Stripe Mountains design

Last year I posted about opening my online store on Society6. Since then, I've added over fifty different designs to a wide range of products available for sale :)

One of my most popular pieces so far has been my Stripe Mountains design, which began as a coloured fineliner drawing in one of my sketchbooks.

Stripe Mountains design, drawn in coloured fineliner

I really liked the graphic style of that drawing, and thought it would translate well as a surface design for cushions and other products. I scanned and vectorised it, then tried it out with a couple of different colours.

I think the dark blue version is my favourite - I bought myself a beach towel in this design, and I absolutely love it! I took it to Queensland on our holiday last year :)

The Stripe Mountains design is also available on Society6 in the original maroon colour and dark green.

I really love Pantone's colour of the year for 2019, Living Coral, so I recently decided to create an additional version of Stripe Mountains in that gorgeous colour. The contrast isn't as pronounced as the deeper colours, but I quite like the delicacy of it. What do you think?

Check out my store on Society6 to buy this design (and many others) on all kinds of cool stuff!

Daily pattern painting challenge (part 3)

Just a little flashback to last year, when I was taking part in a daily pattern painting challenge on Creativebug. I've previously posted about the work I created during the first two weeks, which consisted of traditional and botanical themed patterns. The third week was shape-based patterns, and I wanted to share some of the patterns that I painted here on my blog.

Geometric shapes pattern, painted in gouache

Painting shapes is a great way to improve your painting technique - you can go with a fun, relaxed style, or choose to ramp up your perfectionist tendencies and aim for straight lines and perfect curves. I did a bit of both I think :)

Cityscape pattern, painted in gouache

I really enjoyed this daily painting challenge. It pushed me to explore gouache in more detail than I had before, and I was very happy for that because it's now one of my favourite mediums. It also boosted my portfolio of work - several of the patterns I painted during this challenge have already become designs in my Society6 store, and others have provided starting points for further work.

Rainbow pattern, painted in gouache

I love a good daily creative challenge, and have taken part in several more since finishing this one. You can see what I'm up to on a regular basis on my Instagram account, and I'll be writing more blog posts about it in future too.

Native wildflowers in the Grampians

A few months ago I enjoyed a beautiful short holiday in the Grampians National Park, in western Victoria with my partner Tim. We were fortunate enough to have beautiful weather during our visit, which meant we could do lots of walks in the area.

Boroka lookout, Grampians National Park

It was springtime, and the native Australian wildflowers put on an amazing show for us. It's easy to overlook these tiny flowers if you're not paying attention, but I'm one of those people who loves the small, special things about a place, so I just adored seeking out the little pops of colour alongside the walking paths. I'd love to try my hand at drawing some of these tiny beauties, and perhaps even create a pattern collection inspired by them.

After the trip I did some research to try to identify as many of the wildflowers as I could. I've listed the names of the flowers in these photos at the bottom of this post.

Wildflowers of the Grampians: Hairy Correa (Correa aemula); Showy Parrot-Pea (Dillwynia sericea); Ti-Tree (Leptospermum); Pink Bells (Tetratheca ciliata)
Wildflowers of the Grampians: Bundled Guinea Flower (Hibbertia fasciculata); Common Heath (Epacrus impressa); Nodding Blue Lily (Stypandra glauca); Musky Caladenia (Caladenia moschata)
Wildflowers of the Grampians: Common Fringe Lily (Thysanotus patersonii); Golden Everlasting Daisy (Xerochrysum bracteatum); Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata); Pale Sundew (Drosera peltata)
Wildflowers of the Grampians: Grampians Bauera (Bauera sessiliflora); Holly Grevillea (Grevillea aquifolium); Showy Bossiaea (Bossiaea cinerea); Truncate Leionema (Leionema bilobum)
Wildflowers of the Grampians: Common Flat-Pea (Platylobium obtusangulum); Dusky Fingers (Caladenia fuscata); Victorian Christmas Bush (Prostanthera lasianthos ); Horny Cone Bush (Isopogon ceratophyllus)
Wildflowers of the Grampians: Hairy Boronia (Boronia pilosa); Love Creeper (Comesperma volubile); Common Billy Button (Craspedia variabilis); Grampians Thryptomeme (Thryptomene calycina)

First image: Hairy Correa (Correa aemula); Showy Parrot-Pea (Dillwynia sericea); Ti-Tree (Leptospermum); Pink Bells (Tetratheca ciliata)

Second image: Bundled Guinea Flower (Hibbertia fasciculata); Common Heath (Epacrus impressa); Nodding Blue Lily (Stypandra glauca); Musky Caladenia (Caladenia moschata)

