Thursday, May 7, 2015

100 Artworks Challenge #21-35

Continuing on from the first ten and the second ten, a rhythm began to emerge, an efficiency of sorts. Painting whilst also studying the Conscious Booksmith online ecourse, I was able to see that completing a body of work is what I need to do. I learnt lots in that course but also learnt to press pause on thoughts of a book as a form for my creativity. I've learnt not to give up but allow it to grow and emerge if and when it needs to. 

It seems this set in this series is a lot about breaking, about breaking old patterns and dreams about letting go of old ways of working and starting again. As I painted imagined vessels, a favourite antique glass broke, one that I've had since my studio times, so I decided to make it part of these paintings.


The slight abstractions in this series, the loosening, shows my slide as the year goes on, gets cooler and wetter. It's my Heart to Home season from Valentines Day to Mother's Day, a time for personal and public festivities a time between Summer and Winter. It's a busy time but this year it's been good to spend more time in the studio. Working alone from home has always been a challenge especially with all the distractions, so this challenge has been good for me.

The last ones in this set were painted during the heavy storm we had here in Sydney. As the wind blew frantically tearing down trees in our garden and the neighbourhood, we did our best to stay still, survive in the dark and I can see now those emotions and feelings in the brightly coloured bottles doing their best to stand upright!

By then I had moved on to begin Doings of a Doodle with Diane Culhane and Carla Sonheim. It was crazy busy two weeks learning a new style of artmaking. Doodles were another theme I'd thought of for this series as I've done a lot of doodling in my Winter Dreaming. It's been a great course, I've done lots of fun things and I've met lots of wonderful doodle-loving people.

Now as I pass one third of my way through this 100 Artworks Challenge, part of me wants to shift with the seasons, go with my new learnings. It was a happy accident to see the effect of stacking all the paintings with their colourful edges. The layers of 3mm MDF sheets reminding me of fairytales, of the Princess and the Pea … see how my mind is shifting, my heart is slipping into dreams? Soon we'll be turning on the heaters and I'll be diving deep into my winter sleep, layers and layers deep!

I will in due course collate all the artworks in this challenge into one post, but if there are any that appeal feel free to email me if you'd like to purchase them. I am happy to say a few are on their way from my heart to new homes and that really was always my dream for this challenge. What a wonderful experience it's been.

Thanks, as always,for popping by. I hope you've enjoyed what you've seen.

other posts about this challenge include:

100 Artworks Challenge #1-10
100 Artworks Challenge #11-20
100 Artworks Challenge #21-35

Monday, April 13, 2015

100 Artworks Challenge - the second ten #11-20

Mixing it up as I move along from the first ten, learning to create on a larger scale, not size but number creates problems to be solved, distractions of the bigger picture, preventing me from getting bogged down in the detail, hung up in any one painting.

Stepping back, standing back, I am able to play with the combinations of pattern and colour. Placing them together, sorting and shuffling frees up my mind, my preconceptions of what this challenge is about and in doing so I see my natural tendencies. Like human mathematics I have a preference for dimensions so much so that edges in paintings worked on intuitively begin to line up. It's fascinating stuff.

My subjects for the 100 Artworks Challenge are vessels, fragments of domesticity and I'm wondering why when I fill the odd one with food it feels quite out of place. I soon realise this series is about comfort not food. It's is about creating containers about fragments and edges and placement of objects. It offers the viewer the freedom to fill each container with their own stuff, their dreams. These are incomplete fragments, hinting, evoking their memories as much as mine.

I'm wondering if there's something about my time of life that is part of all this, my mother now gone, my children almost moving out. Maybe my desire is to recall the familiar used in my childhood as well as create gifts for my girls and their friends as they begin to leave home. A passing through the passage of time. Vessels to be filled, homes to be created, vessels to be used, containers for new life, without knowing what that life is, where it will be, where it will lead. Curious stuff to ponder as I paint. Sweet thoughts of comfort from heart to home.

