A workshop in Blackall and another spread between Longreach and Winton saw us load up the truck and head off to central Queensland for six weeks. The country was incredibly green after all the rain and flooding. Many roads were still closed and venturing off the bitumen was a slippery, muddy exercise.
Silos on the road to Roma
This old pub at Wallumbilla looks less than inviting soaked in rain and surrounded by mud, but the local graziers couldn’t be happier.
Retirement green confusion – Morvan.
Early morning – Morven waterhole
Disused railway crane – Morven
Camping out of Tambo was a little tricky – where there wasn’t grass there was thick, sticky mud.
Sunrise through a layer of fog, Tambo
Union Hotel Blackall – still sells cold beer, but not much else
The weekly cattle sale in Blackall saw some fat’ healthy cattle, happy sellers and not so happy re-stockers.
Lisa and Bruce, from one of the big sheep stations out of Blackall, invited us out to see the end of the shearing.
These guys work flat out, fired up by loud, fast music, high demand and and a competitive attitude.
Shearing their way through several thousand sheep is hard, back breaking work.
Ancient Technology from the Isisford Picture Theatre.
Drowned caravans camped in the Barcoo River, Isisford. Ignore the locals at your peril.
An empty paddock next to the old Langenbaker House in Ilfracombe made a great place to paint
DC3 at the Qantas Museum Longreach
Retired Catalina at the Qantas Museum
Before the workshop in Winton, Dianne and I went out to the clay pans at Bladensburg to find a painting location
Willy Mar’s old market garden store, Winton
We painted Willy Mar’s old truck (now up on blocks next to his old market garden and store.
We spent a morning in the old Bladensburg woolshed painting the ancient wool press.
This was the demonstration painting I did. (Couldn’t help using Phthalo Green!)
Looking west towards Winton – an unusual sea of lush, green grass
At the Winton Dinosaur Centre, volunteers work tirelessly separating rock from fossil to reconstruct the skeletons of dinosaurs.
After the Winton workshop Dianne and I headed back out to Bladensburg to camp and watch the sun go down.
Heading east, we found this lake with amazing sunsets and fantastic birdlife.
Our camp, just visible from the top of a nearby hill
Over the past two weekends I held a couple of 2 day workshops here in my studio. A lot of people, due to work commitments, find it hard to attend the 5 day workshops. We had an enthusiastic group both weekends and managed to do a lot of painting in between chatting, drinking coffee and eating cakes. The demonstration paintings below show a couple from each workshop.
This was the first painting we did in one of the workshops. A simple subject, but lots of interesting colors and textures. We used a mixture of watercolor, gouache, ink, charcoal and inktense pencil.
Here I chose a more complicated subject, but broke it down into simple shapes, then went to town with the different colors and textures. The first washes were watercolor over charcoal lines, then gouache, ink and pastel were added. the intense blue of the boat hulls is Ultramarine Gouache.
Another complicated subject treated in a simple way – playing around with washes while holding on to a clean, high contrast focal area.
This was the first demo in the second workshop. Again a simple subject with plenty of color and texture to play around with.
These workshops were a lot of fun and booked out very quickly, so we will run a couple more towards the end of the year. Mean time, there are still a few places left in the 5 day march workshops
Venice has to be one of the most spectacular painting destinations in Italy. Standing on Rialto bridge and looking down the Grand Canal feels more like watching a bizarre movie than experiencing a thriving city.
We arrived in the afternoon and were rapidly transported to our hotel by water taxi.
Leaving Marco Polo Airport by water taxi is a chaotic experience. 110 Euro from the airport to the city means the drivers are pretty serious about getting the job done quickly.
Churning through the back alleys en route to Accademia Bridge
Painting on the grand canal.
Early morning along the canals
The last gondola workshop in Venice was just around the corner from our hotel … and right opposite a great little bar.
Everything is delivered by barges along the canals
A late afternoon storm blackened the sky behind Santa Maria della Salute making for some great photos.
Evening drinks along the waterfront
Interpreti Veneziana were performing at the San Vidal Church, 5 minutes from our hotel. Italian Baroque played with passion and enthusiasm – a fantastic night.
Burano is famous for its lace making, but I think this guy is mending a fishing net.
During the last workshop we experimented with a technique that produces interesting results if it doesn’t drive you mad first. The idea is to start with a background wash, draw the shapes of stones, leaves and twigs onto it, then, with a slightly darker tone fill in all the negative spaces. More leaves, twigs etc are then drawn into the darker negative areas and the negative spaces around the new shapes is made slightly darker. This incremental darkening is done 3-4 times then the shapes are modeled, ink and pastel lines are added, colors splashed on and gesso washes are used to simplify areas.
The process is a lot of fun and often triggers interesting ideas. The example below was done as a demo on aluminium composite panel primed with watercolor gesso. The heavy vertical marks were masked up and painted over the top with more watercolor gesso then the tones were adjusted.
These next images give an idea of the build up using negative shapes.
Once you get the hang of it this can be great fun. The subject can be any reasonably defined object – tools, utensils, paint brushes, pencils – anything that can layer one over the other.