Monday, April 8, 2013

A Painting a day...

I am proud to say I did quite a bit of writing last week! I don’t usually have time to because I work full time but I made the most out of the Easter holiday. I started reviewing shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and you can read my reviews of Jennifer Wong’s show and Ronny Chieng’s show on artshub. I’ve also got a review of Liberal Arts pending. For fun (and to keep myself writing), I’m thinking about reviewing the new Justin Timberblake album. It's a very interesting album and I'm still undecided about it. Have you guys listened to it?

I met up with my friend Susie and she told me she’s going to write 1000 words a day. She suggested I do the same with my painting, which I think is an excellent idea. I’ve been feeling a bit down about my painting abilities this week, only because I suck at painting food! Like I mentioned in my previous post, I really want to create an illustrated dessert cookbook and the food I painted just isn't turning out right. I know I just need to keep persevering with it. I spoke with my partner's sister who is an art teacher and she gave me some handy tips so I'm gonna incorporate that into my paintings. Susie suggested I go suss out the NGV for some inspiration, which is a great idea.

I was telling a few people about the dessert cookbook idea and I’ve been told by two people to look at Dawn Tan’s art. I did a browse today and I just love of her work! Her paintings are so fun and colourful with an endearing quality to it. Dawn's art is a great example of how art doesn't always need to look real.

I was also reading a blog post from Pikaland about how there are ways for us to make money so we pay our bills AND do our creative projects. It's just a matter of not wasting your time and doing it. If you're spending your time whining about having no time to 'create' while watching reruns of Big Bang Theory (which was what I was doing last year), then you really need to assess how to use your time more effectively.

Anyway, I felt pretty inspired by those two blogs so I painted a portrait of a goofy Great Dane. I'm very pleased with how it turned out!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Do a lot of work

Last week’s been a really good week for me, creative productivity-wise. I haven't reviewed anything in months so I'm proud to say I've submitted a review for Liberal Arts to arts hub. I’ve avoided writing reviews for performance shows because the turn around is crazy and I work full time, so there’s very little time to write a good review. When DVD reviews were up for grabs, I dived for them. It was hard starting them but once I started to concentrate more, everything flowed really well, which I'm pleased about. Watch out for my review of Liberal Arts soon! 

I've also just locked off the script to my first short film! I revisited it tonight after a 2-month break from it. I've made some changes, which I think makes it stronger. I’ve started contacting a few people who I’ve had in mind for certain roles and hopefully that will get things rolling. I’m still unsure if I should get a producer or not. Some people say yes, some say no. I guess I’ll just have to see how I go. I'll definitely need a production manager though.

A few weeks ago I made some amazing little cupcakes for my friend Al's 30th birthday party and I wanted to write a blog post about the recipes. This is what they look like. I was pretty freaking proud of how they turned out:

Then I had this great idea: Why don't I illustrate the cupcakes instead of taking photos of them? Then it lead to an even bigger idea: I should totes make a dessert cookbook featuring illustrations instead of photos. I started painting food this week and I've realised food is really damn hard to paint in watercolour!

Either you create something washed out like this:

Or you oversimplify to this:

I obviously feel really disappointed that I can't paint food very well. I guess I’m still trying to figure out my “style”. Once I know this, it will dictate how this cookbook will turn out. My problem is I try too hard trying to paint things realistically. I always have to remind myself it’s OK if something doesn’t look real. Somethings are more endearing when they look a little different.

Speaking of food painting, I found Heegyum Kim’s blog yesterday. She illustrates her recipes and the food she eats. It’s absolutely stunning and I’m studying some of her work to see how she does it. She doesn’t fixate of realism, but has fun with the colours and shapes. While I don’t think my painting style is like hers, it’s a great point of reference for me. I haven’t found many food illustrators so if you do know of any, please share in the comments!

I also found this quote from Ira Glass on Heegyum’s blog that I want to share with y’all. I guess it’s a reminder of whatever artform you pursue, it’s all about practicing a lot and learning through doing. I think TV and film have created this idea that if you are gifted, you don’t need to train. This quote by Ira Glass is great because it shows you just how much effort goes into perfecting your chosen art form. Think about our most esteemed athletes and musicians: they do so much training to perfect their talents. It’s a great reminder for those days when I feel dejected because I’m not drawing/writing/painting at the level I want to.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Art Attack!

A few weeks ago, I did a watercolour painting course at CAE. It was great. If anyone is considering taking it up, I strongly recommend doing an introductory course because watercolour painting can be a little technical. I'd strongly recommend the course at CAE. The teachers are great and it's good fun.