What I'm not certain about yet is the range of the subjects this series will draw on or the range of perspectives I will use.  Elevation, plan, oblique diagonal. I seem to be settling on colour, but you never know, I'm only twenty in, eighty still to go. This is afterall creation not production.

It's been a great week and what I'm really enjoying is working inside as the weather changes. It's a commitment to self that I've needed, a task to be completed but in my own way, on my own terms, as long as it takes me. I am letting go of this series being related to season and allowing them to simply be how I want them to be. It's a rewarding experience.

Leading into the next week, I prepare by getting more bases ready, coating them with gesso. There is work to be done and I am ready. 

In time I will create a space to display all the works from this challenge, but if any paintings catches your eye that you'd like to buy or put one reserve, let me know by email

Thanks as always for visiting.

other posts about this challenge include:

100 Artworks Challenge #1-10
100 Artworks Challenge #11-20
100 Artworks Challenge #21-35

Saturday, April 4, 2015

100 Artworks Challenge - starting out #1-10

I've finally found the contents and the container for the 100 Artworks challenge. These are the first three but I'm still working on one because I sense as I go, they will develop into what really is my style.

100 Artworks Challenge #1-3, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland

Coming off the back of my 1000 words for Summer project and heading into the cooler months of autumn, I want to take what I've developed in my Summer Sketchbook and apply it to indoors.

I haven't painted in ernest since I moved my studio home almost two years ago, before my mother died and I need to get into a new rhythm now both my daughters are at university. This is also my "Heart to Home" season, between Valentines Day and Mothers Day.

100 Artworks Challenge #4, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland
100 Artworks Challenge #5, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland

After trying various materials to work on from paper to canvas board, I've chosen the hardness but lightness of 3mm MDF. I had some lying around and it felt nice to work on so I found someone to cut 100 to size 14x14.5cm. I've gessoed them to add texture and will draw on them with WC pencil and paint them in acrylic.

I want them to be sketchy fragments, small moments in a still life. A combination of reality, memory and poetic whimsy as I go about celebrating the fondness felt for domestic objects found in the home. I am not sure whether I will stick purely with vessels because my intention is also to explore the relationships between things that we see everyday and capture the curiosity, connection and sense of calm that they bring.

100 Artworks Challenge #6, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland

100 Artworks Challenge #9, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland

As you know I am also doing a printmaking course, my Coffeeosophy and cafe sketching, photography, filming and poetry and playing with clay and textiles as well as collaborating in a hope of finding what it is that I do well, but I am going to enjoy doing this as a personal challenge and allow it to flow on into my Winter Dreaming depending on how long it takes me.

100 Artworks Challenge #7, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland

I see it very much as an extension of what I already do and a return to some of what I've done before, albeit on a smaller scale, returning with fresh eyes, an open heart and an empty mind. I can see though that I am going to bounce around a bit as I settle in and find my groove playing with subject, colour and style. I'm working intuitively and going with the flow but somehow I sense some are going to form sets.

100 Artworks Challenge #8, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland

These are my thoughts as I venture out on this adventure, thanks for joining me and please feel free to offer any feedback or words of support as I go. It's a bit like heading off on a marathon or a long hike!

I must thank Kellee Wynne again for creating this challenge, this container. I'm enjoying seeing what everyone else is doing in the facebook group and on some people's blogs. I sense it's going to be a magical journey. If you'd like to jump on board, there's still plenty of time and room, click this link to the 100 Artworks Challenge to find out more.

  100 Artworks Challenge #10, acrylic on board, 14x14.5cm by suzi poland  

Yay, I made it to 10! Here's to the next 90!!! 

