Stencils – How to Make Your Own

 

 

Art Journal Page; Spray Ink; Pen and Ink;
                 “Go Gently” ©2016 Tracey Hewitt Art Journal Page with hand cut stencils

Stencil Love

During art journal classes, the one thing that everyone seems to have great fun with is stencils.  Spraying ink over stencils, and rubbing back paint through stencils is one of the first lessons I teach in art journal class. It’s quick, easy, effective and seems to unleash our inner child faster than anything.

There are endless suppliers of ready-made stencils – just Google ‘stencils’  and you could disappear for a week checking them all out, and still not have exhausted the possibilities. But, for artwork that is uniquely yours, with the fun level only stencils can provide, cutting your own is the way to go.

 

handcut stencils made by drawing the stencil design onto copy paper, laminating and cutting design with a stanley knife
Hand cut Stencils

 

 I’ve tried all sorts of material to cut stencils from, some more successful than others. Template plastic (a refugee from my patchwork days) worked well, but was murder on the fingers to cut, and so hard to get a knife through, crisp detail was hard to achieve. Manila folders work OK for one or two uses. Much easier to cut, but once they’re wet with ink or paint, the light cardboard buckles and tends to fall apart pretty quickly.

Enter laminated copy paper! I guess I must have been doing a bunch of laminating for something, and I wondered if maybe this might work well? Turns out it does. I’m not sure how long these will last, I suspect that ultimately the laminate may let go, but they’ve survived one round of art journal classes in tact, so I’m feeling hopeful.

 

How It’s Done

Grab a sheet of ordinary copy paper

Draw your design – make it simple, and remember that you need to leave some ‘veins’ or connecting pieces, or you’ll just end up with one big hole. A series of simple shapes – squares, triangles, circles – repeated many times are some of the most effective stencils you can use.

Whack the sheet with your hand drawn design through the laminator. I’m lucky to have one here in my office. If you are seriously deprived and don’t own one, try an office supply store or perhaps your local school or printing works. They’ll probably have a small charge, but it will be pittance compared to buying ready-made stencils.

Grab a Stanley knife, self-healing mat and a cuppa (probably not a wine – though I have done that, and the stencil and I lived to tell the tale) and settle in to cut out all the little pieces of your design. Remember – you need to leave little ‘bridges’ in more intricate designs.

Give your fingers a bit of a massage. While the laminated sheet is much easier to cut through than some stencil material, by the time you carefully cut out all the bits, you’ll still be a little tender in the digits

Pull out the spray inks and paints and get cracking on experimenting with your new hand cut stencil, by laying the stencil down over your page which has a bit of background colour on it, and spraying some ink over the stencil onto the page. Carefully lift off the stencil, and Viola! (Have a spare sheet or journal handy to mop up the ink from the stencil after you remove it)

 

 

A Mask is a Stencil in Reverse

 

Art Journal Page with spray ink
Payton and Pa Mask

 

Silhouettes make great stencils, too. As well as eliminating the anxiety about leaving little bridges and connecting bits, if you are careful as you cut, you will end up not only with a stencil, but also the piece you cut out ever so carefully, which can be used a mask. For this one of Payton and Pa, I printed a photo onto copy paper, laminated it and cut out around the outline, yielding a positive and negative image. A stencil and a mask. Lay the mask (the cutout piece) over a page with a background already laid down, spritz spray ink over the mask, carefully lift the mask off, and there you have it – Payton’s first horse ride with her Pa frozen in time, and spray ink!

There’s a bunch of ways you can incorporate stencils into your creations… this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You can give yourself a little detective challenge and see if you can spot where I’ve used stencils on the works in the Art Journal Pages Gallery. Or, have some fun in an Art Journaling Workshop with me!

 

 

 

 

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Art Journaling 101 – an introduction.

 

Art Journals; artwork;art journaling, watercolour; artist; sketchbook

People often ask “What is art journaling?” Good question! I do my best to explain, but sometimes it’s easier to show you.

First you need a journal

 

Art Journal Stack, art journaling

Let’s start with the journal. You can use anything! This pile represents a fraction of the sketchbooks and journals I have accumulated – collecting journals and art supplies is my guilty pleasure! An assortment of paper types, sizes, page counts and constructions, there’s something I love about each of them. My favourites though will lie flat on the bench when opened to work in, and have a weighty paper that can withstand wet media (like watercolour, spray inks and paint). Other features that rate high for appeal are pockets in the covers – you never know what bits of flotsam and jetsam you might find to keep for addition to your journal ‘later’ – page marker ribbons, and elastic bands to keep the book from flying open as it expands from the inevitable addition of collage and tape and ephemera.

