In April we had two one week workshops in my studio. It was a lot of fun. We had students from all over the place – Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney, The Sunshine Coast, even Hamilton Island.

We worked hard and some great paintings were produced. It’s good to see students pick up momentum as the workshops progress. The first day or two are usually a little tentative, then, as every one relaxes and get to know one another, the paintings really start to improve. We all managed to do at least two 1/4 sheet paintings each day. I would demonstrate under a high definition camera hooked up to a large LCD screen, so everyone had a great view of what was happening. Being able to zoom right in on fine detail made it easy to pick up different techniques.

After the demo every one would work on their own paintings while I walked around giving advice and assistance where necessary.

We were spoiled with delicious cakes and slices courtesy of Dianne. I was just getting used to it then the workshop finished!

Hard at work

Landscape demo using French Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Quinacridone Gold and Permanent Alizarin.

In this demo we took a complicated subject, simplified it then worked detail over the simplified shapes. The sky and awnings were painted with pale ultramarine gouache (mixed from white and ultramarine gouache).

A similar subject, this time we launched into it with a big 1/2 inch bristle brush to make the main Ultramarine shapes then built the rest of the painting around these marks.

Again, using a 1/2 inch bristle brush, we reduced this subject to a few simple shapes. A broad, direct approach delivers just enough information to tell the story without the clutter of unnecessary detail.

This demo was an experiment with negative shapes. The leaves were built up layer by layer, painting the successively darker backgrounds and leaving the leaf  shapes exposed.



The three images below were an experiment using a watercolor Gesso on aluminium composite panel. The watercolor behaves in a completely different way to working on a paper surface. Pigment sits on the surface rather than soaking in. It is easily washed back or lifted off. I love the way the gesso brush strokes are exaggerated by the settling paint, and I also like the hard, dead flat surface to work on.

23 thoughts on “STUDIO WORKSHOP

  1. Hi john
    Was just telling someone yesterday what a great artist you are and what a fantastic week I had up there. All day to paint in such a relaxed environment – nothing else to think about.
    Fantastic. Loved every minute.
    Thanks again to you and Dianne – have made the Lumberjack cake many many times. Yum.

    • Hi Loi,
      Good to hear from you – Hope you are still busy painting.
      Have not had any Lumberjack cake since the workshop – will have to try and twist Diannes arm!

  2. Hi John,

    Doing a studio workshop with you is on the top of my bucket list! I love your style, techniques & talent. I look forward to Making a Splash each & everyone. I get happy when I see it come across my e-mail! Eye candy for me! Please keep inspiring me with your blog & talents!

  3. Hi John and Dianne – sounds like you had an amazing workshop! Just wish I was there. Am forwarding this link to my sister, Sue, so that she knows what to expect in France!

    See you then, Julienne

    • Hi Julienne,
      Looking forward to seeing you and meeting your sister in France.
      I have just seen photos of the Château we will be staying in – Fantastic, and the food, I’m told is wonderful!
      Should be a great workshop

  4. Aluminium composite panels – they sound interesting. I have been experimenting with watercolour canvas but would be interested to know where you get the aluminium panels from please.

    • Hi Mary – Lou
      The panels are used by sign writers and architects. They are a thin skin of aluminium either side of a polyethylene core.
      It is reasonably light weight, very rigid and can be ordered with a primed surface ready to paint with Gesso. Ask at a sign writer supplier.

  5. Dear John,
    I am blown away each time I see a new painting you made.
    For us, being on the other side of the globe, it would be very interesting to be able to learn from a new book or DVD, both announced a while ago.
    Is there any progress there in this direction?
    I know that you are sold-out but do you work on this or is it on hold?
    Thank you for all the valuable information and the paintings you share with us.
    Best regards,
    Zora, Slovenia, Europe

  6. WOW! What beautiful art you produce, John !

    I wish I was close so I could join your workshop, but I am in Texas, USA. Please come visit us here and teach us.

    • Thanks Barbara,
      Glad you like the work..
      Would love to visit Texas one day. We have a workshop in Wisconsin next month and another in Oregon a couple of weeks later (a long way from Texas, I know)
      Cheers John

    • Hi Linda,
      I have a book called Watercolor for the Fun Of It – Getting Started. Published by Northlight and available through Amazon
      I am currently working on another book which will be out around the end of the year. There is also my DVD splashingpaint which goes through all my techniques.

  7. You are such an inspiration John. I wish I could take your class in Wisconsin but am unable. I love your DVD and look forward to your upcoming book.

    • Hi Eve,
      Thanks for your comments.
      I’m hoping the book will be out by the end of the year

  8. ooooooh great going sire….ur painting simply inspire’s me to do something with painting….i use to paint a lot during my school…but somehow eventually i lost a grip to it…currently in my first year B.E engineering….life’s havoc…just stumbled on to your site….great to see artistry unflured in such a majestic way…i think somehow clogged my mind with everything …that i forgot to do things which made me happy…looking forward to paint and write poetry….free myself …!!!!

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