Like to do a painting workshop in Outback Queensland?
Join me for a great 5 day workshop hosted by the Blackall Cultural Association.
29th July – 3rd August 2014

Limited numbers, so book early.


Out There… with John Lovett
29th July – 3rd August 2014
Blackall, Queensland

Details and Booking form



Here are some of the demo paintings from the Tasmanian workshop.

Bicheno bay

Cray Boats moored in the bay at Bicheno – Gesso, Gouach and Phthalo Blue


Further around the bay at Bicheno are rock formations covered in brilliant orange lichen

Coles Bay

Old boat sheds at Coles Bay made a great subject – interrupted briefly by the retrieval of a dozen yellow kayaks paddled into the bay.

cradle mtn

Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain is a spectacular sight. We were lucky to be able to paint it – the mountains are usually blanketed in thick fog.


Hobart Waterfront – watercolor, ink, gesso and gouache


Macquarrie Harbour from the hotel balcony, Strahan.


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 Houses

Burano is famous for its lace making, but I think this guy is mending a fishing net.


For the last two weeks I have been busy conducting a workshop looking at selecting, manipulating and extracting the most from a painting subject. It was a lot of fun, but we worked hard – doing a couple of paintings each day and squeezing in a few critique sessions, where we examined everybodys work and discussed various problems and solutions.

Studio Workshop John Lovett Nov 2011

It is always a pleasure meeting new students and catching up with students from previous workshops. One of our new students for the second week was Carol and her assistant, Kim. What an inspiring lady – taking up watercolor a couple of years ago after a severe car accident ended her career as a lawyer and left her a quadriplegic. Forgetting about her disability, the standard of her paintings is excellent, but to see how she has overcome so many physical hurdles to produce the work she does is just amazing. On top of this, she is determined to keep on improving and works hard to that end.

Thumbnail sketches and simple monochrome collages were used to simplify and rearrange our subjects.

The demonstration paintings below illustrate some of the techniques we explored.

Manipulating a large foreground to lead up to a focal point while not causing a distraction.

Creating depth with hard and soft edges

Flat Ultramarine gouache used to squeeze more vibrancy from the warm, transparent watercolor.

Confining detail and using empty space as an element in the painting.

Practicing the random placement of suggestive abstract marks

Blitz Truck Watercolor


Sometimes an unusual subject will free you up to try new techniques.

Making a strong focal point in what was a flat uniform facade.

Starting loosly with a big brush and no preliminary drawing, then adding detail as the painting progresses.

Experimenting with techniques to break up a symetrical subject.


After a week in Paris we flew to Marseilles to meet up with the people on our workshop. It was great to catch up with friends from previous workshops and meet up with the new students. A coach took us to our luxury hotel, Le Piggonet, on the outside of the old town of Aix en Provence.

The hotel was a beautiful old building set in magnificent gardens. We could have happily spent a week painting in the gardens, but the town of Aix had a lot to offer so we split our painting time between the hotel and the town.

Le Piggonet

Hotel Gardens

Painting in the Hotel gardens

Dining at Le Piggonet

Flower markets Aix en Provence

Street Markets

We were introduced to some fantastic restaurants in the town. One of our students lived in the country side not far from Aix and had a great knowledge of all the best restaurants. This was one of our favorites – Le Patio, a small family run restaurant with a great atmosphere, good service and fantastic food.

The little town of St. Remy is not far from Aix en Provence. We spent a day there, painting and visiting the Asylum Van Gogh spent time in. We were privileged to paint in the garden of the asylum, where Van Gogh would have often sat and sketched.

Although the asylum surroundings were idealic, life inside must have been horrific. These bath tubs were filled with cold water into which troublesome inmates were immersed and trapped under these wooden boards.

In the town of St. Remy, the main square provided a quiet, spacious area surrounded by ancient stone walls and wooden shutters. We spent an enjoyable afternoon painting there before heading back to our hotel for drinks under the plane trees.

Blue Shutters – St. Remy

Cassis is a small fishing town on the Mediterranean coast not far from Aix. The busy harbour and backdrop of old buildings made a great painting subject. We shared the park across the harbour with the local boules players, cigarette smokers and baguette eaters. Under the shade of a grove of casuarina trees, we painted the changing vista of the harbour.

Cassis Waterfront

Paul Cezanne lived and painted in Aix en Provence. His house and studio have been made into a museum, crammed with his old coats, umbrellas, paint boxes, skulls, bones and still life props that feature in his paintings.

Cezanne had the house built to his design – living area downstairs, large studio upstairs.

The studio ceiling is about 5 metres high and the Northern wall, almost completely glass. The walls are painted a mid tone, neutral gray and there is a 4 meter x .5 meter corner hatch to remove large works from the studio. It’s a fantastic studio, unfortunately no photographs are allowed inside. Below is the front door to the house.


On Feb. 7, Artists Greg Allan and Amanda Hyatt joined me on board the Sun Princess to take 60 painters on a cruising workshop around New Zealand.

I had never been on a cruise ship before and could not believe the scale and efficiency of this floating giant. With 2000 guests and 900 staff, I imagined long cues for everything , but I’d never seen anything run so smoothly!

We sailed from Sydney to the Bay of Islands then hopped our way down the East Coast of New Zealand, stopping at all the major ports.

Anchored in the Bay of Islands, we were ferried ashore by the ships tenders

Our first day painting ashore was in the small town of Russell in the Bay Of Islands. A sunny day under a shady tree with cafes and bakeries close by – what luxury!

Painting on board was in the large, plastic wrapped disco with panoramic ocean views.

On board demos took students through a number of techniques we would use once ashore.

On board Hawkesbury River demo, showing how to simplify a complex subject.

We found a busy boatyard on Auckland Harbor and spent a day painting there. They say Auckland has more boats per head of population than any other city in the world.

Napier was an interesting town – destroyed by earthquake in 1931 then completely rebuilt in the Art Deco style. It has been proudly maintained in that style ever since

We spent an afternoon painting in the central park, the interesting architecture and tall palms making great subjects

A warm sunny day greeted us in the beautiful city of Christchurch. This is the side door to Christchurch cathedral. It is hard to believe, just a week later the city was hit by a devastating earthquake. The cathedral spire crashing to the ground where we painted.

One of the few bad weather days on the workshop. Dunedin was overcast, cold and windy, but it somehow added to the character of this old tug and the jetty below.

Fiordland on the southern tip of New Zealand was spectacular in the early morning mist. Later in the day we sailed into Milford Sound. The clouds had lifted and the sun was shining. It looked amazing, but I cant help wondering what it would have looked like through mist and rain. Some things need lousy weather to look their best.

Milford Sound

For our final demo Greg, Amanda and I worked simultaneously on this large, three sheet painting. The finished work was auctioned for charity and the winning bidder kindly donated it to be hung on board the Sun Princess.

Life on board a cruise ship is pretty luxurious, good food, amazing service, lots of entertainment, bars and restaurants everywhere. Would I do another cruising workshop? You bet!


The two weeks of our workshop in Southern Italy and Sicily seemed to fly by so quickly, but looking back to painting on the beach in Sorrento, or the spectacular views in Taormina, it all seems so long ago.

Here are a few photos taken during the workshop.

It is always sad at the end of  a workshop – everyone says goodbye and and heads off to different parts of the world.

Thanks to our fantastic guides Amanda and Gordon, and the enthusiasm and good nature of all involved, we all leave with lots of great memories, new friends and a collection of paintings that will trigger thoughts of Sicily and Italy for years to come.