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ARTISTS BACK TO BASICS

BE INSPIRED PHIL FRANKEL


CREATIVE PEN AND WASH TECHNIQUES TEACHER’S PET
INSPIRATIONAL ARTIST PRODUCT REVIEWS
PAUL DORIN EASELS AND PAINTS

FULL OF TIPS, IDEAS AND TECHNIQUES


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30

Contents
Issue No.8-4 2018

PENCILS DOWN WITH

6 BRETT A JONES
6 Basic drawing techniques
36 Curves, Ellipses and Spirals
60 Hatching and Crosshatching

FEATURE ARTIST
10 Marie Green
40 Paul Dorin

PRODUCT REVIEWS
16 Substrates
30 Paints
54 Pencils

FEATURES
40 26 History of Water Colours
22 Botanical Art
50 Pen and Wash with Leonie Norton
64 Art Gallery
70 Mark it with a brush
74 Teachers Pet

Cover image by:


Paul Dorin
10

50

64
D R A W I N G I N S P I R A T I O N

Basic Drawing Techniques


Drawing has often been described as ‘the bones of art’, which it most
certainly is. It can also be a credible art form in its own right, with many
absolute masterpieces being produced over the centuries using only
drawing media and techniques.

Contributed by Brett A. Jones

D
rawing has been overshadowed careful adjustment of curves and lines.
(PPEHSJQ
in the modern era – to some The most basic mistake is to rely
extent – by the emergence only on one technique for everything,
 of forms such as abstract and cubism all the time.
which really don’t demand much You need to think of the work you
 from the artist in areas like realistic are doing (at any one time) as a
representation of the subject matter, whole, and plan how big it will be
 or the effect of light and shade. overall; how dark you are going
The waters are further muddied by tonally; the actual proportions and
methods like gridding and projecting perspective of the subject (vital); how

having gained acceptance in the fine art detailed the drawing will be (usually
world; this too must detract from the a time thing, but not always); the
 motivation needed for an artist to medium you’re working with; and a
acquire the necessary and difficult dozen other things. Try to adjust your
 skills required for freehand drawing. media and hand technique to suit your
I want to explore the really basic idea, rather than limiting the potential
 fundamentals of drawing … to give scope of your work by falling into
anyone interested in learning to draw familiar habits and trying to execute

freehand a good foundation from your idea without stopping and
which to begin. considering some basic and
There are really only two basic sometimes overlooked choices.
 drawing techniques, and many subtle The way you choose to hold your
variations on these themes. pencil is an important consideration
(PPEHSJQ The first technique is where you keep which is often overlooked. Bad habits
your wrist and fingers still and move can last a lifetime. Experiment with
 your elbow and shoulder (or your your grip and try to gain better control
whole body with murals and large of your tools. You should be holding
 easel work). You make big decisions your pencil gently (the tighter you hold
while being bold with your strokes on, the harder it is to hold your hand
and curves, usually building up the steady). For the lightest lines, you

basic foundation of an ultimately more should barely be holding onto the
intricate work; or using the technique pencil at all. The darker the line,
 as a means in itself, to produce nice the firmer the grip (but don’t hold
loose expressive art. on any tighter than you need to).
 The second technique is where you Another really important consideration
rest your arm on a steady surface and is your working position.
(PPEHSJQ only move your wrist and fingers. This It is worth experimenting with your
is generally used for detail work and working position, and not limiting

6 Artist’s Back to Basics


D R A W I N G I N S P I R A T I O N

Good grip. Good grip. Bad grip.

yourself with rigid ideas – particularly whatever you have to do, to achieve more detail you should see. And the
if you experience back pain. I made the effect you are after. more you see, the more you will see.
my big easel (two metres square) with The time you choose to spend on a Try it, and discover what I mean.
pulleys and a counterweight so that I work has a big bearing on the finished
can shift my work up or down easily product, and directly affects the way D R AW I N G E X E R C I S E S
and sit or stand in front of it without you will approach the work from start Draw something first (a wine bottle, a
having to interrupt my art. My to finish. vase, a stool, fruit – whatever you like,
drawing board is just a piece of Grab a subject (a coffee cup, an but keep it simple). Then complete the
thin board, 10 millimetres larger than apple, anything) and give yourself following exercises (do each one
the paper I work on. I cut my boards 30 seconds to draw it. Now, starting moving your wrist and fingers on a
to suit the size of the work (not the again, do it in five minutes. Now small scale, flat on a table; and then
other way around); and I keep a few take a few hours on the same subject. moving your shoulder on a large scale,
different sized boards. Masonite is a This may seem simplistic, but it’s an at your easel):
good choice. important element. You have to have Clockwise and anti-clockwise spirals;
You should be able to infinitely some idea of how long it will take Off centre spirals;
adjust where your work is in relation before you start (ten seconds to Square spirals;
to you, the whole time you’re working forever … and everything in 3-D spirals;
on it. You yourself should not baulk at between) because it affects every part Straight lines;
standing or leaning over your work; of the work from the moment you Parallel lines (horizontal and vertical);
propping it up; moving it around; touch pencil on paper. The longer Circles; and
moving around it; and basically doing you spend on a single subject, the Pretend that you’re a Spirograph.

Image of cup. A few seconds. A few minutes. A few hours.

Artist’s Back to Basics 7


D R A W I N G I N S P I R A T I O N

Now draw the same wine bottle, or


whatever you started with. Your style
should be more comfortable and
looser, and it should take fewer lines
to get the image right.
Freehand drawing is one of the
harder skills to learn, but probably
the one you’ll get the most rewards
from in all aspects of your art
practice. It is important to recognise
that sometimes you are just practising
drawing skills. Do not try to make
everything that you do into a
masterpiece.
Use butcher’s paper and fly around
outside your comfort zone for a
while. Concentrate on loosening up
your technique … and remember
that’s what you’re doing while you
are doing it. You might discover the
place you need to be to produce a I have barely touched on the subject If you would like to view some of
masterpiece you never would have of drawing, and there is really a lot I my own drawing achievements,
otherwise. You will never know could add; but you have to start at the have a look at my website at
unless you have a go. start. Have fun in the zone. www.seaofpain.com ■

8 Artist’s Back to Basics


Professional Quality Artist
Grade Acrylic paint and Mediums

Full rich impasto for striking textured


efects .

Thinner viscosity free lowing for a


low-sheen and good levelling qualities.

Intense, vibrant colours including


several uniquely Australian
colours.

Artwork by Ian Sax

Derivan Pty Ltd


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AUSTRALIAN Unit 4/23 Leeds St Rhodes NSW 2187
MADE & T: +61 2 9736 2022 F: +61 2 9736 3637
OWNED derivan@derivan.com.au
www.derivan.com.au
Profile

Nothing but the Best


By Marie Green

This artist can never give away or sell any work which she does
not regard as her best. Now she can look at any of her paintings
and still be pleased with them … and that’s real peace of mind.

I
have reached the magical French
milestone of being ‘a woman of
a certain age’. My life began in
Sydney quite a few years ago.
Now I live an almost idyllic
life with my husband Tom …
on our hill near the Queensland
town of Agnes Water 1770.
Five years ago, I left my professional
life as a systems engineer and project
manager in computer-telephony
interfacing. Tom and I retired and
decided to follow a relaxed lifestyle
and enjoy the warm winds in our little
part of paradise. After designing our
new home, I felt an irresistible urge
to start painting. That occurred on
16 October 2007, to be precise.
My studio looks out over green
valleys to blue hills … with the only
sound being the native birds as
they chatter amongst themselves.
I cannot imagine having any desire
to paint something ugly or grotesque.
Our home is our ‘Paradise Found’
and it evokes the strongest emotions
and desires in me to be creative and
expressive with my art in a way that
will add beauty, and perhaps joy.
Every decade since 1975,
I have done one or two oil
paintings and then stopped. But
art for me now is different, almost
overwhelming; to the exclusion of
everything except my husband.
I am largely self-taught, but my older
Right of Way sister was a fine artist whose talent
was obvious from the age of about

10 Artist’s Back to Basics


Warm Waters The Painter

nine. My parents ensured she had paint with professional oils on good
the right lessons to foster her talent, stretched canvas. I follow all the
and she continued taking workshops techniques for creating oil paintings
and lessons long after she became that will last several lifetimes (if not
a successful artist. In the mid-’80s, longer). However, from November
we went together to Europe for five 2007 to September 2008, I burnt
months to explore all the art museums. 18 completed canvases. I can
I learnt so much from that experience; never give away or sell anything I
much more than I realised at the time. think is not my best. And this has
My way of ‘teaching myself’ was paid off because now I can look
expensive but effective. Probably, at any of my paintings and still
the climate change police should be pleased with them. That’s real
have been pursuing me. I only peace of mind. No skeletons!

Heaven“s Light Ron O

Artist’s Back to Basics 11


Profile

“I only paint with The reason I burn unacceptable in me and my artistic aims. I don’t
work is symbolic for me – it burns into need a gimmick. I am not going
professional oils my head the mistake (or mistakes) to do 100 paintings of the same
on good stretched I made. Fortunately I haven’t object just so people will be able to
made the same mistakes twice, spot a Marie Green on their friend’s
canvas. I follow although I have been very effective wall without having to decide the
all the techniques at making totally new mistakes! appeal or merits of the work. But
All of my work is representational, they may of course spot a Marie
for creating oil with a good dollop of impressionism. Green painting by recognising
paintings that I am perfectly happy to stand on my style eventually, I hope.
the shoulders of giants such as Another fallacy painfully repeated
will last several Rembrandt, Monet, Roberts and (by those who seem paid to repeat)
lifetimes” Streeton … just as they crafted is that to make one’s mark as an
their styles from previous Masters. artist today, one may only paint the
And I will not be frightened off (or current period. Thank goodness
have my ambitions deflated) by Zhiwei Tu, for example, ignores
the ‘art world’ reviews praising as such claustrophobic restrictions.
‘innovative and original art’ such I have started a series of 30 paintings
objects as embalmed sharks floating covering everyday life in Queensland
in some yellow fluid; or heralding as in the period 1895 to 1985. I will be
a masterpiece a painting of white working on this series while also doing
on white with white highlights. commissions and meeting my other
I have my style, I have my respect painting commitments. My aim is to
and passion, and I believe in myself. bring to life memories which my father,
Equally importantly, Tom believes my grandmother, my mum and my

1895 – Nubian Goat Cart

12 Artist’s Back to Basics


Boyne Valley Hunt HMB Endeavour Departs

auntie have shared with me over many piece of my art in my home. It


years. The first one I completed, ‘1895 is a self portrait, hanging in my
Nubian Goats of Winton’, celebrates studio, titled ‘Allegory of Painting’
the big strong goats that could … in applause to the marvellous
stand tall enough to pop their head painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
under a man’s armpit. Originally they I think an artist’s portfolio
came to Australia from North Africa is incomplete without a self
via England on the sailing ships, to portrait – and I wanted this one
provide fresh milk to the passengers. to show my transition from the
There is only one significant technology world to my life in art.

Himalayan Poppies Smile of the Sunrise


Profile

“I have quite a Aside from the self portrait, there competitions due to the distances
is only one painting of mine that involved and the size of canvas I like
broad choice of Tom and I really would have loved to to work on. However, I have been
subjects ranging keep, and that was ‘Right of Way’. really thrilled with the success I have
But we agreed that – at this stage had … especially this year winning
through animals, in my art career – my major work first prize in the Queensland Alumina
flowers, marine was better off going to the collectors Ltd award with ‘Right of Way’.
who purchased it. They already had I have quite a broad choice of
scenes, Outback two of my smaller pieces in their fine subjects ranging through animals,
scenes and collection of art, and they are the sort flowers, marine scenes, Outback
of people who will treasure it and scenes and portraits – and I am
portraits – and I show it off in the best environment. drafting some figurative work at
am drafting some What more could an artist ask for? present. My husband and I work
All my other pieces are currently as a team in this, as in most things.
figurative work exhibited at the Wide Bay Gallery He has a strong input at the
at present.” in Maryborough, or waiting to go conception stage and is my totally
into an art competition; or they indispensible Head Critic. His very
have already been sold. My very sharp eye and valuable sense of
first sales (through my website) ‘what works’ have saved me from
were to Canada, then the United making some awful errors.
States; and then Australians started I hope we live for at least another
catching on – thank goodness! 100 years … because I have so
I haven’t entered many art much yet to develop and create! ■

14 Artist’s Back to Basics


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Back to Basics

Down the Barcoo


By Marie Green

Nothing, not even a single blade of grass, is just one colour


… and it is the joy of the artist to achieve a work of vibrant
beauty. There is never a need to be stingy with colour.

