Monday, 4 June 2012

Promised pics of finished oil portrait

Hello again!

I'm glad you popped in to visit and to see the finished portrait. It's always good to see you:)

After I realised the nose was too narrow my next step was to widen it slightly and add some more definition to her jawline.I also 'deepened' some of her laugh lines by going over them with a watery mix of burnt umber and titanium white, then whilst they were still wet I softened them with a dry brush. I didn't want the wrinkles in her skin to look harsh, they needed to look soft and subtle but still remain realistic.




I was happy with her nose and even though her skin tones needed some more work, I started work on the clothes and hair and went back to the face a couple of days later. When you are working with oil paint you have to wait for the under layers to dry sufficiently before adding more paint or you just end up removing the under layer. Look what happened when I was too impatient to follow the rules. There is a light spot on her cheek on the left. OOPS! I had to wait for it to dry out again before I could fix it.


In the reference photo the lady was wearing a bright, colourful shirt. Sometimes artists will take some 'artistic license' and change clothing etc to add harmony and balance etc. I wanted to keep the blouse the way it appeared in the photo though because it is in keeping with her happy, sunny personality and says a lot about her as a person. 


The blouse actually has a lot of detail in it though, and when I started painting all the little details in I realised that the busyness of the blouse was competing for attention with her lovely face. And as the 'star element' of a portrait should be the person, and not their clothing, I decided to tone down the colours and remove some of the busyness from the blouse.

I initially planned to add a light coloured background, but later changed my mind and started to add the darker background you see below. The darker background makes her skin tones pop out (hard to see on a computer monitor, but in real life it does make a big difference!).


 

I added some warm reds to the background and added the finishing touches to her hair and blouse. And TA-DA!!! We have a finished portrait. 


I apologise for the poor quality of the photos, but I had to borrow my daughter's camera as the battery was flat on mine. Hopefully you get the idea though:)


It is a surprise gift, so I hope she likes it!

God bless,

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A month of portrait painting progress...

I can't believe it has been a month since I last posted. Sincere apologies if you have missed me, but I have not been on an exotic overseas holiday or anything remotely as exciting. What I have been doing is working on a special project for the minister of our church. He called me to one side after a service one Sunday and asked me if I could paint a portrait of a faithful member of the clergy who is retiring. 


 My first thoughts were: What was that? A completely legitimate excuse to paint? Hold me back while I dive for the brushes and oils!  Of course I was polite and said something along the lines of "Why, certainly. I would love to paint her portrait. Just send me some good photos and I will get started as soon as I can."

Unfortunately the photos came in too late for school holidays, so I have had to work on the weekends instead, and because it is Winter in Australia we lose the daylight earlier. By the time I get home in the evenings it is too dark to paint, so blogging and home decorating have taken a back seat. 

I thought you might like to see the progress though, so here it is:

Phase 1: I enlarged and then printed the photo to help me see the finer details more clearly. I then washed the canvas with a watery solution of burnt sienna mixed with turpentine. When it was dry I used the printed photo as a reference while I made a rough sketch of the face and shoulders. I also started adding in skin tones.



Phase 2: I added more detail to her eyes and lips and worked on the skin tones some more.I used a mix of burnt umber, burnt sienna, light red and white. The subject has light skin and she is in her eighties, so she has some interesting character wrinkles and folds in her skin, which will need some special attention.


Phase 3: I started to add some shading and highlights which give her face more definition. I also had to decide how to sensitively portray the wrinkles and yet remain true to life. I then worked on her teeth and fixed up a few mistakes I had made in the initial sketch.


Phase 4: Her face is starting to take shape and I added some shading to the folds in her neck and I started to paint in her earrings. The earrings have an intricate pattern around the edges and they took a fair amount of time to paint with a tiny number 2 brush. I also started to paint in her eyebrows as they needed the fine brush too.


I was pleased with the progress and happy with the way it was going, but when I stepped back a bit I realised that her nose was too narrow. My next step would be to widen it and add some more definition to her jawline too. I had to wait for the paint to dry a bit though, so I left the face and starting working on her clothes.

I hope you will come back next week to see the next steps in the painting process, and see the finished portrait too! 

God bless, 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Take a seat...

Hello!

Y'know how some women love shoes and just have to buy them? 

Well, I love chairs. (I know I'm odd, but I'm mostly harmless:))

When I was a little girl I loved to play with my doll's house. I would spend hours re-arranging the furniture and redesigning the look of the rooms. (Now that I think of it, not much has changed!)

