It’s ‘Inspire Your Heart with Art’ Day!

It’s ‘Inspire Your Heart with Art’ Day!

I know. I hadn’t heard of it either.

But the lovely Ruby Slippers contacted me and asked if I’d be happy to be interviewed on her radio show on 92.9 VOICE FM on 31 January, and mentioned that this national day coincided with the interview.

So I decided it was time to get back into the swing of videos and created a FREE video series painting a FLORAL HEART in watercolour.

So click through and sign up for instant access, and I’ll see you, and your inspired heart, in my online studio.

It’s great therapy. I promise!

Sweet Potato Wedges – Illustrated Recipe

Sweet Potato Wedges – Illustrated Recipe

It’s been a while between Illustrated Recipes… but that’s not the point.

You see I was watching Nigella before Christmas and she did some very special roast potatoes with this magical ingredient.

OK. Maybe hers wasn’t from Coles.

But I tried them, and oh, they’re good.

I even showed my ‘about to leave home’ son how to make them, in case he needs to make his new housemates like him more… perhaps because he’s spent too long in the shower… stuff like that.

And it’s so easy, but if you’re dealing with kitchen newbies, a picture does help.

So I give you ‘Delish Sweet Potato Wedges‘, and you know what, it works for normal potatoes too.

The steps in photos:

 

And would you believe it? The same magic ingredient works on normal potatoes too.

And here’s your downloadable to print out for the kids. You’re welcome 🙂

Happy New Year! I’m going to Fill a Book!

Happy New Year! I’m going to Fill a Book!

I hope you’ve had a lovely start to the new year!

I’ve felt a little discombobulated to tell you the truth… I think it’s from trying to take a break, but having a whole bunch of ideas for the new year in my head at the same time… and having the kids at home is wonderful.

One thing I do want to improve this year is my drawing and composition skills, so I have taken on a project that I HOPE will be a little less daunting than a 365 project, called ‘anna fills a book’. It even has its’ own instagram account, so it really is real.

I know this mightn’t come as a huge surprise to many, but I like doing a lot of things at once. Which isn’t really conducive to starting and finishing a sketch book.

And, even since starting this on the first of January, I’ve drawn and painted in 3 different books – I’m still adjusting to having an ‘offsite studio’ I think and things aren’t always where I think they are. So now I already have three books to fill!

The beauty of a book is that it gets to be closed. It doesn’t have to be perfect or hang on a wall. I can experiment with colours, mediums and techniques and I can work on concepts and ideas that might work in future paintings, Paint Alongs or workshops.

The insta account just keeps me accountable and encourages me to paint every day. And if I miss a day or two, that’s ok. I will do my best to catch up. But the goal is to simply fill the book.

If you’d like to join in, just use the hashtag #fillabookwithanna and I’ll see you on Insta.

Here’s cheers to 2017!

Mexichica and mixing flesh tone in acrylic

Mexichica and mixing flesh tone in acrylic

Well we’ve christened the new studio already with four Wednesday Wonder Workshop sessions and a fantastic new Paint Along – Mexichica!

We had lots of brand new painters along for Mexichica, and it was terrific to watch so many faces come to life as we built them, feature by feature.

I did save a little bit of time by pre-preparing a ‘flesh tone’ acrylic paint colour. Some Paint Alongers chose to add a little more Yellow Ochre for an olive skin tone, but it was certainly handy to have the bulk of the mixing done.

Here’s a short video detailing what that mix was made of!

Art Supplies for Travel

Art Supplies for Travel

I’m heading off to Munich, Berlin, Cologne and Paris (I can’t believe it) on Wednesday night.

It’s a trip that’s been 3.5 years in the planning (and gentle saving) and, as I’m usually from the school of “if it fits, pack it” (we rarely fly anywhere), I’ve been reading articles and making lists to make sure I only take the necessities this time.

I plan to be drawing and painting as much as possible. I’ve put together my ‘Postcard Project’ and I want to do some really terrific pictures for the lovely people who are trusting me to send them great art for their walls.

But I’ll also be carrying my kit everyday. I want to paint on the plane, on the train and in cafes. I really want it to be easy. And so this is what I’ve come up with.