It is my intention to make all of these works available for sale so they can make their way other people's hearts and homes. At some point I hope to create an online space to display all the works from this series, but if one of the artworks catches your eye that you'd like to buy, please be in touch by email It would bring me great joy if one of them became yours, or a friends to enjoy.

other posts about this challenge include:

100 Artworks Challenge #1-10
100 Artworks Challenge #11-20
100 Artworks Challenge #21-35

Saturday, March 21, 2015

1000 words for Summer Year 6 - summer sketchbook

Starting where I left off last Summer, I began this year by working in black and white line with my Lamy Safari pen and water colour wash in a Stillman & Birn Alpha landscape sketchbook. I quickly progressed to coloured watercolour pencils and then in mid-January added a tube of gouache and a waterbrush to my bag of tools. 

Shifting to coloured pencil allowed me to go let go of the pressure to get figures 'right' first go. The softening of tools, allowed a softening of expectations and enabled me to learn to see people as they move, something I'd studied in Sketchbook Skool storytelling and something I'd done previously in graphite, but doing it in colour pencil was so much more fun.

Doing multiple sketches on one page was another technique I used.  Capturing fragments of activity allowed me to build up a sense of how people move like collecting pieces of a jigsaw rather than doing long studies which never seemed possible.

As I went along, I also began to play with multiple coloured lines. This gave a wonderful sense of movement and a welcome feel to the sketch. Working with a limited palette allowed me to play with the range of colours that brought me joy and add the feelings of summer that I love.

After visiting the Artspace exhibition in Avalon and seeing Fiona Verity's sketchbooks, I added gouache to my kit and a waterbrush which allowed me to achieve a more painterly effect. I've had these tools for a while and done illustrations with them in my studio but not taken them sketching. Blending gouache with the watercolour pencils created a gelato bar of paint that I instantly loved and allowed me to add to the fun, creating chalky textures that sometimes sat off the coloured pencil. Messy play was happening on the page!

As well as playing with materials, this year, I also played with composition, playing with capturing what I saw rather than the scene. By this I mean, some sketches are a sketch over time, capturing events as they happened within the frame, rather than a specific static scene, like the one below which I did when I attended the Urban Sketchers Australia and the Sydney Sketchers event at Collaroy in early January.

Sketching this way enabled me to capture the vitality, the frenzy of activity and the vibe of the day. From the patterns of fabrics, outlines of people as they crossed paths with one another to the movement of water, the flapping of flags, the comings and goings of life as it happened were all captured there in some way on the page. These sketches are more like a collage of photographic impressions than any realistic frozen scene and this really has become an enjoyable way to work.

Whilst I dated the pages and noted the places where I sketched, I didn't work in my sketchbook from front to back or left to right. Instead I worked on whichever page felt right and as a consequence I allowed the book to evolve as a reflection of a season rather than a chronological record of events. I first tried this technique in my submission to The Sketchbook Project and it's one I really like and recommend. 

After six summers, I'm happy to say, I have a lot of memories, a lot of fragments of other sketches I've done that I can call on to ad-lib as I am sketching. Sometimes it's simply too hot to sketch and I can get easily tired or bored. It's a fine balance between being a slave to the scene or being dedicated to the art.

Seeing the scene isn't the same as being in the scene and as the years go by I get more and more comfortable about sketching in public. Being spotted initially meant losing anonymity and created a degree of anxiety that disrupted my sketching, but now it's become part of the fun and having children stop and look has become a gift to me.

Moving from the back of the beach to the front row, to be in amongst it all, was brave but rewarding. My sketches seemed more alive than anything I'd achieved by sitting back capturing the whole beach. I also learnt how to respect the people I was sketching, beach-goers simply enjoying at a day at the beach, often photographing the sketch from a different location, on another day, or once the people I was sketching had moved out of view.

Flicking through the sketchbook, it feels more like a series of essays than vignettes. It feels less a record of a place and it's people and more the beginnings of a work of art. I'm no longer concerned with capturing a specific beach or person as capturing the moment, telling a story of the day. I've given up simply observing, annotating or recording like a journalist might, choosing to allow a story to come through, a more universal feeling of what summer is about.

