Thursday, 15 September 2011

The importance of value / tone & observation....

Whoops!  My promise to post more regularly seems to have gone by the by....Sorry will try to do better next time...

Have been waging a war in my classes against the tonally or value challenged & have been TRYING to get all participants to use a grey scale to help them to see that often values are darker or lighter than we think or perceive. I came across this clip in my travels on the web & think it illustrates beautifully the point I have been trying to make:

Never judge value or tone in isolation , it must be related to those values around it. What appears light in one area can be dark in another.
In this clip the light square in shadow only appears light because the values around it are darker....

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A few pictures from the exhibition....

"Approaching Storm"
(Barton Highway)
Pastel on Storm Blue Colourfix paper

"Brittle Gum II"
 Pastel on Elephant Colourfix board

"Storm at Sunset, Hall, ACT"
Pastel on Light Tan Mi Teintes Tex paper

"The Goodradigbee"
Pastel on Light Tan primed board

"Moonrise" (from the Studio)
Pastel on Rose Grey Colourfix paper

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Sorry to my one follower for the lack of posts lately.....Lots of dramas & have also been painting madly for this exhibition. The link below will take you to the gallery, then click on Winter Exhibition for a preview of some of the works plus some older pieces. I will post some of the images soon.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Pastel Making....

Last week I had my class making pastels. Some were keen, some weren't. It is a tedious process but it seems it is made more enjoyable by company as all ended up thoroughly enjoying it & the wonderful colours they produced.

Crushing & Grinding

Adding liquid

Dividing the "dough"

Blotting out the excess water



Stick !

This is why you were supposed to be wearing gloves!
Lucky it is a non toxic pigment....
The finished products & some really useful colours

My colours:
"Scrap Brown" a wonderfully useful greyed brown, already much in use !

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Exploring a theme....

 In the previous post I spoke about exploring a favourite subject or trying different formats. Here are 4 works all derived from the same reference photo. A very typical summer scene in the area where I live. I felt the need to explore it further as I love the combination of elements & the feeling it gives me 

This vertical panel 34cm x 72cm was the first in the series & I wanted to explore the range of clouds & I wanted to attempt to show the tree on the left being buffeted by the wind (See close up below)

Close up of above

This piece 23cm x 30 cm I think may well have been started before the previous picture .... It started out as a demonstration piece showing a rough, quick & fairly minimal under painting in gouache. It then sat for quite a long time gathering dust until I decided to finish it off.

This large piece 67.5cm x 47.5cm is a tighter crop than the above piece & more highly refined

This smaller piece 18.5cm x 18.5cm explores the scene in a tight square format.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Oh my gosh  here it is May...... where did the time go? Didn't think it was quite so long since my last post but have had school holidays & a multitude of horse events to attend with daughter..... Very little time spent in the studio...sigh.

Have managed to do a little work. Here, a small commission & it's tonal study. It is a subject I have painted before but from a slightly different aspect, time of day & season. I think it worthy of a larger work than this tiny piece.

Tonal study

Rolfe Road Study

 I have favourite places & areas  I love to revisit from time to time. The light can be different or it can be painted from a different aspect or in a different format. I enjoy the challenge of revisiting a subject & exploring it further or in a different manner  (but I get very bored with making clones, I won't do that). Sometimes I will zero in on an area of a larger subject to explore it  further, often in a different format.

Larger earlier work "Rolfe Road"

Further down the road.... "Yellow Box Trees, Rolfe Road "

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Odds & Ends....

Several weeks later & what felt like hours of filling & I thought I was making headway with filling my travel box. When I compare this photo to the previous one however, I haven't made much of an impression......On the upside I have almost filled one side!

On another note, recently finished paintings....

Micalong Gorge, Wee Jasper

Road to Wee Jasper II

This is the commission piece from an earlier blog finished

Don't seem to have had much uninterrupted time the last few weeks only short spurts of activity. Looking forward to a big day in the studio today but that didn't happen. Damn !

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Class Paintout

I took my two classes to the National Botanic Gardens yesterday. Perfect weather & lovely subjects at every turn. Some snaps....

Up close - Water Dragon

Sketching grasses

Water Dragon again

Leaf Litter

Tree fern

Sketching in the gardens
Beautiful bark
Beautiful trees

Friday, 25 March 2011

The DVD Saga.....

 A little over a year ago I began production of a series of instructional DVDs. My nephew  Max from Queensland was doing the filming & production for me. At the time he was available to do the filming I had two exhibitions looming back to back. I found it impossible to concentrate on filming the series & paint for two exhibitions so we called a halt to proceedings, he returned home & I painted furiously. After the exhibitions were done Max was married & also as an aspiring actor gained a part in the ABC production Brides of War so was a little pre-occupied. Then there were more acting roles & before we knew it a year had elapsed.... Today I received some rough drafts of the first DVD working title 'Getting started with Pastel'. Yay we are getting closer to having a finished product. Here are some stills !

The back of my head
My hand & my left cheek
My right ear

Me looking resentfully at the camera

Me looking at the camera sort of nicely

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The travel box saga .....

Several months ago I purchased a lovely pastel travel box from Dakota Pastels.

  I was so excited when it arrived & I could hardly wait to fill it up. I was very busy at that point so wasn't able to begin arranging my pastels in it for several weeks. When I finally did begin the process I realised what a mammoth task it was.  I didn't want to use full sticks just pieces about 1 cm long because that is about the size I like to work with. I also wanted to keep a record of what pastels I had put in for ease of replacement.  I put in the blues I thought I would need when I realised that what I thought was just a medium sized box was going to take a whole lot more pastel pieces than I anticipated. Oh no & the job was quite onerous....not to mention boring & I am easily distracted.... I started on the greens then put the job in the too hard basket for several months but have just resumed the task of filling this cavernous box & recording what went where. By my rough calculations I am looking at about 430 pastel colours to fill this thing. I must admit it is nice seeing all the colours side by side rather than spread out in different sets. It makes it much easier to select colours & I'm discovering colours I don't use because have forgotten I own them. Well 5 or 6months later I am almost finished the greens (but still haven't finished the blues).....

The story so far

At some point this year I may finally finish filling this box.....  or I could just take it out & use it half empty....but what a waste !

 I was going to set to work this morning & fill some more but instead I weeded the vegetable garden ! Secretly all I want to do is paint....

Freshly weeded vegetable garden which, unlike my travel box looks loved !

Once I've filled the travel box  I need to re think how I arrange my working sets in the studio...oh joy...not!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

On my easel at the moment...

I am working on these three pictures at the moment. I like to have several on the go at once. I start a new picture before I finish the one I'm working on. This saves inevitable down time spent thinking about the next work and organising the paper or board etc. It also stops me from overworking the one nearing completion as my focus shifts to the new work

The work on the left is probably finished but is sitting there for final analysis The work in the middle has only just been started & the work on the right ( the picture  shown in stages from an earlier post ) is very near to completion.

 Some of the tools of the trade.....many different brands

The bigger picture.....
Current works in progress with recently finished pictures plus the small one bottom centre which was a demo piece I did for one of my classes on Tuesday. As yet not quite finished but quite possibly sold!