Filtering by Tag: pastel painting

Week 2: Creative Challenge 52

TrishsBraaiedPineappleDessert

Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has had a frantic week. With her Allaboutwriting hat on, she's had responsibilities with the Parkview Literary Festival and the Jozi Book Fair, along with her usual managerial work to keep the business ticking over successfully. Her former husband fell off his roof while cleaning his gutters. He's injured, but not fatally, thank goodness, and Trish drove her son over to render assistance at the accident scene. It's hard to picture that as a relaxing experience. She's been working through the Ugandan footage that was taken on her documentary trip last week - think Left-Eye Productions. She attended a music theatre performance that the editor working on the documentary was performing in. And she made supper last night for her daughter's new boyfriend. Phew. I'm knackered just thinking about it. And that's before I get to the extraordinary meal she prepared.

Trish's sumptuous week 2 creations

Trish's sumptuous week 2 creations

She decided - making a virtue of necessity by the sounds of it - to use the supper last night as an opportunity to do something creative, and boy has she succeeded. It was Heritage Day in South Africa this week and she was inspired to adopt an Africaans theme for her creation. As Heritage Day was also National Braai (barbecue) Day, the solution was obvious - the result, however, is certainly not. The new boyfriend, Nate, took up his position at the barbecue, with delicious results. Trish's daughter, Maria, prepared some yummy salads. And Trish produced a virtuosic starter and dessert.

She'd decided upon braaied peaches, using the first peaches of the season, but her green grocer had run out of stock. So she opted, instead, for pineapple. She made a starter consisting of barbecued pineapple, lovage tempura and crème fraîche garnished with chopped pistachio nuts, passion fruit and a drizzling of chilli oil. For dessert she made barbecued pineapple dusted with chilli and ground star anise, served with chocolate ice cream, caramelised chilli walnuts, a dusting of cayenne pepper and star jasmine flowers. Seriously? That makes me hungry! Check out Trish's blog to see more of her amazing cooking adventures.

Trish's delicious starter

Trish's delicious starter

Trish's braaied pineapple dessert

Trish's braaied pineapple dessert

Kanen's light and spacious bathroom - how big is that space? His next project is more storage...

Kanen's light and spacious bathroom - how big is that space? His next project is more storage...

Opera singer and strange bedfellow, Kanen Breen, has returned to his home base in Sydney and launched his reno project almost as soon as he walked through the front door. This week's creative contribution is a major bathroom overhaul that he undertook, determined to make the tiny room look less tiny. His bathroom has been bugging him for three years and, with his blood up and his adrenaline pumping, he went off in search of some left over wall paper that he used on a project a few years ago (he's promised to share photos later, just for fun). And...drum roll... he now has a fabulously light, clean, and - above all - almost invisible bathroom cupboard that previously overpowered and dominated the room, sucking out all sense of light and space.

Kanen's bathroom: Before and in-progress.

Kanen's bathroom: Before and in-progress.

Ever the fashion guru, he's also found time to paint a pair of shoes. Contain your envy. These classy dazzle-dazzlers are a sight to behold - and there's not a sequin in sight. I'd love to see Kanen tap dance in these...

How sexy are Kanen's shoes?

How sexy are Kanen's shoes?

FlowerBombs2

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has produced an entirely fitting spring masterpiece this week - three magnificent flower bombs. Keryn was a partner in a successful and, as you can see, highly creative floristry business - Bloom by Design - until their premises were sold in the aftermath of the GFC. With the mining boom in Perth sending real estate prices into la-la-land, Keryn and her partner were unable to find new, affordable digs and they both had to go and find other jobs. They think of this business as a plucky Aussie battler because they still get calls for flowers seven years after they closed their doors.

The exciting news is that they've decided to re-brand as an online florist, and Keryn has been creating arrangements to post to her blog to build an online presence before the new shop goes live. Expect to see more of these gorgeous flowers in the coming year. Bring it on is all I can say. They're exquisite.

Keryn's flower bombs

Keryn's flower bombs

The loveliest postcard you could ever hope to receive from Perth

The loveliest postcard you could ever hope to receive from Perth

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has had the sort of week that will make you feel exhausted just reading about it, but she's still managed to churn out an impressive creation.

Telena's husband, Peter, has had a milestone birthday this week (a number ending in zero; Telena, of course, is quite a bit younger) and this was the trigger for a major clean and tidy. Telena reacquainted herself with their vacuum cleaner - hello? remember me? - and much was achieved, including a major re-ordering of her textile studio.

Telena's new, improved studio.

Telena's new, improved studio.

Telena then cooked for 60 people (ugh! I'm having palpitations just thinking about it): 4 pavlovas, 2 chocolate coffee cakes, numerous salads, chicken kebabs, 3 slow cookers of Moroccan lamb, enough rice to feed an army, and 2 large fruit platters.

Having accomplished all of that, Telena still found time to needle felt into the bag she knitted last week. She's felted it in the washing machine today, and here it is, still wet - hot off the press, as it were. Bravo, oh textile goddess!

Before and after: Telena's knitted bag turned into a cheerful spotty bag.

Before and after: Telena's knitted bag turned into a cheerful spotty bag.

Singer, guitarist and songwriter, Georgia Bennett, has been right in her element this week. She's spent the past week on work experience at Better Music in Canberra's south. Surrounded by guitars and other musos, she's been as happy as a pig in mud. The guys made her feel very welcome, and she learnt how to repair and maintain her guitars, as well as making herself generally useful wherever she was needed. She received very positive feedback so I gather she made herself as indispensable there as she is here.