At some points throughout this summer, certain children showed up in my sketches. They were not real but simply appeared out of the page. Who they are I am not quite sure, but it's such fun to allow this to happen and I am so curious now to follow them and see where they want me to go. 

As well as these children, I also got a greater sense of the relationships people have at this place. Families interacting together, parents passing babies to each other, watching the slight shift from one hip to another as the weight of a child gets too much or feeling the weight of a child's head sink onto a shoulder as they start to fall asleep in the heat, then bounce back excitedly kicking their legs as they spot something in the distance.

Relaxing together, sitting alone, playing in groups, gathering together, people of all shapes and sizes with all sorts of paraphernalia, some of which I chose to not to draw. Big family groups who came down for the day or families who came everyday. People taking time out, creating childhood memories. It was fascinating to be part of it all and I feel extremely fortunate to have spent so much time amongst people having so much fun. 

What I've shown here is a small selection of the 84 pages I sketched this summer. I sketched at night on New Years Eve and doodled in colour, but by focussing on the beach, what I am left with are the fractured sights of the scene, the sounds of the sea, the squealing of children, crashing of waves, feelings of the breeze and the ease of it all. It's wonderful and I'm so happy I started this project all those years ago. I had no idea I would end up here.

As well creating a few Steller Stories using my sketches and photography, I've done a Drawing with Thread workshop and stitched some of my sketches. I am also doing a Printmaking course and the Conscious Booksmith ecourse, playing with what might happen next with this body of work as I head into the cooler months and my Winter Dreaming.

I can only encourage you to take a moment each day to capture life as it happens around you, maybe even start a project of your own. It's really a wonderful thing to do and leads to the most interesting life experiences. Thank you for being part of my journey, I've loved sharing this story with you.

Other blog posts about Beach Sketching:
Beach Sketching on Friday afternoon
(a steller story in sketching, film and photography)
Beach Reader
(a woman reads at the beach) 
Sketching People at the Beach in late Summer
(leaving my phone at home meant I got super busy sketching people at the beach)
Summer Beach Sketching
(as part of my larger 1000 words for Summer project, I went beach sketching over summer)
Saying Goodbye to Summer
(sketching people at the beach, reflecting on the change of season)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

100 Artworks Challenge

Before I tell you about The Custodian Project which I've just been participating in, I must tell you about what's next. I've accepted Kellee Wynne Studios 's #100ArtworksChallenge which I found out about on Kellee's Instagram

As you might have observed, I don't need incentive to make art, but I do love working alongside others especially in online studio groups and the Facebook group Kellee's set up has a nice vibe. She's a really sweet leader with lots of great insights and advice. She did this challenge a while ago and I really like her fun colours and semi-abstracted work. 

If you are keen to get started or like me, want to create a Body of Work you are welcome to join in. It officially starts today, 15th March 2015 but I'm not starting for another week as I'm still working on my 1000 words for Summer project until the equinox next week. I've also started The Conscious Booksmith ecourse (but that's another story!) and I'm also doing a course at Warringah Printmakers which is still a work in progress!

For the #100ArtworksChallenge, you can do an artwork a day or take as long as you like, the aim is simply to "Do The Work". I'm sure there'll be champagne and tears along the way but it's going to be lovely to see what everyone creates. Oh and it doesn't have to be painting it can be anything you like to make. If you want to accept the challenge but would like to know more, you can read about it on Kellee's blog

If you follow me on Instagram you'll see I have dreamt up an emoji that we can use as we go along. Somehow I sense it's going to be lots of fun. Have you ever created 100 artworks? What's the most you've done in a series? Will you be joining in? If this isn't quite right, you might also like to check out another fun challenge 12 Pages in 2015. It's quite different but might be more your thing.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Summer sketching in thread

It's late Summer and I've been dreaming about what comes next for my Summer sketches. I've not quite finished my sketchbook but I'm really enjoying playing in a variety of mediums and techniques. Exploring, playing, dabbling, learning. After six years on this project I am also looking for new directions, seeking new ways to connect and share my work with the world. 

