How we see colour is so amazing and each one sees it differently, probably by what we have grown up with or grown used to.  I remember calling in to see an art gallery in the Central West a few years ago.  The artist who owned it was  exhibiting the work he had recently done at the time, after a trip to Broken Hill.  I am certainly no expert but, having lived out west for 25 years I knew the colours and know that Pro Hart, Albert Namatjira and the like saw the richness of the colours.  This particular artist had beautiful paintings but he had the colours of the Central West so that they lost their impact (to me in any case).

Later I was doing a calligraphy course at Charles Sturt Uni Winter School.  A friend was staying with me at the time and she was doing an oil painting course.  At the end of the course but before the final exhibition of all our work, we went into each other's classes and viewed what they had done.  In Kate's class there were people from Moree (Kate had spent three or four years at Bourke but had been in Rylestone for a couple of years at this stage) and some from Port Macquarie, on the coast.  They had done two oil paintings each, one of a road scene with green hills and the other a snow scene.  The artist teacher had told them all what colours to use but when the finished paintings were all up on the wall you could quite easily see which students came from the coast and which ones came from Moree and there were a couple from the Central West, along with Kate.  With the road scene the Moree people had a distinct red earth tinge and the coastal people were very green.  In the snow scene it was more apparent that the Moree people had a red tinge and the coastal people had a green tinge.

I was quite amazed at the time to note that the colours we see are influenced by what we are used to seeing.

At art we have been doing copies of some of the masters to understand their colours and with Matisse it wasn't so bad and even Picasso but we have just done one of Zurbaran, a Spanish painter.  The painting is called "Lemons, oranges and Rose".  Well for starters I cannot see oranges!!!  They are apples (but I didn't have the name of it at the time I was trying to paint it).  They are definitely apples.  However, that wasn't what was wrong.  I was horrified when I compared the two from a distance (I thought I had been looking and checking the colours as I went along but on viewing them at the end my lemons and apples were bright and so was the rose.  I like bright colours but can appreciate what he did and the colours he used so the next day tackled it again.  I know I am supposed to mix these particular colours with grey and I followed the chart and drove myself mad.  Two days I spent on this painting and it is still wrong, very wrong.  The paint is also so thick from overpainting that you could cut into the fruit and probably eat it!!!

The next one is a Monet "St Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk" which willl be interesting.  It has very bright colours.  We will see what we shall see.  I love doing it.  Don't get me wrong, I do love doing it but it is frustrating.  The teacher was impressed, I must say that but I think it was more the fact that I had spent two whole days on it than the painting itself.  I mean, it was a bit of a record for me, two days on homework!!!

I do my painting on the front verandah which is a beautiful warm place even in this cold area and I can't help but notice that the resident Wattle Birds are building their nest as usual.  I don't know whether they are building to the right or left of where I sit but they fly past there quite low at a rate of knots.  They remind me of my son in law, Gerry, who only has the two speeds, flat out or stopped.  He is dedicated and focussed as are they.  They have actually worn a path in the air just at about my head height and I bump into it every time I go off the front verandah. It is not just a pathway, it is a speedway.  Zoom, they go that way and then zoom, they go back again.  We wake up at daylight every morning to zoom, zoom past the bedroom window.  They won't take six and a half years to build this house, that's for sure.

The paintings have taken over my thoughts.  They keep creeping in.  I know the old masters used oils and we are just using acrilics but you would think in two days you'd get somewhere near the mark.