Thursday, 31 December 2015

Goodbye 2015

Here are a couple of watercolours finished just in time to include in a solo show at the Pruners Hut in McLaren Flat. I was able to show 16 paintings and after hanging them yesterday morning I was pleased to get a phone call just as I arrived home to say one had already been sold to an overseas tourist.
As it is the last day of 2015 I had an add up from my records of how many paintings I completed this year. A whopping 103 frameable paintings and when you add all the 52 weeks of wash posts I did for Wash a Week Challenge, demos for my class, donations for Running with Brushes I can see why I am in my studio for most of my life. Guess what - I hope 2016 will be just as fulfilling.
Wishing you all a great end to the year and a fantastic 2016. Thanks for your company here on my blog.
Pruners Hut Exhibition Jan 1 - Feb 14

The Barista
300gsm Hot Press Arches Square 38cm

Pigeon Pair
300gsm Hot Press Arches Square 38cm

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Have a Great Christmas

Thank you to all my blogging friends, and all the lovely supportive followers of my art journey.
2015 has been a real busy buzz and 2016 is shaping up to be even more so.

My Christmas painting this year incorporates tissue collage for the carols and watercolour for the Aussie Critters on Saunders Waterford 300gsm Cold Press Paper. 28.5cm 38cm

I wish you and your families a wonderful time over Christmas and health and happiness in 2016.
If you are a fellow painter I wish you a year ahead filled with inspiration and magical creations.

The Carol Singers

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Winding Down

I love it when family and friends time get in the way of painting time, without these interruptions I would be 24/7 in my studio.
I have a very busy start with exhibitions from January 1st so with all commitments met for these, my time now is without any pressure so I can splash around as much as I like without a thought of making a painting.
Many times this type of play results in a fresh understated painting that may never have happened with over planning and hours of painting. I think this little riverscape fits that scenario perfectly. Using a limited palette of three colours: Indigo, Bloodstone Genuine and Raw Sienna and no more than 2 hours painting start to finish.
I avoid riverscapes and landscapes, I am yet to find my style in capturing beautiful scenes where I think I have added something of me, my head tells me it is just that I don't do enough but my heart still avoids them. Maybe this will be my 2016 challenge.

Last Flight Home
56cm x 33xm Unframed size
on 425gsm Saunders Waterford CP Paper

Monday, 7 December 2015

Lots of White

Thanks for your comments last week on my Geese painting.
Here is a painting with Sulphur Crested Cockatoos where I have lots of white paper. I often find in my work that I don't leave enough unpainted bits but when the subjects are white and paper has to be left I seem to also leave white paper elsewhere.  I did three little colour studies first before starting this work and settled on 4 colours: Winsor Lemon, Quinacridone Violet, Managnese Blue, Bloodstone Genuine.
I imagined the two girls with the well coiffed hair whispering whether to share their hairdresser with the girl at the top.

Shall We Tell?
on 425gsm Bright White, Saunders Waterford CP Paper
Unframed size 56cm x 42cm

Friday, 4 December 2015

Shall We Gossip?

Shall We Gossip
1/2 sheet unframed size
Framed 76cm x 55cm

This week has been busy spent framing new works and rehanging my studio. I'm glad I will get to see it for a little while before it is dismantled for a six week exhibition for January 1st.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Using My travel Images

On our recent Queensland month caravan holiday we took between my husband and I quite a number of images. I photographed some unusual things never knowing where they might come in handy. Our first stop from leaving home was at Loxton in the Riverland of South Australia where there is a fabulous historical village filled with much memorabilia. There were a few pegboards with lots of taps attached and I used one of these in this painting. I started with no drawing just intrigued whether I could get an old feel to the brass. Feeling pleased I thought how about adding a bird on top but I had not left enough room and this can happen when going straight in with paint and not a lot of planning. Not giving up I added some old pipe and then looked through Ian's images as I knew he captured a lovely Blue Wren skitting around on the ground when we visited Dubbo Zoo a week later.The background was designed last.
Tap Dancing
425gsm Saunders Waterford CP Paper
Unframed size 28.5cm x 38cm

Saturday, 28 November 2015

With Inks

I started playing with pigment ink in Ultra Marine Blue and Crimson, lifting out quickly to leave some light for the birds and when it was dry I added watercolour to finish this work.

