myoilpaints

Each of us needs to find our element- the place where things we love to do and things we are good at, come together

Self- portraits

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When one starts from a portrait and seeks by successive eliminations to find pure form….one inevitably ends up with an egg ( Pablo Picasso). I am not so sure about pure form but there is a lot of the egg in this one….rather elongated! So,I just closed my eyes and pushed the camera button because suddenly there seemed to be so much that needs fixing! Now, the whole point of the exercise is the time limit and the colour restrictions, so, no fixing allowed! Only 4 colours used here: black, red, yellow ochre and white. Very easy to mix mud!

Oh well, I have decided to be more kind to myself. Life is tough enough as it is. Somehow that new gentle approach seems to have found its way into this portrait? It is kind of soft…. What do you think?

By the way, I appreciate very single visitor and follower, so my apologies for the irregular postings. One fine day, not to far from now, all will be back on track.

Self-Portraits

Finally. Atmosphere. Moody! Dark! Done in less than the allocated time (as you can see). It reminds me of that line in a song from way back when, ” I see a Bad Moon Rising…” Ha ha!

I am in good company however. This is what President Lyndon B Johnson had to say about having his portrait painted in 1967 by Peter Hurd. He only allowed Hurd one sitting, during which he fell asleep! Hurd hence had to use photographs of Johnson to finish the painting. Johnson did not like his self-portrait, declaring it ” the ugliest thing I ever saw”.

Before the best emerges, we get the worst, or did I just make that up? You can’t deny that it has some atmosphere, eh?

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Self- Portraits

Now where were we? Portrait painting. Keeping the smile. Painting the atmosphere . Using unusual colour combinations. Loose strokes? Finding comfort in famous quotes…

I haven’t painted many trees but this one rather speaks to me:
“I have painted many portraits of people and I have painted many portraits of trees. Trees are more tranquil to work with, never demanding, never complaining their portrait doesn’t look right.” (Cosbie)

I kept thinking, this doesn’t look like me. So. I cheated. Yep, I don’t normally do that kind of thing but I’m afraid I did. Did it help? No,Not really. Want to know what I did? I used a photograph. It is probably allowed but not on my mission, which was painting from life. So what happened ? You did ask me that didn’t you? Well, my proportions went even more haywire, I hit mud ( poor colour mixing), and I couldn’t resist the temptation to nip and tuck and lick and spit and fiddle and and….

This much I can say: the next one has a ton of atmosphere , you just wait here patiently and I will show you soon…

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Self-Portraits

I find it rather difficult to paint myself. Also, I try to put on a friendly face but as I go along it seems to settle into a rather serious look, so to keep on painting and smiling turned out to be quite a mission. And the colours are foreign to me… And I keep wondering, do I really look like that? When is it going to look like me? And yes, I was taught not to start sentences with ” and” , so let’s get that out of the way! And to top all that, I keep wondering how much time I have left ( put a time restriction on myself as you may remember )

I am beginning to agree with Umberto Boccioni who said,” A portrait, to be a work of art, neither must nor may resemble the sitter…one must paint its atmosphere . I think to myself, ” Wonderful, exactly right! It is after all also merely an exercise!” And then I wonder….does it show any atmosphere?!

All I can say is, wait till you see the rest! Atmosphere developing plus a few other things…

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To paint or not

” Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot
into the sun” (Pablo Picasso) and of course I would like to fall into the latter
category.

It is also true that I can spend all day negatively pondering my spot that looks
nothing like the sun, or I can pick the easy? route and not attempt painting
the spot at all…none of these add to my daily joy! By now you’re thinking, what
on earth is she rambling on about? Well, once again, I showed you the real thing
first, and because I am yet again moving, I am a bit late in posting the painted
version of those beautiful yellow flowers in Catching Sunshine. Yes, we are not
really talking about the sun….but the “sun” represents getting the subject just
right with a simplicity of brush strokes that will leave you in absolute awe…
or having stopped painting at just that point where less is more…

This may be a good place to stop...

This may be a good place to stop…


Nope. I did not stop there but I quite like the "mosaic" effect.

Nope. I did not stop there but I quite like the “mosaic” effect.


Which one do you like better? Maybe I should learn to stop at one only!

Which one do you like better? Maybe I should learn to stop at one only!

Catching Sunshine

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows,” Helen Keller.

Catching the sunCatching sunshineCatching SunshineCatching Sunshine
“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles,
to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”
Joseph Addison.

My version.

A slightly abstract interpretation of Sturt’ s desert pea.

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You know my ongoing challenge of trying to paint more loosely…less is more.

