Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you all enjoyed a fabulous safe and enjoyable holiday. It was back to work here at the Landsborough Art Studio and for me this week with my first class back yesterday. Numbers are a little slow at this time in the year as not everyone is back from their breaks and we also have added burden of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant to deal with as numbers here explode all around us. It is especially difficult keeping everyone safe and healthy at the moment and at the same time allowing life to proceed forward as best we can, so extra cleaning and precautions are at hand to ensure everyone's safety.
Over the break we did the usual cleaning, sorting in the studio and of course lots of painting. I managed to paint almost everyday and the wet weather gave me an excuse to be inside and not out in the garden tackling those feisty weeds.
2022 will be challenging especially in the coming 6-8 weeks so we need to stay safe and focused. If you cannot attend classes, paint at home. If you need help - ask. I can be e-mailed or if you prefer we could set up a Zoom meeting. Just e-mail me for details.
Above are just a couple of my paintings and over the next few days I will be selecting one or two each day and discussing how I painted them and what I did that was perhaps a little different. Some painting I set time limits to of one (1) hour whilst others I did the the course of 1/2 day. Remembering I still had housework and all that non-important stuff to do like you.
Let's start with the Peacock. This fellows name was George and he had a girlfriend call Mildred and they live in Rosemoor Gardens in the UK in the Dartmoor area. I loved the bright Turquoises on the black AS Colourfix paper but I found I lost the detail of his face so I re-painted George on White AS Colourfix paper. I gave myself the same amount of time (1/2 day) to paint him. I love the contrast I get on the black paper but I can see his face clearer on the white. Below see the two for a comparison. What do you think?
Making Your Own Pastel Surfaces is Easy
Pastel papers are usually based on 300gsm Watercolour Paper coated with the manufacturers preferred coatings. Some time you may want to make your own surface to paint pastel onto for a variety of reasons or just for experimental purposes.
You can base your coating on either papers or cardboard, board (for example marine ply or plywood) maybe even canvas…the choice is yours
I like to buy plywood in sheets which I have them cut into A4 size panels. These I can prepare in advance for small studies either in oil, acrylic or pastel. For oil or acrylic, I prepare the board with 2-3 coats of gesso sanding well between coats. I will leave these on the shelf so when I want to do a quick study, I simply take a panel from the shelf and begin to paint.
For Pastels I need to be a little more selective as there are many ways I can create a pastel surface on board, canvas or papers. Here are just a few I have tried (in no specific order). Why don’t you experiment with some other techniques and let us know what you used and what you liked or disliked about your process.
Well it is very hot here today and I expect we could get a storm later on, as long as it is not a bad one we need a bit more rain. Managed to do some gardening today but fighting with the wildlife to keep my tomatoes and the heat so it was off to the easel. Pastel Challenge no 6. is a small pot which sits in Monet's studio in France. Love visiting his home and garden as it always gives me inspiration and artist envy. I have painted this on black colourfix paper. The main colours I used were blue greens, blues, red violets and purples so to balance those colours I added their compliment of orange. The edges are always a challenge on black or dark paper but I get around this by using a putty rubber or kneadable eraser and finish this off with my electric eraser. Some tricky bits on the edges I blend with a pastel pencil....never a finger.....Not bad for under 60 minutes
Day 4 - This is one of my favourites. It is the view from the Margaret Olley Gallery in Murwillumbah. Once again keeping the background cool and foreground warm. The day was freezing so I hope I have captured the temperature of the day. I am really enjoying the daily challenge, not that I always get to paint daily but at least I try. Things like tone, temperature and intensity are always on my mind and I hope that by doing these daily studies those things will become automatic for me. Is anyone out there trying to do a daily challenge as well?
Day 3 is painted from a photo which I took whilst driving thru the catchment area of Somerset Dam west of the Sunshine Coast. I loved the sky as it has so many colours in it. I can see blue, purple, grey, green and dark grey. I have tried to keep the background hills cool and the foreground warm. My focal point is the large tree on the left. Below see my original photo - notice I have changed the photo considerably!
