Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sleep? Who needs it :P

I'm steadily getting through the list of things I made for myself to do today, even though I was so hyped up and excited about the week to come that I hardly slept last night. I lay next to Ten thinking and dreaming until I couldn't lie still anymore, so spent the rest of the night sketching in my books and listening to podcasts on the couch.

I had no idea that Ten had taken this photo of me until I came across it just then on Facebook. We climbed out past the barrier gate so that I could show him the spot that is my landscape, then place that I see in my head that says "Newcastle" wherever I am. It's at the top of King Edward Park, about four minutes walk from my parents house. There is a little dip in the top of the cliff, where I lie in the winter sun, soaking it up, watching gulls and gliders dance above me, smelling salt, loving this place.

I was collecting rocks to grind up to (hopefully) use as pigment for the bottom part of my landscape. Can't wait to show Dallas (painting teacher) and figure out how it can be done, cos I'm sure it can, I just don't know how and don't want to wreck the painting :P

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Painting is fun but the flu sucks

Feeling pretty crap today, but a hell of a lot better than I have been the past two days. I knew that taking on so much this year was going to be a very full on effort, but I didn't think I would crash so badly so soon. Caught the flu off one person and a vomiting bug off another, so spent wednesday night and most of thursday throwing up and cursing the gods rather pathetically. Had a spac at Ten because he was out at Benny's playing playstation one night and at trivia till about eleven last night. He probably thinks I'm being demanding, and he may be right, but I just wanted someone to open my juice bottle for me and maybe pat my hair for a bit. Now he's in withdrawn cranky mood and I'm pretty much at my wits end there.

It all sounds a bit negative doesn't it, but rest assured, I bounce back quicker than Ali. All the exercise and healthy eating is starting to pay off. So don't fret.

Anyway, got a steroid injection in my butt so that bronchitus/flu doesn't turn into pneumonia (which I have had a couple of times before). Woke up today feeling like a human again, if still woozy, but I was so desperate to paint again that I dragged myself into town. Moved my easel outside in the sunshine so that I could paint freely and not pass my germs onto others. I wish that other people would show the same consideration.

Let me just rant for a second... why is it that people expect a pat on the back when they turn up to work sick? I wonder how many people realise that by toughing out their flu or virus (or by failing to vaccinate their children) they are putting other members of the populace in danger. People like me. There are more people out there with a compromised immune systems than you might think. People with various forms of cancer, autoimmune diseases, even people who are stressed can have lowered immune responses.

The problem is, most people can still carry on their lives when they're sick, but then there are the sickos like me for whom a cold or flu can turn into something drastic very quickly. Usually when I get sick I'm taken out of action for a few days. On an average month I'll probably have this happen once, but now that I am out in the public more often those days are increasing. Thinking I might start wearing a dust mask to Tafe and work.

So what's the point of this little rant? I don't know really, just don't be a carrier monkey. If you can stay home from work or school, then please do so. Rest up, watch a couple of movies, then come back when your germs are gone. Or at least give me a heads up so I can run away :P

New badges that arrived at Emerald Arts yesterday. I can't tell you what it's called because I forgot to bring my consignment book home, but it's $2 and is pinned to a paint swatch.

My poor old Sculpture sketchbook after the bum got to it. So sad.

Today I decided to start painting the sand on my landscape work. It was going to be the first of several tests, but having glazed over the water part 12 times so far, I'm starting to like it so I think I will hand this one in. I'm going to paint about 10 layers of sandy colour on, then add bits of shale and sand (I think) so that the roughness contrasts with the smoothness of the water.

I think (hope) that the sandy colour goes with the water. Used the same yellow that is worked through the water part, so that it matches tonally...

Sooo shiny. Man I love this gloss varnish stuff. Thinking of doing about 30 coats all up, working irridescence and metallic inks through it, so that it has more depth.

Ugh, tired, time for a power nap I think.

