The year that was (and my ninth Annaversary post)

It is time once again for my annual retrospective. Here is a collection of nine favourite paintings from the last year ~ three birds, a port, a rainbow, a river, a few fuchsias, and lots of clouds and trees. Of course other things also happened. There were the colouring-in pages that I created at the start of the pandemic (when painting was the last thing I felt like doing but I had to do something). I also gave my blog and profile picture a bit of a makeover, created a Portfolio page, and made a new range of arty little fridge magnets. But, really, when it comes to art, if I’m not putting paint on canvas, I’m not happy. Six months went by e.v.e.r. s.o. s.l.o.w.l.y. and then ~ for no particular reason that I can recall ~ I started painting again. Putting together a collection for this anniversary post, it seems to me that I may have made up for the lost time : )

Happy Christmas from New Zealand

‘Piwakawaka’ acrylic on canvas, 225 x 305 mm, 2020. SOLD

A small, gold bauble,
Lightly flitting here and there,
Making Christmas bright.

Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, whatever the circumstances, it is still the season of love and light and family. May the holidays be whatever you need them to be ~ and wishing you all a happy and healthy new year.

A Fleeting Visitor

‘A Fleeting Visitor’ acrylic on paper, 127 x 178 mm, 2020. Available.

A small study of a New Zealand fantail (piwakawaka) flitting around in the forest (a.k.a. “the bush”). One day I hope to take a good photo of one of these fast little flyers. Every single picture I have ever taken of a fantail is a blur. The shot below is my best to date. Happily, there was just enough detail to be able to use it as a reference for the painting.

A Break in the Weather

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.

‘A Break in the Weather’ acrylic on canvas, 500 x 500 mm, 2020. Available.

P.S. I’m particularly pleased with those two birds flying in the background. The simpler it is, the harder it is.

Akaroa 2.0

‘Bird’s-eye View’ — acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150mm, 2020. SOLD

Here is another reworking of an old painting. You can compare it with the original below…

‘Bird’s-eye View’ old and new versions for comparison ~ seen here alongside ‘On the Harbour’

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.

*Please note that both paintings have now sold.