Sunday 31 January 2016

Collage of 30 Paintings in 30 Days

I couldn't have come up with a more eclectic collection of paintings if I'd tried! Despite not creating a particularly cohesive look as a whole, it was a very successful challenge on other fronts. I tried some different things that I almost certainly wouldn't have come up with if I hadn't been under pressure to pop something out each day. I admit that I'm glad it's over now and will probably have a bit of a rest for a few days at least.
Many thanks again to everyone who cheered me on along the way - family, friends and other art-bloggers. All your comments and interest played a big part in keeping me on the straight and narrow.
Thanks too, to Leslie Saeta who hosted the whole thing and brought art-bloggers together from around the world to participate.
To check out what others have painted throughout the challenge click here
I had a lot of fun today and will tell you all about it in my next post!

Saturday 30 January 2016

Day 30 - Balmy Evening Sunset

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
Palette knife
A sunset seems the perfect subject matter for the last day of the challenge.
My friend Brett kindly let me paint from a photo he took at sunset last night.
I'm so pleased to have made it to the end. There is no way I would have made it to day 30 if I had continued with the tight laborious style I began with. It was through loosening up with abstracts and the palette knife that made it doable as they were quicker and easier to do - and SO much fun! I marvel now at how I managed the first 30 day challenge in 2013. I guess because every painting was pretty much breaking new ground for me then. This time, until I did the loose-ish style portrait of my daughter on day 9, I felt I wasn't really stretching myself in new directions. Which isn't to say I wasn't stretching myself at all - the challenge got me painting again. My acrylic paintbrushes had seen very little action over the past year or two while I had focussed on finishing my book.
Just out of interest, does anyone know if there is a trick when using acrylic paints to getting fleuro colours? - does anyone  know how to even spell fleuro?? It is painful trying to capture that gorgeous shine only to have the colours look sludgier by the minute.
Tomorrow I will post a collage of the 30 paintings and a link to see everyone else's work as well. I so appreciate everyone's support and encouragement throughout my 30 day journey!

Friday 29 January 2016

Day 29 - Summer Clouds

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
Palette knife
Another thick and luscious palette knife escapade. So much fun! Can't believe there is only one more painting to go! Yay!
I painted this in the morning before meeting a friend for a delicious lunch at the Bluewater Grill at Heathcote. Haven't been there for a while and had almost forgotten how beautiful the views over the river are. We sat outside and were slightly broiled even in the shade, It felt a lot hotter than the forecast 35C but the views were too beautiful to consider moving inside for the air-conditioning.




Thursday 28 January 2016

Day 28 - Stripy Umbrella

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
Palette knife
This ended up being much looser than I originally intended. Oh, the fun of the palette knife!

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Day 27 - Luscious Blues

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
Palette knife
Again, the difference in time-zones is allowing me to post this on the 28th and make it look like the 27th. Ha ha!
In reality I didn't get time to do a painting yesterday and by the evening I was too tired to attempt one. So I must do two today to catch up. I will hopefully post the next one (still to be done) in a few hours. It is now 2.15pm on the 28th. I had intended to add a stripy umbrella into this scene but I had so much fun with the luscious slabs of paint I was reluctant to risk ruining what I had. Hoping to tackle the beach umbrella in the next one!

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Day 26 - Change the Date!

Pen and watercolour on paper
I did something different for the challenge today. Haven't sketched for a while and thought I would combine my beach visit with my painting obligation. That way I wouldn't feel such a time pressure while I was down there. I thought these beach-goers looked pretty settled in and I made a start on sketching. But I didn't judge things well and they began to pack up a few minutes later. I sketched as quickly as possible and did much of it from memory. But that is the fun of sketching on location - trying to capture people and things before they move.
The clouds were stunning and I hope to soon paint from some of the photo reference I took today.
This cropped picture of me isn't supposed to be artsy - it's just that I'm very bad at taking selfies!

Below - kids enjoying beach cricket.

After my lovely swim, I enjoyed freshly made sushi on the balcony for lunch - made by my husband! He is an expert at it!


Sunday 24 January 2016

Day 25 - Peach Blossom

Acrylic on board - 16cm x 16cm
2nd painting for the day (see previous post)
I did most of this with a palette knife. A pretty sludgy outcome but it passes muster for the challenge - and for being a peach blossom.
Below are two other paintings of peach blossoms I did for the 30/30 challenge in September 2013. I far prefer the two below - they were both done with brushes. 

