We had a wonderful day trip down the Tasman peninsula this week for a spot of photography and some snorkeling.
Our first stop was at Remarkable Cave at low tide . This is a double entrance sea cave with spectacular views out to sea through one of the entrances.
Next stop the Tessalated Pavement which has such interesting rock formations.
I managed to scare myself here by snorkeling right over the top of a huge stingray which had just been disturbed from his hiding place in the sand by my husband who was swimming ahead. I saw what I thought was a strange piece of drift wood a few inches under me and almost reached out to touch it as it looked so smooth… then I saw it was the stinging tail of a ray and I back pedddled very fast. A few weeks ago at a local beach a man died from the sting of a stingray and I did not want a repeat !
I really wanted to remember this day so got straight into the paints when we were home again. Here’s my effort to capture the clear water and sunny day.
If painting on site isn’t an option then painting from a very fresh memory is the next best thing. I’d taken a lot of photos, swam off these rocks and lunched looking over the view so when it came to the painting I really only needed these memories to get me started and didn’t have to refer to the photos at all.
Immersing yourself in your subject is a great way to get that emotional content we should always be aiming for, and swimming is a great way to immerse yourself if your subject is water!
Here’s a few paintings and sketches I’ve done this trip…. I’ve enjoyed every one!
This is a small palette knife painting in acrylics. I like the touch of colour amongst the green here.
Lot’s of wonderful rocks I tried to capture with the palette knife again. Spent a few hours on this one and didn’t even notice The Writer had returned from his walk even though the smell of his stinky cheese snack should have alerted me!
Love those Tuscan clouds and spent a happy evening chasing them with my acrylics.
Done with my travel pastel set from the front lawn of our house in Sardinia. Lovely orange lantana offset the clear blue sea- the snorkeling was fantastic here!
Yes- those doors are a bit askew. It was windy as anything when I did this and the paper kept blowing over. Reminds me of all those green meadows, the early morning smell of cow country and the ceaseless and musical tinkle of cowbells.
It’s been a lot of fun but I’m back down to earth with a thump in a few days when I arrive home to a list of 6 commissions to get done! Will enjoy the last few days here in the glorious Aosta valley with trips to the Gran Paradiso National Park for some hiking.
A few small paintings – all done at Podere Pietrata near Radicofani in southern Tuscany. I just walked out the door and turned in a new direction every evening. They’re simple and not perfect – but they capture the feeling of the place – which is the whole point of plein air painting for me.
I recently made some new linocuts and decided it would be fun to add a little story to them for the back of the cards I planned to use the prints on. Here’s what resulted.
“The Birdwatcher’s Club”
The cats met every Tuesday around lunchtime for a spot of sedate birdwatching. It was quietly thrilling as they took up position on the windowsill, never knowing what they might see through the dining room window that day. Perhaps it would be a baby Blue Fairy Wren so tiny and vulnerable as it took its first tentative flights, or maybe an endangered Swift Parrot attracted by all the ripe Irish Strawberries lying on the ground, or the first of the winter Robins with their bright crimson breast so easily spotted as they perched on the low wooden fence. The possibilities were so deliciously varied …
“Harry the Hairy Nosed Wombat”
“Harry was debating if he should get his hairy nose fixed. He felt sure it was hampering him in his quest for love. Maybe it was as simple as investing in a good razor? “
“Tassie was sure that now he had finally made it to the front cover of a greeting card he would be spotted by a talent agent and make the big time. Maybe a wildlife documentary or even a cartoon of his own. “
I enjoyed this so much I think I might try some more…..
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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!
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!)
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:
The finished painting ” Underwater World at Freycinet”
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!