I'm trying to make up for lost time with two blog posts today. I've been very lax about posting lately - but the last three months have been pretty hectic. My son, daughter in law and three grandkids made the big move from Arizona to New Zealand in January. They now live just two hours south of me in my old hometown of Warkworth. I helped them get settled then had back to back visitors for 8 weeks! That is what happens when you move to Paradise.
Down the Grade is a scene on highway 78 between Julian and San Felipe in San Diego County. I am represented by the Santa Ysabel Gallery on highway 78 in Santa Ysabel on the western downslope from Julian, so I've spent a lot of time painting in this area. I'll be back in the U.S. for three weeks in May, so I'll be painting in the Julian area with my painting buddy, Joe Garcia.
I was fortunate to live in Sedona, Arizona for 35 years before returning to New Zealand. While there, I became friends with Beatrice Welles, daughter of Orson Welles and his wife (Beatrice's mother) Paola. Since Beatrice's mother passed away, the Welles' belongings have been in storage. Now Beatrice has the sad job of sorting through everything. You may have seen or heard Beatrice being interviewed in the past few days regarding her Dad's estate, including Citizen Kane memorabilia, that is going up for auction. There's a fascinating interview with Beatrice where she discusses life with her famous father and the upcoming auction, that you can read here: http://www.wellesnet.com/?p=9297 and here: http://www.wellesnet.com/?p=9349
Beatrice contacted me a few months ago, after finding my little watercolor in her parent's collection and asked if one of my collector's might be interested in purchasing it. It is a watercolor on board, 5.5" x 7". The painting will include a personal note from Beatrice giving the provenance of the watercolor and that the painting was purchased by Orson Welles for his wife, Paola.
from the collection of Orson and Paola Welles' estate
Red fox and yellow aspen leaves - one of my favorite combinations! This is an 11" x 11" oil on gessoed hardboard.
Autumn on the Wind
11" x 11" oil on gessoed board
My painting surface is often untempered masonite that I buy at the building supply store. I've found the most accurate way to cut it up is using a Stanley knife and a heavy metal ruler. When painting a piece that will be floated, it is important that the corners of the board are completely square, so I use a carpenter's square to double check this before cutting. I mark the line to be cut and with my knee on one end of the yard-long metal ruler, and my hand on the other end, I make repeated light cuts until I'm halfway through the board. Then I flip the board over and repeat the process on the other side. It's easy and accurate. If I'm floating the painting, I sand the edges and slightly round the corners.
Though the title may change on this - it seems a bit trite, but it gets the point across. This is a 34" x 16" oil on linen.
Into the Wind
34" x 16" oil on linen
New Zealand was just hit with Cyclone Lusi. I'm probably just a quarter mile from New Zealand's east coast and the cyclone came ashore in Paihia - just about three miles from where I live. It was a wild and crazy night with wind howling at the windows and rain beating on my metal roof. But my house must be in a sheltered spot as I was surprised when I took a drive the following day and saw trees down and businesses flooded on Paihia's main street. I love living near the sea - the weather is always changing! It beats shoveling snow.
I spotted this sailboat coming into Opua the same day I watched Rock and Roll Star (#9) arrive. It was a pretty smooth day but I like painting choppy water so I exaggerated just a bit. I think the name of this boat is Nola, but it was a bit too far away for me to be positive. Have I mentioned that I just love painting boats! This is the 12th painting is my Boats of Opua project. Eighteen to go and then I'll start painting some bigger nautical pieces.
Hoping that my blog followers, collectors and friends have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah or Holiday Season. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2014. What more is there anyway, than health and happiness?
Cheers from my little corner of the world in Opua, New Zealand.
This boat is anchored at Opua. It caught my eye because the solar panel and wind generator implies that it travels long distances and might be from another country. As I painted it, I zoomed in on a photograph of the stern of boat to see if I could read the name. It is the Wonderland from Boulder, Colorado. I'd heard of this boat but didn't realize she was still in Opua.
About eight months ago, an American vintage wooden schooner, The Nina, sailed from Opua heading for Australia, but never arrived. On board were seven people including Evi from Boulder, Colorado. Sadly, this is her boat - waiting for her to return.
The disappearance of The Nina made international news, especially here in New Zealand as Opua was her last port. It hit a storm, lost all sails, and hasn't been heard from since. I was one of thousands who spent a lot of time searching satellite maps of the Tasman Sea for The Nina, through Tomnod. Tomnod is a company that uses crowdsourcing to analyze satellite images in searches. Volunteers, like me, look at the satellite images on our home computers and tag anything that looks out of place. In the case of the Nina, we were looking for a bright orange life raft or a boat. If multiple people tag something (crowdsourcing) then the experts take a look. Many believe The Nina is still out there in the Tasman sea, waiting for a rescue. I hope so.
The last few weeks I've been putting in time on a new Tomnod Search - tagging images on satellite photos of the mountains in Idaho where a Bonanza aircraft with five people on board, has been missing since December 1st. If you're interested in participating, this Tomnod link will take you to the current search. It is easy to do - it just requires patience and good eyes.
This is the tenth piece in my latest painting project, 'The Boats of Opua'. I couldn't find the yacht's name on the hull so it is titled, 'Dry Dock'. November 1 - April 30 is cyclone season in the South Pacific, so many of the yachts that are sailing the world or the Pacific, seek safe harbor in my part of New Zealand. I'm guessing this is a good time to have work done on the boats as the Opua boatyard looks pretty busy.
In addition to painting boats, I'm still busy doing paintings for galleries and the upcoming September-November shows in the U.S. It is early summer here in New Zealand. I have to be really disciplined to stay in the studio. The beach and the garden call me!