Pink or Blue
Mixed Watermedia
 425gsm Bright White Saunders Cold Press Paper
56cm x 38cm

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Poppies and the Blue Jug

Poppies and the Blue Jug
300gsm Hot Press Arches
56cm x 38cm

Not quite a still life because there was no studio set up.
A magazine photo showing a pot of colourful poppies provided the spark of inspiration.
I started with just a little drawing for the jug then filled it full of blooms one by one, straight in with paint, no drawing, with one bloom leading me where to put the next.
This is on a half sheet Arches Hot Press 300gsm paper which does curl up a lot when the painting is dry.  It feels so much thinner than the Cold Press which I never have any curling issues with. I will just press the back of the work to flatten it out.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lovely Darks

I knew I wanted to create a painting when I first saw, some time ago, such a cute fox cub photo shared by Sheila Metcalf Dunn for artists to use for reference. I took my time in deciding how I would use it but Sunday was the day its turn had arrived. I wanted to use some colours for the darks that I have but not used very much. It was also a good opportunity to do some testing swatches of these providing me with useful information that I could add to the wash a week challenge blog too. This weekly challenge finishes at the end of the year and I have just 5 more posts to do. It has been an extra commitment in what has been my busiest year but I have discovered so much from experimenting and writing for the blog posts.

My rich darks are from Bloodstone Genuine, Perylene Maroon, Paynes Gray.

Triple Trouble
Saunders Waterford 425gsm Cold Press
Unframed size 56cm x 38cm

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Good Mud, Bad Mud

Good Mud - is painting mud because it fits your painting, beautifully painted mud.
Bad Mud -  yucky mud happens from trying to rescue a painting because it has something you love.
I hardly ever create yucky mud but this past week or so it has happened twice and both times it was not the subject but the background. In my classes I tell students its best to try and work on the background and the subject as a whole and if I did just this my two lots of mud would have been avoided. After spending many hours painting a beautiful subject and then deciding what to do with the background can be a challenge and if the background doesn't work out all the hours spent on the subject has been wasted.
I redeemed myself yesterday by repainting my 3 ducks, changing the composition too so it felt like a totally new work. This time I knew how I wanted to paint the ducks because I had three lovely ducks from the day before sitting before me in their really muddy background, so I started with the background. I added water around the ducks so no masking fluid was required. I added colours I would use in the subject to create texture. When this was about 70% done I started on the ducks, adding finishing touches to the background when they were finished.

Listen Up
Arches 300gsm Hot Press Paper
57cm x 35cm

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

More Bears

My Best Purple Lace
#2- series The 3 Bears
38cm square unframed

As mentioned in my last post I like to have three works of my new found muse under my belt before I call it a series. Here is number 2 and 3. I am enjoying taking my teddies out to my studio to be my models and have found ingenious ways of getting them to stay in position whilst I work.

The Three Tenors
#3 - series The 3 Bears
38cm square unframed

Sunday, 1 November 2015

New Series

I have mentioned before in older posts how I love to have a series of works on the go. This provides me with the comfort of knowing that subject mater is already settled and I can just get creative with making each work different. Past series have included Edibles, Pure Aussie Wool, Wine and Song, Infusions, Small but Big, Etudes and probably more I have forgotten about.
Today I share the very first in my latest muse - this new series is called "The 3 Bears"
I have a lovely collection of teddy bears which have been acquired over 20 years of travel.
I would buy one bear during each holiday, sometimes  this would take a lot of searching out as not every place had a specialty bear shop. This stopped a few years ago when I simply had no more space to have them and then of course my new love of art supplies took over.
Now they are coming in to their own being posed in little still life set ups, I have lots of ideas and each bear can be used just for shape or its colour and in different combinations so I have all the models I need and just require my imagination to do its thing.
I told my artist friend Susan about this yesterday and she said um! who do you think might be interested in these and I said ME. I paint for myself and for the joy each and every idea brings me. I never think of painting with someone elses likes in mind but I have to say how fortunate I am that many of my works do leave home as others also get a smile from what I paint.
As with every new series I like to get 3 paintings completed before I call it a series. I have two more finished, the second I like but the third I may tweak or redo before posting. Anyway you can expect to see a few more before this latest muse leaves me. I hope they make you smile too.

