Tag Archives: canvas

Latest portrait 3: Inspired by Xenia Hausner’s work, “Steffi”…

Steffi, Acrylics on canvas, 61cm x 46cm

Steffi, Acrylics on canvas, 61cm x 46cm

Inspired by the work of Xenia Hausner, I have been playing with colours and loving this new way of working. 
 
 “Steffi” is painted in acrylics which I have found quite challenging being more familiar with oils, however it is certainly teaching me to work faster.   While I still love my oils and they are my first preference, in making the shift it has been great fun to play with colours in this medium given the flexibility created with the faster drying time.  
 
Was curious to be back on canvas again after painting on boards now for the last year or more.
 
Watch this space as I am keen to do more of this type of work and have another painting almost completed.  Love the colour and drama of it.
 
For more portraits, click here

Difficult pleasure…abstract fun

Having recently returned from visiting family in Victoria and a challenging time trying to work through arrangements for aging parents to establish the best care for them in the circumstances, I was relieved to seek refuge in my art class.  I was in definite need of some art as therapy.  Too exhausted to even think of lugging canvas and paints to class, and to stand and create, I chose to sink into a chair and just doodle. 

My sister and her husband are building a new home and I offered to do a painting for them.  She is keen on abstracts so with that in mind I began browsing through various magazines and art books allowing myself to do some research and see if anything sparked an interest.  After some time, some shapes in one image caught my eye and I started to just play with them.  Not experienced in abstracts, I welcomed some gentle guidance from my teacher on how I could work up the image and using pastels began to play with colours.  Perfect.  Just what I needed.  Whether this would ultimately end up the painting for my sister, for now I just wanted to experience the process.

 A week later  I returned to class, this time with canvas, paints and renewed energy and enthusiasm to take my mock up and transform it onto canvas.  I had already prepared the surface by building it up with impasto.  And so began my “Difficult pleasure” as Brett Whiteley had once described painting, or creating art.  Moving into the abstract area was challenging me and yet at the same time, it was great fun.  All the more so given my recent work in portraits and the precision required there.  While the painting still needed to work, to have balance and all the elements required of a good painting, there was also quite a lot of freedom particularly in the process of rendering this painting.  To see the outcome of my “difficult pleasure” or “abstract fun” visit my new Abstract gallery and “Sea Bed”.  This is what flowed from a day that began with some old fashioned doodling.

Precision, spontaneity and dancing between…

Drawing and more drawing.   I started portrait classes in January and the learning curve has been steep.  Going back to the basics, the fundamentals and endeavouring to absorb the intricacies and intimacy of the human face and figure.  Anatomy.  I never studied it at high school and yet here I am learning it now and it is fascinating.  My teacher, Nafisa Naomi, is passionate and particular, which is precisely what I wanted.  And precision is definitely the word.  There are days when I get a likeness and others when they are just not quite there and it is my observation that is out.  I am finding it challenging and yet rewarding.  I now have a series of self portraits in charcoal, figuring atleast if I am drawing myself I am not offending anyone!  Oh the inner critic runs rife!

But I am missing my painting.  I have been missing the colour and the canvas.  So inspired by a recent visit to Nicholas Harding’s exhibition at the SH Ervine Gallery, I got out my palette knife and some beautiful colours and, with the joy of much greater freedom, did a couple of floral works (see my Floral Works Gallery).  I love the way the colour mixes undercover of the knife’s blade, and which seems more like a wand as you wave it across the canvas, never precisely sure how it will translate.  I love the way each swipe is uniquely recorded and never to be repeated, a spontaneous creation.

So I am dancing between.

Time for reflection and dreaming…

Having recently returned home from hospital, I am under strict doctor’s orders to do absolutely nothing for at least two weeks.  On first arriving home, I had forgotten that our carpet was being cleaned in my absence so I returned to find our home topsy-turvy with our lounge spilling into our dining room and my studio.  How often life reflects where you are at.  My whole body had been through a major upheaval with surgery and how befitting my surrounds seemed to me.  I had even painted the bottom of a canvas before leaving for hospital and had turned it upside down to dry while I was away, so that particular portrait was also staring at me upside down.

I could either fight my surrounds or succumb to them, and with so little energy I opted for the latter.  I was curious to see my world from a different view.  A lounge newly positioned facing our dining room wall allowed me to lie down in comfort and ponder the scene in front of me.  And in this case there were many.   Fortunately I have a number of completed canvasses  of varying moods, colours, and images and just before entering hospital I had changed all the paintings on this wall.  It was now filled with beautiful trees: triptychs, gentle, ethereal highland gums and rich golden gums.  I could now rest in their comforting energy and draw strength, at the same time observing where I had achieved what I had set out to do in each painting.   There were also a couple of portraits of dear friends smiling at me and reminding me of their friendship.

So while grounded by the specialist, it has been a time for reflection and dreaming.  Reflecting on the efforts over the past year and dreaming of new projects for the coming, at the same time with my body reminding me very much of the present.  I have been noticing and enjoying the difference a painting can make to a room, to a soul for had those paintings not been there, the wall would have left me quite deplete rising up blandly and abruptly in front of me, however with the highland gums, haunting beauty and others a sense of perspective, of distance and depth has stretched out before me.  

And it reminded me of a beautiful piece written by Leonardo Da Vinci, which I often think of around this time of year…

 

“Every now and then go away,

have a little relaxation,

for when you come back to your work

your judgement will be surer;

since to remain constantly at work

will cause you to lose power of judgement.

 

Go some distance away

 because the work appears smaller

and more of it can be taken in at a glance,

and a lack of harmony or proportion

is more readily seen.”