Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If no one else will do it for you...

A friend of mine just finished a massive amount of work for a gallery exhibition that she's a part of and her boyfriend said "Great, now you can start making roast dinners again".

She laughed. He said "I'm not joking".

I said "Get a new boyfriend, train the current one better or just be your own cheersquad".

Then I put this gif at the bottom of the email.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Emerald Arts Launch Party

I'm sick as a dog today having caught a horrid snotty cold off someone somewhere so I'll keep this short. The opening was a smashing success, as were my ridiculously mis-shaped cupcakes. Ten made a last ditch drive to Sydney to pick up DJ Smem as his car failed epically. Will write a better post on it when I'm not feeling so sorry for myself I promise... hopefully someone out there has taken pictures of the launch besides those above for me to show you, cos I was too busy drinking champers and being a total party princess.

Marcus Westbury, our fearless leader, addressing the crowd outside Emerald Arts, the last stop on the Tour de Renew Newcastle

The paintmark behind the Renew Newcastle sign, courtesy of Marcus, he didn't seem so keen on the finished work... apparently it was meant to be one continuous swipe, but I like it and I'm keeping it so ner.

Grateful as I am to the builders for coverering in the awning outside my space so that the pidgeons don't poo, I do wish they hadn't trapped said pidgeons inside, since they now live in my ceiling and the store room, making me sneeze.

They are cute though.

Off to bed and to annoy Ten by demanding one million hugs


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Art and fishies and really dodgy cakes

This is my beautiful goldfish Buddy. He's about four years old now... maybe five and has survived three house moves and about seven flatmates.

We're been working on a style of drawing they call "Gestural" in the afternoons with our teacher Pete. The idea is to capture the essential movement of an object, the direction of the lines, the energy... oh dear god, sounds so much less like a hippie when he says it...

The purple dress thing draped over the back of the chair was my subject

Ten and I found the world's ugliest birthday cake made from Donuts while we were late night shopping at Garden City. Filth.

My painting teacher Dallas' workstation. Today we learnt how to mix colours which is something I have been desperately wanting to learn since forever.

My paint box... otherwise known as a magenta beauty case. My Mum gave them to Cas and I when we were little but we scoffed at their girlyness and refused to use them. Now I love the thing to bits, especially since it has two long pockets and four elasticy things that are meant to hold bottles but work equally as well with paintbrushes.

I used a warm red and cool blue (with a bit of yellow) to mix up a grey to use in my fan painting

My fan painting as it was at the end of class this week. I painted over last week's grey (mixed from black and white) effort. Really like how the blue comes through the grey as it dries, adds depth... or something.

Now THIS is what I am most excited about... besides the Emerald Arts launch party of course. In Sculpture we're carving fish out of a lovely wood called Camphor Laurel. I went with a big round puffer fish shape because it seemed like the easiest way to go and if I stuff up something I can whittle it down and pretend that I meant to make a skinny fish the whole time.

The fish after our teacher Peter cut the contours on the bandsaw for me. Apparently we're not qualified to use it yet, but considering that I have made ANYTHING with wood before and tend to cackle like a madman around power tools.... that's probably a very good idea.

Using a mallet and chisel to refine the shape of the fish. Apparently I got an evil glint in my eye when handed these. What can I say, I heart making stuff. Anyway, Dad's a carpenter by trade, maybe I learned some of it by osmosis?

The fishy's face. What looks like the eye is actually a wet (ew) spot in the wood, but I drew around it and am going to make this the eye somehow.

Procrastinating at the moment, have to do the dishes, handwash my good clothes so I have something to wear tomorrow, dye my hair, do my frankly disgraceful nails, clean Emerald Arts... actually I think I will leave the cleaning till tomorrow and spend the night prettifying myself and drinking vodka instead. I had vowed to not start drinking till I had at least done my hair, but Ten's facebook status said that he had started drinking at work and I got jealous :P

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wikkid Wednesday

Started today with a Photoshop lesson which was kind of slow, but understandably so because most of us had never used it before so the teacher had to take us through step by step. I ran out halfway through the lesson and nabbed myself a "Photoshop for Dummies" and am going to teach myself to use it at home so that I can just work independently in class, as I know the current pace will drive me nuts quick smart.

Yesterday I spent a full day in the shop, which was lovely. The new shop sign, as with everything else at Emerald Arts, was done on a shoestring budget.... or more specifically, with a posca ;)

I wrote out the letters on my drawing paper and then taped that to the other side of the glass so I could trace it with the big green posca I found at Eckersleys. Thank goodness there is an awning over the shop cos those things sure aint waterproof.

Ah yes, the sign without it's backing. I'm actually quite pleased with the way it turned out. I thought it was going to be a bit dodge, but yeah... pretty good.

Thought that I had better take the Valentine hearts down and create a new display... this is a placeholder until I have time to design my new one, which is going to be a sort of half-underwater billabong type thing... you'll see soon...
The pink zine you can see sitting on the easel is the newest addition to Emerald Arts. It's called "Fairytales in the Supermarket" and is an A-Z of working in retail. Well written easygoing storytelling that I (with nine years retail experience myself) could easily empathise with. Can't tell you how many of the tales had me nodding my head.. "yep, that happened", "oooh I HATED those customers". I loaned my copy to my friend from All Bar One (restaurant) but there are five more in store.

