Preparing a trio of pole dancers in resin for the Totem SALA exhibition

When I found out that the Henley and Grange Arts Society’s members exhibition for SALA had the theme of Totems, I had the idea of creating a painting of several pole dancers stacked on top of each other. It was my slightly tongue in cheek interpretation of the theme. I quite like artwork that can be fun and play on interesting themes in humorous ways. So this week I am writing about my piece for the upcoming Totems Exhibition called ‘Totem Polers’.

‘Totem Polers’ Acrylic paint and resin on canvas

 

Inspiration

When I knew that I wanted to pile a few pole dancers on top of each other for the Totems exhibition, I took to Pinterest to search for photos that contained groups of pole dancers. I wanted to find a trio as I thought that an odd number would suit the composition that I had in mind. Eventually I found this stunning photograph of Tarryn Knight, Sherry Bremner and Joanna Pawelczyk from X-pole. The shapes that each pole dancer is creating in the photo really complement the other poses so that the composition overall is stunning.

Side by side comparison of reference photograph and ‘Totem Polers’

Creative Process

I decided to create some pastel shapes in the background. They remind me of spotlights that might be used in a pole dancing performance, so I thought that it would complement the figures in the artwork.

Progress photos of ‘Totem Polers’

I stuck to a restricted colour scheme of pastel turquoise, purple and blue. Each figure in the painting was created using a different one of those colours mixed with epoxy resin. These colours were given more dimension with the addition of black and white coloured resin.

 

My workspace while creating ‘Totem Polers’

 

Lastly I painted in the pole to connect the pole dancers together in the composition. I used a dark navy blue since this was a very important connecting thread for the piece.

 

Summer, my pup likes to supervise my work

 

Come along and see my ‘Totem Polers’ painting at the upcoming Totems exhibition. Let me know if you can make it by RSVPing to the facebook event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/236106753782343/

My first pole dance portrait

My first pole dance portrait

I have long admired pole dancers, in particular their tolerance for pain while contorting themselves into beautiful positions. For a long time I have been meaning to paint a portrait of a pole dancer, as I have painted many other types of aerialists. So this week I painted  ‘Rainbow Seahorse’ to show my love to all the poler’s out there.

‘Rainbow Seahorse‘ Watercolour on A3 watercolour paper

 

Inspiration

I have only ever personally tried pole dancing once. It was at my wonderful friend Tiffany’s pole, wine and cheese night. There were some awesome experienced pole dancers there who showed me a couple of beginners moves on the pole in her bedroom. I had so much fun trying it out, but it really showed me how different pole is to the other aerial arts I have tried.

My first try pole dancing

 

I also very quickly found out how painful pole dancing is. Usually at silks I try to cover up as much of my skin as possible to avoid burns. But I soon discovered that the key to many pole dancing poses is to press as much of your skin to the pole as possible so that the friction keeps you in the air. I also realised that I do not have the pain tolerance to be a successful pole dancer.

 

Side by side comparison of the reference photograph by John Gouw of @laurasneijders and ‘Rainbow Seahorse’

 

I admire pole dancers so much and the way that they can make something so painful look so beautiful. On Instagram I follow a lot of wonderful pole dancers. When I saw @laurasneijders beautiful seahorse pose photo I asked her if she would mind if I used it for inspiration for a pole dance painting. I was so happy she agreed as the shape is so stunning an feminine.

Creative Process

I used a loose watercolour wash for the first layer of the background. Then I added multicoloured stencilled patterns coming in from the top and the bottom of the piece to different heights. I wanted this colourful textured background to show through the figure in the painting.

Progress photos of ‘Rainbow Seahorse’

Layers of purple watercolour paint were used to build up the pole dancer with small additions of white for the brightest parts. I called the piece  ‘Rainbow Seahorse‘ because seahorse is the name of the pole pose that @laurasnijders is in.

