Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pomegranate - a quick one

I have been long lost in admiration for people like Julian Merrow-Smith whose wonderful archive of his daily painting of daily delights in Provence is testament to his talent and discipline.
In that spirit, I thought to do the occasional very fast oil painting of simple subjects that appeal to me... minimal tweaking and overpainting... an effort to get a fresher result, and to learn to 'see' better, first go.
I doubt I will ever be able to do a painting a day!
I prepared a dark background ..another new experience.. I am never that organised.... and found that to be very helpful and satisfying. In this little painting ...10"X 12", on linen, I am happiest with the plate. And guess what? It was the only bit truly painted without further tweaks. Lesson to self.
Barack Obama is about to make his victory speech (Wednesday2pm our time). My prayers and best wishes go to all my American family and friends for this new era in your wonderful country.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunflowers for Kate

We had some lovely friends from England, (now living in France, lucky things) to stay last week.

We were not the best of hosts. One crook back (P) and a weird lurgy (me) were unwelcome visitors at the same time. But it's always a spur to get out and about, and show off our lovely, very different part of the world. I wanted to show Meg the Fremantle Arts Centre which is a great resource for learning, teaching, exhibiting and community events, housed in a magnificent and historic limestone building.

In the bad old days, it was used as a lunatic asylum for women. You could be incarcerated there for the slightest of reasons, menopausal, PMT-related, perhaps - your husband / doctor just had to write a convincing enough letter. There is misery in those walls!
But today it is a thriving and happy place.

I took some photos of a little display of those whizzy-dizzy mobiles-on-sticks, planted into a little garden. They were made from old plastic water bottles, and looked so amazing, whirring around in the breeze.

This is what the accompanying sign says.

"Sunflowers painted by students of Fremantle Primary School.
Mobiles made using recycled materials by Michael Alvares.This project celebrates the 30th anniversary of the gift of 43 artworks by
Kathleen O’Connor to Fremantle by the artist’s family in 1978"
Cathy Gatland was doing something with children in her church, using these mobiles, and I hope she'll enjoy the images.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

VSD for October A Trio of Pears

A trio of pears: I think they might call them that in a restaurant.
I was not going to enter a sketch this month, having had a week inconducive to creativity, but hey! - a lazy wettish Saturday afternoon, a lovely photo of three pears with interesting shadows and suddenly I am on a mission.
Thank you Belinda (aha, see my linking skill!) for the irresistible subject.
Mine is watercolour, 12"X9", on Arches rough 100%cotton 140lb.


Thanks, Cathy, I think I have got it. Never looked at those symbols before.
I will try.
My sister Cathy is a fabulously talented artist. Everyone should see her work.
Gillian leads a busy life with her young family and hardly ever picks up a pencil. When she does, she knocks your socks off.
Oh this is easy.
I owe links to lots of people... especially Claudia and Kari and Laura.
Now I will link away with the best of you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cobweb in the leaves

Laura has had to say goodbye to her old cat.
Thinking of her put me in mind of cats we have known and loved, and who have graced us with their presence.
Cobweb was a pretty calico cat who loved to sleep in a pile of dry leaves, where she was well camouflaged, and from which she would emerge smelling all sweet and leafy.
She was our eldest son's 12th birthday present, and, gratifyingly, always loved him the best, tolerating the rest of us, probably because of our competence with a can opener.
I did this painting of her for our son.

Tagged and mystified

Great Scott! I have been tagged by a Scot!
Thank you to Claudia Massie, ( very talented young artist, whose blog everyone should visit, as her Scottish landscapes are throat-catchingly sublime, (and often brrrrrr). I am honoured to be nominated by Claudia, but a very poor choice as I still can't work out these links.
When I "copy shortcut" to her blog (and some but not all others), instead of her name, up comes a long blogger number. Can anyone help? How do I just get the name to highlight and link back to her? GPH you gave me some steps earlier, but I can't find them, and I don't have my children here to lead their poor old mum through the techno fog. Also , if I put in say Matisse, how do I get this to link to Matisse-world out there?