Five more paintings to go until the challenge is complete. To see what others are painting in the challenge click here

Day 24 - Good Save!

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
palette knife (mainly)
I think this post will show as still being the 24th Jan but in reality it is the morning of the 25th here in Perth right now. I wasn't feeling too well yesterday with my neck and shoulder strain still wearing me down. I had overdone things by spending an hour at the beach first thing and then had several outings and a party in the evening. I hadn't been able to get to my painting for the day, but after the party - and a couple of drinks - I decided to quickly whip up an abstract on our return so as not to get behind on the challenge.
It was grotesque, but I thought I would post it anyway in a light-hearted spirit. Luckily my daughter caught me just before I was about to post it, saving my reputation!
Before I went to bed I scraped it off and put a coat of gesso on it. I planned to do another coat of gesso on it this morning. However, while going through my photo reference looking for a peach blossom to paint I happened upon another photo. It looked perfect colour-wise to use this board as it stood for the back-drop.
I took the photo below in 2012 while on holiday in Melbourne with my daughters. We were tickled to see these gorgeous rainbow lorikeets(?) peeking out of hollows in the London Plane trees that line the main streets of Melbourne. We were able to get a good look at them as we were up high in a tour bus returning from the Dandenongs.

I took another photo once we had alighted from the bus to show it in the midst of the city.

I'm feeling much more human today with the strain almost resolved. One painting down, one to go!

Friday 22 January 2016

Day 23 - End of the Line

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
Mostly palette knife
I was SO thrilled with the outcome of this one. I practically had to tie my arms down to guard against adding more detail and spoiling the lovely unprecedented looseness I had achieved. The palette knife is such a wonderful tool for enforcing a looser style - something I find very hard to do normally.
I painted from a photo I took around 26 years ago when visiting the old farm where I had spent my childhood. Several old decrepit cars were still quietly rusting away in the car graveyard near the shed where Dad had left them many years earlier.

Day 22 - Cactus mark Two

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
Thought I'd try a stylised version of my pet cactus. I painted from a different photo to the one I used for the painting below a few months back. I had been pretty thrilled with the outcome of the one below as the looseness seemed to come quite easily - particularly as I hadn't painted for ages. I'm less enamoured of today's version but it was a lot of fun and I'm pleased to be experimenting with new styles. 
I apologise profusely for not responding to comments as I have been pressed for time. And to make things more difficult, this morning I badly strained my back and neck. It has been getting steadily worse as the day progresses - sitting too long doesn't help! I look forward to visiting everyone's blogs very soon and really appreciate everyone's lovely comments.
One of my daughters has come to the rescue tonight and is cooking dinner - I did the grocery shop and will have to clean up! A pretty good deal I think.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Day 21 - Walking on the Beach

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
After a busy day I began painting at 4pm. Dinner time loomed with nothing to offer the family as I hadn't made it to the supermarket yet. I was already having to push through inertia to paint as it was, because I really wasn't in the mood for painting. So with the pressure of the evening bearing down on me, I was one stroke of paint away from abandoning the painting and heading to the supermarket. But I knew that once I'd got back and cooked dinner there was no way I would have the energy to resume where I left off. So I ordered pizza!
Once I'd let myself off the hook, I found it easier to engage with the painting and was able to resolve what hadn't been working. The fact that we missed out on a home cooked dinner will be forgotten by tomorrow night (if I cook something nice) but this painting will potentially last for generations. If only I could use that excuse every night!

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Day 20 - Mother of Pearl

Acrylic on board - palette knife 16cm x 16cm
I actually did this one last night as I knew I wouldn't have a free moment to paint today.
I apologise for being behind on responding to comments, life has been a bit hectic these past few days. I so appreciate all the interest and encouragement I have been receiving from everyone - thank you!
I'm not sure what I plan to do for the final third of the challenge. I will decide tomorrow.
If you would like to check out what other bloggers have been painting for the challenge, click here

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Day 19 - Ocean Curls

Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm

Below is another excerpt from my book "Grabbing the Muse by the Throat".