Sunday Best
Series -The 3 Bears
38cm square on Saunders Waterford 425gsm Hot Press Paper

Friday, 30 October 2015

Small, Medium and Big

A Touch of Paradise
Unframed size 56cm x76cm
Thank you for your welcome home comments on my post last week. I have slipped easily back into the routine in my studio, painting every day when I can.
I started with a small work adding to my Etude series, capturing the face of a Giraffe from our day at the Dubbo Open Plains Zoo. This helped me get my brushes moving by keeping the subject simple.I followed with a little doggie portait which was a thank you gift. 
A medium work next painting a Kangaroo who had dashed across the road in front of our car.
Up next - using a full sheet of Saunders Waterford 425gsm paper and no pressure (hah hah just $15 a sheet) I painted a Bird of Paradise using some of the bright colours on my travel palette , colours I had taken to do the Fabio Cembranelli workshop end of last month. I painted the single stem flower first and left it over  night. When I looked at it the next morning I decided if I leave the white of the paper it will look a bit like a botanical study so I took the whole of the second day and my imagination to fill in the entire sheet with an abstract background.What next - I am just finishing a first in a new little series and will share this next time.
The Long Etude
27cm x 35cm
20cm x 28cm

The Dash
27cm x 52cm

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Back to the Studio

After more than a month away from my beloved studio I am now back, sorted and with two little paintings done, easing my way back into my routine. Routine is not really the right word as that makes it sound like some sort of work commitment. For me it is just where I want to be every moment and only when an offer of getting out is really appealing do I not unlock the studio door and lose myself.
The workshop I attended in Queensland with Fabio Cembranelli was supposed to be for 5 days. We traveled more than 2000kms with our caravan taking just over a week to get there. It seems no one else was interested in doing the full 5 days so I was refunded and just did the 3.
It was a great experience to watch an international renowned watercolourist and find out which of the myriad of techniques he uses to create his unique works. He did only do florals as it turned out to be to hot to go out and do any landscapes.
One needed very much to be a visual learner as Fabio does not like to talk and paint so any questions needed to be held until he finished. He demoed full paintings, start to finish, 2 per day but this left us not a lot of time to paint.  I would have preferred to watch him start and then just go paint rather than watch every brush stroke. I am a quick painter which helped in the limited time but for many they struggled to get finished paintings and if they did have questions along the way they may be well out of mind by the time the demo was finished.

Did I learn anything new - No, but it did confirm my own approach to working was right. Working for hundreds of hours by oneself these are questions that you wonder about,

Fabio approaches his florals using his imagination even if the starting point is a single bloom reference. We were encouraged to create this way and so as this is how I always paint florals I was well in my comfort zone. Original work is always guaranteed this way and it was interesting to see what the rest of the attendees came up with.
I did spend a bit on supplies before I went and purchased his "workshop materials" so that I could get the most from the event.
This included synthetic brushes which I have come to enjoy using and will continue to do so until I am sure whether or not they are me.
My very expensive sables have worn considerably in just over a year and I may well not replace them.
I added some new to me pigments for the workshop (finding that some on his list he said he doesn't use anymore!!).
In summary I thoroughly enjoyed being in the room to observe Fabio paint and to be with keen watercolour lovers of all levels.

Here are the two most pleasing and finished works of the 4 paintings I did during the workshop I did not seek help with any of my paintings and am pleased they are original and unique as they are my own compositions and my own colour choices.

