Here we go again!
As you will have noticed, I’ve not been blogging for the last 3 months. Unfortunately, I’m not quite as well as I could be just now. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in January and had a colectomy a couple of weeks later. The prognosis is good, I’m happy to say and I have just completed half of a 6 week course of radiotherapy and chemo at the brilliant Antalya Akdeniz University hospital. After that, I have to attend chemo one day every two weeks for four months. We stay in a great hotel weekdays so thats a bonus and the treatment here is state of the art. I also get on really well with the three department professors, to the extent of having their mobile phone numbers! So, despite a colostomy, the 250 mile round trip to the hospital and having half a litre of toxic chemicals hanging round my neck, things are looking up. The worse part is the drive, it’s dangerous, nerve wracking and exhausting.
Oh, I ought to mention I nearly died from pneumonia and an ecoli infection contracted after the op. The initial treatment was complicated by an serious allergic reaction to the antibiotic, Ciprocin. That was a very scary time!
Gina has been fantastic and her mum, Margaret, has been in Fethiye, house and dog-sitting for the whole time without complaint. My sister came over from the uk and we’ve also had loads of help and care from many of our new friends here. So, I’m living in limbo. I have managed to paint occasionally but I’ve not been out on the bike, the boat or in the hills and although quite hectic, 2014 has been a bit of a write off so far. it’s about time I made an effort to continue this project but it’s not easy to find the inspiration for daily painting
Because of the treatment schedule and it’s side effects, I won’t be doing much on here for a few months but life will be getting back to a normal again soon, I promise!
Xmas tree 3
9″ x 6″ Acrylic on mount board
Since we lost Ziggy all has been quiet on the dog front. However, Gina has started showing the signs of wanting another bitch and I can sense the first developments in the hunt for a suitable animal. I’ll keep you posted and I’ll continue getting Inspiration for my daily paintings from the spirit of Xmas.
9″ x 6″ Acrylic on mount board
In need of inspiration as I’m suffering from a tummy bug so perhaps this is a strange object to paint but needs must if I want to maintain my Daily Painting target this week.
9″ x 6″ Acrylic on mount board
The weather changed two weeks ago. Practically overnight we waved goodbye to the scorching heat of summer and said Merhaba! to the wonderful Turkish autumn. Now we can switch off the aircon, move into the sunshine and out of the shower and sleep comfortably at night. For me, it means the brush has stopped sticking to the canvas and I can actually do things again. I have reviewed my post of the 18th and reconsidered the Daily Painting ethic. I reckon it wouldn’t do me any harm to actually submit to the discipline of finishing a small painting every day. I don’t expect they will be landscapes but we will see.
I am a member of an art class who meet on Thursday mornings at the Nayla restaurant on the beautiful Fethiye kordon or promenade, you would call it. Our teacher, Leslie is quite ill and receiving treatment back in the UK. While we wait and look forward to her recovery we continue to meet as a group and I really enjoy our get togethers. The members are nearly all women and as a side benefit I now know quite a lot about gynaecology and diets. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the creative side has become a bit cute and fluffy without Leslie’s direction. For example, last week the subject matter included kittens, puppies, donkeys, babies and fairies. When the lovely Linda asked me if I thought her painting of an eagle looked more like a dove I sat down and did this in response.
12″ x 9″ Acrylic on mount board
Although I enjoy our regular art group meetings in Fethiye, I decided to join the daily painting movement as a way to discipline myself to paint regularly and improve my technique. I’m not lazy but I’m easily distracted so I needed to find a way to develop my own style and keep pushing myself. That’s when I read about the Daily Painting movement. It’s so simple, all I had to do was sit down and produce a small painting every day. Well no, because a small painting might take an hour but it could take me days or even weeks to finish.
In addition, Turkey is not Provence and as I’d like to develop an impressionist landscape ouvre, I have the problem of finding new subjects every day without resorting to Still Life. And I didn’t want to copy other artist’s paintings. Imitate their style, yes! Develop their ideas, certainly! Learn from their progress, definitely!
I found myself fretting over this dilemma until I came to a workable solution. I now think of “daily painting” as an activity, not a product. It’s the daily painting, not the painting a day that counts.
After the Fall
9″ x 7″ Acrylic on mount board
The mountains that surround us here in Fethiye are covered in pine forests and Spontaneous Combustion is a good description of the speed in which fires develop in this tinder dry environment. Unfortunately there is nothing mystical about them and they are mostly caused by carelessness with cigarettes. However, barbecue fires, Chinese lanterns and fireworks contribute and an article in our local news reporting the temporary banning of these activities was in mind as I watched our local firefighting helicopter dumping huge buckets of water on the latest outbreak. They begin with a wisp of smoke but just seconds later flames shoot up and trees almost explode in the heat. Our daily breezes are onshore and away from the town but I’d hate to see one of these fires develop with an offshore breeze. Our fire fighting service are doing a fantastic job and I dedicate this painting to them.
Caroline and Jon
36″ x 24″ Acrylic on canvas
This is not my usual oeuvre but inspiration comes from many sources. My neice married in Australia and, as we missed the occasion, I painted this portrait as a surprise wedding present. The shipping quote from Fethiye to Melbourne was outrageous so I’ve had to wait until it was finally delivered by hand (oversize baggage foc with Etihad, by the way) before I could post this image. I’ve heard from her mum that they like it so I’m happy!
Some time last year a local official, commenting on the dredging and bank work being carried out at the time in Çalıs, said “Soon this will be the New Venice!” I suspect he’d never been, maybe he’d heard that people visited Venice for the canals and thought we’ve got one of those here, maybe not. Well, the thick groves of rushes and bamboo have regrown along the canal banks, the frogs and fish, the egrets and kingfishers have returned, and while not exactly Venice it does have a charm of it’s own. I recalled his comment and raked out an old photo of the real thing for some indoor inspiration in the heat of midsummer.
8″ x 6″, watercolour
Watching highlights of the three week bike race around Italy has left me with some wonderful memories. Not least the riders racing up mountains in blizzard conditions in late May. But outside of the mountain days some of the most beautiful views were found in more modest landscapes and this watercolour illustrates one of many fleeting impressions made as the racers sped through the towns and villages of Tuscany.