Smoked paprika tin

It is a great mystery, but smoked paprika always comes in the most beautiful tins. It is as if the world’s paprika manufacturers agreed only to sell their produce in an aesthetically pleasing way. Good for them.

Smoked paprika tin. No, I did not smoke the tin (sigh).


It says a lot for Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West that the TV version held innumerable Australian children in its thrall more than 300 years after the original.
This is Natsume Masako playing the – for me – definitive Tripitaka. I know it is a bold call, but there: I have said it.

When I started this picture I was going to finish it in colour, but now I think I will leave it in mono. I like its sharpness.


Whistlejacket – now there is a cold and flu remedy I could get behind

I lack the inclination, time and space to paint a full-size picture of a horse, thus this rendition of George Stubbs’s Whistlejacket on a tiny birch board (8×8 inches).

According to Wikipedia, Whistlejacket (the horse) was named after Whistlejacket (the cold and flu remedy), which was a compound of treacle and gin. I am not sure it would cure your cold, but I imagine it made you feel better.

Still life with a copper kettle

A simple still life of a copper kettle, with teabags and a spoon. I say simple, but I find copper very difficult to paint. The key, as with painting any metallic surface, is to strictly paint what you see. Do not self-consciously try to make the painting look like metal or it will not work. It is a bit like meditation: the harder you think “I must meditate”, the less successful it is. At least that has been my experience.

“I’ll get you, copper!”

Shop till you drop

I think it was Tim Winton who asked what is missing in peoples’ lives that makes them seek consolation through buying big, expensive cars.

When I painted this vanitas still life with skull, coin and key ring, I was going to call it ‘laurel but not hardy.’ It began with my impression of a skull that was dug up in Crete, wearing a golden laurel wreath. Then I thought about how many of us trade our short and limited days for loadsa money and cars, so I added those too.

It makes you think