OUTBACK WORKSHOP 2

NITMILUK – KATHERINE GORGE

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Nitmiluk National Park features a massive gorge carved through layers of sandstone by the Katherine River

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You can hire a canoe or take a boat cruise up the gorge. We had a guide with a good knowledge of the local geology, vegetation and cultural history, which gave us a better appreciation of the gorge.

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Ancient rock art is scattered throughout the gorge

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Dry season exposes sandy beaches and great swimming holes, once the saltwater crocs have been removed

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This little guy watched on, amused, as we painted on the banks of the river.

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Nitmiluk demonstration watercolor

OUTBACK WORKSHOP 1

DARWIN, KAKADU, KATHERINE

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We arrived back in Darwin, put our vehicle into storage and met Amanda and Gordon, our tour guides, at the Mindil Beach Markets. After wandering  around and watching the sun set into the ocean, we all headed back into the city for dinner.

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Monday, the 26 people that form our group got to know each other over drinks on the balmy veranda of the Holiday Inn.

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Tuesday, our first painting day,  we headed down to Government House , spread ourselves out on the rolling lawns opposite, and filled in the morning painting under the shade of a banyan tree.

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The afternoon was hot, so we found a shady spot opposite our hotel and painted the fringe of vegetation between us and the Arafura Sea

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Off to Kakadu and three days at Cooinda Lodge, Our coach driver had a tremendous knowledge of the aboriginal people of the area, having lived and worked with them over the years, He took us around Nourlangie and filled us in on many of the aboriginal customs and beliefs.

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Nourlangie

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Whistling Ducks – Yellow Waters. Except for the fact that these guys are walking around, they are the most artificial looking animal I have ever seen. They don’t  like getting wet either, happy just to stand beside the water.

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We watched this Croc cruise past our boat accompanied by a large Barramundi with a death wish.

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Red Lillys – It may not look like it, but every bit is edible!

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Pair of Jabiru (Male with dark eye)

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Cruising Black Cockatoo – they fly slowly in formation like a flock of B52’s on a mission.

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Wetland Waterlilies

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In the afternoon heat, an old Akubra in front of our lodge was a more comfortable option for a painting subject. Just so things didn’t become too comfortable, we limited ourselves to just two colours.

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Home Billabong at Cooinda Lodge was dotted with shady clearings looking across the water – great places to paint.

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Home Billabong – Cooinda

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If this little fellow hadn’t hopped, we would never have seen him

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South Alligator River, meandering across the wetlands

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Arnhemland Escarpment

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Ranger Uranium Mine

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South to Katherine

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Gold rush architecture, Pine Creek NT

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Another shady Banyan tree, this time in Katherine

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Some transparent watercolor washes and a lot of pale Ultramarine Gouache made this demo a lot of fun.

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Splashes of Alizarin, ink marks, charcoal pencil lines and fine rigger strokes suggest a lot of complicated detail without being too descriptive.

WATERCOLOR WINDMILL

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Outside the town of Batchelor, we camped under a huge old Southern Cross windmill. The kind that turn and creak at the slightest breath of wind.

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I started to sketch it but every time I looked up the wind had changed and it looked completely different. I decided to ignore what it looked like from where I sat and draw it square on from in front.

Once it had shifted around a few times I had enough information to disregard perspective and make the drawing flat and mechanical.

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The initial drawing was done with Charcoal pencil, then washes of indigo and Burnt Sienna were put in fairly loosley with a 1″ and 1/4″ flat brush. The windmill was old and coated with rust and grease. I wanted the sketch to give the impression of reliability while indicating the wear and tear of a hard life.

Burnt Sienna ink lines were added then the drawing was broken up slightly with washes and splashes of White  Gouache.

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This detail shows the Burnt Sienna ink lines, some left hard and sharp, others sprayed and softened with a mist of water. You can also see lines of white charcoal pencil adding to the detail and loose splashes of White Gouache.

These mechanical subjects are a lot of fun to paint. You can fill them with atmosphere and character, saying more about their life and function than their actual appearance.