If you would like to commission a pole dance portrait of you or a poler buddy feel free to contact me. You can check out my commissions page or email me with your ideas at contact@the-art-of-flying.com

 

Commissioned yoga bow pose drawing on mid tone paper for a surprise birthday gift

Commissioned yoga drawing on mid tone paper for a surprise birthday gift

People always say that when you have your own business you should tell everyone you meet about it. This post is about how true that is. I was telling my massage therapist about my art business and he happened to check out my website. That gave him the idea to commission this bow pose drawing of his wife, who loves yoga, as a surprise for her birthday.

‘Bow Pose’ Chalk pastel on mid tone blue paper

 

Inspiration

Kieran, my massage therapist, made an enquiry about if he could commission a piece of artwork of his wife doing yoga for her birthday. She had some professional yoga photos taken in the yoga studio where she goes. There were a few to choose from and I told Kieran that there were two that I thought I could do a good job of. Kieran chose the beautiful photo below of his wife in bow pose.

Reference photograph for ‘Bow Pose’

 

I loved the beautiful shape that her body is making in the yoga pose and the stunning lighting. There are beautiful highlights and shadows on her muscles that makes it much easier for me to go a great job of a portrait.

The lucky birthday girl with the finished piece ‘Bow Pose’

 

I suggested that Kieran take a look at some of my previous yoga pieces to see which ones might be in a style that his wife would like. He said that he liked the style of ‘Bend Over Backwards’.

‘Bend Over Backwards’ Chalk pastel and charcoal drawing on mid tone grey paper

 

I gave him a quote for the requested size and we discussed the timeline . Once we had all the particulars figured out I eagerly got started on the ‘Bow Pose’ drawing.

Creative Process

I used a similar colour scheme as that in ‘Bend Over Backwards’. However the paper that I used had to be bluer in this piece because of the selection of paper available in the art store I go to.

 

Side by side comparison of the reference photograph and ‘Bow Pose’

 

I started the piece by marking in the outline and then shading in the shadows with a dark blue. After that I worked on the highlights in a pale blue. I wanted the highlight and shadow colourings to blend with the mid tone blue paper.

I used a dark grey and finally black charcoal to give more depth to the darkest shadows in the yoga pose. The brightest highlights were also picked out in white charcoal so that they really stood out against the blue paper.

 

Progress photographs of ‘Bow Pose’

 

I sent Kieran several photos of the progress along the way of creating his commissioned artwork. That way I knew that I was on track to creating something that both he and his wife would love.

Kieran was kind enough to leave me a glowing review on facebook. It is lovely to hear such positive feedback from people that I work with.

“Kate is fantastic to work with I sent her a professionally taken photo of my wife doing yoga and asked if she could turn it into a picture as a surprise gift! The process was as simple as that…The picture turned out exactly as I imagined and I absolutely love it and my wife was totally blown away. Would totally recommend…”

 

If you are interested in commissioning your own artwork as a surprise for a loved one please check out my commissions page or email me at contact@the-art-of-flying.com with your ideas

 

How I worked with my client to create a floral watercolour painting as a commissioned birthday gift

Last month I had several surprise commissions. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the first one ‘On Point’. This week I am writing about the second one ‘Flower Crown’. It was commissioned by a young guy on behalf of his group of friends for a birthday gift. This piece was particularly special to me because the guy who I worked with on the commission only knew about me because his friend, the birthday girl, is an artist too and is a fan of my work. It was such a pleasure to create this symbolic floral watercolour painting.

‘Flower Crown’ Floral watercolour painting on watercolour canvas

 

Inspiration

Cameron contacted me because his friend Madeline’s birthday was coming up and she had previously showed him some of my work. I was so flattered to hear that she had told him about how much she liked my artwork. So Cameron asked me to create something special for Madeline’s birthday.

‘Flower Crown‘ up on Madeline’s wall

 

He wanted the artwork to remind her of their group of friends every time she looked at it. After some brainstorming, we settled on the idea of a hand reaching for a  floral crown where each flower was representative of one of the friends in the group.

