you don’t have to like everything you do

When working with a class of 13 years old students identifying the values they held and the positive qualities they were developing, we used an art journal to record their work . . . some found it really challenging so I developed a simple way for them to critique their work when they didn’t like the results using three quick questions.

1. What, specifically, don’t you like.  It was often something quite small such as the way some lettering went off the page.  This helped me know what to teach them next or, better still, which other student could teach them something about layout or lettering etc.

2. What details do you like (so you can do it again and share it with someone struggling . . . see  #1)?  If I did this again I ask the kids to add their names to a skills list  so that others could use it as a reference for support.

3. What are some ways you can improve on what you have done?  We developed the ‘step away’ assessment to help with this question . . . prop it up, take four big steps back and look at what the work might need.

We also developed, in groups, peers critiques where people noted what really stood out for them, especially if they though it something they could do.  If a student asked for support in the form of a question such as “What would you do next if this was your work?” or “Who can anyone show me how to do XYZ better?” a suggestion could be made . . . other wise it was positive feedback only.

As a result students became adept at finding what worked well and didn’t dismiss their efforts so lightly.  They also saw that many other struggled with the same things as they did.

So why am I telling you this?  Because I attended a workshop with Gill Allen on the weekend and didn’t like every aspect of everything I did.  By applying the same three questions, I came up with just a couple of things I didn’t like and a longer list of successes.

The overall composition doesn’t really appeal to me so I learned that I should go with my first impulse when making a choice.  What It learned though, is that by sticking with the choice it was more of a challenge.  And I learned more about manipulating acrylic paint because that became the focus and not getting the composition right . . . I had no picture in my head to perfect.

I haven’t touched charcoal for years and did very little and I really enjoyed getting my fingers in there . . . it was a great way to warm up.

Charcoal on brown paper: 32 x 43 cms or12.5 x 17 inches. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Charcoal on brown paper: 32 x 43 cms or 12.5 x 17 inches.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I like details, little squiggly details . . . even in charcoal.

Little squiggly details add to the texture. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Little squiggly details add to the texture.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

I enjoyed the limitations place on us by the exercise because it allowed a certain freedom to experiment.  Being pushed out of my default way of working also meant I learnt more.

I loved painting BIG with a BIG 2 inch brush and I’d like to have a go at painting BIGGER with a BIGGER brush.

Acrylic 90 x 65 cms or 35.5 x 25.5 inches Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Acrylic 65 x 90 cms or 25.5 x 35.5 inches
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

Tiny pops of colour can make a big difference . . . even of a big painting.

The little scarlet dots made all the difference. Wendy @ Late Start Studio

The little scarlet dots made all the difference.
Wendy @ Late Start Studio

And this morning?  How do I feel this morning about the images?  I can see what needed a little more thought when I sketched out the original image and what could be changed now so using the ‘step away’ assessment more would have been helpful yesterday.  And I still like what I liked yesterday, especially those little scarlet dots.

Goals achieved (have fun and learn something), a great day . . . thanks Gill



sitting with my demons

I envisaged this page complete and just did it . . . no procrastination or consideration about the time or materials, I just picked up the nearest pencil and drew.   The whole page was there, a visual BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious)  in my head . . . or is that my heart?IMG_1677Sitting with our demons

I think perhaps that our demons are nothing more than our hurts child selves, that if we sit beside them and listen quietly we would be able to understand and help them to heal. 

Wouldn’t we all do that for a child? 

Why not ourselves?

Let me in.

Let me help . . . please?

friday and EDM #8 & #10

I love Friday morning.  It’s when I get to pack up a few bits and pieces and head home after work to the beach where I’ll stay until Monday morning – bliss.

Settling back into another term’s of work has been . . . what?  Difficult? Not really. Discomforting? Perhaps. The trains run by the house about 100 metres away and after 2 weeks with just the sound of the surf to lull me to sleep, I haven’t slept at all well – a horrible headache was the result.  I forgot to bring paints in any form with me so it’s been a bit of a colourless week.  I forgot to bring the lead for my camera as well and sometimes the iPhone just doesn’t do a great enough job.   I feel a little like a nomad packing up and moving from a place I love to a place that is lovely – and would be wonderful without the trains!  How many people can look over their back fence and see sheep and deer grazing?


But hang on, none of those petty complaints have anything to do with work!  Yes work is a little like pushing water uphill with a rake sometimes but I really enjoy it – and the people I work with are wonderful.

Get a grip Wendy!  Stop complaining!  I have choices.  Life is fantastic – I’m privileged to be where I am and to have the opportunities I do!  Discomforting – out of my usual state of being comfortable.  I’m just temporarily disgruntled – not unhappy, not on a downer, just in need of a little peace and perspective, and sadly, because I love this little abode, maybe a new place to stay during the week.

And now,  back to Danny Gregory’s challenge Every Day Matters!   EDM #8: Draw your watch. And #10: Draw your hand.  I’m really enjoying drawing from life – it’s not something that I’ve ever taken seriously.   And no, I’m not doing them in order but if you knew me you wouldn’t have that expectation!

EDM #8 & #10.

The birds are singing and it’s Friday – look out beach –  (after work) here I come!

kokesi dolls

I was fortunate enough to spend some time living in Tokyo and collected some kokesi dolls, as you do.  After visiting Diana Trout’s blog this morning I thought I’d post the a picture!Of course they don’t look like real Kokeshi dolls – I’ll post some photos of them tomorrow perhaps.  And if it looks like I was heavily influenced by some artist or other I probably was – I just wish I could remember who so I could give them the credit!

It’s nearing the end of the school holidays here and I’m off to pick up my wonderful wise grand-daughters for a couple of days – lucky me!

something new . . . for me

I don’t usually attempt to draw from life – I’m more of a doodler.  When I saw the EDM Challenge on Tammy Gracia’s blog Daisy Yellow I thought I’d give it a go . . . after all, there’s nothing to lose and everything to be gained.  So here I am starting late but not trying to catch up.

EDM Challenge #1 Draw a Shoe.  This shoe is more of an apricot colour but the scanner seemed to want it to be yellow and I got fed up trying to alter the colour.   You can see how tentative I was with the pencil however I’m pleased with this first attempt.

These shoes are my favourites and have travelled many miles and are beginning to show the first signs of their ultimate demise with a small hole by the little toe and a worn down heel – I’ll need to have a funeral service for them when they go.

EDM Challenge #2 Draw a Lamp.  I love my bedside lamps – I brought the shades back from Bali years ago and wired them up myself.  They’re tall, 60 cm or 27 inches, and wrapped in a bleached fabric that has been cut into strips with pinking shears.

And EDM?  Every Day Matters – yes indeed it does.  For the full list of the challenges go to Danny Gregory’s website and click the link.

a small problem

When I read a post by Violette Clark this morning, she had written that every summer the sun bleaches the fluorescent pink from letters on her Creative Juice sign.  I’ve suggested using test posts of exterior/interior house paint.

I use test posts on the terracotta pots I use outside and thought that maybe, it would work on her sign – what do you think?

Now that I look at my pots I can see I could do with bigger sized pots!

As for piles of stones. I rather like them.  Building and drawing – these with water-colour pencils and a zebra double ended pen.  I can’t give more detail about the pen as I bought it when I was living in Tokyo and cannot read the label.  It was a shame I used such thin paper – it was about to disintegrate when I attempted to apply more colour  and it buckled something shocking!Stones