Into the wilds...

A friend was telling me about her bus ride today to work at the local University. The driver was asking what she was doing, given that she was the only passenger on the bus this close to Christmas. The driver told my friend that she herself has a double degree in Chemistry and Science, but just likes driving buses. How inspiring! Yay for all people who follow their heart even if it isn’t the course expected of them by others who purely look at their qualifications.

Following my own heart (while cartoon and book deadlines take a break) I have been madly painting still - the next challenge has been to leave the room I have been painting in to experience painting in the wild. I shifted to the livingroom.

Just before that, though, here is the finished France-ish one again - I couldn’t resist changing the sky. It will be going to northern New South Wales which looks a bit like this.

Then it was time to play with COLOUR! I can’t remember how this one was started.

Then I made my move out into the livingroom. I bought some Artist quality paints this week (as opposed to student quality) which I have been told aren’t light sensitive and the colours won’t change. Which means my other paintings are light sensitive and the colours will change. NOW you tell me. Poop.

This next one was inspired by shapes and objects on my back verandah. After drawing the outlines of a few shapes such as table, gateway, watering can, the spaces between were filled in first and painted as if they were solid forms with shading and light. That made the objects themselves insignificant - a good way to escape from painting a table the way we’ve been taught to see and paint a table, for example. Flowers and branches were painted in a symbol form; the zig zag represents a tree fern frond. I’ve added white paint to most of the colours which has made everything softer.

A quick chicken was morphed into a little duck.

The next challenge was to choose two tubes of paint at random (eyes closed) - I got red and blue (yay)(I’m allowed (by me) to use white) so did the livingroom again...detail reduced even further. Now this looks like “modern art”, don’t you think? Apparently the sign of good design in a painting is that no matter which way up you have it, it works. So next time you hear someone making disparaging remarks about not knowing which way up a painting goes, they have actually just complimented the artist.

Finally, I grabbed two tubes of paint again without looking and got yellow and black. “Oh no!”, I said. I went to put the black back but was caught by one of my kids who challenged me to see what I’d do with yellow and black. Again, poop. So I did a portrait of said kid which, once I was left to my own devices, and once it was rotated by 90 degrees turned into an Australian bush inspired thing. Yes, there’s a touch of orange, but I changed the rules.

Happy and Merry Christmas if you have Christmas, and Happy Whatever if you don’t!

A few finished paintings...

Here is the France inspired one finished.

This one appeared before...look for one with the orange rectangle. It turned into a shearing shed from above then morphed into another France inspired ditty.

This is the sort of thing I was busting to paint. It was painted very quickly with as little finesse as possible...trying to follow instinct, gut and heart rather than head.

This painting was started with the word “muse” which I picked by opening the dictionary at random and putting my finger on a page without looking...I actually began the painting by drawing the four letters m u s e anywhere on the canvas, any size, then worked with the word in mind. This painting has a personal story for me and was built up and changed as my mind wandered and moved through memories and time.

The word “play” was in my head with this one. I’m very tempted to change it back to an earlier simpler version.

My method for starting a painting with a random word from the dictionary wavered when it threw up “ultimogeniture”. Hmmm. Not only did it not inspire me particularly, but had I drawn all of the letters on the canvas it would have been decidedly crowded. So I randomly replaced it with something from an earlier page: “crow”. After drawing the letters anywhere on the canvas in any size, I filled them in with colour, filled in around them, didn’t like the result so began to scrub it together but left little patches of pure colour, and suddenly was looking at the land the way a crow in flight would see it. I added a suggestion of roads and edges of water and left it at that.

A girl flying a red kite appeared just as I was ready to pack up.

Gurgling water tank

The water tank is gurgling as steady gentle rain makes a mockery of summer, makes us momentarily forget there was ever a drought, and eases fears of bushfire. We ate plums off the baby plum tree for the first time last week but the hens are hiding their eggs so I had to buy a dozen.

Today’s paintings have skewed off in several very different directions. ...........

Nasturtiums to you too

A green glass vase of nasturtiums, geraniums (gerania?) and plumbago were the inspiration to play with colours in the first painting. I wasn’t trying so much to create a vase of flowers but just to see what are three stages not with any particular goal in mind...

The second was inspired by the sky last evening- a mauve ceiling was a edged with gold, that greeny and peachy translucent sky between the cloud and horizon were trapped behind intertwined branches. The translucent background and a band of mauve at top and bottom came first but I forgot to take a photo. I then started doing trees but the more realistically I tried to do them, the worse they looked. I changed tack and made dabs and criss-crosses which is the impression the scene gave last night. I ended up putting little flecks of colour between the darknesses with dobs of paint the same colour as any background which was still visible.

Touch of France

After lots of experimenting for a couple of weeks, yesterday I decided to finally have a go at a painting idea I’ve had in my head for some time. Here it is at two stages, more to come. It is emerging from my impressions of the French landscape with poplars and sunflowers, vinyards and ploughed fields, and three little plum trees side by side.

Plunging into painting


Gesso is a lovely white paste which you can use to coat old paintings and forget you ever did them, then start all over again.

I decided to cover one of my attempts from the recent painting class, then just experiment for a few days. I might paint until I’d used every paintbrush for example, then have a cup of tea or work, then close my eyes and grab three colours from the bag of tubes of paint and would have to use them somehow for the next layer. Or I might rotate the painting by 90 or 180 degrees, or I might add colours I felt like adding. If I didn’t like something I’d keep doing it to take me in new directions away from my usual choices.

Today I decided to stop experimenting with this particular painting and to find an end point. The final version was created by drawing shapes from the back verandah: twisted leaves, shadow, light coming through a woven chair, spider web in lattice, vase, crossed branches, then drawing the shapes wherever, joining them up, and painting from there. In the end it looked like a seascape viewed from above so I added little boats and houses like the ones in Tenby in Wales, and will stop at that.

Very bravely I’ll put the versions I’ve photographed here. Bits I like and bits I definitely don’t, but you have to make all kinds of noise to learn your instrument. One of my favourites I forgot to photograph before painting over it. Sure, right, Kerry. The one that got away.

................ Everything kept wanting to turn into trees or people and I had to work hard to resist...sometimes I didn’t.