Monday, 22 November 2010


This could be the final painting but as I've just taken another look at it  I know I'll make some final touches to the Aloe. I had it to this stage a few weeks ago and  I've started another painting. The bowls are quite glossy because of the paint medium I used as you can see from the photo. I still don't have a title for it. I initially wanted to show the overlapping of the bowls and the Aloe echoed it but but there is something of Mother in Law's tongue about this thrusting Aloe and the full rounded curves of the bowls contrast that. It also feels as though there's some kind of competition going on.


Detail of Aloe

This is the almost there stage. I'm still working on the Aloe but the stones and earth in the pots are almost finished. I'll let the those areas dry while I build up the bowls next. It really is a case of looking and looking. I'm still not happy with the quality of the surface of the Aloe yet. It isn't glossy and it isn't matt. I really don't feel I've captured the watery fulness, if that's they way to describe it. Sometimes the light falls onto it and there's a translucency that needs expressing. 
I need to bring the bowls up to the same level before I have another look at the Aloe and I'll make a start by having another look at the green bowl.

I wish I could say that the mind has been still during this painting, but it hasn't, there has been so much noise there.
Stage 6

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


I can never remember how the painting develops usually so these photos are useful, and I don't make a secret of my process it's just that I usually forget. I try to stick to the traditional 'fat on thin'.

As you can see in STAGE 4  I've been working on the Aloe. I worked as far as I could go just using turps to thin the oil paint. It needed to dry before I could take it any further which meant I started bringing up the bowls.

I started the bowls in a new session. The time flies when I paint and the hours go by and sometimes I only stop because of lack of daylight. I used the paint medium, to thin the oils so that they would dry glossy. My intention with the bowls is to do a number of layers so that I can create depth.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


These are images of my progress so far on this new painting.I actually started it in Aug but getting ready for my open studio took up so much time, there was a gap of three weeks before I got going again. When I went back to it last week I found the aloe had grown, so it had to be re-drawn. I decided to prioritise the aloe and work on the pots later. I'm going to paint the bowls using a standard medium to get a glossy finish and just thin the rest with turps though that might be too flat for the aloe I'll just have to see. So far i've just been working with ultramarine, sap green, green gold, lemon yellow, alizarin, burnt  umber, vandyke brown, titanium white. My approach to oil colours was based on the colours I used with watercolours, primary and permenance being the most important aspects. I spent a lot of time when I first started painting with oils, mixing colours and never getting the quantities right. I've now got a much larger range but old habits die hard. I've increased the size of this canvas to 40X50 cms so the intention is to enlarge both canvas and image as I go, as I kind of lost courage with the large still life as they required so much energy. As you can see the organic overlapping growth of the aloe is mimicked by the bowls. Again the intention is to paint with attention. Easier said than done because one goes into automatic and the process becomes mechanical whilst one gets lost in thoughts. In fact the more practised the technique the easier it is to slip away so one has to be constantly watchful and keep returning to being fully aware of the hand, the brush, the paint, the canvas and how they all connect. It's happened a few times but not that often.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Sylvia Quinn Home: AFRICA: Abundance of Spirit

I started with the large tin, had been wanting to use it for a while and it was a case of looking around for the right objects/props to go along with it. Never start off knowing what a painting is going to end up like. The final touch was the African paper knife my father brought from Durban in the mid fifties when he went to Africa for the factory he was working in and they needed to see the buses were being assembled properly. No-one else wanted to go and it was during the time of the Durban riots. He was shocked that he wasn't even allowed to pass a screwdriver to the Africans in case they learned how to use it. The painting has just sold and I know it will be enjoyed.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


OPEN AND CLOSED - My latest piece of work. It's an oil on canvas and quite small 30X40 cms As you can see I've painted the bowl with a medium which gives a glossier finish and the for remaining areas I've just used turps.I wanted to accentuate the two different subjects. It's also made me want to go bigger again. It can be daunting starting a large canvas. What I also tried to do with this painting was to paint with attention and not let the mind wander, to see if that makes a difference to what is percieved by the viewer. The Australian Aborigines paint traditionally with complete attention and as I understand it the process not the finished form that's important 'the form is not the reality' So OPEN AND CLOSED is part of an ongoing practise and could be an analogy of the human nature and the beauty waiting to be revealed.