What goes in the journal?

 

Art Journal spread, art journaling

The real fun begins when you start to do stuff in the journals! What goes into them? Anything at all! I tend to describe art journaling as the intersection of keeping a written diary with keeping a sketchbook. There are journals like this one with a bit of writing and reflection for each day, and some colour and sketching or scribbling – playing, really. This particular spread is in a cheap visual art diary. The paper is pretty flimsy, so there’s a coat of gesso on the paper to give it a bit more substance, followed by collaged papers, washi tape hand carved stamps, water soluble pencil and watercolour paint.

 

Sketchbook doodles, art journaling

 

Then there are the more ‘traditional’ artist sketchbooks where reference sketches are made, and ideas are given a trial run before the detail is worked into a final piece. These snazzy arrows to mark North were explorations before committing the compass direction to a map created in a collaborative artists book.

Art Journal Page, art journaling

My favourite art journal is one where I experiment with ideas and media. Sometimes these pages end up a muddy mess, and that’s OK, because the purpose of it is to explore, to see what works and what doesn’t, and it’s this absence of pressure to produce something ‘worthy’ that is the best part of all. My brain knows I’m just mucking around, so it’s low stakes and no expectation.

The spread above is a great example. I’d been mucking around with spray inks and stencils, and the page was pretty ‘blah’. I had been reading about using indian ink in an aqua brush, and this ugly page was a very safe place to try that out – it couldn’t get any worse! The face happened with the inky brush,  a bit of extra colour popped into the eyes, mouth and hair with coloured pencil and a white Sharpie marker, and although she has a somewhat alien complexion, there’s something kinda cool about it.

That sense of freedom to play and explore because there is no pressure for a dazzling outcome is what makes me believe that art journaling is a wonderful way for anyone to begin to dabble in something creative, to learn a few techniques, to follow your imagination and let the hidden parts of yourself surface and come up for air in safety. Don’t ask me what hidden part of myself came up for air with a green eyed, green faced martian lady… reminds me a little of Salvador Dali’s Mum who said after looking at his paintings “I don’t know what what in his head, but I’m glad he got it out”!

 

Art Journal; Blue; Watercolour; art journaling

Right now, I’m exploring and experimenting in a different format again – the Disc A Day journal. Which is my own promise to myself that I’ll do something small every day (well, ok… I can’t honestly say that I’ve added to it every day, but I have added to it most days, and right now, I’m happy with that). This little journal is made from a large sheet of hot pressed watercolour paper, cut into three sheets and folded and stitched together, which is great for the wet media I mentioned earlier. What I love most about this little disc, is what the washi tape beside it says: “Make Time”. We’ve talked before about how important it is to make time for creativity, rather than wait till you find time.

That awesome tape, by the way, is designed by Kal Barteski and came from You Are Awesome Co, who are sadly wrapping up trading at the end of September, but they have some great bargains going on there for the next couple days.

So, there you have it. Art Journaling 101. Art journaling is my favourite thing to teach – if you’d like to know a little more about classes, check out my Art Journaling Workshop page.

Credit where credit is due

Artist Credit and Copyright
Wire Sculpture By Richard Moffat

 

Images are everywhere these days, and it’s easy to click, save and share without giving too much thought to the whole process. I know many artists – photographers in particular – who have discovered their original work has been ‘borrowed’. Usually innocently, and without any malice or harmful intent, also without any credit being given, but I’ll get back to that in a second.

I was delighted to receive an email from Kirsten from Bodyworks in Blackall, explaining that she had found my photograph of a piece of public art that had been posted on my blog. They were wanting to use the image for the header for their Facebook page, as they feel this striking sculpture is synonymous with the town. What delighted me was that she took the time to contact me and ask permission to use my image – as I mentioned earlier – many people don’t. A couple of emails back and forth, and we helped one another out. Bodyworks popped an image credit and link to my website on their Facebook page. I shared their business page, and my appreciation of their great ethics on both my business and personal pages, and among it all, Kirsten ordered her Mum a copy of my book.

All this giving credit urged me to once again try to find information on the sculpture. The guy who created the Spinifex ball is an artist with his own right to acknowledgement too! When I posted the image some years ago, all I could find was his name – Richard Moffatt – and nothing to link to him. Unfortunately, I still can’t find too much, I did discover he recently won first prize for Sculpture On The Edge, and he’s on Instagram as @ironise2266. A Google image search of his name brings up an array of wonderful metal sculptures that I enjoyed poring over for a while.

