Thursday, 7 December 2017

I've recently started painting landscapes! And planning to work on some portraits too! Pictures coming!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Stirring the paint-cauldron!

In progress paint-conjuring

Hello! After a lovely cosy weekend with my boys, I'm taking a wee pause from 'Moth Music' and working on a new piece in water-based oils. Initially, it was inspired by a section of a Norwegian folk-tale entitled 'Ikke kjørende og ikke ridende', where the main female character uses her wiles to win a prince by riding a ram with her feet just dangling in the grass... I think those were the specified terms and conditions! 

I liked the 'in-between' emphasis of this particular story element, as it makes me think of transitional moments, times when we are in-between one version of ourself and the next. Working with the water-based oils is joyful and I'm looking forward to cracking on with this picture tomorrow while the littles are in nursery school. But first, a walk is in order... We have been nesting elaborately for three days straight... I have demolished nearly two whole bars of Premium dark chocolate with seasalt and pecans, and have nibbled and gnawed constantly on nuts, raisins, blueberries, fruit, more fruit, and tea by the tankful and my tummy feels like a giant jelly!!!

I have also done a bit of sketching today, pondering on ideas about the majesty of self-awareness and adopting the role of observer in one's life, and how to present this theory compactly in an image.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Moth Music

Here are some snaps from my gnash-chattering -11 perambulation around Theisendammen yesterday, the lake nearest our house. Brrrr! Lovely fluttering out for a sun-kissed constitutional first thing in the morning after dropping off the munchkins! I wanted to collect a pawful of reference pics to give me a helping snowflake on my latest drawing.

By 11 I was back home in the nest, conjuring up the new picture, Moth Music (fuelled by tea in a lovely new teacup from my mamma and accompanied by my ancient pencil roll which has been a faithful companion in eons!). Listening simultaneously to The Infinite Monkey Cage, which I have fallen beak over claws with! Fascinating and a giggle too! I got to draw for about three hours before I left to pick up the buns! A good concentrated session.

Currently exploring building up shaded layers with pencil and then pushing them back with an eraser, think some nice subtle textures are starting to come through. This pic was originally intended to just be a sketch for an oil painting but so enjoying working with the pencil I will continue apace!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Moth music

I'm busy conjuring up a new pencil drawing today entitled 'Moth music'. Pics coming soon! It's icy cold at the moment, -11 degrees, so I'm snuggled up with tea, toast with peanut butter and jam and a hot water bottle while I'm being a shady lady! Earlier I walked around Theisendammen to take snaps of the winter trees, and I think I will begin each working day like this, after dropping off the munchkins to barnehage. It's lovely starting the day with a brisk walk, whizzing the housework done, and then settling down to draw. I think it is nearly time to stretch my pins! 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Back to the drawing board nest!

Stunning 'crunchy' weather here at the moment. The paths are veiled in glass and walking outside you can almost feel the snow queen's frosty breath spindle-wheel-whirling beside you.

I am eager to flutter into a new painting soon. There will perhaps be a little more time in the next few days as Norsk course winds down for a winter slumber. I've also been refining and defining where I think my purpose lies in my art and reading articles about the intriguing dance between imagination and rationality, and the potential waxing and waning of each throughout life. A lot of fevered scribbling is happening in my beloved red Filofax Domino!

The last few days I've been able to sketch a bit with our boisterous boys! Very cosy as the blue hour settles around us, my teacup steams and we draw together. I've drawn a flying woman, a mountain lake scene with a crowned woman, and a feathered bird woman holding a smaller bird in a snowy scene, working quite quickly with colouring pencils and pencil, just to scribble down some ideas. The feathered bird woman snowy scene would translate well to canvas I think!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Cover of Joanna Newsom's 'Peach Plum Pear'

It has been many moons since the last Pipit Nest peep, so I thought I'd flutter my wings over and give a wee update. My grand plan to create a painting every two weeks has been put on hold for a little while, to make room for Norwegian course. It feels very satisfying to hurl myself so completely into learning this lovely old language, but also I feel my creative cogs squeaking and wanting to get back into conjuring up new artworks. The past month has seen my first sale go through on as well, which was so encouraging! I think I will try and work on building up the selection there as well. While my oil paintings have been asked politely to hold on just a little longer, there has been time for a bit of sketching with my munchkins in tow. I'm so looking forward to translating these sketches in to finished paintings! In the meantime, here is a video of me and my Celtic harp Venus, working on a cover of one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite musicians, the wonderful Joanna Newsom.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

'Golden Apple'

I can now unveil a new Pipit Nest painting!! Inspired by the Norwegian faerytale 'Gullfuglen', the painting will be called 'The Golden Apple'.