Colourful Poppieson 1/4 sheet Arches Cold Press 300gsm

Scent of a Roseon 1/4 sheet Arches Cold Press 300gsm

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Blog Break

Watercolour on Saunders Waterford Hot Press 425gsm
56cm x 42cm
Contemplation is hot off the easel and the last for a while as we are taking a five week break.
I am taking my paints as I will be attending a 5 day workshop with Fabio Cembranelli in Queensland. It will take us a week towing our caravan to reach the workshop as it is more than 2000 kms away. After the workshop we will be holidaying and taking our time to get back by the end of October. Depending on whether I can live without all this social media interaction or if internet is easily obtained I might not post until I get back. Over on Wash a Week Challenge blog I am scheduling a few posts so I am not so far behind when I return.
A new exhibition opportunity came up this week called "Waterways", to be held at Clayton not so far from where I live so this latest work and three other bird/water theme works will be there for the one day event on October 31st. My studio walls look totally bare as my paintings are hanging all over the state but what better timing can there be.
Time now to pack the painting travel kit and say goodbye to my Studio. Contemplation for me too as to how I will manage with out my daily studio fix.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

On Ice

Reference Photo by Ruth Archer provides the challenge 
I have found fish paintings to be popular with collectors so when I sell one I like to have another on my studio walls.  I am not a photo realist painter so finding ways of capturing the subject that fits my expressive impressions style takes some thought. I loved an image by Ruth Archer on Paint My Photo of a catch of fish but wondered how I might paint the ice. Here are a couple of photos of the steps I took on my phone during the process of completing this painting. I used masking fluid to retain a few bright edges to the ice and when the work was finished I sponged on white gouache in places.

Not following the image realistically but using it for shape and colour.  I reversed the direction as I find this helps me create a work with more spontaneity  rather than copying a photo. I started by filling the page with eyes. I then added light washes of varied pretty greys with rose madder highlights. I then proceeded to bring out the bodies of the fish.
Steps 1 and 2

Finding the fish bodies

On Ice
Watercolour 28.5cm x 38cm
on Saunders Waterford Hot Press 300gsm Paper

Friday, 11 September 2015

Dressing Up with Black and White

Here are two paintings finished this week where the subject of the good old Australian Magpie presented me with the challenge to paint them showing that there's more to them than just being black and white. I used lovely varieties of blues, pinks, yellows to create interesting blacks and greys ensuring I carried the same colours throughout the painting as a whole.

Something We Said?
38cm x 38cm
on 425 gsm Saunders Waterford Hot Press

The Thieving Magpie
Watercolour and Tissue Collage
31cm x 40cm
on 425 gsm Saunders Waterford  Hot Press

Monday, 7 September 2015

Using Hot Press Paper

I have been experimenting with using Hot Press Paper. I mostly use Saunders Waterford or Arches in the cold or rough surface so this slick surface made a nice challenge.
These two birds are on  Arches 300gsm Hot Press. I like how vibrant the colours appear but its hard to be sure if its the surface alone, as I used some brighter pigments to my normal colour choices. I need more experiments.
I posted Mucky Duck on facebook on friday afternoon and received a phone call immediately asking to see it in the real in my studio on Saturday morning. I framed it up and so pleased to say it Sold - "quackest one ever"
Mucky Duck
28.5cm x 38cm

Much to See
Square 38cm

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Prolific Pays Off

This is the first time I can say that being a prolific painter has paid off. Today we set up a solo exhibition at Bremerton Wines in Langhorne Creek and because I did have a good amount of framed works I could say yes at short notice to The Kensi Hotel (where I have been part of a show for August) who asked if I would like to have my watercolours remain at the hotel for another couple of months. As I did not want it to be just animals I was able to make a selection of new works for them and still have sufficient for my solo show. At Bremerton Wines I have included quite a few unframed works too. The timing for both shows is excellent as soon we head away for 5 weeks and all these paintings would have been on the walls in my studio with the door locked. I haven't painted for a few days now so hopefully will get into my now very empty looking studio tomorrow.

