Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Painting Lailah

This is Lailah. She is a German Shorthaired Pointer who belongs to a friend of mine. This photo was taken when Lailah was a puppy.

I decided it might be fun to paint a portrait of Lailah from the photo. It's been years since I attempted to paint anything 'real' (ie living or from a photo). I'm more of a geometric/graphic artist, and I generally have a comic-like style... so here's what it looks like so far.

I started by constructing the shapes and filling in colour using acrylic paints. I used a fairly small canvas (300mm x 300mm).

The I started adding in shading and details. It's not finished yet, but even at this point, it smacks of my comic-style. That in itself puzzles me, because after all these years, I still paint exactly the same way I did when I was a kid. Over excentuted features, bold colours, hard lines... I found a pastel drawing I did about 15 years ago whilst looking through a bunch of stjuff at my Mum's recently... and looking at this next to it, you can easily see the similarities.

Incidentally whilst painting Lailah, it reminded me that I have always been greatly influenced by Australian artist John Perceval (above, Boy with Cat 2). And I think it really shows, even to this day! His style is something I immediately identify with - his hard brush strokes and bold colours combined with emotion and comedy have always struck a cord with me. You can see Boy with Cat 2 at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra (I highly recommend a look if you get the chance!).

The hardest part of painting Lailah is the facial features - particularly the eyes. So I've gathered a few images above of painted dog eyes for inspiration as I finish the painting...

Backyard Renovation: Day 8

The walls are growing!

Strange Stays

What a coincidence... is running a feature today called 'No room for the ordinary' by Brian Johnson (Sunday Mail/QLD) about unusual hotels. The story features photos of none other than Hotel FOX and a bunch of other interesting hotels.

One that particularly stood out was Das Park Hotel in Austria (above). The hotel is constructed entirely of re-purposed drain pipes that sit outside in a park. Outside, all amenities including toilet, shower, minibar, cafe, etc are available in the public space. Whilst inside, a small but comfortable sleeping area awaits - double bed, storage, lighting, power, blankets, pillows and a sleeping bag.

Not only is this concept hotel interesting in terms of design - Das Park Hotel uses a 'pay what you wish' system. This means a night at the hotel costs as much as you can afford - or want to pay!

Book a room at Das Park tonight!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Backyard Renovation: Day 7

It's day 7 and the backyard is taking shape. I think by tomorrow afternoon, we'll almost have complete masonry walls! And by early next week, the walls will be finished and the roller door installed.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My dreamy bedroom

Hotel FOX

I think it's about time I mention one of my favourite places in the world. Ever.

Hotel FOX
Hotel FOX began in part as Project FOX - a component of the launch campaign for the Volkswagen Fox (a VW "mini-car"). The project gathered together 21 international graphic designers, urban artists and illustrators to transform an otherwise simple hotel in central Copenhagen into the world’s most exciting and creative lifestyle hotel.

I've posted 2 of my favourite rooms below - but I highly recommend you check out the Hotel FOX website here for more photos of the other 59 rooms and many more hotel spaces including hallways, bars and communal areas.

Room 214: Two Swans by Friendswithyou

Room 121: Sleep Seasons by Australian design collective Rinzen

Speaking of street style...

... check out this entry into Real Simple Design on a Dime, as posted on Decor8, designed by Nathan Egan. Whilst initially quite attracted to the graf and bright colours, it became clear when I viewed the close up that in was more like a Monet - pretty from a distance, pretty ugly close up.

Decor8ing Oz

Decor8 is featuring a list of blogs from Australia. It's a great list... I was, unfortunately, left off. I haven't really been writing this blog actively for too long so I guess it's to be assumed.

The list is well worth a look... although I do think it's more slightly more crafty than style/design.

Check it out here...

And can I just say in response to Vogue Living Australia's story this month on 'Street Style' that I've been harping on about 'Street Style' as a form of interior styling for years... I even wrote an email some time ago to Holly from Decor8 about the style, wondering if there was a name for it (which apparently there was not). In any case, I think it's interesting that it's suddenly popped up in Vogue, even though it's a style I'm sure has been established for ages.

Off yer head - call for entries

The Head Case exhibition will kick off the combined International Conference on Alcohol and Other Drug Related Brain Injury and Brain Injury National Conference in September 2008. The exhibition and conference aim to raise awareness of brain injuries in all forms, including alcohol and drug related.