<3 Emmeline

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Digital painting is way cool man

It dawned on me the other day that if I learn to use Photoshop properly I could use it to create both digital versions of bookart Aaannd as a way to test out painting ideas quickly thereby saving the environment and my wallet and DAYAM art is awesome.

Before and after shot from class today. Digital. w3rd.

The leaves are not the right colour, but I spent so long making brushes that I just wanted to get the idea down before the end of class.

Em Stronach 's really glad she scanned her sketchbooks yesterday because today a bum stole my sculpture one, ripped it up at the bus station then sat on it. Seriously.


L.D. Semmler at 8:53pm March 24

Like WTF?

Jen Etherington at 8:57pm March 24 via Facebook Mobile

Gee. Not having much luck are you?

Joe Lynch at 9:08pm March 24

Jesus. Was it one dread?

Tegan Hunter at 9:13pm March 24

That's a punchable offence in my book.

Adam Mal Dalton at 9:23pm March 24

that is terrible. Sorry to hear it.

Em Stronach at 10:04pm March 24

Hey don't be sorry, I got it back, the grandpa of my student went all action man on it. The written on pages were yanked out. Was just a crazy old bum who apparently doesn't like fish diagrams :P

Zane Dean at 10:22pm March 24

G nobody ever steals my sketchbooks :

Em Stronach at 8:19am March 25

hehe I don't think that's a bad thing Z

Simone Sheridan at 9:45am March 25


Cameron Brown at 10:19am March 25

Holy shit. Again? You've got to keep a closer eye on your sketch books!

Em Stronach at 4:46pm March 25

Yeah I think I do C, yet another thing having a shop is teaching me quick smart. They're dicey buggers in the Mall.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Stock at Emerald Arts: Mixtape Zine

I was introduced to Mixtape by my zinester friend Susy Pow at last years TINA zine fair, so was beyond excited to find a couple of issues under the door at Emerald Arts a few weeks ago.

It turned out Justine from Mixtape had seen my callout on We Make Zines for stock and was wondering if I would like to stock Mixtape.... WOULD I!???!! And why?

It is a very rare thing indeed to find a magazine (or zine) that is craft orientated that doesn't once (I think) mention scrapbooking or decopage or filling things with perfumed woodchips (that's what pot pourri is isn't it?).

Mixtape is contemporary, it's about making time for the small things, getting into the DIY spirit... as they say on their site "Mixtape is a collision of craft, eco-cool and pop culture kitsch". It is also an excellent read, far more entertaining that Who or New Weekly. Read your celebrity gossip online and buy mixtape instead ;)

I have back copies of all issues, but not for long. Mixtape themselves will not be printing back issues in the future, rather offering them online (which is itself a lovely and green business idea)... so get it while it's hot at Emerald Arts ;)

My Sketchbooks

I was scanning in some watercolour tests for my painting class that I thought I might modify/collage digitally for another class... when I thought, maybe I should start scanning in pages from my sketchbooks, incase the unthinkable happens and I lose another... so here you go, some stuff from my sketchbooks (all done while at Tafe or studying at Emerald Arts)

For drawing class we had an excursion to Centennial Park, which is right behind St John's Anglican church where I was christened when I was 13... because I wanted to be confirmed at the Cathedral... and now after almost thirty years of being a total book nerd and doing a lot of research on the subject... I can't believe I wanted to be inducted into religion so badly. Just so Meh about the whole thing. Anyway, the drawing above was made with three different widths of artline markers, the one below of willow charcoal

Yeah, you know how I mentioned that I am a massive book nerd? I'm pretty sure that Tafe is turning me into a huge art nerd as well. Just as well I look hot in glasses :P

I found the Bauhaus syllabus in the library. First fell in love with the Bauhaus principles when I was at Uni studying graphic design. Just makes so much sense.

A painting test done in my General Drawing sketchbook (note to self: draw a cartoon general for the title page). But still... it's drawing with the wrong end of a paintbrush...

