Kirsten Bailey: Art


A little about me – my artistic history

March 21, 2014
80s Crayola Case

This is similar to the case of crayons I received one memorable Christmas as a child in the 80s

A lot of people ask me about how I got started with painting, and what my training has been.

As long as I can remember, I have loved to create in a variety of ways.  As a child, one of the most memorable Christmas presents I received was a set of Crayola crayons.  I was so excited by all those colours!  Then, when I was a little older, I received a tin of Derwent coloured pencils, which I adored.  As a child I also went to after-school art lessons, with a lovely lady whose name I can no longer remember in her backyard studio.  I loved these classes because we were encouraged to try out different mediums and new techniques.  It was at one of these classes that I first saw a van Gogh – the teacher showed me his Sunflowers in a book and I was mesmerised.  He is still one of my favourite artists today.

vase of flowers children's painting

I was around 11 when I painted this at an after school art class. It was my first ever painting on canvas.

I’m still really proud of some of the things I was able to produce in that class.  My favourite is a watercolour of a flamingo.  I used watercolour pencils to make it and it was the first time I had used watercolour paper.  I remember being impressed at how much better the colours came out on the watercolour paper than on the ordinary paper I was used to using.  It was also in this class that I painted on canvas for the first time – this made me feel very professional and grown up.

Later on, in high school, I did art in grade 8, but did not choose it as an elective subject in year 9.  I wanted to, but my parents convinced me to do something more ‘useful’, so I took typing instead.  While I am very grateful for my ability to touch type (something that has come in very handy over the years), I am still a little sad that I allowed myself to be talked out of taking art.  Looking back though, it’s hard to be too regretful, because I have been able to explore my art in my own way, and to learn through experimentation.  I wouldn’t have come up with my ‘signature style’ for backgrounds without this experimentation.

child's flamingo painting

A flamingo created using watercolour pencils when I was about 12 years old

Throughout high school and university (where I studied Primary Teaching), I did little pieces of art here and there, just for fun.  I did lots of doodles during lectures because I find it hard to sit still and listen without doing something with my hands.  Often I would cover a whole notebook page with doodles, and would have the people on either side of me looking over my shoulder at my work.  I didn’t do any large paintings during this time, mostly because I didn’t have the time or space to do so.

When I finished uni, I moved out of mum & dad’s place to my own unit with my then boyfriend (now husband).  We had very little money as I had only just started teaching and he was studying and working part time.  I was eager to decorate our little townhouse, and since I couldn’t afford to buy art, decided to create some of my own.  I experimented with using oil paints, and found that while I loved the results I got, I was getting sick from the smell, impatient for the paint to dry and hated the clean up.  I also experimented with using pastels, and liked the soft look they created, but once again the OCD part of me didn’t like the mess.  I reverted back to the old familiar acrylics and watercolours.  At this stage I was still creating art just for me and my own home – I didn’t dream that anyone else would want to hang my artwork on their wall.

WInter to spring triptych painting

Winter to Spring – the triptych that started it all

A few years later, my husband and I (we were married by then) decided to buy our own house.  Once again, I decided to decorate with my own artwork.  We had a large blank wall that I was excited to fill.  I created a triptych acrylic on canvas, featuring a tree which came more into flower with each panel.  It looked great on the wall and I was very proud of it.  It still hangs on our lounge room wall today.   Once again, I was painting just for me, and didn’t expect to ever sell my art to others.  Then, something amazing happened.  A friend saw the painting and loved it, and offered to pay me to do something for her own wall.  I was thrilled!  I started to think that despite my lack of formal training, maybe there would be others out there who would appreciate my artwork.  That was when I really started to create more, and to offer my paintings for sale.

Now, I have sold paintings to people from all over the world, and I have been contacted by many people to create custom made commissions for their own walls.  It fills me with joy whenever I sell a painting, because it means someone has appreciated the work I’ve put into it.  I love the idea of my paintings hanging on other people’s walls, all over the world.

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Xander’s Nursery

March 16, 2014

I hung up my latest painting in my son’s room this evening.  Here’s how it looks:

Tree painting on baby's nursery wall Painting on baby's nursery wall

I’m really happy with how it turned out, although now that I see it on the wall I’m thinking a bigger painting would go well there – I’m considering doing something similar on canvas!

