Friday, 18 December 2015

Best wishes for 2016

Dear Readers

Wishing you all the very best of good fortune, health, happiness and peace
for 2016.

I guess it's obvious what I decided to bake for the festive season: gingerbread! These are deliciously spiced, with that special flavouring from golden syrup, too. They need to soften for a week or so, then they will be ready to eat. Pfeffernüsse are like that, too. They're like rocks when you first bake them, then they soften up beautifully after a week or two sitting in the tin. These are iced using royal icing.

Mr Biscuit and friends are putting their heads together to try and dream up a
peaceful New Year for everyone.

See you again in 2016, with more ideas and fun!
Image: Mr Biscuit and friends are dreaming up a peaceful 2016.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Biscuits - some thoughts

At the moment, I'm trying to decide what to bake for the upcoming festive season. We may get a visitor or two (or maybe not?), so I need to have something yummy to offer people with their cup of tea if they visit.

Gingerbread is a possibility. I need to get some different shaped cookie cutters. The second reason for baking gingerbread is to do with inventing a character for a series of adventure pictures that I've started painting.

But more about that in a later post.

The biscuits shown below were delicious jam-filled, bought biscuits. When this painting was displayed in one of my exhibitions, I put the same plate of biscuits on a plinth underneath where the picture was hanging in the gallery, and people could eat one if they wanted.

I'm glad to say that this picture, like most shown in my blog, is now in someone's private collection. I do hope they are enjoying those biscuits as much as I enjoyed painting them!

Image: Biscuits by Alisa Perks. Gouache on paper.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Itchy feet!

Sometimes a feeling of restlessness is natural, and the desire to explore other places gives me itchy feet. I feel very lucky to be able to roam around the country, visiting towns, cities, national parks, lots of places, without having to  show documentary evidence of my existence to authorities.
It's great fun to decide where to go and explore, and so interesting to arrive in a place where I've never been before but have probably heard about many times.

"Get in the car!" has become the catchcry in the household lately, as those itchy feet make themselves felt. The places we choose to visit are often west of the Great Dividing Range.

When travelling in the car, the dashboard becomes a useful keep-warm facility for meat pies and other hot snacks to be eaten further down the road at a good stopping place. This facility is called the "Dashboard Bain Marie".

Image: To Mungindi by Alisa Perks. Gouache on paper.
I got the inspiration for this painting when we were heading north from Moree to Mungindi. Mungindi is up on the Queensland border with New South Wales. We had been enjoying the hot artesian spa baths in Moree, as we have done many times, and decided to take this side-trip as a bonus. We had a pie in Mungindi. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Hot weather!

It's been so hot lately (even for the high country of the New England), that all I want to do is sit and read. I'd go swimming at the town pool, but somehow I can't seem to raise the energy to do all of that. Hopefully it will cool down soon......

Panda has the right idea:

Image: Panda Reading by Alisa Perks. Gouache on paper.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Grevillea Frieze: Botanical painting

Hello Readers

Recently I entered a Botanicals art competition at Light Space and Time, an online art gallery based in the USA.

My entry, Grevillea Frieze, was selected for Special Recognition which, I think, may be equivalent to a Highly Commended. It was nice to be counted amongst some fine artworks in this competition. Click on the gallery link above to have a look.

Grevillea Frieze is inspired by Art Nouveau repeat designs for wallpaper and furnishing fabric. I have always loved this era of design, with its swirling lines and muted colour-schemes.

See what you think:

Image: Detail from Grevillea Frieze by Alisa Perks. Gouache on paper.
I love the curved fiddle shapes in grevillea flowers, as they are offset against the spiky leaves. The grevillea which inspired this painting is a ground-cover variety which grows beneath the front hedge. It is a very tough plant but very beautiful.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Protecting peaches from fruit fly: More ideas

Dear Readers

Here are some further tips to add to my previous post about making organza bags against fruit fly attack on the peach tree:

I've started to use nylon bridal netting for these bags now, instead of organza. Netting is much cheaper than organza and does the same job. It's that coarse netting, not the fine tulle used for bridal veils.

The netting I've used for my latest bags only cost $2.99 per metre. The netting comes in a range of colours, and I think this is important, as it looks festive and pretty having coloured bags all over the peach tree. They look good and serve the brilliant purpose of protecting developing peaches against Queensland Fruit Fly! They also safely keep birds and flying foxes away from the fruit, as the netting is too fine for them to get tangled in it.

Below are instructions for you to make your own anti fruit fly bags:

Image: How to make your own fruit fly exclusion bags out of nylon netting.
Nylon netting doesn't fray, so there's no need to finish off raw edges or hem around the opening of the bag. These fruit fly bags take only minutes to make. Tie them onto the branch with a strip of old t-shirt fabric or some other scrap of stretch fabric.

Happy food-growing! Talk soon.

PS. I have made fruit fly bottle traps to protect uncovered peaches, but I'll let you know if they worked or not in a later post. They contain yummy Vegemite.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Russian Orthodox Church in Lidcombe, Sydney

Hello readers and also hello to my readers in Russia!

I recently visited Sydney and saw through my train window, once again, the Russian Old Orthodox Church of the Holy Annunciation - Assumption, in Vaughan Street, Lidcombe. 

This church really stands out as a beautiful piece of architecture, with its golden and coppery domes and white-washed walls. 

