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.
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”
With only 3.5 weeks to go until my exhibition time is flying and I’m madly painting. This is today’s acrylic on canvas which I’m pretty happy with. Just loved the light the day I took the reference photos and feel I’ve managed to capture the morning magic.
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.
I painted a small pastel of these wooden boats a few years ago and this week I scaled up a bit and did a 70 x 90 acrylic canvas of the same scene. It took much longer than my usual seascapes because of all the detail in the boats and the mooring ropes. I’m pleased with the finished painting as I think I’ve captured the light on the end of the first two boats which is what first attracted me to the scene. I also like the repetition of the boats and the patterns of their internal wooden ribs. The ropes add some horizontals and vertical accents and the reflections in the mirror like water give a tranquil feeling to the painting.
Here’s a few shots of the painting as it progressed.
Had a clear weekend so gessoed up a canvas and did my second painting in the Sardinia series. Capo Testa is a wonderful area on the north-west coast of Sardinia. There’s a maze of walking tracks amongst the huge boulders and so many wildflowers it’s like a series of rock gardens. There’s the mild scent of curry wafting over the cape from the yellow curry plants and the stunning blue of the Mediterranean in the background. Hope I managed to capture just a little of this amazing place which I hope to get back to some day.
I had a painting day today and broke out the acrylics for a change. I’ve been doing a lot of pastels lately and although I love them sometimes I crave the luxury of slathering on thick wodges of paint and building up some texture.
I had a lot of fun with the foreground using some modelling paste mixed with the paint to give volume and texture to all that vegetation. The Queen Anne’s Lace was all over the island with flower heads the size of dinner plates in some places! I took a bit of liberty with some of the flowers so I could harmonise the painting but there were a lot of coastal blooms all around Sardinia.
I like how the red underpainting shows through in places giving the painting a bit of zing.
Another joy of acrylics on canvas is that I can continue the painting around the sides , put in a couple of d rings, wire it up and straight onto the wall. No tedious mat cutting and then having to put the pastel in and out of the frame half a dozen times because I keep seeing a speck of dust that’s fallen on the mat – it always happens no mater how careful I am!
This one’s for an upcoming exhibition and I’m thinking it might not come home. All in all a satisfying days work.
I’m having a bit of a snow theme lately with my commission work! My client asked me to capture the excitement and movement in this winter sledding scene. It was a bit of a challenge for me as I’ve only ever painted dogs once before….but then that’s one of the reasons I do commission work– for the challenge of subjects outside my usual comfort zone!
As with any painting I can see areas that are less than perfect but there are also passages I’m quietly pleased with. I like the sense of movement from the different leg positions of the running dogs, the way the fur on the lead dog is being swept back by the wind and the lolling tongues that suggest they’ve been running hard. The lead husky looks a bit wolf like but that’s really how he looked in the reference photos!
Research always helps
I did a bit of research on husky sled harnesses so I could understand how the harness wrapped around their bodies as it was difficult to tell in the reference photo – this really made it easier to paint the fur as it moved around and over the harness.
I was saved the problem of painting facial likeness by the fantastic reflective visors! I like the way the man is leaning as they round the corner – it helps that feeling of movement. I added the flakes of falling snow for another touch of movement and a feeling of cold and fun as they sled through the swirling snow.
Practice makes perfect
So now I’m going to practice some dog portraits – I’m determined to get better! A workmate has clumber spaniels and St Bernards so I’ve offered her a portrait if she will give me an honest critique. I wonder how that will go?