Portrait of a cow.

I had a request from a client for a large impressionist portrait of a cow with horns last week. He wanted a bit of collage as well and for it to be colourful and loose. This is not the sort of subject I usually do but I was up for the challenge!

I couldn’t find any patterned paper that I felt was right for the piece so I created my own by printing out info about cows ears and then ageing the paper with a mix of sienna and yellow ochre inks. I used the paper inside the ears as well as on the flanks.

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I knifed on the paint after mixing it with some modelling paste to give it extra thickness and texture but the background I left smooth for contrast. Then I mixed up some pinks and reds for the nose and mouth and added a splash of green at the side for a bit of zing.

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and here it is all come together….

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Waiting now to see what the client thinks – there may be a bit of revision to come!

 

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Cutting it fine.

I’m heading off to Newcastle to visit my father-in-law tomorrow and have just about finished my “to do” list. This post is the last thing left ( besides putting my jammies in the bag).

One of the jobs has been nagging me all week. I entered 5 paintings in a charity art exhibition for next weekend some time ago, and I only had 4 of them painted. Still, there was plenty of time, so I didn’t feel too rushed. Suddenly I had a complex commission to do and the days sped by, next thing I knew it was yesterday and no painting started! I primed a canvas late last night and went to bed feeling OK.

Today I’ve been at it all day and finally cleaned my brushes just after dinner, washed down the palette and photographed the end result.

Wetlands 1

 

An arty day with my sister.

I spent a messy, arty day with on of my sister’s this week. She’s a neat freak ( self confessed so she won’t mind me saying this) and yet she gladly covered her kitchen bench with garbage bags and let her ditzy, messy, paint dribbling  sibling- spatter, drip and splodge the day away. Doesn’t that just typify the special bond that sister’s have?

The messy kitchen.
Painting day at my sisters.

I spent a good part of the day creating diversions while I surreptitiously mopped up great swodges and dollops of red and orange paint off her shining black tiles. I was as happy as a pig in…well… a pig in paint. Claudette restrained her natural desire to tidy as we went , although she did have a little outbreak at lunch time and did a quick round up of the stray cups and a bit of a turn up on the plastic on my side of the table where I’d let a river of paint pool, thereby averting an imminent waterfall. I wasn’t entirely oblivious to the almost cascade, just a bit too interested in what was happening on the canvas to pay it the amount of attention it properly deserved! It has to be said that Claudette’s side of the table was far less arty than mine ( code for – on my side there was a lot more paint smeared over the plastic, the floor, my jumper and everything within a 3 foot radius of my hands whilst her side had a few demure drips in a well contained 6 inch radius).

Not all our artistic endeavours were keepers but my sister sure is!

 

 

 

Huon River Painting Demo

I love the Huon River in all it’s moods. Here it is on an overcast day , full of atmosphere and quiet beauty. The grasses and bushes on the river bank add another layer of interest and texture against the backdrop of misty mountains and gentle reflections.Here’s the reference photo to go along with my YouTube video .( If you want to paint along feel free to use this photo.)aa

 

Here’s the video.

…and here’s the pastel set I used ( along with a few Conte sticks for sharper details on the boat.)

Unison landscape set

The wonder of stained glass windows.

One thing I really enjoyed this holiday was all the wonderful stained glass throughout Europe. There was a healthy mix of medieval and contemporary to explore. We came across it in majestic cathedrals,  in out of the way monastries and in tiny local churches. Ancient or modern, it lifted my soul to see the glorious , glowing colours and spend a little time reflecting on higher things than the next ice cream!

Here’s a little sample of some of my favourites:

We were walking through the small village of Penne and came across  the village church. We ducked inside to have a look ( it just seems disrespectful not to) and were rewarded with some stunning modern stained glass windows that really lit up the otherwise dark space. Even more impressive were the refracted light patterns that blazed across the widow sills and spilled onto the tiled floor.

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Stained glass. Penne, France

 

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Refracted light on tiles

 

There were many examples of biblical story depictions. They were a window ( excuse the pun) into medieval times when congregations were taught through the parables and stories found in the church windows. If I find them so remarkable today, standing out from all the competing visual stimuli, how astonishing must they have been to the ordinary villager who lived a life with little ornamentation.