In previous years as part of my 1000 words for Summer project, I created a virtual quilt where participants used the summer words I'd collected to create an image on a square piece of calico. I enjoyed playing along and stitching a recipe for Pavlova, frangipanis, scorching sand, swimming costumes, a summer christmas tree and my favourite, a knitted ice cream!

I've also done some stitched lettering for clients I love you to the moon and back, and more recently a stitched sketch of my Coffeeosophy coffee cup and I've illustrated the full moon over the ocean. Each year I try to create something in textiles, in fabric, knitting or thread. There's something about textile illustration that I love, the slowness, the tactility, the curved surfaces and over the years I've followed other textile artists and created a Textile Board on Pinterst. 

I also follow the works of Julia Crosslands, Ana Isabel Ramos aka Air BillyPoppy Treffy, Jude Hill aka Spirit Cloth and Deborah O'Hare on Instagram and I used to love the textile works of Kirsty Elson, although she's now doing more work in wood. Each one does quite different things, but in the direction of my dreams. I am lucky enough to have my mothers old Singer sewing machine, but I've yet to work out how to do free arm sewing. Clearly I need to do more learning, but whilst the sun still shines, I'm also trying to capture the Summer beach scenes! LOL is there ever enough time?!

Recently I came across Alex Falkiner aka Alfalky on Instagram. I saw images of her work and her Drawing with Thread workshop and they looked so appealing. The best part was they were on in Sydney! After doing courses online, I've been really keen to do some in-person classes, so I quickly signed up and it was a wonderful experience.

Attending the workshop on a scorching hot Summer afternoon Alex shared her super cool approach to embroidery and it wasn't long before we were stitching our way in a new dimension. It wasn't so much that they were new stitches, but a whole new approach and I found it so relaxing! Play is a BIG part of Alex's art philosophy and something I love to do.  

Here's how my work looked by the end of the workshop. You can see examples of other students works here.


Did I say it was fun? Tell you it was enjoyable afternoon? The way Alex had us let the thread appear on the fabric was so expressive. As you might be aware, I LOVE doodling and this process felt very similar to my doodling in ink and paint. Working with the concept of "start where you are", I went home and used my Summer sketches as inspiration, but rather than copying or transferring the image exactly, I took some offcuts of linen and simply started sketching with thread! As you can see I made some light graphite lines to get me started, but the whole textural quality soon took over and the thinness of lines that could be achieved in thread was like the finest of pen nibs! 


The next weekend I went along to Alex's follow-up Stitching off the Page workshop. It was quite a different process and a little bit more complicated. I can equally see how I could use it in my work but more play is required and definitely with some neon thread!

As you can see below I've been to the lolly shop! In the photo to the right, mine is the third one from the top and you can see other examples from this workshop here.

It's been a lovely way to play with my Summer sketches, sketching then stitching and sketching in thread allowing images to appear on the cloth just as they do on the page. I am really enjoying allowing this body of work to grow in this way, it's fun, playful and I find textiles very nurturing so I hope I can take this with me into the cooler months. I'm also doing a printmaking class, but I'll share more about that in another post.

Thanks, as always for popping by and joining me on this artful journey that is life.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

celebrating a year of Coffeeosophy

It's hard to believe that it's a year since I was sitting quietly in the cafe, sketchbook and pen in hand sketching my coffee when Coffeeosophy images started appearing on the page.

"so glad to hear #coffeeosophy 
has been deemed a worthy pursuit."

Yes, it was this time last year in the months after my mother and mother-in-law passed away within three weeks of each other. The festive season and the summer holidays had passed and my 1000 words for Summer was over for another year. There in the cafe, the two of us sat and whilst my husband chatted and debriefed, I sketched and drew my coffee cup.

