Monday 25 February 2008

Zebra painting - Stage One & 5 facts about me

Finally, I'm back to the Zebra painting! I currently have four paintings that I will be making a start on in the next week or so. Three are commissions. I will try and post the occasional pic as I go but, for now, I've started with the rough draft of a mother Zebra with foal. I can tell you I was quite goggly-eyed by the time I had finished all those stripes. This is on a gallery-wrapped 24" x 30" canvas frame.
Stage One - © Serena Lewis
Click on image to enlarge

OH, I almost forgot, Boyd, tagged me some weeks ago to list five facts about me. Sorry, I'm late with these, Boyd, but here goes -

1. I have a fetish for little notebooks. I think they're cute and I use them for all sorts of lists and reminder notes. I have quite a variety in different colours and cover prints. I particularly love handmade notebooks with fabric covers and handmade paper for writing on. I would love to learn how to make my own.

2. I had my navel pierced eight years ago but ended up letting it close up because it never seemed to heal properly. Admittedly, I had it done at a hair salon where they just used the same piercing gun used for ears. I should have gone to a body piercing salon.

3. I prefer savoury over sweet food anyday.

4. In my early teens, my heart-throb was Donny Osmond. And they called it Puppy Love....oh, I guess they'll never a young heart really feels....and why I love her so.

5. When I turn 50, I plan to get my first tattoo. Nearly 20 years ago, I fell in love with the cutest little dolphin tattoo that I'd noticed on a woman's ankle. We were sitting beside each other in the waiting room at the hospital. I then decided I wanted a tattoo but I couldn't make up my mind whether I wanted a dolphin or some other design. I'm still not 100% sure but I figure that a dolphin may win out in the end considering it was what drew me to getting a tattoo in the first place.

I won't tag anyone specific but please feel free to carry the 5 fact tag on if you would like to.

Thursday 21 February 2008

EDM challenge #53 - Draw a mouth

Graphite in A5 sketchbook - © Serena Lewis
Click on image to enlarge

This challenge was to draw a mouth and, if inclined, journal about speaking out or holding one's tongue.

I believe both can be equally important as I think we do need to speak out when we see a wrong being done or if we need to share our opinion on an important issue. However, while not always easy to do, it would be to our own benefit to hold our tongue when we are feeling angry or moody. For every action, there is a reaction so, keeping this in mind, it is always wiser to keep our cool in potentially angry situations because nothing can be gained when words of anger are thrown into the mix.

I recently read
this post on Kate's blog about smiling and I believe it to be so true. Kate has also included a meditation in which you use your smile as a healing energy for your body.

I'm sure we have all heard the old saying - Laughter is the best medicine. It has been proven that a smile or a laugh does bring positive changes within our bodies.

I'm also reminded of the Nat King Cole song -


Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it's breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You'll get by...

If you smile

With your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just...

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying

You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just...

Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it's breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You'll get by...

If you smile

Through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile...

That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying

You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile

I truly believe that so much can be gained from viewing our daily lives with a positive attitude and a smile. The choice is your's. Why not make someone's day today and give them a smile ~ :)

Sunday 17 February 2008

Pay It Forward

NOTE - This exchange has now closed. Thanks to those who are participating.

I have committed myself to a Pay It Forward exchange as I think it's a lovely idea. It's based on the concept from the movie - Pay It Forward - where three acts of kindness are done without expecting anything in return. Each recipient of those 'acts of kindness' must then choose three different people who they, in turn, do an 'act of kindness' for and the process repeats over and over.

Why not share in passing the 'act of kindness' love too?

Here's how it works - I promise to paint or make a small gift for the first three people who leave a comment on this post requesting to join in on the Pay It Forward exchange. The three people chosen must then post on their own blogs promising three different people an act of kindness gift. Sorry, you must have your own blog to be able to participate.

Note - I will notify each of the three people that they have been chosen and they will then need to email me their snail address after posting about the Pay It Forward on their own blog. Please allow 4 - 8 weeks for me to paint and send my gifts to you.

Gifts can be anything that is handmade or painted by you.

Friday 15 February 2008

I Love You This Much Award

Thanks Joan for this wonderful award!

These are just some of the blogs I love visiting on a regular basis.

Anita - Rhonda - Boyd - Felicity - Joan - Kathleen - Kathy - Luci - Maria - Romona - Jessica - Kate

1. If you get tagged (and want to play along), write a post with links to blogs that you love. Obviously, if you've already been tagged by someone, you won't need to repeat the process.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

Thursday 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to All!

I decorated a page in my Life Book to celebrate the day ~
Click on image to enlarge

Sunday 10 February 2008

Where it all began.........

This morning, I visited Maria's blog and she had an interesting post on how art began in her life. Click here to read Maria's art story.

My art story began with a fender-bender. It was around 1993 and I was sitting outside my children's classroom waiting for the bell to ring when a couple of my friends came running over to me. They said some woman had hit her van into my VW Kombi van as she had tried to park and the two vans were still hooked together. Of course, I went racing down in a mad panic....Roxy (my Kombi) needed me! Thankfully, no damage was done and the woman was very apologetic so I just laughed it off and told her not to worry about it.