Anyway, having been tagged, I am obliged to follow the 'tagging' rules, namely:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

OK here are 7 facts. This is very difficult. Easy to find 7 facts about husband, children, grandchildren, incredibly talented nieces and nephews, similar dogs, but moi ? Oh no!
1. My best ever dancing partner was our last dog.
2.As a kid I could have lived on peanut butter and golden syrup, spread thickly in just the right proportion on bread (no butter). Would love to indulge now, but the waistline forbids it.
3.Favourite artist varies, probably Matisse or Diebenkorn (this week).
4. Currently reading Julian Barnes "Nothing To Be Frightened Of" ... his amusing musings on death, which sounds macabre, but does not reflect a problem here .. except I like J Barnes .
5. I do not always follow the rules.
6. I can really hold a grudge.
7.When I travel I seem to come home with lots of photographs of trees.

Weird enough?
Now for 7 poor people to tag on.
I don't think I will do this (see fact number 5.)
But please do refer to my rather short blog list for some I admire , as well as

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I have been working away on this, and it has changed a few times ... whizzing round the colour wheel a bit while I try to remember and find the warm golden light and lavender shadows of Vichy! The lawns were certainly not so lush and green! There are still lots of rough bits... lady's left hand and duster, bags, bike, etc., but I am 'over' it for now. I always wanted it to be 'broad brush', so should not have to tweak detail, but I am SO inconsistent, so the background is more fiddly than it should be, if the faces are not described!
Overall, I have to say I like the jolly nature of the scene, though it is a bit of a caricature.
I like stripes very much, and a grid, and am pleased to have incorporated these.
I THINK I have achieved a bit of a triangular composition, though the apex could be better emphasised (I want it above the red head). And I think the white bits provide a bit of dance and movement.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 blue bottles

Cathy G put a great image of 2 blue bottles on her website, and I thought they had a certain queasiness about them.

So I could not resist trying to paint one of the many stinging coelenterate 'bluebottles' washed up on the beach at the weekend. I brought one up to the house in a bag full of sand, as I didn't want to be stung ... the main stinging tentacle is some feet long! I put it to wash in fresh water with salt, where it immediately shed a huge quantity of blue stuff. It was already dead, I'm sure.

Not in great health anyway, because after trying a couple of watercolour portraits, it smelt so bad I had to go and pop it and bury it!

For the sake of the record, but not posterity, here's a photo of my terribly bad efforts, and the model. Not such a great idea after all!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Virtual Sketch Date for September Tree Peony

Well here is my effort for the September VSD. It's a bit of a quick one, just for fun; I think I will feel rather embarrassed when I see everyone else's magnificent watercolours, pencil drawings and other creative works.
When I saw the photo, I somehow could not get past the idea of an Art Deco effect, with just the three colours (pink, 2 greens, and black and white. So I've reduced it to fairly geometric elements.
I was thinking enamel, (plastic/metal/glass/ a piece of jewellery perhaps).
In my sketch, I used oil pastels to get the colours I wanted, on fairly rough paper, which means I do not have quite as clean an edge as I'd like. Anyway, here it is - rather rough and ready!

It's Saturday here, though quite early in the morning. I've posted my VSD attempt now, as we may go down to our beach house at Yallingup for the rest of this long weekend, if we can get organised. It's a beautiful spot, in the SW of WA, near the famous Margaret River wineries, and with stunning forests and coastline. It's been hard to get there at all this yearand now is a lovely time, especially as spring wildflowers are still in bloom, and there is a good chance of seeing migrating whales close by. A 3 hour drive makes it a bit of an expedition , but it's always worth it.
35 years married on Monday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some paintings revisited

