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
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.