Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Have you ever tried to out-stare a sheep??

All the stubble in the wheat fields has been burnt off now and the land has gone from golden to charcoal. Tinges of green are starting to come through after the rain. I imagine it will soon be very green and lush looking soon....and very cold!
Funny little tufts of stubble stand out on the dark background.
Strange things you find yourself doing out in the country. A couple of sheep were stood still like statues staring at me. I decided to see if I could out-stare them. It took a while but they gave up eventually. I had a slight sense of achievement...whatever next!!
I also found a fifty dollar note in the bushes. Probably worthless as it is half of it is missing!

Beginnings of a Polyptych

The first layers are down. We shall see what emerges from here as I push things back and pull others forward, add more depth and colour and hidden symbolism.
The poem on the left will be incised into the canvas. The bees wax covered muslin on the far right will have an image behind it of a person in prayer...I think.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

More Eco-dyeing

 Theses are some more bundles I wrapped in calico cloth and others in paper. The paper ones fell apart because I didn't have any water color paper, but it was fun trying it out. You can see how the colors have seeped through. I still need to iron these.


This is what I wrap up in the cloth or paper. A collection of leaves and flowers and a few rusty nuts and bolts. Tie up with string and steam for a hour. The house smells of Eucalyptus, Rosemary, lemon blossom and whatever else goes in the mix. Beautiful !

This is the paper:

Loving the rain!

The Inaugural Encaustic Workshop in Beverley WA

                               All that remains
My first waxy workshop -Yaay! I had so much fun. In the end I only had 3 participants, Jenny, Mary Lou and Penny but, including me it was a good number, considering we only had one pot of wax on the go. I had planned to demo a number of techniques first but I sensed these ladies were itching to get stuck into it and experiment for themselves which is really the best way to learn. So after a few health and safety precautions and one quick demo they jumped in, 
combining different techniques in whatever ways they could, not really having a clue what they would end up with but willing to just see what happens. I love these country girls, no fuss, no fear, just get stuck into it and deal with the obstacles, when and if they happen. 

Five hours later, which only seemed like two, they started to wane, which was good because we may have kept going till midnight otherwise! Because the wax is so instant the concentration on one piece of work is quite intense, so working small was good. Also the girls could get three or four different compositions done in a session which enabled them to explore a number of different techniques.  We didn't even stop to open the champagne! 

I am so proud of these ladies and what they came up with and also very thankful to them for being my first encaustic students. They have given me the enthusiasm and confidence I needed to get my finger out and advertise some workshops in Perth. If you live near Perth WA, and you can get a group of 3 or 4 friends together, I am pleased to introduce you to the basics in encaustic. At this stage It will be a 3 hour workshop @ $65 each and I will supply all the materials including the wax. I will speak to you about what you can bring as a substrate to create your beautiful work on! 
Please contact me on my email:

Friday, April 25, 2014


Well, that was quite a full on few days back in Perth with Birthday celebrations and getting the artist in residence application into the post before ANZAC public holiday and the weekend! I don't know what is but those dam applications, no matter what they are for don't seem to get any easier. Probably because the emphasis often changes depending what you are applying for and there is a need to get the correct information together or you know you won't get a look in! Anyway, it is in the post, just before the deadline - 30th April. The only thing I haven't secured yet is a police check. Not sure if I want to pay $60 for that before I know if I have any chance of getting the gig! 
I literally fell into bed at 5pm that afternoon after driving back to my current residency.

Today I have been doing some more art therapy study and also setting up for the encaustic mini workshop this weekend. Only four attending, which is good. I'd rather start small to begin with. It is going to be interesting to see what they come up with. I know the table won't look anything  like this when we have finished!

My muse has led me up the garden path this afternoon (literally) when I discovered Eco-dyeing on-line.
Now this fits my personality perfectly. You basically collect leaves and flowers from the garden. Wrap them in cloth or watercolor paper and tie them up into a parcel with some string and steam for one hour. You can then leave them soaking in the boiled water till morning for a greater effect...if you have the patience!
The plants should stain the paper with beautiful natural colors and patterns. I'll let you know in the morning how it turns out. Goodnight!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Returning to Kids Art Classes


Never thought I would go back to teaching kids again but I am having fun researching ideas for the Prince Margaret Hospital AIR application. Some of the art works are so colorful and crazy looking. Fun!


Good to get a little side-tracked now and then and follow your muse!

Preparing for InterPlay for Kids workshop and encaustic. 
Finding it very difficult to focus on my art therapy homework, which needs to be completed before I head home AND I still have to complete the hospital AIR application.

Greg surprised me with a visit yesterday, then cooked dinner for me, and took me out for breakfast in the morning so that was very sweet. Good timing actually, as I was a bit under the weather.

Today I was experimenting with painting some meltedbees wax over some old paper documents, receipts and tickets, that the owner of a bric-brac store across the road, wanted to preserve. Interesting. A bit stressful too, especially when one of them was too fragile and kept falling apart in the process. The more I tried to fuse it back together the worse it got. It was a 1960 dry leaning receipt for a shop that used to be in the main street.

I got completely side tracked ( which is good to do sometimes ) in the studio yesterday with a discarded soda bottle. I decorated it with alcoholic inks, then painted bees wax over it, then chopped it up! The inside of the bottle is a high gloss and looks like glass and the outside with the wax coating is a beautiful mat finish.