It was a big achievement in those unstable days to complete an elipse and then another. Clean lines connecting with each other. If they aligned that was great, if not, well … that's when thoughts appeared on the page, little expressions of love emerging from my coffee cup.

It's been comforting to share the images sketched in various cafes throughout Sydney and I am humbled by the response from many people who have conneted with this series. To celebrate and give thanks, I made a little flipagram with a selection of the sketches, set to the evocative music of Yann Tiersen.

Sketches and Flipagram created by Suzi Poland
Music by Yann Tiersen - J'y Suis Jamais Alle (soundtrack to Amilie)

Five sketchbooks later, I'm not sure what to do with the originals, if they need to become something else, so I'm exploring a few options, various techniques and possible forms. I am also exploring new ways to sketch, new scenes and expressions to capture. After a year in black and white, I'm really enjoying playing with colour.

A lot has happened in a year, life has moved on and changed in many ways. Art really does heal and I feel so lucky to be able to express through my art, even more that others like what I create. I really love the act and daily practice of sketching and I especially love the wisdom of my coffee cup.

I have enjoyed how amusing some of these images have become and how they have reflected aspects of life around me, people, places and events that have happened. This series has introduced me to many people across the globe and I'd like to thank those of you who've joined me along the way.

If you'd like to see the sketches that led to this series, read coffeeosophy and the art of cafe sketching.

If you'd like to see what comes next in this series, follow me on Instagram or Behance.

If you'd like to make a flipagram, you might like to read this post about Sketching with flipagram.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Around the World Blog Hop

I’ve been invited to participate in this Around the World Blog Hop by Michele Cooper from the Pacific NW of USA. Michele sketches, teaches and writes on her blog Michele's NW Studio. We met by accident one day on Instagram when she hashtagged one of her sketches #coffeeosophy. It was a sketch of a cow cafe cart which was so funny we ended up having a lovely chat and now here she is inviting me to participate in this blog hop. That’s why I love social media! 

This blog hop is described as being "quite simple: answer a few questions and invite up to three more people to join in. Each publishes on their blog the following Monday after being nominated." Blog hops and talking about one's art are never simple, at least not for me. Although it's a challenge I love as it calls me to focus and define in as few words as possible, what it is that I do. Before I go on, I must thank you for visiting, I hope you enjoy what you read.

What am I working on?

Currently it’s Summer here in Australia so I am working on my 1000 words for Summer project. Now in it's the sixth year, from 12/12th to 26th Jan, I let Summer be my muse. It has been a wonderful way to creative a variety of works in numerous media under one theme. It’s also been the vehicle for meeting many people and learning lots about creating online as each year I’ve incorporated a different social media into the project. I’ve also run classes for families and children and interactions online. Last year I spent the summer sketching in ink line, this year I’ve written visual stories and played with coloured pencil. Other years, it’s been more about photography, words, painting, pastel or film. It's been a lovely thing to do and you can find out more about it on the project blog. 

I am also working on a series I’ve called coffeeosophy which literally appeared in the months after my mother and mother-in-law's passing. They are are essentially daily mediations about life and love found in the sketches of coffee cups.

I have several other projects on the go, some of which you can read about here. 

How does my work differ from other’s of it’s genre?
If I am honest I am still working out “my style”, what makes my work unique. As I haven’t limited myself to one medium or subject matter this may take some time, but essentially I like to capture the sense of life as it happens and distill it to it’s essence. I find great joy in creating my art and I hope that others find it enjoyable to view.

Why do I write/create what I do? 
I guess its a combination of being trained in Landscape Architecture and Tourism, living in a different country as a child and being quite a philosophical, poetic person. I am quite spontaneous, enthusiastic and very sensitive to the both the outer world and the inner emotional landscape.

Using a variety of mediums in my artwork and sketchbooks as well as having a variety of projects on the go allows me to remain fluid and even though I have a structured program throughout the year, what I work on each day does depends on how I feel. Art for me is an expressive act. Throughout significant life experiences I have found solace in my art. It’s the one constant and my most loyal companion. I cannot imagine life without it.

