Jewel Box

Jewel Box - Susan Skuse - 2015 Oil on canvas mounted on board 4x panels 30x80 cms
Jewel Box – Susan Skuse – 2015
Oil on canvas mounted on board
4x panels 30×80 cms

Jewel Box is another in the series of paintings I have been doing of Mudgeeraba Creek. I was walking along the edge of the creek one day when I noticed a shaft of light coming in between the tree branches and lighting up the stones on the floor of the creek with a golden glow. The richness of the reflections of leaves and branches, and the shapes and colours of the underlying rocks seemed to create a complicated sort of Rococco pattern; not a collection of mundane objects, but a secret cache of precious things. That’s why I’ve called the work ‘Jewel Box’.

The Art of Riding the Wind continued.

The Art of Riding the Wind No. 7 - Kestrel Oil and acrylic on composite aluminium panel 40x40 cms
The Art of Riding the Wind No. 7 – Kestrel
Oil and acrylic on composite aluminium panel 40×40 cms

Here is another of my bird series, titled “The Art of Riding the Wind”. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the expression “riding the wind” is a way of describing the experience of enlightenment in Zen Buddhist and Taoist philosophy. Riding the wind is very difficult for people, but comes naturally to birds.

The work started out as one of a series of paintings of the sky in various moods. I was interested in trying to depict the boundless power and mystery of the sky. If you’ve ever looked out of an airplane window with your mind in neutral, you’ll know what I mean. Using composite aluminium panels, I airbrushed gradated layers of colour, and afterwards used oil paint to try to suggest cloud formations. The birds were later added to these panels, trying to match something of the feeling for each species of bird with the sky in each case.

Where shadows fall, you can see what lies beneath.

Shadows of branches inscribe secret messages on flowing water
Shadows of branches
inscribe secret messages
on flowing water

Oil on canvas, 60×60 cms

This work is part of the series I am doing of a rainforest creek close to my home on the Gold Coast.  I am interested in the optical intricacies created by ripples and reflections.  Where the shadows fall, you can see beneath the surface to what lies beneath.  Could this be a metaphor of some kind?

And finally – the Blue Bird of Happiness to welcome in the New Year – paintings 99-102 for 2013

Bluebirds 1 - oil and mixed media on canvas board, 30x30 mounted on studio canvas 45x45 cms
Bluebirds 1 – oil and mixed media on canvas board, 30×30 mounted on studio canvas 45×45 cms
Bluebirds 2 - oil and mixed media on canvas, 30x30, mounted on studio canvas, 45x45
Bluebirds 2 – oil and mixed media on canvas, 30×30, mounted on studio canvas, 45×45
Bluebirds 3 - oil and mixed media on canvas, 30x30, mounted on studio canvas 45x45 cms.
Bluebirds 3 – oil and mixed media on canvas, 30×30, mounted on studio canvas 45×45 cms.
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Hooray! I’ve completed my 100 painting challenge for 2013 — in fact I have a few more left over that I haven’t posted as yet. Painting a lot is a great way to improve painting skills and learn to get the work down quickly. I’m very glad to have done it. Perhaps 2014 should be a year for concentrating on quality rather than quantity.

Infestation of Beauty 66/100 for 2013

Infestation of Beauty: Water Hyacinths by the McLean River, oil on canvas 60x60 cms
Infestation of Beauty: Water Hyacinths by the McLean River, oil on canvas 60×60 cms

I was driving down the Pacific Highway, where the road follows the McLean River, when I saw these marshy fields infested with water hyacinth, (which is a horribly noxious weed), all in furious flower. I had to stop and investigate, taking lots of photographs. It looked from some angles like a Dutch tulip farm. The colours of the flowers were echoed in the stormy sky. It was kind of an ‘aha’ moment — yes, I see, beauty really is no guarantee of virtue, contrary to what Mr. Keats had to say (“beauty is truth: truth, beauty”)