Step 6 and Final Step

16 Artist’s Back to Basics


t'PSJNQBDU3FNFNCFSXBSN
against cool; hard against
soft; and dark against light.
t/FWFSUSZUPBEEPWFSQBJOUUIBU
JTOUFJUIFSTUJMMXFUPSUPUBMMZESZ
t.PSFUIBOUISFFQJHNFOUT
NJYFEJTCFHHJOHUPCFNVE
t1BJOUPSESBXTPNFUIJOH
FWFSZEBZ
t%POPUTFMMPSHJWFBXBZBOZUIJOH
UIBUJTOPUZPVSCFTU#VSOJU
t/FWFSCVZBOZHSFFOJOBUVCF
FYDFQU1IUIBMP(SFFOJTCFTU
NJYFECZIBOEBOEFZF
Step 1

t&BTU"SUTUSFUDIFEDBOWBT
oYJODIFT
t"UFMJFS(FTTP1SJNFSo8IJUF
t8JOTPS/FXUPO
"SUJTUT0JM$PMPVST
t'MPPSFBTFM
t4BOEQBQFSo1BOE1
Step 2
t'BJUIGVMHFTTPCSVTI
t7JOFDIBSDPBM
STEP ONE I roughed in my centre of interest t,OFBEBCMFFSBTFS
I often work from plein air sketches (being the mounted drover), and t8PSLBCMF.BUU'JYBUJWF
done with oil crayons and combined from there laid in the masses for
t4IBWJOHCSVTI
with photographic references. However the lightest and darkest areas
‘Down the Barcoo’ arrived in my before outlining the dusty herd. I t5ISFFMPOHIBOEMFE
favourite way – just as an almost included just the suggestion of a hill CSJTUMFCSVTIFT
finished image in my mind’s eye. and trees to develop heights. The t5XFMWFTIPSUIBOEMFECSVTIFT
After preparing the canvas with canvas stayed on my drying wall for JOBWBSJFUZPGTJ[FT
two additional coats of gesso, a day or so as I stood back, walked t8BMOVU0JMBOE-PX
lightly sanding at each coat, I away, sat and cogitated, and made 0EPVS5VSQT
loosely measured up the canvas adjustments until I was satisfied.
t8JOTPS/FXUPO"SUJTUT
into thirds vertically and horizontally. If I cannot see movement at the
3FUPVDIJOH7BSOJTI
This brought the ‘wide open space’ sketch stage, then the finished painting
into manageable sections to is never going to work for me. Maybe t*NBHJOBUJPOBOENFNPSJFT
commence the charcoal outlines. that is why I don’t attempt ‘still lifes’.

Artist’s Back to Basics 17


Back to Basics

STEP THREE
This is what I call the ‘underpants’
stage. It makes or breaks the final
work. Here I laid in the broad masses
of colours I wanted to play under the
finished layers – peeping through,
in a sense. It was more than a stain
and less than a discreet layer. It
needed to thoroughly dry before
proceeding, and that took two days.
I love to use as much of the rainbow
as my eyes perceive. Nothing, not
even one blade of grass, is just one
colour; and it is the joy of the artist
Step 3 to allow visual senses full flight to
achieve a work of beauty. There
is never a need to be stingy with
colour. Well … that’s my take on it.

STEP FOUR
Fun things started to happen here.
The drover took on substance and
I began work on the cattle as they
jostled and bumped each other
along the road. Basic shapes with
emphasis on darks and lights quickly
progressed to interactions in the herd.
The warm highlights at play on the
beasts’ backs were complemented
by the cooler lights in their faces
and reflections from the track.
Shapes and emphasis on the
canvas periphery came next. A cattle
dog appeared from nowhere – he lived
but for a day, meeting his ultimate
Step 4 demise with all the dignity of these
faithful friends. An artist must always
be on guard for such unexpected
“I often work from When I was comfortable that the visitors. They may ‘seem like a good
sketch was the right backbone for the idea at the time’ but can ultimately
plein air sketches painting, I laid it flat on the deck and – ruin a good composition. I also found
done with oil crayons with my old fashioned men’s shaving a very pregnant cow leading the
brush – flicked off the excess charcoal. herd – she gave birth very rapidly!
and combined with Next I sprayed with fixative and
photographic references. allowed the canvas a day to fully dry. STEP FIVE
Careful checking of edges now kept
However ‘Down the STEP TWO the sense of movement and directed
Barcoo’ arrived in my I laid on a light turps wash of the viewer’s eye. The secondary areas
Cadmium Orange that would blend were completed and checked again
favourite way – just as or rub away, depending on my needs – to be sure that both the hues and
an almost finished image for an area. Besides, a wash removes the values played well off each other.
the blandness from the canvas and This was a large painting with a lot of
in my mind’s eye.” gets an early excitement going. shapes and quite an extensive palette.

18 Artist’s Back to Basics


Step 5

STEP SIX shadow going in the wrong direction; It is vital to check that
When the work was dry, I scumbled or something like a six-fingered hand.
some of the dust effects with Phthalo It is vital to check that the finished the finished painting
Blue, Windsor Violet and Indian painting delivers the initial concept (or delivers the initial
Yellow; and toned down some better); and to ensure consistency of
other areas with Raw Sienna. temperature in the scene; and check concept (or better); and
So far for this painting, I think I that all edges lead the viewer to the to ensure consistency
had walked at least 25 kilometres focal point. In short, one mustn’t rush
to and from the easel. I like to use through the checklist that every artist of temperature in
short-handled brushes … but of keeps in their head or written down. the scene; and
course I like to view my work from I had kept my palette ‘leavings’
at least three to four metres away. in an airtight container so that check that all edges
My favourite Rembrandt quote is: “A any fixes I needed to make at lead the viewer to
painting is not made to be sniffed!” this stage would match.
Since there were a few of dull the focal point.
Final Step spots where I reworked a small area,
A wonderful artist friend and mentor I freshened these up with Winsor &
of mine, Talya Johnson of Alaska, has Newton Artists’ Retouching Varnish.
many a time gently admonished me The signature came last. I like the
for rushing the penultimate step. And signature to blend into the work rather
as in most matters, she is right. She than interrupt the viewer’s eye. I put
calls this ‘proofreading a painting’. the year on the back of the canvas;
Basically, it means taking the time and I recommend a final varnish
to check for drafting errors such as after 12 months if required. ■

Artist’s Back to Basics 19


F E A T U R E

Painting Substrates
Contributed

The choice of quality substrates available to artists in Australia is expansive.


Take a look at what some of our most prominent art suppliers have to offer
from their ranges of art surfaces.

APOLLO STRETCHED CANVASES AND CANVAS PANELS FROM ART BASICS

The traditional painting supports The staple-free edge (back-stapled)


or surfaces for artists are stretched allows for painting on the sides
canvas and canvas panels. One and re-stretching. The fact that the
has a ‘trampoline like’ response; staples are at the back, leaving the
the other has a gift of control. sides clean, can be a huge economic
Apollo Gold Label Premium advantage to any artist wanting to
Stretched Canvas is a heavy weight exhibit – because the cost of framing
canvas for the professional and the can be avoided. But bear in mind that
discerning student. Its kiln dried, framing generally protect works of art.
solid pine frame is high quality and A wide range of sizes and shapes
constructed to be both strong and are available including square, acrylic and collage. Suitable for
robust, with a thick gallery style oblong and long rectangles; and the beginners, students and professionals.
profile. It provides the perfect support larger sizes are extremely strong and Low cost lazy choices can be
for the heavy duty 10 ounce natural straight. Be pleasantly surprised at hard to resist. Cheap canvases on
duck pre-coated canvas, and is ideal the pricing on a superior product. stretchers, which are now commonly
for heavier paint applications. A Hard panels are a traditional painting available, are now found in many
tightly woven surface with a medium surface. Appreciated for their rigidity, stores. But they can also end up being
texture is the perfect all-rounder that which lends itself to control; and for a disappointing choice. Incidents
ensures the best paint results. It is plein air painting, for their robustness. of improper surface priming and
primed with acid-free acrylic titanium Save yourself time in producing a skewed stretcher frames are prevalent
gesso which is a stable surface for quality painting surface by buying in poorly produced canvases.
a wide variety of painting media. a highly durable premium quality Purchasing from a reputable
art panel. Apollo hardboard panels art store (one with experience in
are among the best panels available art supplies) allows you to have
in Australia. Panels are made with confidence in a superior result.
eight ounce 100 per cent cotton
(coated with superior Acrylic Please contact Art Basics by
Titanium Compound) and stuck telephone on 02 9807 2222; or
to 3mm hardboard – providing a email sales@artbasics.com.au for
strong and stable base for artists’ details of your nearest stockist.
paint. The surface texture provides a
very definite paint-gripping ‘tooth’
with minimum vehicle absorption,
providing a perfect support. An ideal
solid surface for oil, casein, tempera,

20 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

QUALITY FRANCHEVILLE COTTON CANVAS

Francheville’s canvas is made from 100 which provides protection against paint
per cent cotton canvas that has been triple penetrating through the canvas material.
primed with acid-free titanium gesso. To The canvases are stretched to a taut finish
prevent warping, the material is carefully allowing perfect tension throughout the
stretched around strong thick pine frames. solid pine frames, thus ensuring that
Each canvas has a profile of 38mm and is precious works of art will not warp.
stapled on the back of the frame to allow
the entire canvas surface to be utilised. For more information about 03 9538 4200; email
Made from 100 per cent bleached the quality Francheville range enquiries@francheville.com.au
cotton, each canvas is 380gsm; and is of artists’ canvas, telephone or visit the website:
triple primed with acid-free acrylic gesso, BrandCorp on 02 8543 4300 or www.francheville.com.au

A PRIME DESTINATION FOR THE BEST IN SUBSTRATES

Oxlades is your one stop shop for quality like texture, wonderful for oils and acrylic to be the best type of paper for ink
substrates. For all your artistic needs they paint and also fabulous with oil sticks. painting, retaining the brilliance of
have a huge range of canvases – both For watercolour and ink work, Arches the ink as well as the transparency
pre-stretched and off the roll – and a and Montval papers are long lasting and and nuances of its shades.
variety of papers to inspire your next hand made in France, where the paper Oxlades boasts a great collection of
artwork. Of fundamental importance to mill has been in operation for over 450 sketch journals and mixed media pads.
your artistic work is choosing the right years with a solid reputation. Oxlades Artists can access a range of Moleskines,
substrate to suit your creative vision and also has Saunders and Bockingford the legendary notebooks used by
support the materials you wish to use. watercolour papers – like the Arches European artists and thinkers for the past
For painters, Oxlades has an extensive and Montval ranges these papers come two centuries. Picasso and Van Gogh
range of canvas. Cotton Duck and in various textures, weights and sizes. are said to have used this product which
Belgian Linen provide reliable support From the smooth surface of the hot currently provides options for sketchers,
for the most ambitious painters. Oil or pressed papers to the rough textural feel writers and watercolourists. The Daler
acrylic primed (as well as unprimed) of the cold pressed papers, the focus Rowney sketchbooks series is also a
surfaces are available by the metre or is always on quality. For bigger art popular choice for your creative needs.
in full rolls. The durability of the 12 works, there are rolls of specially sized The hardcover books contain 62 slightly
ounce and 14 ounce Cotton Duck and watercolour paper; the largest comes in off-white sheets of acid free paper. If you
the superior structural fibre of linen a width of 113cm and a length of 9.15 require a surface that will take mixed
provide ideal stability for large paintings; metres. In addition, pads and blocks media, the Art Spectrum draw and wash
excellent archival credibility; and peace of watercolour paper are available. pad is ideal – this gummed pad comes
of mind that your work will have what Print makers will be delighted with with either a smooth or rough surface
it takes to stand the test of time. the range of printmaking papers on offer texture, specially sized for wet media.
If time is of the essence and the at Oxlades. The Velin Arches, Velin Pastel painters cannot go past Oxlades
creative urge becomes immediate, BFK Rives, Dutch Etching, Fabriano for their range of substrates. Of great note
Oxlades also stocks quality pre-stretched Tiepolo and Stonehenge are all popular is the Art Spectrum Colour Fix pastel
canvases – primed and ready to paint on. as they are multi-purpose papers. The paper and primer. The primer comes in
Brands include Art Spectrum, Westart Stonehenge is very economical and several colours including a clear, and
and Coleman. These canvases boast comes in a lovely smooth texture and a transforms most surfaces to make them
heavy-weight heat treated pine frames variety of colours. The Arches 88 with ready for pastel and charcoal work.
and primed Cotton Duck canvas, while its extremely smooth surface is ideal for Oxlades also has mending and
pre-stretched Chinese linen canvases screen printing. Moulin du Gue paper restoration papers and tissue paper for
are also available in the Artworks is specially recommended for etching protecting your work; low cost cartridge
brand. Canvas and Fresco Boards are and embossing – it is made of 80 per paper ideal for drawing classes; and
also available through Oxlades and cent cotton and 15 per cent linen. university paper by the sheet (and in
they are a great choice for pieces that Oxlades has an array of handmade pads) which is ideal for mixed media.
require a solid ground to work on. papers in many colours and unique Remember, when you are planning
If painting on paper is your dream, surfaces. Rice papers such as the Chiri, your next art project, to visit Oxlades
the canvas paper stocked at Oxlades Konzo and Shin Hoso are sold by the Paint and Art Centre in Brisbane’s
comes highly recommended. Sheets are sheet. Rolls of Sumi Rice Paper are Fortitude Valley. Discuss your substrate
protected with a size and have a canvas- also on offer – this product is said options with the experienced staff.

