last post of 2016

I  re-joined Instagram last year  and posted a countdown to Christmas, a digital advent calendar. So I thought I would do a repeat performance this year.  I was going to try to do an original piece of art for each day but I failed on the first day. The simple felt angel expanded into a piece that was at least 3 times bigger, sparkling with sequins, lace  and  beads. In my mind’s eye, I would have liked to have made it huge but in practice, a lap size was achievable. The 2nd piece was simpler but just as big. I did find out that my ability with the sewing machine was seriously lacking with not a single  non wiggling line.  With the third and last piece, I just went overboard with the sequins, beads and collage. In my head, I saw a Christmas tree competing with the stars of the Universe as I remembered my feelings from childhood. Again I would love to have made it HUGE but even this size took several days to complete. The Christmas tree and the Angels WERE Christmas to me plus the nativity scene at the school play. I always wanted to be an angel but alas it was never to be. I was going to do a nativity scene but failed miserably but I know what I want to achieve so maybe that will be big one next year!  Below are the pictures I posted each day. It was surprisingly hard to post every day.

In the end, December wasn’t as productive as I would have like it. October and November flew by in haze of non activity or nearly. I managed to attend 4 paint out events and 1 open competition in San Angelo. I wasn’t planning to paint at San Angelo as I am not really in the competitions as I know I am unlikely to win anything. I realised quite late in life that one of the reasons I fail to do a lot of things is because I hate being a loser. I know you should just enjoy joining in but doesn’t help with the disappointment as you are passed over again ūüė¶  I will do it again next year.


My entry.

There was an entry submitted competition which lasted a week and an open quick draw competition on the closing Saturday for other artists.  It was really interesting to see the work of the accepted artists and the quick draw contestants which made me realise how far I have to go with plein air painting. The only issue I had with the competition is that it was judged by one artist, rather than a panel.  Also after a morning of painting the lure of cooked food was torture as it was only for the accepted competition artists, not us lowly plebs (we had paid $10, so it not as if we just turned up). We had to wait for the lone judge to make up his mind before we could eat, so it was the middle of the afternoon before we ate. I was starving!

Apart from my Advent project and the plein air I haven’t really done much. I had started a still life  (which I mentioned in my last post) but quickly abandoned it.  Currently I am working on and hoping to complete the following still life painting  I found the hand-made rag doll in a junk shop in San Angelo.


This will be the last painting for a while as I decided to sign up for an online embroidery course organised by The Embroiderers’ Guild UK.  I am going to start with the beginners course as although I have embroidered and beaded for several years, I am basically working in the dark as I do it (much as I am with painting to be honest, not a lot of teaching done in college in the late 70’s). I thought going through a structured course I might be able to extend my range to fuller extend. Life is a little distracting at home at the moment but come 6th Jan, my time is pretty much going to be  working full-time in this new direction.

I also got 2 books from Gordon this Christmas which I might work through as it should complement the embroidery course.

I already read Liz Steel’s blog ( my husband didn’t know this ūüôā )

Well this is my last post of this year.  I hope I will be more frequent next year with regular updates on my progress on the new course.

Happy 2017 (if that is possible) 



After the last post, I had a  terrible session at the AVAA  where I ended up doing an almost cartoon life drawing of the model.  I finished the session early, feeling defeated and broken. The above drawing is from this week. Again I struggled.  This was the 3rd and most successful drawing. Below is the worse.


I can’t even think ¬†what was ¬†I was considering as I drew this. It started off as a very poor drawing ¬†in pencil and then I decided in the last 20 mins to add colour. ¬†I was desperate for it to work.



This was my first drawing, at least the feet look like they stuck to the ground! ¬†It definitely feels like I am going backwards at the moment. I can see good points in this and the top drawing but both are disjointed, in that parts don’t seem to be connected to each other. It like I am creating several drawings on one page to create one drawing.

My new venture is plein air painting with the Plein air Austin group ¬†and that is tough, not just because of the Texas heat. Again, my drawing skills suck. My first venture wasn’t too bad but I only painted for about an hour as it had taken me longer to find the location than anticipated. ¬†Ironically it is about a 15 min drive from my house but it took me over an hour to find it! I intend to go back as it is a great location.



This is a very small painting – 6×4 inches and done in oils. After painting in the garden recently and tackling acrylic paint that dried too quickly in the Texas heat, I decided to try out oils for the first time in over 30 yrs. ¬†Yep, now I remember why I ended up painting in acrylics! ¬†I am a messy painter and oils have a tendency to spread if I am near them. ¬†However, I intend to continue and on this Thursday’s paint out, I discovered MUD.




I realised after an hr and a bit ¬†I started out too tentatively and I really couldn’t see the wood for the trees LOL. I was concentrating on the pattern the trees were making. ¬†In the last 30 mins of this painting , I decided to hell with it and just started to load on the paint (still pretty thin to be honest). ¬†I can see I will need lots of practise with oil paint as it so different from acrylics.

Plein air is also reminding me how nerve-racking painting with a crowd can be. On ¬†the first paint out I was able to concentrate as we were in the middle of nowhere but this week we were in the middle of a very public garden with tours for young children and mothers trying to entertain toddlers for the summer. ¬†On top of that, there were the very loud peacocks wandering around. Memories of my days at Corsham abounded with the ‘theo’ calls that were constantly in the background.

This week I will task myself to go to the  local park several times and just draw as I seriously need to just draw and observe more.  Now I know I can tackle the heat, it might not be so bad. I am also working on a still life which has taken too long basically because my drawing skills are so poor.  However, the basic drawing is now done, so now the painting can commence.