Don’t ask me where this is. It’s not important. It was late summer, early in the morning. The air was damp and the mountains were obscured by low cloud. We didn’t mind; there was beauty around every corner and we weren’t in a hurry. As the clouds began to lift and catch the light, the mood began to shift and the river tumbled on as if this had been nothing extraordinary.
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.