Artist’s Back to Basics 21


F E A T U R E

GREAT ADVICE FOR ARTISTS: CONSIDER YOUR SURFACE!

surface of the picture. If the support appears to be good value but (as is so
is smoothly finished, the picture will often the case with art materials) you
exhibit a smooth surface; if the support get what you pay for when it comes
has a pronounced texture, the picture to quality and permanency. A good
will show some of this texture. example of a cost effective pre-primed
Many supports can be purchased stretched canvas range that is suitable
already prepared. In art stores you for artists is stretched cotton canvas
will see extreme variations in the like the Winsor & Newton product. It
quality and durability of some is artists’ quality and is made of eight
products – but artists should expect ounce natural Cotton Duck heavier
them to be better quality than the weight superior quality cloth. It has
surfaces available at the local discount a medium grain surface. It claims it
shop. If in doubt, ask the staff in is ideal for all techniques, including
the art store for the specifications heavier applications of colour. It is
of the products. If the information triple coated with acid-free sizing
is not available, or if it is vague and and two coats of highly pigmented
unsatisfactory, don’t use the products. acrylic primer formulated by Winsor
Ultimately, the decision about what & Newton. Its balanced absorbency
Considering the surface of an surface is the most appropriate for and tooth prevents ‘sinking’ of oil
intended artwork is to recognise the your artwork is largely dependant colours and improves adhesion.
importance of its foundation and on the medium you choose. We will This range of canvas is available
to understand how each part of the look at the most popular choices at Eckersley’s stores nationally.
painting process can affect the next. for painting: Oil colours, acrylic Boards can be used if a hard
Generally speaking, the surface colours and watercolours. weaveless surface is preferred. Canvas
of an artwork is made up of Canvas on open stretchers mounted on board can be used for a
a support and a ground. gives a sensitive, receptive woven hard surface which retains the texture of
Simply, the support is the material support on which to paint with oil cloth. Paper oil paint can be acceptably
which carries the ground and painting colours; and it provides a tooth applied to a heavy-weight rag paper
or drawing. The ground is a layer on for the primer and paint to grip. (although it will be fragile), provided it
the support which can vary in colour, When selecting a ready-made canvas, is kept flat and supported in a portfolio
absorbency or texture. The term be fussy. There is so much inferior or frame. Other supports include metals
‘primer’ can also be used for ground. canvas on the market that initially (aluminium, steel, or copper) and glass.
The support is the most When it comes to acrylics, the
important structural element in paint film itself is not destructive
a painting, because if it fails it to its support and movement of
probably will not survive. Artists the support affects acrylic paints
have used a whole range of less than oils. Acrylic paints
supports, over the centuries, and will adhere to any surface that
they can be broadly described is clean and non-greasy and has
as rigid or flexible supports. some sort of key (rough surface).
Examples of rigid supports As for oil paints, canvas is the
include: Cave walls; Egyptian most popular painting support
coffins; solid panels; wooden for professional acrylic artists,
laminated panels; plywood; as it provides a surface which
laminated paperboards; museum the priming and painting can
boards; chipboards; porous boards; grip. The weave of the cloth
hardboards; cored boards; metal and the spring of the stretched
and glass. Examples of flexible material are excellent features.
supports include: Paper; canvas Artists who paint with acrylics
boards; textiles; Cotton Duck; are able to avoid sizing or
linen; synthetic fabrics; jute; priming – staining raw canvas
hemp; and pre-primed textiles. with strong bright colour instead.
Each of the support materials Paper is popular with acrylic
imparts a character to the painters for its texture and drag.

22 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

It is also an economical support which


can be less inhibiting than a stretched
canvas. As acrylics are not prone to
‘sinking’ like oils, a wider variety of
results can be more easily achieved
on paper. Paper can be primed, using
the brushwork for extra texture. When
visiting your local art store, you will
discover that you can add texture
to your surface. Winsor & Newton
has developed a range of Galeria
acrylic texture mediums with natural
textures like sand, Black Lava and
mineral texture – these can create a
unique range of effects. These textures
are most suitable for acrylics; but
read the label as some can be used
as a textured surface under oils.
Plaster, brick, terracotta and leather
are just some of the exciting and Other supports are used by artists stay on the surface for longer than
unusual surfaces upon which acrylics who work with watercolours – but a week or two is essential. Be sure
can also be used. When working on they are often unsuitable as the paint to make great choices about your
an unconventional surface, you will cannot withstand the movement, or materials; informed choices that will
need to consider how it will receive they are not absorbent enough. make your processes more successful.
the paint. It may require some sanding Great advice for artists is to use a The compiler of this piece,
to create a key to the support; or wide variety of supports and support/ Natalie O’Connor, urges artists
may benefit from a coat of Winsor & ground combinations. If you are just to: “Invest in good surfaces
Newton Acrylic Fluid Matt Medium starting out, the cheapest supports as well as good colours!”
which will ensure that the subsequent (on which you will do your first
colour forms a secure paint film. paintings) are also the most unstable. For further information,
Some artists prefer to work with The surface qualities of cheaper check out a brilliant website at:
watercolours and gouache. In order to materials are often seductive and great www.winsornewton.com
exploit the beauty of watercolours, and for experiments … but often you will
employ the widest range of techniques end up doing some good work on Excellent reading material on this
with long-term stability, most artists them, then wondering whether they topic is also available, including the
require good quality watercolour paper will survive for even ten years. following books (some of which
which performs as both the support and Whatever support you choose, were referenced in compiling this
the ground. The paper fibre catches the whether ready-made or home-made, material): Artists’ Materials – The
pigment particles; and the character of it should satisfy these minimum Complete Sourcebook of Methods and
the artwork is affected by the paper’s requirements: It should age without Media by Emma Pearce, published
surface texture, weight and colour. becoming so brittle or fragile that it by Arcturus Pty Ltd; The Painter’s
A painting will appear brighter if will suffer from exhibition, handling, Handbook by Mark David Gottsegen,
executed on a rough (cold pressed/ or proper storage; it should be able to published by Watson & Gutpill; What
medium) sheet as opposed to a smooth withstand the effects of atmospheric Every Artists Needs to Know About
(hot pressed) sheet. This is because changes – under reasonably variable Paints and Colours by David Pyle,
the surface area is greater on the conditions of relative humidity published by Krause Publications; and
rough sheet, resulting in more pigment (RH) and temperature, the support The Artist’s Handbook of Materials
particles being deposited and colour should expand, contract, or warp as and Techniques by Ralph Mayer,
being reflected back through them. little as possible; and it should have published by Viking Penguin.
It is essential to understand the nature enough absorbency and tooth to
of the paper selected. Preparation of the provide a good key for the kinds of Further information about
paper by stretching it to a hardboard paints and grounds applied to it. quality artists’ products can be
(if it is under 425gsm) will need to Developing an intimacy and obtained from JASCO – telephone
be considered, to avoid buckling. understanding of what makes paint 1800 676 155.
F E A T U R E

ART SURFACES FOR CREATIVE MINDS AT ECKERSLEY’S


All creative artworks begin with a (such as pen and wash) tooth is not
blank surface. At Eckersley’s, you suitable as the colour travels along the
will find a range of art surfaces to loose fibres, giving a diffused edge.
help realise your dream artwork Acid free paper is cotton-based
– whether a painting or drawing. and contains no acid. Paper made
With 24 retail stores across the country with high cotton content and/or wood
(including the recent acquisition of pulp is often chemically treated with
six art stores in the ACT), Eckersley’s an alkali agent (usually calcium
stocks a fantastic range of art surfaces. carbonate) to neutralise the acid.
You will find stretched canvases; The cheapest way of colouring paper
canvas rolls; pads; boards; cards; and a is to print the colour directly onto
range of quality art papers to suit any the surface; however, the effect of
type of artwork you are working on. fading is very pronounced as a result.
Consider the following tips For quality coloured paper, colour
when selecting art paper. pigment is mixed into the liquid pulp
The qualities of a surface vary before it is formed into paper sheets
according to the intended use of the – ensuring that the colour is spread
paper. Smooth papers are best for evenly throughout the paper. This
fine detail with pencil or ink and for also reduces the effect of fading.
printing. Lightly grained or toothed
papers are good for coloured pencil, To see a full range of art surfaces,
charcoal and light pastel work. visit your nearest Eckersley’s
A paper with ‘tooth’ has small store. For store details, telephone
fibres standing up on the surface of 1300 657 766 or visit the website
the paper. For fine, detailed work at www.eckersleys.com.au

MOLESKINE NOTEBOOKS FROM OXFORD ART SUPPLIES & BOOKS


The Moleskine name is famous quick sketches with pen and then 200gsm 25 per cent cotton cold
because ‘Moleskines’ were the adding a splash of watercolour. A few pressed paper. The pocket size
legendary notebooks used by more favourites include the Pocket notebook contains 60 pages and
Van Gogh, Chatwin, Hemingway Squared Notebook (great graph style the large size contains 72 pages.
and Matisse. What would we do paper); and, for those with an ear
without these little guys? A new for music, the Pocket Music Book. The whole brilliant range of
generation of writers and artists Two great recent releases into the Moleskine Journals is available
have now embraced these little Moleskine collection are pocket at Oxford Art Supplies and Books
black books to record priceless size and large size Watercolour – telephone 02 9417 8572 for
ideas and thoughts – ideas which Notebooks. These notebooks contain further information.
will stand the test of time thanks to
their quality paper and binding.
Features of the Moleskine brand
include compact size, classic
styling and practical design. These
features make them perfect for
keeping in your bag – ready for
a quick sketch, or to write down
a new idea before it escapes
your memory!
The Pocket Sketch Book and the
Large Ruled Notebook are very handy
when travelling. The Pocket Sketch
Book has heavy enough pages to use
pen and ink … it is handy for doing

24 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

EXCELLENT ARTISTS’ CANVAS PRODUCTS FROM S&S WHOLESALE


Oil Primed Linen was one of the linen is prepared from start to finish
first surfaces developed for ‘modern entirely by hand, using century-old
day’ painting. For hundreds of techniques. Each canvas is first
years, oil painters have recognised stretched on large specially designed
that traditionally prepared oil- frames and thoroughly picked over
primed Belgian linen is the ultimate by hand to remove irregularities.
support for their artwork. Then every square inch of the canvas
With the advent of acrylics and is smoothed using volcanic pumice
watercolour paints along with the stone. The next step is the application of the techniques that are
development of faster production methods warm animal hide glue, carefully spread used with watercolour
for less expensive cotton fabric canvas, using long stainless steel spatulas to seal paper. Repairs and
the use and popularity of traditional the linen. As the glue cools, the linen adjustments can be
oil primed linen has steadily declined tightens; then it is pumiced smooth again. performed easily; and,
over the past 50 years. Now, with the Next, a fine preparation of old-world when using pre-stretched canvas
introduction of cheap, poorly constructed, lead white is applied. Made from a and boards, there is no buckling –
non-archival canvases, many oil painters carefully prepared mixture of lead even with the wettest of applications.
are turning back to the original (and whiting and linseed oil, this oil priming In the past, watercolourists have
best) painting surface for oil painting. applied over the linen yields a surface been restricted in the size of their
The Phoenicians introduced flax to prized by oil painters everywhere. paintings due to paper sizes. The fact
Europe, and the quality varies according Artists who have painted on well that watercolour canvas is available
to soil and weather conditions. Ireland, made oil primed linen have experienced in rolls means there is now little
Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia the highly receptive quality of its restriction on the size of watercolour
produce linen of varying qualities. surface. The tactile, sensual feeling of paintings. Artists will also find that
However, Belgium is the leader in painting on oil primed linen is unique. gallery acceptance of watercolours may
growing and producing the finest No other surface accepts paint quite increase as they can now be shown
quality flax and artist grade linen. like it. The oil paint and ground seem or hung in the same way as acrylic
The goal of harvesting and processing to ‘know’ each other like long-lost or oil paintings; and watercolour
flax is to obtain flax seeds and fibres. brothers, and the finished painting paintings will stand the test of time
The fibres are attached to the hollow exudes a rich, luxurious quality prized by when painted on an archival surface.
woody core of each plant. Flax fibres knowledgeable buyers and collectors. Cotton Canvas Panels are now
are 36 inches in length, compared to Watercolour Canvas is an innovative being used more extensively, too.
one inch cotton fibres – which gives material for watercolourists, who Cotton is the most popular artist grade
flax its superior strength. The fibres have been restricted for many years to canvas fabric. Cotton fibres stretch
are round and uniform (rather than the painting on watercolour paper. While more than linen, allowing for a tighter
flat ribbon-like cotton fibres) which many great watercolour artworks have mounted canvas with less straining.
gives linen a bold texture that can be been produced on paper, artists had to Cotton canvas panels offer the artist
seen and felt through layers of paint. work within the limitations of a flimsy an inexpensive, versatile and portable
Linen is traditionally the preferred substrate. Watercolour papers have canvas to paint on. They are constructed
fabric of painters. It offers the artist the a tendency to buckle when wet and from finely woven cotton canvas
most permanency, strength and beauty require special care – such as stapling or mounted onto heavy cardboard backing
of any canvas material. It is the most taping to a firm surface. They can also – usually with acid-free glue. The glue
durable fabric to paint on. Its warp and tear quite easily when wet, and artists provides a barrier between the board and
weft threads are equal in weight and must be very careful when practising canvas, helping to maintain longevity.
strength, making it less susceptible traditional watercolour techniques. The surface of the canvas panel usually
to expansion and contraction due to Previously, galleries have been has a very definite paint-gripping ‘tooth’
moisture. The irregular character of the reluctant to acquire and sell watercolour with minimum absorption, providing a
weave can be seen through layers of works because they were on paper perfect painting support for oils, acrylics,
paint – imparting a sense of depth to the and not of archival quality. gouache and tempera colours. All sides
finished painting. It retains its natural oils Watercolour canvas is made of 100 per of the canvas panel are glued and turned
over time, preserving fabric flexibility. cent cotton artist canvas covered with a in, to prevent fraying and separation.
Oil paint is a combination of pigment specially formulated acid-free coating that
and linseed oil, which is derived from performs similar to a cold press or rough Please contact S&S Wholesale
flax. Linen canvas is also made from watercolour paper while providing a Customer Service by telephone
flax, thus making oil paint and linen distinctive look that can only be achieved on 1300 731 529 for further
highly compatible. The pure Belgian on canvas. In addition, artists can use all information and stockists. ■