I loved all the tiny furniture and accessories, but my favourite pieces were the chairs. 

I love chairs. 

There is something very appealing about chairs that I just can't resist. Maybe it's the comfort offered by a favourite chair after a long day at work, or the prospect of sitting in a special chair and visiting with treasured friends. I even have a collection of miniature chairs in our family room:



I also have a large collection of real, adult sized chairs. At last count we had roughly 47 chairs scattered throughout our house and garden!



I will show you a few of our favourites:

This is one of a set of four antique chairs that we bought on Gumtree for a few dollars. Can you believe that someone thought they were too old fashioned to keep?!

  
This is one of our Van Gogh chairs:


My favourite reading chair:


A comfy spot to visit in:

 
Our darling daughter's desk chair:
 

I made Hub-a-Lubs turn the car around outside a second hand shop in Margate, South Africa for this cute hand painted chair:


I don't think I'm entirely alone in my love of chairs. Holly seems to agree in her own fluffy way!


Do you have a favourite chair? I'd love to hear from you if you do!

Today is the first anniversary of the day we moved into our home. Maybe I will celebrate by going chair shopping...After all, you can't have enough chairs.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

La cuisine Le Roux

The kitchen was one of the reasons we fell in love with this house. It is a spacious, light, sunny and very welcoming place to be. Apart from the pink paint and an unusual space below the cabinets, we had hardly any work to do to it at all. 

This is a photo of the kitchen before we moved in:






I think we loved the flooring and the stained glass window the best. Here is a close-up of the window. It was difficult to take a good photo of it because of the light, but hopefully you get the idea:) 
First thing in the morning the sunlight streams through this window and casts such pretty colours across the room. What a lovely place to start the day!




This is a view of the kitchen from the breakfast bar side. It also shows you the awkward little space below the cabinets. This space is too low for a fridge to fit in, although it looks like the previous owners had a small bar fridge and some storage in there:





We added some distressed wooden bar stools to the breakfast bar:


And we placed hub-a-lubs trolley in the awkward space. Oh yes, we also painted the pink walls with our favourite Loden Green by Taubmann's.





Then I added a little artwork to hide the telephone bracket (you can see the bracket on the pink column on the right side of the 'before' photo.)



I was inspired by my blog friend Kylie at Stylish Settings who did something similar in her kitchen. I downloaded some free graphics from the Graphics Fairy and I didn't have the really cute spoon hanger that Kylie has, but I improvised with some ribbon and sweet little wooden teapot cutouts that I painted in a similar style to the graphic.

While I was browsing the Graphics fairy website I also came across this beautiful French ephemera which I painted onto a vintage rolling pin that Hub-a-Lubs found a few years ago.



 
Then I stuck some adhesive letters to our storage jars which are kept next to the coffee machine:


Friends of ours recently came back from a trip to America and they brought us back some special coffees from Disneyland. Here they are displayed on a little shelf near the doorway:







And finally a picture of the shelf near the stained glass window. I spray painted some of the containers a creamy white so that they looked all "pretty" instead of mis-matched like they were before.





So that's a whirlwind tour of our kitchen. It is all coming together slowly, but surely. I am in the process of making some other bits and pieces now that I am on school holidays for a couple of weeks, so I will be posting some more pictures of our home soon.


Until then, God bless.




Sunday, 25 March 2012

Just WHAT have I been up to?

Hello!

No, I did not fall off the planet! Real life and real home decorating just got in the way of blogging. Sad, isn't it?

But the good news is that I have not been idle. Quite the opposite. Every single weekend has been filled with housey type activities and today I will share some of them with you.

The most exciting news is that I have been painting. No, not oil painting (sniff!) I have been house painting, or more specifically interior wall painting. Yup! We have finally made an inroad into ridding our home of the puce-pink feature walls that are so generously scattered throughout this house. (Cue angels singing).

After much deliberation and discussion (mostly on my side, I know you ladies will understand!), Hub-a-Lubs and I chose Loden green by Taubmans. 



It is a lovely greyish green that feels so serene and relaxing. It looked fantastic on the colour swatch, but what would it look like on our walls?

 
We took a sample pot home and bravely applied it to the bathroom wall. (I figured that the bathroom could be the guinea-pig room as we are the only people who use it! )Happily the colour on the walls was just what we had envisioned and so the Great Task began. 

