Google+ LISTENING TO THE SQUEAK INSIDE art by Kirstin McCulloch of LilliBean Designs: July 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

☆ Round Here [July 2014]

I love these posts + I hope you get a kick out of them too!

I love that I can see what we did during each month, that each photo brings back awesome memories.

So what have we done this month? July is an awesome month to...

Ride in the Big Red Car

Went walking in the foggy mornings

Sketched this girl one dinner while my girls had perfect dinner manners (for once!!)

Took selfies - because I couldn't get the pose on my Winter Princess right

Had an indulgent birthday + this was my over indulgent dinner!!

Went and saw Play School and danced and danced and danced.
(Well Bean danced, Bug, Fred + Beastie just ate the entire time!)

Had an awesome girls night out with my sister + mum. 
We figured it was close to 18 years since our girls only night.

Jumped on our horses + rode away.

Spend hours in the art shops hunting for supplies.

Young + old enjoyed the carousel
I totally jumped on my own stead. 

And I have nearly, so very NEARLY, finished this painting!

What have you been up to this month? What amazing adventured did you undertake. Share your stories!

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Monday, July 28, 2014

☆ Artitsts Around the World [Blog Hop]

I was so excited to recieve a message from Carmen of My Creative Me asking me to participate in an Artists Around the World Blog Hop. You should definitely check out Carmen's blog + her beautiful art work!

This blog hop has artists from all over the world, answering four questions + nominating the next weeks participant.

So here is me + my answers....

1. Why do I do what I do?
The Mermaids Pet
inspired by one of my
kids musings

Because I have to is the very short + vauge answer, but it is mostly true. I have so many ideas to share +  storys to tell. And at one stage I thought I would become a writer..... except that I struggle hugely with writing, I always have! (You have know idea how long some of these posts take!!) 

But I am an extremely visual person. I adore colour. I am drawn to colour. 

So I am driven to some how capture my wild imaginings, my kids awesome quotes + my random thoughts. 

And painting is the medium that I love using to express these ideas.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You know, this is such a difficult question for me to answer. I have often wondered how my work is different to others of my genre + to be totally honest, I am not even sure what genre it fits into.

Maybe its the big eyes of my charaters? People often comment on my characters eyes... I'd love to know if you all have any suggestions. This question stumps me every time.

3. How does my creative process work?

Ummm. Many different ways. So often it begins with a picture in a magazine, or on pinterest, some thing my kids have said, a paragraph from a book, a snippet of a dream, a newspaper story, a photo I took on a walk. 

When this spark hits +  I have a more concrete idea, I will try to capture it, in my sketch book, a scrap of paper or even on my phone.

And when I am looking for a new painting, I will trawl through the mountians of sketch books, note book + notes on my phone.

Sometimes I'll have an idea that inspires me and sometimes I open up my pinterest app + waste some more time...

Winter Princess
works in progress part one, two + three
[As part of the Carnival of Creative Mothers blog series I wrote about the creative process in more depth here]

4. What am I working on now?

So I have been working on this frustrating girl lately.

This Winter Princess was inspired by a passage in book.

Apart from paintings, I am finishing up my 'Listening to your Squeak' e-course + planning a new website + I have a few Christmas commsions I am about to start on for my friends little boys.

☆ ☆ 

Next week, (August 4th) make sure you pop over to visit Nicole from Beadwright - I have been a huge fan of her work for a while now + I can't wait to read her answers to these questions!

Nicole from Beadwright's painting.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

☆ The painting that is never going to be finished [Friday Art]

Week 30: July 25th

I don't know why I thought I was over the hurdles with my winter princess painting.

I suspect that by now you are bored of reading about this painting - I know I am becoming impatiant with her.

So you can see part one + part two of this paintings journey + now on to part three.

As we were away last weekend + have spent the majority of this week catching up, I haven't had a huge amount of time to spend on her, but yesterday I had a cancellation + could spend some quality time on her, so I decided to takle her hair.

But true to form, she wasn't going to make that easy.

Ifinished the changes to her hands - I like these much more that before.

When I started with the bottome layer of white, I hadn't cleaned my brush properly so streaks of aqua came through, and that inspired me to add aqua to her hair in later layers.

Using a combination of white, black, aqua, raw sienna + titan buff, I finished one side of the hair.

The 'ugly' phase of her hair.

After about four hours, this is her hair almost finished.

Since I had the aqua out I finished the details on her earrings.

I liked the eyes originally, but I kept playing with them + stuffed them. But the best thing about acrylics is you can just paint over them again...

Today, I managed to start on the crown.

And this is where I left it for now. I am hoping that tomorrow night, I will have a large chunk of time to finish her off, but more than likely I will be changing her again - there is something bugging me about the sticks in her arms....

I was thinking of changing them to lily's or something...

I think I am in danger of never finishing this painting!!

Have a great weekend.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

☆ Sacred Inner Eye with Tam Laporte [Life Book 2014]

 Week 28 - Sacred Inner Eye with Tamara Laporte

This was such an awesome lesson.

Not only where we painting one of my favourite subjects, but I also used a variety of different materials, many of which I haven't used in a very long time.

Using my rarely used (these days) pro markers on the iris, I also used a combination of charcoal, graphite, gesso, and spray inks.

I love how this turned out + I adored how the writing looks - all linked together in long cursive.

I think it will be my new favourite way to journal.

