Over the last three or four years I have been working on ongoing series of small paintings. They are all on small, blocky canvases, 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4 in). The first series was for a four-person exhibition entitled Coastal, so all were inspired by anything to do with the ocean or the coastline, and tended to be fairly abstract. I painted over 50 of these. The next (and present) series is called Floressence, also started for a three-person exhibition called Natural Forms. So far I have done about 40-odd of these. The imagery is based on plant forms, fruit, flowers, leaves, some more abstract than others. Some have been sold, others given away. Instead of working on them one at at time, or overlapping, I decided this time to start on 7 at once. The photo shows the seven, along with 2 others that I hadn’t felt were finished and needed more work. The painting in the middle I think is now finished, the one at the top right nearly, and the others in various stages of development. I am really liking the ones that have just the base line painting, and in some ways don’t want to do too much more to them, but I know I will.
This is a drawing I started some time ago, and have tweaked and altered over time. It is now a small concertina book, with a blue leather cover and a red velvet ribbon to close it. Folded up it measures 9.5 x 8 cm.
It began life as a string of blots, made from liquid pencil (a paste of graphite) dropped randomly into water droplets on watercolour paper. I then pressed scrunched-up plastic wrap into it and left it to dry. The next step was drawing into it with pencil, finding small creatures and forms reminiscent of natural objects. The forms themselves suggested every next step. A little colour, using pencils, came at the end.
Here are a few of the sketches I did back in July when we travelled up through the back of New South Wales to far west Queensland (Diamantina Gorge), making our way home across Queensland and back down the coast, camping in wild and remote places. I sketch when I find things I like, and when I get time to sit and immerse myself. Most of the trip was cold and windy, which is not ideal conditions for sketching!
Back in November I posted a miniature I had just finished, of apricots on an antique dish. It was a bit experimental, using coloured pencils on drafting film. In general I was happy with it, but had a niggling feeling something was not quite right, so showed it to a friend who has a very good eye for identifying just what needs adjusting. She reminded me that the eye tends to see primary colours first, then secondary and tertiary last, so the patterned wallpaper was leaping forward and confusing the composition. She also questioned the decision of placing the dish dead centre. So I have made some changes – an apricot has now fallen off the dish, the white runner has gone, so that the image is not sliced up into horizontal planes, and there is now a shadow under the dish. The wallpaper has gained a rusty brown background. I am sorry to lose the strength of the wallpaper, but I do think the composition has improved.