The Ramblings of Joy Laking

Nova Scotia Artist, Joy Laking, posts ramblings while she's travelling and painting in South America.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Just 19, 2020 techniques for last three paintings

Since I graduated from University in 1972 with a Fine Art Major, I have been teaching myself watercolour.  Because I didn’t have any watercolour teachers or books, I developed my own style. Instead of the usually watercolour approach of light washes working towards the darks, I started with the darks. I found that with one layer of dark over the white paper, the darks were more intense and luminous.  Also by working towards the whites, there was the maximum range of contrast because often the highlights of the painting were just the white paper.  My compositions were always well planned with small sketches proceeding the paintings. The paintings themselves were started with a pencil drawing. The paint handling was tidy and direct.

Recently I finished a watercolour of flowers that I didn’t preplan. I started in the middle and just gradually added flowers.  This was both exhilarating and worrisome because I was making composition decisions all the way through the painting.  I wasn’t sure I could pull it all together. The paint handing though was my usual dark to light with a very controlled approach. 

 When I finished this, I started a small oil painting out by our pond.  I pushed and pulled and eventually the painting came together together.

 Now I have used this oil painting approach in my current watercolour.  Instead of preplanning the composition, I just started painting.  In this case, I started with the two lilies in the foreground.  Because I started with the lights and no drawing and not being sure of what the background would eventually be, some of the petals were muted and dull.   Instead of using my scrubber to go backward, this time I am using white Pepeo gouache, some times alone and sometimes mixed with watercolour or Winsor and Newton gouache.   There is much charm and stress by doing a painting this way.  I am engaged artistically and also worried all the way through.  Here are the results.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

I started this painting last week as a demonstration for a few artist friends.  It would have been better if I had had a bit more of a drawing before starting but I pulled it together with my scrubber and scratcher.

February 29, 2020

Cala lily, Orange and Pear is a bit of a departure for me.  Done on hot pressed paper it is very simplistic in design.  I am very happy with it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February 26, 2020

Herman the Seagull

My grandfather and I had a friend, Herman the Seagull. Everywhere we went Herman would be waiting for us.  I am the old lady now, my grandfather long gone, but Herman still waits for me in almost every season and every country.

Herman and his seagulls friends flap and swoop overhead.  Their raucous voices call back and forth. When they catch an updraft, they lock their wings and glide, riding the wind, at one with the sky.

He and his friends fish in shallow waters and rest atop roofs and chimneys.  They cock their big white heads and stare with unblinking eyes.

It is when I scatter chips, crumbs and crackers just like my grandfather taught me to do, that they congregate in front of me.  They edge closer and closer to me, their hooked yellow bills almost smiling as they grab my tasty treats.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

February 23, 2020

Word picture February 23, 2020

All night, we lay comfortable and warm,
Between clean sheets,  under a fluffy duvet.
Both doors are wide open to the Atlantic.
The cold night air rushes in,
Bathing us in the soothing,relentless, 
Pulsing, swish and thunder of the sea.
With the morning sky,
Comes a blush of rose along the horizon.
The cliff, still in deep mauve shadow, 
Is home to the flocks of swallows
That race across the sky.
My foreground is crisscrossed with
Power lines and weathered tile roofs.
Just for a second, I lock eyes with a lone sparrow
Sitting right in front of me.
Dozens of seagulls slowly flap overhead.
A high one flashes pink as it catches the morning light.
The lines of waves in the dark cerelean sea continue to roll in.
Now in addition to hearing them,
I watch as they explode in glory, fury, froth and mist.
Flashes of early morning light race along the top.
And then the wave is spent,
Rejoining our world as just droplets of water.

February 20, 2020

he Spice Cottage of Burgau, Portugal.
I am honoured to be allowed in the kitchen to watch. Three chefs, with small round white hats, flashing white smiles and dark lively eyes perform together to create amazing delicious Indian food in this sparkling clean kitchen, where everything and everyone has a place.
One chef flattens a dough ball, adds two triangles of Swiss cheese and then seals the cheese inside flattening it until the cheese is an even inside layer. Gee is rubbed on the top followed by a big layer of freshly crushed garlic and a layer of fresh coriander.  A showman slap sticks the garlic and coriander to the naan surface. Draped over a round cloth shape, the naan is lifted onto a wall of the hot brick tandori oven. A large round lid covers the oven.  In a few minutes the naan is puffed up and cooked. It is removed from the oven with two long metal pokers.  A bit of gee shines the surface and it is cut into four and then our starter is served in a basket with yogurt mint sauce and a sweet orange sauce.  

Earlier in the day, the large chicken cubes have been marinated with spices and cooked in the tandori oven and a Marsala sauce has been made, a kilo of spinach has been boiled for two hours, and the rice has been boiled and then fried with saffron.  Now some of the chicken and the Marsala sauce are mixed in a large frying pan. The chef stirs vigorously over the high gas flames. Gee is sprinkled in, then a splash of milk, a drizzle of cream and then pinches of the freshly ground spices, star of anise, turmeric, coriander, cumin and hot chilli pepper. After it is in the wonderful little copper serving pot with the candle keeping it warm, a sliver of almonds, and another drizzle of cream makes this perfect.  Next they start the Paneer Jalfrezi. I taste the bland paneer cheese, made earlier in the week.  It is mixed with the long cooked spinach sauce, the spices, a bit of gee and the cream and stirred over the high gas heat and suddenly it is is the best thing I have ever tasted.  The rice, refried with mushrooms, or eggs or cashews and raisins, completes the second course.

Two years ago, when we ate at the Spice Cottage, we never made it to desert.  Now we get Nazeen to package up some of the main course just so that we can savour small chunks of the world’s best, creamiest home made ice cream, Mango, Coconut or Pistachio.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

February 19 How I work up to a painting idea

This morning I went up to our big deck and took with me a Cala lily that a friend had given me and a terrific Chinese vase that just happened to be in our casa.  I did these two quick sketches in my notebook and then I started the 1/8 sheet painting.  After finishing it, I drew it up on smooth half sheet paper.  Unfortunately this was hours later and the sun is now in a completely different location, and so I will wait until tomorrow morning to take the big painting further.