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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Lightening McQueen Cake – How I Did It!

As I’m sure most of you are aware, I have become quite addicted to Cake Decorating.  My mum always made me a birthday cake and it is something I have always fondly looked back on.  I used to love coming home from school on my birthday wondering what type of cake she would surprise me with.  I am trying to do the same for my children and every year I try to push my knowledge and skills to a new level.  I am mostly self-taught but I did do a cupcake decorating course at the start of the year which helped me learn some of the simple but effective secrets to getting a great looking finished product.

So far, the cakes I have made include a cake in the shape of the number 1, a pink butterfly cake, a Thomas the Tank Engine cake, a Hootabelle cake and most recently (and in my opinion my best yet), a Lightening McQueen cake for my son Ethan’s 4th birthday.

My number one tip is, not to be over-whelmed by what you are trying to create. Just try to break it down into small steps.  It is quite easy, but time consuming.

The cakes I make are covered in icing called Ready to Roll Fondant (RTRF or Fondant).  As this icing is a heavy icing, it is important to make a cake that can withstand the weight of the icing.  A good choice is a mud.  You can use a regular chocolate, carrot, butter, sponge cake (etc), however bear in mind that depending on the type of cake you are creating, you may need to insert wooden dowel supports in the cake to support the weight of the icing.

Secondly, in the past I have used packet mix cakes.  I prefer the Greens brand, but I’m sure any brand will do the trick.  However, for the Lightening McQueen cake I branched out and made the cake from scratch.  I was quite nervous about this but found it to be incredibly easy, so much so in fact I wondered why I had not attempted it before.  On the other hand it was quite sobering to realise how much chocolate and butter go into making a mud cake – not very good for the waistline girls, but delicious none the less!  Either way, its up to you whether or not you bake from scratch or from a packet mix.

I baked the cake about 3 weeks before Ethan’s birthday party.  I made a 10 inch square, deep pan mud cake.  By making the cake in advance, I took the pressure off myself having to do everything at once.  I baked the cake one afternoon, allowed it to cool, then wrapped it in several layers of cling film and popped it in the freezer for when it was needed.  A mud cake will keep in the freezer for about 2 months so if you’re really keen to can start prepping your cake very early!

Earlier in the week leading up to Ethan’s birthday party, I covered a 12 inch cake board in black vinyl.  Remember to buy a bigger cake board than the cake size if you want the board to be on display, otherwise buy the same size board as the cake and you will not see the board at all.  I then added little white squares in a checker pattern in 2 lines on either side of the cake board to give a racing feel to the cake board using paper that was plain white on the top with adhesive of the back.  All I had to do was measure out the squares, cut, peel and stick them to the pre-covered board.  Once again, you can prep this early to save time later on.

On the Thursday morning before Ethan’s party, I took the cake out the freezer before heading off to work.  This way it would be defrosted by the time I was ready to work on it that night.

Fondant does not stick to cakes in the same way as other icing does, so you need to prepare your cake in one of 2 ways so that the fondant has something to stick to.  One option is to mix some jam with water and brush this over your cake, then apply the fondant.   The other option is to use a product called Ganache which I buy pre-made.  You can make it yourself (I think it is basically melted chocolate and cream) but I figure why bother, it’s just going to take you more time and effort.  I also feel that ganache gives a smoother finish to your cake so that when you apply the fondant it also looks smooth (no lumps and bumps).

The following are some of the items I used to make the cake:

Tools:             Fondant:              Ganache:

Steps for Carving your Cake:

Step 1:
To make the shape of the car, grab a toy Lightening McQueen and draw around his shape on a piece of paper.  Then, enlarge this shape on a photocopier until you get the size you want your cake to be.  For me, this was 300%.  Lightening McQueen would be about 25cm long.

Step 2:
Place this paper on top of your cake and using a sharp, straight edge knife, cut out the shape.  You may need to use a smaller knife to edge out some of the finer details.  Set the leftover cake aside to use later.

