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Posts tagged ‘Moffat Beach’

Pastel Sketch of Moffat Beach

Moffat Beach from “Visit Sunshine Coast”

It is a beautiful hot sunny Spring day here on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland so hubby, son and I set out to Moffat Beach for a morning of sun, sea and – for me – sketching.

Rather than drown, I drew

I’m not the most buoyant in the water and while my son snorkelled and my husband scuba dived with his local dive team, I retreated to the safety of the sand after my customary five minutes of panic-breathing and treading water not much deeper than my height.  It was actually a lovely calm ocean today, sad for the surfers, but I was happy. It meant I got more than my ankles wet.

I’ve never been a strong swimmer and in Australian oceans I really don’t feel at home, unlike in the balmy Mediterranean or Aegean Seas of Europe.  However, rather than put on a brave face and pretend I’m better than I am, I am at least honest these days.  So when the scuba divers came back with tales of what they’d seen several metres below, I admitted how I’d only just managed to get my face submerged once.  Of course my teenage son added painful details immediately, and with a little too much glee for my liking, so honesty was really the best way to go, rather than trying to save face.

I came into my own though, when I whipped out my sketch book and proudly showed the water babies that my own strength was in capturing, rather than immersing in, the sea. The sketch got a few raised eyebrows, approving gestures and “You did that just now?”, so I think I regained some ground that had just been swallowed up in the watery depths of my swimming!

The sketch

Pastel sketch of Moffat Beach

Pastel sketch of Moffat Beach

I used pastel pencils that I bought recently from a local shop, and a small sketch pad that fitted nicely into my beach bag.

When we chose our spot, it was in the quieter end of the beach with one or two couples around, but not too close.  I had an unimpeded view of the headland and happily got into testing the new pencils.  I quite liked them, they were easy to use in the environment and didn’t need anything other than a few clean finger tips to smudge.

However, I’d got as far as sketching the sky and smaller tree when my world became crowded with one family of three generations perching on the rocks right behind me, and another couple who stuck their sun brolly into the sand right in the centre of my line of sight.

Photo of Moffat Beach with a sunbathing neighbour.

Photo of Moffat Beach with a sunbathing neighbour.

I felt like getting angry, then remembered I didn’t actually have sole rights to the beach, so chose to ignore it all and got on with sketching.

Occasionally I heard members of the family behind me saying, “that looks so realistic”, “I wonder if she teaches”, “she’s got the colours just right.”

The Leo in me quite liked the admiration, so I turned and smiled and we ended up having a nice chat.  Their feedback on the colours I was using was actually helpful, because the sun was so bright, it was hard to tell what was dark blue and what was dark green.  It was also encouraging when they asked if I did this for a living and did I teach it.

When it was time to leave so the divers could gain access to their towels etc (I held the car keys), the family told me to keep painting and using my talents.  I took that as encouraging advice from the Universe, wished them a wonderful day and trudged back over the sand to the diving team with my son.

Review

For a sketch done in an hour or less, with a new medium and in glaringly bright light, I am happy with the little painting.  I sprayed it with some matt fixative so it won’t smudge and am considering taking my pad along tomorrow when we go to the beach again.

Beach Wall hanging is finished!

At last, after showing you the felted first stage of my latest wall hanging, I’ve worked on it and now (apart from putting a backing onto it), it is finished and I thought I’d share a bit of the process for anyone interested.

First of all, here’s the finished wall hanging:

Moffat Beach wall hanging finished

The colours are actually brighter in real life than in this photo, and I’m very pleased how it has turned out.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a “Can I do this?” moment, but after feeling very pleased with how my Mt. Coonowrin wall hanging turned out, I began this project with more than a little trepidation. Madame Doubt kept whispering “was the first wall hanging a one-off?”, “will I stuff up this next one?” in my ear and it took several weeks before I got up courage to begin, and lay the first tufts of blue sky.

Once it had been wet-felted though, I was happy that I have got a bit of a knack to doing this, and despite having to shave the bottom half of the project, could see in my mind’s eye how I would complete this work.

How I added detail

I needle felted a lot of detail, including fixing up shadows, adding silk noil to the sandy walkway, and grass details.  Toe make the She Oak trees look more realistic, I embroidered leaves on top of the felted leaf colour, which I think adds depth.

