The floating world

I remember when glass fishing floats were regarded as just so much rubbish. Now it seems they are popular and fetching high prices. I am not surprised. They have the unexpected beauty that comes from rough utilitarian objects cobbled together from bits and pieces. I understand they were quickly and cheaply made from old cast-off bottles and such. That is why they have splotchy inclusions and uneven walls. They only had to float; their makers did not pay any heed to what they looked like.

By contrast fishing lures are usually carefully designed to trick fish. But some fish are less fussy than others. I am told you can catch barracouta using the silver paper out of a cigarette packet on your hook.

A still life of glass fishing floats from Japan and a fishing lure found on the footpath.

It can be any colour, as long as it floats.

A wealth of detail

It may just be the algae rhythms telling me what to think, but my version of the internet is awash with videos and homilies explaining how to be a success. Strangely, these stories equate success with making lots of money. I frankly do not see the connection.

There are great rewards for those who appreciate the details. This week I noticed how a scrunch of tinfoil captured the colours of two pieces of fruit. Here it is. Nice, no?

Mmm…fruity …and shiny.

And a little while back I painted and assembled this 1970s extravaganza of a dune buggy for a total cost of slightly less than a sandwich. (P.S. I wanted to put the woman in the driver’s seat, but the moulding did not permit it.)

Now I call that a success.

The “Hood” from Thunderbirds (after Joshua Reynolds)

Thunderbirds was not always the most subtle drama. It was not enough for the Hood to be bad, he had to be very bad. From which it followed he had to be lit like a Joshua Reynolds portrait, sort of swimming up out of the gloaming.

That is why I painted this portrait of the Hood in the manner of Reynolds. I also liked the way the highlights on his be-dazzled tunic caught the fugitive light and threw it back at the viewer in sparks. I have noticed this sort of spangly outfit seems beloved of a certain kind of dictator, so maybe the Supermarionation team were onto a deeper sociological truth.

Ray Barrett’s finest work?

Still life: a small bowl of fruit

Some fruit deserves great paint. The mandarin is in my favourite Cadmium Orange, straight from the tube; the plums are in Deep Purple (Dioxazine); and the pear is a mixture of various Naples Yellows. There seems little consensus amongst paint companies about what precisely is the colour of Naples Yellow.

The shadows are made of all the fruit colours mixed together in a single blob.

Mandarin? Careful, this one was made with cadmium.