Creative Process

I thought that a colourful watercolour painting on a watercolour canvas would do the best justice to the floral design that Cameron and I had agreed upon. He liked the idea and so I started out sketching it in. Once he had approved the sketch I got started the painting process. I try to keep my clients in the loop as I am creating the artwork for them so that if they have changes to request I can make them as I go along.

 

Progress photos of ‘Flower Crown’

 

The style of the piece was modelled on one that I have used before that Cameron thought that Madeline would like. It is the style that I used for ‘Poised Dancer’.

‘Poised Dancer’ Watercolour on watercolour paper

 

This style involved using masking fluid to keep the highlights bright and then using a loose watercolour painting style.

If you are interested in commissioning a your own artwork I am always open to hearing your ideas. For more information you can check out my commissions page. Otherwise you can send me an email at

contact@the-art-of-flying.com

 

Mixed media fire hoop portrait in Elder park that was my Parklands art prize entry

The concept of the Park Lands Art Prize made me think of the monthly fire nights that are held in Elder Park. I wanted to capture the magic of the fire in the darkness at this community event. I used a photograph of my friend Lou using a fire hoop as inspiration for this mixed media artwork ‘Fire Night at Elder Park‘. This piece will be in the Henley and Grange Arts Society SALA exhibition at Henley Pavilion all throughout August.

‘Fire Night in Elder Park’ Mixed media painting of acrylic and epoxy resin on canvas

 

Inspiration

I used to regularly attend fire nights in elder park with my partner, Ben. He does double staff, but I was always mesmerised by the amazingly complex and creative things that the community could do. There were so many different kinds of apparatus, from poi, to dragon staff, to staff, to double staff, to fire  hoops and even fire fans. I am sure there were even more than that.

Side by side comparison of the reference photograph of Lou spinning her fire hoop with ‘Fire Night in Elder Park

 

Using the community at the fire nights as inspiration, I wanted to create a dark and moody piece where the fire really stood out. Since this was for the Parklands Art Prize I wanted to include iconic elements of the landscape of Elder Park. I chose to feature the gazebo and water fountain that I have always thought is really beautiful in that location.

 

Here you can see how large ‘Fire Night in Elder Park’ is with me in the photo for scale

Creative Process

I decided to make this piece large scale at 100cm X 100cm X 3cm. It is so much fun painting on large canvases where I can create a dramatic impact. I wanted the figure to take up almost the entire space with the landscape elements being more subtle interest rather than the focal point.

 

Progress photos of ‘Fire Night at Elder Park’

 

Instead of using black for the background of the piece, I decided to go with a very dark purple. This meant that I could use various shades of purple and gold to create the figure and the fire elements. I could also use black for the very darkest shadows in the figure and the landscape.

Side by side comparison of the final artwork with and without the epoxy resin finishing touches

 

To create the fire effect I first painted on in acrylic using gold and white. For the finishing touches I then added various shades of translucent red and gold epoxy resin. This created raised shiny sections over the fire. I really like this dramatic textural element for this mixed media painting.

Me and the final piece of the fire hoop portrait ‘Fire Night at Elder Park’

 

Unfortunately my entry into the Park Lands Art Prize was not successful this year. But If you would like to come and see my fire hoop portrait ‘Fire Night at Elder Park’ in person, which I thoroughly recommend because the photos really don’t do it justice, it will be on display all of August in Henley Square Pavilion. This exhibition will be a group exhibition put on by the Henley and Grange Arts Society as part of the SALA festival. Let me know if you are going to make it to the exhibition by RSVPing to the facebook event below:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1828551340500833/

 

My Yogi Collection will be exhibited at Pane e Latte during SALA 2018

I am super excited to announce that during the SALA festival this year I will be having a solo exhibition at Pane e Latte. My Yogi Collection which I have been working on for some time will be unveiled at the exhibition that will last all of August. If you are going to be in Adelaide in August you should drop in to see the Yogi Collection in person.