How does my writing/creative process work? 
As a passionate creative, I have found Projects to be a most useful way to create. By adding artworks on a regular basis the sum of the whole becomes greater than it’s parts. Projects allow me to focus on the individual piece that I am working on that day, to be in the moment, whilst consciously creating a body of work. 

I work intuitively and allow the work to tell me where it wants to go. In doing so, a calendar of events has evolved based on the seasons of the year and the phases of the sun and the moon. From 1000 words in Summer, to Heart to Home, Winter Dreaming, Spring Flowers, the Solstices and Equinox and Full Moon Intuitive Drawing, I can constantly be working on more than one body of work at a time. I also have projects based on stories and film and the more creative I am, the more poetry I write.

It’s a little like having lots of children or blooms on a tree. One can be about to bloom whilst another can be just emerging. I used to think them up, but now the contents seem to create their own containers. I love how they find me and how having an underlying structure has allowed me to build a diverse creative life.

Whilst this seems super organised, I must also stress the invaluable art of Dreaming, of doing nothing, or the art of Wu Wei, that I have lived by since high school. I am a plate spinner, a valley wanderer and although I admire those who reach the mountain tops, whilst they are walking back down, I seem to have arrived at the next valley. It's a funny thing, how we work, but it's one of the most useful things to know. It's as important as any tool or technique, for we are all vessels in which creativity dwells.

There never seems enough time or space in this world to do all that I would love to do, so now in my 50th year, I have also begun to participate with others in Collaborations. My most successful ones have been online, in small secret groups on facebook with others I have met through ecourses. Online studio exchanges with other artists or like minded creatives. I have been incredibly lucky to have met some wonderfully inspiring and creative people this way and one of them is the next person on this blog hop.

Sandy Mair and I met in Kelly Rae Robert's Flying Lessons and since then we have done writing, illustration and other creative ecourses and joined in other groups online. We now skype regularly and share much of our working life. Last year we were lucky enough to do a poetry collaboration on Instagram called To Define Beauty. Sandy is a wonderful creative mentor/buddy who shares a need not to specialise. She also loves sketching, illustrating, textiles, photography and form and last year a little character appeared in her life, but I'll let her you all about him, please pop over to her blog Sandy Mair Art on Monday 19th Jan, 2015.

Working alone, having creative soul mates online, being connected but having enough space to develop your own unique style, is something that motivates me to make more and more art. Thank you for popping by, I hope you have enjoyed being here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Beach Sketching on Friday afternoon

It's that time of year again, yes Summer when I love to get out and about sketching people doing what they love. For the past five years I've undertaken my 1000 words for Summer project for six weeks over the Summer school holidays. This year, now my children have left school, I started a little earlier and with the help of the Steller app I've turned the first of my sketches into a story.

Have you ever created a Steller story?

You can read all about how I did it and what happened next on my post creating a Steller story.

Here are the sketches I did that day.

To see more of the artworks I create over this Summer, please follow me on Instagram, facebook or Twitter. To read my other Steller stories, click here. I hope you enjoy! 

Other blog posts about Beach Sketching:
Beach Reader
(a woman reads at the beach) 
Sketching People at the Beach in late Summer
(leaving my phone at home meant I got super busy sketching people at the beach)
Summer Beach Sketching
(as part of my larger 1000 words for Summer project, I went beach sketching over summer)
Saying Goodbye to Summer
(sketching people at the beach, reflecting on the change of season)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sketching Seagulls, a story

Wooo Hooo! I just wrote a little sketching story! My first ever on Stellar! All about the day I went Sketching Seagulls by the sea. Love you to check it out and tell me what you think. Simply click the image below and turn the pages like a book.


Have you ever created a Steller story?

You can read all about how I did it and what happened next on my post creating a Steller story.

