Wednesday 29 April 2020

Sketching Buildings in your local area

With the onset of COVID-19 our lives have mostly changed dramatically. Many of us are working from home where extended periods of isolation have become difficult. We need to look at our lives in a very different way and the negative of the pandemic can result in a positive to our way of living.

I know I have been doing much more cooking than I usually do, but to me this is another creative activity. Cook up special meals that are healthy and nutritious and send photos to friends and family, and encourage them to do the same. This makes it much more interesting and almost a challenge.

We need to have a purpose to what we do and we need to stay healthy.

Menu 1: Chili con Carne with pasta and Greek yoghurt, Spanakopita, Zucchini slice with corn, onions and sun roasted tomatoes,  peas and onions with triple smoke hickory ham.

Menu 2: German Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), roasted beetroot, cabbage with onions and carrot, fresh broccoli and grated vegetable bake.

We know how important exercise is, so I began my walking regime with half an hour, exploring the back laneways and streets in my neighbourhood. I love architecture and I love sketching buildings, so what could be better than being a tourist in my own area, soaking up the heritage and the beautiful old terrace houses and cottages? Then, what makes it even better, is that I am combing my morning walk, now an hour, with taking photos of the buildings I want to sketch.

My project, combining walking and sketching, is to fill a new sketchbook with my neighbourhood building sketches.

I really look forward to getting out in the morning and seeing what new buildings and history I can discover through some research. My area has Aboriginal heritage and its name means camp, meeting ground or a sitting down place. The name was officially used by the first speaker of our legislative assembly of New South Wales, Daniel Cooper, when he laid the foundations for his house in this area in 1856.

Above are just a few of the buildings I am going to sketch.  I have tidied up my studio (tidy studio - tidy mind), have laid out my new sketchbook - Stillman & Birn Beta series, because I like the proportions and the very smooth paper will allow me to sketch very fine detail, which I love!

So - happy cooking, happy sketching and enjoy those walks!  Keep safe and healthy.

Sunday 19 April 2020

More arum paintings from Java

I have just completed a painting of three Amorphophallus decus silvae and A. decus-silvae x gigas (hybrid) which are endemic to the primeval forests on West Javas's southern coasts.

Amorphophallus is a large genus of over 200 tropical and subtropical tuberous herbaceous plants from the Arum family.

I was fortunate to see them in the Cairns Botanical Gardens in North Queensland where they are thriving. Botanical artists say that you do not choose the plant, it chooses you.  A voice told me "you have to paint them." I took many photos and six months later I have finished the painting.

Of course it did not take that long to actually complete the painting, but with many other painting commitments, workshops and art tours, it just took a while to begin.  With the onset of COVID-19, my workshops and tours were cancelled, giving me time to work on the painting.

The centre plant in the painting is an Amorphophallus decus silvae, and the plants on either side are a. decus silvae x gigas.

The plant above is the A. decus-silvae.

The final painting is tall and narrow, 75cm x 38cms, which suits the subject perfectly. I worked on each plant separately and ensured the tones hues and proportions were well balanced.

The colours and patterns on these plants were what drew me to them as well as their majestic size of around 3 metres. I love working with the detail and I used a lot of overglazing to get the colours to glow.

 This is the A. decus silvae x gigas.

 This is the final painting with the three plants.

The three very different and unique stems

 The three flowers