Step 3:
This is up to you, but I like to take the top crust off my cake so that the cake is completely flat on top.  Having a flat base makes it easier when it comes time to putting the cabin part of the cake on the base on the car.  I find it best to use a serrated knife (eg a large bread knife) to remove the top crust.

Step 4:
Using a ruler, measure the width of your car base.  From memory, mine was 14cm.  Using the leftover cake, cut a section that is 14cm wide by 14cm long.  This piece will become the cabin of the car.  (This is the larger piece of cake in this picture).

Step 5:
Cut a sharp angle to make the windscreen of the car. I started my cut 2cm in from the edge on the top of the cake and angled my knife down to the base of the cake.  The top, flat part of the cabin was 6cm.  Then I angled my knife at a more gentle slope to shape the back window.  Repeat this step on each side of the cabin to slightly edge out the side windows.
Finally cut 2 long, triangle shapes to resemble the wheel arches and headlights.  I forgot to photograph them here, but you can see them later on in the ganaching photos.

Step 6:
You have now finished carving the cake and can start ganaching the cake.  Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop out a couple of balls of ganache into a microwave safe container and microwave for a few seconds until the ganache turns into a peanut butter consistency.  Using a palette knife, spread the ganache evenly over the cake to the desired thickness.  I aim for no more than a 5mm thickness.  First ganache the base of the car, then place the cabin and wheel arches on top and ganache those.

Step 7:
The last step in ganaching and carving is to dip your palette knife in hot water and apply it over all of the cake to smooth out the ganache.  Then allow the ganache to set on the cake for 24 hours.

Applying the Fondant and Details

Step 1:
I purchased the red fondant for the car pre-dyed for $14.95.  You can buy plain white fondant for $9.95 and dye it yourself using gel dyes, however as these cost around $5 each and it takes more time and effort to dye the fondant, I figured it was easier to buy the pre-dyed fondant.
Remove the fondant from the foil wrapper and knead it until it achieves a dough like consistency.  I use a product called “The Mat” to knead the fondant on.  This costs about $40 and I strongly recommend purchasing it if you are going to decorate cakes regularly.  Fondant becomes sticky as you knead it, however it will not stick to “The Mat”.  However, if you don’t want to outlay this money, you can knead it on baking paper and apply a small amount of corn flour to your hands if the fondant is sticking to them.
Once the fondant has reached a dough like consistency, flatten it with your hands, then roll the fondant like you would dough with a heavy, non-stick rolling pin.  I use a marble rolling pin.  You can use any other sort but may need to apply corn flour to prevent sticking.  Alternatively, when using “The Mat”, put the second layer of plastic on top of the fondant and roll it out to a 5mm thickness.  As Lightening McQueen was 25cm long, 7cm high on each side and 15cm wide on top, I needed to roll around a 30cm circle to cover the cake.


Step 2:
Now it’s time to place the fondant over the cake.  If using The Mat, carefully peel back the top layer of plastic.  The fondant should stick to the bottom layer of plastic.  Pick up this piece of plastic and position it over your cake centrally, fondant side down.  Then, carefully begin peeling the plastic away from the fondant, making sure the fondant covers all of the cake.  Take your time doing this so that the fondant does not tear or crack.
If you are not using the mat, wrap the fondant loosely around the rolling pin, then unroll over your cake.

Step 3:
Allow the fondant to rest for a while so that it can stretch gently to the curves of the car.  You can lift it up, pull it and stretch it gently in places as required.  Once you are happy with it, rub your hands all over the car to fully press the fondant into the contours of the car.  Then use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to trim away the excess and wrap in cling wrap to avoid the fondant drying out for use later.

Step 4:
Use the back of a knife or a quilting tool (cake decorating tool), to make an indented outline of the bonnet and windscreen.

