Friday, 31 August 2012

Back to Alice

First of all, I want to thank all of you who left those wonderful comforting comments on my last PPF post. I would have like to have answered every one but I just choked up, so I thank you now. It was a healing process for me as now I can remember Mum as she was and not how she is now.

Proverbs 31:15 can easily be summed up as the “early bird catches the worm!” I know Alice throughout her life was up before dawn getting things ready for the day. She grew up on a dairy farm and I know she helped with the milking as a child as her brothers were away at war(1st World War). Then, she married a farmer so rising before dawn was firmly entrenched. When my Grandparents sold the farm and moved into town, they had a dairy (corner store) which necessitated early starts as it opened at 6am! When they retired from that she couldn't bear the idleness. As the children were all grown and gone, she took in boarders, usually youngsters from remote country areas starting their first job. These boarders became part of the family as she became a second Mum to many of them.

I remember whenever we stayed with her she was up before dawn and cooking the meals for the day, especially a big breakfast for the men. Making lunches for the boarders and picnics for us as she loved to take us on excursions to various local beaches and parks. I think perhaps cooking was one of her greatest loves. I still remember her baking. I wonder what she would make of all the cheffy TV programmes nowadays?

The early rising and getting a good start on the day I know she instilled in my aunties, cousins, sister and in myself, as we are all early risers. So Nana, you fulfilled the Proverbs 31:15 criteria here with distinction.

To create this work, I used two paintings and merged them in Photoshop. With only a few tweaks.

 I would have liked to done it as one piece but time constraints were against me, because I would have had to use layers and each layer needs to dry. This brings me to the conclusion that I need two weeks for each work as I am starting to feel I am on a conveyor belt. So now, I will only do my tribute to Proverbs 31 ladies once a fortnight. Which is is some ways good, as I have started on another work which is big, so I can post on that, starting next week. To wet your taste buds it is a triptych called “Up the Creek”, well the first painting is, as you all know when you get into the creating, things can change. Have a happy PPF.

Linked to Paint PartyFriday and Spiritual Sundays.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


I've decided to enter the Artists in Blogland August challenge  You are to create a piece of work with the word Wonder as a theme:
What big teeth you have, Grandmama!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Ladies, girls and flowers

A real mix this week for Sunday Sketches, a very productive week if somewhat emotional if you read my last post, you will know what I mean. One thing that lightened my mood was a conversation I overheard on the bus. Two elderly ladies talking about a gentleman friend, one of them finished the conversation on the subject with the quote opposite, it made me smile and still does. Our desire for love never leaves! In this picture I did a drawing in ink and then scanned and simply painted the colours in photoshop.


 I think this girl is asleep or floating on her back in the swimming pool,anyway she looks miles away from where she is.

This is really a doodle on one layer using a rubber tool over a layer that I marbled from a lot of scribbles in a KTP plug in. I used natural brushes and dry brushes to get the textured lines.

I absolutely love flowers. I think because they can produce some of the most amazing colours – I think that you will guess by now I am crazy about colour. Again this was in Photoshop here I used water paint brushes and squiggles to make the painting sing. I just wish I could produce oil paintings like this. I think I will make that my goal for the coming year.  I just looked at the three together, PINK! I must be in a girly mood.  Well the next painting gets away from pink.  Well, nearly!

This is the scripture I am taking into the coming week, the painting I did a little while ago using palette knife, lovely thick gooey paint yum!

Since I started my art blog a month ago, I have seen some amazing work, keep it up everybody it is inspiring. Have a lovely week creating.

Linked to Sunday Sketches

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Proverbs 31 Josephine not Alice

This week, I am going to change tack, and make this a tribute to my Mother. I started the week with continuing the tribute to Proverbs 31 wives with Alice, my grandmother, but, to be honest I don't know much about how she provided I know she did, and did it well, more about that next week.

It been a difficult task this week as my Mother has severe Alzheimer's, and doesn't really know me anymore. I am full of grief for her and the situation and I can not do anything, as well, I am thousands of miles away. The reason I am making this a tribute to her is because of the telephone call from my sister, who nurses at the hospital where my mother is residing, to update me on her condition. Whenever she goes on duty she pops in and has a chat. She always finds shopping lists scattered around her room, of things she has to get when she gets home to Lower Hutt back here in NZ. ( she has not lived in NZ for 25 years). It was like God was saying to me “Look Sharon, honour your Mother, she was a wonderful provider!” And she was!

When we we small, our parents were hard up. But she always made sure that there were special treats for Xmas, birthdays and holidays. She would regularly put special items in a cupboard high up in the kitchen, us kids would sometimes sneak peeks, when she was not around. We would get a chair climb up onto the bench, and rifle through the cupboard trying to guess when they would appear on the table. As things improved financially, she was always searching for the best producer of this and that. When she visited us in later years, she was always loaded up with special treats and enough food to full the freezer. Yes, she was a good provider in the Proverbs 31 tradition.
It was hard painting my Mum. First of all I wanted to paint her in her prime, in the photo above she was 28. I remember the day well as it was my 7th birthday, and I was not very pleased as I had wanted a bike and I couldn't understand why my Grandmother Phyllis (left) had given my sister a doll too! But as the painting went on it got too hard, so I had to stop so I decided to do an impressionistic one, actually I think it is more of a self portrait, as it looks very sad. The vine bits are from a glass bowl with silver vines inlaid that she gave me on one of my birthdays. I will finish the other portrait and use it later.

