What’s in a Name? Why BalligART?


I’m so encouraged by all the supportive comments I’ve received – a big thank you to you all!

I decided to call this site BalligART because our home in the Darling Ranges is called Balligar and this is where I have my studio (formerly a formal lounge) and where I am surrounded by inspiration – the flora of the Australian bush.  We named our home Balligar as it means ‘Grasstree’ in the local Aboriginal Noongar language and we are lucky to have many of them on our block.  This is one of them – or three?

One or Three?

One or Three?

The grass trees have inspired paintings of course!  I’ll post about them another time.

BalligART’s icon is, for now at least, my painting of a Pincushion Hakea Laurina flower. This Hakea is a native of south west Australia.  It is quite a large shrub that has beautiful pincushion like flowers that are no more than 5cm across and so often go unnoticed.  I decided to paint a single flower and to paint it BIG and to paint it in such a way that it gets noticed!  I felt bold when I painted it as it was the first time I’d painted anything so big.  So it seemed a fitting icon – it reminds me to be bold and get noticed!

The acrylic painting is 1 metre square and certainly has presence!  In reality the colours of the painting, particularly the greens, are richer but hopefully this photo gives you a reasonable impression.

I was pleased that underpainting the flower head in layers of transparent Lemon Yellow and then layering with glazes of Cadmium Red Light and Ultramarine (in the shadow areas) really worked to give a 3D effect and to make it glow!

Whilst the flower head is pretty realistic the background obviously isn’t.  I thought that a less than realistic background would increase the focus on the flower.  Also, it was a deliberate decision to use a limited palette for this and a number of other paintings so they complement each other.

I used masking fluid (normally used in watercolour painting on paper and not on canvas) on the styles while I painted the ball of the flower head and the background to avoid a ‘painted around’ look.  It took me 6 hours to remove the masking fluid!  I’ve since thought that it might have been a better option to underpaint the styles with the very opaque Titanium White after painting everything else!

Someone who really knows how to be bold and get noticed is David Hockney.  At the age of 74 he had an exhibition last year called ‘A Bigger Picture’ at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.  The video found via this link is 2 minutes worth of real inspiration and colourful art: http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/hockney/


PS:  It was a triumph to get images into the right place in the post – wrapping text around them is a challenge for another day!

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