Remember, if you like this painting, I can make a custom one for you, in the colours you like!  I could also do a ‘family portrait’ in trees.

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Painting for Baby

March 14, 2014

Today I finished a painting for my son’s nursery.  I’m very happy with it!  Not least of all because he smiled when he saw it :)

IMG_1223

I haven’t had a chance to scan it yet, so this is just a picture from my phone and so not the best quality, but I don’t plan on making prints of this one anyway – it’s a special painting just for my little boy.  The blue and yellow trees represent my husband and myself, and the little green tree represents my baby boy.  I chose these colours specifically to show that he is a mix of the two of us.  Inside the blue and yellow trees are green hearts, to represent that he is always in our hearts.

While I won’t be selling this painting or making prints of it, if you like this idea for a baby nursery, I can create a custom artwork for you.  You can choose the colours of the trees, their positions, sizes, etc.

I think this would make a lovely gift for a new baby – my son’s painting has a personal inscription on the back of it from me.  I hope that when he grows up, it will be something he treasures.

 

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Creating Happiness

March 10, 2014

Last year, I was lucky enough to be approached by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn, writers of The Soulmate Experience, to contribute to their new book, 52 Prescriptions for Happiness: A Year of Inspiration for the Mind, Body and Soul.  I was happy to donate the use of my painting, ‘Reaching for the Stars‘ to this project.  I feel honored to be included among the talented artists featured in this book.

52 Prescriptions for Happiness - Book by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn

What are my own thoughts about happiness and how to create it?  I think different people find their happiness in different ways, so here are some of the things that make me happy:

Creating

Even when I’m not painting (and I did have a very long break without painting), I’m always creating something.  I love to draw and doodle, and to create scrapbook pages.  I like making crafts and I l0ve to cook.

Appreciating the little things

A beautiful sunset.  A hot cup of tea.  SLEEP. (Oh, Sleep, how did I ever take you for granted!?) My baby’s smile.  Something I’m guilty of is spending too much time looking forward to big events, and not focusing on the little sweet moments of the everyday.  When I do focus on these things, I have a happier day.

Family, Love and Friendship

This is something I’m appreciating more and more since the birth of my baby.  I get so much happiness from my friends and family, and the support they have given me since Xander was born.  I love being a part of our own little family.

What things make you happy?  How do you create happiness in your own life?

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Back Again

March 5, 2014

Something happened this morning that hasn’t happened in what feels like an age.  I picked up a paintbrush, and started a painting.  I can’t remember the last time I did this.

Xander's Painting - a work in progress

Xander’s Painting – a work in progress

There are a lot of reasons why I haven’t painted in a long time, and why I haven’t updated this website.  A wonderful reason is that in November my husband and I welcomed a new addition into our family, our son Xander.  I can’t believe how much my life has changed and how much I love my little boy.

Today, I decided to do a painting to hang on his bedroom wall.  As I sat down to paint, I thought about how long it had been, and how much I enjoy painting.  I thought about this website and my Facebook page and Etsy store, and how I have neglected them.  I guess I felt like I had nothing to post about if I hadn’t completed a new painting, but I know that’s not true.  I’m going to try to be a little more regular with my posts.

I can’t wait to get back to working on Xander’s painting (if he would only have his nap!) and sharing it with you all.

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Monthly Painters Challenge: Breakfast

June 16, 2012

Monthly Painters Challenge

 

This is my first time participating in the Monthly Painters Challenge, hosted on Facebook.  And it definitely was a challenge for me!

Each month, a different subject is chosen.  This month’s subject was breakfast, and the challenge for me was not the painting itself, but coming up with an idea for the topic.  I’m posting this a day late, and it wasn’t due to the time it took to paint, but the time it took for me to think of something!

In the end, this is what I came up with – an image of baby birds being fed a worm by the mummy bird.

Breakfast for Early Birds - original watercolour painting by Kirsten Bailey

Breakfast for Early Birds

The idea came about from the saying “the early bird gets the worm” – lucky mumma bird was early!

I created this painting using watercolours on watercolour paper.  Lots of people ask if the black in my paintings is ink, but it is actually black watercolour paint as well.

I’m happy to invite constructive criticism for this piece.  In particular, I was wondering about the addition of leaves – I nearly left the branches bare.  I’m also concerned that this looks more like sunset than sunrise, which I had intended.  Please let me know what you think!

