Kirsten Bailey: Art


Archive for March, 2014

A little about me – my artistic history

Friday, March 21st, 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

Sunday, March 16th, 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

Friday, March 14th, 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

Monday, March 10th, 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

Wednesday, March 5th, 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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