The Wreck of the Mazaruni

Wreck of the Mazaruni sketchKris was going crazy with the rainy weather, too, and didn’t even have me to talk to, once I got into my painting. At last we decided to go exploring the Essequibo River a bit…rain or no, at least the sailing part would give him something physical to do, and we’d have a different foggy grey jungle view to look at…

We headed back down the river, the way we came when we first arrived. We’d seen a wrecked ship along the banks, halfway down, that had fascinated us…the jungle was taking it over, growing over its bridge and filling the cracks in its hull with vines and ferns. So we headed for the same spot, and anchored for two days near the wreck of the ship “Mazaruni”.

Of course, the first thing I did was sketch the ship…once, in pen on brown bag paper, and then a (less successful) watercolour, in a brand new sketchbook that I had bought at the Darwin airport to use up my Aussie dollars, and decided to finally use.

DSC_0200(My first experience with Moleskine watercolour sketchbooks, I have to say I was very disappointed, the paper is crappy, only 20% cotton and with a tendency to bleed a bit. What gets me is that, for the exorbitant price I paid for the thing, I could have bought nearly 2 pads of Arches 100% cotton watercolour paper. Shoot.)

Kris, on the other hand, went exploring in the dinghy…around the ship, and discovered a creek that ran behind it. Up the creek he saw Morpho butterflies (common in Guyana, but magical nonetheless…Vladimir Nabokov collected these iridescent blue butterflies. These days they are being farmed for jewelry and collectors, so the wild population has managed to recover from the past centuries’ mania for naturalist collections) and a large boa constrictor.

We started calling the creek Gabriel’s Creek, after a scene from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, where Jose Arcadio Buendia and his band of men come upon a galleon smothered in jungle, miles away from any sea.

Jungle paintings are on Society6


My two recent jungle paintings are available on my Society6 page as art prints, or prints on canvas.

Cheers! Nat

Back in the arms of colour

back to colour

Thank you, Dave & Sharynne, for the concerned e-mail! As I mentioned in my last post, whatever mood my posts may depict, chances are that the moment has long since passed, by the time I manage to write about it. I can’t paint and stay glum for very long…so whatever mood my paintings are in, I am probably feeling better simply for having painted them.

Just to reassure you that I have not fallen into a swampy morass of riverine jungle moodiness, this is something I painted more recently…as you can see, I have “climbed back up” into the saving arms of colour…

It’s nice to know that there are beautiful people looking out for me, though! Thanks, again.

N.

Into the jungle

green world 1As the gloomy days stretched on, I moved from my journal and making postcards on recycled oatmeal boxes, to a small canvas…expanding on the plants and elements of the previous two, I painted these two fantasy jungle scenes, using plants and details both real and imagined.

DSC_0198They match up to form a bigger picture.

Monument of Hope

Hope Monument ParkI came to sit in the park and playground of the Monument to Hope in Bartica, a couple of times. There was never anyone there, it was a good place to be alone and sketch. The monument itself was not very sketchable…a grey granit obelisk, erected in memory of the men and women who died when a boat full of escaped convicts arrived in the town at dark and robbed several of the gold-buying businesses.

The swing set was more interesting, though probably not very exotic. I’ve been having some trouble with this whole “travel sketching” idea, to be honest. Because we have been to some exotic places, I guess I felt that I owe it to my sketchbook to document the unusual, the novel, the never-seen-before. Naturally. When else will I get a chance to see these things? But, sorting through the files on my external drives, I came across this little PDF booklet, Start To Draw Your Life, again, by Michael Nobbs, and felt a twinge of longing for the days when I would draw my running shoes, a coffee cup, a tea strainer…nothing fancy, just getting lost in the drawing…

Because something in me loves the overlooked, ordinary, everyday things about life, and let’s face it, even up a river in a jungle, most days are just ordinary days…when you do the laundry, or sit on deck with a paperback novel, or cook oatmeal for breakfast. And if you did a tally of time spent “having adventures” and time spent doing everyday chores, you’d find that we spend probably 70% of our time just plodding along, doing the countless little things that make up a life. And why not paint that? It is as authentic and legitimate a subject as jungle vines and vernacular architecture.

It’s easier, too, to find a subject and paint it, if it’s around the home. Thing is, I love to do the drawing, I love adding colour. I don’t care what the subject is, in the end, I just love the doing. If I have to wait until I am somewhere unusual, or doing something exciting, before I can pull out my sketchbook, I won’t get to draw and paint as often. And that’s frustrating.

So, I know I’m in Guyana, living in a boat on the river, surrounded by howler monkeys and a dawn chorus of hornbills and parrots, but folks, sometimes my sketchbook posts will feature things from my kitchen, or stuff on my desk. And that’s fine, too.

Spangled Jerboa

The jerboa is a hopping desert rodent found throughout Northern Africa and Asia east to northern China and Manchuria. They tend to live in hot deserts, their big feet keep them from sinking into the soft sand as they hop. My little guy is a bit of a disco bunny, too…instead of fur (in a desert? So last century!) he’s got a spangled hide of little winking sequins that sparkle in the desert sun.

Again, available on Society6 as a-this-and-a-that and what-have-you.

Click here for my Society6 shop

Shopping for disco desert mice or not, I hope you enjoy the image; he’s a sweetie and I loved painting this one. The original is in another artist-friend’s collection, now.

The Pack Alpaca

Pack Alpaca on Society6Another of my critters from the Dream Menagerie exhibition of 2014…the Pack Alpaca, with a zippered pocket to carry your stuff as you hike through the Andes of southern Peru…

Pack Alpaca on Society6Again, available in the Society6 shop, as art prints. canvas prints, bag, throw pillow, and clock. Hah. I hate selling my own stuff, I feel so pushy!

Then again, I have to be honest and admit that I like this one so much, I may order a bag for myself! It’s weird when you find yourself lusting after your own design and ordering it from someone else…with a little bit of stitching, I may even be able to put a real pocket where that zipper is, that would be really fun!

The original sold last year, so unless I buy or print this design, I’ll never ee my little llama again!

The Armoured Wombat : Society6

Tha Armoured Wombat toteI’ll be adding the animals from last year’s Dream Menagerie to my Society6 shop, too.

Here’s the first one, Panzer Wombat…as though this little living tank of a marsupial needed to get any tougher! Wombats are like cannonballs with eyes and a furry nose. With the added protection of a Galapagos tortoise’s shell, he’s invincible! A superhero, nay, a god, among wombats…

Available as an art print, framed or un~, print on stretched canvas, a mug, a clock, a throw pillow, and a tote bag (I followed the file instructions, but the smaller tote bags chopped off his nose! AARGGH! Pictured is the 18″ bag, where he gets to keep his nose. I will fix this, in a day or two, I promise.)

Oh, yeah, I forgot, my SOCIETY6 SHOP is HERE. Hee.