Another of this series of birds in flight. These are my sky panels re-purposed. I think the sky is equally as important as the birds, since the series is about the many facets of the art of riding on the wind.
Always Emptying; Always Full – oil on canvas, 30 x 122 cms
This is a painting of my local creek. I’m going to be doing a series of paintings of this creek in the course of my university studies over the coming year. With this one I created a panorama of photos taken while standing on a rock in the middle of the stream. My aim was to make the viewer feel surrounded by the scene – not just looking at it as though through a window. I painted with very thinned down oil paint on an absorbent canvas surface, trying for the fresh look of transparent watercolour. The title comes from a line in the Tao te Ching – “the universe, like a bellows, is always emptying, always full.” The creek is my little metaphor for the universe.
I see that the year is fast running out. I must get on and post more paintings that are sitting around my studio. I’m pretty sure I’ve made my goal of 100.
This was my entry for the recent Border Art Prize. Didn’t win, didn’t sell, situation normal. It’s a departure from my usual style. The painting started with a background of rust paint – you paint it on, black and gluggy, and then put on an oxidizer, that makes the surface, well, rust. When its rusted enough, you can seal it off. It makes a very interesting coloured and textured matt surface. Then I used some net fabric as a stencil to apply modelling paste, palette knife ditto, and a lot of dribbling, flicking and dotting. I was trying to get the impression of a group of rather graceful looking trees clinging onto a cliff face and swaying in the breeze. I think I got something of it there. The original photo reference, which bears little resemblance to the painting, was taken at the Minyon Falls lookout, Northern NSW.
I started this painting a while ago as part of the work for a uni course I am doing. I’ve done more work on it since, trying to capture the dramatic lighting I saw.
The second part of my time assignment was to bring a more personal aspect to the study of time. I found a picture of myself as a small child at the beach, with my little black kitten. So long ago. I have super-imposed this on a picture of Echo Beach in the morning. The figure is in sepia and white – like the original photo – I’m thinking of it as an echo from another time. I’m wondering if that little girl is still around somewhere, inside this old lady.
The second painting of the pair is a sunset scene with a figure (supposedly me) looking out over the sea towards the setting sun. The day is almost over. So sad. Never mind, I’ve studied philosophy, I’m OK with it.
I started this painting some time ago and have only just got around to finishing it off. If it is finished, that is. It often seems to me that the painting finishes with me, rather than I with it, if that makes any sense at all. Anyway, this was painted from a photo I took on a little holiday jaunt with my good friend, Janine. The lake is the out-flow of an underground river that flows through the Jenolan caves system. The suspended limestone material that it carries gives the water an incredible opalescent jade colour.
This is my tongue-in-cheek take on the Genesis story. I think it fits into my mythological series. I guess some people won’t like it because they feel that mythological stories from the Abrahamic tradition should be privileged. Obviously, I don’t think that.
The fact that the fruit of the tree of knowledge (of good and evil) is traditionally depicted as an apple strikes me as odd. It seemed to me it should be a book. Books are where we get our most dangerous and exciting ideas. And there’s nothing more dangerous than letting women get their hands on books, is there? Next thing, they start getting uppity.
The coastline around Hat Head National Park is very impressive. It’s just across the bay from South West Rocks, and has the same honey coloured granite boulders. There’s a well preserved colonial gaol there, crafted from the same local stone by the convicts. I doubt they enjoyed the project much, or the surroundings.
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