Step 5:
Next, roll out some white fondant and cut out in the shape of the windscreen.  Use the original toy as a guide to the shape you need to cut.  Brush a small amount of sugar glue or water to the back of the fondant to help it stick and gently press into position.
Roll out some more red fondant and add some tylose powder to this fondant to make the fondant become hard.  Cut into the shape of the spoiler.  Insert wires into the spoiler and connect it to the cake at the rear of the car.

Step 6:
Use some more white fondant to shape out the headlights and mouth.
Add some blue gel dye to a small amount of white fondant and roll into a small ball.  Flatten gently to make a circle shape and position on the windscreen as the eyes.  Repeat this step with black fondant for the pupil of the eyes and again with white fondant.
Dye some white fondant yellow to make the indicators on the headlights.
On e-bay I purchased a sheet of edible icing images for $10 that contained the Rusteze logo.  I cut this image out and stuck onto a rolled circle of white fondant with sugar glue, then stuck this onto the bonnet of the car.  An alternative to this would be to roll white fondant and using a yellow icing pen (you can buy these at the supermarket for a few dollars), write Rusteze or Happy Birthday or even your child’s name on the circle.
I also used these edible icing images to make the number 95 with lightning bolt which I stuck to the sides of the car.  Alternatively you can roll yellow icing and cut out a lightning bolt and numbers 9 and 5.  This is what I did to make the 95 of the roof of the car.

Step 7:
Roll out black fondant and cut into a triangle shape to make the side windows.   I then cut this in half to resemble the front and back side windows.  Stick to the car with sugar glue.  Repeat for the other side.
Add silver caschous to the bonnet to resemble the rivets of the car.
Next, thickly roll more black fondant, cut into circles for the wheels, and stick to the car with sugar glue.  Roll more black fondant, cut into 4 strips and stick with sugar glue to the resemble the rear window of the car.

Step 8:
Dye some white fondant grey, roll and cut into circles to make the inner part of the wheels.  You can also roll thin strips of this to edge the windows to give them some more dimension.  Again, stick to the car using sugar glue.
Using an edible ink pen, draw details on the inner grey sections of the wheels.

Step 9:
Now your cake is complete.  I used a large pizza slide to lift the cake off the baking paper and onto the pre-decorated cake board.  I was beyond happy with how this cake turned out.  It was hours of work, but spread over several days it was not so bad.

As I put Ethan to bed at the end of his birthday party, he said, “Mummy I love you and thank you so much for making my special Lightening McQueen birthday party”.  This made all the hours of work well and truly worth it!

Baking and Cleanup: 2 hours
Carving, Ganaching and Cleanup: 1.5 hours
Fondant, Details and Cleanup: 4.5 hours
TOTAL = 8 hours

Cake Ingredients $10
Ganache $6 (only used about 1/3 of container, which is $18)
Red Fondant $15
Edible icing images $10
Cake Board $3
Black Vinyl: $3 (for a meter)
Self adhesive white paper: $3
TOTAL = $50

I already had blue, yellow, grey and black dyes, white fondant, wires, edible ink pen and caschous so I did not add these to the cost of the cake.  I also did not add the cost of tools such as “The Mat”, my rolling pin, circle cutters and palette knife which I use on every cake.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Old Codger – Distinctly Different

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of the The Old Codger Old Tawny Port as a Thank you from the Baron for being a chauffeur to many a DTWC night. And I have to say that this port stands out as one of the finest ports I have tasted to date. It is not to say that I haven't enjoyed the past ports, it is just that this one has been distinctly different to all the other ports I have tasted.

Interestingly enough this port has a little story behind it and where the name 'Old Codger' came from which for me adds a little more excitement to the port as well.

"My first job after completing high school was working in an old cellar in the Barossa Valley filling and stacking port barrels with an “Old Codger” (old man). Each day the two of us would finish work with a glass of port and share a few stories. What a civilised way to finish the day!" Wayne Dutschke as quoted from The Old Codger Old Tawny Port site.