Experimenting with paints, mixing different colours, sooo much fun, seriously, as much if not MORE fun than fingerpainting.

Check out my new awning... how good are GPT! Before it was open and pidgeons were roosting on the rafters, kind of have a feeling the builders left the nest in there which is very disturbing...
A few of us from the Renew Newcastle had our pictures taken for the Newcastle Herald today, so keep your eyes out on Saturday (H2 section). I'm heading back in tonight to have a shot taken of me with my easel out in the mall. Vogue baby.
Saturday is the progressive launch for everybody, then that night starting at 7pm is the Emerald Arts official launch... Dj Smem will be playing and Mum is making horses doovers... VERY excited :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dust to Dust

I've been trying (and failing) to come up with words to describe the horror of the Victorian bushfires but it's just.... horrible. I've lived through two natural disasters in my own city, earthquake then flood, but floods can be cleaned up after, for the most part, whereas fires are just so brutal...

I'm sure you've read a thousand blogs by now that tell you how to help, so I won't tell you that, instead I'm just going to say that I'm heartbroken for Victoria and I hope that the staggering donations that have poured in from all over the world have helped those effected begin rebuilding their lives.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday at Art School

Friday is Painting and Sculpture day and this is the view from our studio in the morning. You can see ships.... w3rd! ;)

Our teacher Dallas introduced us to the basics of painting hardware (brushes, tins, paints, palettes) then took us a tour of the place where we will build our own frames and stretch the canvases over them. I heart staple guns so I'm very excited about that part.

We stapled the paper that they use for cutting out patterns onto drawing boards then drew on our subject with pastels. Actually, I drew mine on with charcoal because I wanted to do a tonal study rather than a colour one, but that was ok, I didn't get in trouble. In fact, the charcoal blended with the paint beautifully, giving definition... still, might go around the contours in artline marker.

I started by mixing a very dark grey (in one of those big spoons you get from the Chinese takeaway cos we had it the night before and I forgot a palette), then worked from the outside in from the blades and started building up some of the other features.

How the work looked at the end of class. Luckily for me we get to work on it next week.

Found this picture up the back of the classroom, going to find out who painted it because I really like their work. If they are not famous yet I would love to have this or something like this on the wall at Emerald Arts.

Sculpture class was on in the afternoon. We're going to learn how to carve fish shapes out of wood. Camphor Laurel I think it was called. I'm going to pick a simple(ish) shape then simplify it, both because I think it will be easier to make (never carved before... nor painted from life for that matter) and because the teacher showed us some amazing simplified forms by a Sculptor called Brancusi. I nabbed a book on him from the library before I went home and loved his work... even though the pictures are pretty rough, it's an old book. The interwebs helped with that though.

An ear... forgot to turn this photo around oops. Kind of like it this way, but it definitely works better the other way around :P

In the shop today I took out all my drawings from Thursday and sprayed them with fixative. Comparatively, I can see that the lower nose and eye are more realistic than the ones at the top. The remove that viewing a photo gives also makes me realise just how effective shading with compressed charcoal can be for effecting depth.

The boots you can see on my feet are called "24 Hour Boots". They're supposed to be so comfortable that you can wear them all day and all night, to bed if you want to. I can tell you right now that they really are that comfortable. I'm going to wear them every day I think because we do a lot of standing and we're required to wear enclosed footwear at all times on campus.

I can't even begin to tell you just how much I love being at Art School. It feels like I have finally found where I am supposed to be. I've only been there a week and already I feel like I've learned a thousand things and I haven't stopped drawing and reading and painting and learning learning learning.

So great.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Drawing day

Thursday is drawing day at Newcastle Art School, for my class anyway. Since I am totally addicted to both taking photos of my camera phone and blogging at the moment, I thought I would share my first proper day with you. This is the view from outside our drawing studio. It's not very often that people get to see the tops of the buildings along Hunter St, but there are some amazing facades up there.

In the mornings we do Life Drawing, which was from plaster cast rather than from "life" today because we're baby drawers, still learning our techniques.

These were the first two sketches that I did, which the teacher wasn't really too fond of, but I wasn't either so that's fine ;) My drawings tend to be very styilsed, I draw an interpretation of what i see rather than drawing what is really there, so I really loved experimenting with charcoal, line weights... still a bit dodgy though, so I'll spare those for now.

The nose that I drew.

The afternoon class is General Drawing.

This is a contour study of the marble bust on the table. I'll quote what I wrote down as the teacher explained it:
Contour drawing is a delicate study of the detail of the object, a linear description. There is no shading or form, only lines that describe a change of plane or direction or detail.
Draw as slowly as you possibly can, know everything about the object. Give each line your full concentrated effort so that you don't have to revisit it.

We tried this without looking at the paper at all (this guy) for a ten min sketch, then we sketched again for longer, looking at the paper for about 25% of the time. Then we sketched with our left hands (me not looking at the paper because I'm ambidexturous).

