Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Neighbors ?

Today Ian and I have been doing advance reconnaissance in the Barossa Valley. Tomorrow we will look and measure up a bit in our soon-to-be-new-home. We must also find a rental property, or at least find some leads. And find some leads for the all-important new garage for Ian, which is a critical early to do. then lots of planning and logistics to organise !

Very exciting to see the Sold sign on the house we are buying too !
On a country road not too far away I saw some new neighbors, happily enjoying late winter afternoon sunshine as they enjoyed a meal of hay.

More soon !

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Secret of White Flowers

I was in visiting my parents on a weekend during my last business trip. I always go out and look to see what is in the garden there. My mother has some lovely roses and this time one of the star bloomers at this very time was a big Iceberg rose bush. They photographed wonderfully. In fact, I think I have hit on the secret for good photos of white roses (and maybe is true for all white flowers). Photograph them late in the day, when the sun is not splashing their white color too brightly. I photographed them in evening on a long summer day, maybe 730PM. Still good light for capturing them and they had lovely shadows and color tones showing. Maybe the best photos I have ever gotten of white roses and far better than photographing them in sunlight.

Today I decided to paint one of the photos I had taken. If there is a secret to photographing white flowers, I am thinking there must also be one to painting white flowers ! Not sure I know it yet, but no way to know and learn other than getting in there and learning by doing !

I decided to start this painting a bit differently. I did the background first (above), to give me a good negative image to paint my white roses.

Then onto the flowers. Well, first, they aren't really "white". They are anything but. So I did a palette of white mixed with pale green-gold, buff titanium (so a pale warm beige), teensy bits of raw umber to make a pale grey, and also some mixes with a red and a raw sienna. These gave me some not-just-white to create the subtle differences between the shadings and layers of delicate white and not-so-white petals. It felt like I was actually carving the whiter parts and highlights out of darker shades.

I needed to end on a good point with some good navigation points for the composition, so I could build well on today's work and also make sure I could find my way painting these not-just-white flowers. To do this, I exaggerated some of the tones and demarcation points. Though on reflection, maybe they are not going to be exaggerations...maybe they are truth in vision about the may shades of not-white I am painting.

The goal is to finish this painting before the next trip. Stay tuned, more soon.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Adventure

This past few weeks Ian and I have been preparing for a new adventure. We have now sold our home (just official this week) and will be moving interstate. And we have just found a new home. We did a lot of the looking and selling and buying decisions and such while I was overseas in South America and now we are finishing up the papers and things are really set in motion as of now.

The house is fabulously solid with a gorgeous outlook, though needing some work inside and out back--a real renovation project. It is a 110-year old blue stone villa style home, located in the Barossa Valley of South Australia. Real wine country, and in a small town called Angaston, which is looking very lush and green at the moment, having enjoyed some winter rains lately.

Ian and I were just there and we snapped a few photos. The branch of blossoms above is from the front garden, and is just lovely with its bright pinky flowers on winter branches. I am not sure what sort of plant it is yet !

I will share more later, as our project and adventure unfolds. This will be a real honest to goodness renovation, to bring this home back to a gracious state and make it our home. We will probably get some temporary rental digs for a time and I will call in at Jacqueline Coates' Salon Rouge for my painting while we do the renovations. Meantime, my next thoughts are planning our move campaign, a multi stage move we will do in October.

More soon !

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Audits in Santiago

I have been incommunicado for a few weeks...sorry about that. I was on business travel again, defending a set of security audits. It always takes a lot of energy and effort and it is hard to keep up with the blog during the audits. Happily, we were successful.

In between preparing and sitting the audits, my friend and colleague Thom and I set out on a crisp and sunny clear Saturday morning to look around in downtown Santiago. First we walked through the Central Market, which is at its bustling brightest on a Saturday morning. Thom had real camera kit with him and his pics are probably better than mine. But I always have fun. I am adding to my photo database and now have a nice collection of brightly colored and richly textured market shots of produce for inspirations. I will be doing a market-inspired series of paintings when I finish two more floral compositions.

Some of these pics are pretty straightforward. But there were some interesting and less ordinary things seen too. The photo with American flag is one, apparently the flags are used as covers and wrappers for market produce, like a tarp. I know American readers might not be too impressed, but this is a different place and that is what we saw.

Santiago has more than a big share of dogs running about, but the market also has resident cats. Like this market cat, sitting atop a perch of potato bags, surveying the passers by.

Other photos below and also the two top shots are of the area between the market and heading towards and into an area known as Bella Vista. It has a very colourful character and style. Little nightclubs, restaurants and bars. Though not open during the day time when we passed through. Lovely mosaic artworks laid into the footpath (sidewalk). Creative painted old buildings with fun colours, painted patterns, and murals on them.
And last but not least, a cute shop cat seen wearing a red fleece cape to keep out the winter chill, carefully fastened around its neck, collar fashion. It was sitting on top of space blanket like reflective covers (over piles of clothes or things in the shop).