Who We Are: Petite Sewists

A theme that applied to me! I’ve shared my trials and tribulations along with other petite sewers and fashion lovers via Who We Are: Petite Sewists

Clothes and many patterns are made for ‘normal sized’ bodies, and of course there is no such body!


Buying Watercolour Paints in Europe

What could be more idyllic than buying painting materials from an art store in Poland?

I have wandered the picturesque streets and taken photos of the amazing architecture. I have watched other, more skillful painters sit at their easels set upon the cobble stone streets, capturing the old town buildings with their brushes.

Along my wandering journey I came upon an art supply store. I purchased some ‘Van Goth’ watercolour tubes and ‘Karmanski’ watercolour blocks, a Polish brand. I also picked up some brushes. I was hoping it would be cheaper than buying from Australia, not so convinced after looking at the receipt!Watercolour paints, Van Goth paints, Karmanski, watercolour painting, painting in Europe

I am new to watercolour. I have watched many talented artists online at Colour in your Life They make it look so easy! Though I have to say this show is brilliant for picking up tips and inspiration.

I found some time amongst  the business of travel and began experimenting with my new paint. I left the Polish brand paints for when I return home, not wanting to make a mess of the blocks.

I attempted painting from photos of the beautiful buildings and also had a go at sunflowers which are everywhere.

Watercolour, painting, painting Europe, learning to paint watercolour
Capturing the old buildings in paint was more of a challenge than I hoped!
Sunflowers, Europe, watercolour paints, experimenting with paint

Then I did some more, trying to enjoy the process and not the slightly off the mark results! Of course I blame my limited colour palette and lack of materials (not lack of experience!) I do have to appreciate I’m painting on the other side of the world, on a warm sunny day!

Eucalyptus, eucalypt leaves, watercolour painting
Eucalyptus leaves, not inspired from Europe! I’m not homesick!

What Will Europe Bring?

Poland, Poznan, old town, Europe

So I’m traveling in Europe, Germany, Poland and Czech.

I’ve brought a sketchbook and a few coloured pencils in my suitcase, along with too many but at the same time, not enough toiletries!

Just the idea of travelling Europe evokes many romantic thoughts. Surely it’s a place that will feed my creativity? (more like my belly! There’s a lot of delicious bread products and dumplings!)

So what have I found?

Is Europe as inspiring as my expectations and day dreams have me believe? Well let’s set aside jet lag, travel related illnesses, extremely tired legs from walking and dragging luggage up and down ancient streets, ignore the constant preoccupation with where and what to eat, where to sleep, how to get anywhere, finding my next sip of water and where can I pee for free! After all that my brain slowly absorbs the amazing colours, shapes and architecture.

There are many beautiful old town squares and buildings in every city. It’s easy to forget which splendid city I’m having my cappuccino in, they morph together into a colourful fantasy. I love these old buildings with their pastel colours and detailed trim. I feel as if I’m in a fairytale. I intend to sketch them from photos I have taken. Unfortunately structural drawing isn’t as natural for me as wavy, free flowing lines. I certainly admire the few artists I’ve observed sitting in the square, sketching and painting away. How ideal.

Poland, Poznan, old town, Europe
Old town square in Poznan Poland

I’ve witnessed many young vibrant people who energise the traditional cities as they embrace westinisation. There is a lot of construction and renovations going on. The cities seem to be coming alive.

To be honest the beauty of the streets and their ancient histories is overwhelming, especially coming from Australia.F8FA2329-CAEB-4439-AA89-B80472CEBC1A

I’m sure some of it will rub off onto me! I will hopefully have more to write about and fingers crossed, some work to share soon. Worst case I’ll indulge in the food and treats, I won’t be returning home empty handed or empty bellied!

Coptic Ciao Markers

I was a virgin Coptic Ciao marker user until I purchased some the other day and played around with them. I purchased ‘Coptic Ciao Markers set of six pastel colours.’

Pastel, Coptic markers, drawing
Pastel set of Coptic Ciao markers

‘Ciao markers’  are a cheaper version of Coptic alcohol ink markers, they are basically the same except thinner. These markers are good for blocking in vibrant colours and they are able to be blended. They have a thin brush nib on one end and a thicker square end on the other.

The markers can be refilled with ink when they run out, something I’ve yet to do.

Markers perform different depending on the type of paper used. I started drawing on watercolour paper, this wasn’t ideal. Though my doodles looked nice with a watercolour wash background. I also found that waterproof fineliners would have worked better with the markers.

Coptic Ciao markers, watercolour, art,
Coptic Ciao markers on watercolour wash.

I tested the markers on journal paper which was too thin and didn’t hold the ink very well. The markers bled through to the back of the page. Definitely good quality paper makes a difference.

Coptic Ciao markers, drawing with markers, journal paper
Coptic Ciao markers on journal paper

I think I need to practise colouring within the lines!

The Ciao markers are a cheaper option to experiment with than the bigger size markers, though I found the packet colours limiting. Ideally I will need to add to my collection beyond pastel colours.

Swimming for my Style

I’m happy with my latest piece of art work. In fact it’s the first I’ve felt positive about for a while. It represents what I hoped, that practise makes perfect, the more I paint the better I’ll get, messing around with mediums gives birth to unpressured creativity. No forced outcome.

Swimming Turtles, mixed media, ocean waves, collage, watercolour

Swimming Turtles  

Years ago I studied ‘visual arts’. It was an amazing two year course, in which I would spend everyday, all day creating, drawing, painting and designing. All under the guidance of experienced teachers. I had the time, space and permission to go for it! The circle of life has brought me back to a similar situation, I just have to give myself permission. So… I’ve been experimenting with some new art materials I’ve bought. My aim is to play around, enjoy the creative process and see if I find my mojo again! I spend too much time thinking about what I could and should do. I also think I’ve been spending too much time on pinterest! I admire and gain inspiration from other people’s work. Though I find my admiration soon turns to envy and my inspiration turns to frustration! I try to mimic others only to feel disappointed with the result. I decide that it’s the fault of my materials! I go out and buy better quality paper or paints!

I began painting watercolour circles. I love colour and I love watching it blend together. My next step was to embellish the circles with hand drawn designs. I painted a background with gesso and gouache. I cut out my circles (which remind me of sliced gem stones) and arranged some on the page. I decided to turn the shapes into turtles.

Watercolour, mixed media, collage
Watercolour circle designs

Anyway I am happy with the colours and design, I am happy the image came about from exploration and wasn’t preplanned. I feel I’m finding my place with the materials. Hopefully I will keep developing these ideas.