This painting was so joyful to create! I challenged myself with a two-week deadline and all the stars aligned to make this possible. The munchkins have been sleeping well during the evenings and we've had swathes of sunshine, so I've been feeling energised! 

I'll try not to get frustrated if I can't stick rigidly to the deadlines. It's exciting to have a finish date to aim for, even if just as a poke of inspiration to encourage consistent content creation and stir some adrenaline into the paint mix! I think for the next painting I'm going to add an extra challenge - to not stay up TOO late into the wee small hours painting! I think that could lead to a sizzling case of burnout, so it's definitely about finding a balancing point between feeling like I have achieved a satisfactory amount of painting in the evening and burning that candle at both ends.

Building up thin glazes of water-based oils was an absorbing, meditative process, and I'm so pleased with how the picture came out. I think in the photograph it is slightly warmer and lighter than the painting itself, which I like! I love those warm colours and want to take those further into the next paintings. I think for the next painting I will also conduct some paint layering experiments before I launch on to the canvas, so I feel more certain about how to create the tones I want to achieve. 

I combined looking at the work of Frida Kahlo and photographs of my own face for skin tone reference, and again referred to illustrations from 'The Age of Enchantment' book for atmospheric blue tone inspirations. I used a bit of photographic reference imagery to help me draw the fox, but the rest was from imagination. I talked with a lovely friend for a critique near the end of the painting process and she helped identify some points to modify.

I love using a faerytale as a springboard, and then combining that with whatever evolves imaginatively from that springboard, and will definitely follow that template again.

I feel like the painting speaks of sovereignty and holding one's personal power, that precious golden fruit of one's own inner wisdom. I hope the painting can instil feelings of joy, comfort, and strength in the viewer. When I have got a high quality snap, prints will be for sale on my Epla and Etsy shops, so hang in there if you'd like to pop some pennies on this pic!

Friday, 1 July 2016


I am in the process of creating a painting inspired by the Norwegian faerytale 'Gullfuglen'. Isn't that a beautiful title?! It translates as 'the golden bird'. I have chosen to use the story as a springboard, using elements from the tale including a golden apple, a golden bird, a prince, a fox and a king's garden. 

I began by sketching on a canvas, with the initial intention of drawing a feathered character holding a golden apple, and a fox observing. As the drawing progressed, the dress came into being, the female character became more human, and the fox became entwined with her. I added the crown, inspired by the mention of the king's garden, and the drawing started to speak to me of sovereignty, being the ruler of one's choices, and holding those choices with dignity and assuredness.

I imported the photograph of the canvas to my laptop and experimented with different colourways digitally. I was inspired by paintings seen at a gorgeous fairytale exhibition I went to in London years ago, 'The Age of Enchantment', where many of the images had a beautiful deep blue tint. At this stage the colouring is very rough, because the image is only intended to be a reference for the colours I will use on the canvas.

I am painting the final piece with water-based oils, working mainly in the middle of the day when my two year old Inigo is having his midday snooze, and a little in the evening as well if I don't conk out asleep at munchkin o'clock bedtime!

During the process so far I have encountered one main issue, which was that after drawing on the canvas, the fabric became very loose! However, it turned out to be an easy problem to solve, by spraying water on the back of the canvas, which became taut again when it dried. Apparently canvas can get looser in humid conditions, which we have now in Norway.

Here are a few sneak peeks of the canvas, brushes and palette in action:

Don't you just love paint-adorned palettes?! So tasty!! I aim to be finished with the piece within the next week, mainly working on slightly adjusting some colours, building up thin layers of paint, and adding in the finer details.

I also recently sold a print! To a lovely lady in Trondheim who has been wonderful to us in the last few months. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

East of the Sun, West of the Moon - in progress painting

I am so excited to share a new canvas in progress with you!

It is snow flurrying into life in on the kitchen table which is my current work space! This is the piece inspired by 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon'. I want to capture a feeling of anticipation, breath-holding, a moment of stillness between the peasant girl and the bear prince - the final touch will be snowflakes falling softly around them. I am loving painting this one and am working on it while Inigo sleeps. It is quite big and an excellent accompaniment to a cuppa tea!

