being. I come from a family that values art. My mother and her twin sister were art teachers as was their mother. I will always remember my grandmother painting me when I was sick. I guess it was the only time she could get me to sit still long enough!
Whenever I feel the urge to paint it’s usually because I have an image trapped in my brain and I want to explore it. I’m drawn to intense colour which is why I predominantly paint flowers and fruit. Although, I do appreciate the subtle palette of the Australian landscape.
I’m not really sure if anyone will be interested in what I have to say, but I would like to sell my paintings so I can keep evolving as an artist. So here it begins.