Monday, 17 July 2017

Out of Pain.. Beauty

Out of Pain.. Beauty
75 x 75 x 4 cm (29.5 x 29.5 x 1.5")

Closeup of pearl and words

This painting is inspired by nature and expresses the notion of taking emotional pain and turning it into something beautiful just as an oyster deals with an irritant. The oyster coats the disturbance in layer after layer of nacre (aka mother of pearl) which in the end gives rise to a beautiful iridescent pearl, a rare and treasured gem. "Out of pain.. beauty". This quote comes from Irving Stone's book "Lust for Life" about the life of Vincent van Gogh, a book that deeply impacted me. Vincent created almost a thousand beautiful paintings, the act of creating in itself a way of finding calm and peace in a world that didn't understand him and after he was gone we were left with these rare and increasingly valuable creations. Being human is wonderful because we get to choose for ourselves if and how we process our pain. Transform the raw ugliness into beauty, wisdom, positivity or let it sit and fester into rigid hard bitterness. What an interesting experiment to see where the different choices lead. 
Acrylic on canvas: $400 NZD - sold

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Family Tree

Family Tree 
10 x 10 x 3.5 cm (4 x 4 x 1.5")

This painting represents a family with the larger bright green leaves in the foreground expressing the children and grandchildren of a couple whose surname and first names are on the trunk. 
Acrylic on canvas personalised: $50 NZD

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Poplar Stones

Poplar Stones
50 x 60 x 2 cm (19.5 x 23.5 x 0.8")
Acrylic on canvas:  $500 NZD

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Sometimes A Diamond Forms

Sometimes a Diamond Forms
76 x 102 x 4 cm (30 x 40 x 1.5")

Closeup of Words on Sometimes A Diamond Forms

This painting represents personal spiritual growth that had a profoundly positive influence on my experience of life. It all began when Oprah Winfrey featured on her show a book entitled "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. I just knew I had to get this book, so I did, read it voraciously and was deeply impacted by it's message. THIS book was the ONLY resource that had answered the long-held questions I had about life, people and their behaviour and how to improve my experience of it all. Tolle's teachings brought much needed peace to me. I have depicted earth layers and a diamond in the rough that has only formed after much pressure and heat to yield a rare and precious jewel... this symbolises a soul's journey through life, with all the pressure and heat we can experience we can either succumb or we can learn and grow, gaining knowledge and wisdom becoming something very rare and precious, a jewel transparent to the light. Acrylic on canvas:  $500 - sold

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Colour Scheme Ideas for the House Exterior

So I've had a play in "Paint" (the basic image creation software that comes with Microsoft Windows). It's allowing me to visualise different colour scheme ideas for our wee 1970s townhouse. My inspiration point is the original amber window panes! Classic 1970s. Rather than radically transforming the entire appearance of this home I am endeavouring to preserve/honour the original architecture while bringing it into this century.

The amber window panes are present in the front door (below pic: 4 panes in a vertical row):

and the back porch (below pic: 3 large rectangular panes, 2 facing the street and 1 around the side which faces the driveway (not seen in pic)):

 Straight off the batt I was thinking blues and blue/grays would compliment the amber beautifully, then maybe a soft subtle caramel colour for the brick... something like this or this or a blue like this or maybe even more of a purple-y blue would look pretty stunning like this. And THEN these gorgeous pastel blue doors caught my attention - could this possibly work? I'm imagining something like this or I noticed a lot of people are teaming their pastel blue doors with soft grays such as this... Or we could go with a simple gray palette, light gray for the brick, a deeper gray to compliment the amber window panes and a very light grey or white for trims.

Here we have six colour scheme ideas featured on our house courtesy of Windows Paint :D.

UPDATE: I've added in a new option inspired by this image on pinterest:

Hmmm... not a fan of this after all. Although it looks fabulous on the house in my inspiration pic (see link above) it really does not work with our amber window panes. It's fun visualising different options though.

The colour on the bricks is great however the blue is perhaps a bit intense despite being a definite complementary colour to the amber glass.

UPDATE: another new colour scheme option to ponder

I LOVE this!!! So modern and daring. I've worked the beautiful minty pastel blue into the scheme on the gables and fascias. Darkening and graying up the blue on the amber window wall works much better than the above brighter blue. I really like the very light gray on the window trims as opposed to the whitish colour. This could be our scheme! UPDATE: I feel like this scheme might be a little too dark, so I'd like to compare a lightened up version... which would essentially bring me to the following two options pictured below.

This is nice too. Perhaps there is too much contrast between the dark blue and the gray brick

This is OK.. I love the gray brick with the pastel minty blue gables/fascias but am not so enamoured with the blue feature wall.. it may not translate well to our house exterior... not written off yet though. UPDATE: the more I look at this option the more I like it.