This Port has been blended using a Solera system. The Solera system is quite interesting as the finished product ends up being a mixture of varying ages. Many different type of products can be solera aged some of which include Sherry, Madeira, Port wine, Marsala, Mavrodafni, Muscat, and Muscadelle wines; Balsamic, Commandaria, and Sherry vinegars; Spanish brandy; and rums. Wikipedia explains the process best "In the solera process, a succession of containers are filled with the product over a series of equal aging intervals (usually a year). One container is filled for each interval. At the end of the interval after the last container is filled, the oldest container in the solera is tapped for part of its content, which is bottled. Then that container is refilled from the next oldest container, and that one in succession from the second-oldest, down to the youngest container, which is refilled with new product. This procedure is repeated at the end of each aging interval. The transferred product mixes with the older product in the next barrel…The output of the solera is the fraction of the last container taken off for bottling each cycle."

The PORT Experience:

The Old Codger – Old Tawny Port
Region: 80% Langhorne Creek, 20% Barossa Valley, South Australia
Grapes: Verdelho, Grenache, Shiraz, Palomino, Frontignac and Muscadelle
Size: 750mL bottle
Alcohol: 18.5%
Winemaker: Wayne Dutschke
Retails Currently: $21.99AUD

This Port has a rich ruby colour to it. It has a hint of complexity and spice on the nose. To taste it is thick, but not like a syrup, with red fruity flavours including cherries and plums. It finishes with a hint of oak. For me the balance, for a lack of a better word is 'perfect!'. This port places itself 'perfectly' between dinner wine and a dessert wine, where the sweetness does not overpower the flavours at all.  Without a doubt this has to my favourite port to date.

So please – Join me next time, as we share in "The PORT Experience"
Na zdrowie!

Two fingers

Note: I also found a link (not sure how reliable it is), but it lists grape varieties. I found sometimes it has helped me to understand the flavours of what I am drinking by researching the grapes themselves. 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Distant Thunder Whisky Club Feature Article

Image from Beer and Brewer Magazine Website

Be sure to check out the Beer and Brewer Magazine Issue 20 Autumn 2012. It has a special article featuring our very own 'Distant Thunder Whisky Club'.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Three Fish

Over the past months I have admired many pieces of art – saying stuff like ‘Oh my gosh - that looks so hard to paint” & “No one paints on walls & ceilings like Michelangelo does”. I have also painted pieces which I’m not proud of and have started to educate myself more about painting – mainly from books that I have borrowed from the library - eventually I do want to take an art class  ! … but until then I will continue my personal research (e.g. trial & error).

I borrowed a book called “Acrylics workshop” by Phyllis McDowell, DK Publishing from the new Chatswood library. I examined the various techniques in this book - including how certain objects are sketched from different perspectives and how colors are used to build depth etc.. I found this book quite good as it is SIMPLE to follow and the paintings illustrated are great for practicing with ……. So I copied one of the artwork illustrated in this book and this is how it turned out:

Three Fish

Note that I used acrylic paint in “Three Fish” but the original artwork was painted in watercolor.

“Three Fish” is a bit different to my other practice pieces as I have been painting a lot of abstract stuff - generally I have been mucking around with new paint colors & brushes. I guess I got a little bit more serious with this one as I wanted to follow stricter painting rules e.g. which brush to use to give what result, use of glazing technique. I also focus hard on developing the form of the individual carps to make it resemble the original painting.

Overview of how I choose to paint “Three Fish”:

Painted background
Lightly sketched carp shape
Painted bottom left fish
Painted right fish
Painted top left fish

I showed the painting to 3 different people and asked them which fish they preferred most and funny enough they all like different ones!

One more thing…  “1001 paintings you must see before you die” by Stephen Farthing, is a great book to flip through. It’s like a painting dictionary! I wish it only came in A3 size??

