Monthly Archives: December 2017

Commissions and new web site

Wellanbah (Commission) Ink and water soluble crayons 40 x 40cm

It has been an incredibly busy and exciting lead up to Christmas this year. I now have a website, where you can buy my original art works or prints of your favourites. It is something I have been wanting to do for ages, but not had the time (or energy) to undertake. So have a look around it is at To compliment it I have a Facebook page Karen Bailey Studio and I have renamed my Instagram account the same. I have most of my social media organised (or as much of it as I plan to drive at the moment), of course I now have to keep up with it all.

My other exciting development is that I am taking commissions. These will be in three different formats

  1. Mixed media paintings of your home and garden.
  2. Coloured pencil drawings of your favourite bloom
  3. Mixed media painting of your favourite travel or holiday photo.

I advertised before Christmas in my local community Facebook page hoping someone might be interested, but not expecting much. The support I received was amazing, over 100 likes and three commissions. I was soooo excited, then of course I panicked, all the horror stories I had heard regarding commissions flooded into my head and what if the drawings didn’t work out!!!! But the people who wanted the commissions were really lovely and I had such fun. It was challenging, but I enjoyed drawing different things.

The commission I have included here was very different from what I usually do. Painting a autumnal landscape was fun and I channelled some Vincent as I did those poplars. It worked out well after a few problems with the shadows. I wasn’t dark enough, then I went overboard and went too dark and had to lighten again. Thank goodness the water soluble crayons were forgiving. (Thanks Julie for putting me onto Neocolours by Caren dAche).  The colours are actually a lot closer than these two photos indicate below, just shows you the difference scanning and monitors can make to the images.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, I certainly did, spreading the celebrations over two days.  I spent Christmas day at home with my sister and had the most tranquil of days, walking the dogs, cooking a feast and pottering in the garden.  Boxing day was our family dinner and another lovely day spent with everyone, lots of people, dogs and of course food and drinks.

Christmas breakfast under the grapevines on a lovely sunny day. 

So please pop over to my website and have a look, it is still a work in progress as I am making it myself, but I hope you like it.


Rose Completed

Pierre de Ronsard Rose (359 x 318)

Pierre de Ronsard is complete. I am pleased with the outcome, it conveys the story I want to tell about the subject.

I was discussing this with a friend the other day, the importance of giving your interpretation on the subject and that there needs to be a conversation between the artist, the viewer and the subject.

Personally I like to refine my subjects and stylise them to bring out the beauty I see in each bloom and to blow up the image. It is about finding the beauty in everyday scenes and looking closely at the small things around you. It is part of my philosophy of consciously looking for joy. It is too easy to see what is wrong, bad or ugly in the world and it is what is reported about the most. You don’t need to journey to find beauty, it is there all around, you just need to take a moment, be still and really look. If I can share these moments or make someone take a closer look at their environment, then I feel that I have achieved something as an artist. Actually if I can share the joy I find then I am happy.

I hope this rose gives you some joy and brightens your day a little.  Pierre de Ronsard is available for sale on my new website either the original or as a print.  Go to and check out the portfolio pages.


Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas ‘Fire and Ice’

I have been working on this drawing for awhile now.  Adding different backgrounds to my flower portraits has been an idea in my head for some time, but I have had trouble trying to figure out how to do it.  I have tried before with smudgy type backgrounds (technical term there), but I have never liked it.

The idea for this background came to me when I was photographing some sweet peas last year and was looking at the great pattern of the stems and tendrils and thought they would make a good background, especially if I did them in grey scale.  This also gave me the chance to use my water soluble graphite sticks.  I always love the chance to play with new art supplies and it may even justify their purchase!

Although I am fairly happy with the result, I am not completely sure that this is the answer.  The sweet peas are cut out and are just sitting on top of the background, so nothing is set yet.  When I am not sure of a picture I have a few techniques I try to get another perspective on the work.

  1. Put the whole thing away and look at it again in a few weeks.  Not having seen it for awhile gives me fresh eyes to look at the work again to see if I really do like it or not.
  2. The opposite of this is to stick it on the wall where I can look at it for awhile to figure out what is not working.
  3. Taking a photo of the work is my third way of figuring out what is the problem, making it black and white can help, especially if you do not have enough contrast, as this is hard to tell sometime with coloured work.

If you have a different technique please share it with me as I always need help.

Last weekend I went back to one of my favourite nurseries, Lambley Nursery just out of Ballarat, as they had a garden tour and you could visit their sweet peas that they grow for their flower seeds, over 100 varieties.  The sweet pea I drew is from their garden last year and is called Fire and Ice.  I took a few photos, (over 70, but who is counting) and have included a few of my favourites for your viewing pleasure.

Might be a second Sweet Pea picture….