Collect texture, you never know when you might need it!

Texture from a frying pan base

Texture from a frying pan base

It’s a good habit to get into, collecting texture. I love the cracks and layers on the base of this frying pan. Taken into Photoshop and played with this would make a great make a great texture map. I was recently totally absorbed by an artist I heard talking on the radio but I tuned in late and had to wait the entire length of the show before I found out who I was listening to. The artist was so well spoken and enigmatic he had me riveted. One thing he said was that a definition he heard for what artists do is that an artist is someone who notices things. Overly simplistic perhaps but definitely a starting point. The artist was Grayson Perry a cross dressing potter, fascinating character. Check him out if you haven’t heard of him. In the interests of bringing this full circle I guess I could say that every artist I discover is also a bit like a texture I collect whose influence I can add like a texture map layer to my art.

Change a little, often.

I found this old post I wrote over a year ago around about the time I was given reduced days at work before being made redundant. I saved it as a draft and never published it as i thought it was too long. Re-reading it now in the face of new challenges it still rings true.

Change is something we crave and on the flipside dread. We all want some kind of change whether its to be smarter, healthier, prettier, wealthier or more talented. Yet when bombshelled with an unsought-after change we run for cover purchasing a family-size bag of maltezers and devouring them single-handed or forecasting our fears prematurely to our workmates. However learning to accept change that we cannot avoid gracefully is more than just a mantra for recovering addicts to live by, (God grant me the grace to etc etc), it’s a principle we all can learn from and live by. More than that we can pre-empt the nature of life and choose change. You see the element about change that we are uncomfortable with is the one where we have little choice in the form it takes. People by their nature like control and feel very unhappy when it is taken away from them. So if you want the kind of change that makes you smarter, healthier and so on then choose your own change. Don’t wait till change sneaks  up and tells you that the boss has allocated your parking space to the new employee but not to worry because theres still one available next to the garbage crate. Look at your life and find the things that don’t work and change them. Pick one little thing at a time that doesn’t work about your life and change it.

The reason we often fail when we set a target is that we want to transform overnight into the goodlooking, toned and taut millionaire who just happened to buy the right ticket but far more likely to get you where you want to be are the incremental but constant adjustments of course that take stock of where you actually are in relation to your marker before moving. I’m not claiming to have all the answers but I know when I set my mind to achieve something I usually get there in the end if it’s important to me. In the times that I feel like I’m getting somewhere I’ve noticed that what I do is to use a lot of self reflection and follow this thought process:

1. Pick a thing thats not working for you.  Example: Lack of excercise

2. Analyze thought process around why you’re not currently doing anything about it. Example: I don’t have enough time, it’s expensive, I don’t enjoy it.

3. Force yourself to find a solution that ticks most of the boxes for avoiding your negative reasons. Then instigate a change despite the fact it isn’t a perfect solution. Example: I joined a small gym very close to work with low fees for off-peak hours and excercise in my lunchbreak, then eat lunch at my desk while working. Not a perfect solution but it gets around the excuses.

4. Revaluate once change has been made for a while.

5. Adjust incrementally. Repeat as necessary.

Change a little, often.

British arts and crafts museum reopens after £2.3 million extension


mural museam craftihub

The crafters of Ditchling, a British village in Sussex, have reason to celebrate after the reopening of the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft. The museum had been closed to the public for three years during which an £2.3 million extension created to link the museum’s main building — a former Victorian school — to a renovated 18th century lodge.  The museum was originally opened to in 1985, but the new extension and overhaul by Adam Richards Architects hopes to bring the building into the 21st century.

The Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft can now continue to showcase the work of local Ditchling artists and crafters such as Eric Gill, Edgar Holloway, Edward Johnston and Frank Brangwyn (a section of Brangwyn’s mural The British Empire can be seen above).

Have an appreciation of British artists and crafters? Do you live in the vicinity of Ditchling? Would you consider a visit to the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft? Leave…

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What if I could be a children’s book illustrator?

Illustration for children's book.

Illustration for children’s book.

I don’t think I’m alone in this dream. There are many people out there who would love to illustrate kids books for a living. I’m not saying I’m the best illustrator in the world. I know there are better artists out there. I have a passion and there’s not much shaking in my world of commercial art at the moment so it’s time to give the old dream a chance. Ok so here’s a first attempt at a first page for a story I’ve written. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice but I don’t think this is bad for a start. What do you think?




Art in a gallery

Just a little update to say that a gallery has accepted my Simplicity Series paintings. Just a little Seaside Gallery/Framers in Pt Chev called Art Defined but I am stoked. This could be the beggining of something big. You never know! Absolutely relieved they did not reject my work. Here’s hoping they sell. Wish me luck.

Joy, Gratitude, Wonder. 3 wood panel paintings


3 paintings in the series Joy, Gratitude, Wonder.

