Tag Archives: art

Busy Fingers #3

I just thought I’d share with you what I did as a card for the two weddings I went to in December.  Both were the sort of weddings where money was the most appropriate gift.  This always feels a little impersonal to me, which is why I like to include some hand-made accompaniment.

I enlisted Matilda’s and Christopher Robin’s help creating the backdrop (I asked them to write the word ‘love’ everywhere), then I crocheted the heart using this neat pattern from Skip to my Lou.

After that, I glued it all together with a co-ordinating button.  I may have become a little obsessed with my hot-glue-gun of late…

crochet heart card

Perhaps not as good as my lopsided cake card, but I like it, just the same!

Art in August 2

This week, Matilda and I did ‘Book Week’ inspired art. I was going to do a new cover for a favourite book, but I found that idea too limiting as I have very strict ideas on what characters should look like and I didn’t feel like I could improve on the original cover art. Then I got a delicious idea: I could design the cover for my book!

You see, one of WriterMummy’s Art in August posts was for cover art for her fourth novel.  I felt rather envious.  But then, I figured, rather than doing all the hard work of actually writing a novel (or, you know, four), I could skip to the fun part of choosing a cover design.  Hurrah for instant gratification!

A cover design for "Laptop on the Ironing Board: A place to procrastinate when you really should be folding washing" by Kate Moriarty

Of course, if I were to write a novel, I probably wouldn’t call it that.  But I’d put so much work into imagining I’d written a whole novel, I was too exhausted to think up a title as well. It’s a little like the way whenever anybody whistles or hums in a TV show (well, a 1980s kids’ show, anyway), they hum the show’s theme.  That’s what this is.  Inspector Gadget whistling Theme to Inspector Gadget.

It makes me smile every time I look at it.  I don’t even need to write a novel anymore!

Get Ready for Art in August!

artwork

 

It’s almost here!  Art in August – an excuse for those of us who don’t think we’re very artistic but like the idea of nurturing our creative side to crack out the paints and pencils and spend some time doing art for art’s sake.  We do this without apology or explanation.  We do not listen to the voice that says we have more important things to do, we don’t deserve this time, and, what’s more, that picture looks like rubbish.  We produce and we post!

If you’d like to join in, here’s what you have to do:

  1.  Get creative (and don’t apologise about it)
  2. Take a photo of your creation (unless you’ve created a photograph, in which case you can skip this step)
  3. Post this photo on your blog
  4. Link back to this post and mention somewhere that you’re joining in Art in August

I will link to you in my blog as well.  If you don’t have a blog, there are two ways you can join in:

  1. Post your work on the blog’s Facebook page
  2. Email the photo to me at laptopontheironingboard-AT-gmail.com  (I’ve written it out that way to stop robots spamming me; when you email me, write it out the regular way)
  3. I will post it on my blog for you.  You can even use a pseudonym, if you like…

I really should have put this post up months ago.  I haven’t given you much notice, I’m afraid.  But no fear – it seems to be the tradition for Art in August to post well into September and October!

 

Look Look Look!

Here are some things making my house a lovely place to be right now:

roses

nasturtiums

Fresh flowers from my very own garden

sunflower sprouts

Sunflowers growing on my kitchen windowsill (these give me a ridiculous amount of joy)

paintings over piano

These paintings I bought last year from the doctors.  The artist’s name is Caz, and she exhibits her work in the waiting room of the big clinic.  While I’m at it, this piano gives me a great amount of joy also.  Our next door neighbour was cleaning out his garage and asked if we’d like it.  Did we what!  We have a REAL house now: we have a PIANO!

poppy1

This is the painting I bought first, for a ridiculous $20 (and here I was thinking I could never afford original art!).  She looked so lovely on the wall and yet so lonely that I thought I better go back and buy her sisters.

semi abstract art

poppy2

This one has “Poppies in the garden” written in pencil on the back.

The next time I went to the doctors I met their mother:

happy trees art

She was so beautiful. And HUGE.  But her price, though very reasonable for a painting that size, was well out of my reach.  Sigh,

For over a year, every time I visited the doctor, I would sit near her and look at her.  I don’t need to own this painting to enjoy it, I would think to myself, It’s just as beautiful here as it would be in my house.  And I would sit there looking at the painting feeling very virtuous and a tiny bit sad.

