Wednesday, November 5, 2008
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
But today it is a thriving and happy place.
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
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.
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
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.
Thank you to Claudia Massie, (http://www.blogger.com/profile/12668693477996054929)a 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.
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 http://shiftinglight.com/archive.php
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
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
Saturday, September 27, 2008
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
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
Monday, September 8, 2008
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
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
Let me know if you want me to email larger files.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
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
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
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.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
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
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
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.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Anyway.. here goes... "publish post"
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
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.
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)