Monday, 29 April 2013


I painted this portrait for my friend Camille's daughter Billie, on her second birthday. Casper and I went to her party on Saturday and had such a beautiful afternoon. It was uncharacteristically warm and Casper, Billie and the other kids just played for hours and hours. There was cake and some beer and a fruit platter, all in all a really great, relaxed party, just the way I like it. Happy Birthday lil' BB!

Saturday, 27 April 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: Watching me paint you.

Joining in with Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: Blue-eyed baby.

Playing along with Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Today I was interviewed by my good friend Eloise. We talked for a good 40 minutes and then I got out some of my old sketchbooks and paintings for her to photograph. I took some snaps for my own reference as well. This one surprised me, I had completely forgotten about it! 

I have been thinking about maybe writing some beginner's water-colouring classes up, maybe like a "painting school for beginners" sort of thing. Would anyone out there in cyberspace be interested in that?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Stencil Printed Tights DIY

I'm a dress and stockings kind of a gal, I haven't really worn pants regularly since I was about 14 and when I do, it's purely for utilitarian reasons. It is because of this that when Autumn rolls around I get to wear colourful, printed, wooly or textured tights under my dresses. This can be a source of frustration for me sometimes as tights are the only thing that can't be whipped up on a sewing machine inexpensively (or seamlessly).

Today I bought a pair of red opaque tights and while I picked them out, I was actually wishing for the floral printed ones on a rack next door. The printed ones looked very sheer and rippable, not to mention they were expensive. So I bought the slightly less extravagant red stockings.

Then when I got home I said to meself, I said "Wait a minute, there is no reason why you can't have both the thick, slightly less extravagant stockings and the floral legs. You can print them on the kitchen table!"

So I stuffed cardboard down the legs of the tights and made a stencil of a flower with cardboard and a rotary blade. I used a water based brown fabric paint and a sponge to apply the print in an orderly pattern. I think I will make a smaller stencil next time, and be a bit more higgelty piggelty with my printing.

I flipped the cardboard over, printed on the other side and dried the paint with my hairdryer because I am impatient like that. Then I heat-set the paint according to the manufacturer's instructions and they were ready to wear! Just like that. 

I feel like I have had an epiphany. I will never need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on printed stockings ever again, and neither will you!

Rainy Days

Just thinking about how pretty my son is and how much I love wintery, rainy days inside. 

Photo credit: Steve, taken last year on a beautiful, cold beach holiday at Cape Paterson.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: Serious.

52 portrait series inspired by Jodi, also on my Tumblr.

My favourites from last week are over at Megpie. A cutie on a swing, a cousin called Luna and a grinning picnic baby- what more could you want?

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Animated Collage 2

For Screen Machine Magazine Issue 2

Friday, 12 April 2013

Thursday, 11 April 2013

In Hindsight

I know you're going to read this and think I'm crazy, but most of the time when I finish a painting, I generally won't like it. I have this inability to see it objectively and I feel like my guts are falling out every time I look. Now I bet you're saying "Well if she hates her work so much why does she put her paintings up on her blog/facebook/instagram/tumblr/insert social media platform here?" 
Allow me to assure you, I like my work... in hindsight. This can be a frustrating affliction as it means that in my head, nothing I am doing presently is ever any good and everything I did before was cooler than anything I could muster up now. 

The 52 portrait project has been really good for this though, because most of the time I paint Casper's portrait on the Friday or Saturday and it goes online before "hindsight" kicks in. This is an uncomfortable feeling, I feel exposed like, well, my guts are falling out and everyone can see.

The painting above is such a good example of this, It is a discarded study from the bath portrait that I absolutely HATED until I saw it about an hour ago in my photo library. I just can't believe it is the same picture. I love it now.

My motivation comes from wanting to move forward, make something better than the last, to document and save, to work it out. It takes me a few weeks to see my work properly. Often I have to put it away and not look for a while but when I look again, the image surprises me. I'm glad to be able to share my work with people through my blog, it makes me uncomfortable and I've just realised that's a good thing.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013."

Casper: Dreaming.

Playing along with Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.

My favourite portraits of last week are from Little Sleep in all of their scrumptiously messy, woollen, food-covered glory.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Doll's Quilts

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I have been making doll's quilts lately. Textiles and the history of domestic arts has been an interest of mine since I was a very small girl. One of my first experiences of sewing was making doll quilts with my Grandmother. Cutting out squares and arranging them on the shiny white linoleum floor of her sewing room. Then carefully pinning and stitching the seams in rows, the patchwork would come together all at once like magic.

I was told in a critique last Thursday that I should begin to think of my textiles work as "art", as well as my paintings. I think playing with scale will help me to arrive at a point where I can place importance my own stitching. To do this I will continue to make doll quilts over the next few weeks. I was thinking maybe of using some more intricate patterns and maybe even some tiny paper piecing. Maybe after all of that I will attempt a HUGE quilt!

I know it's not connected, but I had to include this photo of Casper drinking Milo and milk on our front step, he's so cute when he gets special treats like this. I just love the look on his face!

I am very excited to unveil tomorrow's portrait in the morning, it's a step wayyy out of my comfort zone.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Papier Mache Dollhouse

I made this dollhouse last year out of papier mache and never got around to sharing it until now. It lives in Casper's bedroom but often gets dragged through the loungeroom/kitchen/bathroom.

There is something so romantic about a tiny house for dolls. I remember playing with my dollhouse for hours and hours. Casper LOVES all of his (our) dollhouses- we have three. This one is especially good for playing with as he can turn it around and move it very easily because it's so light. I painted the house with acrylic and wallpapered the attic room with decorative paper. The floorboards are real wood, cut very thinly into sheets.

I don't think I can stop acquiring dollhouses. I have been making some doll quilts lately, so clearly I need houses to put them in. If anyone has any stories about dollhouses or doll quilts  I would love to hear them!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Casper's Festival Fashion Guide

We went to a small, family friendly music festival over Easter. It was so much fun, and surprisingly enjoyable having a two and a half year old with us for four days of camping, music and hangovers. Casper received many compliments on his outfits and so I prompted him to share some advice with you all.
So it is with great pride that I present; Casper's four simple rules for fruitful festival fashion.

Rule one: Always wear obnoxiously fluffy (faux) fur coats, they lend an air of sophistication (not that I need it).

Rule two: If you get dirty, own it, I wear my snot-trails with pride. Face paint is so 2012.

Rule three: Balloons must be colour co-ordinated with outfits at all times and gumboots should generally be worn without socks.

Rule four: If your photographer loses momentum, take control, get trigger happy and show them how to let the magic happen. See? I can even make sheep poo look glamorous.

*Last photo ©Casper Hoppen 2013

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Woollen Quilt

Today was cold and rainy so I hunkered down and finished hand quilting this big woollen patchwork blanket that has been in the works for about a month now. I am really pleased with the finished product- it is folded at the end of our bed as I type, waiting to warm us through the cold night.

When I started making this quilt I wanted to play around with tone and let the colours form their own relationships by being as desultory with my stitching as I would allow myself. I chose a limited palette for the patchwork and then 7-8 different coloured yarns for the actual quilting. It is a double bed size and very warm with only two layers. I used materials exclusively from my fabric stash and it took me about 25 hours to complete.

I think I am going to make some similar blankets this Winter. I love to mindlessly hand-stitch in front of a movie or a television series, especially in colder weather with the quilt draped over my knees, keeping me toasty.

Monday, 1 April 2013


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week."

Casper: Playing quietly by the dollhouse after a big Easter weekend.

Joining in with Jodi. Also on my Tumblr.