I didn’t like how the yarn had felted into the sea.  It had started off with a lot of blue in the variegated colours, but after wet felting, all I could see was maroon.  I spent time needle felting over these threads with various shades of blue wool and also turquoise silk tops.  Much better.

The waves were added by needle felting thin pieces of selvedge edges from tissue silk that I cut off before making scarves. By cutting off these denser edges, it ensures the wool rovings migrate right through the edge of the scarves.  Plus I get to use the selvedge edges for other projects, like the waves in this picture.  It is delicate enough to give that bubbly frothy white caps that form on the tops of waves as they approach the beach.

To finish, here’s a collage of pics, working up to the finished piece.

My next two are going to be smaller, longer thinner wall hangings – abstract in design but reflecting beach colours, and perhaps shells.

Anyway, here’s the gallery:

I would like to acknowledge Gusha Visual Media who have inspired my latest work with some of their photos of the Sunshine Coast. In particular, Moffat Beach, which is so beautiful, I wanted to try and capture the scene in felt.

I had to shave my piece of felt … and eat toast!

I know, that sounds a bit bizarre, but let me explain.

With the upcoming art exhibition to be held in Beerwah in October, the pressure’s on to make more felt wall hangings to exhibit.  I already have Mt. Coonowrin, which I have documented previously on this blog, but one’s just not enough.

Today was the day to make another one.  I’ve been researching my subject, collected my materials and all I needed was a free weekend and when I woke up to the clear bright day this morning I couldn’t wait to go home and get stuck in.  When I say ‘go home’, I’m not a party animal who woke up in a strange house this morning after a drunken rave the night before.  I have recently taken on another part time job dog-walking and pet/house sitting.  It’s great because it is a rewarding job and I can fit it in around my other life commitments.  I’m house sitting at the moment, thus ‘go home’ meant leave the doggie for the day and do my felting at home.  Not to mention spend some brief, welcome time with hubby and son.

The toast incident

Arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed, I breezed in only to meet my teenage son in his pj’s yawning a “Morning Mum” with half-closed eyes.  This was followed by the sound of an electric toothbrush buzzing in the bathroom – hubby was making himself personable!  While I waited for him to finish his ablutions (don’t you love that word?) I hovered in front of my computer noticing a yellow stick it note in the middle of the screen.

“Your dinner for tonight’s in the fridge so you don’t have to eat toast, you touchy thing! … Luv U”

Aw, what a sweetie, he remembered my melt down last week when, stressed at juggling an extra job, trying to organize myself, emotionally detach from hubby, son and my own dog, bring in the washing and get to my next assignment before sun down so I could feed a farmyard of chooks (Australian for ‘chickens’) and ducks, I forgot to take dinner with me and had to revert to toast.  I’m a bit of a foodie, so toast was just not the same as dinner.

The next afternoon while pretty much repeating the previous day’s schedule, I managed to throw a guilt trip at my son who was taking for everrrrrrrr to get some chore done that is his job anyway but which I wanted him to do before I left for the evening.  I had good reason for that at the time, but can’t for the life of me think what it could have been now.  That’s how important it was in the overall scheme of things.

“Oh for goodness sake, hurry up!!!  It’s because I was rushing yesterday getting your uniform ready, that I left my dinner in the fridge and had to survive on toast!”

At which point hubby stuck up for son from his vantage point in the office around the corner…

“Don’t pick on him just because you weren’t organized!”

I was feeling so bereft by that time, because oddly enough, despite loving going on holiday and always wishing to be living in some other, more exotic place – which my assignment was – I was feeling desperately homesick and wanting to hug son, hubby and dog all at the same time and tell them I loved them.  I’d so looked forward to coming home that afternoon, so I could spend some warm and fuzzy time to make up for my transition into Agent Aannsha Dog Sitter.

Only instead of Happy Families, I’d managed to create a minor drama where my son was crotchety for me guilt-tripping him and hubby was rightly taking his side.  A silent tear escaped the corner of my eye and I opened the fridge to take last night’s dinner for tonight with me and escape before I began sobbing.

Too late, I choked one back as I opened the fridge door.

“What’s the matter?” Baz stood behind me quicker than I could take my things and run.

