Calling Rural Artists

Dedicating some time twice a month, during the daytime, to painting and sketch with other likeminded artists can be enormously rewarding, not to mention a great way to improve your skills. Art appreciatioin, life drawing, painting, sketching and en plein air events will be both refreshingly relaxing and fun.

If you are interested in connecting and painting or sketching with other artist also living in rural NSW, I’ve organised a ‘Rural Artist Painting and Sketching Group’ ‘(‘RAPS’) to meet in the Wamboin Community Hall.

We meet twice a month and bring our brown paper bag lunches with us. Morning tea and coffee provided, you just need to bring your own cup. We also have some wonderful special guest artists joining us for quality fireside coffee/tea art discussions and demonstrations.

So if you live in rural or regional NSW, are a beginner or an advanced artist you are welcome to join us for some social art networking and painting/sketching. Note these are not classes or lessons, but you will be painting or sketching alongside some super friendly and experienced artists.



Oil on Board, 68.5 x 57cm.

“I recently sat down to paint this swelling creek at Bowral, or should I say half way between Bowral and Mossvale. On a sunny, warm summers day, I gazed across the field of wild grasses and this startled wild duck in flight. It reminded me of the beautiful words in Lola Ridge’s poem, so I thought I’d share this with you P.S. My first ever painting of a wild Australian duck!”

Below is an excerpt of this poem…

“…How at dawn the necks of wild ducks 
Arch to the sun 
And new-mown air 
Trickles sweet in their gullets. 

As water, cleared of the reflection of a bird 
That has lately flown across it, 
Yet trembles with the beating of its wings, 
So my soul . . . emptied of the known you . . . utterly . . . 
Is yet vibrant with the cadence of the song…”

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).

Journeying with Arthur Streeton

Streeton Exhibition – 7 Nov 2020 – 14 Feb 2021

Limited number of timed tickets now available for extra sessions: 8-10am Friday-Sunday, 5-10pm Saturday. If you already have an untimed ticket, it is valid at any time.

Last week I travelled back to see the Arthur Streeton Exhibition for the second time. The exhibition was curated by the talented Wayne Tunnicliffe at the NSW Art Gallery. I listened to an interview on the internet with Wayne before entering.

What a fabulous once in a lifetime experience, although I did get a big shock on seeing the long queue at the entrance of the Gallery. The great thing was that I had an untimed ticket, only AUS $22. It was last Thursday 4th February, was able to enter in and out of the gallery as many times as I wished. I stepped out for a very brief lunch in the Gallery Cafe and then again for afternoon tea with a new watercolour art buddy. I rushed back into view all 150 of the wonderful paintings. The afternoon was much quieter with lots of room to sit and observe.

Many people started their experience by watching the film on a large screen at the opening of the exhibition, but I charged in with much excitement, as I knew I could watch the film on the NSW Gallery’s website anytime and often if I needed to, as I didn’t want to waste any time not actually viewing the paintings. I had purchased the book ‘Streeton’ (AUS$ 59.95) about the Exhitibion on my first visit – the opening day in November 2020. I carefully zoned in on many of the works that were especially brought into the gallery for the exhibition and that I might never get the chance again to experience in my lifetime. I had my trusty sketch book with me, taking copious notes along with sketches on the structuring and lighting that Steeton used in his work.

My favourite paintings, and it is hard to pick any favourites as they are all so good and some mesmerisingly amazing, was the Still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide’ 1890 (detail) with a close tie to ‘Golden Summer, Eaglemont‘ and ‘Spring 1890‘. These all reminding me of the beautiful landscape and summers I had growing up on the farm at Gundaroo, NSW Australia. I actually did an oil study some years back on Streeton’s ‘The River 1896’ and gifted this to my little brother James only recently. ‘Impression for Golden summer’ c 1888 was just as good as the larger work and every painting as beautifully framed. I had the audio guide which I used via my iphone and floated along all day, with new ideas and learning buzzing in my brain.

I was impressed and taken away all in the same breath with Streeton’s detailed and delicate watercolour paintings. He used some lovely variaged washes and hinted as well as detailed strokes to include his figures, be they in the distance, middle and or foreground. ‘Surveyor’s Camp 1896 ‘, ‘Summer noon, Hawkesbury River’ were just two fine examples of his eye for the subtle tones and skill in capturing a mood.

So it goes without saying I highly recommend seeing the exhibition before it closes. Also everyone should get on line and order the book, it is worth every penny.

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!

Finding the Golden Zone – Conversations with Artist Paula Mitchell

I’ve been avidly watching on my Fox Arts channel the UK Sky Arts ‘Landscape Artist of the Year 2019’ series and have been enthralled to find a number of outstanding artists that really impressed me with their unique styles and excellent landscape paintings. Paula Mitchell was one of those artists. She also had in my view one of the most fantastic submission oil painting entitled, ‘Ryde Beach’. I got in touch with Paula on Zoom and managed to view many of her wonderful oil landscape paintings in her home studio while exploring her ‘behind the scenes’ insights into how to use her oils, her drive for painting landscapes as well as what it was really like painting in the Sky Arts’ program.