The Spinner

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sparkling for More

One of the members of the "Married to the Whisky club" organised a "Sparkly Afternoon" get together over the weekend. It was naturally a success and we all had a wonderful time. So a BIG THANK YOU to "The Spinner" for organising it all.

The afternoon consisted of us ladies being dropped off by our other halves and of course a few OR MORE glasses of Sparkly, Chatting, Sunshine and the best part Relaxation and just Enjoying each other’s company.

The 2 Sparkling Wines/Champagne of note – that we had generous samplings of, were the "Yellow Glen Perle" and the "Bollinger Special Cuvée". Fantastic wines, but I will come back to these a little later on.

Coincidentally prior to our sparkly get together, Dan Murphy's was having another one of their workshops for none other than Sparkling Wines & Champagne. I have to tell you I was extremely excited that this was to take place literally the day before. The reason I was so excited was probably because I have drunk Sparkling Wines/Champagne on occasions however I had never really taken an interest in the nose, flavours, finish and so on.

During the course of the Dan Murphy's workshop, The workshop leader (Mr M for blog purposes), who might I add is just fantastic, took us through the wines one by one and unleashed lots of valuable information about each and every one. But before I unveil some of Mr M's helpful tips and knowledge, I thought it best to clarify a few things that I had been confused about.

What is Sparkling Wine?
This is generally a wine that has large levels of Carbon Dioxide creating the bubbly effect. This can be made from natural fermentation in the bottle, tank or through injecting Carbon Dioxide into the wine. Sparkling Wines are predominantly white but they also have Sparkling Rose's and Red's which all vary from dry to sweet. The varieties that indicate whether the sparkling wine is sweet or dry are as follows:

Brut – Means it is dry, however there is little to no sweetness
Extra Brut - is as it suggests, it means it is extra dry. That is dryer than the Brut.
Extra dry – Is the middle range of dry and are generally just a bit sweeter than brut wines.
Sweet or Demi-Sec – Is basically your sweet to medium sweet range.
Dry or Sec – Means it is dry

Sparkling Wines also come in Vintage or Non-Vintage. This, as with most wines, ports etc. simply means that the grapes used come from a single year or are the blend of multiple different years.

But what is the difference between Sparkling Wines and Champagne? 
Apart from the fact that only the wines that are produced from grapes within the Champagne Region in France can be labelled "Champagne", there is no difference. Basically it all boils down to the region & country it is produced in.

I was very curious as to whether one would sample Sparkling Wine in the same way you would for normal wines? That is the "swirl, the smell, the taste, the finish" and so on. The answer is yes you do. However there are a few other facts which are important to selecting a good Sparkling and Champagne and thanks to the Dan Murphy's workshop I can pass the knowledge I learnt from them onto you.

So here are some things to look out for when you are purchasing or sampling a Sparkling Wine or a Champagne:

• The optimum temperature for serving and sampling Sparkling is at 11.5ºC. However in the end the ideal temperature boils down really to how you the individual enjoys drinking it.
• The warmer you serve sparkling the more enhanced the flavours of the fruit and so on become.
• Sparkling wines are the hardest to define what flavours are within. This is due to the amount of acid in the wine.
• The white mousse (or the foamy bubbles as I like to call it) around the glasses edge indicates the quality of the wine.
• The smaller the bubbles are and the more in the line also indicates the quality of the wine.
• It is best to pop the cork slowly as opposed to the fun alternative of letting the cork fly into the air. Apart from wasting good wine when it overflows from the top, it also means you minimise the chance of the bubbles going flat.
• Ensure your glass is exceptionally clean as a dirty glass can flatten the sparkling also.
• The best way to chill a wine (semi fast) is to wrap a wet towel around the bottle and place it into the freezer for a while.

So now that I have a bit more of an understanding about Sparkling Wines I would like to share My Sparkling Wine Experience.

