Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 99 Tuesday
With the ball rolling from the last canvas, and a palette loaded with buttery colours I plunged into this next canvas. The video I was referencing for this composition was shot in a different persimmon orchard south of Araluen, NSW. I pumped up the saturation in the gum trees in the background, as I dread reaching for the greys that would accurately describe their real colour. Again the picker entered from the left, activating the orchard and providing a visual balance to the repoussoir on the right. It’s exciting painting all day long, getting out of bed and opening the bay doors to the morning sun and painting all day until I look outside to see the indigo evening settling down, promptly closing those same doors to paint into the night. I’ve got a bunch of audio tapes to keep me going and am currently really enjoying painting to Annie Hawes’ “Extra Virgin”.

Day 98 Monday
After a little over two weeks in the heart of the dark Victorian winter I am back at the easel working furiously on the big paintings. The reasons for my respite from painting are many and should have been more foreseeable, but somehow, weren’t. As the large amount of money I had saved for this trip petered out, I found myself engaged as the local chalk busker in the town centre, doing drawings for some gold coins in my hat. The second major factor was the increasing cold weather and short daylight hours to warm the jam factory. Factor 1 had limited my kerosene ration, and I began timing my trip to the aquatic centre to an hour before they closed to warm myself in the spa and sauna before returning to the studio for a couple of final hours of painting. The third reason was that Moz came out to visit me for a week. I did absolutely no painting during this week and we spent our time on the banks of the Murray in the warm sun, drinking sparkling wine and me playing guitar while Moz wove a reed dillybag out of the long grass growing from the riverbank. After she left and a couple of painting sales later, I have kerosene and renewed vigour towards completing this body of work. I decided to begin on a completely fresh big canvas, and after two days of non-stop painting I’m putting it up for view. I realized a few things about my painting process that I seemed to have forgotten these past few weeks: I work best attacking the painting all in one go, and the on and off again process I had been employing here was keeping the painting from taking on any strong direction. When I began this one, I mixed up copious amounts of half a dozen colours I had chosen for the colour scheme and worked it up both in tone and texture until I thought I had it balanced. The bird and picker entered towards the end and took their places quite naturally. I’m enjoying thoughts about the struggle between the birds and humans in their race to denude the trees of their ripe fruit. Sometimes it carries strong masculine overtones…

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 79 Wednesday

I headed out first thing again to Orange World and did this close-up of the Valencies. Afterwards I called my mate Greg to see if I could use his scanner to upload all of my small panels and he readily acquiesced. After that I ran around town giving out invitations to my studio opening this Saturday. I figured that even though my paintings are being created for a show in Sydney, the locals of Mildura would probably appreciate a peek at my representation of their little slice of paradise. The doors will be open this Saturday from 10-3 at the Old Cottee’s Studio, so come by for a peek if you’re in the area.

Day 78 Tuesday

After a chilled-out weekend working away in the studio on the second ‘robber barons’ painting, I was eager to get back outside to paint. The reporter and photographer from the local Sunraysia daily paper said they would meet me at Orange World for a photo shoot and interview, so I rocked up a few hours early and did this small panel. I’ve been keen to paint one of the Valencia trees with white-painted trunks, but after painting on it for quite a while I was having a hard time getting the white to work with the rest of the colours. Normally I push grey/white towards either blue or purple, but neither were doing it for me until I mixed a gun-metal grey that did the trick. The interview and photos went well and I went back into the studio to work on the big ones.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 75 Saturday
Again, the weather was not the best but I headed out and ended up finding this driveway lined with orange trees. I like the moody paintings, but prefer fully saturated sunny ones a bit better. At any rate, it will diversify the whole body of work and the greys in these will accentuate the colour of the others.

Day 74 Friday

Despite the grey skies, I headed out first thing and ended up at the bottom of a dirt road painting this side view of an orange grove and ladders. Every now and again the magpies would fly straight across my view and I decided to put them in at the last minute. After finishing up I hit the aquatic centre and library and got a few books for inspiration. I spent most of the night painting a reproduction from one of the books for an upcoming birthday present for a special little guy.