Back to basics again!

ShoesStaying with the same theme, another study for the next mixed media piece. I had forgotten how much I love to just sit and draw. Maybe when I sign up for 30 in 30 again I’ll do a drawing a day for 30 days…think I could manage that! It’s hard to believe that the month is coming to an end, when there’s still so much more to do! So glad, I made the commitment to paint everyday. For the rest of the year, I look forward to carrying on the habits that have become so natural over the last few weeks. 2016 is my year in the studio!

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Playing with hot wax!

Shoes‘A little Girls Shoes’
Graphite and Encaustic on Cradled Panel

I know this looks very similar to the image I posted yesterday! In fact it’s the same graphite drawing with a few more touches…and a whole lot more! Today I decided to experiment by encasing the drawing in encaustic medium on a cradled panel…all very exciting! It’s hard to see from the picture, but the subtle texture of the brush marks on and around the shoes adds a softness and tactile quality and the build up of layers seem to give even more age! I’m not sure if this is finished…I might come back to it in a few days. I can’t wait to continue with this technique and explore further ideas and possibilities…starting in the morning!

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Back to Basics!

Shoes

This is the first of the drawings for the Encaustic Mixed Media series. It’s a follow on from a couple of other ‘shoe’ paintings. The first came about when I was visiting a friend and noticed a little pair of old and well worn boys shoes on his mantelpiece! He explained that he had worn them as a child, as did all of his brothers. He had recently uncovered them in the family home. I asked if I could borrow the heirlooms and this is the painting that followed.

Johnnys Shoes
Johnny’s Hand me Downs

A year or so later I came across a pair of my own family heirlooms! I only found only one of each, a girls and a boys shoe, worn by my Mom and her brothers (and possibly cousins also)! I painted them on a wonky chair, another heirloom and they now sit on my mantelpiece!

Sister & Brother
Sister and Brother

I’m sure that the little black shoes from today’s drawing have an interesting story to tell, but unfortunately I know nothing about them or the girl who wore them. I bought them as a job lot on eBay! They came in a box with eight other little pairs of old and very old children’s shoes. Some are very well worn, but one pair is unused and still in the original box marked ‘Crib Shoes’. The logo on the box reads “A gift for an ideal baby”!!

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More finishing touches!

Plums‘Trio of Plums’
Encaustic on Cradled Panel

This is a piece I’ve worked on over the last few days. Adding layers then melting some away! The blue stripe has been a recurring element in many of my recent paintings. A common thread that unifies the collection!

I’m looking forward to exploring further the medium of encaustic and already have ideas for the next series, combining drawings with wax! The possibilities seem endless! Also excited about having the first artist working predominantly in this medium as artist in residence at the gallery in March.

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Finishing Touches!

 

Daffodil
‘Golden Boy’ Watercolour on Aquabord

One of the challenges with working from life is that nothing stays the same! I sat in front of the daffodils this morning eager to finish what I started yesterday and of course it all looked very different! Yesterdays bud on the left was this morning in full flower and pushing its way in front to get to the light and this one had decided to raise its head! So I had to improvise! I think I’ll keep this little painting as a happy memory of another special milestone!

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Golden Daffodil

DaffodilDaffodil
Watercolour on Aquabord

Spring is a little confused in Kerry this year! This daffodil opened in our garden yesterday, to mark a special day! I picked it this morning along with a few others and have worked on it all day, it’s unfinished, but I’ll get back to it tomorrow! Love the scent of daffodils in the studio! This is one of the same group of daffodils found in my mosaic backsplash. I associate them with my mother when they flower each year as she gave me the bulbs when I started my garden several years ago! Gardening has given me a better appreciation for every season and Spring is one of my favourites!

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Bundle of Joy

Bundle of JoyBundle of Joy
Watercolour
NFS

The 21st of January is a special day, so I’m breaking the rules! Today is my little baby’s 18th birthday!  I painted this portrait when he was probably just a few weeks old, on a rare occasion when he was asleep for long enough!

Tom was born in January ’98 and in December that same year, motivated by this little bundle  I followed my dream and opened the gallery…that’s two babies in one year!  I am blessed to be able to make a living and provide for us both by doing what I love to do. It has been a very busy 18 years filled with lots of highs and also many challenges. The first 10 years were the boom years and life was good, but since then it has been a struggle for small business owners to keep the doors open. We have reinvented ourselves and worked twice as hard for little return. Last week I was chatting to a lovely new customer who purchased one of my prints, she quoted the late great Mary Keane saying if we don’t support small businesses in our town we will no longer have a town…it’s nice to know that Mary’s wisdom is still being heard and followed! I am grateful for the support of family and friends along the way and for my  customers and collectors many of whom I now call friends…couldn’t have done it without you!

I woke this morning to find the first few daffodils flowering in our garden, for the first time ever on Toms birthday (not that he would notice!) I took it as a sign of new beginnings, hope for the future and reward for all the hard work. The message on the birthday card I chose for him says it all ‘So thankful for the special person you grew up to be’…and very proud today and everyday!

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Plums on Striped Napkin

Plums and Striped ClothPlums
Encaustic on Cradled Panel
8″ x 8″

Another unfinished painting…but tomorrow is another day! I am surrounded by little square still lifes, all with blue stripes in common! When they’re finished and framed I’ll group them together on one wall in the gallery (although I do have a wall adjacent to the dining room table that’s crying out for them!) I have enjoyed working from life and swapping from one medium to another each day and will continue to do so when the challenge ends. It has been just what I needed to get in the zone for all the studio time I will have this year! Very exciting and interesting times ahead!

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Away with the fairies!

Angels
Mosaic Guardian Angels €25 each

 

Today I didn’t get a lot of studio time, but to honour the challenge I made the little blue angel in the middle. It will be grouted and finished with a coordinating loop and ribbon in the morning. The other two, I made earlier! I realised I sold out of pink and blue guardian angels for baby’s first Christmas Keepsakes, so needed to replenish. They also make special gifts for new arrivals, birthdays, communions, teachers gifts, get well soon etc. They are all one of a kind, each with a personality and attitude of their own! Making these little fairies is a welcome and easy alternative when I need a break from working on the backsplash!

The angels are available in a wide range of colours and styles and come in a coordinating organza gift bag and a handmade card.  Free shipping worldwide until the end of January!

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The Big Reveal!

Plums‘Trio of Plums’
Encaustic on Maple
€350

I worked some more on the plums from last week and here is the finished painting. I also picked up some other plums, a different variety much lighter in colour, more green and peach than plum! They will come next.

So after some deliberation I  decided to go ahead and grout the second panel of my mosaic backsplash today! Cleaning off the grout to reveal the mosaic beneath is a just reward for all the hard work, it really is a labour of love! Looking forward to starting the next panel already. Only 2/3 left to go approximately!

Kitchen Mosaic2

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