This is another painting I’ve done for the local art society show themed “Fakes and Frauds”. I love the serene, enigmatic nudes of Alex Basanoff and his work just cried out to me – “paint me again!”. I feel there is a lot to take away from his work. The sharply defined shadow, the glowing light areas and the black background remind me of Georges de la Tour. Influence flows like a river from one artist to another, enriching as it goes.
I had another productive Sunday painting with Erna last weekend. This painting is from a photograph I took on an early morning walk at Port Macquarie. Looking into the sun doesn’t make for a very good photograph, but in paint the light and sea mist look more convincing, I think.
Here is painting 15/100 for 2013. The story of Leucothea is a very interesting one. She was once a mortal woman named Ino, sister of Semele who became a lover of Zeus. Semele died when Zeus revealed his true nature to her, (at Hera’s hidden instigation, but that’s another story). The baby Semele was carrying, who was to become the god Dionysus, was saved by Zeus, who completed the infant’s gestation by sewing him up in his thigh. The baby was given to Ino to raise, but Hera was still on the case and sent Ino’s husband into a murderous rage. Ino’s husband killed their elder son and Ino fled with her younger child, leaping off a cliff into the sea. There she became Leucothea, a sea goddess, who aided sailors in times of distress. She saved Odysseus after Poseidon had destroyed his raft by wrapping him in her bouyant white shawl.
This is painting 14/100 for the year. It’s a large one – 1m square – so it’s taken a while. It may not be quite finished yet, but it’s getting close. The painting draws on William McGregor Paxton’s painting, Nausica, with various additions, modifications, omissions and re-interpretations according to my whim.
The original painting, attached below, is about a comparatively unexciting incident in the tale of Odysseus, when he arrives back in Greece without ship, shipmates or even a loincloth to call his own. He runs into the princess of the place who happens to be doing the laundry in the nude, together with her companions (as you do). In my re-interpretation the ladies are getting excited about a ship approaching their idyllic cove. I am imagining it more as Medea sighting Jason’s ship, the Argo, approaching her home town of Colchis, hence my title.
My painting buddy, Erna, and I had a great time at the USQ McGregor Summer School from 9th to 19th January. Toowoomba turned on exceptional weather for us again, with temperatures of around 40c in our classroom, but as you can see, Max Wilks kept us painting non-stop and struggled manfully with our various bad painting habits. I think his instructions might be summed up as – observe, think, paint loosely, keep it bright and clean. I’m interested to see how his instruction will play out in my paintings over the next few months.
By the way, all the workshop paintings are for sale – $100 for the smaller ones, $150 for the larger ones, unframed. Plus postage. Send me an email if you would like one.
Bad me, I’m bending the rules already. This painting was started some time ago, but it WAS finished in 2013, and that’s what counts, right? I’ve not been able to paint for that past couple of days, since I’ve been getting ready for 10 days away at the McGregor Summer School. I hope to come home with lots of lovely paintings to put me well ahead of schedule. I’ve also been working on a large 1m square painting, but that’s not ready to show yet.
I’m very excited about 2013, and very happy to have arrived here. I think it’s going to be a big year in my artistic growth. One of my major challenges for this year is to paint 100 paintings. As friends quickly point out, that’s two per week. Well, they don’t all have to be large ones, I suppose. So, to get the show on the road, and running only slightly behind schedule in Week 1, here is my first painting — Life’s a Bitch. I painted it for the Royal Queensland Art Society’s January show themed “Life’s a Beach”. My reference photo was taken recently at the dog beach at Port Macquarie, NSW. My friends’ dogs were having such a good time. Their simple joy in living is instructive.
Life’s a Bitch – oil on board – 60×40 cms