This summer in the Perth hills the temperature has topped 40 degrees centigrade on way too many days. Today is to be the last day of the latest heatwave. Today also marks a whole month without rain at Balligar! It reminds me to take care of our environment.
Happily the bush around us is standing up to the harsh conditions well and various birds are chortling in the Jarrah trees as I type at dawn. Amazing resilience – like the grasstrees around us that must be decades old as Xanthorrhoea grow very slowly. I do think their politically incorrect name of ‘Blackboys’ is much more descriptive. There is one old fellah (probably also politically incorrect) in the reserve behind us that has the character of a centenarian – I so want to paint him – er, it!
I have sketched and painted a group of three grasstrees on our block. I reduced their surroundings to the red, bare earth and sky so as to emphasis the feeling of rejection / dejection of the little guy on the right and called it ‘Two’s Company’. It’s about 900 by 600 cm.
This was painted using the same limited palette of acrylics as the Pincushion Hakea Laurina I posted about last time. (Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Light Red, Ultramarine, Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green). The colours are not so garish as they look here. Phthalo colours don’t seem to photograph well.
The painting is a good example of ‘happy accidents’ if nothing else. I finished the painting and laid it flat to varnish it – and then spilt rubbing alcohol on it!@#$!! One big drop dissolved a hole in the sky back to bare canvas. Oh what to do!! I knew that it would look obviously patched if I tried to paint the sky back as it was. In desperation I decided the blob would have to become the moon and that a cloud coming in from the right would help camouflage the damage. I think the changes actually improved the composition. If you look closely at the real painting, you can see that the little dark marks in the sky are dragonflies. Expect to see more dragonflies in my work!
If you have any examples of happy accidents, do share!