Entries in mixed media (9)


Sktchy 30 Day challenge April 2017 

This April I took part in a challenge run by the Sktchy app. Each day starting on the first of April a topic with inspirational readings/youtube videos arrived in my inbox. The only rules was to respond to the given topic and upload the resulting artwork to the app each day.  I managed to make 30 artworks, some days making an absolute mess but managing to tidy up my really bad scribblings by using my iPad.  

Above: Some of the artworks I made. 


Classroom on caffeine 

'...a ritual is not only a gesture of hospitality and reassurance, but a celebration of a break in routine, a moment when the human drive for survival lets up and people can simply be together. This last aspect is to me the fundamental meaning of the coffee break... These are secular rituals that, in unobtrusive but essential ways, help maintain humanness in ourselves and with one another.' - http://www.coffeereview.com/coffee-reference/coffee-culture/the-coffee-ritual/

I aim to start this year teaching by sharing a cup of tea or coffee with my art classes in their first art lesson & hopefully start the relationship with my students on a feeling of conviviality. My Grade 10 & 11 classes will be treated to coffee & tea themed lessons throughout the first term. Our first lesson will be spent discussing the symbolism of tea and coffee and splashing and spilling the liquid onto various surfaces that will later be turned into artworks. In preparation for this term I created a few coffee based artworks myself. The image below of Benjamin was started by dipping the bottom of a mug into coffee & staining the paper. The support is Emtini liner/dressmakers card which has been primed with a white PVA. The drawing was done with the Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens.  

The coffee spill below was developed into a profile drawing of Stefan (the following pic)   


 I controlled the stain below by using masking fluid & developed it into the drawing of Ida Sales (Asterisk)   

 I produced a further two drawings in each case started with a spill of coffee. A portrait of France below: 

Portrait of Daniella below. All reference pics were sourced on the Sktchy app. 


Facebook live demo hosted by Sktchy app 

This artwork was made for a sktchy live session on Facebook. Sktchy is an iphone app where artists share selfies & other artists draw them - an international portrait exchange.

When Jordan Melnick (Sktchy app creator) asked me to do this project I was at first terrified because I was unfamiliar with the technology. I did a trial session at school (a huge disaster) our school Wi-Fi wasn't fast enough to accommodate Facebook and probably too many children were on the Wi-Fi system at the same time.

Jordan contacted me this last Monday (29th August) and asked me if I could do a Facebook live session on Saturday 3rd September and this immediately catapulted me into action.


I organised a live session with my grade 10 and 11 students on Wednesday evening.


My husband, Fred, created a set up for me that allowed me to work with a camera directly above my work. (see below)  I mistakenly caused an echo by turning the sound up on my computer when I started filming. Otherwise the session went well - with me managing to communicate with my students. 

I thought I was prepared for Saturday evening. All of my equipment laid out, music downloaded from a royalty free music site (Incompetec), an overhead LED light, all devices fully charged (I thought) & then disaster struck. My ipod wasn't fully charged & stopped playing music & it was too late to charge it. 

I started the broadcast aware that there would be long silences - which can be a bit disconcerting for people watching the broadcast. 


I had pre-prepared a supawood board with a texture pressed into plaster & then sketched out the face in pencil. When I started drawing in the FB live session I started with Faber Castell pens (Grey of Grey range). These pens help establish a tonal/value range.   


I then switched to ink - I use acrylic inks and shellac based inks. The shellac inks are more expensive, but the colours are so vibrant they are worth the price.  


I then used various skin coloured pens, white highlighters and various chalk based markers. (see pics below) 

I was asked what surface I worked on & I turned the piece on its edge so the block could be seen from the side

Sandra (above) asked how I hang these blocks - I usually drill a hole in the back - hammer a nail into the wall & hang the piece from the nail. 

As an answer to Paul's question above - The surface I work on has been sealed with fixative (after I did the pencil drawing). So the surface is slightly repellant. This makes it easy to smear markers.  

I often sand in-between layers of drawing and working with ink & I apply acrylic paint (sample house paints bought from a hardware store) & acry-oil a thick buttery acrylic paint with a palette knife, plastic spreaders or old credit cards. 

Jackie (above)  asked if I seal my work when finished - I do. I use a waterbased varnish. (see the pic with the can of fixative above - the tub of glazecoat varnish is next to the fixative) 

(Stage 1 after the 45mins on Facebook live) 

Stage 2 

(The finished piece is at the beginning of this blog post) Details below: 

I just love the comment Sktchy made 32 minutes into the session:

 Thank you to the Sktchy app for creating a forum where artists across the world can inspire and support each other in our creative journey. 


Dee Donaldson Fundraiser 

I took part in an art auction to raise finds for a fellow artist and art teacher, Dee Donaldson, who has recently discovered that she has breast cancer & has had to spend some time recovering after chemotherapy sessions. 

Her students decided to assist her financially by organising a fundraiser. This fundraiser took the form of an evening event last Saturday evening, where artwork donated by local artists was auctioned and monoprints made on Saturday 10th October were sold.

I made the following two monoprints of my cat Sam:  


and donated the following artworks:  

Inspired by Kate Kubareva (a member of the sktchy community) 
Inspired by Tri Sarah Tops (also of the sktchy community)  

Inspired by my Devon -Rex cat Matilda 

I managed to bid for a piece of art myself & managed to aquire a Carol Hayward Fell ceramic sculpture 

Below is a pic of it in my home amongst some of my other collectables:


Understory Exhibition opening - 26 August 2014 

I generally find my own exhibitions quite nerve wracking, but for this particular one my emotions seemed to go into neutral, and just as well...my Grade 12 class secretly organised to meet each other ouside the venue & surprise me. They sneaked in as a big group - I was standing on the balcony talking to the gallery assistant & all sixteen girls managed to get right up to me before I noticed them. They are in the middle of writing preliminary exams & sacrificed some of their study time to attend the opening - what a special gesture! 

Jenny Stretton, the senior curator from the Durban Art Gallery, opened the exhibition. 

This is an excerpt from her speech:  "In Understory we descend to a level below consciousness, below the physical and below logic. The artists have used botanical shapes as the ladder for their descent: a curvaceous, organic, root-like link brings the viewer down from the canopy to their world. There is a sense that we are not viewing abstracted forms in the real world but rather real forms in an abstracted world – an exhibition that Alice may have curated. But the work is more serious than that with both artists narrating internal journeys that paradoxically have their roots above ground in the hustle and bustle of everyday life: it’s as if they descend to process and express the tensions in modern society."  You can read the whole speech here.