After seeing other options this seems a little safe and boring... although I suspect it will translate very well to the house exterior in real life :D. Decisions, decisions.

Nup. A bit much like what grandma would pick (no offense all the grandmas out there!). Although this gives me an idea to try the lighter mint on the feature wall and a very light or whitish colour for the gables... that could work...


Before deciding I'll try the schemes on a more zoomed out photo so we can get a better idea of how the whole house might look overall.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Taming the Jungle

OK so next up on our property makeover was tackling the gardens. This was something I could begin right away (weather permitting as it's winter here) with minimal to no expense. The most pressing issue I felt were the shrubs and tree along the carport in the north yard. They were all getting far too large for that spot. They were encroaching on the lawn quite significantly looking overgrown and shabby, and goodness knows what the root systems were up to. It was time to give this garden a good hair cut! Unfortunately I didn't snap before pics however this is the pile of foliage/branches/trunk pieces I was left with once I'd finished to give you some idea - whew!

And voila! The after pic. We can breathe now and so can the lawn! I no longer fear that the tree will consume our whole property!! Although I suspect it won't be shy in making a come back.

 I was really happy that two of the bushes had pretty straight trunks so I was able to prune them both into cute topiaries (a camellia 2nd in and an erica bush 5th in line). The most exhausting task was dealing to the tree (4th in line and looking rather tame now) with the tools I had on-hand; a small saw, an axe and some loppers. So I began tackling the tree with the loppers, removing the smaller shoots making the thicker branches and eventually the trunk easier to get to with the saw and axe. I did this in stages as it was pretty heavy manual labour and I also didn't want the tree (what was left of it) to die (or maybe secretly I did, not sure lol!). What once was a thick trunk with many thick branches I have whittled back to resemble a topiary trunk. I ended up with my fair share of blisters wielding the axe. But this trunk taming is by far my proudest achievement in the north yard.

 Again I went with the topiary theme as it makes sense allowing plenty of room for a person pushing a lawn mower. Never fun getting a branch in the eye whilst grappling with overgrown bushes while doing lawns. In the spring that top par t will have bushed up beautifully. 

This garden did not have a wavy edge... the dirt patches spilling onto the lawn in front of number 2 and 4 bushes were the end result of pulling up countless roots. These babies will need regular pruning to keep them manageable and prevent them from breaking up the concrete path or worse!

I carried on my merry way around the other plots in the north yard. 

My best discovery was the concrete curbing around all of the flower beds (except the one along the carport.. or maybe it did but the trees ate it!). They are largely currently obscured by lawn overgrowth however I dashed out to the local Mitre10 Mega and purchased a lawn edger (one of those long handled wheely jobs that has a disk that rests up against the edge you wish to trim). I couldn't WAIT to get started even though we'd had quite a bit of rain and I knew the ground would be pretty stodgy... Aaaand it was. I did some then gave up as the lawn edger wheel disk kept getting caked with dirt. I shall put that on hold for drier times. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

A 1970s Townhouse Is But One Blank Canvas

Who can resist great before and after pics?! I have been living in this little abode for the last three years.

Recently we had some maintenance done on a few of the fascia boards. There was some rotting wood and flaking paint so we got 3 different quotes from reputable tradies in our area and went with the cheapest. 

What a face-lift this small improvement gave our little townhouse! As you can see there are plenty more things that require attention such as the garden shed, the fence and the carport (you can only see part of it in the above pic).

On the south side of the house (shady in winter in the southern hemisphere) the guttering was growing green algae and was looking pretty dirty and yuck:

So I got the hose onto it although most of the grime didn't budge so I tried out a telescopic handled window brush we already had at home and with a bit of elbow grease (no cleaner required) the algae and dirt came right off. Again what an impressive transformation. The house was not as run down as it had looked previous to this simple cleanup. It was looking decidedly fresher!

In the above pic although the guttering came up sparkling and clean unfortunately some of the paint on the fascia board beneath flaked away under the normal water pressure of the garden hose. Add that to the to do list.

Aaaand the gardens were pretty weedy although it kinda gave them a cottage feel which I love. However I decided to do some art on them lol! Here's an example of some unruliness on the south side of the house which faces the street. 

On this expanse of brick wall above there was also a large area of algae growth and grime buildup which was giving the house quite a shabby, unkempt appearance. Using the same technique I'd used to clean the gutters* I was able to clean this wall right up so it almost looked as good as if it had been freshly painted! *hose and long handled window brush

In the below pic you can see a small example of the algae and grime that had appeared on about half of the south wall as this wee spot didn't get cleaned - oops.

So it's amazing what even the smallest repairs and cleans can do to improve the look of your home. I'm hooked! Plenty more to come :).