So in all, a tough week painting but in some ways healing. Mum I honour you!

Sunday, 19 August 2012


I want to thank you all for your kind comments last week. My arthritis is heaps better this week. However, I have not been able to paint this week as I have had to catch up on my illustration work. Ive managed to do my Alice series. albeit in pencil, and the Women of the Bible series which was in pencil anyway. So it has been a drawing week. I was so pleased with my loosening up that for Sunday Sketches I decide to do an exercise we did at Polytech in life classes.
The exercise involves drawing with the left side of the brain. Do do this you don't look at your drawing, but at the subject and you draw with the opposite hand that you normally use. For me that is my left hand. Since I didn't have a live model, I decided to draw with my eyes shut while imagining a character. (Alright, I admit to having a peek from time to time!) The character I chose to think about was Rahab, a woman prostitute who lived in Jericho. She sheltered two Israelite spies from the King of Jericho. She asked them to save her family when the Israelites attacked. Because she had hidden them she and her family were saved. One of the lessons from this story is that God looks kindly on all who help his followers and has faith, it is what in your heart that matters more than what you are.
Next, I photographed the drawing which was on A2 paper and done in conte chalk. Then in Photoshop I used Levels and the white ink dropper to whiten the background. The next step was to use the magic wand to select various parts and then I coloured them with the brush tool. It pays to save the selection, in case you want to change anything. Then I went to curves and and adjusted colours slightly.

I thought the picture showed the 'lady of the night' side of her now I wanted to show the soft side of her.
Back to the original.  Again I used the magic wand and selected all the brown and then used softer and lighter colours. It looked a bit wishy washy so I painted in the background with a chalk brush.

In this picture , I got rid of the man and used brushes to paint Rahab. I wanted her to be the party girl. Hence the bright colours.

In this picture I wanted to show the gentle warm hearted girl that she must have been. 

There you have it. We all have two sides to our nature, often what we see on the outside is not what is on the inside.

Here is the scripture I am taking with me into the coming week. Thanks for visiting and have a great week creating. 

Linked to Sunday Sketches


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Alice - Busy Hands

She seeks wool and flax,and works willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:13

Busy hands is the theme of this week's tribute to Proverbs 31 women. Alice, my grandmother certainly had busy hands, even though she suffered crippling arthritis in her hands. I remember her knitting all grandchildren, a jersey for Birthdays, and I know at one stage she spun. She also sewed and embroidered and made lace. As she got older and the arthritis set in, it was just knitting and machine sewing with a bit of crochet thrown in. And even older still – I talking about her 80s and nineties she did a lot of scrapbooking. Her hands were always busy.

She was heavily involved with WI (Women's Institute), and at one time the president for the whole of New Zealand. She really believed that all women and girls should know homemaking skills. She taught my mother how to sew and knit, as her own mother had not taught her (she was a career woman and everything was brought ready made.) When I was eight and my sister was six she had us for the holidays and taught us to knit and embroider. I find it sad that the generation of today are losing these skills, the computer and TV have a lot to answer for. Mind you, the price of wool and materials, make it an expensive option for clothing.

I used coloured pencils this week, and found it a struggle to do the hands. I tend to hide hands if at all possible when painting and drawing! I used pencil, as by the time I worked out the hands, I didn't have time to do a painting.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Waiting on God's Promise

I like Sarah. She followed her man all over the place. Many wives would have had concerns at starting a nomadic existence at 65, with the promise of children thrown in as well. I have portrayed her as a beautiful woman rather than aged. She must have been ravishing as twice Abraham asked her act as his sister when they went into foreign territory, and both times the rulers took her to be their wife. And this when she was in her 70's and 80's!

I can understand her behavior regarding Hagar, she longs for a child and wanting to carry on Abraham's line she gives Hagar to him. It is too much for her when Hagar treats her with scorn for not being able to conceive. Being unable to conceive is a terrible thing for any woman to come to terms with, (I only know too well as that is my story). When she finally bears Issac, she is like any protective Mother, perhaps more so, as she had to wait so long to be a Mother. The mocking behavior of Hagar's son is the final straw. She has to get rid of them.

This story is really about God's Promise, and waiting for it. Sometimes, as here, we have to wait years, and the trick is to not go and try and contrive an outcome before its time. This is why, even when it seems improbable , such as Sarah conceiving at 90 years of age, we have to wait on God's Promise. If our Father says something is going to happen, it surely will.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Hard Times

This week has been hard as my arthritis has been a hindrance, but I have plodded on.... in the end it has been very productive.
I've managed three paintings, all in oil this week, something I haven't managed for ages. They are very loose in style. (the arthritis in my hands could be seen as a blessing as it stopped me from getting into detail!)

