Workshopping…

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On Saturday 13th Dec, yesterday, I had my first official watercolour workshop at Work-shop Melbourne. What a great venue? The light coming through the space was perfect for painting. As people arrived the mood became lively and all were excited to get started.

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch to teach. We broke colours down into tonal scales and practised brushstrokes. On each table I placed tropical fruits and some chillies for students to paint.

After 2 hours of concentration the results were amazing. Thanks Hayley and Chester at Work-shop. And to my students. I hope we get to do it all again soon.

Stay updated to my blog as I will be adding a workshop and private tutoring services before the end of the year. Watch this space!

Crocodiles, boom boxes and pirates….my paper bunting adventures

Selina Braine babyboypaperbunting

Selina Braine rocketshippaperbuntingSelina Braine boomboxpaperbunting

Selina Braine piratepaperbuntingSelina Braine crocpaperbunting

Selina Braine dinopaperbuntingSelina Braine cricketpaperbunting

Selina Braine spacepaperbuntingSelina Braine closeupbabyboypaperbunting

Selina Braine altogetherpaperbunting

Recently I have been inspired to make all things out of coloured and painted paper. Of course people like Beci Orpin (http://beciorpin.com) and Kitiya Palaska (http://kitiyapalaskas.com) have been most helpful with ideas, fun colour schemes and just plain old having fun getting my craft on. This set of bunting is for my friend Adele’s baby boy. Can’t wait to see what it looks like above his crib.

To make some paper bunting of your own all you will need is paper, scissors, a glue stick, some watercolour paints and paper, silver paint, brushes, watercolour paper and a black fineliner. And then add a whole heap of imagination and child-like fun. If you would like a step by step instruction sheet just shoot me a message.

Happy Wednesday!

Cheese plants. I love them.

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When I was growing up my Dad was always in the garden. Growing up in Queensland meant that ‘garden’ meant tropical paradise. Inside the house he always had exotic plants beautiful potted and perfectly set against the interior colours and textiles of our lounge room.

Now that I’m a grown up (kind of) the green thumb has been past down. I have potted many plants both inside and out. My favourite is the ‘cheese plant’ or Monstera Deliciosa. Houses from the 50s had these plants growing to huge heights with leaves the size of small children. Having bought an Eames book and looking at magazines on interiors, Luke and I bought a ‘cheese plant’ of our own a few months ago. It thrives in our light filled living room. It intrigues me, with it’s almost prehistoric shapes and curves. These plants have become super popular of late, with the leaves popping up in prints, paintings and store fronts all over Melbourne.

For weeks now I’ve been planning on painting the leaves for my Dad as a Christmas gift. To thank him for sharing his love of gardening with me. Above is my first attempt at trialling a compostion of the shapes and curves of the monstera deliciosa that I love so much. What do you think of it?

Happy Sunday.

Visiting Work-shop Melbourne….

Posing like a dork.
Posing like a dork.

Yesterday I went to Juddy Roller in Fitzroy to check out the Work-Shop studio. What a great space? I was so impressed by the size and light in the room. Of course I was there to find out about my upcoming workshop and speak to the lovely Hayley (the boss lady). There is so much creative stuff going on in this space, it is truly beautiful. People making art, teaching how to make food, craft, paint and even jazzercise.

My workshop is coming up on the 13th December at 10:30am. I know it’s early in the morning for those of us getting well into the festive cheer but I really hope I get to share my skills with at least a bunch of you guys. Maybe you can make watercolor paintings for all your Chrissy gifts – Yay! Here is the link yet again – http://www.work-shop.com.au/event/creative-confidence-watercolour/. Only $40 to learn some expert painting, compositional and colour theory skills. What a bargain?

On my walk to the studio I couldn’t help but notice how absolutely awesome Johnston Street is. After living in Abbotsford for the last 7 years I have really seen this street merge and morph into an eclectic bunch of shops, cafes and heaps of artists studios and galleries. I love living in Melbourne and this street reminds me why I moved here from Brisbane all those years ago. Having a workshop at work-shop makes me feel part of the creative community once again also, which really makes me warm and fuzzy inside. Ciao!

Here is a dynamic work being painted just outside Juddy Roller. Great talent is flowing in and out of this space. So wonderful!
Here is wonderful work being painted just outside Juddy Roller. Great talent is flowing in and out of this space. So wonderful!

Connections: Teaching, Art & Life @ George Paton Gallery, University Melbourne

Here I am standing with my work at the George Paton Gallery.
Here I am standing with my work at the George Paton Gallery.

As I have previously blogged I was in an exhibition at just last week at the George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne in Parkville. The theme of the show was Connections: Teaching, Art and Life and exhibited the work of 30 artists who have studied and taught the Master of Teaching in Art Education at Melbourne Uni over the past 6 years. The closing event was last Thursday and John Hattie spoke most eloquently about the importance of Art Education for all schools. I had a great night and it was a lovely feeling to be part of the creative community again.