Head Case
is currently calling for exhibition entries - the brief can be found here. Selected artworks will be chosen for the exhibition and will be sold to raise money for Brian Injury Australia (with 70% of the sale price going back to the artist and 30% going to Brain Injury Australia).

It's a great cause so put your thinking cap on and use your brain!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dryspell Gardening

A while ago I wrote about a new show called Dryspell Gardening which airs on the Lifestyle Channel. This is a show that serious gets better and better every episode (check out the website to watch/download the screened episodes).

In episode 5, Brendan Moar (well known Australian garden and landscaping personality) transforms a suburban family backyard into a beautiful living space. But that's not the best bit - what I liked most was the inspiring vertical succulent garden (see photos below).
As a kid, I was obsessed by cacti and succulents, and after seeing this episode of Dryspell Gardening, I'm inspired to take everything I ever learned about growing succulents and apply it to finding a way to use plants in our backyard (once it's renovated).

You see... we have two dogs who pretty much destroy everything! Which has basically left us in a position where we can't really have plants or even furniture that is made of soft materials (ie wood or plastic). So regular gardens/plants are really out of the question because they would end up ruined. An alternative would be to hang plants. I have always really admired the work of Patrick Blanc who specialises in vertical gardens (see photo below).

Unfortunately... I'm a pretty bad gardener. Actually, a completely hopeless one. I pretty much kill everything - except cactus! So I thought a vertical garden was pretty much out of the question. That was, until I saw episode 5 of Dryspell Gardening and the awesome succulent vertical garden they made...

I think I might try to make one...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How much paint do I need again?

Check out the totally awesome paint calculator at LivingEtc. I'm hopeless at figuring out how much paint I need - so this little tool is really handy!

Day 3: Backyard Renovation

Day 2: Backyard Renovation

Tea break!

Another hot new item at IKEA

TROLLSTA side tables come in yellow or black. Now available at IKEA in Australia for $159 AUD! Fingers crossed they bring out their hot outdoor range for summer here...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hold on to your TROLLSTAS!

TROLLSTA is now available at IKEA in Australia! HOW AWESOME! Now... if only I knew where I could fit it...

Day 1: Backyard Renovation

A few shots from the first day of our backyard renovation... what a mess!

Backyard Renovation - Before Shots

These are some photos of the backyard before the renovations. It's pretty easy to see why we wanted to renovate the backyard so badly!

We're putting in paving, a driveway and a roller door for rear lane access, a new brick fence/wall, painting... the works. I'm so excited!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Going crazy (paving)

Our backyard renovation starts tomorrow.

We're starting with new masonry fences, driveway and roller door. Because we can't have much of anything in the backyard (meaning that anything we do put out their needs to be 120% dog-proof) and a tight budget to work within, finding a way to be creative as well as practical is a bit of a challenge!

One challenge has been to work out what kind of paving to have laid out there. And whilst trying to find the right paver that looks good and is ok for a driveway, working to the budget and being creative all at once, I think I might have found a solution that kills all those birds with one stone (pardon the pun!) - crazy paving.

Otherwise known as random paving, crazy paving uses the off-cut or leftover stone or slate in a random or crazy way. Because the pieces are small and random, they work really well for driveways (no need to worry about cracking - see below). Not only that, because the style uses leftover or broken pieces of stone/slate, it can apparently work out much cheaper than using full tiles...

Not only that but I think it looks absolutely beautiful...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Rounds

I can't begin to tell you how jealous I am of this desk, belonging to Senseless Acts of Beauty.

2 Modern is giving away some cute cushions! Find out how to win...

Design*Sponge is remixing an old favourite of mine - an Ikea Frosta stool. Click here for full instructions on how to make your own DIY decoupage stool.

Monster Munch found these gorgeous typography rugs by John Pour Home. I want one!

Oh Joy! Loves the 2008 Osborne & Little collection as much as I do.

Colin & Justin

"When it comes to design flexibility, Colin and I are like a pair of Russian gymnasts!"
- Justin Ryan (Colin & Justin, How Not to Decorate)

If you haven't seen Colin & Justin on any of their TVs shows including 'How Not to Decorate' or 'Home Heist', you're missing out. Whilst I don't always agree with their design sensibilities, their humor and flamboyance make them so much fun to watch. Check out 'Home Heist', currently screening on the Lifestyle Channel (FOXTEL).