Image from Dan Murphy's website

Yellowglen Perle
Vintage: Non Vintage
Brand: Yellowglen
Region: Australia
Size: 750ml bottle
Alcohol/volume: 12.0%
Retails Currently: $18.80AUD

This sparkling is quite soft and fruity. It is pale in colouring with a hint of strawberry on the palette. It finishes nicely with a lemon, citrus tang. Overall this was really enjoyable to drink. It did not have the sulpher or overpowering carbonated/bubbly effect of some sparklings.

Image from Dan Murphy's website

Bollinger Special Cuvée
Brand Name: Bollinger
Varietal:  Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier
Vintage: Non Vintage
Region: Champagne France
Size: 750ml bottle
Alcohol/volume: 12.0%
Retails Currently: $74.99AUD

This Champagne is pale gold in colouring. It is dry and acidic with toast like flavours. It has a lot more complexity than the Yellowglen however I found it difficult to identify any fruity flavours within it. This is no fault of the wines, merely my lack of experience in wine appreciation. The mousse was very thick. Overall though this was enjoyable to drink. It is one to definitely save for that special occasion.

So please – Join me next time, as we share in "The Experience" – Na zdrowie!
Two fingers

Monday, 19 September 2011

Dislike to Like – Niepoort Ruby Port

To date I have only reviewed Australian ports. However my next port, 'Niepoort Ruby' is from Portugal – Ports Origin.

Niepoort is located in the center of Vila Nova de Gaia. The vineyard has been divided into two locations for Harvest. Quinta de Nápoles where they produced the still wines and Vale de mendiz where they produce the port wines.

Quinta de Napoles was purchased by Niepoort in 1987. The Quinta includes nearly 30ha of vineyard. The vines are at an altitude of 180-250m and the age varies between 18 and more than 70 years. Located at the left margin of the Têdo river, this is where Niepoort makes their red, white and rosé wines. The former museum in Vale Mendiz was purchased by Niepoort in 2003 and converted to a vinification center for the Niepoort port wines.

Under European Union Protected Designation of Origin guidelines, only the product from Portugal may be labelled as Port or Porto. Elsewhere, the situation is more complicated: wines labelled "Port" may come from anywhere in the world, while the names "Dão", "Oporto", "Porto", and "Vinho do Porto" have been recognised as foreign, non-generic names for wines originating in Portugal.

What is Ruby Port?
Ruby Port is classified as the entry level for port, however this does not necessarily mean it is the cheap off cuts. Ruby port is made from a select few grapes which give the Ruby Port its red colour. These grapes include Toriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cao, Tinto Barrocca and Toriga Francesca. It is aged in bulk for 2 to 3 years using a blend of grapes from varying vintages and is bottled 'young'.
After fermentation, it is stored to prevent the oxidisation process from occurring and to preserve its rich red colour. Often the wine will be blended to match the style of the brand to which it will be sold. The wine is fined and cold filtered before bottling and does not generally improve with age. For this reason it is best to consume immediately.

The Niepoort Ruby Port wine originates from low yielding old vineyards in the Cima Corgo Region of the Douro Valley. The grapes are predominantly trodden in Lagares, prior to ageing in large wooden vats at their lodges in Gaia and bottled with an average age of 3 years.

The PORT Experience
of Niepoort Ruby

Produced: Niepoort (Vinhos) S.A.
Region: Douro
Soil Type: Schist
Vines: Cima Corgo
Average Vine Age: Over 30 years
Cast Varieties: Touriga Nacional,Touriga Franca,Tinto Cão,Tinta Francisca,Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz and others
Vines per Ha: 4000 - 6000
Way of Harvest: Hand picked
Fermentation: Lagares/Foot Treading
Ageing: Large old oak casks
Residual Sugar: 102,3 g/ L
Baumé: 3,6
PH: 3,66
Total Acidity: 4,13 g/L Tartaric Acid
Size: 750ml bottle
Alcohol/volume: 20%
Closure: Cork
Retails Currently: $32.99AUD

I was very excited to have been given this Port and could barely wait to open it and explore the flavours within. Coming from a design background, I had often admired the dark bottle contrasting against the soft scripted logo and only hoped that one day soon I would get the opportunity to try this port... And I did.