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Palette and Paint – Midnight Cat

March 13, 2012


I’m excited to participate for the first time in Palette and Paint, a weekly challenge hosted by one of my favourite artists, Tracey Grgic Potter.

The painting I’d like to share is called Midnight Cat:

Midnight Cat - Watercolour painting by Kirsten Bailey

This painting was actually inspired by a few enquiries I had at The Handmade Expo, looking for wearable art pendants featuring cats.  It’s the first time I’ve done a painting because I wanted to make jewellery from it – usually it’s the other way around.  I hope to have some brand new pendants available at this Saturday’s market.

 

 

 

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Hope Within

March 11, 2012

Last weekend, I finished this painting, which I’ve titled Hope Within.

Hope Within - Original watercolour painting by Kirsten Bailey

It’s been sitting unfinished for a long time, and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I would ever finish it.

I started this painting last year when I found out I was pregnant.  When I later miscarried, I put the painting away because looking at it made me sad.  They say that time heals all wounds, and while maybe they never heal completely they do hurt less.  Last weekend I finally picked up the brush to finish this work.

After all that time (it’s been nearly a year), the meaning of the painting has evolved.  When I started it, it was a symbol of the life growing inside me.  Now I see it as a symbol of the fact that I haven’t given up hope.

Sorry for the sad (and maybe too personal) post.  I debated with myself about sharing this with you, but ultimately I think I needed to explain the meaning behind the painting.

 

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Getting My Groove Back

February 27, 2012

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve done more painting than I probably did during the whole of last year.

There were lots of reasons for it including work (my day job is teaching) as well as some difficult things I was going through. I just wasn’t in the mood to paint, and when I did give it a go I wasn’t happy with the results.

For one reason or another, I seem to have gotten my ‘groove’ back, and have lots of new ideas for paintings running around in my head.  I’ve decided to finish off any unfinished work before I get to the new stuff.

You might remember a while back that I started a commission for some friends of mine.  The challenge was to create a large acrylic on canvas version of my painting Colours of Nature.  Well, I finally finished it!  All those little swirls took quite a while but I’m very happy with the result.  I can’t wait to see it hanging up!

Rainbow Trees - Acrylic on Canvas painting by Kirsten Bailey

After finishing this painting I felt such a sense of accomplishment, I wanted to do more!

First I painted this one, which I’m calling “Rainbow on a Cloudy Day”.  It’s a LOT smaller than the one above – it’s only 4″ x 6″.  It can stand up on its own so can be put on a shelf instead of hung on the wall.

Rainbow on a Cloudy Day - Original acrylic on canvas painting by Kirsten Bailey

After completing this one I really wanted to have a go at some other new ideas in my head (and play with some new paints) but I thought I should finish off some unfinished work.  So…

Evening Bloom - mixed media on canvas painting by Kirsten Bailey

I finished this one, which has been sitting and waiting patiently for more than a year for some attention.  Well, it’s nearly finished anyway – all I have to do is spray on a coat of sealant and it’s done.  I have done many watercolour paintings in this style, but it was a challenge to create the same effect with a canvas!  I’m eager to try to do more like this.

Finally, I also finished this painting:

Golden Autumn - Watercolour painting by Kirsten Bailey

There was really no excuse for not getting this painting finished earlier, as all that was left to do was the tree trunks and branches – all of the detail work in the swirls was already finished.  I’m very happy with how it turned out in the end!

Hopefully I will be able to keep you up-to-date with lots of new work in the future!

 

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Better Late Than Never…

August 17, 2011

Wow.  I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by this year.  I guess I didn’t exactly keep that New Year’s resolution, huh?  There has been a lot of personal stuff going on with me this year, so I haven’t had the chance to paint as often as I would have liked to.  But, as they say, it’s better late than never!

Today was a holiday for Brisbane due to the Ekka, and I finally got a chance to paint!  I’ve got a few things in progress, but here’s one I completed:

Under the Milky Way - original watercolour painting by Kirsten Bailey

Under the Milky Way

I’ve really missed watercolours!

I’ve also been busily uploading wearable art pendants to my etsy page today – I’ve uploaded quite a few but I still have a lot more to go!

Thanks to those who’ve stuck with me even though I’ve been quiet – I’ll try to make sure I’m not away so long again!

I’ll be at The Handmade Expo this Saturday – hope to see you there!

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