Friday, December 16, 2011

Staying Sane in the City

Our need to maintain a regular income dictates that for the time being at least, Sandi and I must lead a suburban existence in relative proximity to the heart of the city. Thankfully, as cities go, Perth is comparatively small and its urban sprawl is interspersed with some significant bushland remnants.

Juvenile galah
As we looked for a house recently that would suit our needs for the next few years, a factor that contributed to our eventual decision was access to such bushland, not only as an incentive to exercise both the dog and ourselves more regularly than had recently been the case, but also as the means to stay connected to our shared vision of an eventual transition to a rural lifestyle.

An incentive to stay on the path!
Our new home may be in the suburbs, but it's well positioned no more than 100 metres from an extensive bush and parkland reserve bordering the upper reaches of the Canning River. An evening walk with the dog is a great way to unwind after a day cooped up in a city office block, and as the light softens and many of the resident bird species seek out a convenient roosting place along the tree-lined river banks, the hassles of the working day are easily banished; with a small dose of self-delusion, we can even imagine ourselves far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life!

Long-billed corellas
Willy wagtail
Rainbow lorikeets
Twenty-eight parrot

Stand-off at the nesting hollow - lorikeet and corella

The bushland might not be in a pristine state and the wildlife is hardly exotic, but we look forward to the brief evening excursions that help us make it through the working week. Our dog does too!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fun With a Reef Egret

I've accomplished a little more with this painting, mostly through the week, later at night when the working day and the usual activities that follow it are out of the way. If your TV viewing options are as dismal as mine usually are, there are probably few excuses for not putting in a couple of hours of painting before bed time! If there's a danger in painting at night, however, it's that my judgement of colour is skewed somewhat by the artificial lights I paint under; viewed in daylight conditions the following morning, there are noticeable differences.

Without really planning it that way, I find myself using glazing techniques almost exclusively, in much the same way that I've come to handle acrylic paints. As the photo shows, I'm painstakingly building up colour, tonal values and texture in the rocks, still using only ultramarine and burnt sienna over the initial raw umber underpainting. The daunting prospect of painting the egret itself is looming ever larger!    


Friday, December 9, 2011

Inch by Inch

I haven't advanced much further with this painting over the course of the week, but what little time I did spend on it brought home to me that with the combination of a dedicated painting area in our new house where painting materials and equipment are permanently accessible, and the luxury afforded by oil paints which I can leave on the palette overnight or even longer, I can easily resume where I left off whenever I have a few spare moments. There's no longer a requirement to set up in the kitchen every time I feel the urge to paint as I had to in the past. I'm sure that necessity contributed to my reluctance to begin a painting session when available time was limited - thankfully, the days of a kitchen studio are over!

As you can see, I'm continuing to darken the rocks on the left of the painting with scumbled glazes of ultramarine and burnt sienna. I'm confident I'll be able to steal a few moments away from domestic chores and make more significant progress over the coming weekend.