Around a month ago, I went to the doctors’ with Christopher Robin, who had split his head open at school and had it glued back together again at the hospital (that might sound like it might make a dramatic and interesting blog post, but, trust me, it was just a whole lot of scary followed by a whole lot of waiting in the emergency room – no real narrative structure there).   I needed cheering up so I found us a seat right next to my painting.  As I gazed at her, it struck me that there was something different about her – it was her price tag!  The painting had been drastically discounted and was now $120.  I called Mr Knightley, “I know what I want for my birthday!”, I announced breathlessly (my birthday was still several months off, but I was being organised).  Within a few hours she was on my living room wall, and it turns out I was wrong:  she looks MUCH MORE beautiful in my home than she did in the waiting room.  Look:

living room with painting

If I had commissioned this painting it couldn’t have looked more at home.

A lot of bloggers are talking about thankfulness at the moment (is it something to do with Thanksgiving? I don’t know).  I am thankful for my home.  If you could see the state it’s in at the moment as I blog amongst the toy-and-toast rubble, you might think that strange, but I guess I wouldn’t have mess if I didn’t have such a perfect abundance of food and possessions.  I’m going to finish this post now and give my beautiful home some love.

Just as soon as I convince Harry to stop riding the vacuum…

Art in August – A Wrap Up

So, here’s something you should know about me.  I’m excellent at starting up new and exciting projects.  That’s definitely a strength of mine.  Finishing off all the projects I start?  Not so much.  I’m not the best at tying off ends.  So when we see that the final post for Art in August is coming at the end of October, we all just need to hold hands and take a deep breath and be glad that Kate is actually finishing something.

Rather than produce a new art work for the final post, I thought it might be nice to create a mosaic to represent the different contributors and their widely different styles.  I only chose one piece from each participant, which was difficult as there were many great works to choose from.

I also tried to set it up so that, by clicking on the picture, you would be taken to the participant’s blog, but it turns out I can’t do that when I have the pictures in a mosaic like this, so I’ve put the links underneath instead.

Top row: The Plucky Parent, The Hippy Geek, Mathair Fiona

Middle row: 可愛い国, Laptop on the Ironing Board, Red Lipstick Mama,

Bottom Row: the mmmmm family, Allison Road, Sourdough Lifestyle

Isn’t it amazing to see all this hidden talent?  This is what happens when we stop critiquing ourselves and just play.

I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU for everyone who joined in and everyone who encouraged me and the other artists.  It has been such an affirming exercise and I’ve loved making friends in Blogland.  I will definitely be doing this again next year.

In the meantime I have a germ of a new idea to work on: Finishing Things in February.  What do you think?

Art in August – Week Three (ahem!)

Here’s my penultimate post for Art in August.  It’s called Large Family.

Tree

The colours are a little off in this photo, but I guess I can live with it.

In my mind, I always think of a large family as a tree with many branches.  Birds build their nests in it and there are many creatures that draw life and strength from such a tree.  A large and functional family can be such a force for good in this world.  Small families are wonderful too, of course, but in a big family you know there’s always room for one more…

Just to remind you, I have been blogging along with:

Naturally Cathy of The Plucky Parent,

Selene (セレネ) of Kawaii Kuni,

Red Lipstick Mama,

Michaela of the mmmmm family,

Allison Profeta of Allison Road,

Katy from Sourdough Lifestyle,

Meghan from Mathair Fiona, and

Ruby Doom from The Hippy Geek

Although, I’m not sure how many of them are still posting, given it’s September…

Art in August – Week -um- Two?

Phew!  It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to my lovely laptop (or set up an ironing board, for that matter).  Things have been a little topsy-turvy in my world over the past couple of weeks.  My beautiful grandmother passed away a week and a half ago and the days that followed have been a big mess of eulogy-writing, funeral-planning, grieving, consoling, remembering, smiling and laughing.  Jan, Greg and Bobby all flew home and all six of us spoke at the funeral, which was just beautiful.

Mama's Wedding

I’m starting to feel now like my head is starting to come above water again and I’m finding comfort in the return of routine.  The dirty washing that was spilling out of the laundry door is now clean washing in several piles all over the kitchen table and family room couch, so that’s progress, I guess.

More importantly, I’ve ventured back into Blogland.  Oh, how I’ve missed you all!  I feel terrible for abandoning Art in August, when I was the one who started it up.  I figure I’ll just ignore the calendar and pick up where I left off, spilling into September if I need to.

Just to remind you, my fellow art bloggers are:

Naturally Cathy of The Plucky Parent,

Selene (セレネ) of Kawaii Kuni,

Red Lipstick Mama,

Michaela of the mmmmm family,

Allison Profeta of Allison Road,

Katy from Sourdough Lifestyle, and

Meghan from Mathair Fiona

Plus, since my last post, another blogger has joined in.  Ruby Doom from The Hippy Geek has done some most excellent rock painting which is definitely worth a look.