While my current painting was out of the house, I did not want to start anything new, so I went back to a couple of unfinished oils.
The first one , the view from friend, Jean's studio was a still life in which I was using Ray Crook's work as teaching aid and inspiration. (I still can't do that link thing. ) I was pleased with the fruit and the fact that I resisted the urge to paint more into the flowers. I had made the container ship on the ocean far too prominent, and have knocked it back here. So I think this one is done.
I started the other one ages and ages ago, after a visit to Vichy, where I enjoyed watching the boules players in the Parc aux Sources. I've just got back into it, revisiting the building behind. I have to make those shadows on the ground less woozy. It looks as if they're playing on a very wavy woozy surface! I am rather fond of the man in the bumble bee stripes, and the bandy-legged lady.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nasturtiums again

I am much happier with this second composition. My friend Jill gave me this wonderful hand made glass work, with its amber colour and bright red rings. It is similar in shape to Matisse's vase (in my last post), so makes a happy container for the trailing stems of nasturtium. I like the repetition of the elliptical form as well as that of colour. I put in a blue sky and the ochre of the wall, to reflect Matisse's palette.

My Nasturtiums

I love nasturtiums! Apart from anything else they always remind me of the joy of Matisse's paintings.They grow wild in my garden .. more leaves than flowers, it must be said. Our neat neighbour hates them, as they are so 'messy'(and wild), but I just love how they wind their bright way through and over everything that looks better smothered, and rather a lot that doesn't. But the time always comes when they must be 'thinned out'. Inevitably the piece I pull belongs to a rope several metres long, and suddenly the show is over.

So I put some pieces in a vase, and there they carry on their busy-ness, bending and twisting this way and that. Watercolour magnet; awfully difficult. Everytime I come back they've all shifted position. So here is a very busy, over worked and unsatisfactory vase of nasturtiums.I should not have put in the ochre wall behind. Especially as I left out the lovely bright window in it! I might try again. This was a bit ambitious anyway.
I must say that for once the painting is brighter than the reproduction I think. Why?
I've been adding to it this worrisome weekend, while Ketchup Sketchup sister Gillian sits out Hurricane Ike near Houston. Have had news that they are fine ..lost just a fence, and power, of course, which will mean days of heat, humidity and mozzies. But they're OK!

Matisse's Nasturtiums

Ah well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Black parrot tulips in progress

I've been working on this oil painting for weeks now, but really only once a week, mostly. The light is bouncing around a bit in the photo, and the canvas is on a bit of an angle on the easel.
It's getting there! I think I need to work more on the leaves. I have been increasing their complexity, improving them from first efforts. I'd like to keep the darks as much as possible. The background is slightly greener than this image shows (just terre verte and white). I think I will use a transparent dark brown glaze over most of it once I feel happy with it. It's 4'X4' ... large for me, but I have found that fun and quite liberating, as little details don't matter so much.
I'd appreciate criticism!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

No time to Paint

I'm longing to do some painting again, and I will. Just seem to have a few things that have got on top of me... mainly the garden, which is rather out of hand, so I've been hacking and dragging and pulling and getting scratched for what feels like ages. I hope it counts as exercise, as I am pooped!It feels like a good project while PKRP's away, and I did have some help on Thursday from a lovely man called Tony, who will return next week. Thank goodness!! It all seems very urgent at this time of year, when things are gearing up for growth, and before it gets too hot and dry to be bothered.

I just took the dogs for a walk, and would have loved to be painting, though they would never allow it.Nice to be out with them both again, as No1 dog has recovered from her surgery. The Swan River flows past the bottom of our street and there is a most lovely walk beneath limestone cliffs, along the river's edge. The spring flowers are wonderful. Lots of native plants ... quite dark and sclerophyllous through the year, but the new green growth at the branch tips is like little green lights . And the flowers! Some have the sweetest honey smell. The 'wattle'(acacia) is covered in yellow puff balls, and white freesias have gone crazy to form a heavily perfumed ground cover along the banks. To add to the delight, a resident pair of Ospreys, whose nest sits in a dead eucalypt almost overhanging the river, have successfully raised this year's youngster ... a big, rather dopey looking fluffy creature, sitting waiting for dinner alongside a sleeker, smaller looking parent. Such fun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Yellow roses of Texas

I just remembered the lovely bouquet of yellow roses my sister Gillian and her husband greeted me with when I arrived to visit them in Texas.
Sadly, I took photos only when they were past that perfect opening bud stage, but here they are anyway.

