Monday, 30 April 2018

Grafton Workshop April 2018

I spent the most enjoyable week in Grafton teaching a group of lovely ladies how to paint their chosen subject. The workshop was Plants & Pollinators: the Birds and the Bees.

There are several reasons I do this and not have every student paint the same subject.
  • They can paint a subject they are passionate about
  • They are not forced to paint a subject with no relevance to their preferences
  • They receive absolute individual tuition so all necessary techniques and methods are clearly understood and demonstrated
  • They gain confidence as to how to complete their own paintings once they return home
  • They understand the workshop is not about producing a finished painting, but learning HOW to correctly complete a finished painting
Here are a few photos from the workshop of some of the student's paintings. 

Krysia's  painting

Felicity's eucalyptus - nearly finished

Grace's finished Strelitzia reginae - Bird of Paradise

The class enjoying morning tea. I am third from bottom left.

Hilary's painting of an Eastern Spinebill bird on a banksia. Almost finished

Janet painting her New Holland Honeyeater on a banksia. 

Jenny's first washes finished. 

The Coldstream Gallery at Ulmarra held a tutors exhibition during the week. There was wonderful response from the locals as well as tutors and students. A great opening night.

I am second from left, with Hilary, Jude and Janet.
I will be back in Grafton in 2020, and look forward to another rewarding week.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Grevillea victoriae - large painting

I enjoyed my previous painting of the Grevillea victoriae so much that I decided to do a large scale painting of the actual florescence. There are so many interesting growing formations and various hues which respond beautifully to transparent overglazing to make them glow.

I have been working diligently every day and set myself a goal to do each day, which helps me to focus and manage my time efficiently.

Here are some of the stages of the painting. It is large scale on a half sheet of 640gsm Arches watercolour paper, which is a joy to work on.

I am also experimenting with some new brushes - da Vinci Maestro series #10 which you will see in one of the images. So far, so good. They are not expensive, are retaining their lovely points and are comfortable to use.

The painting to too large to fit comfortably on my painting desk in the studio, so I have moved to the dining room table. Love the light here.

My original colour matches and basic colour study

My initial first washes


I love working on the detail
I leave on Saturday to teach a 5-day workshop in Grafton, NSW, so this is another incentive to get as much done as I can on this painting before I leave.

Will post more as the painting continues to progress.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart

I recently visited the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart, which is 200 years old this year.
The weather was perfect, with clear blue skies and a few fluffy clouds, very warm with a light breeze. It could not have been better for my first experience of the gardens.

The bridge over the lily pond

The Subantartic Plant House
The Fernery

I left no stone unturned, and with my map in hand I explored every feature and every garden. There was the Chinese Collection, the Japanese Garden, the Subantarctic Plant House, the Conservatory and more.

The Conservatory on left
Me in the conservatory

There were cacti gardens, a fernery, a eucalyptus section, the Lily Pond and more.

And I could not resist buying a wonderful memento of my visit there, a lovely flowering gum canister.

I would highly recommend his unique and historical garden for all to visit.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Colour Mix and Match Workshop

Although it can be a tedious exercise to paint colour charts, it is worth its weight in gold once completed. It takes the guesswork out of 'what colour/s will I use?'

I begin these workshops with demonstrations on how to paint the colours in the appropriate sections. This teaches how much water and paint to use, how to dilute colours and brush control. 

So there are a lot of skills rolled into one workshop.

Students working on the colour charts
I teach my Sydney workshops at WEA which is right in the city. The amenities are excellent, including fantastic light, ergonomic chairs, whiteboard and projection facilities and access to water and drawing boards.

Beginning the Orange Colour chart
For these charts I use 6 primary colours - red, yellow and blue in both warm and cool tones. I discuss how to also incorporate other colours to broaden the 450 colours made on their three charts. The dilutions are very important as they are another colour and easily demonstrate whether the colour is warm or cool.

Once the green charts are finished, the students match various green leaves to the colours they have made on the charts. Then they can paint the leaves. More class and individual demonstrations.

One of my demonstrations
Some finished charts
After more charts are completed the students can match a flower or other subject they have brought in.

It was a really enjoyable and successful workshop and enjoyed by all.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Hobart Botanical Art Workshop 10-13 February 2018

I spent six fabulous days in Hobart teaching a workshop for the Botaniko Art Group. They are an amazing group of local artists who meet weekly to share ideas and techniques. As you will see from the images below, the final results of the workshop were incredibly impressive.

I love going to different places to teach as the groups all produce local subjects which makes it quite exciting for me. And they are always so generous and welcoming. 

Myself (left) and Janet, in the Fern Hill Community Centre

Works in Progress - some drawings, colour studies and first washes

The last day of the workshop. Superb progress was made by all, and many need just a few more washes.

I loved teaching this workshop, and managed through several seasons of weather during the day, but ample heating, and the loan of a woollen scarf saw me through.

The workshop was not all about finishing. It was about the processes and techniques required to get to the final painting. I say to my students that workshops are so beneficial, as if you just take home one valuable piece of advice, it is worth it.

There are some more notes about the paintings and the artists on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

First New Year Post

As promised, I will be doing more blog posts this year. Here is the first.

The subject is a Grevillea Victoriae. While staying with a friend in Uralla, 23 kms south west of Armidale in the Northern Tablelands, I discovered she had this beautiful grevillea growing. Its habitat is the New South Wales rocky mountains, dry or wet sclerophyll forest and snow gum woodland. It thrives in the cold environment and can also be found in the NSW New England region.

I brought home numerous branches to study and paint. They kept beautifully in the bottom of the fridge with a damp paper towel on the bottom of the stem, a spray of water, then secured in a plastic bag. 

A few of the branches I used for reference

The colours were glorious! Deep and soft pinks, almost iridescent oranges and deep reds

Colour study

Initial washes

I wanted to show the

I wanted to show the actual habit this plant grew in, which makes the painting a story.

Was pleased when I finally completed it, as I could not achieve continuity in the painting. It was stop and start most of the way as I was had other commitments in between painting spells.

With delight I finally took it to have it scanned just before Christmas, only to be told the shop was closing down for holidays until the end of January. Oh well, it is tucked away in the drawer and I look forward to the scan where it can be produced in all its glory.