Wednesday 27 November 2013


It has been a bit of a crazy week. I have been applying for a visual arts teaching job and trying to get ready for the Mornington Racecourse Twilight Market that I have on Saturday afternoon, as well as getting postcards done to advertise my commissioned portraiture. I am finally finished the painting of Eloise (about 15 working days from start to finish) and I am using it for some of the postcards, so here she is complete in all her cuteness. I have included the wee portrait of Kian below - they make a lovely pair don't you think? I have a Christmas special running: if you book a portrait before the 25th December 2013 the price is $1750 (down from $1950). Please spread the word to any friends or family you have who might want a portrait of their kids / grand kids.

Friday 22 November 2013


Samsung has just paid their fine to Apple - 1 billion dollars in 5c pieces. Good for you Samsung! I do love a small protest.

The Garden of Eden

It seems our little reluctant bloomer at the bottom of the garden is in fact an apple tree. The promise of summer feels very real today. Happy weekend friends.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Making a Home From a Rented House (Part 4)

This is the last post featuring some of my favourite bits and bobs from around our home.

I love vintage cook ware so much more than the new stuff. The first pic is of a great set of pots I picked up a while back. Pic # 2 is a bit blurry but features our wonderful Miffy Piggy bank that Darren bought as a gift for me when he was in Japan. It is filled with $2 coins that is our holiday fund.

These snaps are of my world globe collection and of the swallow wall plaque on our bedroom door.

And these great wall pieces are the work of my talented friend Carla da Cruz and they hang on the beautiful red brick wall that forms part of our patio.

That's it folks - a tour of our home.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Making a Home Out Of A Rented House (Part 3)

The boys rooms are wonderful sunny rooms in our teeny house.

Above are pics of Kikki's room. We have used little wooden cubes to house his books and toys as they are much more his height than fullsize bookcases. The bed shows his prized Miffy toy his Grandpa Terry brought home from one of his trips abroad and the little quilt I made him a while back. The last pic is of two of the board game pieces he has on his walls.

Leith's bed also shows the quilt I made for him and his prize soft toy is Polar Bear (who is almost 40 years old) and was Darren's soft toy when he was a lad. Leith has organised his Lego very precisely on his bookshelf and on his walls you can see the beautiful enamel Tintin pieces that Darren's Mum and Dad brought back from Vietnam for him.

Making A Home From A Rented House (Part 2)

To follow on from my last post here are snaps from the lounge. As you can see from the first pic, I am a little in love with hand embroidered fabrics. These cushions were all made from vintage tea cloths or place mats and they adorn the seating in our tiny lounge.

The great light was from an exhibition which show-cased a collaboration between Brett Murray and The Bitterkomix boys. The funny wee deer must at some stage have been a Christmas velveteen decoration (although it is very large for that). I love him as he reminds me of the little Duikers that would be found in the bush-land around SA.

The great old shop counter we found in a second hand shop in Durban and ditto for the 1970's poof (which I love and Darren hates).

Making a Home From a Rented House (Part 1)

These are the words to a lovely little song I have on one of my mixed tapes. It is what we have tried to do since we have got to Aus. Here are a few of my favourite bits and bobs from around our home. I will start with my best room which is the dining room come playroom.

The wonderful wall tattoo was a gift from my greatly talented friend, Kim Longhurst and the enamel dresser and bowl were exciting finds at my friend Kirsty Machen's shop MINT.

This book case houses some of my best vintage finds / gifts ever. Firstly there is the v old tin doll house which I found in pieces in the corner of an RSPCA shop. Then there is my Fisher Price music box collection from the 1960's and 1970's. I had some of the same toys when I was a kid and both my boys have played with them. The wind up mechanisms were virtually indestructible. The books are mostly my Dent Dutton collection of classic children's books, they are all cloth bound and date from the 1940's to 1960's.

The beautiful old scale was a gift from our lovely friend Alistair and the kitchen unit was a gift to me from Darren for one of my birthdays. I think we spent about $40 on it in a small town in the Eastern Cape SA. It is filled with great enamel ware mostly purchased from MINT.

I made this little Bokkie wall plaque a while back and she hangs on one of the doors leading off the dining room.

It Runs In The Family

The crazy comes from all sides. Is this picture of the cousins not just the best? It is Stevie-Grace's birthday this weekend and she is next up on my portrait list.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

My Day - Part 4

OK so Monday was a struggle. I am trying to work in the coat. I started off trying to put in the tone and thought I would do the tweed like texture afterwards, but that didn't work out so I did the texture first instead. That took all day. Today I thought it would be dry enough to work in the tone, but it was not, so I refined the face a bit. Late this afternoon the top of the jacket was dry enough to start working in the tone.

