Third time the charm


Once again I have written and re written this post and after deleting hundreds of words I am left with this…

Still working on the portrait of my friend.


Happier with the skin tones and it is really gaining depth now.  I got called a “clever clogs” by my teacher for working in the decking so well and very quickly.

Still need to do the hands, phone and coffee cup but that will be next week.

I think this is going to be a good one.


Life is busy.  Working those extra hours still.  Benefit could be a new car though.

Mine needs updating and the extra money means a newer car than perhaps I thought I would get so that could be rather exciting.

Sometimes I miss the old anonymity of my earlier blogging.  The ability to say without censorship.

To simply write without fear of offending or causing drama.  At least not in my real life.

The blog domain is coming up for renewal and I am faced with the decision of whether to keep or lose the “”

And if I drop it, what happens next?  Do I invest in another or simply continue to blog to my tiny audience under the default WordPress domain?

I am not going away though.  Not yet.  I still have things to say, even if I am talking to myself.

Even if I have to be careful with what I say.

I am babbling.

Time to post.



Fuck off Winter..

Seriously, its middle of September, officially Spring and I have just put the heater on as I try to warm up.

For those of you on the other side of the world dreaming of a respite from the heat, may I propose a house swap?

Ugh, my fingers are purple and I haven’t even been painting today.  Well no real painting.  Bit of touch up stuff but other than that it has been the usual Sunday chores and now some quiet time in my now tidy studio while I bitch about the weather.


So much for not grumbling on my blog eh?

So whats happening in your life?  I’m still working extra hours which might have the positive of helping me get a new car.  Maybe even an actual, never been owned by anyone but me new car.

After two and a half years of driving into the city mostly during peak hour in my little sexy Getz, I am over the manual transmission and the whole riding the clutch while we crawl along at 15kph.

We went looking yesterday at the cute little Suzuki Swift and apart from fitting my budget, its a really nice little car.  So far it ticks most of the boxes and I might be a little in love already.  Although that can all change when I actually take one for a test drive.

Couple of weeks until I will get that opportunity so plenty of time to look around still…

24 or so hours later..

So Sunday finished with a trip to the Archery club despite the bitterly cold wind to watch the final rounds of a charity tournament.

Then suddenly it was Monday again and with another full day of work over, I have my feet up watching the Aussie version of “Survivor” as I type this.

The heater is on again, its still cold in the evenings although at least today the rain has stopped for now.

But enough about the cold.

My latest painting is progressing.

I had struggled last week as the photo I was working from was slightly skewed and it messed with my brain a little as I tried to work from a lopsided horizon line.

So a new week and a reprinted edited photo meant that a lot of my original painting was reworked.

The whole image was made larger in composition and I started work on skin tones and fabric.

What attracted me to the original photo was the play of light.  And that is the challenge I have set myself in trying to capture that light and keep the whole feel “loose”

It’s still got a fair way to go before I will be happy, and working it in oils, it is still a real learning process but this is the process this week.

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Lots of fiddling before stopping at this point.




I’m liking it, to be honest. And enjoying the paint.  Very different from my last couple of portraits but a style I want to explore more.

It’s on a canvas sheet, like a lot of my “quickies” but that is more because of convenience than anything else.  It’s portable and even possibly disposable if it all goes wrong.

And if it goes well, easily framed.

So there you go, just a bit of what is happening for me at the moment.

Life is good if busy.

I’m happy

And that’s what’s important.

Keep smiling





Never forget

I will confess that it was probably the one place that I was really unsure if I wanted to visit.

Only a few days before we had visited the FDNY museum and it had very nearly brought me to tears as I read the stories and saw the faces of the 343 brave fire fighters who lost their lives trying to save those innocents as the Twin Towers collapsed around them.

But Hubby wanted to go, and my heart told me that I couldn’t leave NYC without visiting the 911 memorial site.

The sun was shining brightly and the park although crowded, was lovely. Green grass and young trees shading paths leading to the stunning memorial pools.

To one side, people queued to enter the museum but I knew that I couldn’t face that.  Instead I stood at the black marble wall, watching the water fall and read the names engraved into the zone as I remembered exactly where I was when it all happened.

Again, tears filled my eyes as I read those names in front of me, people I never knew and would never meet,  and my heart ached for their families who would forever grieve the loss of their loved ones.

It’s so hard to believe that it has now been 15 years.

I’m glad I went and paid my respects, despite my trepidation. Happy that I paused and prayed that one day love will defeat hate and there will be peace.


It has been a couple of weeks or so since I was last here.  Working full time has left me a little weary but I am coping and so far despite some bitch moments, all is good.

Tomorrow I am collecting some art work that has been on display at our Royal Show for the past couple of weeks.  No prizes or sales, but still good to have it out in public.

After finishing my portrait of John, I needed to splash some colour and so I painted butterflies in a completely different style.

Big bold bright and quick.

Three paintings in one art class session.

Two have homes already which brings me great joy.

And just to keep challenging myself, last Saturday I started another new painting.


Yes, another portrait but more than just the face.  In oils too.

