“Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

Mary Oliver

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Another little slideshow, this time showing the progress of my ‘Akaroa’ illustration/colouring page, painted by hand on the computer. Yes, it took ages.

Both the coloured version and the colouring page are available as printable instant downloads on Etsy (as is ‘Port Chalmers’). And… on to the next one…

Unafraid (word prompts)

“The main inhibitor for creativity is just being scared…. You’re afraid that your ideas aren’t good enough. If you can get over that hump where you don’t care whether your ideas are any good or not, then you can be successful.” James Kochalka

The following six-word stories were prompted by the Page Flutter Six-Word Story Challenge. I’m also posting a few of my favourites over on Instagram.

28. She can. Of course she can.

29. She was unafraid… and dangerously optimistic.

30. School’s out! Now life’s lessons begin.

31. Writers gonna write, prompted or not.

1. Reputation shmeputation. It’s actions that matter.

2. Leap? I’m happy with baby steps.

3. Foolhardy, he was clearly not responsible.

[May/June prompts: she can…, unafraid, school’s out!, (no prompt), the lion, leap, daredevil.]

P.S. The background image is a detail of one of the new little paintings which I wrote about in my previous post.

Your own path

Wild & Free blue sky colours 2016

“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or a path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realise your potential.” Joseph Campbell

I’ve been busy making digital art prints for my Etsy shop… the first ones make use of a leafy ink doodle that I drew a few years ago — and even though I enjoy working on the computer, it’s been weeks since I held a paint brush and now I can’t wait to get back to my easel…

No rules

As You Like It – acrylic on canvas, 102 x 102 mm, 2015
As You Like It – acrylic on canvas, 102 x 102 mm, 2015. Sold.

“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” Helen Frankenthaler

This is a quirky little something I made with paint left over from ‘Ebb and Flow’ (I hate to waste paint once I’ve mixed it). I’m calling it ‘As You Like It’ because I’m not sure which way up it goes (see the slideshow below for the options) and also because I think it looks a bit like the backdrop to a Shakespearean play…

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Traces of reality

Ebb and Flow – acrylic on canvas, 150 x 305 mm, 2015
Ebb and Flow – acrylic on canvas, 150 x 305 mm, 2015. SOLD

“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” Pablo Picasso

I have just finished a large abstract painting commission (this isn’t it ― I’m saving that post for another day). I love commissions. It was, however, quite an intense experience. I don’t know why but I find abstracts a lot more challenging than painting landscapes or birds or flowers… I guess that’s because the painting itself is the frame of reference rather than a photograph or something you can see in front of you. Which means that anything is possible. And I find that difficult, possibly because there are too many options. Some people are happy to start with an idea, a mood, a colour, a texture… I guess I’ve discovered that I like starting with an image. Of something. Anything. Anything at all.

Nugget Point, original photograph, 2013
Nugget Point, original photograph, 2013
Nugget Point, reference image (cropped, edited and flipped 180°)
Nugget Point, reference image (cropped, edited and flipped 180°)

So I decided to work on a little abstract just to move some paint around : ) and used a photograph taken a couple of years ago on the Otago coast as my starting point ― a photo of waves crashing against the rocks. It’s an image I’ve been wanting to paint for ages because the place left such an impression on me. I’ve called the painting ‘Ebb and Flow’ and it will be available for purchase in the very near future.

Go do that

Violet study – acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 mm, 2015. Available for purchase.
Violet study – acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 mm, 2015. SOLD

“Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

These violets were originally posted last month as an ink and watercolour sketch here.


On the road again, WIP/underpainting – acrylic on canvas
On the road again, WIP underpainting — acrylic on canvas

“The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist.” David Hockney

I’m not sure I agree with Mr Hockney on this point but I do like the quote… and I did ‘cheat’ a little with this composition by removing the car in the background and changing the colours (see photographs below). I hope to have another WIP ready to show you later in the week.

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