29 January, 2013

My View

The boys still have a week to go before school starts and unless I paint somewhere they are occupied, they drive me nuts and I cannot paint at all.I did not fancy them anywhere outdoors today as it was forecast to be hot. Today I negotiated a spare hour of peace ( frankly, I threatened them with a computer ban) and painted in my garden.I just needed an hour, I begged. The dog came with me and watched as I painted. It was hot. Very, very hot. I was able to sneak indoors for a drink halfway and continue without them noticing my presence. I was glad we were not somewhere in the blazing sun, sizzling like sausages.

The race down the farm
20 x 25 cm
oil on board

I cannot believe how my usual green view is so dry and dusty!

28 January, 2013

The hidden meadow

I sacrificed quite a bit of blood to the notorious sand flies whilst painting this idyllic scene. I had spied this meadow many times before on the walk up to Wentworth Falls. It is just off the path, behind some Kanuka and Nikau palms, a flash of orange and green.

I love how the light falls on the meadow , striating it with lines of light against the dark of the bush.

I painted quickly as I was being eaten alive by sandflies and I hopped around quite a lot. This was the most energetic painting I have done in a while! I discovered that the Crocosmia montbretia is considered an weed in New Zealand! A South African import.....no wonder I fell for it!

Crocosmia meadow
Wentworth Valley
20 x 30 cm
oil in Archival paper

27 January, 2013

Auckland Anniversary day Plein air

I stayed close to home,  painting down the road this morning. I bumped into friends taking their children for a leisurely horse ride, some stopped cars and had a chat and I finished off by popping in for a coffee,cake and chat with my writer friend at the end of said road.

The morning is perfect and will be hot and sunny for the next few days. New Zealand has a Maori name, Aotearoa, which means "Land of the long white cloud". As an island, there are always clouds around but today we have nothing but blue skies from horizon to horizon. So of course, I painted almost no sky whatsoever! What I wanted to catch was how the morning light infused everything with a glow.

I painted on a canvas toned with a mix of permanent rose and Indian yellow. Vivid orange,really.

I like it.

20 x 30 cm
oil on canvas board

Using me Coulter plein air system easel setup and Best Brella umbrella.....and the boot of my car for all the other junk!

What an absolutely wonderful morning.

26 January, 2013

My camping Plein air adventures

The family went camping at one of New Zealand's fabulous DOC( Dept. of Conservation) campsites in the Coromandel Peninsula, Wentworth Valley. This is our annual "unplug" time...we detach from out technology driven, frantic lives, take stock and enjoy some peacefull family time. No electricity, long drop loo's, tenting,  cooking over a gas fire and living out of a chilly bin make for a very different life to the one we usually have.It was marvellous and I feel so much better but I am also very pleased to come home to some creature comforts!! I actually flushed the loo just for fun and gave my fridge a little cuddle of appreciation on my return.

We camped next to a wonderful stream and my boys spent hours jumping from a rocky outcrop and a few tree branches into the clear but frigid waters below.We ventured to the beach at Whangamata,  hired canoes and paddled up the estuary, we ate fish and chips on the beach, they rode their bikes and I got a paint in once or twice. Everyone was very content, the days had a natural rhythm to them and we all got to do what we all wanted to do. I even read 2 books!

I painted this early one morning as the sun was rising. Charles got up early to go for a mountainbike ride and I took the opportunity to paint this scene. I had to hurry as the light changed very quickly!

Early morning campsite
20 x 28cm
oil on paper

I took lots of photos for future paintings, made lots of notes and Notan sketches and I hope that I will be able to work up some of the photos when it is cold and raining and I feel like a blast of summer. I am really enjoying my plain air painting, but I will tell you more about my adventures next time including the woman who let her dog jump on my oil paint covered palette!!!

22 January, 2013

Maize planted

The maize planted in spring  now grows on every conceivable bit of land, hilly or otherwise, to provide silage for winter. Moody skies bring a welcome break from the weeks of sunny,hot weather. The farmers will be happy with the rain.

15 x20 cm, oil on paper

19 January, 2013

Rejected Rhubarb

I painted this seated in my veggie garden.By seated, I mean sprawled on the ground, pretending to weed but actually hiding from the children.

This is the rhubarb, growing rampant against the dark windbreak of the Griselinia hedge.
They hate rhubarb, the menfolk of my clan. I planted it a few years ago. They have professed to hate it each year and each year I let it grow again in case their tastebuds have evolved and the now love the stuff. No such luck.They have moved from mute grimacing to yuck to now describing it as revolting. At least their vocabulary is evolving, if nothing else.
I actually dug it up last year but it is a stubborn thing that grew again this year, oblivious to the dislike of the offspring.

I hope you like it.I shall harvest and freeze it.....maybe my dad will like it........

Painted with a palette knife on paper, 30 x 20 cm, 20 minutes

15 January, 2013

Technology infusion

I love technology, but it must have a  useful and exciting application for my life.  I remember how excited my mom was when we got our first microwave. We watched a chicken thaw. Seriously.It blew our minds . ( although, she always asked us to step back from the window in case it cooked us too...you know, by accident. Knowing what I do now about that kind of technology and the eighties, I think she was on to something). Dinner was now no longer planned by 8 am, you could wing it till 5 and still have a ready meal by 7! It made a huge difference to her life . Menu spontaneity could enter our lives without fear of botulism.