 

Think before you click and share

 

The internet is vast, and with the ability to share and save images and data, it has forever altered the way humans gather and share information. For artists, the internet is simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen to us. Never in history has connecting to an audience for our art been easier or quicker. It’s possible to sell our creations without leaving our studios (which isn’t necessarily a good thing – artists work in isolation a great deal… we all need to get out and be among other humans). Websites, blogs and social media have dramatically changed the face of art marketing and exposure. On the flip side, that same technology has also made it easy for our original creations to be borrowed – sometimes stolen – and used by others for a quick result. Often, this borrowing is innocent and comes about because someone responds to an image and wants to share or copy it. Sometimes, unscrupulous souls take an artists intellectual property and mass produce it for their own gain.

The point I’m taking way to long to make here is this: art takes time. The finished images you see on your computer or device screen are the cumulative result of years of practice, learning, experimenting, and developing skill and knowledge. Artists share their work to give it an audience, to move and inspire others, and to earn an income. We are delighted when people want to share our work with others, all we ask is that you take a leaf from Kirsten’s book, and tune in, say hi, and ask how we want to be acknowledged. And Richard Moffat… if you’re out there, I’d love to be able to add a proper credit line to my image of your stunning sculpture!

 

 

Pencil Portrait Discoveries

posted in: art work, drawing, Uncategorized | 0

 

 

 

Pencil sketch, portrait
Will ©2016 Tracey Hewitt 35cm x 30cm Pencil

 

When our first grand baby – Payton – was born, I knocked out a pencil sketch portrait of her one day while in the waiting room for the torture chamber known as a mammogram. Sketching her was a delightful distraction from the anticipation of the squeezing and squashing and discomfort waiting through that door. Not having great faith or belief that I could even render any kind of likeness at the time, I was simply puddling around and enjoying getting absorbed in the curve of her perfect little mouth. The result was a surprisingly good likeness – so good that we framed it as her gift for her first birthday. (You can click through to that post and sketch here, if you’d like to have a look at it)  At the time, it occurred to me that it would be special to do the same for each of our grand kids as they came along. No one could know how quickly the next three would show up. In the space of fifteen months, the number grew to four! That idea to draw a pencil portrait of each of them for their first birthday has seen me with a pencil in my hand more in the past six months than in many years.

 

 

2016 Hunter_Tracey_Hewitt_Web-1
Hunter ©2016 Tracey Hewitt 35cm x 30cm Pencil

 

 

As well as being sources of endless delight and joy, these tiny humans have led me back to something long forgotten – just how much I enjoy to draw. These drawings have also held some lessons about creative fear. The discomfort of that mammogram was almost insignificant compared to the realization that I was avoiding beginning the second portrait. Avoiding it, because in some deep, unconscious place, I doubted I could do it again. But do it again I did, three times in rapid succession! Yet every time, the beginning was put off for a while. There was a cupboard that needed clearing out; a pile of ironing, untouched for six months that simply HAD to be attended to first. Anyone who knows me well will knows this is the surest indication of avoidance of a task. I loathe ironing with a passion! So many things that weren’t terribly important took on monumental urgency in the face of beginning each of these portraits.

Research and conversations with other artists has led to the understanding that I’m not alone in this. In fact, it’s not just artists. School Principals, entrepreneurs, and professionals of all kinds have said “Me too!” But here’s the thing: when you take a deep breath, dive in, and start whatever it is that you’re nervous to begin, you’ve already succeeded. It doesn’t matter if you hit it out of the park, or you make something barely fit for the bottom of the birdcage, you moved, you took action. Sometimes, you’ll make it work first go. Other times, you might have experiences like I did with Hunter’s portrait, and create something that looks like a little alien baby. Even if we had a cockatoo – it would not have wanted that drawing lining it’s cage. But you know what? The awful drawing was a wonderful limbering up exercise, and even though it ended up stuffed in the back of the sketchbook as a reminder that each work is a journey that sometimes takes a very circuitous route, without it, the final portrait would not have been as successful.

 

Levi
Levi ©2016 Tracey Hewitt 35cm x 30cm Pencil

 

Looking into the eyes of these precious tiny souls, I am thankful for all they have taught me already, grateful to them for inspiring me to pick up a pencil and draw again, and filled with anticipation for all the wonder and awe we will share them as they grow. There will be all kinds of lessons along the way – for the little ones, as well as for the bigger ones whose task it is to guide them through this this wild and crazy life. And, just between you and me, I’m excited for the day we can all paint and draw together – without them being more interested in eating it!

