Sunday, September 12, 2010

sunflowers and lessons

I finished the sunflower painting during the week - and couldn't decide if I would paint some of the sky in the background.

I left it until the next morning - planning to use my preliminary watercolour sketch to try it out. I liked the result and dove straight in to adding some intense blue to my main painting. But, about halfway through, I became very disappointed. As the paint dried, it was obvious to me that it didn't belong there. It took away from the detail in the flower and was very blunt and juvenile in application.

Taking a deep breath, I left it. Believing that there are no accidents (or coincidents) I thought about it and did what any modern girl would do... I googled it!!

Now, the interesting part of this story is that before I walked away from the painting, my daughter who was on the computer next to me, was playing a tune - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. That song always reminds me of my sister - she would sing it to my kids over the phone and at the airport the last time we left Australia. She would sing it to them in restaurants, not caring who would hear her, and she sang it to my baby boy, when we were in the hospice with her before she died. Hearing this song was like her hand on my shoulder, telling me the piece was beautiful, just not finished yet.

Anyway, what I found when I googled watercolour techniques, was a way to absorb some of the excess ink and distress the background, bringing the sunflower back to the foreground. Not my intended outcome - but I am happy with it now.

But more importantly for me, I found information about a technique that will help me in a painting I have been doing for my sister. Before she died, she wrote four books - and my brother and I would like to have them published. I will be doing the artwork for them, but have been stumped. A lack of time and a lack of confidence have left me with just ideas. But now that I am finally painting, those ideas are gathering steam and are becoming manifest.

The fact that the answer to my latest stumbling point came when I wasnt looking, with a sign from Angelique that all would be ok, well... it is another little miracle in my daily life. A little thing that was always there, but that you only appreciate if you stop, pay attention and look.

And this my friends, is the latest road in my artistic pursuits - an exploration of spirituality in my art, of miracles and of faith. I dont know what will come yet, but the ideas are bubbling to the surface.


Monday, September 6, 2010

The prairie landscape

I was just reading a friend's blog and in it she explained how much she loved the prairie landscape, the spirit in the sky and the open plain and how for her, this was her religion. I heard her and smiled, for I have heard it before, from many of my friends, in love with this land. There is a magic here, I feel it and know that this is what led me here and holds me in this place. But I can not love this land. My heart belongs to another. And so I wanted to share with you, my love of the Australian landscape, especially of the mountains and eucalyptus trees of my home state, Victoria.

I love the colours in the trunks and the fluidity in the limbs of these ancient trees. I feel their souls and hear their song as the wind dances in their leaves. This land is my home, and every sense within me remembers and aches to be there.

This is how I imagine my prairie friends feel about their beautiful open skies. I wish I could take them all for a walk around Wilson's Prom or up in the Dandenongs.
Perhaps, one day.

In the meantime, some pictures to help...

These are all images from Wilsons Promontory - my favourite place on earth. The landscape changes as you walk through it - after five minutes you can be over a hill and the topography and plants have changed totally.

And these are images from the beautiful Dandenongs - the mountain range nearest to my childhood home. Twenty minutes drive takes me from suburbia to another world. Moist and cool and filled with giant tree ferns that are centuries old and snowgums that reach towards the sky.

I love this land.