Category Archives: nature

Mountainscapes

I shared the desert with you, now we’ve been in the Rockies for 2 weeks so here are a few photos from our travels. (the internet has been a bit dodgy hence my limited posts).

 

Snowy Mountains
The Snowy Mountains- our first venture into the snow.
Frozen lake
It wasn’t that cold though- us Aussies are tough!
Dream Lake
Dream Lake in the Rockies NP – a great short hike with a beautiful view.
The Tetons
Bison and the Tetons – from our cabin window!
Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells – perfect reflections.
Icefields Highway
A grey day on the Icefields Highway – loved all the spring willows.
Painting at Mt Robson
A quick painting of MT Robson 
On the way to Hinton
Beautiful view from the Jasper- Hinton highway.
North Cascades
Love the colour of the water- Cascades NP

It’s been a great trip through the Rockies – I’ve got lots of material for future paintings!

Desertscapes

How can I not love the colours and patterns of the desertscapes of America? Here’s a smattering of photos from our first few days. All exotic to a woman from a green and verdant island.

Desert evening
Desert sunset
Fire Wave
Fire Wave- Valley of Fire
Rock patterns White Pocket
Rock patterns. White Pocket
Valley of Fire
More rock patterns. Valley of Fire
Wildflowers
Desert wildflowers
Death Valley 2
Death Valley
cactus
Amazing purple cacti

Mini canvases.

I have a mini exhibition coming up in 4 weeks and am totally enjoying painting my small canvases for it. I plan on finishing 20 mini paintings over the next four weeks and have already completed six of them.

Bay of Fires. The Dunes.
Bay of Fires. The Dunes.

There’s something about small paintings that’s very liberating. They don’t take up lots of space so I can hang two side by side and work on them simultaneously- while one sky is drying I can paint the other. Somehow this makes me loosen up and at the same time pay more attention to each subject as I switch back and forth between them. I didn’t expect this and I think the paintings are better for it.

Two by Two! In the studio.
Two by Two! In the studio.

Although they’re small I can still pack a lot of detail, or suggestion of detail, into a 6×6 inch canvas. It’s a great way to try out an idea for a larger work, painting two or three versions and refining the composition before I commit to a 100 x 100cm canvas. (Yes… I know I’m mixing my units!)

Lupins and Reflections - Huon River.
Lupins and Reflections – Huon River.

Because there’s only a tiny area to cover I find it relaxing using a fine brush to pop in detail. I don’t tire as I can do when I’m working on large canvases. It seems more like play.

Cosy Corner.
Cosy Corner. Acrylic on canvas.

I have so many potential subjects waiting to be brought to life and working in a small format let’s me experiment at little expense of time, materials and heartache if it all fails miserably!

Spring Beach Pathway.
Spring Beach Pathway.

Not least of all I end up with a collection of affordable mini paintings perfect for someone on a tight budget who wants an original work of art, a traveller with limited space to carry a painting home or an avid collector who has no more wall space. ( I know about all three of these!)

Reflections on the Huon
Huon river reflections. Small acrylic on canvas
The Creek
Small acrylic painting – The Creek

 

Transparency

Some things are easier than others when it comes to painting and trying to get water to look transparent is not one of those easy things. Still – I ‘m fairly pleased with my latest painting – I think I’ve managed to settle the seaweed under the water . I could find fault but today I’m just going to celebrate the parts that worked!

Here it is as it progresses:

15167096654211
Blocking in the mountains
15167097327562
Adding some trees and the beginnings of the water.
15167097876483
In with some seaweed masses
15167098326294
Seaweed refined

The finished painting  ” Underwater World at Freycinet”

 

Underwater World at Freycinet
Transparent waters, Freycinet

Today’s art project

Day 8 at the exhibition was a busy day. I made another small handmade watercolour book, did a little pastel painting and tried out a daisy design on a white lamp shade. & more days to go so a few more art projects to go!

Art shade and handmade art book.
Art shade and handmade acrylic sketch book.

 

Bay of Fires pastel painting.
Small pastel painting. Bay of Fires. Tasmania.

Some boats…

Only 16 days to go and I’ll be hanging these paintings for my exhibition. Time is really flying now! I’ve been working 8 plus hour days in the studio and this last week boats have featured on the easel. I’ll be posting a catalogue page on Monday for those who can’t get to the exhibition.

