Sunday, 10 May 2009

Rio Gedel Painting work in progress

Rio Gedel confluence 50 x 50 cm

work in progress acrylic and mixed media

on canvas.

The following is an exert from the poem poplars by the river by the Spanish poet

Jorge Guillan which I read last week,

translated I think by the wonderfully

named John Crow

Alomas con rio

Gently the river strings out
Its playfulness curve after curve
Whist in a slight tremor the poplars
Are sketched on the water

And as green as the river
Body after body of leaves they lull
The one who is lucky enough to hear
Poplars that are almost music

Lucky upon the bank
Is the man who follows the river
That sharpens the waters company
And the poplars flight

Jorge Guillen

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Olive Grove Gaucin Painting

Painting in the cool shade of an Olive grove
always brings to mind the symbol of the Olive
and its place in the poetry of men.

Olive tree poetry

Ode to the Olive Tree -
Pablo Neruda

Near the murmuring
In the grain fields, of the waves Of wind in the oat-stalks
The olive tree
With its silver-covered mass
Severe in its lines
In its twisted
Heart in the earth:
The graceful Olives
By the hands
Which made
The dove
And the oceanic
Snail: Green, Inumerable,
Immaculate Nipples Of nature
And there In The dry Olive Groves
Where Alone The blue sky with cicadas
And the hard earth Exist
There The prodigy
The perfect
Capsules Of the olives
With their constellations, the foliage
Then later, The bowls,
The miracle, The olive oil. I love
The homelands of olive oil

Work in progress Cork Oak 2 Drawing in mixed media

In making these particular drawings I have tried to keep in mind the following Cork Characteristics. Lightness Cork is light and will float. Beneficial for buoys, floats, fishing rod handles, level gauges. Light weight makes cork an excellent filler material for many products. Perfect for shoe insoles and soles.

Elasticity The cellular membranes are flexible so that the cork can be fitted against the wall of a bottle under pressure (the air in the cork cells is compressed, reducing volume) and when released bounces back to its original form. Perfect as a stopper, perfect for floor tiles and wall tiles.

Impermeability Cork does not rot due to the suberin which makes it impermeable to gases and liquids.Combined with corks other characteristics it is the ideal material for bottle stoppers, gasket sealers, joint fillers, floor underlayment, and bulletin boards.

Low Conductivity Gaseous

elements in cork are sealed in tiny cell like compartments insulated and separated from each other. This provides for low conductivity to heat, sound and vibrations. One of the best insulating and acoustical capacities of all substances.

Resistance to Wear

The honeycomb structure of suberose surface gives cork a high friction coefficient and makes it very durable. It does not absorb dust and is fire resistant in its natural state. Ideal material for all building products, including floor and wall tiles, cork wallpaper, rolls, and sheets.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Work in progress Cork Oak 1

This series of three paintings are an attempt to understand the cork oak tree in depth. I've also tried to take a look at the materials I use and see how they relate to the trees themselves. Raw materials for the artist-Forest Fires and the Cork Oak

Not only are cork oak trees important to the fauna and flora of the regions in which they grow. And not only are the trees a source of renewable raw material for the cork industry. The cork oak trees are also self-preserving. Many large forest fires ravaged the Mediterranean regions over the years with thousands of hectares blackened by the blazes. Pine trees and olive groves, eucalyptus trees and even vineyards have been burned and destroyed taking years to recover, if at all. Cork oak forests have not been immune to these massive fires either.The cork bark on these trees acts as a natural protective shield against the hot Mediterranean sun and the salty and sandy winds blowing off the sea and over the dry arid lands. The blazing fires that scorch the lands and the trees usually do not destroy the cork oaks. Indeed they too get scorched, but Mother Nature blessed the cork oak trees with fire resistant bark protecting the trees from total destruction. Although the brush and fields around and beneath the trees as well as the leaves of the trees are consumed by forest fires, thanks to the protective cork bark, cork oaks generally survive the fires and return to full growth within a short time. Nothing greater could highlight the insulating durability of cork and its protective qualities .