It's a tradition, apparently, that the work experience student brings a cake for morning tea on the last day of their placement. Always quick to spot an opportunity, Georgia decided this was a great way to fulfill her creative challenge commitment, while feeding the hordes at the same time. She made the best chocolate brownies that have ever been produced in our kitchen - a triple batch to make sure there were enough to go around - and they'd disappeared before the last arrivals reached the tea room. Having tasted them, I can understand exactly why. It took all my self-discipline to stop at...gulp...three...or maybe it was four. I can't remember now (that was actually a lie).

Saturday brunch: Hot chocolate to accompany Georgia's awesome brownie

Saturday brunch: Hot chocolate to accompany Georgia's awesome brownie

Stephen Bennett has been an absolute legend this week, creating extra infrastructure to support our urban farming project. He's built two big vegetable beds, along with a bed for Hannah's roses. He's put up wire for our berries, and he's fenced our vegetable plot and orchard to keep the dogs out of mischief. It's been hard, heavy work and you can see more details here. My weekend gardening award goes to Steve. This is a gift that's going to keep on giving.

Steve's garden beds

Steve's garden beds

Happy berries attached to their new frames

Happy berries attached to their new frames

Hannah's ring: rose quartz with brushed sterling silver

Hannah's ring: rose quartz with brushed sterling silver

I've had a mixed media kind of week. My top priority was a jewellery project because it was Hannah's 21st birthday on Saturday and I wanted to make her something special. She's been hankering after a rose quartz ring, so that was at the absolute top of my 'to do' list, and I was just hoping I could do the occasion justice. Hannah's thrilled with the result and it hasn't been off her finger since I gave it to her, so that creative effort has ended happily.

I was determined to do a pastel painting of an image my friend Jackie created. She took a picture of Duke 'Kissing' Casanova (our kissing horse) and added a picture of a white mare wearing an exotic bridal veil - a Casanova getting married theme, if you like. I loved the image and wanted to have a go at recreating it with my pastels. There are lots of things I wish I'd been able to execute better, but I can see that I'm improving and that's encouraging.

I've also spent a lot of time out in the garden, helping where possible with the infrastructure and working to create an abundant summer harvest. See my urban farming blog for details. It might be a day or two before I can move again, but it was worth it.

Scarlet's pastel painting

Scarlet's pastel painting

Day 29: Creative Challenge

I'm ridiculously proud of today's contribution. Introducing...drum roll...my first complete pastel painting of a horse - with absolutely no photo editing whatsover. What you see is exactly what I drew. I started work on it yesterday, after I finished making the black onyx cuff, and I'd never have finished otherwise. It's been a real two-day labour of love. I really can't believe how much I've improved over the course of this 30 day creative challenge. When I posted my first horse drawing on day 2 - the first drawing I've done of anything since I was about 10 - I said 'I can't draw', and it was true. If today's pastel painting proves anything at all, it's the merit of trying something new. I've still got a long way to go, but 29 days, half a dozen drawings, a couple of You Tube tutorials and I go from completely inept to this? It's insane. The force - scratch that - the horse was definitely with me these past few days.

Scarlet's pastel painting of a horse

Scarlet's pastel painting of a horse

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, absolutely loves playing with colour, and she's held her passion at bay for long enough to create this remarkable cream wrap - sacrificing colour for understated elegance and simplicity - for the Spring Exhibition of the North Shore Craft Group, which is on at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden in St Ives this coming weekend.

She says there are real challenges involved when making lace felt, and the garment certainly screams 'complex'. You have to be careful not to overstretch the wet fleece, apparently, in case it becomes too thin or rips. Delicate as it is in transit, once felted, the fabric is very strong. Telena loves watching the merino wool roving, which looks like long fat ropes of cotton wool, as it transforms into her beautiful finished garments.

She swears she did her oboe practice before indulging herself today. The question is, do we actually believe her?

Telena's cream lace wrap

Telena's cream lace wrap

KanensBookBefore

Opera singer and strange bedfellow, Kanen Breen, claims to be approaching the finishing line of our 30 day creative challenge with more of a whimper than a bang. He's had a full working day in the theatre today, with no access to his sequins or glitter. Quelle disastre!

Even so, he wins the gong for the strangest contribution today (since he's officially known as a strange bedfellow, I can surely say that without causing offence). He found a book by Joan Collins in the drawer of his dressing room, and he turned it into an impromptu decoration to brighten the space he's sharing with Abraham Lincoln (Warhol and Lincoln together at last, he said). If this makes no sense, it may help you to know that Kanen is in Brisbane at the moment, playing the role of Warhol in a Philip Glass opera about the last days of Walt Disney.

Always the entertainer, Kanen says his contribution today fits his particular creative niche of annoying and repetitive, finally unfolding into fabulosity. Ah! If only he knew how much we love his funny ways.

It has to be said, Abraham Lincoln must have done a serious double take when he found this creative offering in his dressing room. What the...?

Kanen's interior design talking piece

Kanen's interior design talking piece

Cooking maestro, Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries very hard to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has recently found herself with a surplus of exotic curds on her hands (see her blog, A Collection of Curds, for the fascinating details of her curd obsession). On the lookout for new ways to serve her curds, she made these versatile oatcakes. They're delicious on their own with the curd, even more delicious with goats milk cheese and curd, and utterly irresistible with curd and creme fraiche. She served her creations with a choice of either tea or single malt whiskey. High tea never looked so good.

Trish's oatcakes

Trish's oatcakes

Stephen Bennett had two photos that he ran out of time to frame on day 13, when he had a veritable framing marathon. He didn't have quite the right frames for the prints, just a couple of blonde timber frames that he didn't much like. So he stained the frames today using Western Australian Jarrah stain, to please his Western Australian wife. Then he added a few coats of varnish and framed the prints. All in a day's work for this versatile creative.

Steve's renovated frames and framed prints

Steve's renovated frames and framed prints