Thursday 29 August 2019

Everlasting Love

If you want to catch the unfurling of the carpets of everlastings that our state is famous for then head north now! The roadsides in the mid-west and Murchison are awash in pink, yellow and white. On Thursday (22nd Aug), Coalseam Conservation Park; between Mingenew and Mullewa, was as stunning as my friend and I had been led to believe; even in the face of poorer rains this year. There was a veritable gaggle of everlasting species in various colours and the gorgeous orange and yellow waitzias were emerging to join the throng. Being an old coal mine, the topography of the area made for a stunning backdrop to the floral show.

From there it was on to Mullewa where we enjoyed the lamb shank special at the Mullewa Hotel and retired to our authentic Aussie digs in a comfortably appointed demountable motel unit out the back. The following morning we drove to nearby Pindar in the hope of spotting the fabled wreath flower. The Mullewa Tourist Bureau had a sign out the front with breaking news of the wreath flowers’ status and where they could be found – last seen just down the everlasting-lined road near Pindar. The word on the street was that only a few petals were emerging at this stage. So we were thrilled to find quite a few specimens already looking decidedly wreath-like, despite having a way to go yet to be flowering at full throttle.

Pindar is a fascinating little town-site with a few historic buildings opposite the grain receival point (wheat bin). The old Pindar Hotel has a tearoom and hosts local artist, Helen Ansell’s, pop up art shop. Her vibrant paintings are inspired by the local flora and fauna and it was impossible to leave empty-handed. After a nice hot cup of tea and a delicious scone we hit the road again. We took the unsealed Tardun Pindar Road back to the main highway and down to Morawa, every minute a delight with the roadsides festooned with everlastings, eye-popping wattles and achingly beautiful purply- blue dampiera. Having been almost sated with everlastings (impossible to be totally sated when it comes to everlastings!) we now felt the need to find some orchids. We’d missed our chance at Canna, not realising until we’d reached Morawa that they were likely to be flowering there. But on our meandering trip back to Perth on Saturday we hit pay-dirt at Buntine Rock. Flocks of donkey orchids – just emerging - were to be found in rock crevices as well as a few cow-slips and a couple of showy little green numbers. The drive in from the road was very rough and the final 400 metres was not suitable for caravans but it was a gorgeous bush landscape and again we were regaled with endless swathes of everlastings. The granite outcrop that is Buntine Rock was superbly picturesque with wonderful views from the top. I was also thrilled to discover native ferns growing in the cracks and sundew drosera climbing happily through the scrub. It was amazing how much we saw in just three days. Admittedly there were some badly degraded stretches of roadside where over-clearing and weeds had triumphed over the flowers, and some areas of farmland were utterly denuded of paddock trees, but overall there was so much to delight. We’d tootled around quite a few gravel roads that were mostly in excellent condition and it got us up close and personal with the wildflowers. We loved the rural charm of the country towns, most of them showing obvious community pride in the neatness of their public spaces and gardens. It was so refreshing to get out of suburbia and to somewhere other than the trendy coastal hotspots. Not only did we find the wildflowers we were after, but we also found the real pulse of the bush in the people and towns.

Thursday 8 August 2019

Very Belated Birthday Gift

Acrylic on canvas - palette knife (mostly)

I finished this painting for my daughter a few weeks before her birthday. A pity it was promised for her birthday several years ago, but better late than never I always say!😄 
It was an added extra, so she didn't miss out on her previous birthday gifts.
I painted it from a photo of our local coastline and she is thrilled with it. I just need to varnish it now. Hopefully before her next birthday!

It's the second very large painting I have done in recent times. I'm not sure if I will continue with the large format as I find it very hard to keep the enthusiam up for returning to something partially finished. I get more of a thrill doing the small 6" x 6" paintings that I can finish off in a couple of hours or by the end of the day at least. However, they aren't quite as spectacular on the wall.

I did the one below at the beginning of the year, my second plein air with a palette knife. I had forgotten to pack my tube of  white, can you believe it?!!!!
I was going to give up before I started as I thought it would be a disaster, but thankfully I persisted and the unbleached titanium came to the rescue.