'I love art' installation view. George Paton Gallery, November 2014.
‘I love art’ installation view. George Paton Gallery, November 2014.
'I love art' series detail, 2014.
‘I love art’ series detail, 2014.

Feeling Festive – D.I.Y Christmas tree

I have been wracking my brain for the last month or so on making a Christmas tree that would fit our new ‘fancy’ tree house.

Here I tried and failed to make a cardboard tree out of cardboard that wasn't so sturdy. Attempt one = fail + new ideas
Here I tried and failed to make a cardboard tree out of cardboard that wasn’t so sturdy. Attempt one = fail + new ideas

In past years Luke and I have worked on a tree made from books and last year I made one out of wood found on the street. This year I was trying to go for something minimal but still Christmassy, if you know what I mean. So after the cardboard disaster I spent some time (instead of sleeping) thinking of genius Christmas tree ideas. I was thinking of even a hanging tree and put that into google. I found the website hankandhunt.com which has an easy D.I.Y tree out of dowelng and coloured baubles. I like the idea of this but didn’t like the doweling look – a little to precise for me. Instead I went to foraged for sticks and twigs, went and bought some cheap baubles, found some nylon thread in our tool kit and off I went.

So here are photos of the steps I took to get my ‘Hanging Christmas Tree’ up.

Nylon thread and twigs Luke and I scavenged off the road near our house. This is all you need to start.  You can see here my little twiggy star to place on the top of our tree.
Step 1: Nylon thread and twigs Luke and I scavenged off the road near our house. This is all you need to start.
You can see here my little twiggy star to place on the top of our tree.
Step two is laying out twigs (about 6 different lengths to make the body of the tree). Then you can start tying the thread on between each, making sure the lengths of thread as close to the same as possible.
Step 2: Start by laying out twigs (about 6 different lengths to make the body of the tree). Then you can start tying the thread on between each, making sure the lengths of thread as close to the same as possible.
Step 3: Once I tied all the twigs together I hung them up with some 3M hooks (read the instructions on how the best use these) secured them and then sat down to fix up my decorations.
Step 3: Once I tied all the twigs together I hung them up with some 3M hooks (read the instructions on how the best use these) secured them and then sat down to fix up my decorations.
To keep with the 'au naturelle' them I chose to re-string all the decorations with twine. Most things I had from friends. The baubles were from Woolworths (was hard to find white ones that were cheap).
Step 4: To keep with the ‘au naturelle’ them I chose to re-string all the decorations with twine. Most things I had from friends. The baubles were from Woolworths (was hard to find white ones that were cheap).
Here is the finished product. Sorry it is a bit hard to get a good photo as the light is always reflecting on the glass behind. This could be hung on a wall as well.
Here is the finished product. Sorry it is a bit hard to get a good photo as the light is always reflecting on the glass behind. This could be hung on a wall as well.

Let me know if you have any Christmas tree D.I.Y projects you are working on. There is always next year.

Workshop @ work-shop

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So I’m going to be teaching a workshop at Work-shop on 13th December 2014- woo hoo. Learn how to paint using watercolour and grow your creative confidence. Go to http:/www.work-shop.com.au/event/creative-confidence-watercolour/

I’ve had a busy year trying to organise all the massive ideas floating around my brain. Going to the Big Hearted Business Conference 2014 this year has helped me focus all my thoughts and just ‘get out there’. If you haven’t heard about it do yourself a favour and check it out Big Hearted Business website This workshop is my second this year, so I that means it’s happening.

I hope to see you there.

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Exhibiting again.

Series detail from my 'I love art' series.
Series detail from my ‘I love art’ series.
Series detail from my 'I love art series'.
Series detail from my ‘I love art series’.
Detail from my 'I love art' series.
Detail from my ‘I love art’ series.

So yesterday I dropped my work off to be hung in an exhibition. Wow! It has been 7 years since I last exhibited, which is a huge chunk of time. Of course I have been making work on and off during this time but the opportunity to exhibit has been something that I have avoided for various reasons. The exhibition has been organised by the TAP (Teacher Artmaker Project Team) at the University of Melbourne and happens annually, here is the link to the online info http://education.unimelb.edu.au/news_and_activities/projects/teacher_artmaker_project.

The theme for this year’s exhibition is ‘Connections: Art, Teaching & Life’.

After much deliberation and trials with media I created a series of 25 postcard sized text pieces. The number 25 relating to the number of students I teach per class. Each artwork in what I have titled the ‘I love art’ series exclaims the doubts and frustrations both students and ‘professional’ art makers deal with within the process of making. The doubts and frustrations are also profoundly linked to being a teacher, where our professional lives almost always merge with our emotions, patience and vulnerability. These emotions exclaimed in my current series serve to motivate and push me in my life and art practice as well as push my students to work beyond the ‘comfort’ threshold in their artmaking.

Recently I read some articles on Robert Hughes online and found a very relevant quote that fits with the theme I explored in my series. “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”

[Modernism’s Patriarch (Time Magazine, June 10, 1996)]”
― Robert Hughes

Thanks Robert Hughes for making me feel validated.