A book recommendation from our teacher Pete, apparently the BEST drawing book EVER... and having had a brief read through it over the break, I have to say it looks pretty awesome. Going to borrow it from the library first chance I get.... which leads me to my next news of awesomeness, the library there? Amazing. ALL art books *drroooll*

So yeah, that was my first proper day. Very exciting. Drama when I arrived home too, this was the view from my verandah. A house that was being demolished caught fire, no one was in there luckily, so I guess it just made things happen sooner.... very exciting for everyone in our street though, such a massive crowd of gawkers checking out the action. Sooo tired, off to get chinese food and chillax at Bennys. Guitar hero anyone?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Desk at Emerald Arts

Voodoo Susan hanging out in the receipt box. I'm writing this additional post because I forgot to mention before just how very awesome my friend Kim is. Today she posted me a copy of my newspaper article from the Herald laminated as well as another double size. I heart her.

New at Emerald Arts- FLOSSY-P!!! *dances*

Now this, my friends, is how you wrap a package, can't beat the old brown paper. This is the consignment package from the artist Flossy-P, of Emerald Beach... so it has to be fate that her artworks now adorn Emerald Arts. Today's arrival consisted of gift tags, greeting cards and bookmarks and they are indeed works of art, just gorgeous.

Strung some Japanese cord up between picture hooks to hang the gift tags on, using tiny wooden clothes pins to hang them. Sorry for the picture quality, need to get a better camera I think.

A bigger view of the "washing line". Put one example of each gift tag on so that customers can see them, the rest are in the bowl.

The gold bowl, looks a lot better in person, very shiny.

The bookmarks on another line in another section of the shop. Sold one of your self portraits today Flossy, YAY!

The cards in the front window... again, not the most awesome picture, but I think you get the general idea.

Thankyou Flossy-P for sending me such wonderful things to sell in Emerald Arts. I love them.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Josephine Rocks Out

Yesterday, at the markets, Jen gave me some of her amazing hand dyed wool to play with, so I sewed it to prototype Josephine's head. I cut the wool into lengths, then sewed each strand on to the head three times for optimum hold, because she is a bit of a rock chick.


Why I can't wait for Wednesday...

So that I can write a lesson timetable for Emerald Arts, I'm researching on the interwebs to see if I can find out when I'll be at TAFE. This is what I have found so far, it definitely stirs the butterflies:

The Newcastle Art School specialises in studio-based fine arts training for professional artists. Based at Hunter St Campus, it has fully accredited courses, facilities and staff.

The Newcastle Art School is located in a series of historically significant buildings and it has been Newcastle’s central art school since the late 19th century.

Courses are also offered at our Singleton Campus and at Ourimbah on the Central Coast

Our fine art courses are studio-focused and involve significant face-to-face teaching with student teacher ratios of around 15-1. The facilities are well-equipped with the latest technology as well as the traditional tools and equipment of the artist.

Students are offered a range of studio electives including Painting, Sculpture, Photography and Printmaking alongside core studies in Drawing, Art History and Theory, Professional Practice and Digital Imaging.

Staff of the Newcastle Art School are highly qualified and professionally recognised artists with strong reputations as artists and teachers.


Drawing studios each of which can support over 15 students for research, experimental drawing and life drawing. The studios are backed by an extensive store of idiosyncratic objects, plaster casts and zoological specimens

Painting studios with full ventilation and painting racks

Printmaking facilities for screen printing, etching, relief printing, lithography.

Our printmaking area includes full extraction and dedicated rooms for acids, screen cleaning, screen exposure, graining and other facilities alongside the studios
Design room

Photography Lab including Analogue (wet) darkroom, alternative process areas and Digital Photography lab equipped with G5 Macs and large format printer and scanners
Sculpture facility includes general purpose space, metal fabrication area for welding and casting, woodworking space and external area

Dedicated Arts Library

The Front Room Gallery is a purpose built public art gallery and flexible delivery centre for exhibition practice and professional practice

And this is the course that I will be doing:

The Certificate IV is offered part time. It is effectively the equivalent of the first year of the Diploma of Fine Arts. Students who complete the Certificate IV are eligible to apply to the Diploma at Advanced Entry and complete the Diploma either full time or part time. We encourage students to attempt to complete the courses at half pace, completing the Certificate IV in 2 years and the Diploma in 2 years more.

Approx 12-15 hrs per week. Subjects include Drawing, Art History and Theory, Design Principles, Portfolio Presentation, Digital Imaging, Exhibition practice, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking and Photography.

Entry and applications: HSC or Certificate III or equivalent or over 20 years of age

You must complete and application form and submit it by the 31st October. Late applications will be accepted but priority will be given to on time applications. Applicants must also submit a portfolio, complete a drawing test and attend an interview at a specified time.

On how much I heart Gabriel Wingate-Pierce and Jonathon Carroll

"Who are they?" you ask... they're the reporter and photographer from the Herald that swung by Emerald Arts for a chat and a Zoolander session.

I'm such a lucky creature, couldn't have asked for a better write up or cooler picture. Thanks guys :)