Looking at Liz King-Sangster‘s blog the other day, I so enjoyed her lovely paintings of her everyday surroundings. And it reminded me of a time when I used to paint with oils several evenings each week. That was long ago, when I was living in Brixton, London in a shared house, and working in the Aldwych Theatre box office.
During the evenings in the shared flat, comprising two floors above a lawyer’s office (and without a fire escape), wine flowed, cheese was consumed, friends chatted while I painted. Sometimes friends posed for my paintings. Many of those paintings ended up in the skip in the back yard of the rented property, before I caught a plane home to Australia. Some paintings came home by ship, and some went to the people who had posed for portraits.
That habit of painting continued after my return to Australia for a little while. Then work and circumstances called a halt. At the moment, while I am indulged enough by my family to have the largest bedroom of the house as my studio, (we sleep in the smallest bedroom) and there is space enough for computer equipment, drawing board and shelves, there is not room enough to paint at an easel, or even on the floor.
Looking at these two oil sketches of our dog Giddy the Hungarian Vizsla, painted not long after my return to Australia, I notice that it is nearly 20 years since I painted in oils! My goodness, I miss it, despite the fun I have with other media. I remember too, that these were painted after seeing some mid 1990s paintings of dogs done by David Hockney. No, don’t go and compare mine with his! Don’t!
Well, anyway, I loved it that he chose such a domestic subject as a dachshund and honoured it in oils. And I enjoyed capturing our beloved dog in oils in the same way that I had painted my friends in London. Note that the sleeping version is more ‘finished’ and see if you can work out why… Never work with children or animals they used to say in the theatre, but in my experience, they are some of the most rewarding to work with.
These two sketches are painted on wooden trays purloined from the science room of the old Banyule High School which was awaiting demolition at the time that I worked for Greening Australia in a renovated wing. The lip of the trays forms the frame of the paintings; a cheap alternative to proper framing. It’s time I took them to be framed properly. They remind me of the dog and the time.
And it’s also time I found a way to paint again.