 

 

 

 

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Do It – Even If It Scares You. Ruminations On Creativity and Fear

 

 

This post has been brewing for a while now, and I’ve found around two thousand reasons not to write it. I have just realised why, which I’ll get to in a minute, but first, I want to tell you about my friend, and a conversation we recently had.  My friend is a talented artist. Anyone who lays eyes on her work recognises her talent immediately. Yet she doubts it, and herself.

In the course of our recent conversation, I was busy trying to encourage her, and tell her she truly was worthy of recognition as an artist, and she bravely shared that she has started work on a new piece for a competition. Then she faltered, awkwardly finding it hard to articulate what she was feeling, with an “Oh, I don’t know. It’s hard to explain.”

She didn’t actually need to explain. I know.

“You’re worried that this time, it won’t work. That this time, everyone will find out you’ve been fooling them all along. That you really are no good and all that work you’ve already done was some kind of fluke and you probably can’t do it again.”

The look on her face was, I think, a combination of relief and horror. “Yes! that’s it exactly! But, how did you know?”

I knew, because it’s the exact same story I tell myself every time I begin to wade into the waters of creative endeavour. Every. Single. Time. I also – as a result of extensive investigation – have come to understand that’s it a common story many (if not most) creatives tell themselves – so thankfully, I felt a little braver sharing that than I once may have.

The act of creating something is quite a mystery, and often when I’m done, it seems a tiny miracle this thing has come through my hands to the world. From which point it is very easy to fear that when I begin my next creative attempt, the tiny miracle may not show up; and I’ll be shown up for the fraud that I surely must be.

Fear and I have been having some deep and meaningful conversations lately. Deciding it’s time to write the book I’ve been wanting to write for – oh, I don’t know, my whole adult life – got Fear’s juices good and gushing.  Thanks to the writings of Elizabeth Gilbert (whose new book Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear is about to arrive in my mailbox –  I can’t wait to inhale it), I was inspired one day to try having a chat with Fear.

What I’ve learned is this: Fear wants to keep us safe, which isn’t always a terrible thing. But it can’t distinguish between an oncoming train and the light at the end of the tunnel, so it jumps up and down and tells us to stop right there, and get off the tracks because we are in danger of meeting our mortal demise.  Predictably, the closer the oncoming train – or end of the tunnel – gets, the louder and more demanding of our attention Fear becomes. And that’s the key – it wants our attention. So, these days I have a chat with it.

“Thank you for working so hard to keep me safe. I appreciate how well you’ve done that so far – I’m still here, thanks to you. You’re right; I might make a fool of myself if I send this manuscript to a publisher, I might even get some negative feedback on what I write; but you know what? I’m OK with that, because I want to live a life of adventure and courage and boldness and authenticity, and I will survive if someone out there doesn’t like what I write. I promise that I’ll create the best thing I possibly can, and I’ll give it everything I have. I promise to acknowledge you when you tell me you see danger. I need you to come along with me, but you can’t drive the damned bus!”

It’s astonishing the extent to which Fear quiets down after that. Much like a small child – all it wants is your undivided attention for a moment, and then it’s happy to go off and pull the wings off flies for a while, during which time – if you’re smart – you can get a chunk of your creation progressing nicely. Someone once wrote a book called “Feel The Fear – And Do It Anyway.” I never read it, but the title winds its way around in my mind frequently. Because that’s what creating is all about. I know I’m going to have to meet Fear head on every time, but I also know I’m going to do it anyway. Sometimes, like this post, it might take me a while to recognise Fear is what’s stopping me; but here is this post, different from the posts I usually write here, written now. If you’re reading it, that means I felt the fear and hit publish anyway.

She Could Be Anywhere – Art Journal Page
©2015 Tracey Hewitt
 For some inexplicable reason – known only to the Gods of confusion – things have been chaotic here for the past couple of weeks.  New babies, growing babies, special visitors, annual reviews, feeding the multitudes, tax provisions, weaning calves, birthdays, unexpected departures, physiotherapy, coaching sessions, and home butchering – are just a few of the things that have landed on my plate lately.
So it felt really wonderful to claim an hour in the studio and let it all pour out onto the page.
This little lovely has a background of acrylic paint and torn book pages on watercolour paper, while she herself has been brought to life with Prismacolour Pencils.
Sometimes, when I feel like I’m done with the drawing, some words will want to be added to the page.
“She could be anywhere… and she chooses here… with her heart in her throat”
are the words that fell out of the white paint pen and onto the page. (Have I ever told you how much I adore that Sharpie white paint marker pen? It’s a cracker!) And, while this face was never intended to be me; those words feel like they belong to me this week. Of all the places I might ever have ended up; I am here. I choose here. Even when things are hectic and demanding. Even when I struggle to find time for the things I need to do; much less the things I long to do. Here is where I choose to be.
Even when my heart is in my throat. I still choose here.