Yellow roses

Skimming quickly through some blogs I saw that Laura needs Yellow Rose photos as reference. I think you may want the more classic hybrid tea shape, Laura, but for what it is worth, here are images of the David Austin rose, Golden Celebration in my garden- a great bloomer.

Let me know if you want me to email larger files.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cabbage and Friends - Virtual Sketch Date for August

Here is the finished version of my cabbage with its friends in situ. Thank you to Sheri for the challenging photo. I've really enjoyed doing this. My painting has lost some freshness from the first draft, but I do like the funkiness of the warmer pinks, and that masking fluid seemed a bit obvious.
It is Saturday morning in Australia, but I have just realised my blog entries are dates according to USA time somewhere. So I am way ahead of the deadline. That is a first!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Still in the cabbage patch

I am slowly getting ahead with my big tulip painting, in between rose pruning and other jobs.
Meanwhile, Laura told me about the Virtual Sketch Date, all about cabbage this month. I had had a bit of practice on the kale, so I thought I would have a go in watercolours. Immediately got a bit precious with the masking fluid and all the detail. I rather like it at this stage, with lots of white paper, but I can't resist filling it all in, so here is the record of stage 1, cropped and uncropped versions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

ornamental kale

A friend brought me these fascinating heads of ornamental cabbage or kale .. more like roses than vegetables. I must remember to try and find seeds to plant. I think they are beautiful.

They've provided great doodle material for the ads between Olympic events. For once we are on the right time - line, and I am struggling with the guilty feelings I attach to watching any day time television! Great high points for Aussies, and ex Zimbabweans ! And watching Michael Phelps is watching history being made.

I've used the time to try different techniques .. ink lines, wash, wet-in-wet; just trying to learn to predict the intensity of the dry colour from the wet ... greens more so than soft pinks and mauves, for a start!

My tones are too similar in the end, so there is not a lot of impact in the end.

The doodly black and white drawing is using a new product I bought the other day.. a "pencil paint", made by Dervan, it is powdered graphite mixed with some sort of gel. There are a few subtle colours .. this just a dark grey. Applied with a brush (or whatever), it can be diluted with water to the palest tone, pushed about, washed out, rubbed out, sketched over or under. I kept on changing this experimental drawing until I just decided to stop, rather than because I think it has much merit.

There is a variety that dries to a permanent finish. This one can probably be changed forever.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happiness is flowers from someone you love

I am enjoying the watercolours a lot more, and it is so nice to be able to fiddle about without major disruption.

I have been working on these on the kitchen table, in between preparing for a girls' lunch tomorrow. A made-up paella, followed by quince tarte tatin. Which will be the greater success - food or sketches - remains to be seen.

It is always lovely to receive flowers, and my younger son is particularly sweet about bringing or sending them, as are all 4 of my nice children! A pretty bunch of lilium, rosebuds and statice was on the kitchen bench when I got home last week, and the lily buds continue to open and delight.

Tried to paint them loosely and washily, but the Botanist in me does insist on correcting things!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Poppy and linseed fields, South Oxfordshire

I did this from photos. I really would have sat out to do it,on Beech Lane among the nettles , with rain showers imminent, but ran short of time, as usual. The red field was so surprising, I had to try and capture it. Again, I think an oil painting, with reference to Hockney might be interesting to try. The mauve-ish fields are linseed ... a very pretty crop, with its pretty blue daisy flowers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

some watercolours from our trip

This is becoming an approx once a month blog, it seems.

First, I have to say how frustrating I find watercolours! They are so hard, and I had decided to give up entirely, until I saw how scanning improved them (I thought!).They are so good to take away, and the IDEA of the leisurely sketch, which is, of course an instant success, lingers on - hence the frustration. Cath, how do you do those leaves of yours? Must study them more closely.
Well, over worked, fiddled with, etc... here we go.

