Wednesday 19 February 2014

Flowers and Wildlife

Begonia in Blue and White Pot
Acrylic on board 15cm x 15cm

Not long ago this beautiful begonia was the first thing to greet people that came through our front door. I took some photos for art reference while it was in its prime as I knew I wouldn't get a chance to paint it from life for a while. Lucky I did, as the poor thing has since gone to meet its maker and is probably having a good old whinge about me with all the other begonias that have suffered a similar fate at my hands. 

I began painting this yesterday but downed tools when we heard there was an unusual visitor at one of the suburban beaches. The girls and I whipped down to Sorrento Beach to goggle at a giant Elephant seal that had hauled itself out of the sea and was enjoying a bit of R & R. It was a monster, I couldn't believe how huge it was - apparently around 2,000kgs and still just a teenager. It is a very rare occurrence to see them this far from home as it has come all the way from Antarctica. It must have been feeling the heat - 37 Celsius. I took a couple of snaps but it was hard to get a good view of it's head as there were a lot of other spectators there too along with news crews. 

Unlike Elephant seals, something that I do commonly see when I walk along the beach are stingrays gliding through the shallows but unfortunately I haven't seen them on the days when I've taken my camera. They are such beautiful creatures.
Another wildlife treat I had recently was when my husband and I were celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary at a restaurant on the river called Mosmans. I was impressed to see how healthy the Swan River is looking these days - the water is crystal clear. To our delight a black swan and its two cygnets swam right past us. Black swans are native to Australia and our river was named after these black beauties.

Look at how clear the water is!

Oh yes, check out my latest Banksia Lane Press post if you want to see more of Western Australia.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Ayers Rock - Blast from the Past

In the 1980s I had an eight month stint working as a waitress at the Sheraton Ayers Rock Hotel in the newly built tourist town of Yulara. Yulara is situated 20 kilometres from the iconic Ayers Rock (Uluru) in the middle of Australia. I painted this while I was there - not by looking at the rock itself as you'd expect, but from a postcard of all things!! At the time I was very enamoured with the pointillism technique developed by the French post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat and tried to emulate his style.

I was recently composing an anecdote from this period in my life to include in the book I am writing at the moment. In my quest for supporting material I got in touch by email with one of my friends who I worked with at the hotel. We hadn't been in contact for at least 20 years and it was so nice to hear his news. Below is a photo of the two of us taken with his camera standing at the base of Ayers Rock.

It turns out that my friend has since become a very successful professional photographer. He is an award winning specialist car photographer and writer. You can check out his fantastic work at his website here - James Mann

Below is a photo taken "in the day" of me dressed for a toga party in front of my painting. And the last one was taken the day I was leaving Yulara to come home to Perth. It was such a great time of my life. I can't believe it's nearly 30 years ago! But then I look at my reflection in the mirror and it's not so hard to believe after all!