Dunes

I told you about my video exploits in a recent post so, when we had our first visit to the coast in over 18 months, I couldn’t resist taking my filming gear (my smartphone that is) as well as my sketchbooks.

Southern mahogany (Eucalyptus botryoides with and understorey of Burrawangs (cycads – Macrozamia communis). Drawn with aquarelles on hot press paper.

It is a lovely landscape to explore. We even did some kayaking on Lake Durras, which might also make it into a video yet.

From the kayak on Lake Durras.
An early morning sketch of the bridge over Durras Creek.

My latest film shows you some of the lovely scenery on the dunes and adjacent coastal forest at South Durras Beach, on the coast of South-Eastern Australia.

https://youtu.be/jDyAxzDIcss

A brief encounter

I am at the end of a very brief encounter with Ikara-Flinders Range National Park and I would desperately love to be giving it more attention.

The southern end of Wilpena Pound with a headcovering of cloud.

We have just spent the second of two full days staying at Wilpena Pound. Tomorrow we leave. The weather has been vile. Cold, rainy and blowing a gale. But, but, but … it’s breathtaking.

The view from Razorback Lookout with a rainbow between showers (PS that funny line in the photo is one of the wires around the lookout).

We have sketched from our car, all of the first day and some of our second day. But my biggest frustration with this experience is finding my own voice because I seem to be painting other people’s paintings.

Australians will have some familiarity with the work of watercolourist Albert Namatjira and possibly with photographer Harold Casneaux, whose image ‘Spirit of Endurance‘, was made only a short distance from where we are staying.

So when I start painting I see Namatjira’s work floating in front of me. It’s a challenge to paint with that over your head. However, the more I  thought about it I realised that I should learn from those artists, before I worry about my own style.

Late afternoon light on Wilpena Pound.

Obviously I just need to get on with it.

Wilpena Pound from Bunyeroo Gorge drive.

Three sketches outside Stanhope New South Wales

It’s a cliche but when I arrived at the farm yesterday I did feel my shoulders relax.

I spotted several points to sketch on my walk this morning so I set about working pretty quickly.

Looking down the road to the mountains. Pen and ink and watercolour.
The skies were amazing so I tried a cloud study.
The two pages of my sketchbook.
Part way through my 3rd sketch, trying to block in big shapes with some wet into wet painting.
The finished sketch. The most accurate colour is the red triangle in the foreground, which is a dam covered in duckweed.

Self-portraits

WARNING this post contains a nude portrait. (It’s OK, it’s not me).

It seems there is a trend amongst my artist friends to be doing self portraits. So I am jumping in, along with Carol Haywood and Rose Davies to share my recent versions.

I started drawing myself in March and then quickly fell by the wayside. I recently got re-inspired by Jennifer Higgie’s book the Mirror and the Palette, looking at the herstory of the self-portrait.

Highly recommended, fascinating and a darn good read.

The portraits of older women artists are often the most experimental. Perhaps the most visceral portrait I know is by Maria Lassnig, (1919- 2014), painted in her 80’s, it really sorts the women from the boys. I saw it in Amsterdam in 2019 and it certainly hit me in the gut.

Oder du ich (You or Me) Maria Lassnig, 2005, oil on canvas , private collection.

Alice Neel has also painted an unapologetic nude self-portrait in her 80’s, which is on display in a current retrospective of her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See here for a online veiwing of the exhibition.

You will probably be relieved to know that I don’t have the guts of Lassnig or Neel to do nude self-portraits. Maybe later. Maybe when I turn 80.

So here are the portraits I have made so far. Most, with the exception of the watercolour, have been sketched on paper roll from Ikea.

Self-portrait. Acrylic marker and brush pen.
Self-portrait with watching painting. Pencil.
Self-portrait Night repair. Collage and brush pen.
Double self-portrait. Gel pen.
Self-portrait with blue lips. Pen and ink, acrylic marker.