Conversations with Anne Spivey

I recently met with artist Anne Spivey, an emerging talent inspired to capture a variety of different subjects, including some lovely landscapes with pastels.

Anne lives in Alberta, Georgia in America with her husband and so we scheduled an afternoon her time, to meet over Zoom and discuss her work and journey as an artist.

It was great to hear Anne’s philosophy when it comes to using quality products and entering competitions as well. I came away feeling inspired and determined to tackle a rather large box of brand new pastels, and a old tupperware box full of bits and pieces I inerhited from one of my favourite Aunties. I will pack them up and take them with me on my next ‘en plein air’ trip, I just need to go and get some good paper, such as one of the brands mentioned by Anne.

There are lots of good tips along with numerous names of some of the top pastel artists in America that have inspired and encouraged Anne mentioned in both videos, so I hope you enjoy as I much as I did, listening to this down to earth generous and naturally gifted artist. It was a great pleasure hearing her stories, seeing her embracing her work with such committment and exploring her website as well.

Storytelling in Watercolour

Recently, I met with a very humble, talented and powerful story telling watercolour artist called Paul Subhajit. Paul lives with his family in Assam, India and agreed to be interviewed by me in a two part series sharing some of his work. In our first interview Paul graciously shared a little of his journey and background about why he started to learn to paint. He talked about his winning an art competition at a very young age and how that and other influences in his life, cemented his passion and commitment to learn more.

Paul is naturally curious about his painting subjects and aligns his philosophy for living a happy and stress-free life, embracing both simplicity and honesty. Inspired to paint a variety of subjects, Paul also enjoys the challenge of painting water, rivers and waterfalls. He paints every chance he gets, venturing out mostly on weekends on his motorcycle to the countryside and nearby villages/States.

In part 2 of my interview with Paul, he shared more of the story behind his paintings, explaining how he injects the spirit and the culture, traditions, people’s lifestyle and their hardships. I hope you enjoy these two interesting and fun interviews with Paul, one of the most passionate watercolour artists I’ve met, one worth following!

Artists and Their Gardens

I like to travel and explore gardens and I have number yet to be visited on my bucket list.

As a passionate gardener and oil and watercolour artist, I find lots of inspiration in gardens and nature. Mine is an Australian bush garden that is designed to attract our native bees and birds. We have planted about 300 trees and now I’m on a mission to get even more rare and interesting natives, as I feel like I never have enough.

I’m about to paint a bunch of bearded Irises that were given to me a couple of weeks ago by my wonderful neighbour. Mine have not yet bloomed so I’m off to capture these wonderful display flowers in their glass vase. If you know of any wonderful artists and their gardens or gardens that inspired their paintings, please feel free to let me know so I can share them on this special page.

Handy Art Calendar

I try to keep track of the various art award closing and entry dates, but have found this can be tricky to juggle, especially if you are busy painting in your studio most of the time. So I created a handy list of well known and celebrated Art Award/Competitions and Prizes, including both Australian and International events and exhibitions as well.

For those artists out there who may be thinking of entering a competition, I hope you enjoy checking out my ‘Public’ Google calender at ArtWithSylvie which is easy to navigate and aims to provide you with the relevant website links and details for what’s coming up. Note dates may change from time to time, especially due to Covid 19 so it is highly recommended you check out the event calendar notes and website details for yourself.

Happy painting!

Conversations with Australian watercolour artist Heidi Willis

I recently learnt a great deal about the special and talented Australian born natural history watercolour artist and tutor, Heidi Willis. ‘The ‘Earthen Artist’

Heidi demonstrated her incredible dedication, discipline and focus needed to complete many of her highly sought after, painting commissions for botanical illustrations and birds. It was a joy to meet Heidi who was extremely generous, down to earth and knowledgeable in her sharing her work. After spending many hours researching her subjects, she always applies a ‘beginner’s mindset’, seeking to improve each and every stroke in her exquisitely detailed paintings.

Heidi shared her personal journey and how she follows her passion and dedication for illustrating native and exotic plants, flowers, fruits and seed capsules, as well as spectacular bird life around the world. Her work both inspires and offers great insights into the natural world as she experiences it. Hope you enjoy this interview and as I have take away some great thinking and new learning.