The very next morning, while dropping the kids at school, Raya approached me and said that she had something for me and, from her van, she pulled out the most darling, hand-painted, wooden stool I'd ever seen. It had a teddybear surrounded by roses painted on the seat. Raya said she wanted to gift it to me because I had been so nice about the fender-bender. She commented that she had painted it herself and I was full of praise and gratitude. Raya went on to say that she had only lived in Brisbane for two weeks, having lived in Adelaide prior, and she was hoping to start teaching Folk Art classes but had no idea where to start. I felt the need to help her out so I spread the word to all my friends. Shortly thereafter, five of my friends and I attended Raya's first Folk Art class. From the moment I picked up the paintbrush I was hooked. Not only would I attend the weekly classes but I would also practise at home trying to perfect my skills. Raya often commented that I was a natural and a better artist than her. She did wonders for my confidence.

We worked on painting little wooden cut-out dolls and teddybears. We also did a Daisy Welcome plaque and a Home Sweet Home plaque. Then, only a few months after classes began, Raya broke the bad news that she would be moving away as her marriage has broken up so would not be able to teach anymore. I was sad for Raya and devastated for me. I had a passion to paint and now I had no teacher to guide me. I had only learned basic brush techniques with Raya but craved so much more. From that point, I made up my mind to teach myself from books and, over time, I ended up venturing away from Folk Art into Decorative Art and, from there, into Fine Art where I enjoyed the challenge of realism painting in acrylics. Books have helped me along the way but I have found my best teacher to be 'trial and error'. While my paintings of today do not reflect the primitive FolK Art style I started out with, I feel deeply grateful to Raya for unleashing my artist within. To think, it all started with a Fender-Bender.

From this -

To this -
I spent a while cleaning greenware, getting it fired and then painting it in my own way

I also taught myself how to work with texture paste

I love painting flowers

Painting animals is more challenging but I love it most

Please feel free to share your 'Where it all began...' story and post a link in the comments. I would love to hear/read about how art found its way into your life.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

EDM challenge #33 - Draw an eye or eyes

Another Every Day Matters challenge done ~ YES! I drew my son's eye and the eye of a Bald Eagle. Can you tell which is which? hehehe

Graphite in A5 sketchbook - © Serena Lewis
Click on image to enlarge

On another note - We found the grand-daddy of all Centipedes in our house the other night! SCREAM!! I say 'grand-daddy' because, according to the website I researched, they are supposed grow between 5cm - 10cm.......this one was at least 18cm! My son woke me around midnight as he has spotted it crawling across the tiles. After much drama, we managed to get it out of the house and thrown over the back fence into the bushland from where it must have ventured out. I am now paranoid that we may get another in the house. They are venomous and give a very painful bite. I love having the bushland directly behind our back fence because it's relaxing and we get the melodious sound of the birds every morning, however, I have never seen so many varieties of insects since moving here. The harmless ones I don't mind but the venomous ones such as centipedes, I do.
Do you see the little Kingfisher sitting on the fence?

Saturday 2 February 2008

Life Book page, Handcrafts & EDM #22 - Draw piece of clothing

I have taken an interest in Life Books (Art Journals) of late so I've been busy browsing blogs for inspiration. Here is one of my first attempts featuring my batik, wrap-around skirt which I bought around 20 years ago! I guess this might also cover one of my EDM challenges (#22 - Draw a piece of clothing). I have always loved wrap-around skirts and this was a steadfast favourite. I love anything in batik design and the colours just drew me in. My skirt is a little faded and thread-bare in places from so much washing but I do still wear it, mainly around the house. I felt it deserved a place of note in my Life Book. Do you have an item of clothing that you just would not, could not, throw away? For me, I think it's this skirt. Maybe I will recycle it into a cushion or maybe it will remain the way it is but I know that I could not throw it away.

One of my first art journal attempts

Close up of Batik Wrap skirt - Pigma Micron .03 pen & Watercolour crayons on cardstock

A couple of days ago, I handsewed blind hems on two pairs of my sister's work pants. I remembered that my High School Homecraft teacher, Mrs Savage, would constantly remind us to pick up ONLY a single thread from the weave of the material. I smiled to myself to think that a memory over 30 years old would pop into my head like that. My teacher would also say that every sewn garment should be as neat on the inside as it is on the outside and that is another thing that has remained with me. Even when I learned fabric craft, I would carefully 'V' cut the curved edges to avoid bulk when the pieces were glued together. My friend would tell me repeatedly that it was unnecessary for me to do that but I did it anyway. lol My Homecraft classes have certainly served me well over the years and, looking through the family albums recently, I came across so many pics of my family wearing clothes that I had sewn for them. I would sew my own clothes, my kids' clothes, my Mum's clothes, my sister's clothes and her kids' clothes. I was quite the knitter too in those days. I would knit or crochet numerous layettes for my babies while I was pregnant with each of them. I can't speak for everyone but, nowadays, the majority of young girls don't seem interested in learning these skills which I think is kinda sad. Since art came into my life, I don't sew as much as I used to but I do feel a sense of pride that I learned these age-old crafts.

Hems to be sewed

Matching outfits for Brad and Michelle made by me

Beau in the knitted jacket and bonnet set I knitted. It also had matching bootees.