38a
Two Boats 
10a
Clear Water
41
Bicheno Fishing Fleet
42
A Good Day for Fishing

Latest painting

Back from holidays and just recovering from the old jet lag which has really hit me this year. Still … I managed to find a few good hours to finish the painting I started 6 weeks ago. It’s always difficult painting an iconic location – the silhouette is so well known that it’s immediately obvious if you get it wrong! So here’s my attempt at the wonderful Cradle Mountain and sunset reflections in Dove Lake, which nestles at it’s foot.

Cradle mountain sunset
Cradle Mountain sunset

The last summer day trip.

Saturday was a blue sky day and heralded the last weekend of summer. We’re into rain and colder weather this week so the pool cover will be going on and the ugg boots coming out. Yes – I do have that most ugly of Australian footwear but they are just so toasty warm I gave in and gratefully accepted some Mother’s Day ugg slippers a few years ago.My feet have never stopped thanking me. Anyway , I digress as I often do.What I started out writing about was the blue sky day and here I am blathering on about toasty feet, winter rain and ugg boots!

So, back to the blue sky day. As  previously mentioned the sky was a startling blue, not a cloud in sight, just a vast canvas of cerulean blue. It was too beautiful and inviting to resist so the Writer made curried egg sandwiches ( his current obsession) I grabbed the snorkles and we both picked up our cameras as we headed out the door. The plan was a day trip down the Tasman Peninsula with a spot of swimming if the water was still warm enough.Down south the water temp starts dropping pretty quickly at the end of summer so I wasn’t about to commit until I’d dipped my toes in the water.

Toe dipping went fine and we swam at Safety Cove amongst schools of salmon and dancing gardens of seaweed with the sun casting golden ribbons of light over the sandy seabed. It was joyous! Later we dipped in again at the Tesselated Pavements. In between we drove around the Peninsula stopping so often for photos of the coast that it may have been quicker to walk! A splendiferous end to summer.

7
Tesselated Pavenment and Pirates Bay
5
Tesselated Pavement reflections
4
Emerald Water
14
Safety Cove
13
Great roost for a seagull
12
Whitecaps and fields of gold
11
Ripple reflections

Day Trip

On Monday I headed down to Cygnet to drop off some paintings at an exhibition. It was a glorious sunny morning and The Writer was headed in the opposite direction to Port Arthur to take the Tasman Island cruise. I would have joined him but for the need to drop off the paintings and the fact that I’m such a bad sailor there was no way I was ever going to get on that boat! The waters down there can be pretty rough and the boat is a very bouncy ride – all adding up  to a green and nausious experience for me which I preferred to avoid.

So, back to the Cygnet trip which was by road and much less bilious all round!

I packed the car with my painting kit, trusty Red Velvet (my camera) the paintings to be delivered and some lunch. This took a bit of time. Painting kit makes it sound like a small box you might fit your first aid items in-try imagining a 1940’s film star heading off on the Orient Express for a 6 week grand tour of Europe and you might get a glimpse of the magnitude of the packing job. I had acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, my field box of pastels, rags, charcoal, pencils, alcohol ( not the drinking kind- I’m driving!) paper, sketchbook, easel and a kitchen sink just in case I might need to wash up after the painting! Then I decided it wasn’t quite enough so I threw in the tripod in case I wanted to YouTube the painting.

Red Velvet got quite a work out on the way down. As soon as I hit the Huon River I was stopping every few minutes- the reflections were fantastic and the blackberries lining the road were ripe and luscious- so between the snapping there was a fair bit of berry browsing!

dscn4900
The big bend at Huonville
dscn4909
The wetlands magic.
a
Boat on the Huon river.

 

I often have trouble committing to a painting spot when I head off plein aire. I want the perfect subject , the perfect place for the easel, not too much traffic to disturb me and a bit of shade nearby. So I kept on driving and was very tempted by the reflections here…

dscn4951
Golden grass reflections. Huon River.

but all the time I was thinking of Drip Beach so I kept heading south past more perfect reflections…

adscn4922
Reflecting on the Huon River.

…and then I arrived. I love this small beach because it has such interesting shadows from the gum trees behind the beach. I’ve painted these shadows before and I thought I might try a different format this time…

adscn4962
Drip Beach shadows.
adscn4961
Sparkle on the water.
ab
Green water, red rocks.

 

I parked the car in the shade, hauled out the easel and set up. It was a lovely spot and I enjoyed being out in nature painting for a change. There were a few locals out walking their dogs and we exchanged greetings as they trooped on by. They stopped to check my progress on the way back and wanted to know if I was famous- not really- but they wanted my name anyway!

A couple of happy hours passed and here’s the result…

14881890135450
Shadows on the water. Drip Beach.

I’ve promised myself I’ll get out and about more this year and this was a good start!