Setting Creative Goals for 2021

I spent much of 2020 either getting a few more important pieces of equipment set up for painting outdoors and organisting, meeting and then promoting the paintings a range of artists from around Australia and the world. I thoroughly enjoyed all my conversations with the artists, particularly those that were willing to share some footage of how they set up and go outdoors painting. I learnt so much from just reaching out and then making myself available to make short documentary films about their behind the scene stories and art work. So hoping to keep in touch and keep sharing these, where and when I can fit this in around my painting journey.

With the new year well underway I recognise how important it is to set some new and exciting creative challenges and habits going forward. Here are just a few keeping me inspired and growing. I would love to hear yours?

  1. Visit more galleries and look to having an art exhibition;
  2. Adding a large computer monitor to my studio. will be handy when using my watercolour reference images;
  3. Finish reading artists biographies about Arthur Streeton and Vermeer.
  4. Paint ‘en plein air’ twice a week, subject to good weather;
  5. Go exploring and landscape painting in the nearby Sydney, Monaro and the Blue Mountains regions
  6. Keeping sketching and improve my figurative and portraiture in graphite and oils.
  7. Find some inspiring portrait subjects

DM me if you are interested in connecting and or finding out more about me and or my painting SURFERS AT NOOSA HEADLAND 9″ x 12″ watercolour on 300 gsm rough paper (UNFRAMED).

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. https://www.annespiveyfineart.com/works

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!

Time To Play

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” Henri Matisse

On Tuesday the 5 May at 6.30pm, I joined as a co-host, the inaugural online workshop for Australian master watercolourist Chan Dissanayake. Joining his enthusiatic group of budding watercolour artists and on another evening the intermediate and advanced painting group we had immense fun. As both groups were eager and engaged, zooming in from their respective art studios from regional Australia to Ireland, the USA and NZ.

Chan as usual was very generous and patient. He used his gift of quickly making everyone feel at ease, encouraging lots of questions and discussion. I volunteered to help manage the Zoom technology, chatbox and housekeeping, while he concentrated on his painting and teaching. He also put a lot of thought into what painting models to use providing something new to explore each class. What’s more, he and I worked out a key feature of using his Zoom (not his students) to ‘spotlight’ and lock his screen on his painting, brushes and palette during the class.

What was the best thing? Apart from covering the key fundamentals of using watercolour and watching Chan’s demonstrate, we got time to play! Chan gently and skillfully led the group into commencing the first of many of painting exercises. He encouraged everyone to be bold and try new things. Whilst the class enjoyed watching Chan paint, from his tips on planning, to his spontaneous and free style of rapidly working carefully with the water on his brush and paper. Even more fun was having the dedicated time to play, experiment and learn by trial and error. This I know is the secret ingredient and essence of sustainable learning. So big thank you to Chan for reminding us of this and the importance of savouring the journey, not only the destination.

Head In The Clouds

“See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo.” Arthur Conan Doyle

On Sunday an international audience of students of watercolour painting gathered online to revel at the work of Australian Master watercolourist, Chan Dissanayake sharing a 1 hour FREE demonstration of painting clouds.

I was delighted to be invited to co-host the session, managing the Zoom side of things while Chan focused on his painting and sharing his insights into the process of creating a lasting impression of clouds. Chan explored how to search for and incorporate ‘lost and found’ edges, tones and perspective as well as composition and design always allowing for this extraordinary medium of watercolour to do its magical thing.

I was particularly enthralled at learning of and seeing, for the first time, the compelling work by Edward Brian (Ted) Seago (1910-1, 974), the self-taught English painter and his paintings . His paintings of clouds were magnificent and moving. o

Chan reminded us of the importance of artists using their senses to capture and translate impressions of nature, not copying purely what we see, but rather always considering what we feel, sense and desire to come through in our work. All in all a super practical and unique demonstration, with important lessons for how optimise the sponaneous medium of watercolour.