Tropical visions

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Painting Trips

I’ve never enjoyed painting tropical scenes, even though I have many opportunities to be in such situations.
Hawaii has a unique landscape, strikingly different around the various islands.
On the Big Island, the scenery is spectacular, from dense tropical forests, beautiful black sand beaches, to the lava coated entrails which have desolated the mountainside and beaches.
Artwork can capture places visited or can be an interpretation through artistic vision. More than a simple geographic representation, images can echo a sense of place, conveying an essence of the location. Much of the artwork in the Hawaiian State Gallery is exactly about this, and very enjoyable.

“Roaming the Flinders”, Oil 102cmx92cm

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Oil Painting, Painting Trips

This work was inspired from a painting trip to the Flinders Ranges I did back in 2010 with the “Palette Pals” group.  Just finished it today, having worked from several photographs, it looks nothing like any of them, however, it gives me the overall feeling I had when I was there.

Descriptions from my journey…

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Painting Trips

Entering the old town of Hoi An, Vietnam, it immediately embraces you.  The buildings of Chinese, Japanese and French influence have seen much weather.  They look ancient, battered and stained, beaten by extreme sun, drenched by rain and flooded with the rise of the nearby river.  The golden yellow facades have an alluring charm that makes you fall in love with it all.

Doorways and veranahs are graced with brilliant coloured lanterns, that come to life, as the sun goes down.  The blemishes on the buildings are subdued in the evening glow, as the interiors of the buildings come to life for the viewers in the street. 

The cafes and restaurants are thriving and the warm evening air encourages alfresco dining.  Bicycles and motorbikes are parked along the footpaths, as cars are banned from the main streets of the old part of town. 

The haunting trill of traditional flutes is aired through street speakers, as well as the occasional musician, sitting casually in a shadowed doorway, playing an instrument of intigue which delights the ears and adds to the soul of this town.

It is a very lived in city and only sleeps after midnight, until the first cock crows around 5am.  Then it begins all over again, with a new set of spectators.

I have photographed the cafes and restaurants at night and would like to portray the ambience I felt whilst I was there.  Perhaps a little series of oils?

Cheers, Gwendoline

Delft: The city of Vermeer

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Painting Trips
Johannes Vermeer – a man they know very little about. How many children he had, where he lived, where his father lived, but nothing of who he was, his thoughts or temperment. No letters, nor documents written by him are available, maybe they didn’t survive or never existed.

The most people get a glimpse of this artist is through his paintings, intepretating his choice of subjects and what they may represent. 

He and his wife lived with her mother and were financially supplemented by his mother-in-law. He and his wife had 15 children.

They say Johannes Vemeer was a master of light. Study his work and you will discover how he made the light fall in many ways.

He reflected light through objects in the interiors he painted, letting it shine softly through curtains, or become broken through different kinds of glass. It even finds its way through holes in windows, or it gleams through the caps that the women wear. The ways of light are cunning and Vermeer practiced the use of them all.

With the use of light in Vermeers paintings, he masterly directs the viewers’ gaze through the painting, like a guide, this is what it’s about, that’s of less importance. The light often comes from the left hand side, as if it takes our reading direction into account, though not always.

Vermeer renders the buildings and interiors exquisitely, convincing viewers of the textures he portrays. He added sand into his paint to create texture in the brickwork. His palette consisted of approximately seven colours. The perspective in his work is excellent and technically correct. In most of his paintings, he adds more perspective by often placing a table between the viewer and the model. This layering of objects helps create the illusion of more depth.

Visiting his city of Delft, the cobblestoned alleyways, narrow canals (with graceful white swans and waterlillies) and facades of the 17th century buildings are an inspiration. The unusually small narrow bricks, grouted with white, the interesting shutters on windows and some lovely doorways make fabulous subjects. Little bridges across the canals are also eye catching. This old city is an artists’ feast.



Flinders Ranges Painting Trip

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Painting Trips

I’ve just returned from a two week painting trip to the Flinders Ranges. Some people who had been before, said I’d be in for a treat, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Flinders Ranges has an atmosphere like no other, forever surprising you with unpredictable colour changes. The mountain range melts into all hues of violet, blues and reds, sometimes even gold. depending on a multitude of circumstances. This year the rain had made new grasses sprout, covering the landscape with a sea of various greens against red soil.

Along with 30 artists, I painted every day amongst the elements. Fortunately the first couple of days were off to a stormy start, producing the most wonderful skies. The cloud formations were challenging as they constantly churned across our view.

Down to the creek which had recently been flooded, huge rocks dislodged, were hanging in precarious positions amongst exposed tree roots. The rocks and pebbles are beautiful colours of blue, dusky pink, olive green and ochre. Some roots looked quite bizarre and unbelieveable if put in a painting. The river gums are very interesting in colour and shape, making for a good subject. I found that being mostly a figurative painter, doing a portrait of these old gnarly fellas was a better option than the panoramic scenes available. The Merna Mora woolshed and contents was also absorbing with wool bales and baskets, shearing equipment, tool workshop and discarded rusty oil drums.

I bring home just over a dozen paintings, remembering the experience whilst painting plein air – the day and all that it presented: whirly winds, glowing reflections, bothersome flies etc. With me also are over 800 photographs, snapped throughout the journey. My observations from life have allowed me to store information I need, should I paint from these photographs in the studio. I will hopefully be able to convey the sensations I experienced, in my studio paintings.