Category Archives: Gee Willikinwingings!

Geewillinkinwinkings – It’s Monday Already – and February 2014!#$@!

Time is an illusion

said Albert Einstein.  This gives me comfort as I wonder how come January has been and gone already!  Gone before I started my New Year Resolutions, gone before I finished even one painting, gone!

At least I did start a painting.  When going for a walk a tree will sometimes catch my attention and stop me in my tracks as it makes me aware of its individuality, its own brand of beauty and its character.  There is one such tree in the reserve behind our home.  It’s a  Jarrah tree that bears the scars of a long life with a belly that suggests a full and indulgent one.  I fancy that it’s raising a glass and saying ‘Cheers!’ as I walk by and have nicknamed it ‘The Beer Belly Tree’.

The Beer Belly Tree

The Beer Belly Tree

The painting (1m by .75m) will be one of a series so I’m painting it out of context but realistically (in acrylics) so that those that have seen the tree may recognize it – I have no idea why I want to do so!

This is the progress by the end of January:

The Beer Belly In Progress

The Beer Belly In Progress

I’ve many reasons and excuses for not getting further – one is the level of detail messes with my brain!

Beer Belly Detail

Beer Belly Detail

Some other reasons for lack of progress: the extreme heat during January; a dysfunctional air-conditioner in the studio and the catastrophic bush fire on Sunday January 12th – a day that topped 46 degrees Celsius in the Perth Hills.  The fire devastated 650 hectares and destroyed over 50 homes, two in the west of our suburb, most in the suburb to our West.  It’s heart rendering to see the damage and feel the pain of the bush – fauna and flora – and the people directly affected.  We had to evacuate but were spared the trauma of losing our home where so many memories are stored.  We’ve learned from the experience and will be better prepared if there’s a next time.

As for the bush, it has seen fire before and has also learned from the experience.  Successful flora have adapted to survive and regenerate after fire. I think the Beer Belly Tree is a survivor of a past fire as its base is as black as charcoal in parts.

Despite the awfulness of the inferno on January 12 and its aftermath, I was struck by the beautiful colours and shapes of the blackened tree trunks and the crispy, burnt orange leaves as I drove by a stretch of incinerated bush the other day – and smiled to see the blackened stumps of grass trees already pushing up young, green spiky leaves.

As artist Joseph Beuys said:

I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time.

Time for me to go.

Geewillinkinwinkings – So Many Flowers, So Little Time!

There has been an enormous variety of flowers pop up this Spring in our patch of the Perth Hills in Western Australia.  I’ve been hastily photographing, identifying, sketching and painting just a few in between life happening in case they don’t reappear again next year.  This is one that I haven’t been able to identify so if anyone can help I’d appreciate it, as I don’t feel able to title another painting ‘Wild One’!

Blue What?

Blue What?

They are a gorgeous bright blue – six petals (3 a little larger than the 3 in between them, so maybe 3 petals and 3 sepals).  There are 3 yellow anthers and the stigma is bluish. The stems are 30 – 40 cms long.

Blue What 1

It may of course by an introduced species /weed 😦

All we know is still infinitely less than all that remains unknown    (William Harvey)



Geewillingkinwinkins – No Colours Anymore…

The ear worm ‘No colours anymore I want them to turn black’ went around and around in my head as I struggled to mix black with the oils I had.  It was soon joined by another ‘You can’t always get what you want…’.  The ear worms spun in my head long after I accepted that I wasn’t going to get a black – and that a rich, interesting dark brown was close enough – and they drove me to paint this!

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Paint It Black by Helen Lock – Acrylic & Oil On Canvas 16″ * 12″

A little different to my usual WA flora themed paintings!

For those interested in how I painted it: I underpainted horizontal stripes in rainbow colours with acrylic paint, after masking out the centre circle.  I then wiped out the rainbow with a hake brush heavily loaded with my dark oil mixture singing Paint It Black (it was okay no-one was around).

I let it dry for a few hours and then scratched out the words with feeling and the end of a paintbrush – but that didn’t work too well so I patiently lifted the oil paint with a brush, wishing my ‘passionate’ handwriting looked more emotive.

Hours later I removed the masking fluid which was now covered in acrylic and oil trying not to disturb the surrounding area – and thinking ‘this was a mad idea’.  My principle of not giving in until I’m finished kicked in and I painted a rainbow of colours spiralling into a black hole within the circle before reinstating the missing parts of the letters over it.

Ha!  Then I received an email about a painting competition with categories addressing mental illness – maybe I’ve an entry already!


Geewillingkinwinkins – The World Reimagined!

The first painting you see as you walk into the ‘Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond’ MoMA exhibition now showing at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth is Van Gogh’s ‘The Olive Trees’.

Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background

Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My left brain must have been in full motion as my mind was surprised by the solidity of the unrealistic, opaque, creamy white balls of cloud, the dullness of the blue of the Mediterranean sky and the trees below it.  Sacrebleu!!  I mentally washed my mind out with soap and water as I kept looking.

