Happily, these two landscapes are my first paintings of the new year/decade. I began them last year, pronounced them “finished” this year, and have just put a lovely gloss varnish over them.
Te Waikoropupū Springs is known locally as Pupu Springs (never mind) and is one of my favourite places in New Zealand. It is an absolutely stunning place to visit if you are ever anywhere near Golden Bay (at the top of the South Island). Famous for the clarity of its water, the reflected colours ~ especially the ultramarine blues and bright turquoise ~ are breathtaking.
“God bless our contradictions, those parts of us which seem out of character. Let us be boldly and gladly out of character. Let us be creatures of paradox and variety: creatures of contrast; of light and shade: creatures of faith. God be our constant. Let us step out of character into the unknown, to struggle and love and do what we will. Amen.”
‘A Note on God’ by Michael Leunig
“Whenever I try to finish a painting by carefully cleaning up all the parts—removing smudges, perfecting the drawing, spiffing and polishing—as I work, the spirit slowly drains out of it. This approach to finishing leaves me unsatisfied and leads to my either abandoning the painting before it is complete or just stopping and calling it “finished” in spite of my dissatisfaction. I know that Nature is not polished and uniform, all clear, clean and tidy, but raw and variable, messy, ambiguous, and indefinite. And above all, nature is dynamic. It stands to reason that a painting of Nature must somehow include these qualities. What if focusing on details and formal accuracy won’t ever get me there?”
“What if I just focus on representing the underlying essence of my subject and my relationship to, and feeling about, that essence?….Perhaps the best way to finish a painting is to try to move the subject ever more towards that state. I know when that character is developing in my painting because the image inspires that particular feeling I have when I stand before it in Nature. I know to keep working as long as I can make something more like its essential self. I know I need to stop as the image begins to move away from itself and become something else. Mysteriously, sometimes this process goes on for many days and even weeks as I devote hour after hour to the piece, other times I breathe a painting into being in a few hours, almost effortlessly, and only need the good sense to leave it alone (which is surprisingly difficult sometimes). So perhaps, in this way, my practice of finishing can be guided by Nature herself.”
I’m having my first ever sale on Etsy. Between now and early December I will be featuring THREE paintings every week at 40–60% off the original price. Three different paintings will be listed at very special prices every Thursday. Click on the images to visit my shop.