Hotel in Norfolk

This is a sketch from a window of the Sea Marge Hotel in Norfolk, a venerable seaside Great-Aunt of an hotel, with a view of grey sea across parking and somewhat straggly gardens and roofs at the back. The front of the hotel has pretty lawns and gardens, and we did have a comfortable and pleasant stay there. We were there for a wonderful 60th birthday party in a huge triple marquee, in a field on a country Estate. I wish I could have drawn the beautiful people there.

View from a Villa at Le Cannet.

After Norfolk, we travelled to France, to the French Riveira, where we stayed with family members in their beautiful little villa near Cannes. It is on the mountainside, hedged in between hairpin-bend-streets, with glorious views of the Mediterranean and rooftops, between the stone pines, cypresses and olives that cover the stony ground.We were amazed at the amount of natural forest in this highly populated and urban area.
Between the hedge and the roof in the foreground is a path topping an ancient Roman aqueduct! This means that it is the only almost perfectly level ground until you get down to the coast; and it is much used as a jogging and cycling track. Jen says people go by, calling out to her in French, "See you for cocktails on the way back!"

The granulation of ultramarine in such a small scale sketch meant the sea came out looking very spotty! Smooth paper better, perhaps. And I cheated with some typing white-out as well.

The Stone Pine

I tried a charcoal sketch (small) of a stone pine in the garden, all aged and gnarled. It is home, like every other tree and bush to countless (because they are so well camouflaged) cicadas.

They create a merry racket, as long as the temperature exceeds exactly 72degrees F (or was that 74?) When it drops below, they shut up instantly. When we had dinner in a restaurant in the village square one night, it was quiet to start with, but as it got dark, and lights came on in the trees, they warmed up, and suddenly les cigales burst into full chorus once more.

Villa at le Cannet

Here is another little sketch, less doctored this time, and I think more successful for it, of the villa

Blue-shuttered, terracotta-tiled, stone floored, white and cool inside, it is just beautiful.

The little people are brother in law Matt on the phone upstairs, and Jenny, babysitting adorable grandchildren downstairs. There is a pretty pool and an olive tree.

Monday, July 7, 2008

View from Jean's Studio

I am working on a very BIG (for me) painting... 4ftX4ft. It is of some tulips, and I have been thinking of doing it for ages. Hope it won't be too kitsch at the end. Is there such a thing these days? I see uber trendy Australian artist K del B's work as very much what we would once have called kitsch. Have not the courage to put her full name here, and possible endure any googling Arts Police!

All beside the point. I went to my painting group at Jean's with sketch book, as the painting is too large to lug about, and I'm not inclined to start anything new as we go away for a fortnight next week. I thought I would draw the girls painting, but that was not going to work. So I did a sketch of the view from the high studio window, looking through gum trees across leafy suburbs and coastal Norfolk Pines, to the Indian Ocean near the entrance to Fremantle harbour.

There is almost always a container ship sitting out there.

I hope I can use this sketch to improve an oil painting I did last year, of fruit in the studio interior. I was trying to learn from Ray Crook's paintings, and included this view, with a ship in it. But my ship in the painting is very clumsy, too large and rushes forward.

Watch this space!

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Magnolias

I am putting these up to show Sketchup-ketchup, who has probably seen them before. I did these gouache paintings a long time ago. I think they may have faded a bit, or perhaps I would just be looking for more vibrant colour now. My painting class had the topic "Objects of desire", so I did these of the same flower, a couple of days apart.

Sad to say, the tree that produced this flower is itself a dying object of former desire... very tall, but very unhealthy. We have such sandy, limestone based soil... not nearly acidic enough to sustain beautiful glossy magnolias. Even in its 'glory' days, the leaves were a bit pale and anaemic.

The paintings are framed behind glass, so there are a few reflections to contend with.