Conversation with April Rimpo in her studio painting cyclists with watercolour

I was recently had that ‘fly on the wall‘ experience watching a bunch of cyclists come to life in watercolour. I joined celebrated artist April Rimpo in her studio, in Maryland USA via zoom to watch her work. April paints a vast and varying number of subects using either liquid acrylics and or watercolour, or both. In this conversation with April, or short film, April takes us through how she prepares and works on, one of her favourite painting subjects, which is cyclists.

I thought it was particularly interesting to learn how April merge photos in photoshop and transports her subjects to new locations and or in this case, merges her subjects into a new painting capturing the movement and light.

April presents and fames her painting, not behind glass, but rather in an entirely new and interesting approach when exhibiting her delicate work of watercolour. So I hope you enjoy this short video and if you do please feel free to share it or leave a comment.

Captured Moments with artist Chan Dissanayake

On a brisk and foggy winter’s morning on Lake Burley Griffen in Canberra, our nations capital city. I was perched on the bank with my new trusty Canon M50 to film Master Watercolourist Chan Dissanayake painting ‘en plein air’.

We kicked off about 8.30am and yet the fog was so thick that we had to wait, as you could barely see across the water to the distance view of the National Library of Australia.

Slowly but surely the fog lifted on that chilly winter’s day and Chan was able to move his frozen fingers. It was a great spot with an almost 360 vantage point, from the city to the left of us, to the Lake’s fountain and the distinctive white Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, linking the city to the Parliamentary Circle, and the National Library on our right.

Chan set up his easel, paints and brushes and had to work quickly to capture the moments with the changing light and shadows across the water. Birds called out as cyclist, dragon boats and a multitude of joggers passing by. The water was every artists dream to paint, showcasing brilliant reflections of the historic over hanging Cedrus Atlantic trees and the old tour boat moored at the dock in the distance. On the right of Chan’s painting was the National Museum with its colourful red umbrellas leading down towards the water.

I have just now finished making a short film, in time I hope to showcase Chan’s talent and inspiration on that day. It was fantastic to be invited along and in a small way now able to assist in sharing Chan’s work. He has his upcoming Exhibition ‘Captured Moments’, opening tomorrow, Saturday the 12 September at the famous Bungendore Wood Works Gallery. I can’t wait to see the selection of paintings and hopefully, in the afternoon do a little more filming and some painting myself, as I surely will come away feeling extra inspired. I encourage you to make time in your diary for a visit to the Gallery and view Chan’s paintings, the Exhibition stays open till the 9th November. So I’ll see you there and or perhaps one day by the Lake doing some painting with my friend Chan. Please also feel free to share this special post on your social media and or leave your feedback, if you would like to learn more about Chan and his work.

Conversations with Paula Mitchell Painting ‘En Plein Air’

Excited to say I’ve finished editing version one of my interview with UK artist Paula Mitchell painting ‘en plein air’ near her home in Hampshire. Paula shares her journey and we get to see how she works and the wonderful scene she picked to paint by the sea. In this video you will not see a demo, but rather hear and learn more about Paula, while if you like you can freeze a certain part of the video and use this for your painting along with the artist.

Most of the video was shot on Zoom and we used Paula’s phone also to capture what we could. The weather changed and it was times rather tricky to film, but we got there. So hoping you find some new insights and enjoy the work of this amazing landscape artist.

Artist Studios & Inspiring Gardens

I’ve been doing a little research on famous artists, their studios and gardens that inspired them. Interestingly I couldn’t find too many famous gardens that artists had created in Australia, not as many as I found in Europe anyway. You may be aware of some of these, in particular Monet’s garden at Giverney, France. Monet created a special garden and now historic site that inspired many of his painting including his now famous waterlillies.

In Australia I did find several gardens including the garden and studio of artist Arthur Streeton (1867-1943) at 15 RANGE ROAD OLINDA, Yarra Ranges Shire, known as ‘Longacres“. Streeton’s home included a gallery, a painting studio, a caretakers residence and several outbuildings in an informal garden on about 5 acres of land. To learn more, check out the helpful links I’ve added to a dedicated page on my website called Artists’ Studios & Inspiring Gardens. If you like this article please feel free to share this on your social media page and or leave a comment about a famous artist’s garden you have visited.

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