Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Birds and Flowers

I am posting some photos of local birds for anyone who is interested and particularly for Michael Perchard who kindly posted great photos on his blog of beautiful Cardinals and Chickadees from his local area in the USA.
First a distraction though, with the above photo I took yesterday of our Red Cap Gum, flowering in all its glory. It almost looks as if the photo is upside down but that's just because of it's weeping habit. It often has a gaggle of feral Rainbow Lorikeets visiting but not yesterday when I had my camera at the ready. We used to get a lot of the Twenty Eight Parrots in our garden but since the unwelcome proliferation of the lorikeets we don't often see them in the back yard. They are still easy to spot in local bushland thankfully. Here is one below.

The Pink and Grey Galahs are amongst my favourite birds.  They have a wonderful sense of humour and are very raucous. I'm sure they even play chicken on the roads. We've had them waddle across in front of us, taking their time and swaggering with nonchalance, only to fly off with seconds to spare. They fly in flocks and descend on trees or grassed areas like a bunch of juvenile delinquents. Last year when driving through the wheatbelt we saw hundreds of them wheeling through the sky as one.  I'd forgotten how big their flocks could grow to in the open country. They nest high up in tree hollows.

Last but not least today is a photo of some Kookaburras from the kingfisher family - also ferals to our state from the East. They have been established here since before I was born and I was well into adulthood before I knew they were blow-ins.  They make the greatest sound imaginable. They laugh like hysterical maniacs when at full throttle.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


I enjoyed putting more detail into this painting. I may have made the cloth too dark when I added the shadows but it is done now. I had originally intended to add some more pieces but decided against it in the end.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


                                                            5" x 7"
Having a blog is a great motivating tool for me. I know without doubt that if I hadn't set up my painting blog  in August last year, my weekly painting habit would have bitten the dust long ago.  Having made a commitment in public (initially to an audience of one - or maybe less) that I would endeavour to paint for a few hours every week, I felt compelled to keep my word.
With blog-post expectations breathing down my neck each week, there was none of this nonsense of just waiting around for inspiration to bite me, no, I just had to get on with it.
At the same time I have also been writing, so free time for procrastinating is not thick on the ground.

I feared that I might not finish this painting that I have been working on today, so I thought if I posted it, then I would feel compelled to finish it off.  I still intend to improve on what is already there, and add a few more pieces on to the table.  I'm just not sure what to add and where to put it as yet.  I have been working from this photo I took a couple of weeks ago.

I think I am being a little optimistic at being able to invent and move things around as I just don't have the skills yet to get shadows and tone right on things I can see, let alone things I'm fabricating. I would love some lessons in still-life composition and in how to loosen up. I see so many amazing blogs of people who do fantastic still-life paintings.  I aspire to being somewhere in the vicinity of their talent one of these days.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Workshop with Leon Holmes

Yesterday I attended a full day painting workshop with Leon Holmes at the lovely Marie Turner's house who was hosting the event. Leon did his demonstration from the balcony which offered panoramic views across bushland and rooftops with the Indian ocean in the distance.
It was such a great day.  The sea breeze was in and everyone was lovely.  Leon paints in oils and I learnt so much from him despite the fact that I paint in acrylics. He is an amazing artist who achieves such vibrancy and a great sense of place in his work. Marie is also a fantastic artist who works predominantly in watercolours.
                                           Acrylic on board 12" x 9"

After the demonstration we all did our own paintings. I did mine (above) from a photo I had taken of Trigg beach a year or so ago.  Leon helped me to crop the photo to a more suitable composition which was an insight for me.  I hadn't realised until then that I'd been overlooking some obvious rules of composition. The above is where I got it to with a few pertinent pointers from Leon.  The painting below is after Leon demonstrated to me on how to use other techniques to get different outcomes which was fantastic. It still needs more work but I might just leave it there so I will be able to see and remember all the salient points that I learnt. I will try out my new insights onto a new painting. It was a very rewarding and enjoyable day.