Sunday was upon me and yet again it was my last day to paint. I painted an ocean-scape from a photo I’d taken the day before while walking along the coast. I’d had my camera with me in the hope of getting a good shot of some waves for painting reference. As luck would have it the waves were so perfect and tubular I could practically hear the pounding intro of a Beach Boys song. Having begun walking a little more regularly I found it doubled well as a means of scouting out good painting subjects. 
The painting only took around an hour and a half to complete. I was thrilled – and somewhat shocked – that finally, a painting had actually lived up to my wild optimism. The elusive loose style I was after finally came through. I’d used a small 15cm x 23cm (6 x 9 inch) canvas covered board, and laid the paint on rather thick so the brush strokes could be seen. I was frolicking with excitement and christened it Perfect Conditions. It was a far cry from painting on location, but there was still something organically lovely about creating a picture of a scene I had just enjoyed in the flesh the day before.
Perfect Conditions 2012

Monday 18 January 2016

Day 18 - Scholtzia

Acrylic on board - palette knife and brush 16cm x 16cm
I bought this gorgeous little Scholtzia last year when I was helping out at the wildflower nursery.  It is a native to Western Australia. Unfortunately, it has since gone on to meet its maker, so I have painted it as recompense for its early demise.

Sunday 17 January 2016

Day 17 - Pink and Grey Galah

                                                         Acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
                                                            Palette knife and brush
I'm enjoying using the 30/30 challenge to experiment with various styles. I have always loved the look of old-fashioned prints with their black outlines, and I love artwork that emulates that style. I don't think I quite achieved my aim but I had fun trying.
Pink and Grey Galahs are one of my favourite birds. In more recent decades they have established themselves in suburbia but their calls still channel childhood memories for me from living in the country. Below is a small excerpt from my book Grabbing the Muse by the Throat.
While bouncing over the rough terrain and admiring his results, we were also entertained by great numbers of pink and grey galahs wheeling around the sky as one. I had forgotten how huge the flocks became when in their natural habitat. And their distinctive, almost deafening trills en masse was another joy to behold, made all the sweeter being that it was a remembered sound from childhood.  

The first photo I ever remember taking, was as a young child on our wheat farm in a landscape not dissimilar to this one. With Mum supervising I had carefully held our box brownie – which was black – at waist level so I could look into the view finder. I aimed it towards the trees in the chook pen and clicked the button, immortalising in print forever a cohort of pink and grey galahs as they chewed the fat together in a stand of tall trees. I still have the grainy black and white photo in an album.


Saturday 16 January 2016

Day 16 - Hydrangea

Palette knife - acrylic on board 16cm x 16cm
I painted this yesterday and was one painting ahead of myself, so I got a day off today. I spent an hour or so at the beach this morning which has sparked off some more painting ideas.

Thursday 14 January 2016

Day 15 - Ocean Dreaming

I did this one last night after doing "Good Day for a Dip". I did it on a spare bit of board not thinking I would count it towards the challenge - otherwise I would have used one of my square boards to keep things consistent. I was quite pleased with the colours.

Day 14 - Good Day for a Dip

Acrylic on Board 16cm x 16cm
Another divine day today. I painted this with a palette knife from the photo below. I took the photo this morning while out swimming and walking with a friend. I love the lush, thick application of  paint but it does make the sea look much wilder than it really was.
  Not that I mind - I feel rather thrilled with the outcome.
Nice to see that the kids had perfect conditions for their Vacswim swimming lessons today.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Day 13 - Torturous Road

I hadn't intended to do another abstract today. I had planned to do a semi-abstract, and having been out for much of the day I was running out of time. I began painting at 5.15pm. I had decided it would be quick and easy to revisit a painting I had done from memory of the ocean at sunset a couple of years ago.
Things started badly - very badly.
And promptly got worse!

It made my original mediocre attempt look like a masterpiece.
I decided to cover it up with gesso and more paint.

 I almost liked it, then I added more paint. And hated it.

I scraped it back to the bone and began again.

Still hated it.
I covered it with Gesso and smeared it to a light purple cover. I began to scrape it back again with the intention of starting fresh with something more realistic. But when this appeared I kind of liked it - and it was time to cook dinner so it would have to do!
I think my dreams of abstract painting glory are over! I felt a bit demoralised today after feeling quite excited about my first two. But really, This challenge should be seen as a jolly adventure so I mustn't get too precious about the outcomes.
Anyhoo, I hope to continue with the palette knife for the middle third of the challenge. So I will see what tomorrow brings.
To check out what others are painting during the challenge click here