Exhibition details:

November 18-27 at the George Paton Gallery,

Level 2 Union House, University of Melbourne, Parkville.

Phone: (03) 8344 5418

Website: http://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/what-is-on/gallery/

But wait there’s more. Inspirational women who have influenced me lately.

Lena Dunham is awesome!
Lena Dunham is awesome!
Annette Messager 'Casino' 2005. Viewed at MCA Sydney
Annette Messager ‘Casino’ 2005. Viewed at MCA Sydney
Annette Messager, 'Pentration' 1993-4. Viewed at MCA Sydney
Annette Messager, ‘Pentration’ 1993-4. Viewed at MCA Sydney
Annette Messager, 'Mes voeux - My Vows', 1989. Viewed at MCA Sydney
Annette Messager, ‘Mes voeux – My Vows’, 1989. Viewed at MCA Sydney
Annette Messager, detail from 'Mes voeux - My Vows', 1989. Viewed at MCA Sydney
Annette Messager, detail from ‘Mes voeux – My Vows’, 1989. Viewed at MCA Sydney

So I took the lovely drawing of ‘Chloe’ with Luke to Sydney for his aunty’s 70th a couple of months ago. Whilst we were there we went to MCA to see the Annette Messager retrospective. I had heard of Messager from art school but did not recall her work specifically. Boy was I  blown away!

What an amazing, sensual and witty artist this woman is? I can’t believe I got to see the exhibition. Her work made me laugh, cry (Literally. I cried whilst we sat and watched the ‘Casino’ installation…twice) and contemplate the notion of ‘other’, the ‘feminine’ and sensations of wind, breathe and time. If you live in Sydney or are going there soon you must see this work. Have a look here for more details: http://www.mca.com.au/discoverannette/. I have see a lot of art, but nothing like Messager’s.

I have also been reading this year, I know it may not sound that amazing for some but for those close to me you will know that this is somewhat of a new thing. Lena Dunham’s amazing book ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ is a must read for all women, I think 18 and up, but of course up to you. I have never read something that speaks to me in this way, like a character from a Judy Blume book only with swearing, sex and uncomfortable moments of anxiety and awkwardness. She is a brilliant and I think a great role model for young people. If you’ve read it I’d love to hear your thoughts. Now I’m getting into Caitlin Moran – hilarious.

I’ve been busy. Let me tell you about all the things I’ve been making lately.

I painted this image with gouache and watercolour. It's a collage in a sense. I also tried out some pastel detail. This is a work in progress.
I painted this image with gouache and watercolour. It’s a collage in a sense. I also tried out some pastel detail. This is a work in progress.
Here is a little bit more of the 'I love art' series.
Here is a little detail from my ‘I love art’ series to be exhibited as part of the Teacher Art maker Project, run by the University of Melbourne at the George Paton Gallery from 18-27 November.
A detail from my new  'I love art' series that will be exhibited at George Paton Gallery from November 18-27 2014.
A detail from my new ‘I love art’ series that will be exhibited at George Paton Gallery from November 18-27 2014.
I did this drawing of Luke's aunty's dog for her as a 70th birthday present.
I did this drawing of Luke’s aunty’s dog for her as a 70th birthday present.

I can’t believe it is almost the end of October already. I’m proud to say that in the time since I last posted I have been making lots of fun and fulfilling things, both for my own practice and as gifts. I drew the lovely ‘Chloe’ for Luke’s aunty’s 70th birthday. She was very moved by the drawing and it is now up on her feature wall in her home, which makes me smile heaps.

Over the last month or two I have been working on a piece to be exhibited into an exhibition run by the University of Melbourne, which is where I completed my Masters of Teaching a few years back. The exhibition theme this year was ‘Teaching, Connections, Art and Life’- wow! So after weeks of deliberation and sleepless nights I created the small painting I titled ‘The Art Wing’. The image depicts the building I work in everyday at my school. The colours referencing the bush, the fires and the serenity the Art Wing gives to students in our school community. It seems this piece is not quite resolved for me yet and I would hate to exhibit something I am not 100% ready to show. So I kept making.

I then started to work on small postcard sized watercolour paper and went back to my happy place of working with text. Each artwork in the series is made with a different media that I have taught and currently teach students at school. Each artwork displays a feeling, an emotion, a response to the process of art making for both students and professional art makers. The frustrations within the process of making are the same for all of us (well at least some of us), the lack of confidence at times and self deprication can lead to ‘writer’s block’ or ‘maker’s block’. The anxiety around the creation of an artwork is frightening, exhilarating and satisfying all at once. Being creative is wonderful don’t get me wrong, but it is hard work. Self reflection, sensitivity and motivation are hard things to work with in your mind all the time.

I see the students in my classroom deliberate over an idea, drawing, writing, researching until the idea sprouts from the deep recesses of their being – and there it is I think to myself, the makings of an artist (of course I tell this too them too in a very positive way). For some/ most it is not an easy way to live, sometimes I wish my brain would shut down from idea making for awhile and give me a break. But if that happened I guess I wouldn’t be me, and that would be shit. The End!