Checking out how my watercolour yogis will look in Pane e Latte

SALA Festival

The SALA festival is the South Australian Living Artists Festival. This year will be my first year taking part. Last year I was a bit late coming back to Australia to put feelers out to find exhibition spaces.

A sneak peek of my Yogi Collection

 

This year I registered nice and early. Mostly thanks to my lovely artist friend Elicia who let me know when the registrations opened. I was lucky enough to get contacted by several venues and Pane e Latte was one of them.

Location

Pane e Latte is a lovely Italian cafe, the owners of which contacted me through the SALA website.

Looking at some of the Yogi Collection paintings in Pane e Latte

 

When I first met with Natalie and Matteo, the cafe owners, I was sure that they would be great people to work with. Their cafe has several walls that are covered in black tiles. I think that my watercolour yogis in the negative painting style will really stand out. 

One of my watercolour yogi paintings up agains the black tiles

Meeting

This week I had a meeting with Natalie and Matteo to discuss the details of the exhibition. We had a look at the pieces in Pane e Latte and made a preliminary plan of where the pieces would hang.

All the paintings laid out across the tables and chairs in the cafe

 

I can’t wait to see all the pieces hanging up in their places. There are still a few more for me to paint in the weeks up until the exhibition starts in August. It is so exciting to be working towards my first solo exhibition!

Checking out how my watercolour yogi paintings will look up on the walls

 

If you would like to come and see my Yogi Collection in person, head down to Pane e Latte during August and enjoy some artwork for the SALA festival. Let me know if you are coming along on the facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/355610244963326/

 

A new commissioned painting of a ballet slipper in watercolour

ballet dance point shoe painting

After sharing a close up of the foot of one of my previous pieces of artwork, I was contacted by a beautiful ballerina who commissioned me to create a similar piece of her en pointe. It was an absolute pleasure to create my first painting of a ballet slipper using watercolour paint.

‘On Point‘ Watercolour on grey paper

 

Inspiration

Maude, aka @thefitballerina, contacted me on instagram after I posted a close up of the foot of ‘Blushing Nude’. She enquired about commissioning a similar painting of her in her ballet slippers.

Cheeky yet innocent feminine nude painting

Close up of the foot part of my recent piece ‘Blushing Nude’

 

She sent me a beautiful photo of her en pointe and requested a similar style to what I used in ‘Blushing Nude‘. I liked the simplicity of the photo and the lovely light coming from the left side of the shot. Her instagram feed is so inspirational and beautiful!

Side by side comparison of ‘On Point’ with the reference photograph

Creative Process

Since Maude liked the style of ‘Blushing Nude’ I decided to use mid tone paper. I love how mid tone backgrounds allow simple colour schemes to shine. Navy blue and pale pink were the colours that I chose for the highlights and the shadows.

 

Progress photos of ‘On Point’

 

I liked how the pale pink in ‘On Point’ is reminiscent of the ballet slipper pink. The combination of pale pink and navy blue is one of my favourites at the moment. While painting this piece I had a sneaky teacup full of Froot Loops that I was snacking on 😉

 

Sometimes I need some sugar to sustain me while painting

 

If you would like to commission a unique piece of original artwork please don’t hesitate to contact me at

contact@the-art-of-flying.com

or find out more on my commissions page.

A seascape painting featuring an impasto palette knife figure on the aerial silks

I am currently living in the lovely beachside suburb of West Beach, so when I herd about the West Torrens Art Prize, I was eager to enter a piece. Recently, I did a photoshoot on the beach just in front of the West Beach Surf Lifesaving Club with the lovely aerialist Nicole Walker and amazing photographer Ashleigh Dumont. The photographs that we got at West Beach at sunset were so beautiful that it inspired me to create this impasto palette knife aerial silks portrait of Nicole called ‘Flight Path‘.

