small paintings

Small paintings born in observations that attract the eye and mind.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hawkesbury River, Sydney- Arthur Streeton and I.

A few weeks ago I travelled to paint the Hawkesbury River near Freemans Reach. The small plein air painting appears below.
Hawkesbury River near Freemans Reach
Hawkesbury River near Freemans Reach
5 x 4 inches  (12.7 x 10cm)
Oil on Canvas.
I didn't realise it at the time but I was only a river bend away from where Arthur Streeton in 1896 painted the iconic "The purple noon’s transparent might". I love the deep (but low chroma) blue that Streeton uses in this painting.

The Purple Noon’s Transparent Might by Arthur Streeton
 Oil on Canvas
123.0 x 123.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The site is well marked now as "Streeton Lookout at Freemans Reach" overlooking the spot where Streeton painted the river. When Streeton discovered the Hawkesbury, the river became a subject for a  series of large works.  Streeton used unorthodox (for the time) shapes for his canvases and used a square one for this "panoramic" painting . He felt that he discovered "the great hidden poetry" of the Australian landscape in the ‘glory of river and plain spread before him.
Katherine Tyrrell has an informative post on Arthur Streeton on her blog "Making a Mark", and built a new website about Streeton with links to information and online images.

Streeton, Tom Roberts, Charles Condor, Frederick McCubbin and the other Australian Impressionists are well known for their plein air painting expeditions and "camps" near Sydney and Melbourne in the mid 1800s. The National Gallery of Victoria has a good overview reference of these sites at this link
I have recently sketched at a  couple of the other Sydney sites ( Coogee and Mosman Bay) that they painted at,  and they will feature in a couple of future posts.

My other blog "Painted Journey" has paintings and drawings from my second post about the painting trip to Central Australia around Alice Springs.
Click here to contact me 
Like this Blog? Subscribe and receive new posts by email

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First Light MacDonnell Ranges - Finalist St George Art Award

Continuing on from my previous post about my trip to Central Australia a few of us rose early one morning to catch the sunrise at a hill behind our camp at Ross River.

The light was something very special and as the sun peeped over the Macdonnell Ranges it sent out its first rays illuminating the river into a sparkling sliver of light.  So when I arrived back home, it was one of the memories that had to be painted.
24 x 24 inches (61 x 61cm)
Oil on Canvas
The 2012 St George Art Award is a national prize which has the theme of "New Beginnings". My painting capturing the start of a unique new day fitted well with this criteria. Fortunately it has been chosen as a finalist for the prize.

The prize will be announced on Friday 19 October 2012, and the exhibition will commence on Saturday 20 October - Sunday 16 December 2012 at:-
Hurstville Museum and Gallery
14 MacMahon Street
Hurstville  (Tues - Sat  10am to 4pm, Sunday 2-5 pm)

I have just released some new paintings, inckuding these shown below.

Pont des arts paris france oil painting Red PoppiesPainting Nocturnal St James Sydney

These paintings and the other new ones can now be seen at my website

Click here to contact me 
Like this Blog? Subscribe and receive new posts by email

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reflections at the Edinburgh Castle Corner

Reflections at the Edinburgh Castle Corner
8 x 8 Inches (20 x 20cm)
Oil on Canvas

I am becoming very interested in painting the light effects seen in cities. Sydney has experienced its greatest volume of summer rain in over 50 years, which has provided some great light effects in the city streets. The corner of Bathurst & Pitt Streets provides the stage for the light hitting the umbrella.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Simplify - Painting a San Francisco Cityscape

Terry Miura publishes a blog titled "Studio Notes", in which he generously shares his experiences and knowledge on the craft of painting.
A few weeks ago Terry wrote about the need to simplify, i.e. what should a painter leave in or out of a busy scene. I find that "leaving things out" is one of the hardest things that a painter has to decide when constructing a painting. I know that many of my colleagues have the same difficulty.

Terry's approach involves applying rules which helps keep his mind focused and organised. His rules are outlined in his post, however he went on to invite his readers to paint the same photo and respond how we deal with the same problems. Here is my take.
Original Photo

 Stage 1
I like to unify the colours of the painting by painting a base colour. In this case a light burnt orange which will be the complementary colour of the blues of hills and sky. This approach makes it easier to set off cool and warm colours against each other and achieve broken colour in these areas.   I then do a simple drawing cropping information out of the original photo

Stage 2
Paint in the basic tones letting the orange come through. The base colour is also used for the sunlight areas of the buildings. I like the light effect when one can transition the walls of buildings from warm at the top to cool at the bottom (or vice versa). I find that I can also desaturate the intensity of the blue when scumbling it over the orange. I then invent a shadow to unify the foreground into one major shape, and making it a rest area for the viewers eye. I use the photograph and try to not copy it.
5 x 4 inches
Oil on Canvas
Stage 3
Adjust the tones and colour to create distance and build contrast in areas to guide the eye through the painting. My natural inclination is to paint hard edges so I need to spend time going back to soften edges, otherwise the eye will be zooming all over the picture.
It has been a valuable exercise and made me think about how to simplify. Some of these practice are intuitive, but some I need to keep before me to build the habit. The "rules' that I discovered are summarised below. Some are the same as Terrys and some different:-
  1. Use a photo (or a scene) rather than copy it.
  2. Underpaint a base colour to complement the planned main colour.
  3. Crop and draw first to solve design problems before committing to paint.
  4. Leave quiet places for the viewer
  5. Vary edges
Interested in this painting? It may be purchased here

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lavender Bay on New Years Day 2012

lavender bay sydney australia fred marsh oil canvas
Lavender Bay, Sydney
8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm), Oil on canvas
$175 plus $25 shipping and insurance ($18 in Australia)

Click here to contact to buy 
On New Years day I had lunch at a friends apartment which has a magnificent view over Lavender Bay and the western side of the Harbour Bridge.  I am interested in the different viewpoint that one sees from looking down on the subject. A couple of photos from the same viewpoint appear below

Here are a couple of previous paintings of Lavender Bay (both are sold)

Like this Blog? Subscribe and receive new posts by email

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vines near Mount Ventoux, Provence, France

Last year I did some painting in the south of France. This painting was undertaken close to the mas (farmhouse) that we stayed in at Aubignan in the Vaucluse area of Provence.  Mount Ventoux is famous for the arduous climbs it presents in the Tour de France.
The area is in the heart of the vine, sunflowers and lavender country. Strawberries and melons have such an intense flavour here.
Vines near Mount Ventoux
Oil on Canvas
5 x 7 inches  (12 x 17.5cm)
For Sale $100 plus shipping insurance. ($15 in Australia and $20 outside Australia)

Click here to contact me 

Like this Blog? Subscribe and receive new posts by email

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Three Cherries on a Shelf

Christmas is cherry time in Sydney.
We had a box of very fresh & tasty cherries, and they looked so nice they just had to be painted.
Three Cherries on a Shelf
Oil on Canvas
5 x 7 inches (12 x 17.5cm)
The models were so tempting that they only lasted seconds after the painting was completed.

Click here to contact me