Kirsten Bailey: Art

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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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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:


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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Better Late Than Never…

Wednesday, August 17th, 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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Queensland Floods Fundraising Auction

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about the devastating floods which have hit my home state of Queensland.  I’m feeling very grateful right now to be one of the lucky ones – my house is fine, and my friends and family are safe.  Not everyone is so lucky.

I do feel quite helpless right now as it’s very hard to us to go anywhere because many of the roads near us are still cut off by floodwaters.

One thing I can do to help, however, is be a part of the fundraising effort for the flood appeal.

I’m holding an auction on my facebook page of this painting:

I will pay to post this painting (to Australia or overseas) so that ALL the proceeds can go to the flood relief appeal.

If you are able to, please bid – if not, please spread the word.

Twilight Rain - Painting auction to raise money for the QLD flood appeal

"Twilight Rain" - Watercolour on watercolour paper - 9.5" x 12.5"

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Goals and Plans for 2011

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

It’s hard to believe a new year has already begun – 2010 flew by, but I’m really looking forward to a great year in 2011. I thought I’d share with you some of my goals and plans for this year:

– In 2011 I plan to start the year by painting for me again – I finished out 2010 with a few commissions, and while I really enjoyed the challenge of completing them and was really proud of the results, I had a bunch of other ideas in the back of my mind that I didn’t get a chance to try out.  So this year I’m going to try to get a few of those ideas down on paper or canvas.

– Speaking of too many ideas running around in my head (no wonder I’m having trouble remembering what day it is) – I also plan to keep an art journal close by, so I can put down ideas as they come to me, so when I don’t have time to paint they don’t end up getting forgotten.

– This year I’m also looking forward to starting a commission for some friends of mine.  Last year I sold one of my favourite paintings, Colours of Nature, and while I was thrilled to have made a sale I was just a little sad to see it go.  So I’m really happy to be painting a big version on canvas for friends – that way even though I’ll be saying goodbye to it I’ll be able to visit!  I’m looking forward to getting started on it.

Colours of Nature - Original watercolour painting by Kirsten Bailey

Colours of Nature (SOLD)

– I plan to participate in prompts like Illustration Friday as often as possible.  It’s a great way to push me out of my comfort zone to try something new.

– I’m going to try to paint at least once per week, and update this website at least once per week.  OK I know this is the type of resolution doomed to failure.  Sometimes other things (like working full time in a demanding job) get in the way.  Nonetheless, it’s a goal I’m going to do my best to achieve.  Now just stay tuned to watch the excuses come rolling in.

– Finally, one of my biggest (and scariest) goals for this year is to actively seek out places to exhibit my work, and to consider doing a solo exhibition.

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Looking back over 2010

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

I can’t believe 2010 is over already!  Is it just me or did it just fly by?

Looking back, I think 2010 was a great year – there were a lot of new beginnings and achievements I am proud of, including:

Completing 4 large commissioned paintings

Presenting a talk about my art to the Springfield Lakes Art Group (I was so nervous but was happy I did it in the end)

Participating in the Etsy DUST team’s swaps – these were so much fun!

Using my art as a way to help the community – I donated works to raise money for The Variety Club, The Cancer Council and the Cerebral Palsy League

Participating in the Handmade Expo markets and the Soulful Spring Sounds market.  One of the best decisions I made all year was to participate in these markets – they’re a much more personal way to sell my work than online.

Participating in the Summer Salon Art Exhibition with other members of Art Salon.

I’m looking forward to 2011 being just as productive – In my next post I’ll share with you some of my plans and goals for my art in 2011.

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Illustration Friday – Winter

Friday, December 31st, 2010

I wanted to participate in one last Illustration Friday topic before the year ended, and well, I’ve left it a little late.  Luckily their topic this week is “Winter”, and I have the perfect painting for that topic.  I know I’m supposed to create something new, but I’m a little too late for that.

Here’s my painting:

Silver White Winter - original watercolor painting by Kirsten Bailey

This painting is available to purchase via My Etsy Store.

Happy New Year everyone!
I 2011 is all you could wish it to be.

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Busy Times

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

It’s been a little crazy around here lately!  I’ve been busy working on a couple of commissioned paintings, creating jewellery for the Handmade Expo, and still somehow managing to keep up with my busy day job.  This website’s been a little neglected as a result.  But with one week left of school, I’m hoping to get lots of painting done, get a chance to participate in Illustration Friday again and maybe even post once in a while.

Today the set of three paintings I’ve been working on was picked up by the lovely lady who ordered them, who I met at Soulful Spring Sounds earlier this year.  It feels great to be finished and to have a happy customer.  Here’s how they turned out:

I’m also still working on a piece for a friend, which is the biggest painting I’ve done so far.  I’m enjoying the challenge – here’s how it’s looking:

With Christmas fast approaching, I doubt I’m the only one who’s busy at the moment!  If you’re on the lookout for unique Christmas presents, don’t forget to check out The Handmade Expo on Saturday 18th December – with 120 stalls you’re sure to find something perfect!  And of course, original art makes a wonderful gift 🙂

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