Saturday, 26 October 2013

Feeling Sheepish

I am in a quandary today as I get ready for another painting day and I cannot get sheep out of my brain. We spent yesterday photographing some black faces to add to my growing collection of sheep photographs and my head is swimming with ideas of fun paintings to create in my Pure Aussie Wool series. Try as I might I cannot get inspired to tackle anything else - is this wrong? How far do you go in a series and does it interfere with you painting other subjects? These are numbers six and seven both are watercolour and collage
Pure Aussie Wool
An Evening Performance
11" x 15"

Pure Aussie Wool
Lace on Yoke
15" x 11"

Monday, 21 October 2013

Fun adding Collage

Two paintings completed in watercolour but with added collage.
Using collage that related to my theme had me cutting up old  knitting patterns, Pianola rolls, sheet music, rice paper and then going for it. I even made up a mock wool bale stamp using my hometown of Goolwa for the brand, AAA for the grade of wool and my street number 131 for the bale number.
Pure Aussie Wool
Bale 131
22" x 15"

Coorong Melody
15" x 22"

Friday, 18 October 2013

Makes Me Smile

I will be blogging about my Pure Aussie Wool series in fits and starts in between posts of other subjects. I think this will be a series I can add to whenever I need a smile as they are so much fun finding an individual face and then choosing some garment for him or her.
We had a lot of fun finding some new faces last weekend. We took off from home and within 5 minutes spotted a animal transporter heading for a sheep shearing shed. We stalked him, waited whilst he drove into a farm and after he was given his instructions to back up to the shed the farmer looked over at us parked on the side of the road. I got out and explained what I was looking for and he said if we were quick we could go in the shearing shed and take some photos before they all exited onto the truck. Must admit they were a mottly lot but hey - I can't always be choosy.
We carried on down another dirt road and found a lady who had a paddock full of sheep but a few in a pen in the front. Ian spoke to her with his camera round his neck and she gestured for me to come over. Mary kindly picked up some of the young lambs and held them whilst Ian took photos and I held their faces in poses to help. I was surprised that the 2 week old lamb had quite coarse hair for his head and not a wooly feel at all. I think we will enjoy getting out and about for photos as much as I will choosing and painting them.
I am thrilled to add that my first Pure Aussie Wool Purl 1, Knit 1 - the ram with the green scarf sold to the USA and I now consider myself an official wool exporter. Hope these two new guys give you a smile too.

Purple Hat
15" x 11"

Mary with one of her pets
(that's my guiding hand to help get a good shot)

Baby Blue
(Marys 2 week old pet wearing his baby blue Matinee Jacket)
15" x 11"

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Cinderella Process

It is only recently really that I have started to let my paintings take their time to speak to me with what they needed for the next step or to bring it to a finish. This new found skill which has taken so long to learn has been an invaluable tool as I have often given up to easily on my work, sometimes even throwing them in the bin at an early stage.  I now know that all paintings have that beautiful first excitement when they start but this is always followed by a somewhat difficult middle bit where they can look ugly, lost and appear to be heading for disaster. Waiting for that Cinderella moment when it all starts to become beautiful and you get that adrenalin rush once again as you head for the finish with joy and confidence is what the whole journey of creating art for me is all about.
Some months back I started a painting after learning some new techniques from a Book and DVD by Karlyn Holman. She really does know how to encourage and inspire you to take some risks and have fun. At the time my painting had reached that ugly stage and I thought all was lost as I had scrubbed out much of the original ideas on the paper but I did not throw it out but it away underneath some happier results. During a sort out a couple of days I go I found this piece and started to work on it once more. I let it tell me what it needed to become like Cinderella and finish as a beauty.
Ironically after googling some info on Lotus flowers I read that they had been referred to as the Cinderella of the aquatic world due to the murky waters they bloom in.

Thanks to my friend Maria I had this reference photo she kindly sent to me from 
her visit to the Adelaide Botanical Gardens.

For my painting I have used watercolour with some bits of rice paper collage, salt and cling film for texture here and there with quite a few various colour glazes.
A Cinderella Beginning
22" x 15"

Friday, 11 October 2013

Pure Aussie Wool

I have found inspiration for a series of watercolours I have called Pure Aussie Wool.
Whilst I have painted quite a few exotic animals I have not done much with those closer to home. Sheep fall into this category as Australia has such a large wool trade and there is never of a shortage of models as my travels to the country last week confirmed.
The trick of course is finding faces that look different as often sheep just all look alike.
I decided to incorporate "knitting" into my painting as I will then have a huge choice of colours and styles for my sheep faces.
Purl 1, Knit 1
Pure Aussie Wool
I experimented adding this green scarf to the ram I painted back in August and I am now on my way.

As each new "garment" is finished I will add the unframed paintings for sale on my website and I hope that some Pure Aussie Wool finds its way further afield

Knit 1, Purl 1
Pure Aussie Wool
15" x 11"

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

My Week in the Country

We are back from our weeks travel to Orroroo and Clare. Even though we live in a regional town about one and quarter hours from our Capital I know we are really in the country when we travel for 5 hours to get somewhere.
I attended a workshop by Anita Bentley for two days in Ororroo which is just south of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. I am showing here a couple of images Ian took so you can see how "in the country" the location was.
Ororroo Airport
View from above the Town
start of the Flinders Ranges in the distance

I thoroughly enjoyed painting for the two days though I must say I have nothing of my own work credible enough to share. The first painting was a lovely arched doorway in France or Italy but it had a black cat in the foreground. Problem number one - I don"t do cats due to my extreme fear of them. Problem number two - I am a poor drawer due to my refusal to put in the practice time so my arched doorway was too wide and short and the cat was the size of a cow LOL. Anita stressed that drawing was an important skill to have to paint in watercolour.
I thought I would improve with the next painting but unfortunately there was not sufficient time to complete and a reference photo did not exist as we copied Anita's drawing but did not see her reference image. Once I took the painting away I did try and finish it but had no idea what it was supposed to look like.- well that's my excuse!
I have not painted with anyone else for more than a year so it was great to be with other watercolourists and I am pleased to come away with new knowledge to help me with my future work but I must admit I don't really like doing step by step type paintings as they are often disjointed and without a reference either photo or in the real it is really hard trying to capture someone else's vision.
I cannot blame my poor work on lack of attention as there were only 4 people on both days so we were able to get plenty of one on one time with Anita. The highlight for me was coming away with a purchase of lovely painting by Anita of a flower stall in Aix en Provence. She had a few of her paintings on show and I was immediately attracted to this one for its bright red umbrellas.Now I am home I can see it up against my own work and just wonder how I am going to get my own paintings to look that good!

We travelled on to Clare - a lovely wine district and the location for an exhibition by the South Australian Watercolour Society. I was rather pleased to see my two paintings amongst those by other amateurs and many professionals and it was the first time I had seen an exhibition of just watercolours.
Images were taken on my phone so apologies for quality.

SAWS Exhibition
Mt. Surmon Wines in Clare

Loquats from Auburn
11" x 15"

I spent some time photographing for future use and also painted "en plein air" even though this was really just outside the Caravan. After a delicious lunch in Auburn I took back to my Caravan a little snippet from a Locquat tree and in the lovely fresh air of Clare delicately added blues and yellows randomly to compose this painting - no drawing. 
I have some great ideas gathered whilst away for future paintings and will now get busy finding ways of getting them down on paper the way they look in my head. My promise to myself is to do sketching practise too.