I began work on these large paintings using PVA glue and charcoal after reading this article in Charcoal has obvious links to the survival of the cork oak tree and their protective qualities. The PVA glue is a vinyl acetate often used by carpenters to make items and also as a waterproofing agent. It seemed useful to use this as the painting for me as the artist is similar to that of the carpenter working on a wood object. The ink I used also comes from crushed beetle juice, though being a vegetarian I am not at all sure whether or not I am okay with this material. The insect a buprestid c undatis is responsible for making burrows in the cork oak bark and is associated with the decline of cork oak forests in the medirteranean. Its actions along with another buprestid are now tracked to see how the cork oak will survive see Cork Oak Woodlands on the Edge: Ecology, Adaptive Management, and Restoration By James Aronson, João Santos Pereira, Juli G. Pausas Edition: illustrated Published by Island Press, 2009 ISBN 1597264792, 9781597264792

How Is Cork Harvested

Cork stripping is the process of removing the bark off the cork tree. This is an extremely delicate operation made to look easy by the expertise of the cork harvesters. These experienced individuals use a machete to slice the bark into sections (the larger the section the better) and then they use a metal wedge to peel these sections from the trees. Although this is very strenuous work in itself, the harvesters need to take great care not to damage the very thin skin-like membrane which is found between the bark and the inner trunks of each tree. If this membrane were to be damaged it would weaken and perhaps kill the tree. It is this membrane that provides the nourishment to the cork trees. To register the harvest date and to ensure trees are not stripped again before the allowable nine years pass, after the bark is stripped from the trees the last number of the year in which the tree was last harvested is painted onto each tree (for example, if a tree was harvested in 2001, as shown in the picture, then the number 1 would be painted on the tree). This provides the control and assurance to both the forest owners and the environmental authorities that trees are not stripped before the ninth year following each harvest. This, among other cork forestry regulations, keep the cork trees in good health and producing good quality cork.Every tree, therefore, is a source of renewed raw material. The cork is cut from the same trees time and time again. This goes on for generation after generation for some 200 years. A tree in its prime at 80 years old can yield 440 lbs (200 kg). This is sufficient raw material to produce approximately 25,000 natural wine corks. Although most cork oak trees are just slightly larger then olive trees there are certainly exceptions. The world record was set in 1889 by a cork oak in Portugal which yielded no less than 3,870 lbs (1755 kg) of cork in one stripping.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Painting above the Rio Gedel, Casares Andalucia (1)

Posted by PicasaEarlier in the day I had spent a few hours,
from 11 am until 5 pm developing some smaller
works on the river side, a beautiful day.
(These are still the subject of another blog on the river. )
On my way down, during the morning, into the valley
I drove down through Juniper and Olive
trees along a narrow and winding road.
My thoughts had been on the river.
With my eyes on the road and the occasional
flash of a distant view down the valley
towards San Roque or upwards to Gaucin
and really I had noticed nothing special.
On my way back it was to be a different
story, whether it was the change of direction
that I was travelling in, the effect of bright light
on the wild flowers or my more relaxed attention
to the road as I drove slowly upwards.
Whatever, the track now seemed a riot
of colour and pack full of possibilities. I
could visual the palette knife and brush
strokes of bright yellows, muted whites cobalt’s
and distant violets and mauves. I stopped at a
small gravelled area, and quickly set up my
easel and canvas at the boot of my estate car.
Here are the results of work in progress.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Rio Gedel

Today dawned bright and warm, the first time it had really felt like a summers day so after sharing a multi lingual breakfast with friends and neighbours We set off for the Rio Gedel which lies in a wonderful valley beyond Casares. The road swoops down from the high ridge into a valley filled with orange trees and its only after a few minutes that the tarmac ends and the old dirt surface road continues alongside the river. The road side is lined with banks of blue and yellow flowers, the grasses and sedges already tall are starting to bronze in places. Over on the river side sedge rushes and trees blossom and spill seed. The banks of the river were lined with flowers and I stopped to set up easel and canvas amidst a riot of colour. Being Mayday the valley was full of Spanish families paddling in the clear shallow water which sparkled in the dappled light from the eucalyptus trees and tall canes

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Saturday, 2 May 2009

Casares Evening Painting

I ventured up the valley towards Casares from Estapona
on an evening walk in early May.

The red mountain was turning violet in the shadows. Even higher
than myself, a light appeared at the window of a Finca.
Blackbirds sang under a shimmer of palest blue
above a lush world. Acrylic on canvas 50 x 50 cm

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Friday, 1 May 2009

Working on location. Cork Oak 2 Casares

Posted by PicasaHigh above the Mediterranean sea a cork oak
stands at the edge of an area of special environmental
interest and the start of the cork oak groves
that live here below the Sierras.
Its a brilliant place full of bird song, wildflower
meadows and the occasional wild boar and deer
Cork Oak 2 acrylic earth ink and charcoal on canvas
100cm x 160 cm