Category Archives: My Paintings Stories

No Naked Ladies Here Thanks!

The beautiful, showy, naked ladies from SW South Africa are very fertile, so much so they tend to elbow out natives.

Naked Lady is a common name for Amaryllis Belladonna which blooms in the Perth Hills of Western Australia during our early Autumn.

Here these ladies are considered an environmental weed so by picking the ornamental flowers I have a gorgeous bouquet for indoors and help prevent them propagating via seed – win win!

Amaryllis Belladonna became the fourth subject for my series on weeds and my first painting of 2015 – even then I may classify it as a practice piece and have another go – if there is time!

 

Amaryllis Belladonna - Helen Lock

Amaryllis Belladonna – Helen Lock

But maybe I should heed Coco Chanel’s advice:

Don’t spend time beating on a wall hoping to transform it into a door.

🙂
Helen

 

A Snowflake Is Winter’s Butterfly

The only snowflakes we get to see here in the Perth Hills of Western Australia are the botanical kind but we do get to see them in Winter.  Our Snowflakes are native to Europe where they bloom in Summer – it’s a fun world!

Leucojum

Snowflakes – Helen Lock

This is the third pen and watercolour painting in my series on Western Australian weeds.  These beautiful Snowflakes (Leucojum Aestivum) were blooming a couple of months ago when I captured them on paper.  I just love the finger like tepals sporting green nail varnish.

Leucojum is a genus of bulbous plants native to Europe.  They grow here up to 60 cm tall in winter wet habitats.  They are a priority species for control in conservation areas.  So, another plant for us to contain but not only for the sake of indigenous plants but also for the safety of our children and animals as all parts are poisonous, especially the bulbs.

Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.                                                                 – Paracelsus

How true!
🙂
Helen

Too Much Of A Good Thing…

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful” said Mae West

but whilst a host of golden Gazanias is a wonderful sight, too many of these natives of South Africa here in Western Australia take up space that our own natives might otherwise occupy.  There may also be a flow on effect to native fauna that depend on native flora.

So like many other things in life (too many?), moderation is the key.  Here is the second in my new series on the weeds that grow in our garden.

Gazanias Laugh At Drought

Too Much Of A Good Thing – Helen Lock

I have painted Gazanias before and posted more about them here.

Having enjoyed over 50mm / 2 inches of rain in the first 24 hours of this week, here in the Perth Hills, we’re laughing at drought too.  Long may it last!

🙂
Helen

One Mans Flowers…

Many of the wildflowers in our garden at Balligar in Western Australia have turned out to be weeds – officially declared pests! This has led to much thought about the concept of weeds – or “matter out of place” as described by E.J. Salisbury (a botanist) – and germinated the seeds of a new series. This is a prototype inspired by the Arum Lilies that grow in clumps in the lower part of our property.

Arum Lilies - WA Weed

One Mans Flowers… By Helen Lock

Done using permanent ink and watercolour pencils on Arches Watercolour paper. Border and text added using Publisher.

All comments, critiques, recommendations and suggestions welcome!

🙂
Helen

Still No Flora?!!

Yep!  True.  Still no flora.  Even though the rains have started and the land has started to grow and blossom!

All because people come first and a portrait of my daughter in law and her son was overdue!

Mother & Baby

Mother & Newborn Son

This portrait was designed to go with the earlier one I did of Alex and their son in the shower from a photo when their son was a little older.

It was a design decision to render clothing as minimalist as possible so to focus attention between parent and child as much as possible.  Hope it worked!!

If you’d like to see more or would like to commission a portrait please go to my link ‘Portrait Commissions’.

 

🙂
Helen

 

A Horse is A Horse Of Course, Of Course

Except when it’s wooden maybe?  I received a gift of a little statue of a horse in February in celebration of my birthday.  The statue also commemorated the Chinese Year of the Wooden Horse.  It’s only about 6 cms high but had such presence I just had to draw it.

I found some paper called ‘Elephant Hide’ at a local art supplies store which had an antique look to it that I thought went with the theme of representing the long standing culture of the Chinese and their Zodiac.  I tested the paper out and it takes all manner of media well including heaps of water – but it doesn’t take erasure!  Nevertheless I decided graphite suited my purpose and the paper best. This is the result – in a frame that also seemed to suit the style!

Graphite on Elephant Hide

2014 Year of the Wooden Horse – by Helen Lock

I’m very happy that it raised funds for a worthy cause at auction 🙂

🙂
Helen

Last Day Of Summer

 

Today is the last day of Summer in Australia but reality seems to be parting ways with our old Roman calendar with today’s temperature approaching 40 degrees Celsius in the Perth Hills.  Nevertheless it’s a way of marking time and impressing on me how fast time has passed lately!

Progress has been slow on The Beer Belly Tree despite the errant air-conditioner being fixed.  I did however complete a commission for a father and baby daughter portrait.  It was the first time I’ve done a portrait of people I’ve never met and I found it unsettling to attempt to bring humans to life from a small photograph.  Happily the commissioner was very happy with the result – phew!

Father and Daughter - By Helen Lock

Father and Daughter – By Helen Lock

Maybe I’ll have more projects reach fruition during Autumn and enjoy taking in my harvest.  I think I need to take heed of this pearl of wisdom from Pablo Picasso:

“All human beings are born with the same creative potential. Most people squander theirs away on a million superfluous things. I expend mine on one thing and one thing only: my art.”
Pablo Picasso

🙂
Helen