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Beautiful

We met in my first week of arriving in the hot, dry, north western Australian town of
Karratha. Unique, beautiful, always perky, head held high no matter what the temperature
was or how isolated the location. I was reminded of the saying by Mary Engelbreit:
‘Bloom where you are planted’. We were the exact opposite. One flourished irrespective
of the conditions, the other struggled to bloom…

Backlit desert peas

Backlit desert peas

 

Sturt’s desert pea, formerly called “Swainsona formosa”, “Formosa” being the Latin for
“beautiful” is the state flower of South Australia. A stunningly vibrant and unique
wildflower that is a slow growing, creeping plant with stems and leaves appearing soft
grey due to a covering of fine hairs. The leaf-like flowers stand upright on tall fleshy
stalks. The large pea flower can be various shades from bright orange to deep red, each
with a bulbous black centre, or “boss”. It is mostly low-growing but I saw several that
grew taller, more shrub-like.

Desert pea fruit: legumes

Desert pea fruit: legumes

My initial photographs were the usual happy snaps that I took on my morning walks to practise
painting flowers. It was only after I had painted them and realised how abundant and unique
they were, that I started paying closer attention but all the stop starts to take photographs
did not lead to much exercise so I am sad to say that I have a lot of photographs but not
many that do the desert pea true justice

The troops advancing...low crawling!

The troops advancing…low crawling!

Self-portraits

“I am not altogether displeased with the shirt-front”…. Paul Cezanne, after 115 sittings for a portrait of Ambriose Vollard!

I am a list maker. If you suffer from the same affliction, you may be familiar with the good and the bad of it. It leads to two things: satisfaction in getting the job done and ticking it off the list, or procrastination….and in procrastination lies a little fear of failure and a lot of seeking perfection (among other things). So, a series of self-portraits has been on my list since day one and I have successfully ignored it so far! I have however, done or dabbled in most of the other things on my To Do List, like fruit, boats, flowers, landscapes, etc. and a lot of those have remained as friends to be re-visited every now and then. Current best friend being flowers…with just a touch of friction building up!

It was very difficult to start (having played around with flowers for so long) so I decided to 1) do it on paper (not wasting canvas), 2) go for unfamiliar colours, and 3) set a time limit of 90 minutes. Ouch! They are meant to be exercises, not great works of art! Once my time is up, I am not allowed to go back and fix. That is quite a challenge.

So, here is no 1 and like any good story……to be continued….!!

Very yellow. Very wary of the artist!

Very yellow. Very wary of the artist!

Why Blog?

Some blog for fame and fortune, others to amass a great following. For many it is a platform to test or flaunt? their opinions, their passions, or their creativity in whatever form. Some share their knowledge, their skills, others their dreams or their path of pain. The reasons and motivations are intriguing and as varied and unique as our fingerprints. One wonders what people did before the avalanche of social media caused us to start ‘living’ online? I, for one, prefer face to face living but blogging has brought even me online!

I have not blogged for many months….and as many reasons. The short version is that “life happened” and it was not at all good. You know the story of the flea? Well, it can jump very high and far but put it in a jar and close the lid?? It will still try to jump only to be blocked by the lid every time. After a day or so  it will no longer try to jump out. It will believe it can only jump to the height of the jar lid. So, all I can say is that my jumping became limited and my mindset followed shortly after.

I started blogging as an exercise to help me track my progress and to explore and find my place of passion, whether it be in art or a form of art. Sometimes we do things because we can and not necessarily because we want to. Also, at the time I felt dissatisfied with the realistic precision of my paintings (that’s about the same as saying I don’t want to me any more!!). I longed to break free of my box, to paint with loose, uninhibited strokes of colour upon colour. I felt unable to portray what I saw, how I perceived the beauty around me, and also  those pictures that “dropped” inside of me…so clear, yet so hard to paint. I wanted to know (or feel) that not one talent or ability given to me was going to waste…to come to the end of my days knowing that I have run the race and run it well.

It has been a long lonely barren desert walk. Often I have felt unable to take the next step, unable to find my element. So, in order to survive, I reduced my thinking, my painting (small blocks), my living….until I ended up just existing. I can safely say that living small does not produce life. It saps all that is still alive.

Now the floods have come. Torrential. Relentless. Sweeping away the drought, the barrenness, forcing me into change. No not the rain. Pain and more pain. Pain in all its forms. Isolation. Doubt. Fear. Sickness. Death and more death. Loss. Grief. The things that make us overcome and grow. And so it is time to leave the desert, literally and figuratively. Take off the lid. Be what only I can be. Myself. You don’t find yourself in another country. You wont find yourself on a different continent. You are everywhere you go. You find yourself when you dig deep enough. Inside yourself. And you let go. And be. The best that you can be. And so it is time to blog again…

This blog is really for my eyes only but life happens to us all and chances are that you have been through the same and more. I believe we are here to “rub off” onto one another, work through the negative and grab hold of the positive, help each other up when we are down. So feel free to travel the road with me , to share in my progress, creativity, wisdom and words, the beauty and pain around us and in us and may I rub off onto you as positively as some of you in blog world rub off onto me.

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