Sunday, 30 November 2014

Shades of White

Shades of White
Arches Rough 300gsm
38cm x 28.5cm

I finished this Polar bear just before we left for a few days away and it greeted me on my return this morning sitting patiently on my painting table. Today we have had a so very, very hot day and coming home to see this cool chap waiting for me to share with you made me smile. He was a good challenge in painting a white subject in a white setting,

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Watching for Mum

Watching for Mum
Arches 300gsm Rough
38cm x 28.5cm
We have been watching several pairs of Black Swans swim past with their little tribe in tow and the beautiful cygnets getting bigger and every now and then one swims just a little bit further away from their parents. Thanks to Mick Blackman for a great close up photo to use for my reference. Am going to include this in my little exhibition starting Monday at Cafe Lime here in Goolwa.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Keeping it Simple

Simplifying in mind I chose this little Pied Cormorant. We have so many Cormorants of all types land on our jetty, they dive for fish and then hang out for ages with their wings outstretched drying off.

Wind Blown
on Arches 300gsm Rough Paper
38cm x 28.5cm

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Softly, Softly

Softly Softly
Arches 300gsm Rough
38cm x 28.5cm

Softly, Softly she goes, that's me! No pressure, no expectations, no drawing first, 
add the water and let the pigment do its magic!

Landing Gear Down
Arches 300gsm Rough
57cm x 38cm

Monday, 17 November 2014

Moving the Goal Post

I have all my paintings sorted and stored ready for two December exhibitions - a total of 17 works and 3 ready for a January show. With this now behind me I am ready to set some new goals and challenges for myself. I have looked back over my three year art journey and can see every now and then the subtle change and hopefully improvement in my paintings. Where to now - I need to think about this for 2015. After the Jean Haines workshop in Adelaide a fortnight ago I keep recalling one thing she said: SIMPLIFY. For me it doesn't mean having to paint in a very loose way where a lot of imagination is required to fill in the blanks but it does mean finding a balance between too much and not enough.  I am thinking "semi-figurative". I like the idea of having a reconisable subject and combining it with elements of semi abstract shape making and texture. Sounds like it will be a challenge worth working towards. I shall look back in another years time and see what I have achieved.
Over the weekend I had my studio open,only a couple of visitors came but  I just painted away just for ME and with "'simplify" in mind each of these three paintings provided their own challenge. None were meant to be "serious" pieces as my reasons below explains.

Pelican Brief
Just that - how to simplify and paint this large, awkward bird that I see everyday but haven't
quite captured to my liking 

Seeking a Safe Haven
Using an inspiring front cover image from the Australian Geographic by photographer Douglas Seifert, I wanted to use some abstract shapes and marks to render my subject in a simple way

They know the Way
I surprised myself on Sunday morning with this one. I had this image from Pixabay on my computer from back in my Aesop fable series when I was looking for a shepherd to use for collage. I thought lets try this without a pencil in sight and went straight in with water and pigment. Possibly could have been a bit more simplified but I know for sure I couldn't have done this a few months back

Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my last post, sorry this one seems almost as long
I have a busy social week ahead as my husband is having a special "big number" birthday so not much painting now until the end of the week but I wish all my artists friends a fabulous painting time!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Jean Haines Workshop

Firstly apologies as this blog post will be a bit longer than usual as I have so much to share from the past week.
A week ago I had a wonderful two day workshop with English watercolourist Jean Haines. It was hosted by the Adelaide Art Society in their historic North Adelaide premises formerly a grain store.
Firstly it was a workshop like no other that I have ever attended. Jean did not do step by step demos which was very refreshing as I don't find it inspiring to have a room full of artists all painting the same thing bit by bit.
Jeans approach was purely to show her way of painting, demonstrate how she starts warming up by doing 3 little washes to use as backgrounds for a subject later or to try out colour combinations and of course to inspire us with her infectious passion for the medium. Jean showed how she painted Roses, Eyes, a Koala, an Emu, a Cat, she touched on landscapes too. For those of you not familiar with her style she "NEVER" draws with a pencil. In fact she did not have one on her table at all . She paints directly onto the paper shaping her subject bit by bit with water and pigment, keeping it very loose and only adding a few tiny details at the end.
After she had painted we were left to our own inspiration to paint whatever we chose from our own reference images and she took the time to walk around and speak to artists individually as they painted and give any help required.
I did not seek any assistance as I was very relaxed and painted with absolute fun and freedom. I enjoyed using "rough" paper again as I have been working on Cold Press for more than 12 months.
For me she was very kind in liking what I was painting and I was thrilled when she chose to include my work every time to show the group at the end of each session. I always know at workshops I will come away with new knowledge that will help me along my journey and Jean did say that Indigo (which is my current favourite colour) dries dull so she adds a touch of ultra marine blue and now I am back home in my studio I will have a closer look at this.
Jeans demo of Roses, one on a warm up wash 

Jeans demos and reference story board

Jean helping artists individually
That lovely clean piece of paper is where I am positioned, right in the front row.

Jean Haines Day 2 at the Adelaide Art Society

My exercises over the 2 days
Eyes, loose bee, a duck on a warm up wash and a couple of warm up washes

Lovely in Pink
Arches Rough 300gsm 28.5cm x 38cm
With one of the real roses from her vase in my left hand for inspiration and shapes
I created this finished piece which Jean really liked.

After the workshop we travelled a few hundred kilometres down the coast to a town called Robe. It was to be a rest and relaxation time but within 24 hours I had my workshop gear out of the boot and ready for painting. I did some "en plein air" and whilst I enjoyed trying I did not produce anything worth showing. My lovely sable brushes blew off into the sand so I gave up and went back to the shelter of our caravan and painted this cockerel starting with the eye and working outwards from there.
Wearing Red
Arches Rough 300gsm 38cm x 28.5cm

Monday, 3 November 2014

So Excited

Watercolour on 425gsm Saunders Waterford CP Paper
28.5cm x 38cm
A week back we had some exciting lightening happening in South Australia and I was inspired to create this painting of the river at Goolwa on show in the early evening.

I am very excited as this week I am attending a two day workshop by English watercolourist Jean Haines. We are very fortunate that she has put Adelaide on her travel itinerary as normally we miss out. It means a three night stay in the city for me as I am about 90kms from Adelaide and after the workshop we are continuing on for a mini break in the coastal town of Robe.
Jean was one of the artists who I so admired when I took up watercolours with a passion back in 2011 but her style is very unique to her and it is not my wish to adopt this very loose approach even though I once would have said yes please. I am well travelled down my own road now so me taking workshops from any renowned artist is simply to have some fun, pick up useful tips to add to my own bag of tricks and move on.  The workshop material list says Arches Rough paper so this will be my own challenge as I have not used anything but Cold Press for more than a year.

My next blog update will be in about two weeks when I will tell you how I got on.