My breakout last week has produced a much freer style. The painting above is me, first thing in the morning! The one below was a quickie as I wanted something calming and suitable for the scripture I rely on when things are tough.
The third painting is in my last post.

Also, I managed to complete some illustration and do my first post on Women of the Bible series – The Serpent Lies. That was in coloured pencil and I enjoyed every moment.

Just shows you can achieve much more than you think with the help of the Lord! Thanks for stopping by, and blessings for the coming week all of you, and have happy creative adventures.

Linked with Sunday Sketches

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Alice - she comforts...

My Grandparents had a long marriage over 60 years. They were both in their 90s when they passed away. There must have been difficult times in their marriage, but I never saw any sign of it. My father said he could never remember them having a cross word with each other. They worked as a team and supported each other in their roles. Maybe they sorted out their roles early in their marriage. I do know that there was clearly marked areas of responsibility and that they honoured each other's roles. Nana was very loyal to her husband and would never tolerate a bad word said against him (he could be a bit strict towards his children even when they were grown!).

I think the answer was their love for God and their love for family. I know that if there was a problem in their children's or grandchildren lives they would come running. I have so many memories of their love for me, my brothers and sister and cousins. Somehow Nana managed to show each one of us her special love for us, even when there were up to 30 people in her home at Xmas, she still managed to each and every one of us a blessing. So, if she managed to do that for us, just think of the love she must have showed Granddad. A real role model for all of us. I definitely believe that Alice managed to fulfill the Proverbs 31:12 verse of loving supporting, encouraging her husband all the days of her life.

For the artwork, I used photos of wood, leather, a vase and an oil painting and put them together on Photoshop with a lot of tweaking.. The oil painting is not my usual style, I wanted a soft look that was fuzzy and warm! It was actually good to paint in a looser manner, I think I got more expression in it, than if I used my normal tighter style. Think I will do more work like this.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Lies of the Serpent

Now the snake was the most cunning animal
that the LORD God had made. Gen 3:1

I've decided to do a series on the woman of the bible, initially I was going to start with Sarah. On reflection, I have to start with Eve as she was the one that started it all. Eve gets the blame for a lot, but she was deceived by the serpent. He was cunning and approached her as he knew that Adam probably would check back with God.

There is a lesson to this, when we are told things that run counter to what we believe, we should ask God for guidance. Eve was taken in by the lure of beauty and desire for knowledge. We can be taken in just as easily. We need to be alert to the lies of the serpent, as he knows us and seeking every opportunity to press our buttons.

In this work I used coloured pencils, and it was fun to let go and use colour to its full potential.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Colour, Glorious Colour

Colour is very important to me, I love bright strong colours, and when I find that I am using subdued colours or doing a lot of black and white work, I find I need to break out! This is what I have done this week for Sunday Sketches
The work I have being doing on the Alice series and some b & w illustrations for a children's book this week have left me hungering for colour. These days my breakouts are digital, I use my tablet and just let go.

It been really wet and cold this week so I thought I would bring in a bit of summer! You can imagine that they are at the beach can't you.

One thing I like with digital work is that you can create colours that don't get muddy, with paints when you mix paints it is ever so easy to get mud! Well I do. Perhaps that's why I like pastels, you seem to be able to get purer colours.

As colorful as a rainbow that appears after a storm. I realized I was seeing the brightness of the LORD's glory! Eze 1:28 CEV

Linked to Sunday Sketches

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Alice Part 2

One thing I do remember about my grandmother was that she was extremely loyal, to her husband, to family and to her friends. My Grandfather must have never doubted her as she followed him to a very remote area to break in land for a farm, she took on his Polish/German grandmother who did not speak a word of English, who by all accounts was slipping into dementia. There, she produced 4 children in a space of 6 years. She must have had great love for him to do that, as she came from a prosperous farming family who had come out to NZ in one of the first settler boats.

In photos that I have seen of her as a young woman she looked rather stern and plain, but I know she had a romantic side to her and great compassion. I remember her always wearing pretty flowery dresses, and her scrap books were full of flowers and pretty things. I did her in pastel first as I wanted to portray her as a young pretty romantic girl, I know that she was that in her heart.

One of my most cherished memories is when at family 'get togethers', she would often take me aside and whisper in my ear “When I look into your eyes I see heaven!” Then I would whisper back, “My eyes are green, yours are blue, so the heavens are in your eyes!” Then we both would giggle. It is only as a grown up, that I realize what she was doing. I was quiet, shy and also plain. In her way, she was telling me appearances don't matter, it is what in your heart that matters. So that is why I am portraying her as a young beauty for that what was in her heart. I am sure my Grandfather saw that also, for he often referred to her as “My beautiful Alice in Wonderland.”

The processes for this picture were a pastel of the young Alice, A woodcut of the Husband, and a photograph of concrete. Then I played around with them in Photoshop.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Shaped by Love

If love defines who we are, I would honoured if others see me as a child of God. My love for the Lord knows no bounds, as through Jesus Christ I have been saved.
Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love.
1 John 4:8 NIV

This piece is entirely digital. I used chalk pastels on a canvas background. (I use a tablet and pen for my digital painting, I would be lost without it!)