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.
We have just finished two full on weeks of workshops in the studio. Some familiar faces and some new faces. This is the first time we have had a completely new group for the second week, so I thought it would be interesting to repeat some of the demonstrations with some variation.
These two landscapes based on recent photos from Western Queensland were started with transparent washes (Quinacridone Gold, Cobalt Blue and Permanent Rose) Then the trees and other details were added with more opaque mixtures of Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Quinacridone Gold. Graded washes were used on either side to create a band of light through the focal point, then various layers of gesso and White gouache glazes were worked through the sky and distance.
I have painted this Old house on Sydney Harbour from various angles and thought it would be a good workshop subject, having problems of symmetry and conflicting focal points to be sorted out.
I was surprised when we started drawing, to find that one of the students had lived in the flat behind the house back in the 70’s – when Brett Whitely lived and painted a little further around the bay.
These paintings were done with the same simple palette of Quinacridone Gold, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue and Permanent Rose. I also used Charcoal pencil, White Gouache, Gesso and Burnt Sienna Ink. The vibrant blue window in the top painting was painted with Ultramarine Gouache.
Not far from Venice is the small fishing port of Chioggia. These weather beaten trawlers make an interesting subject with their confusion of masts and rigging and the complicated backdrop of ancient buildings. The idea here was to suggest all the complicated detail without trying to carefully render it. We started with under washes of Permanent Rose and Aureolin and gradually built up detail over the tinted paper.
A different subject using the same transparent under wash technique. This time graded washes of Cobalt Blue and Permanent Rose formed the under wash.
Painting these Lorrikets was a lot of fun – balancing sharp detail with loose suggestion. The wings and much of the body were roughly washed in with an old 1/2″ bristle brush. Detail was built up around the head and body with a 1/4″ flat brush and a #1 rigger. Finally the wings were attacked with gesso and a white charcoal pencil to get a feeling of movement.
Everyone enjoyed painting these rocks and sapplings. The purpose was to shuffle around the source material to create an interesting composition, then to build up textures and depth with watercolor, gouache, ink, charcoal pencil and Gesso. We used a number of techniques – splashing, splattering and spraying to build up the textures and gesso glazes to soften and push back the distance.
Another exercise in rearranging the subject. This time a soft abstract foreground to lead the eye into the focal point of trees and buildings.
So thanks to everyone that attended the workshops and thanks to Dianne for the mighty cakes – back to dry biscuits now!
Down the road from Chateau de la Fleunie, where we spent the last week of our workshop in France, were two pigs penned up and being fattened by the local farmer. They were like a pair of friendly dogs – running around and getting into as much trouble as possible in their small wire enclosure.
I’ve been looking forward to painting them since we arrived home. They look so pink and meaty – just like bacon running around. They have no idea of hygiene, make amazing grunting sounds and seem really happy locked up in a tiny wire pen. I’m sure they’d make better pets than breakfast.
Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Blue and, in the background, Phthalo Blue. Opaque washes of tinted White Gouache were used to loose the back end and some scratchy white charcoal pencil marks break up the surface.