I did love using the gouache technique I learned from teacher Leonie

Hat Lady again

I am putting this up again, after a little more work on it, and having photographed it in natural light, outdoors.Photographing accurately is not easy ! I think I have lightened it a bit too much, or perhaps my photo has just washed it out a bit. I'm actually quite pleased with the painting, and think I am going to stop fiddling now, as I do not seem to be adding anything!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Hat Seller

Well here she is... the Hat Seller.
This has been nearly finished for ages, and I keep fiddling, not satisfied with the face, the background colour, the light. I suspect it was better earlier, and I cannot 'see' it any more.
I would appreciate comments re anything else I should do!
The photos are rather poor. It is very wet today, so I took them inside. Natural light is a bit dim, and any flash bounces off the oil paint.
One pic is from the side. I continued the image around the edge of the canvas, which I think is quite fun, especially where it shows the pile of hats on the table.
It is 12" by 16"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Painting by Numbers

We have our youngest daughter home from College in the States. For 10 weeks!! She's relaxing and enjoying home before starting the business of job hunting. She and her room mate decided to do one each of those complicated painting by numbers pictures, as a joke; but it's a relaxing mind-in-neutral activity ... both are serious rowers as well as serious students. She had got some way with this, when she announced she had the wrong colour for one of the numbers!! Her relaxed absorption gave me an opportunity to do this pencil drawing of her this morning, and she says it looks quite a bit like her, so that's not so bad, is it?
. I have done something funny to the mouth. Interesting how seeing it on the screen shows up things not noticed before. I think it has a little "Linder" about it?
Anyway.. here goes... "publish post"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

artist, drawing

I have not posted anything for a month!

I have just been to Africa for 10 days, to spend some time with my daughter Jo, with my sister, Cathy... well known to art loving bloggers... and her family, and with my son and his family in Zambia. I know I should be sketching... I really need the practice. My one attempt, of son Tristan, caused Jo long, spontaneous and irrepressible mirth, which was good to see as she had been feeling sad. Glad I could help!!

My attempts at finding artistic fame are not, however, in vain. I feature this week in wonderful sketches by my sisters on their pages. They were responding to a call from Adam Cope for images of artists at work.

So here is a sketch of an artist (Adam, actually), sketching under the table at a market in Lalinde, France. Such a great day, great memories of sunshine and happiness to be with my sisters in beautiful France, painting!

I heard today that Beryl Cook has died. In a piece on the radio, it was said that she used to sketch in pubs, with the work happening inside her handbag!! What joy that woman brought to so many with her colourful and funny, insightful work.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pear under 3 lights

I bought a new water-colour: aureolin yellow. The lady who works in the art shop is a watercolour painter, and told me it adds a lovely golden glaze. So I had to try it, but what to paint? When in doubt, paint pears, and I have 2 of these wonderful russet coloured Beurre Bosc lying about. I always buy these, and always seem to end up composting them, as they are too beautiful to use up. Cheaper than flowers, anyway!
What started to fascinate me were the shadows cast on the white surface by the pear under the main influence of 2 light bulbs in the kitchen ceiling. One of the bulbs, on the right, throws a cooler bluer light than that on the left, which is very warm and yellowish. Where the pear blocks the warm light, its shadow throws up only the cooler light shining from that side, and vice versa. So you have a distinct blue shadow one side, and yellowish one on the other. A third light bulb a little further away at the back is also cool, and adds another faint shadow, warmish as the yellow bulb's light reaches it.
There is also a slight effect on the surface of the pear... a little greener and cooler on one side than the other.
I really over emphasised the blue shadow, and was a bit disappointed, until I saw the pear with just the yellow light on, and daylight (blue sky today) illuminating the right side. My colours were exactly right!!
And I just remembered to wash the aureolin yellow over at the end.
Fun to tackle such a simple subject, as it gives a chance to analyse some of the thing going on.
What do you think ... too much science??