Well, I blurted it all out in a blubbery blobby mess that caused a puzzled look to crease hubby’s face.  He didn’t understand me.  He never does when I melt down.  To me it is perfectly natural and totally understandable that inner tumult can result from a few changes in routine and everything that comes with it.  But to Baz, I had turned into an alien and he couldn’t fix a problem he didn’t have any reference for.  God love him.  I do.

He hugged me warily and I tried to get it together and explain logically what was going on for me.  I couldn’t, so I wiped my salty face on his jumper and pulled away still watery. But I had no time to wallow in self-pity, I had animals to feed.  I left via my son’s room where I sincerely apologised to him for being mean. He is such a forgiving fellow and hugged me with the force of ten men. Then with a lot still hanging mid-sentence, confused and a tiny bit raw between Baz and me, I got in the car and drove off.

Later that night, I texted Baz only to find that Baz – a man whose longest text to me yet had been “ok” – had texted me:

“Still lu ya, U touchy bugger”.

The most adorable thing a bloke could tell his missus.  I melted and in an instant the whole drama dissipated.

…So, the message on my pc was in reference to the toast drama.

What about having to shave my felt?

After Baz came out of the bathroom all squeaky clean, I asked him if that meant I had dinner for tonight.

“You do, it’s chilli con carne.”

“You’re a dream, thank you.”

Big hug.

Half an hour later, Baz off scuba diving, Luke chilling in his room, I set to making my felt painting.

Why I had to shave my felt

The subject of today’s felting is of an entry way north, along Moffat Beach – one of the beaches in Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, near where I live.

Pic of Moffat Beach thanks to Caloundra Tourism website

The ocean is blue, the sand gleams white in the sunshine, and there are sandy walkways to the beach through sea-grass lined with wooden railings and shaded by trees that are very pleasing to the eye.

At this point, I would like to acknowledge Gusha Visual Media who have inspired my latest work with some of their photos of the Sunshine Coast. In particular, Moffat Beach, which is so beautiful, I wanted to try and capture the scene in felt.

I beganMoffat Beach sky sea layout with a piece of cream pre-felt 60cm x 60cm as the base.  Starting with the sky, I laid several shades of blue, and thin white clouds, then laid the water in deeper turquoises.

Moffatt Beach full layout less treeThen I laid the white strip of beach and followed with the brown-sandy colour of the path, which I underlaid with brown alpaca to add depth.  After that I added the greens of the grasses. Next came the wooden railing and the shading.

Moffat Beach full layout less yarnHappy with the overall background, I put in the tree using black mixed with white and ochre, and short whispy pieces of yarn for the leaves.

Moffat Beach full layoutTo finish the work at this stage, I added the silks and yarns to give interesting detail and lustre to the overall painting.

As my feet were very sore – that’s a story for another day – I laid the work on a 60x60cm canvas on the lounge coffee table so I could sit for the couple of hours it took to do the layout.  I wasn’t sure how much wool would float away as I carried the piece over to the kitchen bench for felting, but I walked slowly and it all remained intact.  Once the canvas was removed it sat on the bubble wrap, on a towel to catch the excess water.

After soaping, rubbing, rubbing, squeezing, heating, rubbing, heating and rubbing some more, the picture was finally felted to my liking.  I rinsed the soap out, final rinsed with a bit of vinegar and spun it in the washing machine.

As I ironed it flat, I noticed that where the brown alpaca had been laid down, it had migrated through the other colours and the long fuzzy wool filaments covered the bottom half of the painting obscuring the other colours and details!  I forgot to take a photo at this point, because I was concentrating on fixing the furry mess!  After trying to snip it away with scissors and realising that would take all afternoon, I got a fresh disposable razor from my hubby’s stash and proceeded to shave the wool off the painting!

Despite being worried about losing the underlying detail, and messing up the finish of the felt that was left, I knew I couldn’t leave it furry, so shaved away.  I removed a very large handful of alpaca and was happy to see the rest of the painting was intact!

Re-ironed, I was satisfied that the painting was pretty good and after hanging it out to dry overnight, I’m looking forward to adding the finer details with needle felting and embroidery tomorrow.

However – Note To Self – only use alpaca in a felt painting if the painting is of a teddy bear or something else that requires a fuzzy finish!

That’s definitely a tip I’m going to put in a Felting Book when I get round to writing one!

Anyway, here’s the felted wall hanging of Moffat Beach, awaiting embroidery and needle felting.  Felted size is approximately 50cm x 50xm.

Moffat Beach felted

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