Thursday, January 31, 2008


Today I went walking, well hobbling as my hip is still playing up, up the Willunga High Street and sketched this old house.
Willunga had a slate mine so a lot of the houses have slate rooves, although this one didnt and slate floors.
I like the old world look of the town but it is full of alternate clothing stores, although in the op shop I found two useful scarves for textile work.
I had a hard time walking so came back and sat in the car and read the paper while John had his meeting.
In South Australia we have what is known as gully winds when in the summer the winds roar down the gullies in the late afternoon, and it was one of those days. Walking up the hill into the teeth of this wind did not help.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Simple colours

My hill in the background is too blue, but I was trying to use only a few colours, I thought three but I added a fourth to do this. I need to just do simple scenes and not fiddle too much. If I have time I will try another tomorrow. I am not sure I like Windsor blue, red shade, it is very dominating but nice and transparent but not amenable to lifting out.
A sea mist this morning when I went into Victor to get a few things and still cool but muggy.
No rain in sight for a week so getting very dry even though we have the humidity.
One of the clothing shops I sometimes go to was having a sale so I bought 4 pairs of pants, some to go away with when we go to California, I have been wanting a navy and black pair for ages as my old ones are getting pretty tatty.

Quick sketch

I dont think this looks much like the sitter but he seemed to think it was flattering, I didnt I think he is much nicer than this.
Still trying to keep my eye in.

Monday, January 28, 2008

An exercise

I found this in David Taylor's book and thought it looked like fun, I want to get some quick line painting done for while we are away.
I have also borrowed The Joy of watercolor until the one my friend Virginia has got for me arrives. John went fishing today, I stayed home and washed the floors, I now feel very virtuous!!
We have had very fresh fish and salad for dinner with a bottle of very nice bubbly (cant call it champagne, comes from our local vineyards) so am a bit whoopsy tonight.
Not helping the diet but I am past careing.
Adelaide tomorrow so may not be any blogging then.

Aunty Paul's Cafe

I nearly gave up sketching and painting for ever after last week but decided that at least I could still sketch even if at the moment I dont think I am working out the painting bit very well.
I am practicing but nothing looks right just at the moment so I thought I would get Aunty Paul's cafe down on paper.
I think the week of total concentration was a bit much so I decided to have some me time and am reading a new, to me any way, John Rebus novel by Ian Rankine.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How not to paint

This is a lesson in how not to paint with watercolour. I overworked, I made a total mess.
I was despondent and I wonder why I even try.
Having said that I am going to have another go at using 3 transparent watercolours and see what sort of a mess I can get into with those.
Sometimes I think the harder I try the worse it is.
Part of the problem is I am over tired, havent slept well for nights with leg cramps. Enough today.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Today it was faces

One of the husbands offered to sit but I really wanted to do one of the faces that we had on offer from a photo, this girl had such a terrific face I knew I wanted to do her.
Last time I tried to paint a face in this style I couldnt get my head around it, still cant do it from a sitter but I do seem to be better with a photo.
I was really quite pleased with my effort.
You can see my pencil sketch first and then the painted one.
We have nearly finished the week and I get better!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Working with colour

Both of these are using a triad of colours, and I have left my note book behind!!
The first was using a purple, I think I had rose Madder, and cad yellow light and a wash of ultramarine, but I cant remember!! I am sooo tired.
The second was using ultra marine and burnt umber with a raw sienna wash. I think I am right.
I enjoyed doing this and the lines are what I like.
I havent put up the afternoon one as I made a total hash of it but I am learning a lot but oh boy it is hard work and when things dont work out you feel an absolute idiot.

today's effort

We were learning to do water among other things. I rather made a two part painting as I went rather contemporary on my tree and hills and more "normal" on my backgrounds and boat and it didnt really quite tie together.
To be quite honest I got a bit lost today as I was trying to do what Lorraine and the rest of the class was doing and it wasnt the way I wanted to work.
Tomorrow I will try to get my head around it all. I am in class to learn about the media perhaps not to do it slavishly the way the others do.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Still life.

