I’ve been suffering with the flu and bronchitis over the last 2 weeks. The worst of it is the coughing which is persistent, wracking and brought on by talking, moving, sitting, lying down, also ,thinking about talking, sitting, moving,lying down and everything in between. At last it’s easing up a bit and I have whole hours in the morning when the cough is silent only to release itself with a vengeance when I sit down on the couch at the end of the day to quietly watch a bit of TV.
During the worst of it I really couldn’t do more than curl up on the couch with a book and my laptop. I tried to catch up on some research and had good intentions of posting a blog but I was just too tired to be bothered. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so weak and pathetic and although I tried to focus on being grateful for how healthy I usually am, I mostly dozed and coughed.
I did get round to putting in an application for gallery space at the local arts precinct. They take applications for next year round about now and it usually takes a couple of application rounds before you get a space on the program. I was very surprised to get an email saying they’d had a cancellation and would I like 2 weeks at the end of September, THIS YEAR!
It’s a wonderful gallery in an old colonial wharehouse building. It’s right in the heart of a major tourist area and just upstairs from the iconic Salamanca Market . There are thick wooden beams overhead and beautiful wooden floorboards underfoot. A quality space that I’ve exhibited in once before and really enjoyed.
So , of course I said yes. I didn’t let a little thing like needing to have 40 paintings ready in just over 5 weeks stand in my way! I did a quick count of paintings I had ready to go and I probably have another 20 to finish in the lead up to the exhibition.
Surprisingly, standing at the easel and concentrating on brushstokes, colours and shapes must have some effect on the cough centre of the brain. I found that my coughing eased while I was painting (even though it came back with a vengeance when I put down the brush.) What a bonus!
Now I’m in full blown painting mode. Into the studio every morning and working straight through to lunch, a quick soup or sandwich, then back for another session till dinner time. I’ve started with small canvases and am working my way up to some bigger sizes. The studio is beginning to fill up and I’m loving the process. I finish a canvas and then use the left over paint on the palette to prime the next canvas- it’s a great way to get a sense of continuity between the canvases.
I’ve settled on “Water’s Edge” as the title and am enjoying working on a series of waterscapes large and small. It’s a subject I’m passionate about and I’m hoping this comes across in the finished works.
Will keep you updated as I go. Back to the studio now!
On Monday I posted off my latest commission and was waiting for a client to get back to me before I could start the next one so Tuesday found me with a RDO (rare day off) and no paintings waiting to be done! That really doesn’t happen often at this time of year with a steady stream of Christmas commissions coming in( as I write there’s already a new painting on the easel and 2 more waiting to be started).
With no painting on the go I found myself eyeing off my stash of fabric and favourite black sheep stamp . I love cottons and had a lovely earthy piece with tan,cream and terracotta stripes that I decided to pair with a tan cotton drill and turn into a couple of bags. I stamped away happily , making some decorative patches to sew on the flaps and backs and then spent a few hours at the sewing machine which has been feeling very neglected lately. By the end of the day I’d finished off 3 bags featuring the sheep print and felt reconnected to my sewing machine !
But now it’s back to the easel……………I need to get some big snow covered pines on the foreground ridge , and maybe a few falling snowflakes.
My sister came up today and helped me rip off the old rusted roof from the Potter’s shed and replace with new colorbond sheets. It was a big job jemmying out the old rusted nails and power drilling in the new roofing screws while balancing on the wobbly ladder! But girl power prevailed and 6 hours later we had a new rain proof roof.
While we were ripping, banging and balancing someone bought one of my pastel paintings from my Etsy shop so that paid for half the roofing sheets. Happy days!
This is my first venture into the world of aviation art and it was a lot of fun. The hardest part was getting the lettering right – I must have done it a dozen times! I’m really happy with the painting overall and especially like the little spots of light on shining on the propellor housings. I just learn so much when I take on a new subject – who knew painting a plane could be so much fun!
