Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Getting Pastelliferous

I like oil pastels. I like the richness of their colour and the way you can blend them. I particularly like the way they look on brown paper.

The first ones I did were on paper bags. 

Then I started carrying a roll of wrapping paper around with me. The outlines are done with either a brush pen or a good sized chunky marker. I like the thick dark lines you can get with them.

The latest oil pastel drawing is quite big. It's the little kumquat tree outside my living room window.
It's drawn on the opened out surface of a sturdy brown carry bag. (you can tell by the handles). It covered my coffee table, and I used a big brush and indian ink to draw the outlines.

My box of pastels is getting quite well used up now and filling in a large area with small pieces of oil pastel takes some time,  especially when putting down more than one layer of colour. Also, I have yet to find a way to buy replacement pastels individually. I can just imagine a house full of all the colours I hardly ever use, because each time I use up my white, blues and yellows, I have to buy a whole new box!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tasmania: the East Coast

This almost qualifies as a throwback, since a couple of months have gone by since I took a slow drive from Launceston, through the Fingal Valley, to St. Helens, then to Hobart, with two nights at Swansea on the way.

The things I love most about  holidays like this:

1. They are full of unstructured time. No schedule. Anything can happen! Having a few days of unstructured time is what, for me, best promotes creative thinking and new perspectives. Minimal routine, maximum productivity. Strange, perhaps, but true.

2. I'm alone. Bliss.

3. There is no plan. If the beach where I eat breakfast just begs to be walked along, I can spend the rest of the morning walking. If I meet someone on the beach, I can stay and talk as long as I like. No "sorry, gotta go, gotta be in blah place by blah o'clock". And without a fixed plan, it's as though my vision expands from something narrow and driven, to something wide and open, ready to involve and be involved in all the world:  newly flowering wattles,  the mutter of fishermen on the rocks,  the changing colours of the sea from shore to horizon, thinking about how aboriginal people would have lived in a place like this, the unusual number of motorbikes on the road, erosion, cloud formations, unemployment, rural lifestyles, family history, coffee, languages, shoreline geology.... .

4. Beauty. It is good, now and then, to be in a place where, at every turn there is gut-punching, heart-stopping, soul-soaring beauty. To participate in it, to resonate with it. To exercise that heart muscle that recognises and identifies with it. To be overwhelmed and swept away.

5. Remembering, These are places that are familiar to me from long ago. They are rich with memory and experience. I love travelling through unfamiliar places too, but this is a different kind of love.

6. Time to reflect, time to imagine, time to draw and write.

Here are some of the drawings from that drive:

The Ben Lomond Massif seen from the Fingal Valley. There were so many stunning views on this clear, cold day, but very few places where the road had sufficient shoulder space to pull over. 

Binalong Bay, just north of St. Helens. 

Granite rocks at Binalong Bay.

Swansea: the view from my window on a quiet, misty morning.

Some broken shells I picked up, walking along Beer Barrel Beach, a little south of St. Helens.

More broken shells, these I collected above the high tide mark in Swansea, some drawn there, others finished when I got to Hobart.

A short stop on the way south, for some breakfast and a bit of conversation.

At my sister's house, looking out of the window from my bed, first thing in the morning.

These are the drawings in my sketchbook from those few days. I'm glad you could join me!