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

Archive for the month “September, 2013”


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?


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…



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…


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

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.

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