Sunday, 29 September 2013

Action away from my Studio

I have not had in my mind a good studio week. Too many outside commitments like minding the gallery at Art@Goolwa which should be about once a month but I have done two this week and one earlier in the month. I love meeting visitors that come and to chat about the art they like but if I am there and it is too quiet I wish I was in my studio painting.
I have also been preparing our Caravan once again for the trip we leave on very early tomorrow morning. We are travelling to Orroroo about a 5 hour drive north from us where I will be taking a watercolour class on both Tuesday and Wednesday with Anita Bentley. I first met Anita about two and half years ago when I got back into painting and had a couple of lessons with her. Her work may well be too tidy for me as it is so very neat, but best of all so clean and fresh. I hope after the two days I will find out some special secrets that can magically transform my work. I have a very clear picture in my head of what I want to achieve but when it comes to producing it it is really not quite there yet. Oh well - a few thousand more hours with the brush in my hand is what is needed.
This trip also coincides with an exhibition in the Clare Valley ( 4 hours from home) by the South Australian Watercolour Society at Mt. Surmon Wines. I have two paintings in the show and we will be able to get to the opening on Sunday October 6th.
                         Fragrant Quince

Good Hair Day

I have no new paintings from my studio this week (a couple in the bin though) but would like to show these 9 little 6" x 4" paintings I did a couple of weeks ago as a challenge to myself to try and paint small. My usual smallness is 11" x 15". I kept to using my normal size brushes though. I donated these little postcard size pieces to Running With Brushes which Vandy Massey an artist in England set up to fund raise for her chosen charity by having these little works matted for sale. Check it out and see some lovely little paintings from artists all over the world.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Childhood Memories

I had no time to paint over the weekend as we had lovely family time for celebrations but I had a few things stored in my mind and was keen to paint this morning.
I used to frequently participate in the Virtual Paintout monthly location where you use Google street view to check out the designated area and choose something to paint as if actually there. I have not done this for a long time even though I do look each month. Guess I have had so many other things going on the urge was not strong enough to participate - until now. 
Septembers location was the Isle of Wight. I have lived in Australia for most of my life but was born in England and as children we would holiday every year in a caravan on the Isle of Wight. As this was half a century ago (wow) I must say I remember very little but as I wandered around using Google street view I just thoroughly enjoyed looking at places we probably did see but I was too young to recall. I just remember that Caravan. Here I am all these years later with a Caravan of my own!.

Country Post
Painting size 11" x 15"

I settled my painting view on this little red letterbox which was sitting on a country lane. I took a bit of license with the tree species as the letter box was my focus but my instinct to make more Australian trees kept getting the better of me. I have included the map reference link if you would like to take a look at where I set up my little stool, easel and painted away for about 2 hours.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Scent of Success

This blog post may contain more than some of you lovely email followers care to read and if so please scroll down and just see my paintings if you prefer. Bloggers - I hope you can stand to read all that follows, it is maybe a bit more than I would usually include in just one post.

Scent of Success was a term I applied to myself yesterday. Before you jump to the wrong conclusion and think I have made super sales of my art or been spotted by some mainstream gallery - NO it is purely describing how my day was shaped. Let me share this as it was quite full on and rarely happens like this.
I did paint for 7 hours, I started early as I had in fact been up from 3.30am due to not being able to get back to sleep. I used this time though to find out how many people from the other side of the world were actually live on FB where normally when I log on most of you are asleep. I caught up on your blog posts too until it was a reasonable time to venture out into my studio.
Fleurieu Figs
11" x 15"
Firstly - already feeling like half a day had happened I tackled the finishing touches to this painting which I had worked on and off for two days. I had experimented with using Hot Press (smooth) paper after reading Jean Lurssens blog and thought well thats another challenge for me. I did not really like the paper but had done a lot of work with this detailed painting and did not want to give up. I was pleased in the end to call it finished and signed it. It it what I call a heavy, high temperature piece and each time I have tackled figs they always end up like this so maybe thats meant to be.

