Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Love of Creating

Painting size 15" x 11"
Our daughter, son in law and six month old baby Thomas have just left after spending a couple of days of Easter with us. Gosh how easily I had forgotten how full on keeping a baby entertained is!. We did take time out to visit the first day of the Easter Art Exhibition in Goolwa on Saturday and admire all the fantastic paintings on show and as you would expect each of us had different favourites. Today I was able to pick up my brushes again and feel back to normal. A day not painting feels like a little rest but two or three just seems too odd and I guess it is because I am just so in love with creating. I always start my day doing what I call "the office work". I check my emails, facebook and blogs. I love to see what my arty friends have been up to mostly overnight as they all seem to be from the northern hemisphere and have been busy whilst I have been sleeping.
One site I check is Paint My Photo as I often find an image that I will earmark for a possible painting and sometimes like today an image that cries paint me now.

Reference photo
by Sue from Paint My Photo
I never aim to capture a true botanical likeness of flowers in my work but I do like to think I am capturing their real essence so a good reference for blooms that I have no real knowledge about is really important and Hellebores are one of those, so thank you Sue from Paint My Photo for sharing your detailed image.
I hope you are all having a lovely Easter break wherever you are in the world.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Growing Flowers

Blooming Roses
Painting size 22 1/2" x 15"

I have always loved flowers but have to confess I am no gardener. If it wasn't for my husband looking after our moderate sized garden I would need to employ a gardener to have anything decent to admire. However I thoroughly enjoy creating a garden on paper by using my imagination and with the aid of a single bloom reference (real, photo or googled) for getting a bit of a likeness, I plant a flower on the page and let my imagination help it grow into a flower bed full of blooms. I try and portray the essence of the flower and use a variety of brush strokes, flicks, splatters and more to convey my imaginary leaf shapes, stems and twigs. I haven't painted enough in my opinion these past few days due to outside committments but yesterday I was able to get lost in the moment with trying to capture the essence of these Roses. This is the type of painting I like the best. They don't all turn out well but they are a lot of fun and very rewarding when they do.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Hanging an Exhibition

The Goolwa Art and Photographic Exhibition starts on Easter Saturday with over 600 paintings and photographs on exhibit. It is the first time it has been run by the Rotary Club of Goolwa and some volunteer help was called to firstly accept the work from the artists and then to help with hanging the artwork. On Saturday afternoon I did a four hour shift and helped label the paintings as they were received and yesterday I spent the morning helping hang the exhibition. They had a person with a lot of experience look at every painting and photo and she directed where they had to be hung. They had been presorted into subjects etc. but a lot of tweaking was required along the way. It was a great experience as I have only every been involved in hanging about 40 pieces at any one time so seeing what was involved in the juggling to end up with a cohesive exhibition was very valuable.
I have three paintings on exhibit "Juice Me", Mum and Me" and Life Pattern. I actually hung one of my own pieces (Life Pattern) which was rather nice. Not sure I am totally happy with the positions I have been given but I bet every artist says that.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


I have been experimenting with Yupo since late last year and the possibilities are endless. At first I was using just watercolour and if you think some skill is required in using watercolour on watercolour paper my experience with using watercolour on Yupo is a whole new ballgame with many curved balls. This month I have been adding other media as well as watercolour in my play with Yupo. By using a foundation of thinned acrylic I find it gives a bit of tooth to the paper that makes the next few stages not so hit and miss. I wonder what I will discover with more playing?
Here are two examples of using acrylics in the first wash.
Up River
Mixed Media on Yupo
21" x 13"
These noisy Corellas have been flying past our house every morning around 7.30am in the hundreds on their way to better feeding in trees up river. In the evening they all come back down river further into the town. Last year one of their stops was the large Pine tree outside my bedroom window but this year they have left it alone. Gosh they do make a hell of a din when they are in such large numbers
Essence of Magnolia
Mixed Media on Yupo
221/2" x 15"

I have also also used ink in this painting and I just love choosing some "spice" to add just like cooking really.I have painted Magnolia so many times now - each a little different and I never tire of them.
My own two beautiful potted Magnolias thrive in our temperate climate on the South Coast as do we!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Not just any old Bamboo

All Day Dining
Painting size 15" x 11"

In 2009 Adelaide Zoo acquired on loan from China for ten years, two Giant Pandas. Funi and Wang Wang have huge appetites and each consume about 20-30kgs of bamboo everyday. There is even a donation program you can join if you have the right species of bamboo growing and you would like to help the Zoo manage this huge requirement. I really enjoyed painting my Panda as they look so adorable. Whilst I did the background I wanted to make sure I kept the face area really clean so I used packing tape to mask it out otherwise I could see half a bottle of masking fluid being needed.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

From the Other side of the World

Good Hair Day
Painting Size 22.5" x 15"
I still cannot believe how full my head is with images and ideas of subjects to paint as soon as I wake in the mornings. It seems that I will never ever run out of inspiration but as I have said before on my blog choosing "the one" that is going to be the winner of the moment comes easily as the excitement for trying the chosen one is just stronger. This subject I have had in mind for absolutely ages and apart from a couple of quirky sketches I have not tried a full painting. So as to not waste my valuable painting time I use my Ipad whilst having my first coffee to scroll through the numerous Facebook and Blog updates that happen from the other side of the world whilst I sleep. Out jumps the immediate urgency to paint when I saw on Facebook some new images posted by talented English photographer Caroline Williams and it included a great close up of the face of an Emu. I contacted Caroline and explained how I have photos of Emus, see them in real life frequently but it was her brilliant photo that was the trigger for my days creating.  These birds are quirky to me but more quirky is that I refer to the "other side of the world" to paint what is on my own doorstep. With her permission I used her detailed image so I could render a life like face.To have the focus on the head I have only hinted at a background with dribbles and splashes.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Why 22?