Try Something New

What does it say about your personality when you have an idea to try something you know bugger all about, and think “I can’t do this, but I’m doing it anyway?” I don’t know, either, but here are the results! For a long time, I have thought that adding a few videos of works unfolding and techniques in action might be fun for me, and interesting for you. I have a lot to learn, and will possibly need to relocate to an area where I can access a much bigger Internet data quota (apologies to the Aussie Government, but this NBN thing isn’t working out so well for us out here), which isn’t such a realistic idea. I think there is a lot of research and education in my immediate future if I’m to follow this notion any further. 
However… this was fun for me, and I hope you find the video a little bit interesting. It’s a time lapse look at creating a background with tissue paper on canvas for a mixed media work. The background was done without any firm idea of what the focal point might be. That realisation came a little later.

Small Wonders 

©2015 Tracey Hewitt  Watercolour and mixed media on canvas

After the addition of some acrylic paints to introduce a little colour, it occurred to me that this would be the perfect background for another challenge I’d been hankering to take on. A photo of our Granddaughter, Payton, in a rare moment of stillness, had been whispering it’s longing to be drawn or painted for a couple of months. For someone who, a few years ago, wouldn’t even attempt to draw a face or human form, because “that’s not my thing, I just can’t do them”; I’m pretty excited to have captured a resemblance to a human being, much less enough of a resemblance to a particular human for her parents to know she was the model!
 Her features were sketched in, with Derwent Graphitint pencils. These babies might be my favourite art supply. (Even as I type that, a hundred other little special art supplies are clamouring in my mind to be named favourites, as well!) These pencils – as the name suggests – are much like a graphite pencil, with the added appeal of a range of beautiful, subtle colours, as well as being water soluble. They’re not as intense as some of the other water soluble pencils out there, so the results are soft and delicious. A little watercolour for the pink in her dress and lips, a few touches of inky black for details, and she was done.
That little butterfly she’s so intently looking at? That is a perfect example of the glorious serendipity of layering materials and media. It wasn’t until after I’d drawn Payton in, that I noticed that little butterfly on an underlying layer of tissue paper, perfectly placed to seem to be sitting on her hand, and the focus of her rapt attention. Sometimes, there are forces at work when we create that simply cannot be explained. Happens to me all the time. And, it’s the best feeling. 

A Tale of Three Art Journal Pages

Just One Heart Art Journal Page
© 2014 Tracey Hewitt
One way and another, the art has been struggling for attention lately. What with plotting ways to spoil a new grandbaby, end of financial year, and a tiny change in our farm business structure (how is it that a tiny change necessitates a thousand phone calls, pieces of paper, and forms to fill in? It will forever remain a mystery…) just to name a few; the time available for creativity has been limited.
There are, thankfully, Art Journals. Smeared with paint, spattered with ink, heavy with bits and bobs glued in, and carrying no pressure to come up with anything special – just to pick up a brush, pencil or scrap of paper and slap something on a page. Aaahh…. balm for a careworn soul.
As I’m writing this, looking at Just One Heart up there, I realise there should be a comma after the word blooming. Oops! (As a self confessed grammar Nazi, that’s going to bug me quite a bit!) The page was created with Dylusions Ink sprays, assorted stencils, a few bits of paper, coloured pencils, stamps and marker pens. The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharp delivered the inspiration to have a crack at some fancy lettering – which was tremendous fun!
Worry Art Journal Page
© 2014 Tracey Hewitt

So much fun, in fact, that there was more on the next journal page. Worry is a Misuse of your Imagination. I need this tattooed inside my eyelids! Not only a misuse, but probably a terrible waste of imagination as well. Constructed in a quite similar fashion to the first page, with acrylic paints instead of ink sprays, and a hand cut stencil. Manilla folders are infinitely more interesting used to cut a stencil than they could ever hope to be in my office.
Ink Calf Art Journal Page
© 2014 Tracey Hewitt

As life’s path seemed to be walking me more and more towards cows and tractors (which I shouldn’t complain about – that enterprise kind of keep us fed and clothed), and further away from the studio, I engaged that imagination, and decided to try bringing the farm to the journal. This little guy is brushed in Sumi ink (my current infatuation) over a stencilled, ink sprayed, and scrap paper collaged background. He’s funky, but I think I love him.
 