What next? On Tuesday we went with a party of friends down to Bremerton Wines to take a look at my Wild Faces exhibition. On the way out I snipped off a couple of sprigs of a highly scented Jasmine growing outside the cellar door. Its lovely scent has filled my studio even from this tiny piece so you can imagine the intensity of the perfume on the actual creeper at the winery.
Little sprig to paint from life
Starting my next painting at about 9am I decided to try another new paper - 425gsm High White Saunders Waterford Cold Pressed as I thought the bright white would help me with the little white blooms of the creeper. It was lovely paper to paint with and I think my joy and free abandon comes through creating a painting in my most favourite way- no drawing and compose on the fly. I first started with it in portrait view but quickly decided to turn it landscape.
Scent of Jasmine
11" x 15"
But Still more - At this stage I did stop for some lunch and had to remain indoors as the rain was coming down so hard I would never make it back over to the studio. During this time I ventured on facebook and found a challenge ( by Memories are made with Portraits) to paint a Barn Owl. I thought yes - this would be good to work on this afternoon. Back to the studio as soon as I could.

Reference supplied by
Memories are Made with Portraits
I am showing you the reference image they provided along with my painted version where I have also worked to create my own drama and texture for a background. Hope you like him.  I was on quite a high when I finished him by 4pm totally exhausted from my 12 hour day already and so considered my day had in fact been filled with the scent of success and so I am Taking the High Position for today.
(PS thanks if you have read it to the end of my Novel!!)

Taking the High Position
15" x 11"

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Watercolour on Canvas

I have used watercolour canvas a couple of times this year but have not considered it as a preferred surface because it really is not like painting on paper to me even though the manufacturer says it is. It is almost like using Yupo because adding more paint sometimes lifts off what is underneath and it seems to be so time consuming to end up with layers or tonal variation. I have however completed today this 16" x 20" canvas and have called it finished as I have even given it two coats of matt spray and a coat of satin varnish just so I could stop fiddling.
The subject matter appeals to me immensely as both my husband and I have such great memories of our tour in Italy in 2011 and a highlight was the Amalfi coast.
Since painting my first acrylics back in May of a similar scene called Postcards 11 ,one of 3 large paintings commissioned by my son and daughter in law, I have tried a couple of times to do a similar painting for myself in watercolour on paper. I have not achieved what I wanted so had nothing to lose by trying it on the not so familiar canvas surface. It worked a treat for this type of make it up, wash it off and fix it, busy scene. Not sure I can settle on a title which is really unusual for me as I mostly have my work named within 10 minutes of starting.

Watercolour on Canvas
16" x 20"

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Back to the Studio

Well how quickly does a week go - too quickly when you are having a break and the weather is being very kind and allowing the sun to shine. Just as we were getting used to a "nothing routine" our time away quickly came to an end. Ian still works 2 days a week and needed to be back for that.
Our new Caravan behaved beautifully and everything worked well which pleased my husband no end as he was fairly disappointed with our last one which we sold after only 3 years and not much use.
I am now back to my beloved studio which was the only reason I did not mind coming home. I missed my brushes. I did a little sketching (not much and nothing worth showing) and took lots of photographs. We were lucky enough to stumble upon a Camel farm whilst out driving and Ian took some great shots for my future use.- Watch this space!!!.
I don't have any work to show you yet but thought you might like to see my Wild Faces exhibition hung the day before we went away at Bremerton Wines. I am really pleased with how my paintings looked on the really old stone walls. The exhibition is on a mezzanine area above the cellar door. People do not go there for seeing art but are looking for wine tasting but this winery also offers lovely lunches so people often stay longer and I am hoping they go up the stairs and take at look at my work.
Due to being away the first week of September and planning to be away at the end I missed the opportunity to participate in Leslie Saeta 30 paintings in 30 days but it is a real challenge keeping up with seeing all my blogging friends work as so many of you are involved. I am enjoying seeing them all even if I don't get to comment on every painting.

Sketching on a beautiful spring day outside our new Caravan