Painting for day 2. This is a scene from the area around Somerset Dam which I took coming home from Toowoomba some years ago. I have tried to address line, colour relationships and temperature when painting this. Below is my set up for this painting. If you are struggling with motivation this is a great way to get started. Prepare some boards, I have used foam core boards from Officeworks. A2 size are $6.00 and are reusable. Don't over tax yourself, start out with a goal of say 3 x 30minute studies per week. You will be surprised at how quickly your skills progress. DO IT NOW!
I prepare my boards a week in advance so I do not spend / waste time fluffing around looking for something to paint. The idea is my boards are ready to go so I can jump in and paint a 30min study quickly so I have no excuses not to do. I am just a little slack in posting my pieces...sorry about that.
Watercolours are my nemesis.....I have just completed two on-line courses a total of 10 weeks with Chan Dissanayake who is an excellent teacher and fabulous artist and then another 6 week course with a watercolourist who I shall not name, wonderful artist but not good at teaching and their technical equipment had a lot to be desired. Take note that if you are planning on attending an online course check out the teachers reviews. Do not be shy at asking to see a sample of their video and audio quality before you pay for the course.
Exhibition - Last weekend I entered three pastel paintings (see below) into the Pastel Association of Australia Annual Awards held at the Latrobe Art Space Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane. It was a great show, however all prizes went across the ditch to New Zealand artists. Well done everyone.
My latest painting was titled "Bird Watching" and after completed it was quickly snapped up and SOLD to a couple in Crookwell NSW. The new owners will rename it after their own cat Mr Declan who evidently does this daily.
You can contact me at
for any information or comment you would like to make
Classes have resumed after COVID-19 restrictions have been eased. After a long discussion with Queensland Health Department to discuss guidelines and requirements and I am able now to open my studio for classes and workshops.
There are of course all the normal COVID-19 regulations in place to do so. I have applied the 1.5m distancing between students and all the (what is now normal) cleaning requirements. Face masks are available and also gloves for those students wishing to use etc etc.
Class times have not changed and I have some positions in classes which are available for new students. If you have been thinking about art classes now is an ideal time to start. I know you have all got those little annoying jobs done at home so you should have some free time now to indulge yourself.
Call or e-mail if you are interested as positions are limited.
WORKSHOPS have also commenced. The first will be "Burano" on 28th June followed by "King Parrot" on the 19th July.
Bookings are essential - call me for further information.
Have you got the acrylic palette blues? Is your palette drying out whilst you work wasting money and above all annoying and wasteful?
Is the old paint clogging up the sink and hubby the plumber is not a happy man?
Well good news is at hand. With the onslaught of the heat here in Queensland I thought this was an appropriate and timely subject to discuss.
Painting can be more of a challenge with paint drying quickly on your palette, loosing that special colour mix and having to start over.
Well I am here to sort you out.
Acrylics have a habit of drying quickly especially in hot and or dry weather. To extend the life of the paint on your palette & to assist your painting a wet palette is highly recommended.
To create a successful wet palette you will require the following items:
· Large sponge or Chux dish cloth
· Grease proof paper (just the cheap lunch wrap one from the supermarket will do). I do not like baking paper as the paint pulls away as it has a waxy coating.
· Shallow container no less than A4 in size, larger if possible with a re-sealable lid. The pastry containers sold in all supermarkets is ideal. Do not have a container that is too deep the shallower the better.
Step 1: Wet the sponge and wring out as much water as possible. If the sponge is too wet the paint will become watery and useless.
Step 2: Wrap the sponge in the grease proof paper making sure that the paper wraps all around the sponge. This will ensure that the weight of the damp sponge and paint holds the paper in position and stops it from sliding around. Lay the sponge wrapped in paper in the container with the join of the paper underneath. You are now ready to use. Place your paint across the top of the palette leaving the bulk of the palette area for blending and mixing. In very hot weather have a mist sprayer handy and mist your palette at regular intervals to keep it cool and the paints moist.
Step 3: When your painting session is over seal the palette with the lid and place in the fridge. Paint will generally keep up to 1 week, sometimes more. When the palette is no longer required remove the paper and discard in the rubbish bin.
Pro Tip: I NEVER use baking paper. Although it is stronger it has a waxy feel which prohibits me seeing if the blending of my brush is correct or not.
Karen King owns and operates Landsborough Art Studio and is dedicated to the sharing and learning principals in all art. Here you will learn snippets and interesting information which I know you will find intriguing and valuable.