Just a little bit terrified of doing those hands, but that is why I keep trying to push myself out of my comfort zone.

I am completely fascinated with the process of creating a recognisable portrait but still keeping my own style and interpretation.

Each one is better than the last as I become more comfortable and instinctive with the tones, colour, light and shade.

And I keep on amazing myself with my results.

Considering that not that long ago, portraiture was something that felt completely beyond my capabilities, I have come a long way.

Of course I couldn’t have got where I am without the amazing teacher I currently have and the support of my family and friends.

Not quite at “Archibald” standard yet (Google Archibald Art prize if you want) but not too bad if I say so myself.

So as you can see, I am still around.  Life is good, if busy and I am looking forward to the end of next month when Hubby and I will get away for a few days at the beach.

Weather has been erratic as Spring often can, and it’s hard to believe that it has almost been a year since my big USA adventure.

Hope you all have a good week

Keep smiling










This post started as a rant but perhaps some things are better off left unsaid.

I really need to keep this as a positive place as sometimes I seem to fall into a hole and end up almost  drowning  in the darkness of  drama and negativity.

And while this place should be my safe place to say things, I don’t want the spoil the good energy of the day with my bitching and moaning about things I can’t change.

And so now that I have deleted half a post, I need to find other things to fill the page…


It’s been a couple of weeks since I last sat down here.  Life has been busy, and  I have been sick for some of it.

A dose of “Man Flu” caught from a dear friend when I hugged him at a Quiz night a couple of weeks ago.  So typical, I give him baked goods, he gives me a fortnight of snot and coughing.

I even had to miss a class, not that I was terribly ill, but to protect a young woman in class who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

But while I missed class, I kept on working, as we have several people away for various reasons and I am the only bunny silly enough to take on extra hours.

At least the pay packet will be fuller.

There has been some art though, despite crazy long work hours and some awesome socialising.

This was the result of a weekend spent with Miss S.  She has found a job, boyfriend and home out north of the city – almost 2 hours now from where I live.  So when visiting her, it made sense to stay overnight and enjoy her hospitality and the opportunity to explore some more of the beautiful Barossa Valley.

She took me out to dinner on the Saturday night and as is typical of us, we doodled on the paper table cover at a posh restaurant and then later turned out ideas into a big bright piece of art while enjoying home made cocktails.

After a two week break from class, yesterday I got back to working on this and fixed the area around his mouth before adjusting the jacket.

A few extra hairs in that beautiful beard and it is done.


“John” is finished, signed and SOLD.

My first true portrait commission.  And I am so very happy with how it turned out.

Talking portraits,

I have another possible dilemma.  A painting I did for someone who no longer is a friend.

It’s not a big one, a simple sheet of canvas.

At first I thought I would send it, but that was when I thought perhaps the relationship could be salvaged. (Now I wouldn’t waste my money on postage)

So now the options are:

Burn it

Bin it

Paint over it

or as one friend suggested – Use it as a dart board.

And to clarify, it is a portrait and as such would unlikely interest anyone except the subject (or a besotted follower perhaps)

What should I do?  Do you have another idea?

All suggestions considered and the more creative the better.

Writing done, art work shared, probably time to get off my butt and hang the washing.

Hope you are all having a good weekend.

With smiles and hugs



PS nearly forgot

This was in the tree outside of class yesterday






Waffles and Whiskers

Life can be full of little disappointments.

Today I learned that a wonderful girl I work with, got a job that I had also applied for.  I knew I had missed out, found out a few days ago, and was OK, as I knew I really didn’t want it.

And I am happy for her, but was still hit with a wave of disappointment that she was chosen over me and once again I was overlooked.

But that is my ego bruised and to be honest I am probably more devastated that I dropped my favourite coffee mug than not  getting the job.



In the end, I have a job.  I have so many blessings that it is selfish to focus on stupid disappointments.  She deserves this opportunity, she is an awesome worker, a generous soul and it will make her life a lot easier to not have the extra distance to travel each day.

So we move on.

Each year in August there is a massive art festival here in South Australia.  We call it SALA (South Australian Living Artists) and so far I haven’t got my shit together in time to put together an exhibition.

It’s on the “list” but requires more organisation than I have so far been motivated to muster.

But it provides me with wonderful opportunities to see what other artists are doing and be both inspired and sometimes intimidated by the incredible talent around.

Last Monday I went to the exhibition opening of a friend, her venue, a beach side ice-cream shop.  Pretty good combination according to MJ who happily came along with me, lured by the promise of waffles and ice-cream.



Wednesday was a solo visit to our city Art Gallery to check out an exhibition by a well known portraiture artist – Robert Hannaford.  A showcase of his art,  spanning 50 years, and it was brilliant.  A truly passionate and talented artist.



Saturday was my time to paint and I have made more progress on my new portrait.

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Nearly two hours spent painting that fabulous beard.  The cushion behind his head  was also reshaped and I might have got very excited when I got his nose just as I wanted.

Next week I plan to work on his eyes.

I am very happy with it so far.

And despite not getting a job I didn’t really want anyway, it has been an awesome week filled with art, food, wine and good friends.