Click here to see the sketches I did that day.

other blog posts about birds:
seagulls by the sea
observing the birds
freedom to float
sketching sth Palm Beach
doodling birds
painting birds
sketching seagulls

Thursday, November 13, 2014

creating a Steller story

Title Page of my Steller story

Wow! Swoon! … you know that time when you fall in love … when life goes all dizzy and you see stars? Remember that? Well that's me right now with stars in my eyes for the Steller app I somehow stumbled on via Instagram. It's a big world out there with lots to love but somehow this app found me and right now … I'm in love! 

but let me backtrack ….

For some time now, I have been searching for a way to tell a stories, not stories that you find in a book, but my kind of stories. Stories that blend place, space, time and story. Stories that tell a tale of a place all of us might like to go to. Universal stories that speak the same language and can be shared with people all over the world.

How to do it, how to get them published, what mediums to use have all remained elusive … until now. We'll for the moment, now, because the online world changes so rapidly. Back in October 2012, I was invited to join Story Lane which was similar to Pinterest for stories. I did, but by March 2013 it was gone. I didn't loose any content because I simply re-wrote short intros to my blogposts. It was great way to meet and be seen by writerly people.

As you may know I started 420 Characters Short Story group on facebook back in 2010. It's still ticking along, but the stories are written in words. Since then, I've invited illustrators to post images, but still this still a bit clunky. Having done a Children's Illustration Course back in early 2012, I learnt a lot about the publishing industry, how it needs books to be either 24 or 36 pages. I also learnt how to frame the scenes in a story and some other things I have played with in a few small paper zines including the ones I gave away in my Free Art Friday. 

More recently, this year, I signed up for SBS Storytelling28 Days of Writing and A Year of FairyTales (although I'm very late to class!). I've also bought a bunch of books about sketching and illustration all in search for a way to express story as both image and meaning. My coffeeosophy is gaining a philosophical narrative, my poetry is flowing, I've played with my SandMan story on Instagram and I have lots more waiting to explore.

None of these mediums though, have enough depth for me to pull together all that I do, because I also love to photograph and film my Minutes by the Sea. At the moment, the best way I've found has been to create Blog stories, some of which you can read here, herehere and here. Once again it's a bit clunky and with the new technology moving to the palm of our hands, when I saw the Steller app, I dived in.

Steller allows you to mix text, image and moving image. None of these are restricted simply to informative or narrative, photography or video in their traditional sense and as a creative my mind is spinning with possibilities but I wont share them here or I might jinx them! Yes, I do believe in things like that.

So here is my little story set beside the sea. It's a compilation of my latest Sketching Seagull's blogpost with a narrative twist. I really enjoyed writing, creating and putting it all together, not to mention the time out sketching. I do hope you enjoy reading it. Simply click on the image below and then swipe the arrows as if turning the pages of a book. You shouldn't need to download the app to see it, but if you do, it is free!


What did you think? Did you like it?

If you'd like to create your own Steller story, here is their video which might help.

Newsflash! … 24 hours later the news came in that my story made the Steller Top 20 Stories. I only shared it with my facebook friends. and now another day later, before I've even had time to tell those kind people who joined me sketching that Saturday via my Instagram, that I'd created a story, I'm madly trying to get this blog post together so I can tell them. I will say this is the one downside to the app, it's hard to share a story without a hyperlink. It's set up for easy sharing to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest but not for Instagram and as a visual person that's not ideal.

A day later … and I get another email. My story is going to be published in the Stellerverse. I'm still not sure what that is, but it sure sounds good! This is exactly what I've been wanting, a platform that publishes across the globe without paper, that transmits moving, static images and words. Will it last? Will this be a one night stand? Will Steller last the test of time? I don't know, but is sure is fun! The rest as they say … will be history … stay tuned and I'll let you know how things work out.


Thanks, as always for dropping by, I really cant thank you enough for all the comments and words of encouragement I receive here and elsewhere online, it really does help creatives like me venture out and try new things. Here are a few other posts you might like.