Saturday, 19 September 2009

NZ Spec-fic Blogging week

Here is a link to the main page.

Because speculative fiction still doesn't get the recognition it deserves in New Zealand and because there are so many people out there doing so many exciting things - and so often they don't know about each other.

And what I've been doing - writing more and getting feedback from Critters - an on-line critique forum for writers of science fiction and fantasy.

I particular, the useful tips I have had recently: - think about the whole ecosystem in the workd you create - how did it get an atmosphere if there is just one life form?
Be specific in explanations - my 'biologist' should be an exo-biologist or xeno-biologist. These specifics also create the different world.
Like any good fiction, the characters should drive the story. Make them rounded, have a back ground, some foible, family or associates?

How did I get into writing speculative fiction? Well to start with I didn't set out to write that specifically. I've always loved words, quirky plays on them but only started writing a little when I was into my fifties having always read. A lot. To start with, I wrote a bit of life writing, shrot stories did a fiction course extramurally through Massey University here in New Zealand - excellent!! - .

I joined a writing group. This was another very fortuitous happening, around the same time as I did the Massey course. And I did that course by default almost. I had been doing a BA by drip feed - one or two papers a year - and started with German. BY stage three it was a bit too time-consuming without being in contact with German speakers. My interest in short stories and the relationship between life, country and the stories of an era had been awakened with some of the German writing we studied. So as an alternative major I looked to English. I did a literature and a writng course. Then they brought in the fiction writing course. Wonderful. I have now done most of the fiction writing papers they offer.

Then I found my stories often had a quirkiness. Not what I thought of as science fiction, nor as fantasy. Actually, truth be told, I didn't really describe them at all. Until people asked - well, what do you write?

Speculative fiction sounds more learned than quirky stories.

So, that's what I write. Mostly.

As I said, I didn't choose to write it but I think my muse is a gremlin. Something alien anyway. Something happens and a little voice says, that's what Thorians do.

Or I start to describe a scene and find it is an alternative life-style. Then I find just how alternative it is as I watch the characters interact or the characters tell me about just what does go on there.

One of my best moments is where I had two characters meet for the first time. I had had to invent a second character to give the first one some information about what had been happening. And both were going to go the direction the main character had aimed to go all along.

I was sitting there typing away, copying down their conversation and suddenly they decided to go where the secondary character wanted. A whole plot turn. Exciting. I was in the zone where I had to go back to the computer to find our what was going to happen next.

Well, to anyone reading, I wish you happy and exciting writing. And reading. There's lots of great NZ fiction out there, some published, some just waiting to be.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Ent Wife Waiting

Gosh. Is it that long since i updated? I have been busy with work :( , visiting Mum on the way home after work , plus she had a week in hospital. Nothing serious, she's 93 and still living by herself and hadn't been eating enough although there was food there. We now have two caregivers, one for an hour in the morning, another in the afternoon, and the meals on wheels still comes at lunchtime.

Recently I went to the Science Fiction fantasy convention in Auckland. - Conscription.

There was a 3-day writing course with Julie Czernada from Canada - absolutely terrific. Then the three days of the Con. I stayed at the hotel there for the last three nights and it was worth it.

In conjunction with the Con were some competitions. I entered the writing one and the 30D model one. I spent a month of weekends doing my model - not the whole weekend but a lot of time. Neither my story nor the model were placed but I loved doing it.

Close-up of base showing papier mache on top of the wire support

Half done before the addition of leaves, paint, surrounds.

Finished - note Pukeko, fantail, lichen for hair, paper leaves on actual twigs.

Rabbit behind Ent wife

Side view - 'toadstools' are the cores of kauri cones.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

ATC demo final pics

#1 Added some red/orange colour pencil to trees and top field.
#2 Added orange and green colour pencil to grass and some orange to the trees. Not sure if you can see it or not.

ATC Demo Part 3

#1 Thought it need more interest so with mixture of blue, red and sepia added brambles, fence and lines on closer field
#2 Added sepia ink in trees and touch on hill, then green while still wet with sepia
#3 Thought it needed more colour so did sepia wash over trees and red and yellow in patches on near field. The red in far field is what separated out of the purplish mixture.
#4 Touch of green on hill and purplish mixture in foreground.