Thursday, April 24, 2008

last red roses

These were falling apart as I tried to catch them. I'm trying to learn from my sister and other bloggers out there... well behind the 8 ball, but trying!! To get the colours to glow in watercolour is the mission ... the light in the computer screen helps a bit . Fallen petal is a bit like a map of Australia, and should have some shadows added.
Next job blue iris, then sweet sisters... whew!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From the kitchen window sill

The sun shines in this window and it is a joy to line up the broken-off tulip, a few other flowers and see them against the light.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Daffy down dilly days

I have been practising my watercolour technique on the daffodils that are growing in profusion along the driveway, in the fields, in the woods, in the garden. In the last week they have seen sunshine, thick snow, cold winds, frost, more warm sunshine, and now rain and hail.

Some are a little bent and battered, but they carry on smiling and shining! So lucky to be here to enjoy them.

First attempt, of some pelargoniums in a pot in the warm kitchen, and some rather careful 'academic' studies of the daffodils. All the blooms here are sunny yellow or white, with variations on the theme, including a few pretty double blooms. The stronger orange shades occur only in some of the trumpets, so it has been hard to avoid insipid looking paintings. They look somewhat brighter here than in my book, so that is pleasing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spring days in England

Just to show that I have not been a total slacker, here is another post ... two in one day!

I should have drawings of my son who was 33 yesterday, and his little second son, who will be 1 tomorrow. But inanimate objects are a little more manageable.

One of my ambitions has been to grow hellebores (and peonies), and I have greatly enjoyed watching these beauties in this lovely country garden.

Here is another of my laborious watercolours! Oh dear, when will I learn that less is more, fast beats slow, white reigns supreme, composition is the key, and quite a few other things besides?

Anyway, it is quite pretty in an overworked sort of way, just because the garden is so pretty.

I tried to capture this very old brick and flint walled garden in the most wonderful sunshine.

I have been trying over a few days, but the wind made it too cold to sit outside for long, then it was too SNOWY, then a bit cold ... this morning just glorious.

For some reason I got the old wishing-type-well lined up in front of two wrought iron gates, an urn on a plinth, steps and a glorious prunus in spring leaf-bud, and all on a very small page! AND you have a field of daffodils, with the woods behind.

And here is a little interior study.
The old mullioned windows in this very old house have lovely little bits of ancient (?) stained glass somewhat randomly positioned in them, and it is wonderful how much brightness and interest they add to a room.

Away from Home

I have been away from home for about 4 weeks, travelling with my husband who has to make a lot of these journeys.

It is nice for us to be together, and we have been able to see one of our daughters, and our son and his wife and two little boys. They live and work in geology and mining in Zambia, a beautiful country, with the nicest, most gentle people. They all seem to love children and my grandsons receive much care and affection.

I have been thinking of the many wonderful drawings I might do, and have made a few less wonderful attempts.

This is a sketch of one of the verandahs of the mine's own guest-house in Ndola. (The blow-up is TOO big if you double click on the image. My drawing was quite small and it does not magnify well. I still cannot quite sort this out!) My drawing makes it seem rather old and dilapidated, but it is newly built, and very smart! The climate is warm, with rainy summers, and plants grow wonderfully quickly and well in the beautiful gardens . Meals are served on the wide verandahs.A roller blind is down on the section to the left . I guess they are used when it is chilly.

The guest house is run by Cynnie, a genius with people and food.She has trained local people in the arts of hospitality. My second page of sketches is of Bridget, very tall and slim in her smart black and grey work outfit, with voluminous, snow white apron, and very large, workmanlike shoes.

This drawing is of a little indigenous tree in a patch of garden in the main lawn.
Zambia has stunning trees. One of the tragedies of the last couple of decades has been the loss of indigenous forest through the widespread activities of charcoal burners, who eke out a very small living. Power issues are among the greatest of Africa's current challenges (pun unintended)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Two Paintings

I did these oil paintings a couple of years ago .. in a class, and my son asked to have them for his house in Sydney. I asked if we could try some draped nudes in our life class, and we all really enjoyed the interplay of texture and pattern with the model. The photo of Zalia is a bit blurry, but I can't find a clearer one.