30 September, 2013

Just add water....

I am channeling the inner Panda and using some bamboo paper to paint/draw with the inks and gouache the kids bought me for my birthday.

I have never painted with watercolours etc, but it was fun and I am learning a lot ( especially by mistake!) about how the colours react to one another and how to use them.

It is school holidays at the moment( a whole two weeks ) and I am trying to do small projects whilst the kids are around. If I disappear into the studio for more than 45 minutes, they crack the code to the fridge, prank call Indian Call centres and start small land wars in the South Pacific.

26 September, 2013

The Wet T-shirt

We have a lovely ritual, the boys and I. We take the dogs( and ourselves) for a recharging and invigorating walk on the beach at Raglan. Always fabulous, no matter the weather. In fact, the wilder the better. Raglan is a west coast, volcanic black sand beach, home to a great community of artists and nature lovers, surfers, hippies and generally lovely people. It feels epic to walk along, often having the beach to ourselves.

We get to the beach and I say some stock phrases of mommydom. Choose the ones you identify with:


don't get wet, we don't have towels/spare clothes
try not get sand in your eyes/mouth/your brother's eyes/mouth
leave your shoes in the car or carry them yourself
did you put sunscreen on?
where is the hat I asked you to bring?
wear your hat!
Don't get sand in my car


can I swim?
Carry my shoes,hat,towel, clothes etc please
It is not hot enough for sunscreen/hat
I did not hear you ask me? I told Brother to bring them.
Where is my hat?
Why is the car seat so wet?

We walk the beach, they get wet , no matter the temperature, they collect sticks, dead birds( it was a dead seal pup  last week! I drew the line at that!)and shell. I collect wet clothes, shoes and hats like a coat-check girl at a nightclub( a job I held whilst a student!! This is far less lucrative!). Wet clothes are left to air dry on sticks they prop up in the sand.We collect them on the walk back.

This painting is an experiment on paper. I am not mad for it as it absorbed the paint too quickly and I felt the grain showed through too much.

The Wet T-Shirt
33 x 40 cm
oil on paper

Julius with his collection of sticks and dead seal

The high tide making stream crossings fun


25 September, 2013

Plein air spring painting

Spring brings warmer weather, lots of rain and LOTS of wind!! I almost lost the easel a few times today..gusts sprang up quickly and I had to be pretty nimble on my feet to prevent my painting landing face first in the paddock! A workout and a painting session, all rolled into one! I can only imagine I offered the cows in the paddock behind me some slightly humorous entertainment for the morning. You're welcome.

oil on canvas
25 x 50 cm

The clouds were scudding across the sky.....I just had to go for it!!

16 September, 2013

The messy chaos of my studio

This is the messy chaos that constitutes my studio...I love the green walls and I love the natural light....oh, and the space, the deck outside, the internet access and the separation from the "rest" of my life by a long hallway that CLEARLY says" you are going on a journey" each time I walk down it (not so much the other way that leads to the laundry and wash up area!)

Work sin progress on Lyre easel with my "viewing screen" in the background

computer space, art storage and oil paint tabouret

Jame Coulter plein air easel, big green bin and tabouret

By the time I have the couch, the treadmill and wind-trainer bike setup out of here, I will be dancing between painting sessions!

11 September, 2013

It's a dog's life

I walk my dogs regularly. I find it prepares them for a hectic schedule of lolling around the house, chewing each other's ears and messing with the cat. I enjoy this time out immensely as  we stroll country roads, past herds of cows, the odd sheep and goat, tractors and large agricultural trucks trailing smells of an eye pricking nature. The dogs get a whiff and you can see the frission it creates in them in their posture: nose in the air, ears alert.  FWhoar!!!
It may or may not rain on us. We may or may not meet others out for a walk. Crazy Violin teacher-lady might roller-blade past us.That scruffy dog who barks from the porch may or may not engage with us today.We will definitely pull towards the entrance of the apple orchard where all the dogs like to post a note. ( I would like a nomination award for the best euphemism of the year, please!) We see calves, daffodils and blossom at the moment. Each season has it's own flavour and sights.

Spring is traditionally wet. The dogs did not get a walk this morning as it was bucketing down. The kind of rain that, if heard around 6.30 am , would push you fully into the arms of pulling a sick day. I am usually stoic, but sorry doggies, no walk today.

I lit the fire early and they seem to have accepted the status quo for today: Dogs in front of fire, me painting.

This  happy dog is asleep on the throw that has fallen off the couch.

Oil on board
30 x 30 cm

07 September, 2013

Playing with presents, cat as a paperweight and more nocturnes

Wow, that titles makes me sound a little more out there than usual

First photos are of some of the fun starts I have made in inks. My boys bought me a few colours extra colours, two shades of green and violet. I am really enjoying getting to work out how I can work with inks and incorporate them into my paintings.

They remind me of the gorgeous silk fabrics my mother used to by on trips to the orient.

This is Fang, the cat. Not my cat, THE CAT.We have an uneasy truce. I feed him and stop the dogs harassing him and in return, he does not rake my ankles or give me frights. Fair deal.

He has found a sunny spot in the studio, next the window. I know that look. I am beat.I shall have to find another place for the paintings!!!

beach camping
oil on canvas board

 Nocturne: The rising moon over Vinyard at the foot of the mountain

More nocturnal painting and a belated career wish.

May I introduce you to the Violet palette? Dioxezine Violet (sounds like a drag queen!), Ultramarine Blue( her depressed friend) and sunny cadmium yellow.

Still playing with night scenes  and added violet instead of Pthalo to warm the scene......

I would love to have the job of naming nail polish, lipstick and house acrylic paint colours.

Just saying.........

02 September, 2013

Seascape nocturne

Using the same colours as yesterday.

This was the scene from the beach at Waipu cove when I visited earlier this year  ( summer seems such a long time ago........).I knew it would be a fullish moon and I had intended to paint that night ,but after a full days painting in the sun and wind picking up, I settled for drawing a few sketches and making notes. My camera was useless in this situation.

My notes and sketches provided all the nuances and reference that I wanted.

Across Bream bay
acrylic on canvas
30 x 60 cm

01 September, 2013

The speed of dark

I am painting "dark" today. No reason, just to play with darks. I find painting with darks (blacks, thalo green, aliz crimson, ultramarine blue) enormous fun and quite liberating. I love nocturnes, the surprise of light in the landscape and how everything looks quite different, magical. I can paint a whole canvas black and start far easier than a white canvas. I think of white and "blank" and black as " a start".

The normal, boring seaside town with associated industrial area becomes quite exotic. Elements of cartography and illusion.

But you know what is NOT easy? Photographing dark paintings!!!!

Seaside dark
34 x 45 cm
acrylic on canvas board
The title is a reference to my oldest son who likes to ask such questions.
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