I am truly blessed and very grateful.











look in to my eyes..


Its all about the math.

It took me a while to get it to click but the secret in a good portrait really seems to be all about the measuring and angles.

In the beginning, painting faces that actually looked ok (forget about realistic, I was aiming for humanoid) was hard, stressful and damn difficult.

There was a LOT of disasters, most that have never seen the light of day.

I did faceless mermaids and cartoonish fairies, but I was never really happy with the results.



At my first lot of art classes, one of my early projects was a portrait “in fauvist style”

a style of painting with vivid expressionistic and non-naturalistic use of colour that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. Matisse was regarded as the movement’s leading figure.
It was adequate, but not wonderful and had a very short life span. (the only thing good about that bloody portrait is the hat to be honest)
Anther project, another attempt at capturing  a likeness.
Skin tones ok…but
New classes, same teacher but a whole different approach to learning and portraiture was put away while I learned other skills including working in oils. Except for my “selfie”
2015-06-27 16.59.11
I played with charcoal.  The messy smudgy thing working as I got my head around the basics.
Confidence growing, I decided to attempt some drag queen portraiture.
While the art was showing that practice makes improvement, sadly the project proved disastrous on a personal front and once again I retreated from painting faces.
But despite everything, I am hooked on capturing faces in paint. And I finally felt ready to take on the sepia portrait of my Grandfather based on a photo taken when he was in the air force.
A deeply personal project and one I was determined to get right.  And if the look on my mother’s face when she first saw it is anything to go by, I got it very right.
And from that portrait I have been commissioned to paint another, also in the sepia style on the linen canvas.
I am two sessions in now and still a fair amount of work to do, but so far it is going well.
I still have a lot to learn about painting faces.  Still need to develop my style properly but I am getting there.
More than other painting subjects, it’s all about the math, preparation and practice.
And not giving up when it gets hard.
Oh and if you think that sepia is now my thing, check out this last one
Say “Hi” to Drew.  This was a bit of a quick paint but it turned out pretty wonderful.
And he loves it.
As do I.

Sticks and stones

I have had a few different words and names thrown at me in the last few months, and not all of them particularly positive or kind.  Some obviously with the clear intent to hurt, said in anger, and others dressed up as “constructive criticism”.

To list what has been said here though, will continue to give the negativity too much power, and too much power has already been given.

On the other side of the coin, I have also been called many nice things, including “a good friend” and “a fucking ANGEL”.

So why bring this up?  Because despite what our mothers might have told us, words will hurt us, and as such we must choose them carefully.

Thoughtless words can destroy a person’s confidence, damage reputations and even impact on future aspirations.  But yet, the right words, can lift a person up, can heal the hurt and bring happiness to someone’s world.
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” perhaps has more truth than the old defensive “sticks and stones” saying.

And if there are times when perhaps something negative should be said,  we should try to still be encouraging and focus on the positive.

Our TV screens are filled with images of hate, anger and hurt.  Politicians are feeding on it, spewing forth words of division and fear. People troll the internet, simply looking to tear people down.

We are so used to zooming in on the negative, that all the positive and wonderful is overlooked.

So think before you speak, take a breath before you blurt.  Instead of breaking someone with your “constructive criticism”, say something nice.  Be  respectful, encouraging  and fair.

Take a moment and put yourself in their shoes.


After a week of huge emotional ups and downs, Hubby and I escaped the city and headed to a local wine district to switch off and recharge.  Where once I would feel compelled to Facebook and Instagram every meal, every moment, I no longer desire to take the world along on my “dirty weekend”

Internet was switched off and the phone was used only as my camera.

When I arrived home, after over 24 hours of “offline”, the world was still turning, there was still dishes in the sink and my children were still alive.

And I was revived.

Yes, I did post some photos on Facebook and Insta after we had unpacked.  It was a very wet and cold weekend but it was fun.  We walked along bush tracks and enjoyed delicious red wine in front of a wood fire.

We were serenaded by kookaburras and greeted with a rainbow as we drove back into the city.

And we laughed and talked and just enjoyed being together.

Something we just don’t do often enough perhaps.

We left just after Saturday class.  I wasn’t allowed to ditch it and I have started something new and wonderful.  (stalk my Instagram to see what)

But before you see new, I still want to catch you all up on what I was doing while I was gone from here.

I have been having fun painting my friends’ fur babies.  Usually 12″ square on canvas sheets in acrylic paint.  And so far have been pretty well received.

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I am thinking that there is a pretty good market for pet portraits and so I plan on being open to commission enquiries.  As with all my art, they would be priced according to size and amount of work involved.

I am discovering that there is equal amounts of fun as well as challenge in portraiture.  Where once it terrified me, and I would paint people without faces, now I am enjoying capturing the similarity between what I see and what I paint.

And looking back on my early efforts, it really does prove that practice makes perfect.

Perhaps i will do a slide show here sometime, just on the people portraits I have done.  I think that might be a cool option.

For now though, I probably need to get off my butt and do something productive.  It’s Monday morning, a new week has begun and the sun is bravely trying to break through the clouds.

Sending out smiles, hugs and kindness.