On Friday I went to a Conversation Club with a lovely English friend, and there met an also lovely Italian artist! She has been working in the Sverresborg Museum on artistic projects and was fascinating to chat with. Another lovely lady phoned later to say that Trondheim Kommune is looking for international artists with limited network, to assist them in expanding their network and eventually find work - I think in the area of art!! My heart is pounding about this - looking forward to more information! Perhaps it is project based, maybe working with children? I am so excited!!

Another option I've been starting to research is the artist grants that are available to non-established artists. I would love nothing more than to be able to make a living from painting!! Perhaps by combining commune-led projects, canvas and print sales, self-led projects funded by grants and eventual exhibitions, this dream could be a reality?!

All my feathers crossed!!!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Pipit painting again!

Time for a Pipit Nest update! I am so sorry it has been so quiet here recently!

My wings are twitching, and so thrilled to flutter my feathers to tell you that after an extended period of hatching chicks I am officially back in the swing of painting!! Ooo and it feels sooooo good! I am over the moon to flex those paintbrushes again! (Although I do love a nice bit of baby baking too! And ahem, might not say no to more buns in the oven in the future!)

I thought it would be nice to share a bit of what my life is like at the moment, and how I am beginning to squeeze painting in to the daily schedule. I love in The Artist's Way, a truly fabulous book for any creative going through a period of artist's block!! - how it says a good start is just making art a priority in your time planning. Giving yourself permission! Nurturing that inner artist - beautiful!!

Now littlest mite is over 1 year old, and biggest bug is going on 4, daily routines are beginning to fall into place so I know when my painting slot is! We get up 7, have breakfast together, walk Caspian to kindergarten for 9.30, go on to an open kindergarten or for a wander in the field or the forest, or play at home and sing with Venus, or pick up grub at the shop, come home for lunch between 11-12, then Inigo sleeps until 3 - PAINTING SLOT IDENTIFIED!! The slot is about two hours (as long as the basic tidying is sorted, washing and dishwasher on before we leave in the morning and have hung up washing while Inigo eats lunch - he is a leisurely muncher!)... then I brew a cuppa (current fave Fortnum & Mason Wedding Breakfast, darling!! My own darling and I got married in August), either listen to a witchy / tarot / faery vibe video on youtube or tune in to Norsk radio! - just found this is fabulous multi-tasking for language practice at the same time!), wiggle into my apron and launch straight into those scrumptious water-based oils!! When Inigo wakes up we go straight to pick up Caspers, then play in the garden till 4.30ish - as we live in a flat we have quite a lovely big garden with a sandpit and swings, then it's home for supper and indoors play and TV veggin' and Pappa lovin'!! The piglets are asleep by 8ish, and then I make lunchboxes and tidy up, and then there's an hour or so (or three, but that is if I stay up a weeee bit too late) to have another brew, and some cheeky chocs I mean vegetables!!, either do a bit more painting or just zone out seeking beautiful inspiration treasures on Pinterest - I love collecting gorgeous images of fairytales, book illustration, fine art, harps, studios, nature, artsy clothing, and veggie grub!

Next August Inigo will begin in barnehage and then I will begin a Norwegian course, so my middle of the day painting slot may be zapped! But there is still the evening, and the weekends too of course. There are some fabulous art grants you can apply for in Norway, but not sure if I am eligible, very keen to research though! It would be so exciting to be able to make a living from art, but I am also very interested in becoming an art teacher! I have done art workshops with children before and enjoyed it so much - the only problem being there are very few art teacher job opportunities here. But definitely my future goal, along with selling my canvasses. It would also be so good to work in a school because when the littles begin in school, we will have the same holidays! I am not sure what to do for my job to get to that point though! Thinking about different pathways and how to gain the best experience. Would also love gallery work - I have worked previously in The Green Tree Gallery in Sussex, and it was so lovely being surrounded by gorgeous creativity, and I liked chatting to the customers!

The canvas I have started working on is an illustration for 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon'. It is quite a close-up, with the peasant girl kneeling in the snow at the feet of the great white bear prince. I have added a hint of a crown in his fur behind his ears, to add a bit of royal intrigue! I'm having such a hoot with this painting. It was originally the under-drawing for the Spring / pregnancy picture, but that just wasn't working, I wasn't feeling it! This one is working though!! The textures are starting to build up and I'm focussing on trying to capture a moment of still anticipation between the girl and the bear. I just love water-based oils, definitely my favourite canvas medium. I will try and get a snap of the in-progress work. It would be so nice to show all the stages when it's finished!

Just a wee update then, to tweet that the nest is still rustling in the branches, and I am so excited to share new work!!