To stay true to our redecorating on a budget theme, we decided that I would do the painting myself. (Okay, I admit I needed help with the very top parts of the walls as I am vertically challenged and we still don't have a ladder!). And can I just tell you that I discovered muscles I didn't know I had? The morning after the first weekend of non-stop painting I could hardly get out of bed. I think I know how arthritis sufferers must feel! But, I digress. Here is an idea of the colour on the walls:


Isn't it pretty? So much calmer and more serene than the puce-pink we inherited. Of course, then since the walls were looking so pretty I  felt compelled to decorate the mantel to match:



I went through the house and collected up all the bits and pieces that would work together:


This little glazed bird was a special birthday present from hub-a-Lubs and I love it to bits:



This vase I found at salvos a few years ago for $1 and the angel was a gift from my daughter at Christmas time:



Painting interior walls is a lot of hard work, but we are much, much happier with the new wall colour. In the upcoming school holidays I will finish off the rooms that only received one coat to start off. The lounge, bedroom and kitchen are finished though, and as the lounge leads into the kitchen, that's the room I will show you next time. So watch this space...

 
God bless,

Monday, 5 March 2012

Solar, So good.

Hello!

When you live in a place like Western Australia, one thing you can be certain of is that there will be sunshine. A lot of sunshine. We average about eight hours of sunshine a day, and of course with the sunshine comes the heat. And heat is energy, right?



 So what do we do with all that sunshine and heat energy? We harness it, of course! Solar energy is free and clean. We will never run out of it and it is renewable.


The Australian government recently offered incentives to householders to encourage us install solar panels in our homes. Hub-a-Lubs and I took advantage of their generosity (thank you, Aunty Julia for the rebate!) and some friendly workmen came and added some solar panels to the roof of our home:


So now on those numerous sunny days that we enjoy over here, we also get free hot water and electricity for our home! How cool (er, hot?) is that? 

Hub-a-Lubs is especially thrilled. He got a new 'toy' to play with too. The solar panels came with an inverter box which looks a bit like this one:

                                                          Photo source

 If you tap on the box some digital numbers appear in the little display window and you can see how much power the solar panels have produced at any given time. This has proved to be such good fun for him that every now and then Hub-a-Lubs disappears into the garage, we hear a lot of tapping noises, and then he comes back in triumphantly announcing to all and sundry how much electricity we have saved.(We're all secretly hoping this novelty will wear off soon though!)

 Since installing the panels we have halved our electricity bill too, which is an added bonus. He is a happy man.

Wishing you a happy, sunshiny day today!

           God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. Gen 1:16.



Sunday, 12 February 2012

Relaxing and looking at our lounge

Hello!

Decorating a home is an ongoing process which never seems to get finished. There is always a project or two waiting anxiously in the cupboards/under the bed/in the shed to keep us gainfully occupied and busy. To be honest, that is part of the fun of home decorating.

Like many of you I look forward to weekends so that I can paint/make/fix/re-arrange something around the home. But in doing so I am guilty of not taking the time to actually enjoy our home! I realised that I hardly ever just sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy my surroundings. I'm always thinking about what needs to be done next. 

It occurred to me what a terrible waste this is and I resolved to ACT to change it. 

So this weekend I did just that. I sat down and enjoyed looking around our lounge and reminiscing about how much it has changed since we moved in less than a year ago.

Here is what the lounge looked like before we moved in, when the previous owners lived here:


Do you get the idea that they were very fond of the colour dusty pink. Or is it just me?


The room looked a bit bare and plain and didn't really look like the welcoming place we believed it could be. On the left hand side of this photo one of their couches rests against the wall that now holds our faux fireplace.


Opposite the fireplace we have arranged our furniture into a cosy conversation area like this:


We also took down the heavy pink lined curtains and changed them for light, airy off-white ones instead.


We decorated with mostly neutral tones and then to add a pop of colour to the lounge we added a comfy little red tub chair:

Here it is "in situ":

 
We included some interesting cushions and a throw to add texture to the couches:

We placed vases of cheerful flowers in strategic spots around the room:


But my favourite part of the transformation was when we painted the chandeliers a more subtle colour.







Quite a difference from before, hey?



There is of course, so much more we would like to do, (for example repaint all the dusty pink paintwork that we inherited) but for now I am happy to just sit here and relax and enjoy my home as it is now. 

I hope you are having a relaxing weekend too!

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