FANTASTIC CHILLAGOE ARTISTS’ TRIP (1)

Painting in shade in front of the Bluffs.

Painting in shade in front of the Bluffs.

For an artist there is something really special about painting ‘en plein air’. The atmosphere of a place somehow transfers to the artwork and the total absorption that happens as you sit painting and drawing somehow is more refreshing and rejuvenating than painting in the studio.

Many artists love to gather their sketch and photo references this way because that special feeling is usually remembered and then translated into their later studio works derived from these. As photo references are mostly quickly taken because of perceived time restraints, they do not always help to recall that unique experience; but taking the time to quietly sit and paint small paintings and drawings, all the feelings flood back each time you view these art pieces again.

Of course, painting on location has its drawbacks – heat, flies, wind, juggling paint gear on your lap, ants crawling up your leg or into your paints on the ground, paint drying too quickly or too slowly, the water pot toppling over, and the agitated bull pawing the ground not far away because you are sitting on his and his harem’s path to the water hole. But artists are brave and resilient!

On our recent art trek to Chillagoe we found some wonderful locations to inspire even the fussiest of painters – old mine sites, caves, escarpments, old cottages, a flowing creek, a dam, melaleucas, pandanus, and heaps of bird life.

Nature, however, never provides the perfect picture. The necessary elements have to be composed and manipulated from the surrounding area by the artist, so that the picture composition does not jar and alienate the viewer. Artists are like little gods. We can shift trees, rocks and mountains, eliminate undergrowth, posts and general rubbish, bring things a little forward or backward all in the name of ‘art’. Naturally, this has to be done discreetly, carefully, so that the picture is still a valid representation of the actual – otherwise the image becomes ludicrous.

See if you can find the components I shifted and modified, while I was on site, to give interest/focus to my little paintings and sketches of the scene. I have attached the photos of the scene where I sat to paint and draw, and the finished (as far as I will take them) efforts. These small works (7″ x 5″) are, of course, little impressions, roughly done, under trying conditions, and can’t be considered finished paintings. We worked like ‘little beavers’ to get as much done as we could in the three hours allocated at each different location.

Next post, I will show some more of the little impressions from the various locations where we painted and sketched.

 

 

Pencil and Watercolour Wash

Pencil and Watercolour Wash

 

Pencil Sketch

Pencil Sketch