Flick forward 30 years......

I have totally bought into Apple products..I have an iMac an iPad and iPhone, my kids are umbilically attached to their iPods and I swear, my husband is about to tattoo an apple logo on his chest just to get some attention from us these days.

And now, the Apps. Like addicts , we accumulate and hoard them, each better and funkier than the last, demanding more and more ....until we need more memory. Which ones to delete to make more space for the newest purchase?? The review is crushingly difficult but those eliminated are usually well past their best-by date and the new shiny app is so alluring....I feel so shallow as I write this, but they fulfil my need to buy  just because it makes me feel better , sometimes. Priced well and full of instant gratification....the perfect shop .

So, my latest is an art app called Value Viewer. It is genius for what I need it to do. I have loaded it onto my iPhone( but you can use it on iPad too). I intend to use it for en Plain air work when I am struggling to see the values....a failing I am working on, and now I have a tool to assist me. The idea of Notan studies is very appealing  and this little app has that as a feature as well as a heap more. I saw it advertised in Plein Air Magazine, an american magazine well worth subscribing too if you are into good, en plein air work. There is a digital subscription that is very affordable, but you must have broadband. Go to  www.outdoorpainter.com to have a look.

I digress.

This is the official blurb:

ValueViewer is an indespensible tool for artists who paint from life. Whether "en plein air" or in the studio, ValueViewer will allow the user to take a photo of their subject, view it in grayscale, or posterize it into two or three values. You may also select an existing image directly from a photo album on your iPhone or iPad. Controls let you adjust the light, mid-tone, and dark area of your image to "key" your painting correctly, and assist in helping you "see" value, even in the most unforgiving light. The image can be zoomed in and out, scrolled, and rotated into position to help you find just the right composition for your painting. Convenient adjustable 'frame' overlays help you crop the image to fit your canvas, and grids can be displayed to help you transfer the image to your canvas.

Best $5 I have spent in ages.

I turfed the app for recipes......my mother taught me well and I know how to cook!

11 January, 2013

Posed Pilchard

Omega 3 fatty acids. This is what a good mum  should feed her kids, Omega 3 Fatty acids, in the form of oily fish, to promote healthy brain growth and development  . I opened a tin of these little buggers, show the kids their intended new lunch and the wailing, moaning and protestations at the perceived torture was worthy of an Oscar or two. Move over Meryl Streep. You would think I had offered them rancid entrail with a garnish of dog turd. The ability to gag on demand is well worth documenting on the eldest boy's CV.

I was going to eat them myself but all the gagging and wailing put me off. The dog and cat thought they were fabulous. They have moved up the list of favourite dependants for the moment.

So, I painted the pilchards  instead. I love how they are presented all laid out in precise rows, head to tail sometimes, but this time,overlapping.

Of course, they were dull grey and squishy(gag-worthy, really) so I jazzed them up a little, pretended they were fresh from whatever Portuguese fish market I was shopping from in the verdant fields of my imagination( where I am fabulously groomed and gorgeous, have a string of admirers who shower me lavishly with compliments, have children who play quietly with lego and abhor noise, am a gracious and relaxed hostess who throws parties that rock..you get the picture. It's an awesome place).

No wonder their eyes are so big! They've never heard such rot in all their lives !

Posed Pilchards
60 x 45 cm
oil on canvas
The heat and turps are clearly getting to me.

07 January, 2013

First star at night

Southern Hemisphere  summer evenings mean it's light till past 9 pm. I wish I could paint at this time of night but the kids have finished me off as a useful human being by about 6pm, so anything that happens after that has a certain element of pre-determined disaster about it. Having the boys around 24/7 is doing my head in a bit. They eat non-stop, create havoc and are genuinely astonished when I ask them to tidy up.....they are oblivious to the chaos they create. Sigh. Chillax, Jennie.Go with the flow.

So, I make notes, do some online reading and have a restorative gin then paint from those memories, notes and such , the next day.

The wind has howled yesterday and today. It has blown in that way that makes me hysterical for the safety of fingers in doors etc. We lost an olive tree and a big branch of a twisted willow last night. I had to rescue the neighbours new patio chairs from the paddock next door and hammered a few more pegs into keeping the trampoline in place.Sadly, birds nests lie scattered. The cat is besides himself with glee.

So, this is the first star of the night across the farmlands.

First star of the night
32 x 18 cm
oil on canvas

I had to photograph this indoors due to the wind....I will rephotograph in a few days.

First Star
Still not a great photo......

01 January, 2013

Big sky and red Barn

I saw this as I was driving home from the pool....a bruised looking sky above the fields growing maize, with a red barn just in the distance. Strange to think of the temperatures as near 28 degrees with these skies, but the humidity was so high I knew the thunder would start sooner than later.  The relief of a few temperature drop makes me laugh when I think about growing up in Africa, where summer temperatures used to soar into the mid thirties on a daily basis. Now, 24 degrees is my magic number.

23 x 30 cm
Oil on canvas

Summer is very languid for us at the moment. I have lost track of the days of the week. We are all dressing straight out of the laundry pile and there are wet towels all over the place. How can two small boys use so many towels? They seem to leave damp patches everywhere, so it's not as if they are even using the towels to dry off properly.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...