Take 22
Painting size 11" x 15"
ref photo courtesy Ross Lynem
I named this painting of rental canoes "Take 22"
and marked the boat that was ready with 22 on its plaque, a number that came to mind so easily.
I have had 22 in my mind since about October last year when I was approached by an Adelaide Hills country style hotel who have for a few years been promoting art by local artists stretching down to my area on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The Hagen Arms Hotel in Echunga have a first floor that they use as a gallery for 6 week exhibitions for a 2D artist and generally combine this with a 3D artist who exhibits their pieces on the window sills. I gulped when I was approached as I am really a novice and did not have a large body of work for a solo exhibition but as always I am up for a challenge and I accepted on the basis that it would be after March 2013 so I could have enough credible pieces. I also thought this was an opportunity I may not be offered again so easily but I must say I have been in anxious mode from time to time as to whether I would be ready. The hours required to have enough paintings to include along with the need to have change over pieces for the two cooperative galleries I am in meant I needed to apply myself seriously. This I have done and I must say have had a lot of ups and downs but have steadily been more pleased with my results. Yesterday Ian and I drove up to the hotel and took another look at the gallery space and the current exhibition. The area did not look as big and forboding as the first time I looked and I think I will be fine with about 18 paintings to fill the walls without looking overdone. My exhibition opening will be on Friday 3rd May and will run through until June 11th  An official invite is being prepared but for my friends who live local please keep Friday 3rd May 6-8pm free as I hope you can attend the opening - official invite is being prepared by the gallery curator and I will keep you informed.
Its been a great week all up as I now feel ready for this upcoming exhibition, have 3 paintings aside for the Goolwa Rotary Art show over Easter, two works depicting Gulf life for another exhibition in May and my 5 new pieces for the "Up Front" exhibition being hung next week at Off the Slate Gallery. Best of all I had the thrill of selling my first painting to an International client and my painting last week of Foxgloves is now on its way to Spain.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Stop and smell the Roses or Foxgloves

10.5" x 18"

I decided I would like to have a go at painting foxgloves - a flower I have not tried before and fellow blogger and artist Sharon Whitley put a couple of images on her facebook page as a challenge to paint. One is of a lovely pony - another subject I have not yet done and one is of foxgloves. I started with the idea of just painting the one stem but as usual got lost in the creative moment and ended up with a field full.
I nearly abandoned this painting which I started a couple of days ago but there were some lovely parts in it and I rescued it this morning from the pile and added a few splashes here and there and voila!
I am happy I stopped and took the time to revisit it and I make a mental note to myself to slow down, enjoy each stage (stop and smell) and don't prejudge too soon. It is amazing how a piece can look after the pigment has really settled and your eye when taking a fresh look, sees what that last little step needs to be to pull it altogether.
Supplied reference image
by photographer
Gary Jones

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Not Three of a Kind

It's only Wednesday and I have had a very productive time in my studio since my last blog post. I painted on Saturday, Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday with three paintings completed that have pleased me and each is very different in technique and approach.

Beyond Meningie
Mixed Media on Yupo
Painting size 15"x 221/2"
Framed 22 1/2 " x 30
The first is on Yupo,  a surface that I pull out when I want to be experimental and not have too many expectations. I received by post late last week my first acrylic paints and I was itching to try them out once our daughter and grandson had left from their 5 day visit. I combined with these, watercolour, ink and even a dab of oil pastel for this landscape which I composed from my recollections of the scenery further down the Coorong beyond Meningie, a route we travel when we go down south to the coastal town of Robe about 5 hours away. Not working from any reference and with all these new elements together I had a very free and creative experience. I have already framed this and enjoy looking at all the texture created.

My other two have only the fact they are watercolour in common. This Zebrafish painting I created for an upcoming little exhibition at Port Noarlunga organised by the Save Our Gulf Coalition and I will also enter my fish painting from last year called "Life in the Gulf". Researching the Zebrafish on the web  I could not really tell what colour the dark stripes were but using the idea of my dead fish painting from last week I made a composition of a school of live fish and when they were dry used my irridesence medium again.
The last painting finished is for my "edible collection" another of my loose - compose as you go creations. I have tried painting figs about three times now and each time I found them heavy looking but this is my fourth attempt to be happy and I have resigned myself that they are not a delicate looking fruit but appear heavy and dense so I have been settled at the darkness required to render the fruit on paper.
The School Uniform
Painting size 11' x 15"
Figs for Feasting
Painting size 15" x 11"

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day
Painting size 38cm x 28.5cm

What a busy week, not much painting time whilst our daughter and grandson, 5 month old Thomas stayed for a few days. Such a lovely time but wow I thought painting was tiring. I definitely have forgotten how much energy is required when caring for little ones. This is the only painting I have done and I finished it whilst having Thomas on my lap. He was very interested in all the brushes and especially when I jiggled them in the water. I saw this image sometime ago on Paint My Photo. I used it as a reference but in black and white so I could choose my own colours. I had a very limited palette but I did add some Winsor and Newton Watercolour Iridescent Medium - a bit in with some of the colour washes and then after they were dry, straight from the bottle in places. This photo does not let this glitter effect show up but on the actual painting it gives a good texture for the scales. I would like to try this texture technique again but on some fish that are alive as there is an opportunity to exhibit in May but the exhibition is about "Saving our Gulf" so I don't think dead fish would be appreciated!