Sunday, December 13, 2009

Last Day Painting for a Bit

So I made the most of it (between experimenting with some quick coloured portrait sketches, more of which later) . . .
The three views of Betty have turned into 5 now, and one of someone else:

Also had some fun with them at feeding time:

And I think, but am not sure, I've finished this one too . . .

Another one that I might do a little bit more to the clouds (it's harder to get a sense of tonal stuff working with electric light)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

squeezed one more in yesterday . . .

Seems I can get over my 'I can't paint landscapes' thing if I pretend the trees are clouds.

more skies

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Painting in the Week

The joys of lighter evenings . . . painted another quick one after school one day:

Worked with a brand new imitation mongoose (really) filbert by Art Spectrum, and really enjoyed the smooth marks it makes.  This is Betty again.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Loving Small Boards

Messed around with the small boards again this afternoon . . . and loving it.  Not sure if its the texture of the gesso on the board, the lack of 'give' that you get with canvas, the little size, the squareness, but these little boards are just doing it for me.  Results below, from shots taken flying to and from Darwin earlier this week.  Can see another series happening.  Cloud Number . . . Location . . . might be fun to do on the flight to the UK if its not all in the dark . . .


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Painting for the Exhibition

I'm still somewhere between 'way hey' and 'uh oh' about being offered an exhibition at Araluen in February (yes this Februrary, yes the month after next, yes not many painting days . . . ), but I'm getting somewhere now.  I finihsed a portrait I've been working on for the last few weeks (more on that one in the new year) so have now been able to take a run at the 'recent works' which the exhibition blurb talks about . . . (thanks to the supportive exhibitons officer who wrote a lovely blurb that managed not to describe any of the works, because I've not yet painted them . . . )  Titling the exhib. was problematic for the same reasons (plus trying to tread that fine line between pretentiousness and disingenuity). I'm calling it 'Dappled Things', alluding to a poem by my fav. poet Hopkins.  So I'm off in different directions with the work (quicker and less finished pieces are the go).  All very exciting in a slightly nauseous way.

This one is a start (to pair with Frames 1, this is Frames 2 . . .)

These ones are in fact finished . . . the painting equivalent of drawings I guess.  Series is currently called '3 Views of Betty' but may become '16 views of Betty' (I have that number of the gesso'd 30cm square boards)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In the Middle

This is the bit of the process I really don't like too much:  working on the form and colour (which needed work) but losing the impact that the earlier version has.  It's always a bit of an act of hope/trust (or something) that I'll be able to work through this and 'find' the picture out the other side.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Still Spoilt

Managed to put some more paint on linen on Sunday (including starting one too).  These three are going to be fun playing with light and shadow, and a kind of tangential story-telling. Mmmm.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spoilt for Choice

Didn't know where to start with developing the Adolescence series, so just went with the one that was already on the easel. Spent some time moving Silke (on the left above) over to the right and moving Peta's eyes (!). Having fun.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lots of Beginnings

What an accommodating bunch my now ex-Yr 12s are: it doesn't take much in the way of inductive reasoning to conclude I'm a tad enthusiastic (and spoilt for choice) about this new series of portraits.

As a result, everything (apart from the first and the last) is in first lick of paint stage.

Trying to tread the line between a portrait (character) and a scene (situation or relationship) and having some fun with it all.

Oh, and I also started a new Pyndan camel eye . . . think it's TC but I'll have to check next time I visit.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Betty's done

Phew! As always when I've only got a 'bit' left to do, I spent most of today on her, but she's all signed and waiting for her appearance at Studio 12 next saturday (bi-monthly changeover, and I'm hanging camels this time). Glad I've made the deadline as I've already started blocking out some pics of teenagers (thanks, soon to be ex-Yr 12 students!).

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Popped over to Pyndan Camels this morning to check out the fantastic job Marcus did of hanging the camels, then inspired this pm to do some more on young Betty. Had a bit of a struggle with the angle of her brow, but seem to have fixed that. Should finish her next weekend, and am enjoying trying to get the velvetiness of her coat. She really is a darling.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


All done. I enjoyed this one, and messed around a bit with scratching paint off (hard to see here, but that's pretty much what the hightlights are made of) which gives quite a stark kind of effect (I chickened out and softened it a bit around the edges where the light meets the dark. Started doing the scratchy thing as I didn't like how the white tended to dull down the colours (a real problem in the other dark pic I did, the self portrait, last year), and ended up finding a cool new way of mark-making (sort of cross between drawing and painting). One of the good painting days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Everyone's Staring

