Friday, 22 September 2017

Painting Giveaway

Gosh it has been far too long since I blogged. I have had such a busy art schedule this year that sometimes something has got to give and it looks like it has been my blog.
I am doing a thank you of supporting my art journey giveaway draw on October 10th randomly drawn from the email list of subscribers to my newsletter. I write one each month and as it is linked to my website its easy to include all my latest works. It's not too late to signup if you want the chance to win an original watercolour, unmatted, posted free anywhere in the world.
I have chosen my Kookaburra as the prize painting. He is in a serious mood waiting to see where in the world he will fly off to.
I Can be Serious
38cm x 28.5cm unmatted

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Title Matters to Me

I am in a "paint blooms"phase. Flowers are beautiful subjects, so varied and allows me to play with lots of colour variety.
The Iris is one flower I have hardly painted so when seeing images of a dark skirted iris I was attracted to its beautiful colours and its fantastic name. For me the painting title is important as it runs through my head right through the painting process and really helps me connect with my chosen subject and how I wish to create my work from it. I normally have the titled locked in right from the first brush stroke.This one was simple as the Iris name was perfect "Romantic Evening".

My Process: 
Day 1

  • Once inspired by my subject I like to use several reference images to give me shape and colour. I choose some colours and do a little combination colour test strip.
  • After working out a pleasing composition I started with using light pencil marks to show me where to leave some untouched paper for the light blooms. 
  • A background wash is done first, dropping in varied colours from my chosen palette of Prussian Blue, Transparent Orange, Winsor Red Deep, Green Gold, Winsor Violet, Opera Rose and Lavender
  • Adding buds and starting the flowers


Day 2

  • Working between the blooms and adding more colour to my now dry background

Day 3

This painting was completed over three days - not something I usually have the patience for but for this work it was required as I took my time over the decisions of each step. When I left it on my easel overnight at the end of day 2 I had signed it which meant I considered it finished. However with fresh eyes this morning and an hours tweaking it's done

Romantic Evenings
on Saunders Waterford 425gsm Cold Press Paper
Unframed size 56cm x 38cm

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Many Decisions

Today some of my former students returned for a"brush up skills" morning class. I was happy to talk and demo any subject they chose but it was left to me to frame the morning session.
I bought a few stems of sunflowers over the weekend knowing they would be a fantastic subject.
They provided the opportunity to reinforce mixing greens, finding shades of yellow, use a variety of texture and colour for those fabulous interesting centres sunflowers have.
The session was all about creating a work that required each choosing their own composition, either painting what they saw in the vase( though I encouraged them to think beyond what they saw), choose some blooms, use the reference photos and the real flowers as their starting point but think beyond what they saw and I wanted to emphasise how important it was to make all the important decisions about your painting before you you apply that first brush stroke on that clean piece of paper.

1.Colour selection first by mixing swatches. Many students only had two yellows, two blues and burnt sienna so I showed them how much variety they could still achieve for their yellows and greens

2.Think of your composition, will it be portrait, landscape or square forma. What shall I use from what I am seeing.

3. Use a yellow watercolour pencil if doing any drawing. This is good when painting yellow as graphite does not cover with yellow paint or it makes yellow murky. Not such a problem for tough sunflowers but would not be good for delicate blooms.

4. Paint the painting as a whole not concentrate on one area too much but build up colour around the whole painting.

The most asked question in any class I have given is do I paint the subject or the background first?
It is best to work back and forth between the subject and the background but I must admit I sometimes do work the background a fair bit before starting on the subject.
If I know I can paint a subject easily but I am making the background up I will do the background first and if I like it I will paint the subject. If you paint the subject first and its beautiful but you don't know what to do with the rest of the painting there is a fright factor of what if I ruin it?.
After many paintings you find what works best for you and with experience you do whatever feels right that day.

I did not have time during class to paint a new work beside the demo studies but I took a sunflower work from a year or so back and  tweaked it.
There is still more decision making after the paint is dry and that is whether to keep it as is or to crop for a stronger work either because of a part you don't like or to change up the dynamics.

Reference material and colour studies

Sun Tough
Original size 56cm x 43cm

Cropped Version 1

Cropped Version 2

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A Winter Morning

I see that on the other side of the world they are having some very warm temperatures but here in South Australia we are a couple of weeks into Winter. We are having unusually dry conditions but with very cold starts to the day. I take my poodle Rosie for a walk after breakfast, I say walk she doesn't do much of it, mostly it is a sniff a thon. We live on the edge of the Murray river and have a jetty which remains unused as we do not do boating. Rosie has decided though that we need to unlock the gate and walk its length as part of our daily sniff a thon. One quick check and she is satisfied. I took an image on my iphone whilst we were down the bank on the way to the jetty gate and with the feeling of being towered over by the river reeds still fresh in my mind I set to creating this "scape" as soon as our morning ritual was over and studio time began. I am looking forward to including this in an August exhibition.

A Winter Morning