Artist’s Back to Basics 25


Feature

The History of Water


Colour Paints by Susan Cordes

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his
own nature into his pictures.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

W
henever you dip your brush
Photo: Wikipedia

into beautiful watercolour


paint, do you ever stop
to think how this medium was
created? What is its history?
Watercolour paints have a long
and enduring history, which spans
from the primitive caveman’s
pigments that were mixed with water
to today’s fantastic range of colours
and materials and the plethora of
manufacturers who supply them.
Sure, early man created cave
paintings and ancients Egyptians
used water based paints to create
wonderful decorations on the
walls of temples and tombs and
even produced some of the first
works of art on papyrus. It is a
matter of debate, which was used
first, gum Arabic or pigment.
However – the medium we know
as today as watercolour paints
and watercolour painting is said
to have evolved from the Far
and Middle East. Not forgetting
that the Chinese and Japanese
produced many masterpieces on
silk and handmade paper using
various paint and ink mediums.
The Middle Ages saw European
monks using tempera to illuminate
manuscripts which were considered
works of art and one just has to look
at books such as “Les Tres Riches
Heures du Duc de Berry” – The Book
of Hours by the Limbourg brothers
which dates from around 1415 or
Book of Hours even earlier The amazing “The Book

26 Artist’s Back to Basics


t5IF#PPLPG)PVSTXBTB
EFWPUJPOBM CPPL QPQVMBS
JO UIF .JEEMF "HFT *U JT

Photo: © beglib Morguefile


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NBOVTDSJQU 3FG 8JLJQFEJB

t 5IF #PPL PG ,FMMT *SJTI -FBCIBS


$IFBOBOOBJT
%VCMJO 5SJOJUZ
$PMMFHF -JCSBSZ .4 " * 

TPNFUJNFT LOPXO BT UIF#PPL
Magnificent Fresco
PG $PMVNCB
JT BO JMMVNJOBUFE
NBOVTDSJQU (PTQFM CPPLJO
of Kells” which you can view in repeated every time you set up to paint. -BUJO DPOUBJOJOH UIF GPVS
Dublin, Ireland – are very impressive. With time, artistic entrepreneurs began (PTQFMT PG UIF /FX 5FTUBNFOU
Equally impressive are the results of preparing ready-made paints for artists.” UPHFUIFS XJUI WBSJPVT QSFGBUPSZ
working with fresco. Fresco is where Englishman William Reeves started UFYUT BOE UBCMFT *U XBT DSFBUFE
pigment is mixed with water and out as a ‘colourman’, then, with CZ $FMUJD NPOLT DB PS
applied to wet plaster. Michelangelo his brother Thomas around 1766, TMJHIUMZ FBSMJFS 3FG 8JLJQFEJB

and Leonardo da Vinci are the most invented the moist watercolour paint t *O  BU UIF BHF PG GPVSUFFO 
famous artists using this medium. cake (there is hot debate about -FPOBSEP EB 7JODJ XBT
Over the next two hundred years, this). This was a leap forward in the BQQSFOUJDFE UP UIF BSUJTU "OESFB
artists continued to use watercolours – development of this material and EJ $JPOF LOPXO BT 7FSSPDDIJP
with most artists preparing and grinding coincided with the ‘golden age’ XIPTF XPSLTIPQ XBT iPOFPG
their own water colour paint. Many of English watercolour painting. UIF GJOFTU JO 'MPSFODFw -FPOBSEP
artists fiercely guarded their recipes and Another breakthrough came in 1780 XPVME IBWF CFFO FYQPTFEUP
methods. It wasn’t until the 18th century when honey was added to the recipe CPUI UIFPSFUJDBM USBJOJOH BOEB
that the first paint manufacturers began to make the paint more pliable. (Bees WBTU SBOHF PG UFDIOJDBM TLJMMT
appearing in major European cities. to the rescue?) William Reeves was JODMVEJOH ESBGUJOH DIFNJTUSZ 
This is where consumerism began in a genius and a stubborn man – he NFUBMMVSHZ NFUBM XPSLJOH 
this industry as these manufacturers became estranged from his family QMBTUFS DBTUJOH MFBUIFS XPSLJOH 
not only provided the basic pigments, and died an embittered man and NFDIBOJDT BOE DBSQFOUSZBT
resins and oils they also sold left his fortune to his housekeeper. XFMM BT UIF BSUJTUJD TLJMMT PG
auxiliary items such as pastes etc. By 1841 the metal tube had been ESBXJOH QBJOUJOH TDVMQUJOHBOE
According to Wikipedia “A famous invented and competitors Winsor & NPEFMJOH 3FG 8JLJQFEJB

example is an “herbal extract” shop in Newton secured the patent – then


Paris that prepared the colours for Jean added a screw top to the design Below: Leonardo da Vinci
Baptiste Chardin when the artist’s failing and the modern paint tube was
eyesight prohibited him from making born. A few years later the well-
his own.” And that “Artist’s watercolour guarded recipe was published after a
paints came directly from the colourmen government enquiry. In 1892, Winsor
in dry clumps that had been cut off of & Newton were said to be the first
clay-like slabs of prepared watercolour company to publish the composition
paint. The paints were hard. Artists and permanence of their colours.
would have to break up the clump into Portable metal paint boxes
useable bits and grind them in water. appeared during the mid 19th century
The usual method of preparing along with six paint ‘split primary’
to paint included “rubbing up” your palette. This was based on the
colours with water on a stone or three traditional subtractive primary
ceramic dish as you would a sumi-e colours (red, yellow and blue).
Wikipedia

ink stick. Grinding your paint in water ti8BSNwZFMMPX$BENJVN


was a tedious but necessary step Yellow Medium (PY35)

Artist’s Back to Basics 27


Feature
Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: © alvimann Morgeufile

Above left : Book of Kells t i$PPMw ZFMMPX $BENJVN in the labelling of watercolour paints.
Above right: Tempura and Paintbrush Lemon (PY35) This was due to the fact that they
t i8BSNw SFE $BENJVN were often named to evoke a picture
Scarlet (PR108) in the minds eye. For example,
ti$PPMwSFE2VJOBDSJEPOF Indian yellow, burnt sienna.
Carmine (PV19) Slowly during the 1990’s
ti8BSNwCMVF6MUSBNBSJOF#MVF 1#
manufacturers began listing pigment
i$PPMwCMVFw1IUIBMP#MVF ingredients using the common
(Green Shade) (PB15). pigment name – for example,
These colours could be mixed to cobalt blue and then coupled this
create bright or saturated colours. XJUIBOJEFOUJGJDBUJPODPEF1#
The rest, as they say is history! These identification codes were
t5FNQFSB BMTPLOPXOBTFHH Today’s commercial watercolours assigned by the Society of Dyers and
UFNQFSB JTBQFSNBOFOU mainly come in either tubes or pans. $PMPVSJTUT 6,
BOEUIF"NFSJDBO
GBTUESZJOHQBJOUJOHNFEJVN Tube paints have the consistency Association of Textile Chemists and
DPOTJTUJOHPGDPMPSFEQJHNFOU of toothpaste. Pan paints are $PMPVSJTUT 64"
BOECFDBNFLOPXO
NJYFEXJUIBXBUFSTPMVCMFCJOEFS small dried cakes or bars. as the ‘Colour Index International’.
NFEJVN VTVBMMZBHMVUJOPVT Today watercolour paints are IUUQXXXDPMPVSJOEFYPSH

NBUFSJBMTVDIBTFHHZPMLPS CBTFEPOGPVSNBJOJOHSFEJFOUT Today commercial watercolour


TPNFPUIFSTJ[F
 SFG8JLJQFEJB
t1JHNFOUoXIJDIDBOCFOBUVSBM  paints come in two main grades
synthetic, mineral or organic – Professional and Student. The
t0YHBMMJTHBMM VTVBMMZPCUBJOFE
t"SBCJDHVNoXIJDIJTVTFE EJGGFSFODFTCFUXFFOUIFUXPBSF
GSPNDPXT UIBUJTNJYFE
as a binder that holds the Professional grade which has
XJUIBMDPIPMBOEVTFEBTUIF
pigment in suspension and fewer fillers (kaolin or chalk) and
XFUUJOHBHFOUJONBSCMJOH 
fixes the paint to the painting creates a richer and deeper colour
FOHSBWJOH MJUIPHSBQIZ BOE
surface – original 19th century Student grade which
XBUFSDPMPVSQBJOUJOH*UJTB
binders were often sugars has less pigment
HSFFOJTICSPXOMJRVJENJYUVSF
t"EEJUJWFToTVDIBT The development of the watercolour
DPOUBJOJOHDIPMFTUFSPM MFDJUIJO 
glycerine, ox gall or honey paint has dipped into the soul of
UBVSPDIPMJDBDJE BOEHMZDPIPMJD
to change the viscosity society and allows us to paint with
BDJE 3FG8JLJQFEJB

t4PMWFOUToVTFEUPUIJO ‘soul’. Its journey through family


or dilute the paint life, mercantile progress and now
The most popular brands of to consumerism is still going.
commercial watercolours for today’s So the next time you sit in front
artists come from Daler, Rowney, of your easel – “dip your brush in
Reeves and Winsor & Newton. your own soul, and paint your own
6OUJMUIFTUIFSFXBTDPOGVTJPO nature into your pictures.” O

28 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

Considering Paints
A look at a truly vital topic for all artists: Paints. The predominantly fluid
substances used to apply colour and texture to artists’ painting surfaces.

AT C H R O M A , I T ’ S A L L A B O U T T H E PA I N T

The Chroma company was founded in become more painterly


1965 by Jim Cobb, a former art teacher. as well.
At that time, the Australian school system Acrylics were starting to
was introducing an excellent and well become a widely used
funded art programme. School acrylics ‘traditional’ type of paint by this time gouache, watercolour or mixed media.
were promptly adopted as the basic paint and amateur use increased for reasons In 2005 something ‘earth shattering’
used in Australian classrooms. like easy clean up; while some oil emerged, after years of experimentation
By the ’70s, the company was making painters were beginning to worry aimed at making acrylics more artist-
acrylic artists’ paints which were very about their health because of the toxic friendly. Acrylic artists seemed to have
fashionable at that time … and almost fumes given off by their mediums everything already: Every imaginable
mandatory for producing the ‘Hard and solvents. gel and medium, and as many colours
Edge’ paintings of the period. Oil paints In 1990, Chroma launched its most as a good Chinese restaurant has dishes
had become an artifact from the past. innovative product to date: Archival on its menus. Yet there was still
By the ’80s, fashions changed again Oils. This medium employed polymer something vital missing. Artists’
– this time towards more ‘painterly’ modifier technology to prevent acrylics had always been based on
styles – and artists’ acrylics went paintings from becoming brittle with house paint technologies, designed to
into struggle mode. Chroma produced age, together with a system of mediums dry much too fast for artists to
a thicker impasto artists’ acrylic in based on alkyd resins made up with manipulate their paint and resolve their
1982, but more and more artists were relatively non-toxic odourless solvents. paintings satisfactorily.
rediscovering oil paints; while those Archival Oils were not, at this time, as Was this a necessary constraint, built
who stayed with acrylics had to commercially successful as they should into the very nature of the acrylic
have been – they became a niché medium? Or was there some better,
product until 2000 when they re- more artist-friendly, way?
emerged with more fanfare after many Chroma has found the better way
years spent in proving the obvious: with Atelier Interactive. This is
Technology, when used correctly, does Chroma’s newest paint, which will
benefit consumers. Artists who had kept surely change the whole way artists
on using Archival Oils were discovering interact with their paintings.
new freedoms of technique which
hinged upon the paints’ flexibility. Chroma makes cutting edge
In 2004, Chroma developed a new artists’ paints for a worldwide
hyper gouache called Absolute Matte. market. Their reputation stands on
Most artists have to discover the paint an ability to innovate and an
that suits them … and this paint has understanding of what artists
particular potential for anyone need. To contact Chroma,
interested in works on paper, be they telephone 02 9457 9922.

