A President and Annoying Orange

Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of George Washington (all 114 of them!) show an elderly man dealing with dental pain from ill-fitting dentures, and the cost exacted by years of bone-wearying work. Washington was a tired man and would die only a few years after his taciturn single session of posing for Stuart. Here he is next to Annoying Orange.

President and Annoying Orange. Oil on Cherry Tree.

Iso cube

Owning a single wooden block poses an unavoidable challenge: what do you do with it? As Spring has sprung and there is a whiff of oppressive heat to come soon, and I am forbidden to walk more than 5 kilometres from the front door, I made my own, unmeltable ice cube out of wood. I feel cooler already.

It began with this …
It ended with this …

“It’s the iso!”

This rough hewn plaster head glowers at me from the shelf next to my easel.  I bought him cheap (damaged, thus cheap) from an art supply shop a couple of years ago.  I guess they gave him a rough head so artists could practise on all the shadows his craggy features cast.

Even he, my plaster friend, is beginning to look a little desperately for the end of social isolation.

It's the iso

Rose Bay International Water Airport

I have heard of a painting referred to as a ‘canvas’.   But what if it is painted on masonite?

This ‘masonite’ is based on a photo from 1938 of the (now long-defunct) Rose Bay Water Airport.  It was Sydney’s first international airport, where flying boats (or were they floating planes?) took off on the long ‘kangaroo’ route to the other end of the British Empire.

Judging from the light, the photo was taken late-ish on a summer afternoon.  I imagine a (no doubt wealthy) passenger bobbing drunkenly in the plane, awaiting take off.  She has spent the afternoon at a picnic in one of the robber baron mansions on the waterfront near Vaucluse, and she is sun burnt and a little salty with sweat and dried sea spray.  The champagne is transforming from fizzing joy to a dull headache.  By tomorrow morning she will be buzzing over Queensland, headed towards the Arafura Sea (what a name!), perhaps never to return to beautiful but painfully provincial Sydney.

Rose Bay

The bottle may have been better than the contents …

Either I have made it up or there was a catchy song about Leo Buring’s Sparkling Rinegolde, a sweet effervescent (fizzy?) white wine beloved of elderly aunties all over Australia in the 1970s.  Rumour has it that Leo’s brother Rudi designed the bottle.  It is a beautiful, heavy club of a thing, with very thick green walls.  Maybe the walls were thick because the contents were under pressure.  It is a great bottle; well done, Rudi.

Green bottle

Plein air airplane

This is the view from economy, as a person with a very large hat was about to board.  My seatmate was most understanding about the easel.

Would it have occurred to people to try flying if we had not seen the birds doing it already?  Just asking.

Plane window