Here is my entry for week two.  It’s called “Vigil”

Vigil

I sat with Mama on the night she died.  It was a privilege to spend her last night by her side.  The room was filled with aromatherapy scents and peaceful music.  The nurses were quietly attentive to Mama’s needs.  There was such a feeling of peace and prayer in that room.

Thank you for your patience, lovely readers.  I’ll be back soon, I promise!

Art in August – Week 1

Here (at last) is my first entry for the Art in August challenge.  As you may know, I’m playing along with Naturally Cathy of The Plucky Parent, Selene (セレネ) of Kawaii Kuni, Red Lipstick Mama, Michaela of the mmmmm family, and Allison Profeta of Allison Road.  Make sure you have a peek at their blogs, because there’s lots of good stuff going on there.  Since my last post, we’ve had some more bloggers join the fun (!!!!!!):

  • Katy from Sourdough Lifestyle writes a delightful blog that is so much more than sourdough recipes (although they do look yummy).  I was reading Katy’s latest post before and wanted so much to be actually chatting to her.  It felt like a real conversation and I wanted to say “Oh, yes, I agree!”  and nod.  But I couldn’t, so instead I pressed the “like” button, which is like a virtual nod, I guess.   But it’s not the same.
  • Meghan from Mathair Fiona is about ready to pop with a new baby (due in three days!) but I convinced her that this project would be a good way to while away early labour.  She writes another lovely, lovely blog.  This post caught my attention recently.  I’m almost tempted to write a post or two in response to it.  There is a sensible voice in my head that says “one thing at a time, Kate”, but I can ignore it.  I love talking about home organisation and house keeping.  Much more fun than actually executing the ideas…

It’s not too late to join in!  Just leave me a comment – c’mon!  It’ll be fun!  Also, if you’ve told me you’d like to be involved and I’ve somehow overlooked you, please remind me – I didn’t mean it!

Now, on to the art!

Fifteen

Here’s an abstract piece done in oil pastels.  I call it Fifteen.  I got most of this done last week at the hairdressers.  It was sooooooooo relaxing.  The hairdresser asked me about what I was doing and I tried to tell her the whole story I wrote in Resolution.  It was around the time I was clumsily trying to describe a vision of my twelve-year-old self that I realised that some things are better written down and never spoken of again.  The hairdresser looked vaguely concerned for my mental wellbeing.

And, because it would seem these days I can’t do anything by myself (bathroom time is a spectator sport in this house).  Matilda and Christopher Robin would also like to share their contributions.

Here is Matilda’s:

Heart collage

She even signed it with her blog name!  It’s very important that I point out that the purple texta outline was Christopher Robin’s contribution and the cause of much angst at our kitchen table.

Here is Christopher Robin’s

Rainbow picture

I have a brand-new ‘Fail’ post coming soon.  I forgot to tell Harry to stop giving me such prime material – I have enough to be writing about at the moment!

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

artwork

Oh!  I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself!  It’s almost time for Art in August, where we break out our old (or our kids’) art supplies, have a play, and post the results on our blog.  And here’s the really exciting part:  I’ve got some friends in Blog Land to play along with me!  It’s ridiculous the amount of excitement this gives me.

So far, my fellow art-alongers are:

Naturally Cathy of The Plucky Parent.  Cathy is a fellow mummy-blogger  (except she’s a ‘mommy’) who has already STARTED with an amazing coloured-pencil-on-printer-paper piece that took the length of one nap time to create (not her nap, obviously).  It’s called Indigo Violet and you can see it here.

セレネ of 可愛い国.  I will be calling this blog “Kawaii kuni”, which is the Roman alphabet equivalent of the blog’s name.  It translates to “cute country”, in reference to the Netherlands, where the blog is written, but I forgot to ask セレネ for her name (how rude of me!).  Kawaii Kuni is written in Japanese, Dutch and sometimes English too (perfect English, I might add).  The thing I love about this group art project is that it completely transcends language.   I can’t wait to see what セレネ creates!

Red Lipstick Mama is a “schizo-psychotic 30 (something) year old mum  with verbal diarrhea who is in search for cheap therapy” blogging from Harlem, New York.  Red Lipstick Mama has also started creating with an incredible denim and lace headpiece called Emily which you can see here.

