“From the Forest to the Foreshore” exhibition is beginning on Saturday. (Check here for more information.) I thought you might like to see what I have painted for it. I created 2 paintings, both of scallop shell fragments. The first 2 photos are of the actual shells.
The next couple of photos show the finished paintings. (Sorry about the strange cropping of the works, but I am becoming much more aware of copyright issues. 😦 I am wondering whether showing only some of my painting may make it less desirable to copy.)
And then making the decisions about frames. What do I like? What might a potential buyer like? What suits the paintings? The black card and the mount board helps to understand what it will look like by removing other visual distractions.
I was very happy with the framed paintings.
If you get to the exhibition, tell me what you think. I would love to know.
Yesterday I intended to go to the blockbuster exhibition at the NGV. When I got there I thought “Monet can wait”, and I went on a guided tour of the general collection instead. A great decision! The guide, Julia, was wonderful, very knowledgeable and interesting. One of the things I really appreciate about tours like this is that the guides show me paintings that I would walk past. I might not always like them, but guides like Julia give me so much more, explaining symbols, the history of the work and so on. They explain why that work should there with all the other glorious things.
Before I take you to two that Julia showed me yesterday I have to show you two exhibits in the foyer.
The blockbuster I didn’t see (but will!) is ‘Monet’s Garden’. As we know he is famous for his water lilies. Celeste Boursier-Mougenot has reworked this concept to create a stunning, zen-like acoustic installation.
Here it is as the whole. Yes, they are simple white bowls.
It is a circular pond. A pump moves the water, which causes the bowls to float and move. If that graceful movement was not enough, there is the sound that they make as they gently collide, like the bells in a temple. As you can see from the photo so many people were entranced, sitting, watching, listening. If you are passing by, pop in and have a look. You won’t be disappointed.
Also in the foyer is this gorgeous creation. Again it was very eye catching!
This (taxidermic) deer is covered in various sized glass beads. I loved the effect, but found it a little disturbing.
Now our tour continues up a few levels of the gallery, to look at two very different paintings of the Virgin Mary. First, the paintings:
They were both about the same size, painted around the same time, both Italian. While they are paintings of the Virgin Mary, they are very different interpretations. (And I have walked past both paintings a number of times without stopping to look!)
The sign next to Sassoferrato’s Madonna (the first painting) said “a classic example of the Catholic Church’s emphasis during the Counter-Reformation on reaffirming devotion to the Virgin Mary.” It is a beautiful painting, showing Mary as she is usually portrayed, demure, devoted, and wearing blue robes.
Then there was the second painting. It would have been paired on an altar with a painting of the Archangel Gabriel announcing the dramatic news to Mary. Cavallino has painted this work so wonderfully. He uses highlights to emphasis his message. The light falls onto Mary’s face. Her expression is somber, and I think the red around her nose indicates that she has been crying. This is not the usual portrayal of the Annunciation, which show Mary ecstatic and filled with joy. Instead she is a young woman who has just received some overwhelming news. She is human, her emotions are real.
However, her hands are also highlighted. They are held in a position that shows acceptance, acceptance of the news from Gabriel. For me, it is a very moving painting. She is challenged but also courageous and dignified.
I am so glad that Julia made me really look at these two paintings.
I have been making a big effort to get my practice painting finished. Here is the next sequence of photos of my work. (If you want to catch up on what I have been doing, check here.)
My method is to use very small brush strokes to create the effect I am looking for. That means I need to use very fine brushes as well as a magnifying glass!
Whenever possible, botanical artists work from live specimens and often go to great lengths to keep the specimen fresh. Sometimes the specimen can be replaced by a freshly picked one. Those were not options for me, as Cullen discolor is a plant growing on the red sandy soils of western New South Wales, a couple of days’ drive from my house. I am relying on the photos I took of my specimen.
The iPad is invaluable. Not only is is portable, allowing me to have the photo close by my work, but also I can enlarge the photos to get that extra bit of detail. Got to love technology!