fractured portraits. beginning.

i feel as though i’ve turned a corner in my art practice this past week.

for the longest time i’ve been going through the motions. doing the work. getting better. working on technique. but i was flip-flopping between the art I want to do and the art I had settled into, like a comfortable pair of trackie daks (tracksuit pants for non-aussie speakers), and the indecision led to a breakdown in my desire to motivate myself.

seriously, i began to wonder if i wanted it enough.

what was wrong with me? why was i not skipping gleefully to the studio every day or challenging myself to try something new? why was i only doing class assignments and not picking up my paintbrush in between lessons?

yeah, i think too much.

my heart had moved on from where i’d started out, but my head was having a little trouble keeping up.


paint the safe thing even if it no longer fires you up.

in painting whimsy, i’ve had several commission queries and offers to illustrate books. people like the cute little soulful girls in my journals and as much as i enjoy sharing them with everyone, they were always about my own personal healing and never about selling my art. don’t get me wrong, i’m grateful for every offer of support i’ve had from the people who want to buy my art.

of course i want to sell my art.

one day.

but not this day.

right now i just want to keep growing toward having the ability to paint the art that i enjoy. the aesthetic i’m drawn to. and that involves changing the way i select the online classes i enrol in, or the artists i study and try to emulate. it means not signing up to every class even though i know the teacher is a rock star, or buying every shiny damn art supply that a teacher demonstrates in class, but learning to master the ones i enjoy and are used by the artists i want to be like when i grow up. charcoal, acrylics, oils, plaster and digital mediums.

i’m learning to assess honestly. does this fit with the aesthetic i want for my art?

that doesn’t mean that there’s no place for soulful little girls in my journal. there is always healing to be done. but they do need to budge over a little bit to make room for the other stuff.

the first step in the right direction for me was taking Kate Thompson’s new Fractured Portraits class. kate has long been one of my favourite teachers and her aesthetic always resonates with me, no matter which direction she takes it in.

we’re learning to sketch the planes of the head with charcoal and then sculpt them using paint.

Layer 1 Profile

Layer 2 Profile

Layer 3 Profile

Layer 4 Profile

and to loosen up by drawing from a photographic reference with two pencils taped together.

Two Pencil Drawing

gelli plate printing and plastering on ledger paper to make backgrounds for the next painting project.

Background 4

i’m feeling a little guilty about this one because the ledger paper i’m using is 116 years old! obviously not guilty enough to use something else though 😉

the feature image on this post is ledger paper with drywall tape, venetian plaster, cheesecloth and stencils and it’s all so textured and yum.

and i can’t wait to see what happens on it next.

isn’t that how it should be?


changing places

i’m starting to take over the whole house with my arty endeavours. a few weeks ago I realised we weren’t really using one of the rooms in our house – a front lounge room that we’d overhauled a couple of times, but because there’s no tv aerial in there it was largely ignored. we solved the tv issue by signing in to Netflix on the smarter-than-me tv.

oh glorious Netflix. what did we do before your existence?

so having the use of the front lounge freed up our family room. and the brain-cogs began a-whirring.  i was finding my current studio to be claustrophobic. it used to be a spare room, and little by little, the spare room junk was starting to creep in again. plus, one corner of the room housed a giant coat rack treadmill and my gym equipment, leaving little room to swing either of the cats. not that I would of course. unless I want to have my face ripped off. which I don’t.

i made puppy dog eyes at my long-suffering, beardy husband and he agreed to help me switch rooms. most of it was done in one day. except for that bastard coat rack treadmill. that took us a lot longer to move, and neither of us escaped without injury.

my old studio is now ‘the crib’, where the children go to watch tv, play the Wii, eat crap and leave the wrappers everywhere. in theory, hubby plays his guitar in there too, but I don’t think he gets much of a look in. the grainy, rubbish picture above is my new space. i kept one of the couches so i have a sketching nook (when the dog isn’t hogging it), my floor and table easels have a home again, and everything is within reach.

Who am I kidding? This is the dog's couch. She sometimes lets me sit on it.
who am I kidding? this is the dog’s couch. she sometimes lets me sit on it.
Current work.
current work.

which means i have no excuses not to paint every day, right?