30 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

A RT I S A N WAT E R M I X A B L E O I L C O L O U R F R O M J A S C O

Artisan is a genuine oil colour which A wide variety of pigments are used Artisan Water Mixable Stand Oil; and
can be thinned with water and cleaned in Artisan to provide all the Artisan Water Mixable Impasto Medium.
with soap and water. It is specifically characteristics expected from a Winsor Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colours and
developed to appear and work just & Newton Oil Colour. Mediums can be mixed with
like a conventional oil colour. The Artisan colours are rated AA or A and conventional oil colours and conventional
key attributes of oil colour (depth are recommended as permanent for mediums. However, the resultant mixture
of colour, buttery consistency, artists’ use. Recent pigment developments will be progressively less water mixable
lightfastness, opacity/transparency, have led to improvements in the as greater amounts of conventional oil
performance and drying time) are all lightfastness of artists’ colours. Artisan colour or oil colour mediums are used.
found in Artisan paints. does not require any solvents for cleaning
This medium is for oil painters who up after painting – just wipe excess oil Artisan is available in a Studio Set
are allergic to solvents such as white colour from the brush and use soap and and a Beginners’ Set. Further
spirits or turpentine. It is also ideal for water to clean. information can be obtained from
students and teachers in schools and When Artisan is thinned with water, JASCO on 1800 676 155.
colleges where the use of oil colour the water evaporates out of the paint
is prohibited because of the solvents, film fairly rapidly – leaving behind a
or where a group of painters could conventional oil colour film that dries
generate harmful concentrations by means of oxidation, as normal. All
of vapours. colours become touch dry in two to
Artisan offers a balanced spectrum of 12 days.
40 colours available in 37ml, and 18 Use Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour
colours in 120ml tubes. The colour range in conjunction with these five unique
is based on mass tone, undertone, specially formulated mediums: Artisan
strength, and relative opacity. There are Water Mixable Painting Medium; Artisan
two series, with Series 2 containing Water Mixable Fast Drying Medium;
genuine Cadmiums and Cobalts. Artisan Water Mixable Linseed Oil;

R E E V E S A C RY L I C S F R O M J A S C O

already available, providing a broader creativity.


palette for artists and great colour tones Reeves paints are ideal for students,
for décor and craft applications. hobbyists and semi-professional artists.
The Reeves company was established They are also popular with homemakers
in 1766. A box of Reeves paints was doing décor art. Reeves acrylics are full-
purchased in 1768 by Isaac Smith who bodied with excellent covering power,
accompanied Captain James Cook on clean colour mixing and superior brush
his famous voyage of discovery to stroke retention. They are water based
Australia. The company also gained and quick drying; suitable for a variety of
historical fame when Reeves paints were surfaces including canvas, paper, wood
used on St Helena Island in 1815 by and fabric.
Reeves fine acrylic colours have a high Napoleon Bonaparte. Reeves offers consumers high quality
pigment concentration to give them Affordable paints for schools were at an affordable price, together with the
excellent lightfastness and strong introduced by Reeves in 1866. potential to produce an impressive range
vibrant colours. The product offers The Reeves ‘greyhound’ logo was of artistic effects by using a
outstanding coverage. Its superior adapted from the coat of arms of the straightforward and accessible medium.
acrylic resin ensures excellent adhesion Reeves family of Dorset. The family
and a free-flowing consistency. Reeves insignia featured a seated black Further information can be obtained
acrylics can be used straight from the greyhound spotted with gold. from JASCO on 1800 676 155.
tube for free-flowing impasto effects, The Reeves brand seeks to provide
and to build volume. colour, creativity and activity for all ages
The Reeves acrylics range now boasts with a ‘self-serve’ solution for art. Colour
six great new colours in 75ml tubes: coded products make it easy to select the
Flesh Tint, Sand, Naples Yellow, right combination of paints, accessories
Terracotta, Copper and Bronze. These and surfaces. The brand promotes the
new colours add to the variety of colours idea that anyone can express artistic

Artist’s Back to Basics 31


F E A T U R E

S & S W H O L E S A L E P T Y LT D S U P P L I E S M A I M E R I A N D S H I VA PA I N T S T I K S

Shiva Paintstiks are simple to use, but Thinners, turpentine and linseed oil
infinitely flexible. Shiva Artist’s Paintstik work as effectively as they do with
Oil Colours are real paint in a solid form. conventional oil paints. Dryers are not
They are not crayons, oil pastels or soft really necessary when using Shiva
pastels, but highly refined drying oils Paintstiks, but they may be used with the
blended with durable pigments and then same results as for conventional oil
solidified into stick form. They perform paints. Varnish also can be applied to
beautifully with all conventional oil finished paintings after they are
paints. All of the same techniques that completely dry.
you are accustomed to using when oil Maimeri has dreamed, for decades, of
painting (and more) can be successfully making painting mediums that would great elasticity. The colours are produced
performed using Paintstiks. break existing boundaries and achieve a with highly lightfast pigments suspended
The Paintstiks’ drying time allows brilliance of colour. Maimeri is Italy’s in acrylic emulsion, which adhere to the
colours to stay workable for several hours leading range of art materials and was surface to create a resistant and flexible
without using retarders. Most of the founded by Gianni Maimeri and his coating and can even be used with
colours dry to a non-smear state brother Carlo in 1923. acrylic mediums to create murals to be
overnight and are usually fully dry in Classico Fine Oil Colours combine displayed outdoors.
three days. Actual drying time depends innovation and tradition by a special Designed specifically for beginning
on temperature, humidity, thickness of process of manufacture and the quality of painters, Maimeri Tempera Fine
paint application and type of surface pigments used. They remain stable in Colours are easy to use. Tempera Fine
being painted. Paintstiks are self-sealing tone from the time of manufacture until is made up of 24 colours and three
… they form a protective film so the completely dry. They contain no waxes metallic shades. All the colours are
colour won’t rub off or dry out. This also or thickeners. The colour palette includes totally opaque and suitable for
provides an indefinite shelf life because the best original natural earths and true application on dark backgrounds. The
they reseal in 24 hours. The film is easily Cadmium pigments. three metallic colours are semi-opaque,
removed by peeling it away with paper Maimeri Puro Oil Colours are made stable in light, and do not oxidize in
towel, or rubbing it off gently. from top quality raw materials. They are time upon contact with water. The
For the professional artist, art student highly concentrated to create bright colours can be diluted to any degree;
or amateur artist, Paintstiks are an intense colours. The colours are ground used pure; or thinned like watercolours.
effective medium to ‘think out’ shape, from five to 15 microns, which allows Maimeri Blu Watercolours feature a
composition and colour, without a pigment to stay suspended without the high pigment concentration with 52 of
palette or mixing cup. use of any fillers or waxes. Each of the the 72 colours being formulated with a
They are also a useful aid to the art 80 colours is made using a single sole pigment. The binder, gum-arabic
teacher, to help students grasp the pigment formulation, so colours blend from Kordofan in Sudan, is an almost
fundamentals of oil painting without cleanly and reliably. To ensure the long completely clear and elastic medium that
using classroom time for mixing paint lasting beauty of paintings, all Puro is totally soluble in water – yielding the
or cleaning up. colours exhibit the maximum degree purest tones. All of the Maimeri Blu
of lightfastness. colours are intermixable without losing
Start Acrylics from Maimeri are their clarity and brilliance.
composed of pigment, resin and The Venezia Watercolours from
water. They dry rapidly by Maimeri are a range of 36 colours which
evaporation. As water evaporates, are all lightfast and can all be intermixed.
the pigment becomes denser – so In coming up with this new palette and
that the hue becomes slightly choosing pigments, Maimeri removed all
darker and more intense. The Cadmium and Cobalt based colours and
Start colour palette of 30 hues reduced the Chrome content to a
includes the colours most minimum in order to eliminate toxins and
popular with painters, with the heavy metals. Instead, the Venezia range
addition of metallic hues. Start includes valuable organic pigments.
paints can imitate the transparency
of watercolours or the texture For information about stockists
of sand. of these products, contact
Maimeri Polycolor, available in S&S Customer Service on
24 tints, is a coloured acrylic paste with 1300 731 529.

32 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

T H E G O L D E N A C RY L I C S R A N G E H A S A R R I V E D AT O X F O R D A RT

Golden has always concentrated its applied to any gessoed support and
efforts within the niche for the mimics the absorbency of watercolour
professional artist. By listening to artists paper. Acrylic Ground for Pastels
and working with individuals in the contains a gritty solid to allow pastels and
studio, Golden has developed a other drawing media to adhere to the
comprehensive range of innovative and surface. Many other Golden products can
imaginative products of the highest be used as effective grounds.
standard of quality. Golden Varnishes offer several
Heavy Body Acrylics was the first line advantages to artists concerned about the
of products produced by Golden in 1980. longevity of their artwork. First, they are
These paints have the ability to ‘stand up’ collages. Because there are so many to removable. Problems such as smoke
and retain brush strokes on the canvas. choose from, an artist first needs to damage, handling blemishes and dust or
Also available is a line of Fluid Acrylics. determine which characteristic(s) they dirt accumulation on the surface of the
The Fluids were first created as a custom are looking to change. painting can be removed along with the
product for artists requesting a thinner, Golden Gessos and Grounds offer varnish. Second, Golden Varnishes offer
yet fully pigment-saturated paint. Glazes artists a variety of ways to prepare protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays
are slow-drying translucent colour blends substrates for acrylic paintings or other generated from the sun. Third, varnishing
used for decorative techniques and fine art media such as oils, alkyds, charcoal, consolidates the artwork with an even
art glazing applications. The Airbrush pastels and watercolours. sheen. Gloss Varnishes can intensify
line is the result of ten years of research Gesso can be thought of as the bridge colors while Matte or Satin Varnishes
on sprayable paint systems. In addition to between the support and the paint. soften the colour and minimise glare.
these products, Golden makes Golden Gesso is designed to penetrate a Golden’s mission is ‘to grow a
Conservation Colors and several unique support and provide a surface for the sustainable company dedicated to
products. adherence of paint. Proper preparation of creating and sharing the most imaginative
Golden Mediums and Additives offer the support with Golden Gesso can and innovative tools of colour, line and
artists infinite control of changing increase the lifespan of the artwork. It is texture for inspiring those who turn their
acrylic colours. They range in flexible and is highly pigmented for vision into reality’.
consistency from pourable to moldable. opaque coverage.
They may be used to create glazes; Golden also makes two specialty The product range is available from
extend paints; build texture; change grounds: Absorbent Ground and Acrylic Oxford Art Supplies – telephone 02
finishes; and work as a gluing agent for Ground for Pastels. Absorbent Ground is 9360 4066 or 02 9417 8572.3

N E W P R O D U C T S F R O M M AT I S S E D E R I VA N
Six exciting new product sets have ASTM 1 or 2 and are of archival quality
recently been launched by Matisse – so artists can create with confidence
Derivan. Each set has been hand knowing their
selected from the brilliant range of artwork will stand
Matisse Structure Formula Colours and the test of time.
Mediums to provide artists with a Each colour is
stunning array of colours. Each set fully compatible
showcases artwork of various Australian with the range of
artists such as Ben Stack, Catherine Matisse Mediums, working together to palette knife for striking textured effects;
Harry, Stephen Jesic and Jody Graham. create a highly versatile painting system or in combination with the range of
The colours chosen for each set were for all artists. Matisse Mediums for exceptional
carefully selected after consultation with The intense, vibrant colours of the flexibility of application and finish.
artists to provide the perfect addition to Structure Formula paints cover the full The new ‘pick up and go’ sets are
their palette for each genre, with several colour spectrum, including several suitable for a range of artistic styles. They
uniquely Australian colours included uniquely Australian colours. Matisse feature excellent premium colours.
from the Matisse Structure range. Structure Formula is a rich impasto paint Convenient tubes of Medium (included
Only the finest quality pigments and that is a favourite with professional with each set) add extra value.
ingredients are selected for the Matisse artists. Available in a large range of
range of premium acrylic colours. All colours, Matisse Structure Formula paint Matisse Derivan can be contacted on
have the highest lightfastness rating of is ideal for application with a brush or 02 9736 2022.
F E A T U R E

ENJOY FREEDOM AND CONVENIENCE WITH GENESIS

Genesis paints allow you to your brushes, and by leaving paint in


work wet on wet with no your brushes you can actually condition
stopping and waiting (unlike them and extend their useful life.
conventional oils). Simply Genesis paints are the dream medium
dry the area you for the busy artist. Work can be
wish to keep interrupted at will and resumed
working on, whenever convenient – the following
and apply day, or even several months later.
more paint Due to a high pigment content,
straight over Genesis colours remain strong and
the top … vibrant after drying. There is no
wonderful for discernible colour shift from wet to dry.
the impatient artist. The paints are not solvent based. They
Genesis also offers fine are odourless and non toxic – perfect
control in mixing, blending and for artists who suffer from allergies.
For many years, Genesis Heat Set Oils application. They can be applied directly onto many
have been regarded as the world’s With glazes, washes and impasto surfaces including fabric. They
‘most universal’ quality fine artist effects there are no time limitations or conform to ATSM D-4236,
paints ever made available. restrictions. With Genesis you can guaranteeing strong archival qualities.
Imagine being able to start painting apply washes like watercolours, or
without wasting time preparing your blend to your heart’s content. You can Genesis Heat Set Oils are sold
palette! Genesis paints will allow you also apply layer over layer, just like directly to artists and are only
to do exactly that. you would with an acrylic. You, the available from Genesis Art
All your pre-mixed colours (from artist, can finally have total control of Supplies Pty Ltd – their website
yesterday, last week, or even several the drying process. can be viewed at
months ago) can be picked up and Because these paints never dry until www.genesisoilpaints.com.au and
painted with immediately. Genesis Heat you choose to dry them, there is no the site features an online shop.
Set Oils stay wet indefinitely until you wastage. The paints remain wet on your The website also has an artist
choose to dry them by applying heat at palette and brushes. gallery section displaying various
130 degrees Celsius with a hand-held Genesis Heat Set Oils are sold in clear outstanding finished artworks
heat gun. Depending upon how thickly screw-cap jars, allowing you to easily done in Genesis paints. The
you have applied the paint, it can be see exactly what colours you have. telephone number for Genesis is
dried in as little as two minutes. There is no need to continually wash 08 9206 1233.

E C K E R S L E Y ’ S – A L E A D I N G S U P P L I E R F O R A C RY L I C C O L O U R !