I had a birthday this week and amongst my presents was a very generous gift voucher to my favourite art shop from the youngest son. He had a look and couldn’t decide what I would like best so left me to choose. I love a gift voucher to this shop as it means I can buy something I’d like to try but wouldn’t normally spend my money on.I’d been eyeing off these Derwent Artbars for some time but never could justify their hefty price tag so it seemed fated when I saw they were just $1 more than the voucher.
They’re a lovely set of watersoluable wax bars set out in brights, lights, earth tones and darks. I love the triangular shape which gives lots of edges for mark making. I had a play this weekend and here are the results…
First I just played with the artbars, drawing loops in bands of colour and then laying in a water wash. Then I turned the paper 180 degrees and layed in more loops over the wash while it was still a little wet. I loved the way the bars slipped over the wet surface yet left quite discrete marks. This was a great way to try the colours and the result is a little geometric rainbow.
Next I tried a little impressionism. Inspired by a photo taken in Tuscany of a field of wildflowers in sunlight and shadow I made some basic swathes of colour for the sunlight and shadow, dropped in some water to blend the colours a little. While it was still wet I jabbed away with the artbars making marks for flowers and later dropped in a little watercolour. Finally I finished up with some soft pastel highlights. I quite like this little field of flowers.
I definitely enjoyed these artbars and will have to try incorporating them into some of my mixed media paintings. I also enjoyed making small square paintings and might work on an artbar squares series as a way of developing ideas on how to best use them. Art is exploration after all!
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’ve unpacked the suitcase, done the laundry and distributed the gifts. I’ve settled back into work reacquainting myself with the myriad small disasters of the working day. I’ve rearranged the studio and tidied up a bit. So now there’s so more excuses for putting off starting on the post holiday paintings.
It might surprise you to know that as much as I love painting there’s something a bit daunting about sorting through my memories, masses of photos and all those small sketches I did and trying to distill the essence of the holiday that I now want to capture in larger pastel paintings.
Sometimes I absolutely know what I’m interested in. One holiday it was patterns- roof tiles, fields of different crops, rows of lavender, five metal jugs on a wall, bicycle wheels- stone fences-the list went on. Other times it takes a while for a them to emerge and this last Italian holiday was one of those.
When that happens sometimes I just decide to jump in and start painting whatever and see what develops. So here are my first three paintings and I think what might be developing is a visual essay on the varied landscapes of Italy.
When you live as far “down under” as we do, in southern Tasmania, it’s a long way to Europe and our usual approach is to whittle away at our wish list across 2 or 3 countries each trip. This holiday we spent 5 weeks in Italy instead of our usual 1-2 weeks and it really made a difference. We were able to stay a week each in four very different regions and explore a bit more in depth than we usually have time for and I think the vastly different landscapes, architecture and traditional work is what captured our interest. Of course this variety shouldn’t be a surprise given that the Italy we know today is a very recent entity .
A gentle morning landscape with mist rising over the Tuscan wheatfields, the emerald waters of Sardinia and snowcapped mountains reflected in Lake Arpy in the northern Italian alps – the start of a series celebrating the diverse landscapes of Italy.
I wanted to make something personal for my Mum this Mother’s Day. For me as a mum the gifts I appreciate most are the one’s that show thought and caring, maybe they take a little time , like a board game or tell me that my sons know me, like a travel set of brushes. So this year I decided money was out it was time to make something – after all I make stuff all the time for my Etsy shop , for other clients, and just for my own pleasure.
Mum and I took a road trip in New Zealand last year so I decided to make her a personalised concertina sketch book of the trip. It’s an expression of my love for her and my appreciation for those 10 days we got to spend together with no one else to interrupt our conversations or hurry me off to the next place I have to be. Time is a precious commodity I usually meet out stingily so it was a joy to have time to talk, to laugh, to moan, to rejoice, to ponder, to be silent – together. Thanks for those 10 days Mum – and all the other days of my life when you’ve been the one who gave me your precious time and love.
And no – I’m not letting any cats out of the bag – we had Mother’s Day lunch today !
New Zealand sketch book
New Zealand sketches
Concertina sketch book.
Oh – and I printed the gift box with a ewe and lamb in a nod to our family name- Woolley!