Before the course, most of the things I painted were landscapes, and I'm not very good at that. After the course, I had a look at some watercolour artists. Most of them paint landscapes but there are a few like Emil Nolde who also paint portraits and flowers. Nolde's work is very gestural and vibrant, very different to what we associate watercolour with.

Anyway, I've started to paint more animals now. It's much more fun and you can be a bit more detailed with it. I'm not great at it but I'm getting better, I reckon. I would ideally like to paint something more colourful.

Here are some paintings I've done after my painting course:

We played with the paints at CAE, trying to make the paints melt into each other. It looks very cool!

We learned to use salt in our paintings. The salt soaks up the paint, creating a cool effect like stars in the sky or give the effect it's snowing. The effect varies depending on the colour of the paint and how dry/wet it is on paper. For this one, my paint was a bit thicker and dryer so the snowing effect wasn't as obvious.

I was given a cretionist brochure one morning and it had some great images in it. I ended up painting these giraffes. I think it turned out really well. It's not perfecting but it's still kind of cute.

This one was a bit disappointing. I found this really cool photo of an own but I just couldn't do it justice.

I read article about award-winning hens and there was this photo of a stunning white rooster. I had to paint him. Again, I couldn't do it justice. It was also trickier than other animal portraits because he's white and in watercolour painting, you don't have a white paint option – it's whatever colour your paper is.

I painted this guy today. It turned out all right. I'm pretty happy with it although I wish I could paint his skin folds better.

During high school I was really interested in using biro to create the illusion of texture. I decided to play with biro and watercolour. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I might do more of these later.

If anyone has any recommendation of things I can paint, please let me know! And you can follow me on instagram if you wish:

Monday, March 4, 2013

Grow Up

I'm a bit of a late bloomer. I'm always the last one to reach certain milestones like get a full-time job and my driver's license. At the ripe age of 23, I am pleased to say I will be moving out of my safe cocoon next month to venture the world of adulthood. Hello responsibility and independence – we're gonna be great friends!

It was a bit sad telling my parents I was going to move out of home. Since we have no extended family in Australia, my parents (or actually, my mum) cling on to us, not wanting to let go. It was even harder telling them I was going to move in with my partner. My parents are rather traditional. Mum wretchedly stressed I wasn't married and no one in our family ever slept in the same bed with their partners outside of wedlock. Dad just accepted it was something I needed to do. Either way, they're just going to have to accept it.

I'll be moving in with Liam's housemates as well. I think it's a good idea to move in with people I know well-ish, but not too well that it could ruin friendships. I'm also just really excited about living with Liam. We've been talking about getting a place together but neither of us are financially well off enough to even rent a place for just us two. This is a nice compromise. We've found a local bar that we really like called Long Play (they do excellent Bloody Marys). I hope Long Play becomes our Maclaren's. I guess you can call this "taking our relationship to the next level". It's very exciting and a little bit scary, but in a good way. Most of all, I'm looking forward to waking up with him next to me every morning. I know: SAAA CORNY.

How was your moving-out-of-home experience?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book vomit

My laptop carked it last week. I've had old Humphrey for about 4.5 years. We've gone through two batteries and several laptop chargers. I'm taking him to a repair place on the weekend. I'll see how much of we can save but I think it might be time to find a new one. Liam's loaned me his old laptop, which I'm extremely grateful for.

During my forced computer sabbatical, I did lots of reading. I found sanity reading The Hunger Games trilogy. I know it's not the "coolest" thing to read at my age but I'm proud to say I fucking loved the series. I loved it so much that when I finished it, I moped for days feeling lost and heartbroken. I couldn't figure out why I was feeling so forlorn. I decided to calm myself down and watch the film.

Spoilers ahead, guys.

I think what's upset me the most is knowing everyone is irreparably scarred. In Harry Potter, Harry and co live 'happily ever after' when Voldemort dies. Katniss and co can't "go back". There is no going back: their homes have been destroyed and their relationships with each other become so strained.

Katniss and Gale had this beautiful friendship and despite the love they feel for each other, it's gone because Katniss will always associate Prim's death with Gale. I'm not upset Katniss doesn't end up with Gale; I'm upset that Katniss will never love Peeta the way he has always so fiercely loved her. Yes, I've fallen in love with Peeta Mellark (falling in love with fictional characters is kinda my thing). His love felt so big and Katniss could only return a fraction of affection because she felt obligated to. Perhaps he expected too much from her. They're both so battered that they can only end up together. How can they explain what happened to them to anyone else? How can anyone begin to understand what they went through? It's so wretched!

Anyway, I'm very glad the second film is coming out this year. We're gonna have some fun.