Today at Bremerton Wines

The Kensi Hotel
September and October

Saturday, 29 August 2015

When an Image Coo's to You

When an image that's not yours calls to you or as in this case Cooing! to me, I find a way of making it uniquely mine knowing that other artists may also use the reference to create their art.
If you are a realist painter and paint exactly what you see and exact colours this might be hard to come up with something original but for artists like me who use expressive brush marks, texture and my own colour choices and not forgetting the fact that watercolour does some unique work all on its own, an Original piece of art is guaranteed. Thank you to Ruth Archer for sharing her fabulous image on Paint My Photo.

Pigeon Hole
31cm x 40cm

Monday, 24 August 2015

Pushing It Further when the Stakes are High

I have so many watercolour paintings that I am pleased with but I am starting to think at the finish of each, could I have pushed further?. For some I should have been more bold in colour or chosen a different palette and then for some I feel the need to just go for it even though I like the finished work . I am thinking well I have dozens of works I like so what do I have to lose but try pushing further.
The thing is though is to push further on works that are already OK rather than something that isn't because the stakes are high, the adrenalin works overtime and there is the thrill of the risk.

Remember When
Mixed Media on 425gsm Saunders Waterford CP
56cm x 42cm
Remember When was finished as a straight out watercolour of three seniors chatting. I was really pleased with my observation of their skin and think I did capture their story. It stayed overnight on my easel, already photographed as a finished piece but next day I thought it was just another people painting so what could I do to push more from it. I added vintage collage from a 1949 newspaper, a bus ticket and other old bits and then added darker colours and used a stencil to lift out pigment. Can you see the elephant stamp I added?. Now it really does tell a story.

Being happy with how it turned out I decided to un frame another people work - Voice and Violin and spice it up too. It hadn't got much response from studio visitors the past three weeks but after the changes I noticed people did look and comment on it.
Both works are now watercolour and collage so basically mixed media but I have so many dozens and dozens of pure watercolour that using additives gives me thrill and fun.
I can show the before and after on this work because luckily I kept the old image.

Voice and Violin
Mixed Media on 425gsm Saunders Waterford
56cm x 42cm

Monday, 17 August 2015

Shows and More Shows

Wow August is a long month with five weekends this year. Our big arts festival SALA is half way through, I have my animals paintings up at The Kensi Hotel and of course in my own little studio/gallery in Goolwa.
I have managed to paint during the weekends when my studio is open for visitors and am mostly happy with my paintings even though they were a very much stop and start process but it has been lovely talking to visitors and discussing my process with them.
At the end of the festival I will be choosing works for a solo exhibit at Bremerton Wines in Langhorne Creek where they will be from September 2nd to October 26th and I also have three paintings to be included in the Adelaide Art Society Winter exhibition which runs for three weekends finishing Sept. 13th.
I'm glad I have a big collection of framed works to go around.

That Time of  Day
28.5cm x 38cm
 on 300 gsm Saunders Waterford Paper

This little work is inspired by one of talented Ruth Archers photographs on Paint My Photo, I used artistic licence to add, subtract and pick my own colours but I really identified with this image. This is just how I feel by the end of most painting days around 3.30pm.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Tell a Story

Recently I found some faces for reference from Pixabay. My first intention was to paint this child's face in grey monochromatic values and tell the story in the background using colour.
I painted during my Open Studio event on Saturday and by the time 4 o'clock closing time had arrived I was just about finished. The little chap looked a bit ghost like left in grey so I stayed in the studio for another hour adding colour to his face too. The background is entirely from imagination and perfect for the title of the work.

Early Learning
Saunders Waterford Medium 300gsm
42cm x 32cm

Friday, 7 August 2015

SALA - a great start

28.5cm x 38cm on Saunders Waterford CP 300gsm
Wow its just one week into our big SALA Arts festival here with four more weekends of open studio to go. I had some lovely visitors last weekend and a painting of fresh berries now has a red sticker attached so that was good.