Do you feel time-restricted when trying Eckersley’s stocks a wide range of For further information,
to adjust and develop your acrylic Atelier Interactive paints and mediums, call 1300 657 766, email
works of art? Would you like an acrylic among other brands. The Atelier art@eckersleys.com.au
colour with a longer open time? If fast Interactive paint is available in 80ml tubes or visit
drying times are causing frustration for and is available in a range of 75 colours. www.eckersleys.com.au
you, Atelier Interactive Artists’ Acrylics A variety of mediums is available
may be the answer. including primers, fast drying mediums,
The benefit of Atelier Interactive is slow drying mediums and varnishes.
that it does not form a skin during the To view an extensive range of acrylic
drying process, which allows you to colours and mediums, visit your nearest
re-blend and re-work your painting. Eckersley’s store where a friendly staff
It has a smooth buttery consistency member will gladly assist with your needs.
that dries satin. It allows wet-on-wet
painting to be altered; and wet-over-
dry painting can be easily integrated.
Essentially, it allows you as an artist
greater control of the painting process.

34 Artist’s Back to Basics


Pe n c i l s D o w n

Curves, Ellipses, and Spirals


By Brett A. Jones

“Sketch a few
N
ow we’ve covered straight than the reference photo is good as
lines, circles and hatching it allows you more room for the finer
straight lines and and crosshatching it’s time to details without straining your eyes.
perfect circles have a close look at curves, ellipses, Your eyes can see a lot finer details
and spirals. The ability to recognize and subtleties than you can generally
… and then try abstract shapes in a composition draw with a sharp pencil even if
some of the isn’t much use without the ability to time’s not an issue. Human eyes are
lightly sketch it on your paper close equivalent to a 140 megapixel digital
following practise to the correct shape, position, and camera and they are connected to
techniques.” scale. “Scale” is another thing which an analytical computer still better
you control, it’s your choice how than anything you can plug into a
much larger your original is going wall socket (for now anyway, the
to be from the reference photo or latest digital four-thirds cameras are
live scene you are drawing from. It’s up to 15 megapixel already, next
usually quite a bit larger than the year they will run to well over 20).
reference photo, but not always. It’s Your honest accuracy in drawing the
Fig 1: circular spiral rarely required to draw exactly the lines and curves which make up any
Fig 2: ellipses off the shoulder same size as the photo and a poor object or subject (with perspective
Fig 3: elliptical spirals choice if it’s up to you. Making your and depth of field thrown in) you may
Fig 4: ellipses off the wrist original larger (ideally substantially) draw is one of the most important
elements marking the difference
between an “OK” or “good” drawing
to one which will sell or win a prize
at an art show. All the practise you
have done with the lines, circles
and hatching will stand you in good
stead as you start to layout actual
objects and compositions. Don’t try
and include too many of the larger
shapes smaller idiosyncrasies in their
outlines. Your relatively clumsy hand
eye co-ordination while sketching
the first stage of a composition will
always over emphasize the most
minor (but still very important) quirks
and variations on lines and curves
your 140 megapixel eyeballs can
see. Far better practice to add these
in during the refining stages of
your work while it’s evolving from a
rough, light, sketch of larger shapes
to a much more precise (but still
light) line drawing. Some of the
Fig 1 most minute (but very important)
inconsistencies in the larger shapes

36 Artist’s Back to Basics


Fig 2 Fig 3

outlines can be worked in right near be moved around, added to, or “The practical
the end of the drawing process. removed as necessary as the
So back to the butchers’ paper we sketch turns into a line drawing exercises in this
go to take your sketching skills to and you go from sketching off the article will build
the next level. Sketch a few straight shoulder to drawing off the wrist
lines and perfect circles (see articles to refine your lines and curves. up your freehand
one and two) to loosen up your mind It’s worth mentioning at this point sketching skills but
and body and then try some of the that every freehand work in graphite
following practise techniques. is started with sketching techniques just as importantly
(off the shoulder) and finished with will develop
Sketching Circular Spirals. drawing techniques (off the wrist) but
Try and keep the lines close without you chop and change between them your instinctual
touching or crossing over and many, many times during the course of choices of whether
experiment with the pencil speed a drawing. The practical exercises in
to find your ideal. Start from the this article will build up your freehand sketching or
centre and work and then from sketching skills but just as importantly drawing style is
the outside and work in. Both will develop your instinctual choices
directions. Big ones off the shoulder of whether sketching or drawing style more appropriate
and small ones off the wrist. is more appropriate for each line and for each line
curve as you go along. You shouldn’t
Sketching Ellipses and even have to consciously think and curve as
Elliptical Spirals. about it in the end but automatically you go along.”
Sketch some different sized ellipses go to the method best suited.
(circle on an angle). Long lazy ones
and short fat ones. If they don’t look
too symmetrical at first do them
for awhile until you are happy and
then start sketching elliptical spirals,
from the inside out and then the
outside in. Don’t forget to play with
the speed the pencil is moving.
A lot of the curves you will come
across when sketching layouts are
just part of a circular or elliptical spiral.
It all comes back to recognizing
curves in the composition and being
able to reproduce them freehand Fig 4
on your work, lightly enough to

Artist’s Back to Basics 37


Pe n c i l s D o w n

Fig 5 Fig 6

“The more Freehand Spirograph. You could make intricate, perfect


O.K., now you can sketch lines in designs that eventually ended
comfortable and any direction and circles, ellipses back up exactly where you started.
confident you are and spirals at will. You should In theory anyway, in reality as I
now be able to turn yourself into remember the cogs would jump
about sketching lines a freehand Spirograph machine. a tooth or the pen would slip out
and different kinds For those too young to remember of the hole or stop working long
Spirograph, they were kids toys before you got back to the start.
of curves in any from the seventies which consisted
direction the better of different sized gears and cogs Relax and let it happen.
with numbered holes that the tip So, to do this exercise sketch an
and faster you will of a pen (a spiro biro I suppose) ellipse on your paper but instead
sketch and draw would fit through all around them so of ending it perfectly pretend
you could run two gears together instead that the ellipse you are
and the better the (one stationary on the paper, one drawing is mounted on a very
end results will be.” moving around it with the pen slowly turning propeller, so that
through one of the off centre holes). each new ellipse has got a slightly
different angle on its long axis
than the last and so on. If you are
relaxed (best advice, just relax
and turn most of your conscious
brain off) and accurate enough it
should end up where it started,
having followed the propeller slowly
through one complete revolution.
You can do a similar thing with
circles except the centre of each circle
moves slowly around in its own circle
until eventually you make it back to
where you started. As usual, practise
these in both directions. The beauty
of this type of exercise is that you
end up forgetting about the particular
ellipse or circle and just settle into
an almost sub-conscious rhythm.
Fig 7 The bottom line is- the more
comfortable and confident you

38 Artist’s Back to Basics


Fig 8 Fig 9

are about sketching lines and and draw freehand. If your aim is “A lot of the
different kinds of curves in any to create fine art in any medium,
direction the better and faster you it has to be all freehand from start curves you will
will sketch and draw and the better to finish for so very many reasons, come across
the end results will be. Once you some of which can’t be understood
are comfortable with your new until you are already well into the when sketching
freehand spirographic abilities, freehand journey. Some may have layouts are just
experiment using straight and to employ just a little bit of blind
curved lines instead of circles and faith to start on this sometimes part of a circular
ellipses. Now take it all up a notch difficult but always rewarding path or elliptical spiral.”
and step each line or revolution but none that do will regret it. We
out exponentially from the last one. haven’t even broached the subject
If done properly you will start to of actually sketching a composition
see shape and three dimensional yet but the skills explained in these
depth in the patterns that appear. first four articles are absolutely Fig 5: elliptical freehand spirograph
You are not trying to create essential so please don’t breeze Fig 6: circular freehand spirograph
artwork here but simply developing over or trivialize them. There’s Fig 7: freehand spirograph
and honing a whole range of skills a long way to go but the start is off the wrist
and perceptions both physical and always the place to start. Have a Fig 8: straight line spiro
mental which just cannot be done good trip; see you on the path, Fig 9: curved line spiro
without if your aim is to sketch Brett A. Jones Fig 10: exponential spiro

Fig 10
Back to Basics

Art for Steven


By Paul Dorin

Some years ago, this man was inspired to make the


transition from cartooning to painting. He had always wanted
to express himself in this way; and he dedicates every
painting to his late brother Steven who inspired him.

A
n empty canvas is always
challenging, but has the
potential to become a
significant piece of artwork. It was
always explained to me that a
painting is like a sunset … they’re
all nice, but sometimes we’ll stand
back and look at one and say, “Wow!
How amazing and beautiful it is!”
I dedicate every painting
to my late brother Steven
who inspired me to paint.
Wollongong in New South Wales
has been my home since I was born.
I left school in 1984, to pursue my
career as a cartoonist. There were
a lot more magazines publishing
cartoons back then – like The
Bulletin and The Australasian Post.
I had my first big break in 1985
with The Bulletin magazine accepting
and publishing one of my very
first cartoons. Over the years,
my cartoons have been strongly
influenced by Australian culture and
unique wildlife. Many of my cartoons
have appeared in various leading
Australian and overseas magazines.
I really enjoy political cartooning.
It’s a license I like to have fun
with. The pen can be mightier
than the sword, sometimes!
About 16 years ago, I was
inspired to make the transition
from cartooning to painting. I had
always wanted to express myself
painting, since I was a kid growing
up, watching artists like Rolf Harris

40 Artist’s Back to Basics


on television. Rolf was perhaps artist. I had my time struggling as an
one of the first (artist) painters I artist, especially in the early years.
ever saw paint. But it was my late Painting is my creative release.
brother Steven Dorin who was my For me, drawing illustrations, there’s
biggest inspiration … he was a a kind of artistic structure; but with
brilliant sketcher and painter, and a painting there’s less self-control
as a kid many of his works were and not so many boundaries.
displayed on the kitchen wall for Although every little drop of
everyone to see and admire. paint or brush stroke on my
I can always remember standing
and just staring at Steve’s artwork. I
couldn’t wait to have my own artwork “For me, drawing illustrations, there’s a kind
up on display on the kitchen wall. I
remember (thanks to Mum) that the of artistic structure; but with a painting there’s
kitchen became a gallery. I guess
you could say that I had my very first less self-control and not so many boundaries.”
exhibition on the kitchen gallery wall.
Before I ever picked up a pencil
to draw, or a paint brush to paint, painting is actually meant to be
my creative outlet came from the there, I can say there are no
love of plasticine and sculpture. constraints involved. There is
My mother and aunty didn’t have structured splashing of paint, I
the same love I had for plasticine guess; I love letting loose, turning
– with plasticine often being found up the music and applying the
squashed stubbornly into the carpet. paint brush to the canvas like
I am self-taught and very lucky a conductor to the orchestra.
to be a commercially successful The music sets the tempo.

Artist’s Back to Basics 41


Back to Basics

“I paint a variety I would describe my painting Russell Drysdale (Australian art


style as rustic, earthy, truly unique, legends); and Jackson Pollock.
of Australian uplifting; and very Australian. I paint I remember visiting the National
themes, but my a variety of Australian themes, but Gallery in Canberra as a kid, and I
my favourites would have to be those can clearly remember being visually
favourites would set in the rugged bush featuring walloped by this large weird painting
have to be those our Australian wildlife and Aussie called ‘Blue Poles’ and saying,
bushmen. Some of the paintings can “What on earth is that?” I had no
set in the rugged appear humourous … and this is appreciation at all as a kid …
bush featuring because I see our Australian wildlife Today when I visit the
as very unique and full of character – National Gallery, I admire
our Australian which is perfect for my painting style. and appreciate every part of
wildlife and Aussie Emus can be so funny and the ‘Blue Poles’ painting.
curious; and absolutely so much I watched a DVD about Jackson
bushmen.” fun to paint. I also have a love of Pollock a few years ago and got
painting koalas. The real koalas inspired with his drizzling technique.
spend most of their time lounging in It had me taking a canvas outside
the forks of trees – but l like turning on a windy day, and I drizzled
them into little humans. I turn my about a litre of acrylic black gloss
koalas into active little marsupials. paint all over the canvas to create
I admire the artist Rolf Harris. He a bushman character. I was
has an amazing talent. I also respect shocked – it worked out great –
Bill Leak (an artist and cartoonist with better than I had even hoped for. I
an abundance of skill and talent); now use the flicking and drizzling
Sydney Nolan, Arthur Streeton, techniques in most of my paintings.