Third image: Common Fringe Lily (Thysanotus patersonii); Golden Everlasting Daisy (Xerochrysum bracteatum); Running Postman (Kennedia prostrata); Pale Sundew (Drosera peltata)

Fourth image: Grampians Bauera (Bauera sessiliflora); Holly Grevillea (Grevillea aquifolium); Showy Bossiaea (Bossiaea cinerea); Truncate Leionema (Leionema bilobum)

Fifth image: Common Flat-Pea (Platylobium obtusangulum); Dusky Fingers (Caladenia fuscata); Victorian Christmas Bush (Prostanthera lasianthos); Horny Cone Bush (Isopogon ceratophyllus)

Sixth image: Hairy Boronia (Boronia pilosa); Love Creeper (Comesperma volubile); Common Billy Button (Craspedia variabilis); Grampians Thryptomeme (Thryptomene calycina)

Happy New Year 2019

Oh my goodness, where did 2018 even go? I can't believe how fast the time has flown, here we are in 2019 already! I hope you all had a lovely holiday season. I really enjoyed the lead up to Christmas - shopping for gifts in the city, decorating the house, and opening advent calendars :) And the day itself was lovely and stress-free.

Block Arcade at Christmas time, Melbourne

As is customary I've spent some time reflecting on the past year and the year to come. In 2018 I created a whole bunch of new artwork, completed a 100 day project, opened an online store on Society6 and sold products with my designs on them (such a thrill and honour to see my work become part of people's lives!), enjoyed a few wonderful holidays in new places, and welcomed a new kitty to our home.

Our cat Sophie

In 2019 I'll be trying to figure out how to work effectively on multiple life goals at the same time :) I want to move forward with my art business, create with focus, exercise and eat well, consciously buy less stuff, and create a calm and nurturing home environment.

Working for yourself requires a lot of discipline compared to working for an employer, so I've set out a list of goals that I really want to focus on this year. It's way too easy to get distracted by shiny new creative projects, so I've got to make sure I don't lose sight of my top priorities.

I hope you have a wonderful year ahead, and I look forward to sharing news more regularly with you in future :)

Society6 online store now open

Exciting news! I’ve opened an online store on Society6, and my designs are now available to purchase on actual, real-life things! (if you’re unfamiliar with Society6, I've included a brief description at the bottom of this post)

I’ve uploaded a few of my favourite designs already, and I'll continue to post new work there regularly. A selection of products available with my designs on them is shown below (I love them so much!), and I'm looking forward to adding more soon.

Society6 are known for their unique artists and high quality products. I've already ordered a few items for myself, and I hope you'll check out my store to see if anything tickles your fancy! They have regular sales and special offers, so keep an eye out for those - I always hold out for the free shipping deals :)

Society6 is what’s known as a “print-on-demand” service. Independent artists upload their designs to the website, and choose which products to make them available on. The products are then listed for sale, and manufactured when a customer orders them (i.e. on demand). Society6 handles the payments, production and shipping, and the artist earns a royalty on each product sold with their design.

I'm so thrilled to have taken this step in putting my art out into the world. If you have a favourite design of mine that you'd like to see on a product, please feel free to let me know and I’ll see what I can do!

Daily pattern painting challenge (part 2)

Apologies for the gap between blog posts, I've got so much to catch up on! I've been continuing to work on my portfolio, but haven't managed to write about it here for a while. Let's go back to where I last left off :)

My previous blog post was about a pattern painting challenge I took part in earlier this year through Creativebug. In the first week we focused on traditional patterns. The second week was all about botanical and floral patterns.

Calico floral pattern, painted in gouache

This was probably my favourite week of the challenge, and it was tough to pick out my top three for this blog post :) I love drawing flowers, but this exercise in painting them was really enjoyable. It was a delight to work in brightly coloured shapes instead of concentrating on linework, and I definitely want to explore it further!

Tropical flowers pattern, painted in gouache

One of the tricky things about taking part in a class-led creative challenge is finding a way to put your own stamp on the designs. For some patterns I didn't stray too far from the example provided, but in others I really enjoyed exploring my own take on the pattern.

Wildflowers pattern, painted in gouache

The third week went into shape-based patterns, which I'll write about in a (not too distant) future blog post. Talk soon :)

Daily pattern painting challenge

I'm a bit of a sucker for a creative challenge, but of course there's never be enough time to take part in every one that comes along. For the last couple of years, though, I've really enjoyed doing Lisa Congdon's January creative challenges on Creativebug - so I was looking forward to this year's edition. In 2016 it was a daily drawing challenge, in 2017 it was a creative boot camp, and in 2018 it was a pattern painting challenge. Yay, right up my alley!

