Tag Archives: oil pastels

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…

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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!

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!