Monday, September 04, 2017

Art, PNG,Breastfeeding,pigs, art for children, that can be NOT messy for the parents! and some of my art)! :)

As well as being a professional Artist, l am also a trained Nursery Nurse (N.N.E.B). I have worked with children for over 50 years, as childminder, foster carer, a Doula, worked in schools and Nurseries, all over the world and much more. My last adventure was my Art School for Babies and children and a few adults, called " artyfizz". So l am for ever being asked why l have never written a book or done some sort of blog for mum's, dads, grandparents, carers etc .... the answer .... didn't think l had a lot to say! BUT l am beginning to realise l do know a lot, that perhaps new mums of babies and toddlers don't know! So l have decided this blog is going to sort of change. I want to still show some of my Art, my life living all over the world and give hints about childcare and Art with babies and children. Um ... how l do that, without it becoming a complete mess, l am not quite sure yet. So stay tuned, and l will see where it goes. I am also going to share my days with Felix, my grandson, when l go to Sydney, for three months, on Saturday!!!!

Last year l spent some time in Auckland, New Zealand. While wandering around l discovered this "street art" . It was basically about the damage plastic bags do to our sea life. There was also some amazing Art on the walls, as well as an abundance of information. Unfortunately l couldn't find out who had created it. In this day and age, l thought it unusual to find an art piece all in black and white. Stunning.

Still in Auckland ... l found this " Fabric bombing" at several bus stops. 

Papua New Guinea
I have been spending some time (not enough ) trying to sort out ALL my photo's into albums. These are the photo's that were taken before digital came in. God l sound old! :) Anyway today's two are from our 3 years in Papua New Guinea. Every so many years the tribes from all over the country, get together to sing and dance and show off their tribal dress. This gathering is called a Singsing. Normally there is a big fence between the people participating and the viewing hordes. BUT l decided l wanted to get closer, so l posed as a photographer for the British High Commission and just followed the High Commission's party in! Fantastic experience!! Ha! There are over 720 language groups in the country and this occasion brings together people of very different appearance from the Highlands, the Coastal regions, the Lowland and so one.  When l have scanned more images, l will show you the amazing Mud men!

Breastfeeding ...PNG style
One of the MANY, funny and weird experiences l had in  PNG, was one concerning Breast Feeding. I was volunteering in the hospital in Port Moresby, the capital, and was asked to go and bring in a child for observation from an outlying village. So off we went ... the driver, 2 security guards ( not a safe place for women!), a nurse and me! We got to the village after driving for about an hour. We found the shack, the family concerned and was about to put her into the ambulance, when l was asked a question. My pidgin in those early days was not good, so the nurse translated it for me. Apparently the father wanted some advice about Breast Feeding. l was shown into their home and there was his wife, baby at breast, sucking quite happily! But, there on the other breast was a day old piglet, trying to suck but having trouble. That was the patient. Trying not to laugh ... l managed to get the piglet to suck, much smiling and we got on our way home again. Wish l could have taken an image!!! :)  Tomorrow l will explain why pigs are SO important in PNG.

Children and painting ... but ... not too messy for the adult!
I met a mum today, while having coffee, as you do! Once she discovered l own artyfizz .. the questions came fast and furious. One was ... She was concerned, that although she wanted her child to create, it was always SO messy. So l gave her some tips. These are some ideas from the time they can sit up, unaided:

1.  If you do not have enough free space to let children paint on the floor ( on paper of course! :) )...  put a non-slip mat in the bath and let them paint in there! They can get as messy as they like and then you can wash them off afterwards. You can use poster paint, yogurt for young ones or washable felt-tip pens even. They love it and mine even carried on doing this till they were about 6!!! :)

2. Don't want to let them use paint ... do you have an outside wall? a piece of concrete? or paving slabs in the garden? Then fill up water bottles or washing-up bottles, with water and let them paint, with that. This is not literally painting ... it is mark-making but l am not that pedantic !

3. Cover your kitchen table with paper, put a few children's plastic mats down under the table. Or, if money is tight ... Put plastic table cloths on floor ( £1 from Poundsaver ) and newspaper on table and let them paint the newspaper. When my children were small and money was tight, l used their "Newspaper Art" as Christmas Wrapping paper. The grandparents loved it.

Some pieces of my Art
In my studio ...  As you can see l am a very messy artist!! :)


I have started to work in a concertina drawing book, drawing on both sides. I don't usually work with coloured pencils but decided that was the medium, l would like to try.  I have really enjoyed it and also found it very relaxing. Often did it in front of the TV, in the evenings. One of the tips l will give you  is, start off with a thin layer of colour and build it up and also use good quality pencils. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Art, Skeletons,Skies, Lines and Nature.

After my sister-in-law's funeral the other week, we went to a local restaurant for the Wake. Imagine my surprise/ thoughts when this was the first thing l saw, when l entered the place! l was not sure if l should laugh, be sad or just angry!

I have been playing with Watercolours lately. Believe me it is not as easy as l had thought. I will not show you any examples yet, as l am not pleased with them. But l promise l will show you them soon, when l have relaxed about them, a bit more! :) I am fascinated by quite a few things but just lately it has been "skies". Here are a few images that l have taken over the last few weeks, to help me with my paintings.

