I love the way seagulls park on street lights. What views they must have! I gave this painting the working title ‘Seagull Parking’ but I always knew that was a little too obscure to be a keeper. The inspiration was a photo I took in a carpark ~ in the golden hour before the sun sets ~ while we were waiting to collect our pizza. Yes, inspiration is everywhere : )
The original plan was to create something more like the reference photo, quite subdued and almost monotone with the seagull as the focal point, but the purple/grey underpainting took it in a different direction ~ one which was more in keeping with how spectacular the sky really looked that evening ~ and that meant rethinking the title.
P.S. I’m particularly pleased with those two birds flying in the background. The simpler it is, the harder it is.
Fresh off the easel: the lights of Christchurch as seen from the Port Hills. The paintings are lightly textured and best seen from a bit of a distance. I was going to varnish them but I am really liking the subtle shifts in colour and texture of the unvarnished canvas and so I’m not going to risk it.
I have been thinking about painting this landscape for a little over six years. When I took the reference photo, the rainbow appeared to be shining directly into our neighbourhood, showing us the way home. I liked that : ) The only thing that made me reluctant to tackle it was also one of the things that made me want to paint it in the first place: the out-of-focus raindrops on the car windscreen. I wasn’t sure I could do what I had in mind ~ something representational but not too realistic. I needn’t have worried; the raindrops almost painted themselves (at least they look like raindrops to me). No, it was the painting of the rainbow that was the most difficult thing because I wanted to paint a rainbow that was not too ‘rainbowy’ (i.e. to paint a painterly painted rainbow and not an emoji 🌈 ).
I got there in the end by overlapping layers of translucent rainbow colours, blending the cooler colours with the clouds and sky (which is why some of the colours have almost disappeared), and using subtle lines to suggest reflected and refracted light.
Here is another reworking of an old painting. You can compare it with the original below…
There were elements I liked in the original version but, two years on, that background now looked like an embarrassing mess to me. So I painted over it with green, gold, purple and turquoise, redefining the hill shapes and tree lines. The seagull and little boats were also tweaked a little to put them more ‘in’ the painting. I had planned to leave the water untouched (I really liked the original water) but having changed everything else, it needed to be warmer and simpler to work with the other elements. Overall, I think it’s an improvement, and even if you disagree… it’s too late now!
Fortunately the new version still looks good alongside the other little Akaroa study. Both paintings* (sold separately) are currently available on Trade Me (NZ) as I continue with the Big Spring Clean of 2020.
Almost a year in the making, I started this painting in September 2019 and then put it aside to work on other things, then lost interest, then forgot about it, then found it last month while tidying up and felt sorry for it and finally (finally!) finished it. There’s a lovely glow to it and a rather nice 3D-ness now that it’s varnished.
The two six-word supermoon paintings look so good together in the Drawing Room, you’d think I’d planned it : ) Both are available from my Etsy shop.