This is my first day at art class. A still life demonstrating washes and the focus. Well it is supposed to. I was quite pleased with it and wasnt the worst in the class which is good.
Lots of thing wrong with it, but at least I know that.
we had a really good class, 13 all up, and some very good painters which puts one on their metal.
I am tired so this is all you get.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sketchy rock

I should never try to add colour to this particular sketchbook as it really doesnt like it. I saw this rock yesterday while we were walking my favorite walk, Kings Beach. It was a lump of quartz sitting up in the grass The two wet the bed plants were flowering by it and added a bit of colour to a fawn landscape of dry grasses.
I lost another mare to snake bite yesterday, this time with a foal at foot but the foal is ok. I am beginning to think I ran over a chinaman as the saying goes.
Very depressing.
Not really in the mood for sketching.
We did go to the pictures last night and saw Death At a Funeral, not all it was cracked up to be and I felt rather let down.
Tomorrow is the start of a week of watercolour classes. I am looking forward to it but in a way I am not, I am sure I cant remember anything. I need some classes to get me going again so I hope they will be what I am looking for. Trouble is she is talking about looking at what is within, I am not at all good at doing that and am not sure I want to know!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dead Tree

I am seeing more dead trees around the property. Some the cows have ringbarked looking for roughage, a couple the big white cockies have done the same thing to but they look for grubs.
Some have died due to drought.
It is a sad sight but it costs money to put fences around trees to stop the cows.
It takes years for trees to grow to the height of some of them.
I dont know what the answer is. Vegans would tell you not to have cows, but how would the world survive if we didnt produce milk and meat. Humans are omnivorous, not vegetarians, and even some vegetarians eat some form of protein.
Enjoy my tree with its branches against the sky, dont worry about my thoughts, today I have been to a friends funeral.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The wood heap

After this mornings escapade I am not sure why I sat and sketched Tabby's woodheap, but here it is.
We were going to Adelaide, taking the girls to see my mother
but driving into Tab's I heard a thump and on arrival found a large piece of wood under the car and petrol running everywhere. A hole the size of a fist punched into the petrol tank.
So after the breakdown truck had come and taken the car away we went to look at her Cobs and my foal and while Millie was fed I sketched the wood heap. A busy morning going nowhere.
No car, no way of going any where.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Froth and dog prints

This mornings walk along the beach with Granite Island and The Bluff in the background.
A quick sketch.
Bigger waves and a disturbed sea and froth left on the sand with a set of dog footprints.
Lots of people walk their dogs, sometimes the most improbable looking people paired to dogs like the two young men, one heavily tattooed walking a small sandy fluffy little dog, some how one would have thought something larger would have been their thing, but perhaps it was the family dog and they were on holidays.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The edge of the island

Rocks, grasses and sea, this is on the edge of Granite island.
Done today in between doing a heap of other stuff , taken from a photo I took yesterday.
Much cooler and we had a bit of rain in the morning.
I think the rocks look a bit like boobs now I come to think of it. Oh well they are supposed to be rocks.

Beach huts

I love the idea of beach huts, I took lots of photos while we were on the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria but these are imaginary ones.
Very evocative of summer, hot days at the beach.
So I had fun doing a quick sketch while waiting for John and filled in some colour when we got home. I would like to do something like this in a bigger format one day, but will I have time?
We dont have beach huts in South Australia, we had bigger shacks some of which were pulled down and some were bought by the original builders or their families.
Now a Beach shack is almost non existant, they are Houses and being houses dont have that wonderful feeling of freedom a shack had, freedom to walk in with sandy feet, not a lot of cleaning up went on until you left and meals were very informal, a barbecue, a salad and bread and cheese and wine out the front, a crayfish or crabs on the fire in the boiler waiting to be eaten as soon as possible, fish cooked in a wire thing, gutted and straight on the coals.
What memories.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Crazy fish

I love fish and I played yesterday with this done in acrylics and the shells at the bottom came from a table napkin so I suppose it is sort of mixed media.
The fish I did by myself, sort of a snapper but not quite.
We went to the big Rotary Art Show pre viewing tonight and I decided that some of my stuff is not bad at all, some things there were magnificent, like my watercolour teacher Lorraine Lewitzka's stuff, she won two prizes and there is no way I could equal that and I dont think I even aspire to but I have fun with what I do and much as I love watercolour I thought that perhaps I should play more with acrylics and see what I can do with them..
Out to a meal at a favorite pizza/ Indian we have called the Beach hut and floated home (On the bottle of white we had (plus the coffee with frangelico in it!!)
Much cooler but playing havoc with my aching joints so nice to finish on a good note.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lemon Scented gum leaves

It was over 41 degrees today and John said the car registered 44 while he was out driving to a meeting around 3.30 this afternoon.
Very very hot. So after not really sleeping last night I had to keep my mind on other things and I worked at a bit of textile stuff I am doing and an acrylic painting and this, which was a small branch of the lemon scented gum which one day may fall on our house, but so far hasnt. Pen and watercolour.
It ( the gum ) is rather special as one of John's cousins gave it to us a long time ago as a seedling of theirs and she died aged 99 quite a while ago.
I hate these hot days, the chooks dont like it, the garden doesnt like it and nor do I, although I was sensible today and even though I was so tired, I did not have a granny nap but stitched.
Of course I am still trying to lose weight and tonight between us we have just drunk a very good bottle of fizzy red. Guaranteed to make my head spin and my waist expand but to hell with it, after last night I dont really care.
Oh and after looking up the net and trying to work out symptoms it is pretty obvious that the little mare whose tribute is on my other blog, was bitten by a brown snake.