Basketweave pattern, painted in gouache

Each day in January, a new short class / demonstration video by Lisa was released, with a different painted pattern for participants to try their hand at. The medium of choice was gouache, although you could use a different medium if preferred. I was glad to get some further experience with gouache, which I haven't used much. It's a bit like watercolour paint, but more opaque and with a flat finish. The colours can be very intense, or diluted for a softer effect.

Argyle pattern, painted in gouache

The first week consisted of traditional patterns, some of which are pictured in this blog post. We did gingham, basketweave, scallops, Argyle, chevron, paisley and harlequin patterns. I think a few of them have possibilities for turning into repeating patterns or developing further :)

Harlequin pattern, painted in gouache

I started the class thinking it would be a great way to stretch my creative muscles again after a bit of a break. It certainly has been that, but it's also been a great way to explore an unfamiliar medium, and to work on my brush technique in a surprisingly rigorous fashion - all those straight lines!

The second week was botanical patterns, which I'll cover in another blog post.

Happy Christmas 2017

Where on earth did 2017 disappear to?? It's Christmas already, I can't believe it!

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year

It's been a bit quiet here for the last couple of months while I've been busy dealing with other areas of my life, but I'm super excited for 2018, and looking forward to creating and sharing more work with you.

While I've been planning for next year, I've been looking through past projects. Last year I created a series of twenty five Christmas baubles as part of a creative advent challenge. You can see the individual pieces in more detail on my Flickr account, and the finished set is pictured below.

Set of Christmas baubles - Advent challenge 2016

I'll be spending Christmas day with my partner and sisters. All the presents are ready and waiting to be wrapped. Just a bit more cooking to do and we'll be set. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy day, and a positively wonderful 2018! XOXO

Christmas bauble 26 - Advent challenge 2016

Creating index card art

For the last few years, I've participated in an annual creativity challenge called Index-Card-a-Day, or ICAD for short. The challenge takes places over June and July each year, and has a great community spirit to it.

The idea is to create every day in a way that is super accessible and not too precious. I love that the lines on the index cards show through the work to remind me that it's a simple exercise in getting creative, not an attempt to create a lasting work of art :)

By the end of the 2016 ICAD challenge, I had completed over a hundred index cards. They've become a terrific library of ideas to revisit later, like a sketchbook or art journal. I also used them as a backdrop for a small exhibition last year, and I loved the way they looked all together.

Sally Cummings index card collection 2016, photo by Tracy Paterson

I decided to take part again in 2017, but I wanted to do something different to the business card project and previous years' ICAD challenges. So I set myself some rules by splitting the cards into three horizontal sections, and keeping each section bold and simple. I didn't want to get slowed down by spending a lot of time creating complex designs.

Pile of index cards, ready for creativity to happen

I created 28 index cards this year - a bit less than in previous years, but I'm so glad I participated. All of the cards can be viewed on my Flickr account, and a few of my favourites are pictured below.

Selection of eight index cards from the 2017 creative challenge

The index card challenge holds a special place in my heart, and I would go so far as to credit it with re-sparking my creativity after many years of dormancy. A daily creativity practice isn't always easy, but it's amazing how that act of doing gets the ideas flowing. Whether you share your work or just keep it to yourself, it's worth it :)

Melbourne Rare Book Week 2017

Last month one of my favourite annual events took place in Melbourne - Rare Book Week :) It's a wonderful series of free events, organised every winter, that celebrates the history of special books and book collections.

There are lots of talks, workshops and exhibitions run over the course of the week by a range of different institutions and libraries around Melbourne. Usually I can only attend evening events, but this year Rare Book Week coincided with my first free week after finishing a work contract, so I dived in and went to as many sessions as I could manage!

I adore books and it's lovely to hear stories of their history and production. I attended sessions on rare illustrated children's books, classic stories that have been given new life as comics and graphic novels, rare books that revealed the early history of Melbourne, novelty books produced in unusual shapes, and artist books from the early twentieth century Parisian art scene.

A talk at the Melbourne Athenaeum Library for Rare Book Week 2017

I think my favourite event was "Reconstructing Melbourne’s Lost Environments" at the Old Treasury Building Museum, a talk that examined Robert Hoddle’s field notebooks and other sources to uncover clues about Melbourne's natural history before settlement. I learnt about the original locations of waterways, large swamps (nowadays we would call them wetlands) that were filled in, surveys that described the extant flora in different parts of Melbourne, and the fate of Batman's Hill - now flattened underneath Southern Cross train station. I'd love to find out more about this version of Melbourne that is hidden underneath the modern city. It was also a good reminder that today's data is tomorrow's valuable historical resource!

Old Treasury Building, Melbourne