Anatomy of a Painting

6 February 2019

Today’s painting may be just a tad eccentric, but that’s nothing new, is it?

Blame the current heat wave—it made me dream of fresh sea breezes…

As a norm, I don’t like people looking over my shoulder at a work in progress. They see only what’s in front of them, whereas I can see the final image in my inner eye. Today, however, I want to break with that rule—assuming that this drawn-out process might actually be of interest to you. So here I let you peep into the progression of my latest, called ‘Mrs Saltwater at Home’.

Here is photo Number One, taken by daughter Cat.



The yellow and green are left-over colours from a previous painting. Smearing them on kills the stark white of the canvas, which is as frightening to a painter as the blank page is to a novelist with writer’s block. Next I transfer the outlines from a prepared drawing, and now have to wait a few days, or things will smudge. You can’t hurry your oil paint.

Number Two shows some base colours blocked in. These can take up to a week to surface-dry, before I can continue.



Number Three picks out more detail:


Number Four shows the finished result:

‘Mrs Saltwater at Home’
Oil on canvas, 66 cm x 84 cm, plus width of frame
$ 4,500

I hope the above hasn’t shattered your image of the ‘volatile artist’ who gurgitates his or her emotions onto the canvas in one hit. No. It’s the result of painstaking planning, discipline, patience—and if you’re lucky, the odd slip of inspiration along the way.