I decided to try using wood panel instead of canvas as I thought it could be more cost efficicient and yet still be a nice base. I tottled off to my local wood shop place thingey, whatever you call it, and asked the nice man to cut me about 12 pieces equal size out of a plank. I decided I would just do a standard size and live with it and do whatever came to mind rather than trying to ask for specific sizes to suit pre-ordaned concepts. From memory it was a little less than $50NZ for the 12 pieces which I decided in the end was cheaper than buying canvasses and I have quite enjoyed working on them. However the man informed me due to health regulations or some-such he was not allowed to saw the pieces individually for me and so I had to make a trip next door at his suggestion to a cabinet makers who was receiving no money from me in this transaction to use the drop saw machine to do the equal pieces. Everyone was very helpful but I decided I would have to find a way to get them cut elsewhere next time as I didn’t like interrupting busy people to do something for nothing. The edges were a little rough but a small amount of sanding took care of that.

The inspiration to play around with collage and the different media I used came from a book I got out of the library called Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts. I think this series incorporates many firsts for me; first time on wood panel, first time incorporating writing into art, first time using scrapbook paper in art, first time using encaustic (beeswax). I wasn’t super happy about the composition in the end as I didn’t plan it out before-hand very much. It just kind of evolved from the shapes leftover after the scrapbook paper was stuck on but I think for some art containing a lot of first trys at various aspects it’s not too bad.

Honestly there’s so many firsts here for me including mediums. This was the first time I’ve used gesso to seal the surface. Most canvasses you buy these days are pre prepared so you don’t need to but I had this need to understand what I didn’t know and because these were naked wood panels I bought some (Fas) gesso and sealed it first. It’s just kind of like thin white paint so not as mysterious as I thought so that’s another needless fear of the unknown medium conquered. It just stops the paint from bleeding into the substrate so much. Then I discovered this fantastic product which I used to stick the scrapbook paper on called 3d gloss super heavy gel (brand was Reeves) and it comes in a little tub and is kind of like white hair gel that acts a bit like pva or modge podge and gives a kind of glossy glue effect. The other first was modeling paste, no I tell a lie, I used that in simplicity series so this was a second use. I just used it around the edge of the bodies to create a kind of border wall to keep the wax in. The beeswax was organic native  beeswax from Go Native but if you don’t live in NZ you would want to find a closer source. I had so much fun using this and it was relatively easy. You just melt it gently on the stovetop in a pot then use your brush to paint it on. It dries fast which is a little challenging but it creates this cool murky layer of depth and you can polish it later if you prefer a shiny effect. So far it hasn’t cracked or melted or anything so I think it’s reasonably durable. I got that buzz I always get with a new thing where I was like “wahoo I’m going to be an encaustic artist now and do everything in wax” which lasted a few days but has now worn off.

And for my final experiment I am currently attempting to sell these online so I’ll let you know how that goes. I didn’t want to go there but what the hell I thought I’d try it. Wish me luck!

Simplicity Series One – Acryllic paintings

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This a series of three paintings I have just recently finished called Simplicity Series One. It is inspired by the illustrations on the cover of Simplicity patterns. Around the edges I have incorporated actual sewing patterns in collage form and the rest is acrylic paint and a small amount of modelling paste. I was going to try and sell these in a cafe but I have not worked up the courage yet to go and ask.

I should add that the sewing patterns are vintage styles that I’ve collected not modern ones but you can probably tell that.

Acrylic painting

Artist Paula Egginton – Simplicity Series One

Movable parts and everything!

Riddle me this. Q: When is a women not a women? A:When she’s a manequin.

figure cut-out manequin

Figure study cut out of cardboard and pinned together.

This was a figure study I did where I started out copying a sketch from this great book I got out of the library about figure drawing. Sorry can’t remember the name but I was was working my way through it page by page just trying out the techniques suggested. This was one where you think of the body as relatively simple shapes and cut out pieces of cardboard and I think you were just mean to make a collage but I had the idea to create a manequin with moving parts as I’ve seen done elsewhere. One day I might make one where I decorate the pieces properly with drawing and material to make a person with a costume and perhaps one could attach sticks for moving the arms and legs and make a puppet show. For now I just enjoyed the process of making the figure out of shapes. It’s not perfectly proportioned. Its just meant to be a fun excercise.


So I’ve started painting again

Paula Egginton – Seaweed on sand painting

Let me know what you think. Feedback appreciated.

Struggling with heart – post valentines analysis


This is a little late for valentines day but thats ok because its not meant as a valentine as such. It is a metaphor but not for my relationship. Its just an idea that popped into my head when thinking about how much women struggle with issues of the heart. A lot of women have such big hearts and really put a lot of energy into trying to get things working and in the right place in their love lives and I just got this image of a woman having a very physical struggle with pushing this big pulpy heart into place after it had fallen over and threatened to allow itself to get burried. 

I’m not saying that men don’t have big hearts or that they don’t struggle with them by the way its just that this was an idea that popped into my head and I am concentrating at the moment on catching those fleeting crazy ideas before they slink off feeling unwanted. I do want you crazy ideas, come one come all.