Like many of you, I too have been wondering just who is the lady is in the Saudade painting. Some of my readers have speculated that it was the lady he loved, who was married to his cousin, and ultimately the reason Junior’s jealous cousin murdered him in front of the Hotel Central in Piracicaba. It is said that many of the women in Junior’s paintings had similar characteristics of the lady he loved, named Maria Laura do Amaral Gurgel. I suppose it adds to the mystery surrounding this painting, but it’s actually more interesting to just imagine who it is, and what exactly is written in the letter she’s reading, which seems to have made her very emotional. Perhaps they’re tears of sadness or maybe they’re tears of joy brought about by remembering wonderful memories from the past. Whatever the case may be, I find myself occasionally pondering the possibilities while painting it.
In last week’s post, the differences between the steps were much more obvious, starting with the sketch, and then laying in basic washes. This week the changes are much more subtle since it’s getting down to multiple layering of transparent washes to build up the rich warm colors, especially in the shadow areas, and painting in the details.
I’m also starting to paint on her hair and arms, and am working on the face in stages while taking breaks to work on other less detailed areas, before painting on the face again. I’m also building up the texture in the bricks, floor tiles, and stucco. Her skirt has been darkened slowly by washes, and folds and details in her shirt painted in. This next week, numerous hours will be spent painting more details, with the face and the wee tears to be painted on her nose being the most challenging part I’m sure!
Like most of you, Wes and I have been spending much of our time at home this past week trying to stay safe and healthy. We’re still taking daily walks when the weather permits and managed to get caught once again in a rain shower accompanied by what seemed like 50 mph winds! Thankfully it wasn’t cold, so I just pretended I was swimming while walking along, and somehow that made it better! We did enjoy two rain-free days, so we took advantage of them, by packing a lunch and heading over to the lake with the kayaks. It’s always good to be back on the water and brings a temporary reprieve from everything going on in the world. We found a perfect spot for our boat picnic, near a duck nesting box, which the swallows were using. Here’s a short video so you too can enjoy watching and listening to these little beauties!
We were surrounded by swallows zipping here and there in every direction, all chattering up a storm the entire time. What a delight it was watching and listening to these beautiful little iridescent feathered birds, as we were gently rocked back and forth by the waves. By the time we left, I think they were still trying to work out whose box that was while trying to maintain some type of order. It was too windy much of the time for me to use my flyrod, so while Wes fished, I paddled around and explored while checking out the amazing collection of stumps exposed by the low water level.
There were stumps in every shape and size imaginable scattered across the vast sandbars, many looking like gigantic abstract wood sculptures walking across the sand whilst heading to new territory, and I love photographing them, from different angles.
This series of stumps below made me immediately think of Nessie, and I imagined this being our own smaller version of her surfacing and having a look about!
There were numerous birds around both days, including Bald Eagles. The first day, we were able to watch one eating something on the shore nearby, as well as another sitting atop a tree preening for a long time. They didn’t seem to mind us watching at all, so we took advantage of the amazing opportunity. We also saw Pileated Woodpeckers, assorted ducks, Canada Geese, and I watched an Osprey drop out of the sky crashing into the water below, bringing up a large fish in his talons! So large in fact that he could hardly fly off with his prized catch! At one point I saw a beaver surface several times and once he was quite close, slapping his tail on the surface before quickly slipping below, creating a big loud splash! Later the second day out, I pulled my kayak up onto a sandy beach and enjoyed taking a walk along the vast winding shore. At one point I stopped and stood there, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face while listening to the sounds of the wind blowing in my ears, the water lapping on the shore and the peepers chirping in surround sound. It was truly delightful and I could’ve stayed there until sunset! At another sandbar I watched a lone Killdeer walking about picking at things on the sand. By the end of both days, the Osprey wasn’t the only one to make a great catch, as Wes kept 8 bass from the 2 days, catching and releasing even more!
Monthly lectures are given at Brookgreen Gardens by Robin Salmon, called Brookgreen 101, and one of her recent lectures was on Exquisite Miniatures which is currently at Brookgreen. Although the exhibition is now temporarily closed, you can enjoy this insightful talk, where Robin shares her take on the exhibition as well as some fun and personal information about us as well. Click on the video below to enjoy.
Due to the COVID 19 all shows which we currently have miniature paintings have been closed to the public. However most of them have the available works online, so I’ve included the links to them below.
Blessed with a day of nice weather this past week, Wes and I jumped at the chance to get back on the water since we had gone a couple of months now without kayaking! Even though there was some sun, it was a bit chilly when we started out across the glassy surface of the water perfectly mirroring the surrounding mountainsides. After paddling a short distance, we rounded a corner taking us further from the road, and the world became very quiet. I sat there happily floating in my kayak, just listening to the sounds of birdsong. Occasionally a kingfisher would fly by whilst chattering the entire time, and soon the cry of a Bald Eagle nearby joined this beautiful symphony of birds, along with the calls of Blue Jays and Crows. I could almost feel myself melt with relaxation, while cares temporarily slipped away.
We picked out a nice sunny spot to eat lunch while blissfully floating and watching the shore where we had spotted evidence of beavers having been there. We never saw a beaver, but thought it exciting to think of the possibility! Peanut butter sandwiches gone, we headed up along the winding river. A couple of times I heard a frog sing and it delighted me to think of visiting them later this spring when they will be singing their songs, resulting in a beautiful chorus! We stopped for a chocolate break and for Wes to fish from the rocks for a while. So while he fished I walked along the shore and explored a bit. I located a small section of sand, and removing my flip flops, I stood barefoot in it, finding it very warm and most satisfying indeed! Walking a bit further, I found a most interesting rock, sculpted by the force of high water at times, and I thought from above it looked like I was flying over a miniature grand canyon! Upon getting down on knees to examine it more closely, and by looking at it from just the right angle down low, I imagined I was rafting down the river winding through this miniaturized version on the grand canyon! I noticed a wee shrimp-like critter in the larger pool of the miniature canyon enjoying having the amazingly clear water all to himself.
Eventually, we climbed back into our kayaks and were off, floating over unbelievably clear, emerald green water, watching as big boulders passed beneath us. “Oh . . . if only it was warm water!” I thought to myself, I would swim and swim to my heart’s content! But alas it’s not, so for now, I must continue to admire it from above. On the return trip, the smooth water had turned into choppy water which was white capping, sending water spraying up and over me with nearly every paddle. Periodically I’d quit paddling, and just floated over the small choppy waves, thus feeling as if I was on a float at the beach. By the time we returned and were loading the kayaks into the van, we felt totally relaxed and thankful for a wonderful day on the water!
~ In The Studio ~
Wes has been working on SAA business stuff this past week and working out in the yard on projects as well as in the greenhouse and in the garden. I’ve helped with some of the yard projects and have spent most of the remainder of my time at the easel, making more progress on my Black-crowned Night Heron painting, and starting another miniature as well.