‘Flight Path’ Impasto palette knife painting on canvas

 

Inspiration

The West Torrens Art prize encourages artists to create a piece of artwork that is reflective of ‘Past, present, future in West Torrens’. I thought that a piece depicting an aerialist flying in the ‘Flight Path‘ on West Beach in the City of West Torrens would be an alternative reflection to the normal landscapes that I am sure this competition sees a lot.

Side by side comparison of ‘Flight Path‘ with the reference shot taken by Ashleigh Dumont

 

So, with my friends Ashleigh and Nicole, I set up an aerial photoshoot to capture the magic of the beautiful West Beach. We did our photoshoot on Nicole’s outdoor aerial rig just before sunset and with Ashleigh’s excellent photography skills were able to get some great shots.

Creative Process

I wanted to capture the tranquil feeling that I had when I saw the beautiful West Beach sunset from up on the silks. So I used a large brush to apply several thin layers of acrylic paint to try to emulate the seamless transition from hazy pink, to warm orange, to yellow and blue of the sky. These same colours were reflected by the still ocean that night.

Progress photos of ‘Flight Path’

 

I decided to use impasto medium and the palette knives that I had only recently used for the first time and talked about in a previous blog post. The impasto medium made the paint so beautiful and fluffy and let me get some great texture into Nicole’s figure.

Impasto medium mixed with some yellow, grey and white paint to add detail to the sand in the foreground

 

I wanted the figure in this piece to have a slight abstract quality, whilst also depicting the anatomical characteristics. Since this piece was for the West Torrens art prize, it was less about capturing the person and more about capturing the scene and the feeling of doing aerial silks in that location.

Flight Path‘ Impasto palette knife painting on canvas

 

I added many different colours to the figure section, including some small hints of fluorescent colours. These fluorescent highlights were my interpretation of the way the fading light reflected off parts of the figure in the reference photograph.

 

‘Flight Path‘ Impasto palette knife painting on canvas

 

The finished piece has a lovely serene feeling. It is now one of my favourite pieces. I was excited and proud to be able to create this piece for the West Torrens art prize. It reflects a lot of the qualities that I love about the City of West Torrens.

 

Flight Path‘ Impasto palette knife painting on canvas

 

Unfortunately I was not shortlisted for the West Torrens art prize this year. I suspect that my piece was not accepted because it’s link to the West Torrens landscape was not obvious enough. Subtlety was what I was going for, but perhaps that was the wrong move. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter because I am very happy with what I created.

Cheeky yet innocent feminine nude painting

Cheeky yet innocent feminine nude painting

One of my recent muses has been my lovely friend Danielle. She commissioned me to paint a feminine nude painting of her in this cheeky, yet innocent pose. I love the femininity in her photograph. To me this is the perfect sort of nude that I absolutely love to paint because it is subtle, yet stunning.

‘Blushing Nude‘ Drawing ink on blue/grey mid tone paper

 

Inspiration

I absolutely adore the reference photo that Danielle, of The Few Female Empowerment Workshops, sent to me. Empowerment is actually one of the words that I thought of when I saw the photograph. She looks confident in her nudity and just like she is enjoying herself. Her big smile is infectious and I wanted to create an artwork that would capture that joy.

Side by side comparison of ‘Blushing Nude‘ and the reference photograph that Danielle took herself

 

The previous painting that I did of Danielle was also a feminine nude painting, but a yoga nude. ‘Crossed Nude’ is more of a calm and serene feeling piece. So ‘Blushing Nude’ has a contrasting feeling behind it.

Drawing inspiration from painting in a beautiful paradise

‘Crossed Nude’: Acrylic on canvas

 

Creative Process

Danielle requested a monochrome look for this painting. I wanted to use a slightly softer style than the acrylic painting I previously did of her. So I decided to use drawing ink. The black drawing ink can build up shadow values gradually.