As it was on Friday - As it is at the end of today
I am not sure small pics like this are showing up the changes any more. There is actually subtle colour in the face now and the jacket has more texture in real life. I will finish it off and show you the results at the end of the week. Hopefully Darren can be convinced to take a good photograph for me.

Clowning Around

Our little Pook is a kook for sure. Darren wouldn't let me put the pics of Leith horsing around on the blog, he said he was too close to the teenage years for public humiliation, but Kian has at least a decade before anyone will mock him for these.

Monday 18 November 2013

Out On The Town!

We so very seldom are, but on Friday night we entered the big room to go and see some bands who were playing at the Ding Dong Lounge. The headliner was Cash Savage and the Last Drinks, but we actually bought the tickets to see Admiral Fallow. They were excellent (as were Cash savage) and we managed to pick up an LP and have it signed by the band for our friend Rob, who is very into vinyl. Darren, myself and my cousin Cindy rocked like we were young and childless. We even made a friend named Mercedes, but we forgot to get her number, so she'll have remain a one night friend. Big thanks to Cath for the heads-up on these wonderful bands!

The moon was hanging all full (of excitement) over Parliament

Friday 15 November 2013

My Day - Part 3

It has taken me all day to get the first layer of oil paint onto her face. This is always so stressful, but it is done. On Monday I will try to get the rest of her done to first coat and then the glazing and real detail begins. So far this portrait has taken me a week.

The work as it was this morning - The work as it is this afternoon
Other random news about my week: I bought some super cool red shoes dirt cheap at a charity shop. They will go really well the the beautiful top Darren bought me a while back.

Have a happy weekend my friends. Here is a pic of our wonderful neighbour on the other side's spring hedge. Don't be fooled by the loveliness, there is no spring in Melbourne, just a protracted winter. Sigh.

My Hero

Maurice Sendak is just the most amazing man. This is what he says about his illustration, once again taken from brainpickings.

"If I have an unusual gift, it’s not that I draw particularly better than other people — I’ve never fooled myself about that. Rather it’s that I remember things other people don’t recall: the sounds and feelings and images — the emotional quality — of particular moments in childhood. Happily an essential part of myself — my dreaming life — still lives in the light of childhood."

Thursday 14 November 2013

My Day - Part 2

So once I have finished sanding in the darks of the figure (things do look a little blotchy at this stage), I re-draw with white pencil areas I may have lost. Now I am ready to start painting. All the tone in the portrait thus far has been created using sandpaper. However to get the painting looking smoother and to get the detail I have to use oils. I would say I am about one third of the way through the portrait now.

Sorry about the bad pic, the weather is miserable and the light in my studio not too good today - anyway at least you get the idea.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

My Day

This is what I am doing with my day. What are you doing with yours? I am offering a portrait special for Xmas, if anyone out there is interested please visit my site.

These are the beginning stages of a wee portrait I am doing for my sister. I have drawn Eloise on in pencil and have just started to work her hair in using sandpaper to sand off the top layer of the Gesso to reveal the dark Gesso beneath. I will update you as it goes.

Mime After Mime

It is French day at Leith's school and they had to dress as a famous French character. Not wanting to join the 70% of the class who are going as Napoleon, our young lad thought he would try to follow in the footsteps of Marcel Marceau.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Hair Clips and Painted Toes for All

My little Kian-Noushe, funny boy, is advocating the liberation of hair clips and toe nail polish from a girls only niche.

Monday 11 November 2013

Good Ol' Post

You know I love post, everything about it. I thought I would share these pics of a beautiful old post box just outside the Little Shop of Handmade in Carnegie (such a pity about the graffiti).

Friday 8 November 2013

A Little Star Struck

I have to admit that I am. I met with Sam Jinks the other day - what a wonderful man. His work is absolutely mind blowing and what a nice guy to go along side. It is seldom I meet someone so humble and sincere. I was so inspired to do his portrait and by his work in general. I came away from his studio really wanting to up my game - to put more love and attention into my work. Thanks Sam!

All Hallows Evening

We normal do not celebrate Halloween and prefer to do something on the 2 November (Day Of The Dead). But Halloween celebrations are bigger here than in SA and the boys were excited, so Darren got a pumpkin and carved it up and the boys got dressed up and we went trick or treating with our delightful neighbours Carly and Stew and their little ladybird Tully.

Thursday 7 November 2013

My Girls

I was woken up on Saturday morning with a phone call from my girls in SA. They were thoroughly tiddled and were at a "Dia De Los Muertos" party (which was an annual event in our little group of friends). Here is a pic of two of them all dolled up and looking glorious. The phone call made me sad and a little lonely, but my lovely family took the boys and I to the beach later that day and things felt much better. How great is the beach blanket I made from a piece of vintage toweling I picked up for a dollar at a charity shop?