Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sweet Home Austinmer

The Outlook oil on panel 2011

As many have known for a while now, I have relocated down the South Coast 1hr from Sydney to the little seaside town of Austinmer. This is a view of the front of the caretaker's cottage where I live with Shaun and Zuza. The horizontal piece of wood sticking off to the left holds a bird feeder where rainbow lorikeets and cockatoos come to feed. The lavender is going crazy and compliments the yellow of the facade nicely.

The Dining Room oil on panel 2011

I painted this view of a buffet that Jennie gave us in our dining room. Notable art objects include ceramics by Hidemi Tokutake and paintings by Maximillian Feuerring. The room on the right is the living room where Mark and I set up some music equipment and have been jamming a bit.

The Living Room oil on linen 2011

The painting on the back wall of the living room is by Margarita Georgiadis, a small painting near the fireplace by Alison Coulthurst. The green couch under the skylight has been painted by many a Sydney artist. The view into the back reveals the dining room, where thanks to Justin we're now in possession of a proper coffee machine.

The Backyard oil on panel 2011

On a brilliant winter day I climbed up the backyard and painted this view of the patio. The Hill's hoist is classic, and I trimmed that umbrella tree myself.

Studio at Night oil on panel 2011

One late night I crawled onto the couch and painted this small interior of my studio. There's no proper light even during the day, but at night it particularly feels like a cave.

Dog Beach, Austi oil on panel 2011

On the Austinmer headland, there are fabulous views both north and south as far as the eye can see. This is what locals call 'little Austi beach', where dogs are free to run and cavort with each other. The Norfolk pines do a great favour in breaking up all of the horizontals.

Looking South, Austi oil on panel 2011

This is a view from the old 'Headlands Hotel' site which has recently closed down, and from which I recovered some wood to burn in my fireplace.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Goulburn revisited

The Briars oil on rough linen 2011

This past month I had the opportunity to head back to Goulburn to house-sit for a mate. The first two paintings are studio paintings of two sites at South Hill that I oil sketched this past winter and finished in the studio. I'm trying some new glazing techniques that I picked up from Charlie Sheard, which I find dramatically increase the colour 'mood'.

The Windbreak oil on linen 2011

This little crop of shrubby trees is in the corner of a paddock at South Hill where I like to hunt for rabbits.

Inside Days, Goulburn oil on panel 2011

The weather during the two weeks of my house-sit ranged from mild sunny days for working outside, to days like the one when I painted this one. Threw a few logs on the fire, retrieved my mate's entire collection of Death Cab for Cutie out of his closet and painted this little interior.

A Riot of Sparrows oil on panel 2011

Part of the job of housesitting was to look after my mate's chooks. They were timid little things, and after dumping in the day's feed, I would watch these little sparrows fly through the chicken wire to feast, while the poor chooks would cower in the corner of the pen.

View into the Bathroom oil on linen 2011

The wonderfully cool winter light cast different tones all over his house and provided me with quiet little views like this one.

The Boy's School oil on linen 2011

On one of the nicer days I set up outside this dis-used Boy's School perched on top of a hill in town. The old buildings that populate the hills of Goulburn are a testament to the industriousness of the first settlers, and ideas of permanence in architecture that prevailed at that time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

up and over 2011 oil on panel

This is a view from the top of the hill, with the path that I take down to the dam in the middle distance. The swail in the foreground is the only way I can get around on the hill, because everywhere else is covered in 2m thistles.

Millet's hill 2011 oil on panel

Joe and Channelle came out to visit and knowing that they would be here soon, I picked the smallest panel I had available to do today's painting. They tried to sneek up on me as I was finishing it, but I foiled their schemes and ended up with this little gem to show for it. It reminds me of my favourite painting in the Art Institute of Chicago, a painting by Millet called 'in the Auvergne'.

eyes on the skies 2011 oil on panel
I found an even older cemetery than the one I've been visiting for the past two months. It was right around the corner and has some really old stones. The jail was in the background from one angle, but I chose to show the lighthouse in the back of this one.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

the thistle amoung lions 2011 oil on panel

Now that the thistles have dried out, their cool stalks stand out against the warm colours of the paddock and make a lovely contrast. This one in particular seemed to spin and dance in the sun amoungst the dandelions which are preparing to cast their own seeds to the wind.

the dandelions 2011 oil on panel

I couldn't resist and did another painting of the wonderful dandelions today. This composition is tapping into an art-nouveau vibe, with the long, languid
stems of the flowers framing the white one in the middle.

the fencerow 2011 oil on panel

It has been really windy lately and I wanted a composition that would work with that theme. The grass is getting long and going to seed on the side of the railroad track, and I found this view from under the shade of a ghost gum.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

long days

we are the dreamers of dreams 2011 oil on panel

Zac has come out to visit. and today we went down to the dam and I found these dandy lions. The rain held off and it even got hot enough for a swim. The white dandelions always remind me of blowing on them while making wishes. I suppose I did a litte wishing today while painting this one.

sleepy stones 2011 oil on panel

Went to the cemetery again this morning and found these twin weeds growning out of the shade of a broken stone. I have been enjoying watching the local weeds grow to gargantuan proportions because of all of the rain.

the stone garden 2011 oil on panel

I've been trying to look for more complicated compositions to see if I can get the feel of the scene without 'tightening up' too much. The dead brambles in the foreground were a bit of a challange but I ended up very happy with this one.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

the old gate 2011 oil on linen

I've been wanting to paint this one for a while. On my walks down to the dam for a swim, I pass this gate and love the contrast of the rusted red against the other colours in the paddock. The blackberrys are getting ready to burst out in ripe fruit just as the thistles are drying out and letting their seeds be taken by the wind.

up and around the bend II 2011 oil on panel

This is another compostion based on my favourite hill. Joe and Yoko came out to visit me, and while they hung around the property I snuck off to paint this panel. The skies have been dramatic lately so I'm trying to get a sense of that in my latest paintings.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

back into a new year

death abroad 2011 oil on panel

Back from an amazing year-end camping holiday, I headed back to the cemetery to paint this stone and thistle yesterday. The inscription on it was for Fanny, born in New Zealand - died in Goulburn 1907 aged 20. As I painted I couldn't help but to read the inscription over and over. Got me to thinking deeply about New Zealand, and perhaps I should make another trip over there for inspiration.