24 Jun 2012

Letting your inner child out to play

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities."
Dr Seuss

I haven't posted here for a couple of weeks. I kind of lost track of time and I'm not sure where the time went. I guess most of it disappeared into family stuff, school visits, etc. Next week will be the first week of a two week school holiday for the kids, between terms, so I thought I'd better post something now while I've got some peace. It can be quite funny proofreading something I've written while I was also talking to the kids about something else but it doubles the work really :)

For the past two weeks I've been reading through a few mixed media and drawing books from my local library, taking notes and trying out some of the exercises. Quite formal exercises. Today I was going to do the same thing but I just couldn't get into it. I wanted to paint something more fun and less lesson like instead. Luckily I borrowed an excellent book called "Drawing Lab for mixed media artists" by Carla Sonheim with the other books. It's a great little book filled with quick exercises to get your creative juices flowing. I'd spotted a fun sounding exercise in it and today seemed like the right time to give it a try. This is a link to the book.

The exercise was to help release your inner Dr Seuss. The idea is to flick through a few of his books to get a feel for his style and then draw something of your own in that sort of style. It was a lot of fun and I drew a few houses in our street. My house is the pink one with the dangerous looking stairs (I broke my foot on them back in February this year). My neighbor's house is the blue one down the hill and so on. The spiky trees are our cabbage trees that grow here in New Zealand. I totally had fun with this and was feeling pretty happy with it when my son walked in from school and said "Dr Seuss, mmm looks good" and my daughter agreed. I started to have second thoughts though when my husband walked through and asked if it was from SpongeBob Squarepants. You can't please everyone I guess :)

I've decided to draw more of this type of image when I'm feeling tired of the normal work, to relax and have fun and perhaps I'll develop my own style in time.  I've also been toying with the idea of creating a little story using fingerprint characters. Miss 7 would love that too :)

10 Jun 2012

Autumn Collage Fun

Autumn Leaves

Golden and red,
spinning,whirling, dancing
in circles to the music of the wind.
The trees shake off their autumn coat
to dance naked in the winter chill.
The ephemeral mists silkily
caressing their limbs,
before abandoning them to
sway in gentle rhythm
to Mother Natures music.
- Carolyne MacMillan (me)

About two weeks ago Miss 7 and I collected lots of autumn leaves from our garden and pressed them for a week. The Liquid Amber leaves were particularly lovely shades of pink and red. Yesterday we decided to collage with some of them. Miss 7 also used some of the other paper collage items we had lying around. I also found a packet of skeleton leaves I didn't remember we had and we started to create. The images were to represent our vision of Autumn. 

It turned out to be an interesting exercise in patience for Miss 7 who had trouble with everything sticking to her fingers and not to the paper. Dried leaves are very fragile and for a while I thought she might give up but after a lot of effort though she got everything where she wanted it and started drawing with felt pen within her collage. In the end she decided that it needed to dry out before she could do any more and we packed up for the afternoon. I was pleased when she asked could we do this again next weekend, I wasn't sure she had enjoyed this exercise as much as some of the others we have shared. So hopefully she will finish her collage next weekend and I can add a picture here.

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the colors all pinks, reds, oranges and shades of brown and the misty cool mornings. I think it's the best season for early morning walks with my camera. Winter is a close second for me though. We don't get snow here but crunching through icy grass on a cold morning is fun and I love the stark tree shapes half hidden in the mist. It's a great time to be alive.
You can keep my Spring though, too rainy and it spoils the flowers and Summer is just too hot to bother with really. 

The photo above was taken by me back in 2009. It's taken on a walkway around one of our local lakes and our families favorite place to go for walks. I never have to ask twice if anyone wants to go for a walk around the lake :) 

My collage is a mixture of acrylic paint and leaves.