M of the mmmmm family.  Actually, her name is Michaela, but I couldn’t resist.  I’m just getting to know this magical blog, but it’s a joy to read.  I suspect Michaela is as terrified as I am about this project, but that’s just why we need to do this!  Michaela signed on just last night and I did a lot of bouncing around in excitement.

and finally,

Allison Profeta of Allison Road.  Allison joined as I was writing this post.  Soooooo exciting!  Allison is so talented that she did a post for this before “Art in August” was even thought of!  In it she documents the struggle and inner turmoil of a militia of GI Joe soldier figurines trying to survive in a world they cannot control.  I hope she shares more of these!

Perhaps you might like to join us?  It’s not too late!  If you are a fellow blogger, leave me a comment at the bottom of this post and I will be sure to link to you.  If you don’t have a blog, perhaps you could share your art on the blog’s Facebook page or perhaps you could email it to me and I’ll post it for you. Matilda has already asked if she can join in and I’ll be posting some of her works as well.

I’ve already started on my first piece, I did the outlines while I was waiting to pick Matilda up from netball practice.  It’s so much fun but I wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t for Art in August!  Hurrah!

Resolution

Pastel Fail

I’m really not enjoying the morning rush before school at the moment.  Today, I returned from my search for Christopher Robin’s grey socks to find Harry sitting in the corner at my little Repressed Creativity table with Mummy’s Special Oil Pastels spread all around him.  He had torn the wrapper off the one in his hand and held it in his two small fists.

“I snap it?”, he enquired animatedly, a mischievous glint in his eye.

“No!  Naughty!”, I exclaimed in horror.

“I snap it.”, the wretched imp asserted decisively and broke the pastel clean in half before tossing it on the table to join its fallen brothers.

I managed to get to Harry before he unwrapped his next victim, made a mess of disciplining him (it was mostly me shouting “how would you like me to break YOUR special toys??!” whilst Harry shook his head solemnly and reasoned “they’re MY toys, Mummy.”) and tried to salvage what was left of my lovely pastels.

As I matched aquamarine with aquamarine and crimson with crimson, it seemed a twelve-year-old version of myself manifested itself before my eyes.  There she stood, an awkward figure in her ill-fitting school uniform, clutching her A3 Spirax cartridge paper sketchbook and tin of 72 Derwent pencils to her chest.

“When was the last time you even USED those pastels?” she glowered at me,  “You haven’t even opened the box for months and months!  I think it’s been a YEAR!”

“Look, now’s really not a good time, Twelve-Year-Old Version Of Myself”, I muttered crossly.  And it wasn’t.  It was 8:25am and Matilda was still searching for her shoes, Christopher Robin’s reader still needed to be signed, Annie’s nappy was emitting a suspicious smell and Harry was off hunting for fresh mayhem.  But the sulky tween manifestation of my subconscious was insistent.

“Mrs Flannery said we were good at art.  She said it was in our soul

It was true.  I had a wonderful art teacher in Year Seven who had been kind and encouraging.  She had looked past my crippling shyness and made me feel like I was special.   And it was also true: I hadn’t used the pastels in at least a year.  My house seems full of empty sketchbooks, untouched paints and blank canvases that my twelve-year-old self would have itched to play with.

I could have argued that I didn’t have the time, that was my usual excuse, but I knew twelve-year-old Kate wouldn’t buy it.  The truth is, I’ve become terrified of Inner Critic.  Inner Critic is another version of myself (it’s very crowded to be me) who usually tells the Twelve Year Old to sit still and be quiet.  She also says things like “what if it turns out you’re no good at art?  Wouldn’t it be better not to try than to find out you’re only average?” and she sighs and sneers and rolls her eyes a lot.  It’s hard work keeping her happy.

Twelve-year-old Kate didn’t have an inner critic.  She just liked to play with colour.

Later, in that beautiful calm after Matilda and Christopher Robin were delivered safely to school, I formed a resolution.  Throughout the month of August, I will create some sort of art once a week, photograph it and post it on my blog.  And if Inner Critic has any comments to make, I’ll just say “quiet, you!”.  I’m a great admirer of proper-artist Ruby Hoppen, she is creating a portrait of her son every week this year.  It’s amazing to behold.  That’s where I got this idea.  But I won’t be doing portraits, and I’m only going for a month, but other than that…

If any other of you lovely bloggers would like to “play along”, please let me know in the comments and I’ll link to you.  You don’t have to be arty, that’s the whole point!  I think I’m going to call it “Art in August”.  Or maybe “Amateur Art in August”

artworkAnd, in celebration of this decision, here is my first piece.  It commemorates the destruction of my oil pastels and the miniature art festival this event inspired.

I call it “Shattered”.

Can’t wait till August!