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There were also windows that were more an art form than a worshipful window, complete with signature. I’m not sure who the artist is but I found their work in several churches in France. I like the looseness and fluidity of these windows and the invitation to interpret them as the viewer wishes.

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Sometimes the whole church seemed to be filled with the refracted light from the lofty stained glass windows, light bouncing off columns , across floors and onto empty chairs.

 

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My favourite refracted light pattern is this star shaped dazzler I came across in the entrance to the former pilgrimage church of Pilgrimage church of St. John Nepomuk (Zelana Hora) in the Cezch Republic. The church is famous for it’s star shaped design and is  full of star symbols. The girl on duty kindly moved a rope barrier so I could take this shot. We were lucky enough to have this Unesco listed church to ourselves and it was a great experience.

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Hope you enjoyed my round up of stained glass windows from this years trip. Of course there were many famous windows we didn’t visit this time, but it was interesting to see so many different styles and how widespread modern windows are. It’s encouraging to see this ecclesiastical art form continuing to evolve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing leads to another…

You know how it is …. you go to the hardware store for a tube of putty for a project you want to finish today , you end up buying a new workbench for the studio and spend the rest of the day reorganising the whole room. At least that’s what I did with my day! What did you do with yours?

…. and no, the project didn’t get finished, but the workbench is a peach!

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

Pre flight checklist..

I’ve just been doing my pre flight checklist.
The bags have been packed, weighed, repacked and reweighed and are now sitting on the doorstep ready to go.
There’s a few meals in the freezer for the IT Geek for those nights when the days have been too busy.
I’ve visited Mum and had a good long dose of her loveliness.
I’ve planned The Writers funeral in the wee hours of the morning ( should I bring his body home or just scatter his ashes in France where he so loves to be?)
The sheets are washed and in the dryer ready to make up a fresh new bed for the first night home.
The list of phone numbers is safely installed on the phone and the in laws have been rung for a goodbye.(managed not to seek their opinion on where The Writer should be scattered)
I’ve made and scheduled 6 videos for release on You Tube every Monday we’re away so as not to disappoint my die hard fans.
The “Closed for holidays” sign is in my Etsy shop window.
Only one last thing to check……
The cat was definitely out of the bag before I locked it wasn’t she?

The Light Box – progress report

I made some progress today in meeting my self inflicted deadline to complete the sewing machine drawer project…. I wasn’t entirely happy with the art cover I made earlier so I spent some of yesterday doing some acrylic pours onto plexiglass sheets.

 

Even though they were promising in design when I placed them over the light box the acrylic paint was too thick to let enough light through- although where it was thin some very lovely “light holes” appeared – so there’s an idea bubbling away for a design where I intentionally screen out some areas to get a light pattern- think starry, starry night or bioluminescing water.

Anyway back to the project…I tried an ink pour next and it looked sort of OK .

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Playing with ink pours onto plexiglass sheets.

 

So , out with the drawer which I had previously kitted out with LED light strips attached to a transformer, and on with the plexiglass sheet.

 

The sheet isn’t fixed in place at this stage but I thought it could be OK even though at this stage it looks a little dull. Anyway – on with the lights!!!

 

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WOW! Love it when the light comes on!

It was an instant hit of lovely, warm, bright colour. There are parts of the panel at the top I would like to change but the pouring process is 1 part control, 99 parts out-of-control, and I could do another 100 and not be totally happy. This time I’m going to override my inner perfectionist and let my ‘it’s good enough” out of the box for a play.

I still have work to do because even though I measured twice before I cut it’s still a whisker too tight to recess into the drawer. I’m considering my options carefully to try and avoid shaving the bottom edge of the plexiglass which will be a very painful process-if anyone has any good ideas I’d love to hear! Meanwhile I’ll be straining the brain for a fix or going back for another cut and pour.

A change is as good as a holiday…

I decided to test the old adage that a change is as good as a holiday so I changed my blog theme and I’ll tell you  when I get back from my upcoming Europe holiday if it was as good as 6 weeks of culture, food, art, landscapes, coastlines and general hedonistic holiday revelry.

Sorry to keep you on tenterhooks for the next few weeks but it’s anyones guess how this little experiment will turn out.

Life is art and art is life!

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