Cloudy Thoughts – D’Entrecasteaux

Cloudy Thoughts - D'Entrecasteaux, mixed media on paper, 61x81 cms
Cloudy Thoughts – D’Entrecasteaux, mixed media on paper, 61×81 cms

My main interest here is in the sea and the sky; in the way these elements dominate the landscape and make humankind’s efforts at control look insubstantial. The sky, on this rainy day, set a sombre tone that was reflected in the waters of the Channel. The scene evoked thoughts about the transience and insignificance of my life compared to the sublime power of the natural world, and the verses from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam included in the work give expression to these thoughts. It’s probably not possible to read the verses from this image, so here they are:


Into this Universe and Why not Knowing
nor whence, like water willy-nilly flowing;
and out of it, as wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.

When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As the Sea’s self should heed a pebble-cast.

And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’d we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help–for It
As impotently moves as you or I.

A number of different processes and materials were used in this work. Silver leaf was laid down over some areas of the sky and a verdigris preparation was used as underpainting on the land and areas of the sea. The scene was then painted in acrylic paint. Some collage elements are included in the sky and for the text. The work was then coated in encaustic medium to give depth to the colours and to enhance the surface texture of the work. Details of the sea were added with oil paint and stylized cloud shapes were stenciled into some areas of the sky with the intent of contradicting a straightforward naturalistic reading of the work.

Before the Storm

Before the Storm, oil on canvas, 40 x 80 cms
Before the Storm, oil on canvas, 40 x 80 cms

I have been working on a series of paintings of sky and clouds for my current studies. A friend sent me a couple of his photographs as a challenge.

Approaching storm reference
Approaching storm reference

What began as an attempt at a literal rendering of the photograph gradually morphed into something completely different, through the liberal use of artistic license.

A New day’s dawning – painting 62/100 for 2013


A new day's dawningI guess this would be called a quadtych – but that sounds strange.  After painting my twenty small paintings for uni (see my post – ‘What a beautiful place to live’ ), I’ve been experimenting with doing groups of small paintings mounted together on coloured backgrounds.  I’ve used small canvas panels for the paintings and have mounted them together on studio wrap 38mm deep canvas.   The scene is a small part of a glorious sunrise I saw on my last visit to Port Macquarie, but it really could be anywhere along the coast.  I’m putting this one in a show at Lismore in a couple of weeks time.

Landscape in the figure – a touch of surrealism 47/100 of 2013

There was a door to which I had no key, oil on canvas, 82x62cm
There was a door to which I had no key, oil on canvas, 82x62cm

I’m trying a different way of combining the figure and the landscape here — the landscape is in the figure, rather than the other way around. I’m not sure what anyone else will make of it, but I’m rather liking it. Instead of being a straightforward narrative, the viewer has more freedom to create their own meaning. For some reason, as I was painting it, a verse of the Rubaiyat came to mind (verse 32 Fitzgerald trans.):

There was a Door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil through which I could not see:
Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed — and then no more of Thee and Me

Not sure if this even fits the painting, or what it means, but that’s what came to mind.

A Day at the Beach – Paintings 31-46/100 for 2013

As part of my current university studies in painting I have recently been investigating the effects of time at a particular place. I have been working on my favorite little beach on the Gold Coast. We’ve always called it Echo Beach — I don’t know if that’s its real name — a tiny little cove nestled into Burleigh Headland on the side of Tallebudgera Creek. For this exercise I have had to paint three sketches each of different times of day, then a more finished painting of each of the three times, then two paintings further exploring the concept of time at that place.

Squeaker sketch - 30x15
Squeaker sketch – 30×15
Echo beach Noon - oil on canvas, 60x45
Echo beach Noon – oil on canvas, 60×45
Echo Beach Early Afternoon - oil on canvas, 45x60
Echo Beach Early Afternoon – oil on canvas, 45×60
Echo Beach early afternoon - watercolour sketch
Echo Beach early afternoon – watercolour sketch
Echo Beach Early Afternoon - oil sketch 30x40
Echo Beach Early Afternoon – oil sketch 30×40
Echo Beach Early Afternoon - Mixed Media 30x40
Echo Beach Early Afternoon – Mixed Media 30×40
Echo Beach - Dawn - Watercolour 30x40
Echo Beach – Dawn – Watercolour 30×40
Echo Beach Dawn - oil pastel, 30x15
Echo Beach Dawn – oil pastel, 30×15
Echo beach dawn

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