42 Artist’s Back to Basics


One advantage with my paintings
is that they complement each other,
and most people who have bought
a painting have more than one
on their walls. I remember a story
being told to me, about a collector
of my works who renovated his
house to create more wall space
just to hang more paintings.
I am addicted to using Matisse
Derivan Structure paints. I love
the rich impasto, and the colours
are amazing. The Matisse quality
acrylic paints are ideal for the
application I like with a brush;
or, if using a palette knife, they
give striking textured effects. The
colours blend so well together,
and the effects I get brushing my
backgrounds are truly brilliant.
After a year’s sabbatical from
painting, I was welcomed back by
the gallery where I sold my very first
painting: Articles Fine Art Gallery
situated in Stanwell Park, New
South Wales. I spent a year away
from painting after I was ‘taken
advantage of’ by another gallery.
The break did me the world of
good. I think I am now producing
some of my favourite and best
paintings. My latest paintings are
sold by Articles Fine Art Gallery.
I am a member of The Australian
Cartoonist Association and I am
happy mixing cartooning and
painting. When not at the easel
painting, I am at the desk cartooning.
The best advice I can give to
any developing artist is to have
fun and explore your style. Not
everyone will like what you paint
– but there will be someone out
there who does. It comes down
to personal taste. Remember
to always believe in yourself.
I have experienced a few
artistic disasters. Actually, I could
write a book about them.
What can be a mistake on the
canvas to me, normally isn’t noticed
by anyone else. To others, it is
seen as though everything on the
canvas is meant to be there.
Back to Basics

One of the worst disasters I and couriered to the collector


had was after I picked up a glass in Queensland at a later time.
framed painting. I left it lying flat, I have had some memorable
packed in bubble wrap, on the accomplishments, too. In 1997, I
won the Australian Greeting Card
Association Design Award for ‘Best
“The best advice I can give to any developing Humorous Card’. I had my own
greeting card collections; and in
artist is to have fun and explore your style... 2008, I was appearing as a regular
guest on the ‘Susie’ programme
Remember to always believe in yourself.” on WIN Television – discussing
and displaying my paintings.
More recently in 2009, at the
lounge room floor – waiting for ‘Jeans 4 Genes’ Gala Celebrity
the courier to pick it up. ‘Knock Auction, I won the People’s
knock!’ at the door; and I had totally Choice Award. Money raised at
forgotten the painting was there. the auction went to the Children’s
In my haste to get to the door, I Medical Research Institute.
walked all over it – smashing the Readers are welcome to get
glass. The painting wasn’t going in touch with me via my website:
anywhere. It had to be re-framed www.pauldorin.com ■

44 Artist’s Back to Basics


IDRIS MURPHY. Weipa Harbour, Storm Clouds. Atelier Interactive on board, 120x120cm, 2005.
Image courtesy of King Street Gallery on William http://www.kingstreetgallery.com.au

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Back to Basics

Don't Rock the Boat


By Paul Dorin

What comes first … the title or the painting?


For this colourful artist, it can be either – and experimenting
can lead to accidentally creating individual techniques.

Step 1
Final Step What came first: The title or the
painting? For me, it can be either.
There is nothing worse than staring
at a blank canvas. Normally I will
rough out a couple of layouts
(on A4 or A3 layout paper) of the
subject I am going to paint.
I’d visualised my subject characters
and what they might look like.
I sketched the characters roughly
… this is where things end up in
the file (bin). I like my paintings to
be moving and not standing still.
This was the first time I had painted
a boat in one of my paintings, so I
was hoping it was going to work.

Step 2
Painting the background – this was
where I placed the canvas on the
easel and looked at it for a moment,
deciding on the colours that I was
going to use. Being a fishing painting,
I dominated the canvas with blues
and whites. This was the fun part of
the painting. I used a palette knife,
applying four or five colours straight
from tubes and tubs; covering and
spreading over the canvas. I started
from the middle and worked up and
down, creating a background and

46 Artist’s Back to Basics


Step 1 Step 2

foreground. The first colour I laid down Step 3


was Yellow Oxide. I then used a four Using greys and white pastel
inch thick brush and gave my arm a pencils, I sketched the picture onto
workout, very quickly brushing and the canvas from the rough design
blending the colours using criss-cross I had worked on in Step One. t.BUJTTF%FSJWBO4USVDUVSF
strokes. Blue at the top for the sky and Things can change from the BDSZMJDQBJOUT
stronger blue at the bottom for water original concept, or get added, at t7BSJPVTCSVTIFT
– showing depth – with the Yellow this point; but in saying that, I don’t GJOHFST NZPXO
XFMM
Oxide giving the impression of land. like making too many pencil marks VTFEEBHHZCSVTIFT
Then it was time for a cup (which could confuse me). Whatever QMBTUJDQBMFUUFLOJGFT
of tea while I let it dry. wildlife or characters I paint will t7BSJPVTQBTUFMQFODJMT
t7BSJPVTTPGUQBTUFMT
Step 3 t%VMVYBDSZMJDTBNQMF
QPUToWBSJPVTDPMPVST
t4UBOEBSEMBSHFDBOWBT 
BCPVUYDN
t#MBDLHMPTTBDSZMJDQBJOU
t.BUJTTF1PMZNFS(MPTT
7BSOJTI.FEJVN

Artist’s Back to Basics 47


Back to Basics

normally dominate the scene. look like if I added this stroke’, or ‘I will
Grabbing my plastic plate to use attack it now before I forget’. I am forever
as my paint palette, I got straight working on beards when I paint them.
t5IFJOJUJBMSPVHIJTNBEFVQ into painting the boat. It was I am like a barber styling his image.
of the most basic lines. I get a appropriate I was painting a fishing
pretty good idea from the rough painting because I felt a little like ‘a Step 5
if it is going to work, and it gives fish out of water’ painting a boat. I finished off painting the fishing men.
me a good idea of the shape In most of my fishing paintings, I It was amazing how much Titanium
(landscape or portrait) and size have the characters standing in the White I used, mixing it into my colours.
of canvas I am going to use. water or on the edge of a bank. Mixing Yellow Oxide or a little Raw
t*XPSLBTGBTUBT*DBOJO I painted the hats of both characters Umber and some black diluted with
some areas, as I need certain – one a greyish colour and the other water, I brushed in the shadows
colours to mix together. a khaki – then decided to concentrate and details. At this stage I was
t&YQFSJNFOU:PVSFYDVTF on the character sitting in the boat. starting to introduce the black
is, it’s being creative. With the clothes that my characters gloss acrylic to give a stronger
t&YQFSJNFOUJOHDBOMFBEUP were wearing, I think picking colours depth and contrast in the detail.
you accidentally creating your was actually much tougher than I have only recently started using the
own individual techniques. picking colours for me to wear. black gloss acrylic in my paintings.
t%POUUSZBOEHFUFWFSZ
detail with a brush. Instead, Step 4 Final Step
use different colours and I could see the painting starting to I got a new plastic plate, and the
grades of pastel pencils. come together … painting the second colours I was going to use to paint
t8IFOESJ[[MJOHBOEGMJDLJOH guy and putting more detail into the fish. I spent a few hours with
paint, do it in an open area – so the faces of both; and adding more the pastels, adding detail. I took the
you don’t become restricted shadow effects as I went. I like to painting and laid it flat, and flicked and
with your arm movements. work a lot of colour into the faces. drizzled the white from the sample pot
t$IBOHFPVUPGDMPUIFTUIBUZPV I test the waters, adding colours … I all over the bottom to resemble the
don’t want to get paint on. can always paint over it if it goes wrong motion and splashing of the water.
… but sometimes it can be just what the Once the painting was completely
painting (or the character in the painting) dry, I sprayed it with diluted Matisse
needs. I go through stages of jumping Polymer Gloss Varnish Medium 7.
from one thing to another as I see I added the hanging cord,
things, thinking ‘I wonder what this would and the job was done. ■

Step 4 Step 5

48 Artist’s Back to Basics


Oil and Water don’t mix?
They do Now!

Water Mixable Oil


Georgian Water Mixable Oil colours offer you the possibility
of experiencing oil painting without the need for solvent-based
mediums. An alternative to traditional oils, the balanced range
of 40 vibrant colours can be thinned, mixed, and washed using
water and as such is ideal for use indoors or studio.

All Georgian Water Mixable Oil colours offer high levels of


lightfastness, pigment load, and durability. The viscosity and
smooth texture of the colours out of the tube mirror
traditional oil colours and like traditional Georgian Oils,
they offer the same high pigment loads and dependable
lightfastness. Georgian Water Mixable Oils can be used for
impasto techniques or thinned down with water to create
transparent glazes and wash effects similar to watercolours.
They surface-dry between 5 and 7 days, and exhibit no colour
shift from wet to dry.

Georgian water mixable oil colours are supported by a range


of specially designed mediums to enhance your painting
experience. These include;
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Water mixable oil medium – An all-purpose painting easily mixes with the oil molecules.
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WKHÁRZRI WKHRLOFRORXUV
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and levelling, increases gloss and transparency
Stand oil medium²,PSURYHVÁRZDQGOHYHOOLQJ([FHOOHQW
IRU JOD]LQJ DQG ÀQHV GHWDLO
Phone: 1300 731 529
Now available from your favourite retailer! www.creativityunlimited.com.au
Drawing Basics

Pen & Wash Sketching


with Leonie Norton

S ketching is about capturing


the moment and is a quick
impression of people and place.
It is not meant to be a meticulous
drawing or a realistic representation
but is something anyone can do
at any time. Sketching records
interesting features in a particular
scene. It is always about the passion
of place that draws you to it, and the
enjoyment of visually recording it.
When looking back over sketches,
it is amazing what information
is recalled. You will immediately
remember exactly where you were,
whether it was hot or cold, the sights
and sounds and even distinctive
aromas of various places. It is quite
a magical experience. Photographs
do not evoke the same emotions.
Sketches are usually not intended
to be worked into a larger finished
painting, but are predominantly
created for personal enjoyment.
Always use good quality
sketchbooks as they will produce the
best results, and spiral bound is more
convenient. They should be small
enough to carry in a purse or pocket
as larger books begin to weigh heavily
after a while. Travel light and take
the minimum amount of materials.
Most of your sketching will be
done on location, and there are
some concerns to address when
sketching on site. Overcoming self-
consciousness is definitely one, but
this is easily overcome when sketching
with friends or in a group. Remember
that nearly everyone who looks at your
sketches will be greatly impressed,
as it is something they probably have
never done. The more you do, the
more confidence you gain and you
will improve in leaps and bounds.

50 Artist’s Back to Basics


“Always use good
quality sketchbooks
as they will produce
the best results,
and spiral bound is
more convenient.
They should be
small enough to
carry in a purse
or pocket …”

Various cultures react quite childishly delighted response.


differently when seeing people If you are sketching alone, try to
sketching. In some overseas countries, have a wall behind you, so people
particularly Asia, many locals will cannot stand and look over your t4FWFSBMHPPERVBMJUZ
gather very closely around, gesture shoulder. Coffee shops or cafes TLFUDICPPLT HTN
excitedly and are always thrilled with views are an excellent place DPMEQSFTTFE
with what you are doing. They will to sketch, and your privacy will be t)#1FODJMPSDMVUDI
call over their friends who view the respected while you are quietly QFODJMNN)#
sketches with awe and an almost taking in the surroundings and t8BUFSSFTJTUBOU#MBDL
1JHNFOU-JOFSPS%SBGUJOH
1FOTTJ[FNN
t8IJUFQMBTUJDFSBTFS
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NFEJVN)BTSFTFSWPJS
GPSXBUFSBOEOZMPOCSVTI
t4NBMMCPY5JTTVFT
t"TNBMMMJHIUXFJHIU
#BDLQBDLJTWFSZVTFGVM
GPSDBSSZJOHNBUFSJBMT
t-JHIUXFJHIUQPSUBCMF
GPMEJOHTFBU
t8BUFSDPMPVS4LFUDICPPLT
HTNDPMEQSFTTFE
XBUFSDPMPVSQBQFS"
HPPETJ[FJTBQQSPYY
JO YDNT
4QJSBM
CJOEJOHQSFGFSSFE
t$PNQBDU5SBWFMMJOH
PS4LFUDIFST1PDLFU
XBUFSDPMPVSTFU PSTJNJMBS

Artist’s Back to Basics 51


Drawing Basics

Whether you are enjoying a cup of delicious hot and arrangements of unfamiliar
coffee or a refreshing cool drink. fruits and vegetables. You will
sketching in your Architecture can define a place recall the subtle fragrances and
local environment, so it is an important aspect of flavours of the food when looking
sketching. Ensure you understand through your sketchbooks.
Australian country the principles of perspective so There will be both finished and
towns or exotic your buildings will look correctly unfinished sketches in your books,
proportioned. Whether you are but carrying a camera to record the
overseas locations, the sketching in your local environment, scene allows the work to be finished
architecture will speak Australian country towns or exotic at a later date. If time allows, try to
overseas locations, the architecture finish them later in the day or the
a thousand words. will speak a thousand words. evening while colours and sights are
Sketch your buildings firstly in still fresh in your mind. Download
pencil to ensure the perspective the photographs into your computer
is accurate. Then use a fine black and sketch from the screen image.
waterproof drafting pen to go quickly However, be aware if working
over the pencil lines. Remember from photographs as the camera
it is a sketch and not a detailed will distort and flatten images.
drawing. Then it is a simple matter Working from photographs
of putting your watercolours on the requires a little thought of what to
drawing. You will achieve excellent leave in, change around or modify
results using a waterbrush which in some way. It is all about personal
has a water reservoir and avoids impressions. If ten people were
the need to take separate water sketching the same scene from
containers or various brushes. the same position, each sketch
There are amazing subjects would be individually unique.
all around us, and sketching will We all see things differently and
open your eyes to the beauty of certain things will appeal more
the environment and hone your to one person than another.
observational skills. There are always Perspective is absolutely essential
things to sketch in a local park, or to all sketches, whether focusing
beach, or bushland setting. When on a building or a landscape. Some
travelling overseas sketching food basic rules are that objects closer
is really interesting, as often the to you are larger, more detailed
presentation of meals are a work and stronger in colour. Objects in
of art and can contain colours the distance are softer in colour

52 Artist’s Back to Basics


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and less distinct. Colours in the takes many like-minded groups to BDBSEJHBO SBJODPBU 
foreground are brought forward overseas destinations to enjoy a JOTFDUSFQFMMFOUBOETPNF
if they are warmer (think of reds, sketching holiday. This is the perfect TOBDLT#FQSFQBSFE
oranges and yellows), and in the solution for singles as well as t%BUFBOEJEFOUJGZ
distance they are cooler (think couples to feel confident and secure ZPVSTLFUDIFT
blues, soft violets). People or while sketching within a group.
t"MXBZTDIFDLUIBUZPVIBWF
animals also add scale to a sketch. These tours allow for individual
OPUMFGUBOZBSUNBUFSJBMT
Light source, colour and tone tuition, demonstrations and advice
CFIJOECFGPSFZPVMFBWF
are very important in any drawing on all aspects of drawing and
BMPDBUJPO*UJTFBTZUP
or painting. Without a light source painting and absolutely all skill levels
NJTTTNBMMJUFNT
there are no shadows to give form are welcome. Travel off the beaten
to a subject or indicate solidity, track in some destinations to avoid t0CTFSWF *OUFSQSFUBOE&YFDVUF
texture and three-dimensionality. the crowds and to experience some
Working with strong tonal contrasts spectacular scenery. Amaze your
adds interest and information friends and family with your unique
to any sketch. Colour can aid sketchbook full of your favourite
perspective and draw attention to impressions from your holiday.
the focal point in your sketch. Your sketchbooks will reward you
Think of taking a Holiday with wonderful memories reliving
Sketching art tour with Leonie past moments and places visited, Useful Colours:
Norton, who is a widely travelled and you will often think “did I really t$BENJVN-FNPO
international tutor and artist. She draw that?” Happy sketching. O t$BENJVN:FMMPX
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F E A T U R E

1FODJMTBOE0UIFS
%SBXJOH.BUFSJBMT Contributed

An abundance of different styles of pencils and other drawing implements


is available to artists – catering for almost every conceivable drawing
technique. Here are some examples from your favourite art suppliers.