Last night was the opening of the exhibition at The Kensington Hotel where I have 8 of my animal works on show and three other artists have abstracts, portraits and photography. It was a fabulous opening and I came home thrilled with 3 sales - Zebra, Emu and Meerkats. Lovely comments from attendees so a really good night.

I took a day out on Tuesday to visit some other local SALA exhibits and other social events have kept me out of the studio practically all week. I have at last done a bit of pre drawing on two works that I can paint during this weekends open studio. Besties was painted last weekend in between talking with visitors.

8 works from my All Creatures Great and Small Collection on Show

Delighted with the opening at The Kensington Hotel

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

By Myself

The delight of a toddler on his first bike, staying on all by himself and such a special bike - its RED
By Myself
Saunders Waterford 425gsm - bright white cold press paper
40cm x 32cm
This work presented me with new challenges:
1. Painting a child from a black and white photo and getting the values to read right
2. Keeping a perfectly clean white background, tricky as I painted the bike first so any water drips
and the red would certainly have left its mark, I used greaseproof paper to lean on as I usually manage to add colour off my wet sleeve as I work around a painting.

This painting along with all my latest are included in the rehang of my studio ready for SALA - South Australias biggest arts festival which starts at the end of the week and runs right through August. I have open studio each weekend 1-4pm and am also in a group show at The Kensington Hotel, Regent Street Kensington. I will be painting during the open studio times as visitors love to see artists in action.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Game On

The title for this latest watercolour "Game On" also describes the hive of activity I have going on in my studio right now. The gallery end is not in its usual neat as a pin state as I have framing materials, finished works, all laying about as I decide what gets framed and where does it fit on the walls as the game is on very soon when the SALA (South Australian  Living Artists) festival starts in just 11 days time.. By far my biggest angst at the moment is not creating works but choosing what goes in my city exhibition and what stays here in Goolwa, I keep changing my mind.  I recently ordered 10 new frames in varying sizes and have filled 8 already, I have ordered 4 more and two of those already have works painted ready to go in them. The framing costs are the most expensive part of this fabulous hobby so when I sell a few framed works it certainly helps balance the books a bit and of course make room to frame more.
I am inspired by the wonderful images shared by generous photographers around the world and the reference source for this dog came via Pixabay a place where very good quality images are available for artists without copyright issues but the challenge is of course to create a painting that becomes uniquely yours.

Game On
on Saunders Waterford 425gsm
38cm x 28.5cm

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Message Received

This Tuesday was the last day for students in an 8 week course in my studio and I am not doing any more teaching until the new year as I have three exhibitions in August, a solo show and a group show in January to paint towards. I am a prolific artist and could easily show from many in my collection but I always like to have my latest and greatest so I just keep painting.

This work was inspired by a photo of old hands and a pigeon, it was in greyscale only but I knew the moment I saw it that it would make a special painting. It has been on my to do list for quite some weeks but I took my time in deciding how to use the kindly shared image to create a work that was uniquely mine. I felt emotionally charged throughout the painting process which I did over three days and must admit after the first two hours of painting I was going to abandon it as a bad start. Leaving it over night,  I felt so glad I left it on my easel to see when I walked in the next morning and being recharged and with fresh eyes I knew exactly where it was taking me.

Message Received
Watercolour on 425gsm Saunders Waterford CP
56cm x 43cm

Friday, 3 July 2015

Combining Reference Images

A few years back we went on a river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam.  I have a good file of professionally shot photos from this holiday as Ray, a fellow traveller kindly gave me a few hundred from the few thousand he took throughout the trip. His images have been shot at a standard I could not have done so I get the best of both here , memories of our holiday and photographed by someone who knows what he is doing.
One night some local entertainers came aboard our river boat and performed for us. I have used two of Rays images to create this work. Each entertainer had been photographed separately but together I had a my story to convey.

Voice and Violin
Watercolour on 425 gsm Saunders Waterford Medium
56cm x 43cm