Water shortage

The outdoor group met at Hallett Cove Conservation Park three Fridays ago.

Only a handful of artists turned up, possibly because most of the artists live on the other side of town. This was my side of town and there was a beach involved, so I was lining up.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

The park is an interesting site for geomorphologists as well as walkers and painters. I remembered an area of ancient erosion with red landforms and hoped to paint them against a blue ocean. This photo shows the ‘Amphitheatre’ on the right and the whitish ‘Sugar Loaf’ towards the left. My painting cart travelled well along the boardwalk and the dirt track but I was daunted by the many steps towards the Amphitheatre. Although I had packed less water to reduce the trolley weight I was not keen to lug it up those steps.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

The seashore beckoned. There was a large cliff dominating the northern end of the beach. Some figures seen first from the carpark turned out to be a wedding party from a distant (international) shore. They were finishing their photo-shoot as I arrived at the foot of the cliff.

All I had to do was choose a spot. The rocks were the purples of manganese (can’t verify that of course) and in deep shadow as I set up. I didn’t trust the slight breeze, so the sand-bag weight was definitely on. All set!

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

The palette took flight quite early. I had just put it down to make coffee – the hot water and sachet variety. It was recoverable. I thought for an instant, only an instant, that a little sand in the paint wouldn’t hurt. Extra authenticity, right? I just turned the page. An hour in, a big wind gust and…not the easel going over, but everything else. The trolley, the stool/table on it, the paints (lids on, yes) all strewn on the sand. All recoverable, except the paint water. Two pots, gone. And this was the day I had packed less. Only a small amount left in the water bottle, but the makings of another cuppa was in the thermos. It soon cooled off in the breeze and did the trick. The peanut butter sandwich at lunch seemed a bit dry, but there you are.

Of course something helpful came out of this. With the trolley between me and the easel it was more protected from the wind and also kept me at arm’s length from the painting.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

After the session I chose to walk back along the beach. I was used to that. I had carried the trolley down ten steps or so to the beach and wanted to avoid that going back. Too clever! The beach was covered in patches of large pebbles and at the other end was a huge steep ramp. Another helpful lesson.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

When I arrived the following Friday a colleague was already set up and working. His painting of incoming waves was exquisite after only a couple of hours.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

No water shortage on the second week. I wonder whether a little salt water in the pots would do for cleaning the paintbrushes?

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13 thoughts on “Water shortage

  1. Philippa, I don’t know if this was just an underpainting or a conscious choice, but it popped out at me almost instantly how the week #1 painting has so much tension, and one can see your mood in that lavender/manganese rendering of the rocks as you dealt w/all that adversity while simply just trying to create! Then the completed piece of week #2 shows us how everything relaxed and your composition came together so very well. You subdued the color of those rocks, and it amazes me how I can almost feel what was going through your mind as you’re working. In a perfect world, these would be exhibited side-by-side as two different paintings. I love reading about your working process; I have to deal w/a less-than desirable studio set-up sometimes (i.e. too cold, too hot, interruptions) but hearing about what you do in order to make your work is beyond inspiring to me! Please continue!

    1. Thanks for your comments Patricia. The first one looks a real screamer doesn’t it? Some of the difference is due to photography I suspect, but week #1 was a bit fraught. Even the second week was a bit spotty after I had seen my colleague’s superb painting done just over there on the rocks! It is quite fun to rehash the trials into tiny tales. But does everyone have a few drafts abandoned in fatigue?

      1. Philips, you are way too modest – I agree w/ John’s comment below: your results are brilliant. I love the narratives you give to us readers!! Makes me feel like I am right there, painting w/you!

  2. Philippa, Your blog is a delight. The story of the days painting unfolded beautifully and your photographs fit in so well. I was sorry not to be able to return last Friday. I had to help with family transport. Gores Road is Pat Wiley’s choice and it is a lovely place. The best of the autumn foliage is fading fast, but there will still be interest about. Don.

    1. Thank you Don! And particularly glad you liked the photos. Gores Road tempts me – such a lot to see and paint in the hills. Not sure if I will be out again before the exhibition is hung.

  3. Great story, I’m sorry but I laughed out loud at the image of first your palette taking off and then everything else tumbling around in the wind! I love the colours of your paintings, the stone looks so sand-blasted, so textured, and the colours are tremendous!

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