Different images that I think are good examples of line. Still needs something in the bottom left corner. Mushrooms are mine. Slowly growing to bear eating them in foods beside sssStroganoff and Risotto. Dayam... that's definitely what I should cook tonight. Tasty.

Landscape ideas for the painting class. Here's hoping lots of people buy things at Emerald Arts so I can afford the canvas to trial all my ideas ;)

Watercolour test for painting class... these are actually in each subject books, so I could work on a page while all the others dried. Hopefully the teachers don't mind if I sometimes put stuff from other subjects into their sketchbook. They're going to be pretty swamped with stuff anyway, given that I compulsively do stuff in them day in and day out. Probably used to it come to think of it.

Sculpture sketchbook. The wooden fish (named Rex after Rex Hunt) is coming along swimmingly.... har har...

This is my favourite of the watercolour tests. I washed the page with a really light pink first then loaded up the brush from the stronger pigment red and just touched the tip of it to the page. Definitely going to try this again, with different shapes. Really starting to like watercolour now.

Right then, off to have an afternoon hanging out washing and doing interwebs research for class. Here's hoping the free wireless is on in town soon (how much does Renew Newcastle rock!) so that I can use the internet on days besides Monday... which is supposedly me day orf :P

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Mall is allliiivvveee, to the sound of muuusic

Two strange ballet creatures turned up in the Mall yesterday afternoon...

The red one snuck into the picture when I was taking a photo of a girl called Emerald.She was convinced by her friends to have her photo taken next to the sign. I heart this photo so much.

Livesites provided much excellent entertainment. There was a juggler who had an amazing glass orb that he moved with his hand like it was water. Then there was a magician called Andrew who spoke with an Indian accent even though he was born in Nelsons Bay.

I set up my canvas outside and started work on my first Landscape trial.

This is my landscape test for the exhibition. Since canvas is almost the same cost as paper these days and learning how to make my own frames then stretch them... I'm doing my tests Grande size because it is (I think) the only way to learn how to paint BIG ;)

These beautiful prints are by Simone Sheridan. She is the current Guest Artist on the wall at Emerald Arts.

This is not actually the way it's supposed to be put, it's 90 degrees right when displayed properly, but I wanted to show you her face. Lovely.

So far I have only painted the water part. I mixed the colours that I see when I'm swimming laps at the Ocean Baths. Next step is to gloss it to the McWoah with shiny something or other...

Maybe put sandy cliffs on there... and maybe some shards of light

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Photoshop is interesting

This is an image I am working on for my Digital class at Tafe. I took the photo while doing landscape studies for painting... cos three hours was sooo not enough time to paint every view I wanted to... so I cheated a bit

Anyway, this is only the start of my idea for this. But I thought I would post it here anyway, because it is so different to anything I have made before and I'm kind of proud of it.

Good news too, I have my first actual student for Emerald Arts. We start classes on Tuesday. I am so excited and have so many lesson plans and projects and YAY!

So much stuff to do, but I'm thinking I might take it kind of easy tonight since Tafe totally fried my brain. Just going to read a book for a bit then go to sleep so I am good for painting and sculpture tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh Em Gee

Having just discovered the awesomeness that is WikiHow, I give you my favourite parts from their entry on "How to Act Like a Tortured Artist":

It helps if you have a piano in your house so you can play sad-sounding music. This will add to your mystery.

Listen to a lot of funeral organ music, especially while driving in your car. Your car must be black, and you shouldn't drive any flashy sports cars.

IF ever you are out in public, complain about society.

It helps if you are thin and pale; adding to the image of frailty.

Read Poe, Plath, Rimbaud, the play Hamlet, and any other dreary literature you come across.

Post-Weekend ramble

Well it's Monday again, which means it's my weekend day so it must be time for another ramble about stuff I've been doing and stuff that is coming up ;)

I received lots of amazing things in the mail for Emerald Arts, which deserves (and shall have) a post all of it's very own, but it includes Mixtape zine and bird cages, goldfish necklaces and stories about music and owls.