Although not as colourful as reproductions and writings had led me to believe the artist’s intention began to filter through.  The rhythms of the brush strokes and the harmony of the colours started to convey life, movement and a living force connecting all things in nature.

I began to understand the theme of the exhibition ‘The World Reimagined’.  At first sight the exhibition may appear to be a disparate collection of 130 works by 96 artists covering landscape, still life and portraiture over more than a hundred years.  The common thread seems to be that across the decades each artist has inherited, rejected / developed and communicated innovative responses to their worlds through imagination.

There is certainly plenty to see, plenty to ponder and plenty of inspiration!  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed If you can get to see it.  You can find out more here.

I’ll let Mark Twain have the last word – again!

The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.

MARK TWAIN, Joan of Arc


Geewillingkinwinkins! What about commitment?!

When I started this blog I committed to posting at least once a week.  It’s been FOUR weeks since my last post!  I know that the world has kept spinning and it’s likely that no-one noticed but it hasn’t stopped my angst from week to week.

My excuses have been many and varied but none alleviated my guilt at breaking a promise to myself, as much as to anyone out there ‘in the ether’.  Seeking absolution I searched the net for comforting quotes, however those found just hammered the nail in deeper – except for this one by dear Mark Twain:

To make a pledge of any kind is to declare war against nature; for a pledge is a chain that is always clanking and reminding the wearer of it that he is not a free man.

Following the Equator

Now I’m tempted to change the wording on my About page and renege on my commitment… but I think I’d still feel the clanking of that chain!  So I’ll leave it as is for now – and I’ll leave you with an extract from an article by Patrica Watwood who did this beautiful oil painting in response to asking herself ‘why keep doing it?’:

Faith in the Wilderness

Faith In The Wilderness by Patricia Watwood

This painting is called Faith in the Wilderness and in many ways it is an autobiographical allegory about my motives for painting. The graffiti says “We walk by faith, not by sight.” The model is the unattainable beauty of “perfect” painting. The landscape is the urban jungle that is the world that I inhabit every day. Faith is what I need to traverse the distance between the hope and the reality of being an oil painting artist. The wilderness is many faceted—uncertain prospects, an uncharted course, the complex art world, or even just the passage across that expanse of cheek between the nose and ear that always seem almost impossible to paint, no matter how many times I’ve done it. Patrica Watwood

You can read her full article here.  It’s worth it!



Geewillinkinwinkings! A Feat Whichever Way You Look At It!

Trekking in the Porongurups and the Stirling Ranges in the south west of Western Australia  kept me away from posting here for a week or so but I’m back and keen to tell you about the Castle Rock Skywalk.  Not only was it a physical and mental feat for DO and I to do the 500 metre plus climb and walk the skywalk but an engineering triumph to get it in place.

There are hand holds near the top to help but you still need long legs or good flexibility  – or a helping hand.  (Click on the images to enlarge.)

You get onto the skywalk via a 7 metre ladder.  A good head for heights or a strong stomach and sheer determination will get you to the top.  The views and the sense of achievement made all our nausea worthwhile!

We couldn’t help but wonder how it was built – and to be in awe of those who built it.  There is a short video here on its construction which won a Master Builders Association Award in 2012.  There are more photos here on the award winning company’s web site.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about an engineering feat rather than about art.  If so, this quote from Leonardo Da Vinci may explain:

‘The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.’

So is the Castle Rock Skywalk.

Karri Lookout Below The Skywalk

Karri Lookout Below The Skywalk

The Karri Lookout provides a viewing platform for those not doing the vertical climb to the Skywalk..


Geewilingkingwinkings – Age Is So Inspiring!

I find people who don’t define themselves by their age inspiring.  I’ve been thinking about age and creativity thanks to the Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I’ve been painting pictures from the book for the walls of what will be my grandson’s nursery.  (I’m being careful to sign them as ‘After Eric Carle’ just in case of forgery claims even though they are not to be sold – and far from perfect copies.)

Front cover

Front cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The now infamous caterpillar first appeared to be chewing holes in picture book pages in 1969.  Eric Carle is now in his eighties and still writing picture books!  The latest is The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.  In 2002, when Eric was 73, he and Barbara Carle founded The Eric Carle Picture Book Museum to inspire the love of art and reading.  It’s an interesting web site to visit and it includes the opportunity to take a virtual tour.

I think Eric must have found the same fountain of youth the actress Sophia Loren who once said:

Portrait of the Italian actress Sophia Loren f...

Sophia Loren  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

I’m thinking that what Louis Armstrong said of musicians applies to all types of artists, including me!

English: Louis Armstrong, jazz trumpeter Franç...

Louis Armstrong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them.


I know I have more pictures in me but for now I’m working on my forgery skills…

After Eric Carle by Helen Lock

After Eric Carle by Helen Lock (Acrylic on canvas)

Eric has nothing to fear from me!!