The choices we make

May 3, 2014

My granddaughter, Eve, watched me work on this painting.

“Where is the alpaca,” she asked.

I had decided to “delete” Coco, one of our alpacas, which was in the photograph I used as an inspiration for my most recent painting, “Spring in Summer.”

Spring in Summer

As I was explaining to Eve that an artist could choose what to include and what to omit from a work, it occurred to me that it’s a bit like forgiveness. Coco was in the “wrong” place and the composition would have suffered from her inclusion. We have choices to make in life. We can leave things out of the picture. I’ll always know Coco was there, I may remember wrongs committed, but I can eave them out of the picture altogether.

I wondered if it’s (whole, complete, harmonious) what our forgiven lives look like to God, the true artist.


Picking Plums

March 29, 2014


From a few years ago.

August 10, 2013

Christina Sonnemann Baehr portrait

Not the best photo, but here’s one I never posted.

This one of my daughter is from my first “go” at painting, before Christina was married. It’s the 3rd portrait I attempted.

Did I mention this? I only started painting a few years ago then had a several year break;  I’ve now come back to it.

Apparently, It’s never too late to start, then start again.

IMG_4712  I’m nearly finished this one (I hope).

It was meant to go in the Rotary Exhibition (see post, below) but I realised that I had grossly under-priced it and the organisers were unable to change the price, so “withdrawing” it was the only option.

The tricky part is that it does other artists a disservice to under charge as it lowers the general value of art locally.

I found this out the hard way. Not wanting to be greedy, I’ve put what I thought were reasonable prices on works, but which, if you do the math, turned out to be something like $10 an hour. Without replacing my materials. After a stiff lecture from artist friends, I could see how underpricing devalued the work of everyone else in the artistic community.

It’s a big painting, 900 x 600. I expect you will see her at the Calvin “Art and Soul”  or Hobart City Mission Fundraiser, Long Gallery, Salamanca..

“Pouring Light” 2013. Based on time spent with the Amish and Plain People in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I wanted to portray the dignity, beauty and love which imbue ordinary duties when we value our vocations.

God is full of surprises.

August 10, 2013

Return of Noir Canard Growing Things  The two paintings I entered sold last night at the Opening of the Rotary Charity Exhibition at Wrest Point. There are over 400 pieces on display there, making it by far the biggest – and certainly most “posh” – exhibition I have entered so far.

It was fun taking my grand-daughter, Eve, along.  I think she was especially gratified when the painting “of her” received its little red “sold” sticker.

I am always astounded when one of my works sell. There were so many there so much better. So many artists more experienced. Their art is so “confident” and mine still rather hesitating. When viewing one of my paintings in such a setting, I long for a few more moments to touch up areas that still don’t satisfy me.  For both to sell at the actual Opening Party, only a few minutes after it was opened for purchases, was thoroughly astonishing.

My only explanation is: “God wanted them to sell”. For which I am humbled and grateful.  I guess it means I will keep painting!

Any suggestions for the next Noir Canard?

“Growing Things” 2013.  My granddaughter during her first summer living in the Huon Valley, discovering the joy of harvesting growing things, and of having plenty of room to grow.

“The Return of Noir Canard” 2013.   This is one of an ongoing series informed by my love of classic films

The (sigh) self portrait

April 20, 2012

Steve Bowden instructed me to do a self-portrait some time ago.

I’ve been dabbling away at it for quite a while, not quite enthusiastically much of the time.  I mean, I don’t really want a portrait of myself at age 58.

Last night, Steve said that I was “allowed” to stop.

It’s been a good/challenging exercise, however, so…point taken.

In initially establishing the facial proportions by holding up the brush handle at arm’s length to ascertain distances, one sees multiple brush handles and can never quite get the height/width of the eyes, since you are at that point holding the brush in front of them and can’t see them at all! Hmmm.

Looking into a mirror, then stepping away from it towards the painting (set back a few feet from the easel holding the mirror), was interesting. Not possible to immediately compare the effect of a brush stroke with the subject.  Must step back into view of mirror, away from canvas. Painting the eyes was the most tricky aspect. Again, a matter of attempting to commit small variations in tone and exact placement of little identifying marks to memory before painting them. All the while, maintaining a “natural” facial expression.

There are mixed opinions as to whether or not I succeeded.

Next assignment: now “Mself” has to sit around, in view, for a month.  At the end of that time I make any  changes that particularly “niggle”.

Long to Look

“Long to Look” found a home.

IAM (link on right) had a Small Works Auction in New York City.  I received an email from IAM and duly sent her on her way: “For the fourth year, IAM is hosting our Christmas Art Extravaganza, a raucous shindig where people buy raffle tickets, wait for their number to get called, and actually touch some art as they take down their favorite piece from the wall of honor.”

I always think that Artist’s Notes help. (Thank you, Christina): “This Titian-haired young Australian girl was once part of a larger work, however I found that others as well as myself were drawn to her to the exclusion of the other figures. Her deep-eyed expression of inquiry reminds me of a scripture from First Peter: the mystery of Christ, the gospel, has been revealed to us (‘things into which angels long to look’) and has been given to young girls like Abby.

‘It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.’
1 Peter 1:12″