Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Getting inspired for 'Wildlife Art @ Discovery'

While trying to have a relaxing coffee at a cafe with my two young girls, I noticed a poster calling for entries for an art exhibition coming up in Canberra; 'Wildlife Art @ Discovery'. Once home I quickly Googled the exhibition and discovered that it was focusing on vanishing Australian species and that both professionals and hobby artists could enter.Cool- right up my alley and so many ideas to play with. So after mulling over numerous visions, I've started playing around with the idea of using the Golden Sun Moth in a painting as:

  • there is little awareness of the species even though it is 'critically endangered' ie. as endangered as a species can be before it becomes extinct;
  • populations of the moth exist locally in Canberra; 
  • it represents an un-iconic species/group of species- not as beautiful or big as say whales or owls- but still important to the functioning of the environment; and,
  • I have first hand-experience of surveying for the moths.
I'm wanting to do something a bit different and interesting to stand out, but also just to try some things I've thought about for a while. I have liked the idea of using plywood with acrylic/pencil/pen since I bought a couple of paintings from Etsy by Holli Zollinger

I also really like the drawings in a book my youngest daughter loves at the moment 'Come By Chance' by Madeline Winch. I think she's used watercolour and pencil. She has a really nice landscape image of open grassland, which is something I would like to incorporate into my painting.


So I have had an initial attempt at something using a combination of acrylic/pen and watercolour pencils. Still trying to get the acrylic right as I can't seem to apply it smoothly without still seeing the brushstrokes? 


 I think the next step will be to paint the landscape onto the plywood first, then include female and male moths- perhaps at a smaller scale. I've only got a couple of weeks left, so will see what happens!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Open for business and Golden Sun Moths

Oh la la! I now have some fabric available for sale on Spoonflower at the design of nature - by jen. You can order my designs as fabric, wallpaper, wall decals and even wrapping paper. I'm starting small- but have loads of ideas and even plans to start an Etsy shop somewhere down the track. I can customise the prints, so let me know if there is something you see that you would like to tweak a little bit.

One design I haven't written about is my Golden Sun Moth design- one of my more nerd inspired ideas! The Golden Sun Moth is a critically endangered moth found in south eastern Australia. It's not the most intelligently designed species as the adult form does not have any functional mouthparts and therefore can't feed (who came up with that idea?!). 


Female Golden Sun Moth. Source: Leo (flickr)

Golden Sun Moth habitat - Wallaby Grass.

The idea to design fabric using this species came from not being able to find many baby/children's homewares or decor with Australian species a bit more exciting than koalas and kangaroos. It took me two years since I printed some test samples of designs to get around to sewing something using the fabric. This was the end product and was given to my daughter for Christmas.


I think it's a little bit ironic to have moths as a design on fabric! Don't think it's been done before! 

Friday, 24 January 2014

A spot of spotted pardaloting

During a stay at my mother-in-laws place in Sydney I became quite obsessed with Spotted Pardalotes. My obsession started due to a number of artworks she has at her house. This print of two pardalotes has always caught my attention as did a perfectly sculptured and painted pardalote she recently bought in Tasmania. 


I had a few hours to myself over Christmas which I used to do a watercolour painting of the sculpture. I also referred to a field guide of birds to check on some of the details.





I then thought I would use a bit of artistic licence and do a similar painting with the bird in flight (similar to the field guide). This then led to me having a go at designing some fabric from my images.


Just waiting for the test swatch to come now......not sure how the repeat will work, but hopefully the colours will come up well. Hurray for Spotted Pardalotes!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

getting my bottlebrush on...

A month or so ago the bottlebrush was in bloom throughout Canberra. We have a really bright bottlebrush shrub growing in our backyard which managed to produce some flowers even though we only planted it a year ago. They are very delicate flowers- with an enormous amount of detail. They don't make very good cut flowers, although I did try to add a bit of colour to our kitchen with them...


I've always loved naturalist paintings, however have never really been that interested in flora. However, I was inspired one day to have a go at painting a bottlebrush as I love delicate, intricate things. So, this is what I came up with...


I have since turned it into a fabric print through Spoonflower and I am waiting for my first test print of it. Will see how we go!


King David

About 6 months ago I decided I would do a painting of a King Parrot for my father in-law. I hadn't attempted much painting since high school, but wanted to give something personal and special to David given he (and my mother in-law, Lyn) had been so welcoming to me since I had become their daughter in-law. During one stay at my parents' in-laws place I photographed the king parrots while they fed on the seed David had put out for them. I used one of these photographs to do a watercolour painting.


It took at least four goes to complete it- mostly in short spurts at night while my girls were asleep. I did get there in the end!



I named the painting 'King David'. Seeing a King Parrot always reminds me of David as he used to feed them every morning on their balcony at Lindfield. Sadly he passed away suddenly just over two months ago. We miss him so much. He had such a wonderful, big personality- another reason for why I called my painting 'King David'. I am so glad I did this painting for him. It will always remind me of him and the fun we all used to have when he was around. I recently took another photo which I might use for inspiration for another painting in memory of David. It shows his hats which still hang in the front entrance of their house. He was definitely a hat man!!  Below is also a sketch of David which I did a short time ago.

 

With this first entry I'd like to add that I am hoping this blog will help me organise my ideas and keep track of my little projects. I am going to use it as a kind of art diary- with an aim to share many, many more paintings, drawings, photographs and projects!! 
And with the risk of being a little bit corny, I would like to dedicate this blog to David. He was very inspirational, and when he spoke to me about the painting I did for him I remember him saying "You've got it Jen."- which to me was such a compliment, and having that thought in the back of my mind has really given me the confidence to share my art with other people.