However I must confess, I was not impressed with this Port to begin with. In fact I disliked it so much that I cringed at the thought of drinking it. This may have been due to the fact I lack the tasting experience of a variety of Ports especially quality ones or it may have been something else entirely. I found it had lacked the sweetness that was contained in most of the ports I previously tasted and that it was quite overpowering on the palette. It resembled more of a young wine than Port – Well what I had identified the flavours of a Port to be. I know that sounds ridiculous, but in the end it basically boiled down to the fact that I was expecting something different. I continued to persist on drinking the Port as unpleasurable as it was for me, waste not want not I always say, only to soon discover I had come to embrace the flavour.

How did this happen? I had sat down and commenced telling my father how this port was too intense for my Palette, poured him (and myself of course) two-fingers worth into a glass and we began to sample the port. To my surprise I found the Port drinkable, bearable and quite nice. Curious as to how my opinion could change so dramatically overnight, I soon came to realise that the coffee I had just consumed altered the flavour to a more pleasant and enjoyable one. From this day on with or without coffee I had experienced the flavours in a whole new light. Amazingly enough, all that was required was a mind change and the flavours having been altered by the coffee did just that.

The Niepoort Ruby is Dark Red in colour with light aromas of spice and dark fruits. The flavours are rich in cherries and blackberries and is quite smooth like a wine. The finish follows through smoothly from the front of the palette to sit at the back for a brief period of time.

What I got out of this tasting experience is that if you find you do not like something once, twice or even more try and try again. Do not stick to the same routine or foods, try and experiment a little. Cheese, chocolate and coffee are just some foods and flavours that can help neutralise or enhance flavours.

The worst that can happen is that you still dislike the flavour, the best that can happen as it was for me here, is that you will enjoy and embrace in the new found flavours you've just experienced.

So please – Join me next time, as we share in "The PORT Experience"
Na zdrowie!

Two Fingers

Monday, 23 May 2011

Beginning To Paint

I have decided to do a bit of painting – this came to me while I was watching the movie “Never Let Me Go”. I have completed my first painting and I wish to share this painting and experience. I chose to start painting with Acrylics – as I’ve read it’s easy to use and if I wanted to I could add some water and do some watercolour painting as well … that’s if I get awesome.

So last week I went to eckersley’s in North Sydney and brought some real BASIC acrylic painting materials (see Note 1) to get me started:

1. acrylic painting pad, A4 size
2. pack of 5 acrylic paint tubs (with a bonus no. 2 paint brush!) (see Note 2)
3. set of assorted acrylic brushes
4. basic palette, and
5. a couple of painting knives

I didn’t want to purchase anything more hardcore than what I did at this stage, as I’m hoping to get familiar with the vast amount of art materials that is available out there so I can source them .…. online.

So this is how my first painting looks like:

Blended Dolphins (see Note 3)

With the help of the ‘Colour Mixing Guide’ - I wanted to use this piece to try out all the colours I have, so as you can see, this painting has all the basic colours in it!  I blended different colours together, creating dark and light sections using different strokes to develop a sense of what I like. I found I enjoyed painting with long strokes and blotches with my brush. I like creating different shades of colours to try and produce varying levels of depth. The black and white colours alone really stood out in my painting, which I am fond of, but since I’m unable to control how I work with my colours at this stage, I am going to use these two colours in moderation.

I will definitely be painting more in the coming weeks. I am hoping to do paint on canvas in a couple of months.

The Spinner

Note 1: All the painting materials that I bought were made by Reeves.
Note 2:This colour pack contains all the primary colours I needed to get started – Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Phthalo Blue, Brilliant Red and Mars Black.
Note 3: Naming a painting is interesting, almost like naming your child.