I went to King Edward park to learn how to paint landscapes (another post again) and attended my Grandpa's 80th birthday at the Newcastle Club at which I made a speech that wasn't too bad at all. Dinner was canapes and champagne, because my family dines in style, but I am a little wheat freak, which means that Mum organised for me to have a meal in one of the little private dining rooms which Ten and Lachy crashed. There is no better food on earth than there, to be completely honest. I had salmon with prawns on top and Ten had Oysters Kilpatrick. Lachy had an enourmous steak that he finished before I was done removing prawns from skewer. That kid inhales food, but he is 6 ft 5 sooo...

Saturday was Ten's school reunion, technically 12 years since he finished, but no one organised that one. The picture above is us at that. I probably look so happy because I spent most of the night carefully dismantling the table decorations.

Don't look at me like that, I had to. They were made up of a bunch of balloons secured to the table by a complicated knotting system surrounding two black books. Upon closer inspection the books had been hand covered in black paper so that the table title (eg "English" or "Science") could be written on the spine. Then the book nerd inside had to know which books we had on our table, so I carefully slid the smaller book on top out, to find it was a novel by Ailsa of Home and Away fame(an Australian soap opera for those of you playing at home).

Of course, once I had managed to find out which books were hiding in plain sight on our table, I had to find out what the others were, so I waited until everyone else was good and drunk, dancing to late nineties classics on the dancefloor, then I went from table to table, stealing the smaller books on top, and brought them back to ours... mostly to the delight of my fellow "Science" table-ers... but they didn't like the Danielle Steele one. Particular favourites were "Ice Station" by Mathew Riley (I may have spelt that incorrectly) and "Queen of the Damned" by Anne Rice, which was such a massively awesome find, very exciting.

Best part was, one of the organisers had been watching my antics. She told me I could take Queen home since they were just old books that no one wanted anyway. Their trash, my trashy literary treasure I guess. YAY!

Sunday (yesterday) was my first Sunday off in a long long time. Between setting up Emerald Arts and going to the markets, Sundays with Ten are a very rare things. So we did some washing and the grocery shopping, then watched Kitchen Nightmares and had delicious snacks. Oh and we made tacos for dinner. It was great. Probably doesn't sound very exciting, but things have been so hectic lately so it was lovely and very destressing to party then have a chill out day together :)

Anyway, off to catch up on my RSS feeds and search the interwebs for pictures of seaweed.


PS. read this article by Marcus Westbury (our fearless Renew Newcastle leader), it discusses how artists are likely to weather all this stressy financial crisis stuff.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things I have made this week

I'm not sure if it's because Ten found my feather necklace the other day or that feathers are really cool... I just can't stop painting them.

I use acrylic paints and poscas for this one. It's now up for sale at Emerald Arts and much credit goes to tafe for getting me to paint something that didn't end up having paper cranes glued to it. Brancin' out, yeeaah.

I also made a little bird cage necklace out of some lovely bird egg blue leather and a red cage.

And also, a goldfish, also on the necklace wall at EA.

Then on Wednesday night I made my bff Tenski smoked salmon sushi. So tasty when it's fresh mmm.

My first attempt at making an Artist's Trading Card (ATC) was a gnome with a red hat.

The second was a mushroom. Can't wait to get back into the studio (sat-tomorrow) to finish them. Today I clambered all over King Edward Park taking photos and making sketches for my landscape. Will do some practice watercolours then too.
Spent most of this afternoon mailing the lesson Program for the kids classes to all and sundry. Have decided that stressing never got anybody anywhere and that the only way to make these classes a success is to put my marketing hat on and get the word out there.
Wish me luck ;)

Interesting info from the Copyright Agency Limited (Aust.)

Just got this email in my inbox, it's about artist's receiving royaltys on works sold on (or sold again you might say) which is very groundbreaking and exciting and possibly very hard to enact... but here you go:

Over 2,500 artists and arts professionals signed the CARR petition urging Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett, to introduce a fairer resale royalty scheme for Australian artists.