A little story, for your information: I often add links to products, books, artists, places – pretty much anything that I think is great. Only because I use it, love it, just plain cannot live without it; and to make it easier for you to find more info about the things I’m waffling on about. No one pays me to give them a plug – it’s all about the love!

Art Journaling – It Feels A Bit Like Therapy

Does this pile of luscious goodness look like fun to you?
How about all this snowy, fresh paper and clean brushes?

Wheel that trolley out onto my back verandah and into a gorgeous autumn afternoon, and the stage is set for some serious Art Journaling fun.
A while back, I sent out feelers to see if maybe one or two people might be keen to spend a bit of time here exploring a few art techniques and materials in the safety of their very own Art Journal. While I love where I live, it is a small community, and I thought I might be lucky if I could find any takers. To my surprise and delight – there were nine! All keen to excavate the creativity they hoped was buried in them someplace. 

Over the course of three hours, they were introduced to Dyelusions Sprays, Distress Stains, stamps, stencils and all kinds of markers and pens, which they used to create some really fun backgrounds and play with lettering styles. Of course, many of them (OK – most of them) looked a little horrified when I suggested it was time they write – in their own handwriting – in their journals. When I asked how many of them hated their own writing – hands went up all around the table. What I told them in essence, was this:
 Every mark we make, every word we write, comes from us. Is us. Our essence cant help but show up in everything we do. Hating our handwriting (substitute voice, thighs, drawing, tummy, crows feet, toes, teeth…. you get the idea) is to hate a unique and authentic part of ourselves.
I know we all do it (I am guilty of it often!) But, I’m coming to believe that we have more to give when we give ourselves a break. When we are OK with ourselves and our efforts.
I reckon they all found the tip of their creative icebergs. Which makes me really excited for next week, when we’ll have a play with acrylic paints, try drawing faces and dedicate a page to our Inner Critics. I’ve named mine “Muriel” (apologies to any wonderful and beautiful Muriel’s out there…) and she can be a real shrew. Should be fun to share our stories and see the portraits these great girls create of their own versions of Muriel.
 

A Tale of Two Paintings

Farmers Fortune
43cm x 53 cm Acrylic on watercolour paper ©2013 Tracey Hewitt

Let me tell you a story about these paintings. Our local ambulance officer is a beautiful lady who grew up in Tonga. (her name is Sela, and she has the most dazzling smile I think I have ever seen). She was visiting our local exhibition last year, and admired Farmers Fortune very much, but wished it had a thatch hut and a palm tree instead of a house and a windmill. For me, this painting speaks of hot dry days, and the relative harshness of this life on the land, as well as the breathtaking beauty of sunsets and open spaces. A farmers fortune seems to be paradoxical – harsh, tough and frustrating, while at the same time full of beauty, awe and connection to the earth. Sela, saw something else. She saw the skies, seas and sunsets of her birthplace. A kind of magic danced in eyes as she stood and looked at it. Seeing her respond and relate to it so strongly is the kind of connection we artists hope for – a deeply satisfying experience.

A delightful conversation later, she commissioned me to create her vision on a large canvas (the piece I painted for her is roughly twice the size of the original).

Now, I tried earnestly to convince Mission Control that I needed to visit Tonga so as to bring a level of great authenticity to this piece. Thank goodness for Google Image searches! While restful hours on a Tongan beach remain beyond my reach for the time being, it has, in the course of creating this piece, made it’s way onto my Bucket List – the more you learn about a place, it’s appeal grows infinitely greater.

Tongan Treasures
105cm x 75cm Acrylic on canvas  ©2014 Tracey Hewitt 
 Sela took delivery of Tongan Treasures, with it’s thatched palm hut and pair of palm trees – to represent her and her husband – last week; a gift to herself for one of those birthdays with a zero on the end.

To say it was a pleasure to create for her is an understatement – creating a piece with a specific person in mind is possibly one of my favourite things to do, and Sela’s enthusiasm for it when it was delivered was infectious and delightful.

In the meantime, Farmers Fortune is still quietly and patiently waiting for the person to whom its story whispers to come along and give it a home. I’d love to know what story it tells you?

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