I also gold leafed a rusty cog that I found on my walk around the town. These are giving me lots of ideas which I can't wait to persue!

Now, that is enough play for now, back to the art therapy study and preparing workshops :(

Friday, April 18, 2014

Platform Markets Set Up

It is 6.30 am and there is a hype of activity in the front garden with the marketers setting up for their Platform Markets today. They even have a recorded sound effects of the old passenger steam train that used stop at Beverly Station...very authentic with tooting, hissing and bells and then chuffing off into the distance. Come to think of it I didn't hear any wheat trains last night. I wonder if they were respecting Good Friday?
 It is quite chilly out there now but it's going to be a beautiful day. Come on down if you want a taste of the country and the exhibition is still open in the old 1930 Art Deco town hall. 'Calander Girls' is showing 7pm on the Ist June at the Platform Theatre, Beverley Station and that will be fun although it could be a bit chilly for the girls!! Greg and I saw the production at the old Guildford Theatre and it was excellent. I should be a tourist guide!

And it is now 11.35 and the barbeque sausages are smelling gooood!

Thinking, Thinking, Thinking

Refined Bees Wax on Muslin and working with the depth of opacity that I want.

It really appeals to my senses handling this sheet of wax with all the textures that have developed naturally over the surface. I'm going to have to create another smaller piece that I can crumple up and see if I get a beautiful crackled look. Then I could rub a dark oil paint into the cracks. It looks and feels so natural and endless possibilities are going through my head, but I must stay on track... 'The sound of sheer silence' At the moment I have a temporary piece of rusty metal sitting behind the waxed sheet. I was planning to create the shape of a human figure crouching in one corner (Elijah was suicidal) behind the sheet with one hand reaching out and touching it but I'm struck by the simplicity of the circle which represents wholeness, creation, eternity, God. If I gold-leafed the ring that would be even better. Oh! Decisions, decisions, decisions...just got to keep trying things out and see what really grabs my attention!

 Meanwhile my mob of emu's have been cooking out in the sun. Hope to sell a few over the weekend as there will be an art and craft market set up on the lawns, just outside the gallery. Wish I had time to create a few more bits and pieces but this residency is turning out to be much busier than the last one, what with study and applying for the art residency job at the school in the Prince Margaret Hospital.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Red Dot & A Red Light!

Well I was right. Didn't win any awards but sold my painting, 'Cross Country'. There was a line up to get in at 7pm. By the time I got in and had a quick whizz around, out of 300 paintings 10 had already sold and one was mine so that was very encouraging!

I got home and went to call Greg, when I saw a text message from him saying that a fine for $150 had come in the post...a red light apparently. So that put a bit of a damper on things! Oh well, you win some you loose some!

A Paid Artist in Residence Opportunity

I opened an email a few days ago that an artist friend who I share a studio with passed on to me. It was an application form for a 3 month paid ($12,000) artist in residence (AIR) in the children and adolescence section of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH). The AIR will have an open studio, do 2 x 2hr workshops a week and 8.5 hrs doing hospital rounds, visiting the kids and doing one-on-one art with them. There is also $5000 for art materials. The children are between the age of 5 and 18 yrs.

When I read through the criteria I knew this had my name written all over it because of my past experience with teaching and especially children and those with learning difficulties. I have a vast collection of art activities for kids including InterPlay. I am a full time Art Therapy student and a practicing artist currently on an AIR.
So here I am frantically trying to pull together a proposal, the criteria required, CV, 10 decent images of artwork, a new bio that focuse on more than just my art practice, find a referee (any volunteers please?), and the rest, all from my ipad here in Beverley. It is quite a headache really along with everything else I have on my plate at the moment but I think it is an opportunity not to be missed so I'm really pushing myself especially as the deadline for applications is 30th April 2014!

Exhibition Opening in Beverley

Got to get my glad-rags on for the opening night tonight! Wouldn't it be amazing if I've won a prize? Somehow I don't think so as there are some beautiful pieces by some very experienced artists. The painting used above for the advertising was a winner last year, 'Gems' by Pearl Rogers won best small painting. 

Anyway I'm pretty confident mine will sell as I've used this style before and they have sold. In a way you getting 18 little paintings in one for $380. A bargain! I forgot to get a decent photo so I must try and remember to get one tonight while I'm sipping on champagne!
For now this is my blurred, crooked photo of 'Cross-Country' by Janet Pfeiffer :)

A Sound of Sheer Silence

Working on a panel to depict God in the silence. Playing with different ideas using gold leaf, charcoal, gauze and wax. Thought of words too but I scrapped that idea.
Most of all I especially like the transparency of the refined white bees wax which I used in the example below. It is not so opaque and painted over the gauze looks amazing I have placed a couple of paintbrushes underneath to check the transparency and I'm liking it very much! I may even go for an image of a hand behind it which is something I saw in a photo about 6 months ago when I was contemplating the subject of Elijah's encounter. I wondered how I could create something similar. I really loved the strong mysterious image which I interpreted as our humanness connecting with 'other' through 'a thin place' which spiritually speaking is a holy place. Worship and prayer are sometimes referred to as 'thin places' where we encounter God.