ATC Demo part 2

Trees can be done with black or other coloured inks, drawn in or done with more blue ink. If doing a wash with black which is a waterproof one, you can do a wash in light blue over the top.
#1 Distant hill with Blue ink wash
Yellow ink wash with red added to trees while wet and sepia ink added to fields
#2 Top right -Black ink wash on trees and wiggly lines on hill for clumps of growth. Thin yellow wash over trees, lower sky and hill.
#3 Yellow wash on trees with touch of red.
Distant hill with blue wash.
With the purplish mixture of red, blue, sepia did ploughed fields on damp paper. As the inks have different spreading ability, test on test bit of paper.
#4 Bottom Right Thin wash of raw sienna acrylic paint over trees, lower sky and foreground. After it dried, blue drawn on wetted paper for trees and foreground.
Let dry.

2 closer pics of #1

ATC demo part 1

This is how I did some of the ATC's for the exchange on Wet Canvas. Even though I tried to get them similar to the ones I did for the Exchange, they never turn out the same the second time.

heavy water colour paper. 300 lb is best for less buckling when wet. Where you have a rough and a smooth side, smooth is perhaps better for ATC size.
Ink - for the skies in these I used Parker Quink blue because it separates into blue and ochre.
Calligraphy acrylic inks – red, yellow, sepia and green.

Preparation. I put on art masking fluid for the shape of the trees and horizon. I drew pencil lines roughly where this was going to go so you can see but this is not necessary as the masking fluid is yellowish. Wait until dry.

Then I dampened the back of the water colour paper to stop curling. On the front I wet the sky area, some of these were wetter than others. Some had more ink on than others. Where a heavy dab of ink was in a wet area – (not damp – wet )- it was able to spread and this left the yellow-ochre tinge. I helped the spread in some cases by tipping this way and that.
Don’t try to paint cloud shapes just dab along the top and perhaps in a couple of other places. In # 3 I drew some lines on the right and dabbed a little in the middle. The other sky areas and clouds are formed by the paper not being uniformly wet.
Try to keep the application of the ink on the top of the picture so it is thinner towards the horizon with the spread. You can spread a thin wash of blue over the masking fluid tree trunks. In #4 and #1 I didn’t because I will wash with another colour. Wait until dry.

Rub off masking fluid. This will also mostly rub out any pencil lines.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

more ATC's

I've done more of the ATC's as part of the 25 swap through miniature art on Wet Canvas.
16 done.

I first cut out them out of heavy - 300 lb - watercolour paper that is smooth. Working so small the texture can interfere with drawing. Sometimes by accident I do it on the not-so-smooth side.

Then I usually sketch in pencil and either go over it in ink or paint direct. If I draw it in ink I then rub out the pencil lines before adding colour.

Before posting out I use a spray-on varnish as and watersoluble mediums are easily damaged or smudged.

Part of the fun is thinking up captions.

Pansy loved dressing up in his favourite flower colours.

This Chinese horese loves green tea

Nameless Horses out looking for names

Grey Horses Dream in Colour.

I was surfing the net earlier. I go to a blog I have liked, or stumble upon one, then I click on their favourite blogs and sometimes every one appeals, others it is a long and winding path, like waiting fo rthe big wave, puddling around.

This morning I came across an interesting one and added it to my favs. Cra*tiva's Blog.

Others I save to my fovourites. So many artists out there. - visual artists and word artists.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

week 4 Percheron and ATC's

Week Four was Percheron but I've missed weeks five and six. Busy doing ATC's and visiting Mum in HOspital. She is home again now but my sister and I still need to go and check on her everyday to make sure she's eating
Percheron in Ink and coloured pencil.

One of the ATC's I'm doingfor the 25 of ...? swap through the web site in the miniature art forum.
I'm doing horses (go figure!) and showing some little known facts. This one is Rainbow horses who travel on roads of gold.
In ink and water-soluble wax pastels.

This ATC is Happy Appy in his element. In ink.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

horses breed per week

Continuing on the challenge.
Third week is Icelandic

Coloured pencil again

Sunday, 18 January 2009


New page in note book - stimulated by the WC thread and the challenge to myself to do more horses and improve my drawing to be able to render them accurately.

Head is in graphite and foal is coloured pencil. Thanks to Ainslie G and Cathy Sheter for the images.

Friday, 16 January 2009


Starting a new notebook for horse art.
So far I have gessoed several pages in varying colours and completed one page.
The idea has been floating around in my head for a while with doing different horses for the ATC swap and then gelled when i saw WetCanvas had an equine forum now under the animals and wildlife.

There are some lovely styles and horses there and I'm goin gto try to copy the different styles and hopefully hone my drawing skills too.

1st page -