Tag Archives: artwork

Banksy rat photographer

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My Banksy rat gift from a very talented friend

My Banksy rat gift from a very talented friend

Thanks to the generosity of a very artistically gifted friend, I can now add another ratty-themed decor item to my collection! (Are you tired of this yet? I’m not! I think this collection is just gathering momentum.)

Looking at this picture, you’ll probably recognise my Robert the Rat teapot on the right and Cheddar in the middle… and now on the left is a tribute to the clever graffiti art of Banksy’s rat photographer.

It’s so accurately painted that when a shop assistant saw me carrying it he immediately said, ‘That looks like Banksy art!’ Indeed. In fact, it’s so good I hope it doesn’t count as plagiarism, haha! 😛

But I reckon this case falls well within the bounds of fair use for personal purposes; just a little replica of street art that resonates with me because it represents both my love of rats and my love of photography in one eye-catching statement.

So I’m grateful to Banksy for making rats the subject of art, and to my beautiful friend for pouring her talent into such a special keepsake for me 🙂

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Acrylic painting: leaf with pebbles

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I’m not much of a painter; I mean, I’ve never been to formal lessons, I only began painting about a year ago, and I haven’t painted very many artworks in that time. So the post that follows may be totally off the mark when it comes to correct ‘technique’. But the proof is in the pudding, and I liked the final results :mrgreen:

My parents ‘commissioned’ a painting from me for their dining room, specifying only the canvas size, the Scripture verse they wanted on it and the general colour scheme they wanted it to match. The browns, greens and oranges in their dining room curtains and other decor immediately made me think of autumn (fall), so that’s where I drew my inspiration.

I knew I wanted to paint a bright autumn leaf with water and pebbles to pick up all the earthy colours in my folks’ room, though I wasn’t sure at first of what perspective would work best. After some time searching the web I found two pics of pebbles and a leaf that I composited together so that they could guide my artwork.

The two pics I smushed together to work from

Then I sketched what I saw onto the blank canvas. I’m sure that’s such an amateurish way to start – I imagine that professional painters would never stoop to marring their canvas with a pencil? – but it’s the only way I know how to get realistic results…

Anyway, here are the steps I took in pictures (which aren’t always so clear; I apologise):

Rough layout of the design sketched in pencil

Rough layout of the design sketched in pencil

Blocking in main areas of colour

Blocking in main areas of colour

Pebbles and leaf on the left, space for water and text on the right

Pebbles and leaf on the left, space for water and text on the right

An opaque blue-grey-white wash of ‘water’ on the right

Adding black shadow lines

Adding black shadow lines

Layering stronger colours in each section

Detail: White lines imply movement and sunlight on water

Detail: White lines imply movement and sunlight on water

Detail: Adding texture to the leaf and pebbles

Detail: Adding texture to the leaf and pebbles

Testing text position with printed template text

Testing text position with printed template text

The completed project

Detail: I finished the water and pebbles with a gloss varnish, but used a matt varnish on the leaf

Detail: I finished the water and pebbles with a gloss varnish, but used a matt varnish on the leaf

If you compare the final artwork to the template photos I started with, you can see a few key differences. I needed the water and pebbles on the right of my canvas to be paler and more washed out so that the text would stand out clearly against the background. I also didn’t replicate the original pebble colours or shapes exactly, though I did dab tiny white spots onto my pebbles to make them look as wet as the originals were.

I’m pretty pleased with the results, and so were my parents 🙂

What do you think?

Shifting the goalposts (again)

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Mistake

I’ve done it again. I’ve decided to update and tweak some of the goals on my 101 things in 1001 days list.

Now before you sigh, just hang on a minute…! 🙂

What’s the point of making goals when you’re in a certain season of life, and then being too rigid to adapt them when your circumstances change?

When I started the list late last year, I was a new housewife with all the time in the world and no real plans to head back to full-time employment. So many of the goals I chose were things I could easily achieve in those circumstances.

But life changed, as it always does, so I updated my list in the hopes of making it more realistic. And now life has changed again, and I feel it’s time for a fresh take on things once again.

At this stage of our lives it looks like I’ll have to keep working outside the home for the foreseeable future. So if this 101 things list is going to be of any use at all, it has to fit in with my ‘new normal’. I really don’t see the point in having a list of goals that just depress me because I doubt I’ll ever get to them this side of retirement…

So without further justification, here are the specific goals I’ve reworked (along with reasons for the changes, as though I owe you any!) 😉 I’ll post my complete new list separately.

Goals that are changing

Goal #4: Exercise at least 30 min/day, 3 days/week, 3 weeks/month – This is the first goal to change. Why are we not surprised? I had a wonderful time exercising daily when I was at home, but my new schedule allows for much less routine. Although I’m still aiming to get in a decent amount of exercise, I’ve removed it from this particular list. The replacement goal is: Knit something colourful :mrgreen:

Goal #7: Volunteer at an animal shelter – I’ve tweaked this one to Volunteer at or donate to an animal shelter, since I may not have much time to volunteer, but if I can help by donating then I will look for ways to do that instead.