My travel art kit
Art supplies stacked
Aerial view of art supplies in travel pack

The clear lidded zip pouch came in a set of 3 “Clear Cells” from Kathmandu. This middle sized one fits my pencils comfortably and just the one brush needs to be on a bit of a angle. But there’s heaps of room for all this:

My travel art supplies kit in a watercolour painting.
  • one Winsor & Newton travel set of watercolours (I’ve actually had this set for over 25 years)
  • one Winsor & Newton travel set of gouache paints (I replaced the watercolours with tube gouache… it’s not setting hard like the watercolours but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere either, so I think they’ll be ok… and to complete the story, this is the set I bought because I loved the original one I had, but couldn’t find it, but as soon as I bought the new one I found the old one… always the way)
  • one small ruler (I don’t use it often but it’s good for sharp folds and for tearing paper)
  • lip gloss (because I simply can’t paint with dry lips)
  • mechanical pencil
  • Aquash medium waterbrush (I like this size and brand)
  • Derwent water spray (I may end up using this more for taming my frizzy hair than for art… we’ll see)
  • #8 round brush (will suit my A5 paper size)
  • 2 x waterproof pigment ink pens (I prefer .5 and .8 sizes)
  • white gel pen
  • double barrel sharpener
  • kneadable eraser (this is like blutac and is great for gently removing pencil lines)
  • small plastic cup (just in case)
  • 12 watercolour pencils

I’m also taking a Rhodia notebook (boy, this was a big decision! Like this one, but A5 size) to complete the set. It doesn’t quite fit in the pouch, but I’m ok about that.

Contents of art travel kit on display

I also made myself a notebook of 200gsm Canson Watercolour Paper (cold pressed, so it’s a little rough) by cutting up 20 A4 sized sheets and folding them in half. I then sorted them into 4 ‘signatures‘ of 10 pages each (double sided if needed).

The beauty of this booklet is that I can remove just a couple of pages at a time – meaning I don’t have to take a fairly heavy notebook each day. I’ve added a loop of elastic to my daily planner (another story) so I can take the pages with me in that (it’s also homemade and really light).

The covers are made out of plastic from old display books (so light but sturdy), and I cut a 15mm spine from the same stuff. Then taped it all together with some patterned duct tape I couldn’t resist in Target last week (I really don’t get out much, we were there to find party favours) and used black hat elastic to make 4 loops to hold the pages. I taped the loops down on the outside of the booklet. You can see a 15 second video of that book here.

And then I decided I also wanted to have an ‘ultralight’ art set. So I replaced the cheap paints in a teeny, tiny, Mont Marte kids paint set with my favourite Winsor & Newton gouache colours and painted the lid like a giraffe (like “gouache”, get it?). The giraffe was inspired by Jennifer Mercede’s giraffes. I’m a long time admirer. It was a total indulgence and quite a blissful little project.

My giraffe-gouache paint set.
Inside the giraffe paint set.

I’ll pop it in this little pencil case with just a few essentials, and use the watercolour paper that I add to my planner for the day. I’ve included a grey SAI brush pen in this set, as well as the rubber/sharpener combo and the ever-necessary lippy.

My ultralight art supplies kit.

So there you go! I think I’ve got all I need… artwise at least. I’m struggling to leave other favourite supplies at home (dip pens and ink… how can I go without for 25 days?) but I’m pretty sure there are art supplies shops in Germany and Paris, in case of emergency.

Now to pack the rest of my stuff I guess. Should be a breeze.

(If you’d like to receive 3, 5, 6 or 10 of the artworks I create on this trip, posted to you as real life, actual, glossy postcards while I’m away, you can. Just click through here and take a look. I’ll be bringing home plenty of ideas and inspiration to share. Thank you!)

Lemon Sunshine Cupcakes – an Illustrated Recipe

Lemon Sunshine Cupcakes – an Illustrated Recipe

I needed something quick and special for lunchboxes the other day, and wanted to use lemons… but only had brown sugar. So I googled around and found this recipe that ended up being so delicious it’ll definitely be made again!

Lemon-Cupcake-LORES

To be honest, I may have gotten distracted in my first run through and only added in about 1/3 of the flour, so that batch were flat and I ended up sandwiching two together to save them. And wouldn’t you know it, they were delicious too!

Duet-cupcakes-LORES

So I figure if a recipe can survive missing 2/3 of a fairly important ingredient, and STILL TASTE GREAT, it deserves a place here in my year of illustrated recipes.

Click on the pic below to download and print the pdf version. I hope you love it!

Lemon-Sunshine-Cupcakes