Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Australia's Not-So-Wild Dog

With thoughts of continuing work on a painting I began several months ago, I took advantage of "half-price Wednesday" at Perth Zoo today with hopes of fluking some decent photographs of a dingo or two. A dingo will be the main character in the painting and I have some half-formed ideas about the pose I'd ideally like to depict. It was never going to be easy to secure the perfect photographic reference, but I hoped to be able to pick and choose and combine elements from several photos.

In the middle of a warm Australian day, however, this is the best I could manage. Talking to one of the zoo keepers, it seems this old fellow is fast approaching his use-by date and is slowing down somewhat, although he did make the effort to turn and look at us - perhaps he sensed we were discussing him. Next to his enclosure are promotional shots of him with his sister, who was co-tenant until her recent death, which show them in their prime and posing magnificently. Just the photographs I was looking to take myself!

With the end seemingly imminent, there are plans afoot to replace him with two new animals. The replacements have even been sourced, but until nature takes its course and he shuffles off to wherever it is old dingoes shuffle off to, he'll live out his remaining days in solitude; it's thought that two new frisky arrivals will be too upsetting for him.

In his dotage, it's said he's fussed over by the keepers and is even taken for a walk around the zoo grounds each morning before the gates are opened - at a much slower pace than was once the case.

Without wanting to sound mean-spirited, it's clear that this old guy isn't going to provide the photos I want and that I'll have to venture further afield for some livelier specimens. I can only hope he enjoys his remaining time and laps up the attention he deservedly receives from his keepers for a good while longer.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mind Games

Inspiration is my fickle companion in art - vitally important, but unpredictable and strong-willed. It can't be cajoled and makes an appearance only when it's good and ready. It appears from nowhere to deliver a fresh and exciting painting idea, filling me with enthusiasm for it to the exclusion of all else only to disappear again without trace, often before the idea has been fully realised. It deserts me without warning and cuts my enjoyment for the task off at the knees as it departs. From that point on I'm left stranded, with a hard slog ahead at best, and with abandonment of the painting often the ultimate outcome. Is this an inevitable state of affairs for those of us with an artistic temperament? Is there there some new mind game I don't know about that can hold inspiration captive?

As I ponder this, I'm almost driven to revert to smaller works once my current painting is done with, the thinking being that I'll be able to finish them before the spark of inspiration dies. How frustrating! How limiting!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Missing in Action

Just a "Hi" to my faithful legion of followers and an update to let them know I haven't vanished completely - perhaps a more appropriate title would be "Mission Inaction"!

With sales of my paintings and prints non-existent so far in my revitalised artistic career, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands when a juicy computing project came my way recently. The downside is that it's meant putting aside my paintbrushes and dusting off the long-forgotten, logical and somewhat nerdy hemisphere of my brain reserved for such mundane things.

The income has been welcome even if it's been short-lived, but with the bulk of the work completed now, I'm in a position to think about my neglected paintings and how I might rekindle the spark of enthusiasm where my current egret painting is concerned. With only a few leaves and feathers left to complete, the logical part of my brain - which is currently very active - tells me it should be relatively easy to accomplish. The idle artistic side is rousing itself in protest however - perhaps it's enjoyed the time off and wants me to extend its vacation.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!