A dreadful day

I was going to put this up last night but as I was about to my daughter rang to say I had a very sick pony. We called the vet and he wasnt very hopeful, either a snake bite, which I think unlikely or for some reason a massive infection. She had been ok when fed in the morning, by 5 pm was looking decidedly sick.
He did what he could to help but by midnight she was so bad we had to put her down. One of our best and a favorite of course she was only five and expecting her first foal.
we are all feeling pretty depressed and down and the worst is not really knowing what the problem was but when you breed animals these are the risks.
This isnt finished or I dont think it is but a bit of nonsense for a dreadful day.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mixed Media piece

In between ironing and washing and tidying up I had fun playing with this bit which is a paper napkin some threads, a small cut out heart and a heart done using portfolio oil pastels with a few layers of gel medium and some sparkly spritz stuff I found in the cupboard. I have three of these gesso'd canvases so thought I would play some more tomorrow.
The big news is that in April California here we come, I am so excited, I will get to see my favorite city San Francisco and bits I have never seen before and get back to my other favorite city San Diego.
This is mostly an all expenses paid trip by the company we supply our milk to, we have never been offered this before and although the money in lieu would be nice, I think this is better.
I will manage to catch up with a few friends and John will be with me. Usually I have done these bits on my own, although we did meet in San Francisco in '99.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Japanese bantam hen and chicks

I am a tired little body tonight, Adelaide and back is getting a bit much.
I think my bantam hen may have lost a chick as drew 5 and I think I only saw 4 tonight.
One has a dark back so I think will be speckled but it is a lottery with this lot, some are all white, some grey speckled some white with black bits. Nice little things though. They keep together in families.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Washing day

Well after all the family left and I had put away all the Christmas decorations, that is what I spent the rest of the day doing. Washing.
Of course we ran out of rain water half way through, it always happens after I have had the family for a few days as the tanks only hold so much and then apart from the kitchen drinking water we go onto spring water, which has iron in it so all whites become a pinky colour.
the Eastern states are having floods and when that happens usually we stay dry for quite a long time, unless a cyclone comes in off the north west and still has rain in it when it comes our way. Then we can have summer floods too.
A much cooler and pleasant day today, trouble is as usual we all feel sleepy so doing anything is a drag.
I am still playing with textural stuff which is on my other blog, but things are a bit slow.
Tomorrow is Adelaide and it will be hotter there but I havent seen my mother for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


I am hopeless at doing sketches of people but this one is Millie my latest grand daughter, asleep and so not wriggling around. I dont think it looks much like her but the best that I can do.
It has been terribly hot and with it humidity, and not much fun. I have also had a house full of people, I seem to do nothing but wash, wash up (no dishwasher), provide food, bake bread and generally get tired.
We did go for a walk on the beach this afternoon after most of the family had left, it was much cooler in there and still stinking hot when we got home, a bit of a let down.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My American Santa

I love this Santa, I bought him in Houston and he is made of a cypress root, well not a root exactly one of those big things that come out of the base of a swamp cypress, or that was what I was told. He is signed as well, but the signature is not easy to read.
A fun thing to sketch before he is put away.
We had a quiet day today after another very busy one yesterday, I actually stayed in bed and read until the rest of the family left to go to Adelaide.
I then did very little and a few things for myself.
My stomach has had far too much rich food and is rebelling so nice to eat and drink normally for a change.
We had a great night last night, with some of the grandchildren who were about the right age renewing friendships and the next generations catching up over a barbeque.
It was also beautifully cool so I have not had hoses on today, I am letting the springs catch up a bit.
Very hot and dry to the north of us, but down here a southerly breeze.
Exciting news today but all I will say is that we may get a few days in California in early April. I will let you know when it is definite.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years day

This will probably come up as the 31st but I am writing this at nearly 6 pm on the 1st. I cant believe it is 2008, I thought we were old when 2000 came up!
We had a wonderful night last night, very warm, we all sat out under the vines on the patio and talked and ate and drank great food and wine and celebrated with sparklers at midnight and heard the fireworks in Victor booming away but couldnt, didnt see them.
This morning a cool change had come in and we walked for an hour or so along the beach and watched the cockle train go by. Quite cloudy and misty looking but in reality warm and humid.
I did this scribble while we sat outside and had afternoon coffee it is what I could see of my pots and garden, I had to do something because although Jill goes tomorrow the Melbourne family arrive in a few minutes.
It is all go here but not much time for me.