Thursday 30 March 2017

Sharing Memories

The wonderful thing about painting is that it allows you to recreate a memorable experience. During the Christmas holidays we were up at Noosa. We were about to board the boat to return to the holiday apartment. 

For the briefest moments, the evening sky was breathtaking. I managed to capture the light on a very short video. Seconds later the sky was dark, and night had fallen.

This painting, which has been selected for The Rotary Art Spectacular online Exhibition 2017, allows me relive those special moments. I can now share my experience with you. 

Evening Light - Noosa oil on canvas 760mm x 1220mm 

Sunday 26 March 2017

Coolum Panorama

I love the sea. Walking along the beach is one of the things I miss about living in Durban. Although I didn't live right on the beach, I was a lot closer. Now if I want to see the sea it involves a two hour drive and a lot of heavy traffic as well.

Consequently, when I do get the opportunity, I make the most of my time there. Coolum Panorama continues the theme of sea paintings which had their origin in a visit to Coolum Beach a couple of years ago, Rocks, sea and sand 24th December 2014 and Watching - Coolum Beach.

Coolum Panorama - oil on canvas 610mm x 1200mm

This painting has been selected for the Online Exhibition for The Rotary Spectacular 2017. 
The full exhibition catalogue will be online from 15th May 2017. 

Rocks, sea and sand 24th December 2014 - oil on canvas 605mm x 605mm

Watching - Coolum Beach  oil on canvas 910mm x 610mm 
Rotary Art Spectacular 2015 SOLD

Wednesday 15 March 2017

The Wrap of a Leaf

Over the last few years, I've been using watercolour for sketching, usually combined with ink. A small travel palette is ideal for adding colour on the spot. This painting marks a return to watercolour painting on a larger scale in the Studio.

The reference photograph for this painting was taken many years ago while on a family visit to Belgium. We walked a few kilometres from the home and our wandering led us through a forest. I was fascinated that this wonderful place was so close to suburbia. The image hasn't lost its appeal. While working on the painting, I was right back in the forest; experiencing again the earthy odours of autumn leaves and funghi.

The title, The Wrap of a Leaf is from a poem by Dylan Thomas. When I'm looking for a suitable title I will use a "random title selection method" I am amazed how frequently an apt title pops up. On this occasion, I searched my poetry books for the word 'leaf' and this line jumped out. 

I used graphite and coloured pencils in some areas with most of the painting in pure watercolour. Initially, I planned to include collage, adding different painted papers. However, as the work progressed I was content to keep to watercolour.

The surface is a full sheet of Stillman & Birn Zeta paper. I enjoy the unpredictable nature of the hot press surface which causes the paint to move and blend in ways different from the usual cold press watercolour paper. Painting this way encourages me to relinquish control. 

The Wrap of a Leaf  
Watercolour, graphite and coloured pencils on Zeta paper 
Framed size - 585mm x 730mm

I am delighted that this painting has been selected to be part of The Rotary Art Spectacular 2017 to be held in May. Two more paintings were selected for the Online exhibition. I'll talk about these in another post. 

Tuesday 7 March 2017


Mistakes are part of life. We all make them. Some are serious and have far-reaching consequences; some are more trivial and annoying than life-changing.

The important part about a mistake is not that you've made one, but what you do afterwards. It's how you fix the mistake that can make all the difference.

Watercolour Brush Case

When you're in the customer service industry, getting things right first time is important.
 If, however, everything that can go wrong goes wrong, how you correct the error is what separates ordinary customer service from excellent customer service.

I have been buying brushes from Rosemary & Co for about four years. Each parcel of their superlative brushes has arrived as ordered. The last shipment, however, seemed to be jinxed and it all went pear-shaped. Rosemary and her wonderful team have gone out of their way to fix the error and ensure we received the correct items and more at their cost. 
This is customer service at it very best and demonstrates genuine care for their customers. A big thank you to Rosemary and her staff.

Art Supply support group

There should be a support group for art supply tragics. I know that I have enough brushes to last a lifetime and still have a few to spare.  

My latest thing is brush cases.... 

I tried a cloth one I bought in London many years ago. It's lovely but unless there's something that goes beyond the brushes (like wooden chopsticks) they can easily get bent out of shape - forever. Then I tried the bamboo roll - I'm not too enamoured with that one, as it seemed the bristles got caught in the bamboo sticks and I battled to keep it closed.

When I saw this new case on Rosemary & Co's website I had to try it. There's also a  New Beginners set of brushes that fits into the case, with extra slots for more brushes. 

Some of my favourite brushes



The Beginners Brush Set