For years l have loved "Lines". Why l have no idea but l have been fascinated by them since l was about 6 years old. :) When you start looking they are every where. Here are just a few images that l have in my research file.

Here are my Nature images for today. They were taken with the help of Oscar, who is 4 years old. He had so much fun, finding them for me. I always see them first but he gets so excited when he thinks he has found something interesting... before me! :)

Now for some Art  l have been creating. I have been playing a lot lately with my Gelli plates. l find the more l play, the better the final pieces are because l stop producing "mud" images! I will use some for my Collages and the rest for the start of a painting. Also l am learning how to layer my stencils and mix my paints. I am having SO much fun. Please find time each day to play ... your life will be so much happier, if you do .

This piece is a canvas that i used to test my paints on and wipe my brushes on. :)


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Art and my Art. Just having fun.

Yeh .... l am off to Australia next week, to help look after my grandson Felix. This time for 3 months and l will be there for his 2nd birthday. So excited!

In my newspaper today, was an article about children playing with their food. Oxford academic, Professor Charles Spence, says we should let children play with their food. The food psychologist says, letting children make patterns with their food, develops healthy eating habits, from a young age. The research suggests that letting children touch and smelling vegetables and fruit, increases the chance they will like these foods. The Professor's research was conducted with Innocent smoothies, which funnily enough, was one of the companies, my daughter-in-law used to work for in UK. The other thing they found was playing music often enhances the fun of eating. Apparently playing high pitched wind chimes, suppress and enhance the taste for children! :)! Who knew!! Funnily enough l have alway tried to get my son to let my grandson play with his food ... think l successed! :)

I came across this saying the other day by Louise Bourgeois: "You learn for yourself not for others, not to show off, not to put the other one down/learning is your secret, it is all you have, it is the only thing you can call your own, nobody can take it away...." 
Just love her Art and she was an amazing woman.

I am continuing to do the "2 mins a day" Art/drawing project, l started a week or so ago. The first image is one that took 3 x 2mins , to complete! :)First of all l decided to put circles of watercolour on my page, then let themt drip. Once dry, l then worked out what it looked like and hey presto ..... this image. It is the first l have done any thing like this. I cannot believe l never done this with water colours before. I had great fun and am quite pleased with the results. This 2 min project has enabled me to play again and experiment ... wish l had done it sooner.

When the breaks come on the TV, l doodle. This is one of them and on the way to visit my Aunt today, l coloured it in. So relaxing.  l will show you results tomorrow, when l down load my phone camera.

I find that when l am waiting to see my doctor or at a hospital appointment .... l doodle. calms me down and stops me working too much.

Oscar aged 4 ( on Saturday!) asked me the other day to draw some animals and fish for him. While were at a cafe, l drew a duck for him .
Then when we got home .... l drew a fish! :) He has now decided he wants me to send images to colour, when l am in Australia. Bless him.

Another of my 2 min drawings. it is amazing what you can achieve in that time.

This is the gorgeous grandson, l will be visiting in a week or so time. SO excited!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

White feathers and Nature

"I dream my painting and l paint my dream" Van Gogh.
I came across this saying the other week and thought, that's what l do. I often have weird dreams and sometimes l can remember them vividy when l wake up, so l always have a pen/pencil and my notebook, beside my bed. But sometimes l only remember them as l literally wake up and then they are gone. So l have to be quick to record them.
 I am for ever finding white feathers. As the saying goes: "See a feather, pick it up and all day long you will have good luck." People often say finding a white feather means faith and protection. Others say that if you see a white feather after a funeral, it means your loved ones are safe and well in heaven. Even if you don't understand at the time what it means ... don't stress about it. My feathers often just appear in front of me. Sometimes they are sticking up in the sand or grass, other times they just float down in front of me or l find one in my handbag!  Just trust that it is a good sign and trust in your own feelings.
I have read that if you find a large black feather, the Maori hold them in a highly, spiritual protection way. Native American people take great care of any feathers that they find, as they see them as a powerful talisman. As you can see from many films and images, they use feathers in their ceremonial head-dresses and ceremonial clothes. A few feathers standing and lying down!


Just a few l collected in about 10 mins, around a pond in Richmond Park.

Beaches fascinate me doesn't matter if they are stone or sand. Part of the fascinate for me, is stones that just seem to shout out to me. Especially ones with unusual patterns,colours or holes in them. The holes especially fascinate me, when u realise how long it has taken to create some of them!

Sometimes l find unusual items found on the beach ... dead unfortunately for the shark. :(

Flowers can be just as interested dead, as when they were in full bloom.

When l was in Cornwall a few weeks ago, l saw seaweed l had never seen before. So much texture, fantastic. Must draw them when l have some spare time.

Look what l found on my porch wall ... tiny and so delicate.

Last but not least this toadstool. My four year old grandson when it saw it said: "Wow Nanna, that is so big, it looks as if it has eaten at least 4 other toadstool!" ...... I must admit l did struggle to find an answer to that !! :)

Happy "Bank Holiday" to all my British readers and to any one else ... Stay Safe.