Goal #10: Go on 10 motorcycle rides – I’ve reduced this down to 3 rides, because Ninja’s bike is getting a little long in the tooth, so we’re trying to preserve it and stretch out the time between services and such. A pity, but that’s life eh? At least one of these three is already done 🙂

Goal #14: Read one passage per week from my German Bible – It’s difficult enough keeping up with my daily readings in my English Bible (for Goal #3), so sadly this one will have to go. I’ve replaced it with: Work through the Love Dare again. For those of you who don’t know, the Love Dare is a book for strengthening marriages, linked to the lovely movie Fireproof.

Goal #15: Make an origami animal – Of all the brainless goals, I wonder how this one made the list! Instead, here’s something I really want to to: Get a pretty girly camera bag. I can’t very well pitch up at special events in heels and a backpack!

Goal #17: Paint 10 artworks on canvas – Ten is a hefty number for someone with my new time constraints. I’ve changed this to Paint 5 artworks on canvas. In fact, I recently finished one (a gift for my parents), which I hope to post about soon.

Goal #25: Work through my entire ‘Teach yourself Hindi’ textbook – It’s a realy shame that my language goals are some of the first to fall away (I recall my brother, also an avid language learner, warning me about this when I first added language goals to my list…). Instead of this goal, I’ve added: Design room themes/colour schemes for my future home.

Goal #38: Visit 10 different museums and/or monuments – Can we make this 5? Please? At the current pace of our lives, Ninja and I are unlikely to fit in even that many visits before September 2015 (when this list ends).

Goal #41: Take photos of the same item in 101 different locations – Oh, this one never got off the ground! I started it and then it just faded out of the way… But because photography is still an overall goal of mine, I’ve replaced it with a similar but much-more-likely-to-be-achieved goal: Take 101 different photos of my new pet rats!

Goal #47: Get my passport – To go where, exactly? I don’t anticpate that we’ll have the means to travel outside our country at any point in the remaining 751 days of this challenge, so this goal is just wasting space on my list 😦 Instead, the new Goal #47 is: Do a punk photoshoot, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, preferably with my bro 🙂

Goal #53: Photograph a landscape from the same location, capturing all four seasons – I was reluctant to change this one because it’s still something I’d really like to do, but I don’t have much regular access to inspiring and seasonally changing landscapes at this point in time, so I know my pics would just disappoint me coz they’d fall short of the images in my mind. Maybe one day if we have our own garden, Lord willing… For now though, this has become: Get some rat-themed merchandise. You know. As in, ‘been there, done that, got the rat, got the T-shirt’? 😀

Goal #55: Go skinny dipping – Considering the fact that I can’t even recall the last time I had access to a pool or swam at all, I don’t even know why this is still on my list! Of course I can always still do this, but you’d be the last to know… 😉 So, the fun and sensible replacement for this one is: Get 10 more hat badges. Remember my cool hat from this post? It still has plenty free space on it.

Goal #66: Send a message in a bottle – Again, the impracticality of this goal is just overwhelming all of a sudden. I’d have to (a) get to the sea and (b) get far enough out to sea to drop the bottle and avoid it just washing straight back to the sand at my feet. Plus, um… isn’t it kinda like deliberate water pollution? Far be it from me! Instead, I aim to Take part in a colour run. Perfect. I’ll go for air pollution instead.

Goal #72: Clear out all my junk – Now what on earth is a mundane goal like you doing on a fancy list like this?! In its place, how about I Do a 30×30 Challenge (30 minutes of physical activity for 30 days)? At least, it looks achievable on paper.

Goal #73: Find the perfect fitting pair of jeans – There isn’t just one; there are many. There’s the slinky new pair I buy each time I drop a dress size (OK, that’s only happened once in the last two years); there’s the comfy old pair that I can wear around the house; and there’s the stretchy accommodating pair for when PMS or overindulgence have added some nasty bulk. So to take the focus off me, I’ll replace that goal with this one: Get a zoom lens for my camera.

Goal #85: Make my own outfit – Who?! What?! When?! Where?! Why?! How?! Instead, I hope Ninja and I can Revisit our wedding venue. Awwww 🙂

Goal #86: Finish writing my book – Once upon a time, in a life far away, I dreamt of writing a marriage book to help Christian newlyweds. But the warp speed of life since then has seen almost all my friends married long before I finished half the chapters. I think it’s time to bury this goal for good. Yet I’ve always wanted to publish something I’ve written, so I think I’ll try to Publish my best poems instead.

Goal #96: Learn the basics of self-defence – Meh. Not going to happen any time soon, and it’s not particularly measurable or motivating either. Instead, I’d like to Enjoy another spa day with my best friend.

And finally, Goal #101: Start planning an overseas trip – This just seems too far away now to even be on this list. Ninja and I do hope to have the privilege of travelling overseas together one day, but the more practical goal of getting a home of our own ranks higher on the list. But since this goal list is also meant to inspire, I’ll just tweak this one to: Brainstorm an overseas trip.

Now I’m freshly motivated to reach for 101 goals that I stand a chance of achieving 🙂