I few years ago, I did a painting of this Russian Orthodox Church in Lidcombe, to celebrate the fabulous shapes of its domes. The medium is gouache on paper:

Image: Russian Old Orthodox Church of the Holy Annunciation-Assumption, Lidcombe, Sydney. Medium: Gouache on paper.

Lidcombe is a very multicultural place, as is much of Sydney. I think this makes Sydney a very exciting and interesting city to visit. Sydney is also a culinary feast, with delicious foods from so many cultures available in restaurants, cafes and food stalls. 

One of my favourite places to eat in Sydney city Chinatown/Haymarket) is Eating World, an Asian food court featuring a dazzling choice of dishes from China, Vietnam, Malaysia (including Nyonya), Japan, Thailand and other cultures. It is busy and bustling at midday, as many workers enjoy eating their lunch there. One dainty lady nearby was steadily working her way through an entire fish!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Bookplates: Portrait of a book owner

I have been designing bookplates for people recently. Bookplates are a delightful way to reveal aspects of the book owner's character, interests or sense of humour. They can even be a bit wicked!

The bookplate below is for a family member who, luckily, has a great sense of humour. She is actually very generous in lending books, contrary to what this image shows:

Image: Bookplate by Alisa Perks. Gouache and watercolour on paper.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Growing food: Peach tree fruit fly control

Dear Readers

This post is about the art of food growing, because artists need to grow some food to survive!

The Queensland Fruit Fly ruins whole harvests of peaches if it is allowed to attack the fruit.

For the last two growing seasons, I have enclosed the best fruiting branches of the peach tree with fabric bags. This has meant 100% success with the fruit, with the peaches being completely protected from fruit fly attack.

Fruit fly exclusion bags
Image: Fabric bags on my peach tree protecting against Queensland Fruit Fly attack

I made the bags from inexpensive polyester organza from Lincraft fabric store. The bags are fitted over the branch when the peaches are still quite small, then they are tied firmly around the branch to create a seal. You can choose colourful fabrics to brighten up the garden if you wish!

For fruit that is outside these bags, I use splashbaits (it looks like Vegemite!), which gives seems to give about 70% protection against fruit fly attack.

There will be many delicious peaches to pick this coming January and I look forward to it!
 "Get out of my orchard, let my peaches be."  -William Harris, "Hot Time Blues", 1928

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Painting the kitchen

Sometimes I paint scenes inside the home, of everyday objects and happenings.

This washing up had just been done and was shining in the light from the window.

Drawing up this gouache painting, entitled "The Washing Up 2", made me feel a bit woozy because of the strange, warped perspective!

The Washing Up by Alisa Perks
Image: The Washing Up 2 by Alisa Perks. Painted in gouache on paper.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Swimming Pool

It is the swimming season now in Australia. The local public pool has opened and looks blue and inviting. It will be great to swim some laps there, then back-float and look up at the sky.

I painted this public pool (shown below) during winter when it was cold, still and quiet. The pool is in East Maitland, New South Wales and the painting is entitled "Swimming Pool".

Swimming Pool painting
Image: Swimming Pool by Alisa Perks. Painted in gouache on paper
PS. I have been designing bookplates for people recently, showing funny views of their interests and personalities. More about that soon.....

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Cath's House

Recently I had the privilege of painting a portrait of a friend's house. I thought that it should pay homage to her interests and say something about her, and be more than a view of her house.

She collects beautiful tins of different shapes and ages. There are also some fascinating light fittings inside her home which appear in the top of the painting.

Thanks to Cath for giving me this commission, entitled "Cath's House" (and for the permission to include it in this blog).

Cath's House painting by Alisa Perks
Image: Cath's House by Alisa Perks (gouache on paper): a portrait of a home and its owner.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Coffee with friends

Cafés are wonderful places to meet and catch up with friends. During regular meetings with an artist friend, we'll draw what's on the table in front of us for practice while we talk. The image below, entitled "Fat Goose Crossing Café", evolved from one of our meetings:

Fat Goose Crossing Cafe painting by Alisa Perks
Image: Fat Goose Crossing Cafe by Alisa Perks. Painted in gouache on paper.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Travel posters

Sometimes I paint travel posters just for fun.

They portray well-known and sometimes, not-so-celebrated places:

Visit Barney Street by Alisa Perks
Image: Visit Barney Street by Alisa Perks. Gouache on paper. A travel poster just for fun!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A graphic style of painting

The Orphanage by Alisa Perks
Image: The Orphanage (detail), a painting by Alisa Perks

        My artwork is often  
        described as graphic 
        in its style.

        I like to use bold outlines
        in some works, with a
        simplified version of
        the subject.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Cycling for fun, health and going places.


Cycling is a great way to get fit and see your town. My painting below, entitled "Going Places", depicts a cycleway through parklands; the ideal habitat for town cyclists:

Going Places painting by Alisa Perks showing cyclist in a park
Image: Going Places by Alisa Perks. Gouache on paper. Cycling in the parklands.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Australia Telescope Compact Array

Australia Telescope near Narrabri NSW
Image: Compact Array 2 by Alisa Perks, a painting of the CSIRO Australia Telescope near Narrabri, NSW.

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Alisa Perks, and I am an artist living in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. My primary painting medium is gouache, a water-soluble, opaque paint similar to watercolour. Gouache has a fine texture which allows me to control the brush to create very detailed images.

The light that we have here in this high-altitude region is very inspiring, and the muted colours of the landscape are very beautiful.

More soon.....