Thanks to your support, a Parliamentary Committee tasked with considering the Resale Royalty Bill tabled in parliament last year has urged Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett, to obtain further legal advice on expanding the scheme to pay royalties on all resales after the legislation comes into effect on 1 July 2009.

The scheme would entitle artists to a 5% share of the resale value of their artworks when they are resold on the commercial market. However as it stands, the Minister’s proposed scheme would only pay royalties on works that are purchased and then resold after the legislation is introduced – meaning that artists of existing works could wait decades for the royalties, due to the long periods between resales.

The Government has accepted the Committee’s recommendation and is now working with the arts community to review the model. CARR is hoping necessary amendments will be put in place to ensure that when the scheme comes into effect in July it works for all artists.

We’ll update you when the Government reaches their final decision.

To find out more about the proposed resale royalty scheme, visit the Government fact sheet on


Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) on behalf of the Coalition for an Australian Resale Royalty (CARR)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kid's classes at Emerald Arts

Ten and I have spent the last few days getting the Lesson Program written up, proofed, arranged, printed... now I'm strategising ways to get it out there with my friends Nay and Suse via The Facebook. I'm crossing my fingers that it will be ok to get things started mid-term, that parents won't just get the flyer and file it away till the start of the next term... because if that does happen, there will not be an Emerald Arts to have lessons in, it's seriously do or die time. I haven't mentioned it on here yet, but Ten and I found out a couple of weeks ago that we have to move house. We got a notice from the real estate that the lease is terminated for "non disclosed" reasons. Which basically means they don't give us a reason and we have no recourse if we want to argue it, sucks being a renter. I'm behind on rent, because there just is not the through traffic in the mall and not enough no people at Emerald Arts. Switched from having my own stall to sharing at the markets, which also means less funds because people stand in front of the stall all day waiting for coffee not reading the giant signs which say "keep this clear for strollers and wheelchairs". geez.

So yeah, we're trying to find somewhere new to live, I'm working the markets and the shop and not having any time off, we're both ragged and it's make or break time with the business. I'm on the crest of a wave, the opening was amazing, I just need to pull it together (or keep it together rather) and make the classes happen. If only that could be done with positive thinking.

Bleurgh. Sorry, that was a bit of a rant, made me feel better though. I'm not stressy, I promise, just strategising and laying it all out there so I get moving.

Here's the lesson Program. Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions Dear Reader I would love to hear them.

Lesson Program

Sunday, March 8, 2009

To Market to Market...

Recycled bags for sale at the Markets yesterday. They're made from boxing straps (I think that's what ther're called). They're gorgeous and massively cheap. I bought a giant one for my mum for christmas... which Cas subsequently stole, which means it must be stylin.

My lovely fairy friend. Very soon we're going to have facepainting at Emerald Arts on Saturdays, will keep the kids entertained... and me probably :P

The Fairy's colour palette, so keeping this image to use in my Digital subject at TAFE.

Don't you just love flowers?

Oh orchids, how I heart thee...

More flowers, but these ones are felt. Made by Jade of "Cowboys and Cupcakes". You can find more of her work at the ebay shop:

Bears made from Llama fur.

Who says Gluten Free cakes aren't tasty eh? A new stall has just opened up and I can tell you from gluttenous experience, they are so tasty.

My corner of the stall I share with my friends. This photo was taken at about noon, the journal walked soon after. The little one in the bottom right of the photo. When I was packing up I couldn't find it anywhere, searched high and low, but unfortunately somebody has definitely nicked it.

I'm hoping that it was just a little kid who liked the pictures and that their parents will make them send it back to me (I'm pretty sure my contact details were in the front cover). If not, if it was stolen on purpose, I don't really understand why. It's just notes and quotes and ideas mostly, of much sentimental value to me, but not much use to anybody else.

I want it back. Sad face.