 

‘Blushing Nude‘ Drawing ink on blue/grey mid tone paper

 

I applied the drawing ink to mid tone blue/grey paper so that I could then emphasise the highlights in white drawing ink. This gives her body more dimension and I think it really brightens the piece.

‘Blushing Nude‘ workspace

 

In the close up photos below you can see how the black drawing ink has some very subtle areas and more dramatic areas for the darkest shadows. I like the way the changes in tone is gradual for the dark, but bright and stark for the highlights. These areas are eye catching for me, hopefully they are for you too.

‘Blushing Nude‘ close up photos to show the details of the piece.

 

I think of my portraits as a collaboration between myself and the subject. If you would like to help me create a piece of artwork of you or of a loved one for a gift, please check out my commissions page for more details or email me with your ideas contact@the-art-of-flying.com.

 

My first male nude painting in resin, a mate for ‘Side Stretch’

My first male nude painting in resin, a mate for 'Side Stretch'

My lovely friend Anna recently pointed out to me that I have not painted any male nudes. She requested that I create a mate for ‘Side Stretch’ one of my female nude resin paintings. So I created this week’s featured artwork ‘Blue Nude’.

Inspiration

Anna has always been extremely supportive of my artwork. She has even bought two of my paintings. One print that she purchased is ‘Side Stretch’ a female nude in resin and acrylic paint on canvas. Anna thought that ‘Side Stretch’ would look even better in her house with a male resin nude hanging next to her. So she commissioned me to create ‘Blue Nude’.

 ‘Blue Nude’ and ‘Side Stretch’ the new pair of nude resin paintings

 

The only males I have painted for my blog so far are Thai Lam and Maximus Barnaby who are both aerialists. As such neither of these paintings were nude paintings. All of my nudes so far have been females. So this week I thought I would try to balance out the scales and create a resin painting of a male nude torso.

Portrait in oils inspired by a surprise trapeze workshop

‘Reaching Higher’ and ‘Look to the Sky’ portraits of Thai Lam and Maximus Barnaby respectively

 

In my opinion the male nude is just as beautiful as the female nude, but I am less familiar with the male nude. So this piece was an exciting challenge for me.

‘Blue Nude’ Male nude painting in resin and acrylic paint on canvas

Creative Process

I started ‘Blue Nude’ with a metallic bronze background. There was elements of metallic gold copper paint in ‘Side Stretch’. I wanted to tie these two pieces together in some colour elements as well as the style of the painting.

Sketching out the outline for  ‘Blue Nude’

 

I wanted to keep the colour scheme of the figure fairly restricted. I chose blue and purple so that they would not contrast substantially with each other. The blue also complements the blue/green background used in ‘Side Stretch’. I also used black and white for the highlights and shadows of the figure.

 

My resin covered gloves after creating ‘Blue Nude’

 

I first applied the purple and blue within the confines of the chalk sketch outline. These colours were allowed to mix together as they wished. Then the black was applied, particularly to the right side of the figure. The white paint was applied to the other side and in all of the highlights to give depth to the piece.

 

 ‘Blue Nude’ just after the resin pour

 

The resin paint moved a little more than I expected it to. You can see in the video and the progress photo above that there was originally negative space within the elbows of each arm. The head was also originally tilted upward showing only the neck and not the face.

However, once the resin was allowed to run and then dry, those negative spaces had disappeared. The highlights that created the neck had also moved to make it look more like the nude was facing the audience rather than the sky.

Framed print of ‘Blue Nude’

 

One funny side note is that the photo that I used as inspiration for this piece did not include the waist of the man. So I needed to make up what existed below the waist in my piece so that the figure would reach all the way to the edge of the canvas. Since this is a resin abstract figure, making up part of the detail is not so difficult. I decided to have the figure wearing pants, so I gave him a waistband when I poured the resin. But it seems that the resin had different ideas and seems to have made this piece look a little more nude than I intended.

If you would like to commission a piece like Anna did for this one, please see more details on my commissions page and feel free to email me to discuss it further.

contact@the-art-of-flying.com