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.