Finished Bill this weekend, with sky in (thanks Ploughman). Had to stop getting too prissy with bits of it, though I'm still not quite sure if I might not go back to the buckles for a bit more of a fiddle (I spent a fair while working on the harness, so have lost all perspective re whether it works or not).
Clearly doing a thing with eyes at the moment (Chew's line from Blade Runner keeps asserting itself, 'I do eyes' . . . funny how that film seems to have had lines that resonate with key things/moments for me). I'd been wanting to 'different' types of portraits for a bit. I'll be working with some soon to be ex-students of mine in the next couple of weeks on a couple of ideas, but this is the first . . . playing with pictures that look like people but also might be saying something more explicit than conventionally posed portaits say. I'm back to enjoying painting darkness and shadows too with lots of colours.
So far this one has been coming along very quickly and the hands (which was the technical challenge of this one) have been quite obedient. Hoping to finish this next weekend. Thinking of calling it 'Frames'.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Process not Product

Just as well I do this painting lark for the doing it, rather than the have done it as I managed to spend most of this afternoon thoroughly enjoying not making much apparent progress with the always lovely Bill.
The grain and the overall dodgy-ness of the lightening job on the photo is because I got so carried away with the not doing very much at all I lost the last of the light.
Also found out today (from Esther at Pyndan, who used to work at Frontier . . . a long(ish) story I'll get around to soon) that Bill was an utterly mad camel, commonly called Billy. Makes it nice to get some background. We also worked out the camel on the right of Pyndan Pair, a lovely girl called Ruby. Seems Betty and Ruby are good friends and do spend a lot of time hanging out together as in the pic. Nice.

Well another weekend of not quite finishing this painting, but never mind.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A bit more

Tad ambitious, I think, on the weekend, about getting the other two finished (I keep forgetting the simple equation: big picture = lots of paint= more time, for me at least in how I put it on).

But Bill's going quite well; one of those that, so far, doesn't look like its going to go through the stage of complete disaster before coming good again, which is the tortuous process for probably about 70% of the finished pieces.

I'd been toying with the idea of sky or no sky. Still toying.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

one down two to go

It's been really windy the last couple of days, and not until today, when the wind's dropped, have I realised how off my painting it's put me. Finished this one today (called Grazer II) and am hoping to push myself to get the other two done before school starts again on Monday.

Camels Old and New

All new paintings (none finished yet) but from three different 'era's' of camels . . .
This lovely girl is Betty (full name Black Betty) from the lovely camel place down the road (Pyndan Camel Tracks)
This (sadly nameless) chap is from my last visit to Frontier Camel Farm, after it had changed its name to Outback in Alice and shortly before it went bankrupt.

And this very old one (still from Alice though: I've not yet got into the Silverton Camel Farm pics!) is Bill from Frontier Camel Farm when it was still going strong, run by the Smails.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lots Finished . . . included an already finished one . . .

So this was my weekend: two days of 7-8 hours straight painting with the sound of a ticking clock (timebomb?) in the back of my mind . . . yet strangely enough I've enjoyed it muchly (perhaps because I a) finished what I needed to finish and b) am happy with the results.

This (at left) is a first on two counts: my first painting from the camel farm I've just started visiting. It's called Pindar camel farm, so the pic's called Pindar pair (I think the camel on the left is Betty, a camel I've done some sketches of, but I don't know the other one. The second 'first' is that it's my biggest camel pic so far (at a respectible 91x121cms), which I failed to take into account in judging how long it would take me to finish . . .

The girl at left (a life model whom I've painted before) took a while to finalise but for different reasons. She's only 66x77cms, but I was playing around with letting glazes do their own thing (which tended to be drip) and not getting to detailed or 'finished'. So there was lots of 'put a blob on, put some more medium on to make it drippy, stand back and look, watch it do silly things, wipe it off . . . '

The lad below is from a, by now, quite old series of photos I took out at a community primary school. The surface of the canvas is quite lumpy (textured I think is the technical term) as I initially played around with big bold brushstrokes . . . which didn't really work. But the lumpiness stopped me from getting too precious with the details.

And this, of course, is the finished one that was subjected to being finished again . . . It was the eye I was not happy with, so two days before I wrapped it up I did a bit more on the eye, on the inside corner of one of the spectacle frames and the nose. Greyhound have it now (for shipping to Darwin for Wednesday's deadline at Parliament House) which is just as well I think, as I'd still be fiddling around.