Paradise in a paisley project

Unfinished paisley paintings, next step: details with my black Pitt pens.

Meanwhile, in the real world, our roses are out. These are my first three from my highly scented rose bush, Aotearoa – beautiful. Which always makes me feel very summery and optimistic. And so does painting paisley, which I have been working on every morning on awakening, much to the chagrin of the dog, who does not like his morning routine changed.

I am mad for paisley, and it is my theme for this year’s Christmas. In fact in December, I hope to complete thirty-one A5 sized paisley paintings in thirty-one days.

That’s because my art materials, although greatly diminished by our move to Wellington, are now sorted and well stored, thanks to SHEDding and at the same time, Organising from the inside out by Julie Morgenstern. Everything is at my eager-to-make-art fingertips.

So what fun! Having an excuse to paint more paisley! As my giftmaking e-book is liberally illustrated with my own gifts, and so are some of the peripherals, I am creating more and documenting my processes (less for the e-book, which is more or less finished, more for the extras).

I intend for paisley to be on EVERYTHING this year. My creative juices are working overtime to figure out how to have paisley on the most unrelated items imaginable.

I am a sucker for paisley – if I find fabric or an item with paisley, naturally I will avoid passing it up where possible. I’ve even dreamed of paisley. And now I’ve started finding paisley everywhere, even in potatoes.

Potatoes grown by my good friend, Brian (who doesn’t even know of my paisley obsession)

The one constant in paisley seems to be the swirly shape (see potatoes above), and even that can vary. Short and fat or long and thin. So paisley can be so different, and every item of paisley I create is definitely unique, even though at the beginning of the process I aim for them to be based on a standard design/colour range. Easier said than done – once I get started on one, my mind is wandering all over the place and so is my paintbrush or pen, and I just don’t know how it will end up.

I have always been an artist who adapts to my circumstances, or rather refuses to let adverse conditions prevent me from creating. Even when my daughter was a baby, and as a family the three of us moved to Perth. I had been used to painting on large canvases, and suddenly I was not able to arrange those in my life, so I worked with what I had, which were A4 sheets of paper and black pens. I created little booklets with those, which could be folded into little pocket-sized artworks. Maybe unimportant in the larger scheme of things, but to me, that I could still make some form of art was significant.

So while I have always loved paisley, it wasn’t until I found myself in Wellington, that my circumstances allowed for me to begin drawing them. Which I did. Lots and lots of them. Mainly just with black pen, but occasionally in colour. I had a set of best quality Pitt pens (smudge proof, waterproof, etc etc) in various sizes, which is perfect for paisley, with the exquisite little mysteries I like to draw in. How wonderful. “Art saves lives” is the title of my book and was the statement of my own yahoogroup – amidst the post-earthquake disruption, there can still be art.

And now we’re back, it is art indeed. In full-colour, as a celebration of life and scented roses, that’s the life we are living right now. And all expressed in paisley. This is paradise, and isn’t life endlessly fascinating?