This two part interview with Paula, presents a number of her recent paintings and her personal journey along with some excellent tips for painting in oils. Paula captures the light and tones in her landscapes so well, be they on her doorstep, garden greenhouse or out in the countryside where she lives in Hampshire England. One thing that really resonated for me was hearing Paula describe her being in the moment as she goes through her life. Paula lives this philosophy with a passion and a focus when looking for her next painting subject, thinking “I want to have a go at that”. I think this is a profound reminder for any artist, particularly in this time of Covid 19 and the lockdown, to always be thinking in the moment particularly when painting as our next subject could be right under our feet each morning.

I really enjoyed chatting and having a laugh with Paula while she generously shared how she works, structuring the composition of her oil paintings, including a number of her recent lockdown works both powerfully simply and beautifully painted. I hope you enjoy this two part interview AWS series which not only gives you an insight into Paula’s work but her indepth experience as a contestant in the Sky Art’s Landscape Artist of the Year 2019. To all those aspiring and experienced oil painters, watch this space as I and Paula will also shortly share an ‘immersive en plein airpaint-along experience‘ in our next upcoming AWS behind the scenes video together. I wish you many happy mindfulness painting hours during this ongoing lockdown period. I’m also looking for more subscribers on my You Tube Channel, so if you can share this video with a fellow artist and or enthusiast or on your social media that would be much appreciated.

The Job of the Artist – Conversations with Ben Winspear

‘The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery”, Francis Bacon

Chatting to professional oil painter, watercolourist and more recently sculptor, Ben Winspear was intrigueing and fun. I had the good fortune of meeting with Ben and viewing his wide variety of painting subjects from hauntingly beautiful figures, landscapes to still life abstracts.

Ben is passionate about painting the Australian landscape and his paintings are powerful stories presented via a blend of representational realism and the abstract. What I particularly admire is Ben’s thinking behind his work using a sensitive approach to the treatment of light and dark ‘Chiaroscuro’ which combined to take the viewer on a journey of reflection and discovery.

Ben has been painting professionally for over 21 years and is a third generation artist. He works in his Melbourne, Australian studio and loves to paint outdoors. Ben is also an art teacher and he shared with me during this interview a few really good tips for students of art and also those budding art teachers out there. For example, one of a few great take aways I found in my conversation with Ben, was to remember to stop and look at my paintings early in the making and ask the question “Is it finished?” If it looks abstract that’s okay as it could be fininshed and possibly help to create some mystery.

One of Ben’s favourite quotes is by Francis Bacon, Irish-born figurative painter, philosopher and statesman who once said ‘The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery”. This and other quotes Ben uses to fuel and inspire his student’s creativity and thinking. So I hope you enjoy learning more about Ben and if you do, please don’t forget to subscribe and hit the like button. Enjoy the journey!

Studio Tour with Artist Catherine Sim

Catherine Sim is an Australian born professional artist who enjoys painting landscapes in oils and watercolour. Catherine is a graduate from the Sydney Fine Art College – Sydney University. Catherine studio is in Sydney and due to Covid 19 lockdown I met with Catherine via Zoom. She showed me around her studio which is a well lite space with many of her latest works displayed.

2019 Catherine was honoured as a finalist in the prestigeous Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize in the ‘Emerging Artist‘ category with her painting of the Monaro – 30 x 40cm on oil panel. I loved this brilliant work showing Catherine skills in capturing the Australian windswept landscape in the region between Cooma and the NSW South Coast region, where she likes to paint. This is a beautiful spot for many artists to ply their trade. Catherine mainly paints ‘en plein air‘ or outdoors and she talked about her paintings and upcoming exhibition as well. Cathine uses a small Guerrilla Pochade Painter box where she stores her paints and paintings safely when traveling, which I got see up close when Catherine came to visit and paint a spot I found by a river, which we both loved for a filming session , except for the icy breeze that day.

During this interview with Catherine, we got talking about artist residencies and Catherine’s recent residency stay at Kandos, NSW art retreat. (Image below). I really enjoyed chatting with Catherine and was inspired by her work, her bubbly energy and focus on her painting each day. ‘Getting on the artists metaphorical mat‘ which I need to do much more, and some simple things anyone can do to stimulate new thinking and be working, even if they don’t feel like picking up a brush, but they are researching looking at an art book or listening to a podcast on art. Catherine reminded me that it all counts. Another great and inspiring interview where I picked up lots of tips and ideas, so thanks to Catherine and I hope you enjoy this short video. Don’t forget to click on the subscribe button on my You Tube Chanel, so you don’t miss out on the next interview coming up.

Introducing fine artist Nicolas Szuhodovszky

I first discovered the work of the Swedish born artist Nicolas Szuhodovszky on his Instagram page and recently enjoyed a short interview with him via Zoom video conferencing in his home in Budapest, Hungary.

Nicolas is a representational artist and his style comes from a classical figurative and realist tradition. Nicolas studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. Nicolas studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest.

In this video Nicolas shared a number of his paintings and told me that he also has a multitude of new works on the go as we waits for the layers of paint to dry. Apart from painting with oils for many years, Nicolas also uses pastels and in my view is brilliant at capturing the life quality of his subjects, the light that covers and surrounds them as well as the narrative behind each work.

From this introductory video, I also learnt a little more about Nicolas and his passion for painting a wide variety of subjects, including landscapes, portraits, still-life, portraits, fantastical, mythological and many other unique and original ideas. Please feel free to checkout Nicolas’ paintings on his instagram page @szuhodovart and if you enjoyed this video please remember to click the ‘Like’ button and the ‘Bell’ symbol for more ‘behind the scenes’ updates and interviews with artists around the world.