Have a great week.
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Friday, July 18, 2014

☆ The Winter Princess [The struggle continues]

Week 29: 18th July 2014

I had really hoped to have my winter princess finished this week, but the fates, the alignment of the stars + even life seemed to conspire against me.

This is where I left off last week: here

This week,  I started off spending some time finishing off the back ground, adding some more detail. But looking at it now I will probably need to go back to it in the final stages. I think this is why I don't normally background first. I often change my mind + then I am left with no paint the right colour + white patches to fill...

I thought I would start painting her dress an shimmery blue, using an iridescent medium, but I wasn't happy with the colour, with the way I couldn't add shading. The light blue would lift off when I added darker colours + tried to blend them. It became a streaky ugly grey mess.


I abandoned the dress for the moment + I then decided to address something that was frustrating me.

I wasn't happy with the placement of her hands, it seemed too false. Forced. So I took more ridiculous selfies (Yah for cameras on computers!) + changed the hand placement.

I am beyond frustrated with this Winter Princess at this stage, so I mixed a new dress colour (making sure I have heaps of it and won't run out - haven't we have all been there, done that before!

And again, I am frustrated with the shading - truly frustrated. Because I am working on board instead of paper, I have to adapt a bit - and look at her boobs! Holy cow what is going on there??

So, I left her for a few days. And did some research. I needed a reference for the highlights, rather than winging it like I normally do.

Obviously this Winter Princess is a demanding sort, and wants everything done properly. (And yes I realise right about now, I am slightly mad. Or weird. Or both.)

Working on her again,  I finally like where the shading was going, I felt like I had finally conquered the dress, but the hands were again not making sense to me.

Not only did her hands seem huge, but I was irritated with the pose.


So after I gessoed over the hands (again!), I dug out my props (much better that the water bottle I was using before!) + took some more selfies.

And this is where I finished off last night.

Instead of packing for our weekend away, I holed up in the studio + painted. And even though she has frustrated me all week, I am happy with how I have left her.

Well worth the slight panic + craziness, of packing girls weekend away with my babies.

So do you take ridiculous selfies when you are painting. When a search of google images  just doesn't cut it what do you do? Share your tales with us below! 

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Did you know that I send out a monthly love letter with studio snippets, a monthly give away of one of my paintings or products, a free calendar download + more. Click here or on the image below for more + your free downloadable gratitude angel 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

☆ Finding time to be Creative [Creating with Kids]

Usually a "Creating with Kids" post, I share a way that the girls + I share the creative experience together, me learning from them, them learning from me.

I have to be honest, it has been a while since we have been able to find the time to be creative together. I have a plan to fix this (which I will share next soon!)

But this month, I wanted to answer a question that I am asked a lot.

"How, with three kids, do you find the time to create?"

And the simple answer is I make the time. But that is simplistic + unsatisfying + doesn't answer the question.

So, the long answer starts with this - with preparation + planning.

Once a week, usually a Sunday night I sit down with my diaries (I have two: one for family + one for LilliBean Designs stuff) + figure out what's happening over the coming week.

Most of what we do - dancing, play groups, coffee with the gang, are things we do every week, but there are often other things going on.

Appointments, visits with family - you know the usual life in a family things.

Along with all this, I also schedule in studio time.

Our days also follow a similar pattern (and I do admit that sometimes when I wake up I feel like it is ground hog day)

We get up, eat breakfast, get ready for school, walk Bean to the bus stop, come home, I get ready +  mostly days we are out of the house by 10 am.

We are home by lunch time + the girls have a rest between 1 + 2.30/ 3 pm and this is when I get into the studio. Wee Beastie still has a snooze, but Bean + Bug will play quietly or watch a movie.

I rarely schedule appointments, catch ups or anything else during this time.

I guard this time like a pit bull with a bone.

And often when I am planning our week I will often schedule in what I plan to do in the studio - whether I plan to paint, do a Life book lesson, write posts or other LilliBean stuff.

I didn't always do this, but I found if I actually writing it down, schedule it like an appointment, I was more likely to keep it.

(If I didn't I would spend the time reading or on pinsuck... Ahem....I mean pinterest.)

So most days, I can have a good chunk of time in the studio.

In the evenings, I manage to spend three to four evenings in the studio as well. But this time is less structured + depending on how tired I am I may skip going down stairs.

I usually take Friday nights off but Saturday night is an awesome night to paint - there is no need to get up early for school or sport the next day + I can manage to get a little sleep in - if the girls co-operate!

So this is how I manage to find time to create:

1.    I want this. Badly..... very badly.

2.    I schedule it into my weekly planner

3.    I guard this time + keep it free as much as possible

4.    I make it a priority, I realise that this is time that I need as part of looking after myself + 
       therefore my family

5.    I treat it like a job. It is my work, I will say to the girls 'Mama is off to work now' + they   
       and Mac respect that. (Mac will often tell me to get my ass to work, if I am feeling 

Finding the time to create, to exercise, to make healthy meals for my family, to do it all, is one of my favourite excuses. But there are ways to carve out time in your day or your week.

So what about you? How do you find time? Do you schedule it like me? Get up early? Stay up late? I would love to hear about your processes.

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Did you know that I send out a monthly love letter with studio snippets, a monthly give away of one of my paintings or products, a free calendar download + more. Click here or on the image below for more + your free downloadable gratitude angel 

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