I tend to get a bit anxious about things…. even when I don’t know I am…. and my bp goes sky high. But sitting in the studio playing with floating watercolours on paper helps return my body to a less stressed state.
View to the Nut, Stanley, Tasmania
Although one of these works started from a photo reference, hence the view to the volcanic plug ( The Nut,Stanley, NW Tasmania), the other is purely from the imagination. This way of working encourages more play as you are not aiming for it to represent anything in particular…. just enjoying the experience and letting the painting flow out of the brush. I start with the suggestion of a sky then each successive mark is in response to the previous one. Limited palette of 2 or 3 colours so little decision making. They are small works so I can watch the whole image evolve at once and judge timing and water content. (both are for sale at $50AUD each
On Friday I took a small workshop on introduction to abstract art in acrylics. We discussed abstract art and googled images to see the diversity and degrees of abstraction. This is a painting I did on canvas board. “Winter”… the mountains just appeared… abstracted? This is not based on any real place or even an intention to paint mountains and snow. it just evolved ….. whenever I play with paint I am likely to end up with something suggesting a landscape. It is hardly realism but does it meet “abstraction”. I prefer the term” landscapes from the imagination” and as this started to emerge from the canvas I was reminded of a painting done about this time last year of Everest Base Camp. What I most wanted participants to do was to explore a multitude of ways to apply paint to a surface. This was primarily done with the palette knife. It is such FUN and even as adults we should give ourselves permission to “play” and “waste” materials as it is through doing this that we learn.
On the easels in the studio I am back to a favourite subject… Tasmania’s coastline.
These both been started as demonstrations for students working on canvas. The large Bluff Point one is a scene which I have painted before. I want a painting of this for myself but the 4 I have done so far (oil miniature, larger acrylic on canvas and 2 quarter sheet watercolours have sold…. maybe this one will stay with me…. of course I don’t have to put them out for sale but I do like to share my creations). The source photo is one of my favourites, taken on a day when it had been raining, then the sun shone brilliantly while still the sky was dark to the west. We walked for ages towards the water along a gouged track in the sand. Such contrast of colours and the wonderful fresh air of our “wild west” coast. As I write this I can feel our rugged coastline beckoning again…. instead I will go to the studio and try to capture those intense feelings on canvas.
Bluff Point unfinished
The second work is almost complete but will have a she oak (Casurina) on the lhs. I have pencilled this twiggy, wind blown specimen in. Such vegetation is typical of our coastal areas and its many little twigs are a contrast to the sweeping curves of the beach and sand beyond. I was happy with the broken shells and pebbles to the fore…… as I look I can “feel” them under my feet and you do sense they are on a raised area above the sweeping
Bakers Beach Tasmania unfinished… acrylic on canvas
beach. Bakers Beach is a magnificent long stretch near Devonport Tasmania. Part of the State National Park System it is a haven for wildlife (wombats abound and there is a large area for waterbirds). Often there are few if any people on the beach this side of Griffith Point……. you can walk along and sing with the wind and no-one will even know. Love it.
Some months ago I posted a half completed image of bull kelp worked in Derwent Inktense and watercolour pencils. Today I have the finshed work (photographed after framing to go to the Eskleigh art exhibition. This means the photo is not as good as it coud be due to the glass). For the wide bit of kelp in the front I took advantage of the texture of the paper to suggest sand. I did not dissolve the pencil marks much in order to retain the sand look. This contrasted with the main tubular kelp to the left in which I completely dissolved the pigment. The use of Inktense exaggerates the colour and adds to the abstracted quality of this unusual subject.
The second work showcases some of my collection of shells and “invented” rounded beach stones. The colours here are more natural. I love giving the illusion of 3D on a flat 2D paper surface. I have even found myself at times, when packing up, glancing across and going to pick up a shell to find it is an illustration. You will notice that my collection includes many broken shells. I love their internal structure (especially spirals) and the holes. .Perceived imperfections offer the opportunity to find alternative positives (much like with people). I started this work in November 2011 and have just one shell to complete (a small abalone, mother-of-pearl side showing) The work has been sold which makes me a bit more anxious about not mucking up the final shell!
I was working on trying to complete a watercolour and inktense pencil work of beach pebbles and shells while at Penguin Market last Sunday. The work was started at Deloriane Craft Fair (Nov 2011) and is still not quite finished but it’s looking OK. I also did these couple of quick bookmarks… drawing shells and flooding intense watercolour into the background. Relaxing to do!
Yesterday I worked on a watercolour of one of my favourite subjects… the energy and movement of the sea as it impacts on rocks… a painting which always makes me feel alive as I do it as I “feel” the movement of the wave and the solidity and strength of the rock. The people present did not see the finished work as we had several activities going. Theo and Arthur explored Inktense pencils…… both visiting Tassie in motorhomes, the medium is perfect for those on the move. Arthur also discovered the advantage of a solid sumi ink stick and stone…. no spills and it lasts “forever”. Being a good at drawing, ink and inktense wash suits the style of these men.
Lynne did magnificantly vibrant bookmarks, full of colour. Not having done art before, she bravely explored wet in wwet watercolour with koh-i-noor intense colours.
Sue, an experienced artist, bravely painted the sea wave explosion on Fabriano torchon extra rough paper. She came to learn about the textural effects which can be obtained on the surface. So different to her usual Saunders Waterford paper.
The slide show is of some other students’ works in oil pastel, Inktense (including one on silk) and Watercolour (using the pouring technique for the background). Unfortunately I am usually to busy to remember to phtograph work. at classes and workshops.
I love the vibrancy of oil pasel and the tactile experience of playing with them (most of my art is play/ exploration/ therapy/ relaxation). For some of this painting I heated the crayon with my embossing heat gun to put on a mark with luscious, thick colour. Other areas I blended with my fingers and still others with gum turps. Finally a little scratching into the work. The support is a commercially prepared canvas board. A fun session with mycreative friend Catherine. I will repeat the activity with my Wednesday night class this evening.
This Sunday 14th October at Penguin Market in my little art space I will paint a silk panel using gutta outliner/resist technique. This work will be larger than the ones I normally do for demonstration. Come and watch, ask questions about painting on silk at this free demo. Book into a silk painting workshop,you can even purchase the gear to have a go… dyes (steam or iron fixed, 3 pronged pins, brushes, silk, silk scarves)
This week at Penguin Market I will be working with Polymer Clay. I have been making decorative mice for cheese platters (pocket pet mice for children) for many years. I have also enjoyed making small sculptures such as cats and garden flower brooches. At one stage I made mask brooches and recently I have been working on my Cocoon jewellery range. This unique product combines contrasting surfaces of polymer clay and kiln formed glass, usually dichroic,but sometimes hand painted recycled and tin float glass. After oven firing the creations are extremly hard. Come and see the works in progress from 9a.m. to 3 p.m. You can even buy some polymer clay to try for yourself.
For your interest and my relaxation at Penguin Market tomorrow I will paint some works influenced by my study of Chinese Brush Painting. I do not rigidly apply the accuracy of expert practitioners, rather I adopt the principles and philosophies to my watercolour and ink paintings (as in the example of Japonica above). My aim is to capture the essence of the subject using a minimum of fluid brush strokes with soft goat hair brushes. Some will be in watercolour, in others I will use the solid ink stick and a stone in the traditional way. Come and find out why this is so meditative… you can even have a go.