I'm currently reading The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. I've read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and watched both the Swedish and American films. I'm starting to feel the books are ruining the films for me. Is that even a thing? Can books ruin the film? It made all the twists less shocking, but I suppose it can happen when you watch a film before you read the book. I did find myself comparing the two films. Overall they're pretty similar but I think casting in the Swedish film was better than the American. However, Rooney Mara's portrayal of Lisbeth Salander felt truer to the book. While Noomi Rapace was great, she interpreted Salander as an anarchistic rebel. In a way, Salander is that but I always thought Salander was more subtle and less reactionary.

Maybe I should write a comparative essay, comparing the films and the book.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Catching Up + Learning Age is Not an Excuse

It's been a very exhausting day! How is it only Monday? It was one of those insanely busy days where you feel like you haven't achieved much. I'm trying hard to be as organised as I can. Last week I planned what I was going to wear each day for a week. It was great; it saved me a great deal of time!

Anyway, I'm finally going for my P's this Friday, and I've told too many people about it to fail! I've convinced myself I'll go to the gym more often once I have my licence but most likely I'll just end up buying lots of takeaway. Hello maccas drive thru!

Last night I went to a book launch. Liam's 92-year old grandma, Marjorie Darling Ward, has just published a book called 'Three Chords and the Truth'. You can buy it on Amazon. It's a story set in the Australian outback, cobbled with wonderful musical references to Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen. The book launch was great. It was full of her creative writing friends, family and long term admirers. We're all very proud of Marjorie. It's just shows you how you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. Age is no barrier.

Over the weekend, I was discussing what to do with my hair with Liam's sister and sister-in-law. I want to go blonde this winter and since Liam's sister and mum are both blonde, I got them to drape their hair over my face to see what I'd look like if I was blonde. The result, in my opinion, looks kind of cool, but I've had so many of my friends say I shouldn't go blonde. That's not going to stop me though. I'll probably do it anyway and if I hate it then I can always dye it black. My only concern is having hair fall out in clumps.

Also, Liam's mum, Diana, gave me a bag of her second had clothes from the 80s. I've been dying to suss out her old wardrobe, which she has horded for decades. She was quite the trendsetter back in the day! She still is, I'd say. She rocked an ivory suit at the book launch. She was clearing out some of her old clothes and handed me some "vintage" Sportsgirl and Just Jeans. It's very cool! I haven't tried them on yet but if nothing fits, I'll be passing them on to friends. The shorts are TINY. They're meant to be a size 12 but they're probably a size 4 - 6. I don't know if I'm game enough to wear the cropped top. It's so cute though!

Have you been given a special item of clothing? Please share!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Clarity + Watercolour Painting

For the past few years I’ve been freaking out a lot about where my life is heading and what I really want to get out of it. I was constantly comparing my lack of success with other people’s successes (I still do) and my life got stuck in a rut.

This year I feel more clarity. I still don’t know where my life is headed and I still feel bouts of disappointment when I think about what I haven’t achieved. However, this time, I don’t spend weeks analyzing my lack of success until I burst into tears, which, I hope, is a good thing and not just a way of ignoring my issues by sticking my head in the ground.

One of the main things helping me feel more comfortable with where my life is going is just doing more things. Maybe I’m just distracting myself from the real issues. This year alone I’ve read about 8 books (I read no books last year!), took up painting, listened to more new music and I’m starting pre-production with my film. They’re all small, insignificant activities but they’re keeping me positive. As for work, I’m slowly being forced into social situations, which is good for developing my “people” skills. I still have days where I just can’t be bothered making an effort, but it is becoming easier to pull myself out of those moods.

One thing I want to do more of is write and showing people my work, no matter how bad it is. I have low confidence and I’m always horrified about showing people my stuff in case they hate it, but criticism is good for improving skills. So, I’m going to write more, share more and plug myself a bit more from now on.

To start this process, I’m going to share with you some of the paintings I’ve been doing. They’re not amazing, they’re really just to help me with my painting skills. I’ll be taking a course in water colour painting in three weeks and I hope I learn heaps there!

This is the first watercolour painting I did. I didn't use the proper paper because I didn't want to waste the paper I bought on my first painting. It's a bit rough and I had a hard time mixing the paints. I was so used to using acrylics that I was rather rough with my application.

This is probably my favourite paiting to date. It turned out pretty well, although I think a lot of it was just a fluke! Here's the original image.

 I wanted to try something a bit different so I painted these tree frog embryos. They didn't turn out the way I wanted but it was still a bit of fun. You can see the original image here.

I painted this one today. I'm not very happy with it because the sky looks so boring, but the more I look at it, the more I think it's not as bad as I think it is. Here's the original image.