R E VO L U T I O N A RY D E R I VA N L I Q U I D P E N C I L F R O M M AT I S S E

Have you ever been sketching and Due to a precisely balanced formulation,
wanted to cover a larger area quickly? another great benefit of the Permanent
Or wanted to just variegate the tone very Liquid Pencil is that it will ‘burnish up’
subtly, similar to using a watercolour? in a similar manner to traditional
Well … Derivan Liquid Pencil is graphite – but it will not smudge.
capable of all these things and more! The re-wettable formula will also
Derivan Liquid Pencil – a allow you to remove areas using water
revolutionary way to create sketches! – in a similar manner to watercolour
Derivan Liquid Pencil is an techniques; or it is possible to use with
innovative new product that allows a traditional eraser. Another advantage around the world to rate the
you to create authentic graphite pencil to using Derivan Liquid Pencil is that lightfastness of pigments on a scale of
effects and pencil sketches using a large areas can be built up and covered 1 to 4. Paints with an ASTM rating of
liquid. It has been formulated to be quickly and easily. 1 have an excellent lightfastness and
easily thinned with water or MM9 the pigments will remain unchanged for
Acrylic Painting Medium (to maintain Colour Mixing more than 100 years. Pigments with an
permanency) and allow for the softest Derivan Liquid Pencil is available ASTM rating of 2 have a very good
of colours to be applied with a brush, in six graphite shades, each with a lightfastness and will remain
nib, or other art tools. permanent or re-wettable formula. Each unchanged, in full sunlight, for about
With a consistency of cream, and of the shades has a definite graphite 100 years. Pigments rated ASTM 3 or 4
a different rheology, artists now have colour; however, there are distinct are said to be fugitive and are not
a wider scope for creating sketches. undertones such as blue, yellow, red, deemed to have the necessary
sepia and neutral in two different lightfastness for artist’s use. Derivan
strengths to allow a great range of Liquid Pencil pigments are all rated
options for artists. either ASTM 1 or 2.

ASTM Lightfastness Clean up


The American Society for Testing and Derivan Liquid Pencil is washable in
Materials (or ASTM for short) is the water, making clean up quick and easy.
authority which has set standards for
testing the lightfastness of pigments (in Contact Matisse Derivan by
other words, the ability for a pigment telephone on 02 9736 2022.
not to fade) in America. This standard Matisse Derivan – Pure Brilliance,
has been adopted almost universally Pure Quality.

54 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

COLOURSOFT PENCILS FROM S&S WHOLESALE


SHINE IN ‘WHITE ON BLACK’ TECHNIQUE

This demonstration piece by Fiona Deep Red; 170 Soft Pink; 200 Bright Step Four
Peart first appeared in the UK Pink; 390 Grey Green; 400 Mid Green; Use deep red in the centre, pressing
magazine ‘Leisure Painter’ under the and 490 Pale Mint. very lightly to the underside of
title ‘Black Paper and Soft Pencils You will also need: Smooth black the shadows. Continue to build up
Create Dramatic Results’. It is paper; 2B pencil; pencil sharpener; the darks very gradually, pressing
reproduced here with permission. masking tape; and a soft putty eraser more firmly if you want to lighten
I was introduced to Coloursoft (optional). areas.
pencils last year and, since then, I have If you wish to trace my drawing, you Use grey green and mid green, using
experimented with them on various will need: Tracing or greaseproof paper; the flat of the pencil rather than the
coloured papers, textured surfaces and and a wooden pop stick or similar. point to apply texture.
with other media. Coloursoft are the Imply the buds in the background
first pencils I have found that work Step One (without losing the focal point of
well on black paper. Draw (or trace) the outline directly the flower head) by applying bright
I hope this demonstration will inspire onto the black paper using white. Any pink and rose, again using the flat
you to use pencils on dark surfaces. unwanted lines can be gently erased of the pencil but pressing a little
The results are quite dramatic. using an eraser. more firmly.
Use mid green to suggest the bud
Tracing Technique Step Two case, then adjust the background.
If you want to trace my drawing, place Apply the lightest colour first, in this Check that the highlights are all
a sheet of tracing paper over my case where the light catches the petals. bright enough and that the darks
drawing and draw over the lines with a Use a combination of white and soft contrast well.
lead pencil. pink and blend from the outer edge
Turn the tracing paper over and of the petal in towards the centre. Helpful Tips
redraw over the lead lines in the back Gently shade with the side of the Press firmly where you want bright
of the sheet using a white pencil. pale mint pencil to give the impression white and release the pressure where
Position the tracing paper, white lines of foliage. If you want to imply leaf the tone darkens slightly.
down, onto a sheet of black paper and veins or stalks, lift the pencil slightly Lighten or lift by using a soft
secure with masking tape. and increase the pressure. putty eraser.
Using a wooden rounded pop stick, Working on black paper means that
the rounded handle of a teaspoon or a Step Three that the darker the tone you want, the
10-cent coin, firmly rub down on the Blend bright pink from the dark less you press on the paper.
image, checking as you go that the sections between the petals towards the Keep the focal point crisp and in
lines are transferring onto the black light, merging it with the soft pink. focus, and the rest more slightly
paper. A wooden pop stick is softer Using rose towards the centre of the suggestive.
for this method and there is less flower gives a deeper red than that on
chance of damaging the tracing if you the outer petals, which appear more Please contact S&S Wholesale
press too hard. pink. Blend rose with the bright pink Customer Service on
You will need: Derwent Coloursoft and the soft pink, pressing the pencil in 1300 731 529 for further product
Pencils – 720 White; 100 Rose; 130 the direction of the petal. information and stockists.

Artist’s Back to Basics 5


F E A T U R E

GET INSPIRED WITH ECKERSLEY’S EXTENSIVE RANGE OF PENCILS

At Eckersley’s, you’ll find all the tools pencils vary in texture according to the Coloured pencils are also available
for your drawing needs including blend of charcoal, clay and fillers used in a variety of grades – from student
graphite and sketching pencils, in their manufacture. quality to artists’ quality. Some, like
charcoal, coloured pencils in various Eckersley’s also stocks a range of the Derwent Watercolour and Inktense
grades, pastel pencils and watercolour standard drawing (lead) pencils in a pencils, are water-soluble – enabling
pencils. They stock a wide range of range of grades. These are made from you to create a variety of watercolour
brands including Derwent, Faber- a mixture of graphite and clay. The painting or ink-like effects. The
Castell, Staedtler, Jasart, Prismacolour, harder grades (H grades) have more Roymac Life Pencils are great for life
Roymac, and many more! clay and less graphite, while the softer drawing with 12 different skin tones.
If you like using charcoal, this is grades (B grades) have little or no clay. Finally, the new Coloursoft range from
available from Eckersley’s in natural Graphite pencils and sticks offer Derwent is a range of smooth, vibrant
sticks of willow, or as compressed great value as you receive all graphite pencils that blend extremely well and
charcoal of various grades in stick or and no wood casing. Some are lacquer allow you to apply layer upon layer of
pencil form. Compressed charcoal and coated to keep the fingers clean! rich colour.
Whatever your preference, you’ll be
sure to get inspired with the wide range
of drawing tools at Eckersley’s.

For further information,


call 1300 657 766; email
art@eckersleys.com.au or
visit www.eckersleys.com.au

56 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

A N E X C E L L E N T R A N G E O F S TA B I L O P E N C I L S

Stabilo produces a well-known


range of quality pencils favoured by
many drawing enthusiasts.

Coloured Pencils
Stabilo coloured pencils are available
in hangsell cardboard boxes and hard
wearing metal tins. Ideal for students Othello Graphite Pencil Triangular Graphite Pencil
and professional artists. The Othello Graphite Pencil is a The Stabilo Maxi Size Triangular
good quality smooth graphite pencil Graphite Pencil has a distinctive
Graphite Pencil 306 with a striped wooden casing. It triangular design for comfortable grip.
The Stabilo Graphite Pencil 306 is a has a rounded and sealed end cap, It comes in four degrees of hardness:
good quality graphite pencil available and is available in ten degrees of HB, 2B, 4B and 6B. The large 9mm
in five degrees of hardness: 2B, B, HB, hardness. Ideal for drafting, art and pencil diameter accommodates a
H and 2H. Ideal for drafting, art and graphics. 4.5mm lead diameter in an attractive
graphics. natural wood casing. Ideal for a variety
Grafito Graphite Pencil of art applications.
Graphite Pencil 4906 The Stabilo Grafito Graphite
The Stabilo Graphite Pencil 4906 is a Pencil boasts a brightly coloured Further information about quality
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graphics. fluorescent eraser tip. telephone 1800 676 155.

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Derivan Liquid Pencil from Oxford Art Supplies and Books


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58 Artist’s Back to Basics


F E A T U R E

ideal for all types of portraiture and be blended together with a slightly
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effect. Now you can enjoy these set of 12 includes: Sun Yellow, Tangerine, (Chatswood) is located at
distinctive qualities in easy-to-use Poppy Red, Fuchsia, Deep Indigo, Sea 143-145 Victoria Avenue,
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a firm, blendable texture and comes in Green, Baked Earth, Bark, and Ink Black. Telephone 02 9417 8572;
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Mobile 0459340095

Artist’s Back to Basics 59


Pe n c i l s D o w n

Hatching and Crosshatching


By Brett A. Jones

S
Always keep o far we have explored Now that you can draw dead straight
drawing straight lines, lines in any direction off both your
your hatching circles, curves, ellipses and shoulder and your wrist (See “Drawing
lines straight spirals. In this fourth article I am Straight Lines”- issue 1-4) you are
going to concentrate on hatching ready for hatching. The exercise here
and parallel and crosshatching, two essential is to draw a line (straight, very light,
in small skills that at first glance seem and consistent in tone). Now draw
to be simple ideas that hardly an identical line as close as you can
directionally merit involved explanation. without actually touching the first line.
random patches. Nothing could be further from Continue drawing consistent lines
the truth, in reality they are the core side by side (figure 1). It’s important
foundational techniques of shading to be able to see a white space
and toning and if used properly will between the lines. The speed you
allow you to go much further into draw each line is an important aspect
fine detail and represent the different and one you should experiment with
surfaces, textures and effects of to find your own ideal. Off the wrist
light on the various objects and you will only get accurate lines a
materials that you will find in any couple of inches long at the most
subject matter you decide to draw. before having to move your hand.
As I sit here I am thinking of more Really accurate hatching used for
and more of the subtleties to this initial toning of a detailed subject can
Fig. 1: keep your pencil sharp aspect of drawing and what it will only be done off the wrist but hatching
and your lines light and uniform allow you to do on so many levels. off the shoulder is also very useful in
Fig. 2: hatching off the It’s also the starting point for many sketchier styles and rough studies so
shoulder (sketching) tricks and techniques that will be (as usual) make sure you can do it
Fig. 3: white, black and a few of described in later articles. For now both ways and in both directions. Off
the many, many greys possible the best place to start is at the start. the shoulder the lines can be as long
as the paper is wide or high (figure 2).
If done properly, you are creating
the illusion of darkening the white
paper to one of the many tones of
grey between white and black (but
always one of the lightest greys
to start), in reality you are drawing
a whole series of light, neat lines
that can be lightened or completely
removed with an eraser or added
to with a sharp pencil. Being able
to completely remove your hatching
lines with a clean eraser is absolutely
imperative in the early stages of
toning as you will have to lightly
hatch areas of any composition as
Fig. 1 part of the layout process to remove
the optical illusion of lighter areas

60 Artist’s Back to Basics


and shapes appearing larger than the
darker ones. If you can’t hatch lightly
enough to remove it again if and when
required (sometimes a few times),
you will never get the drawing finished
without greying up the paper where
it was meant to stay white (nothing
more annoying) or ending up with a
shonky drawing proportion-wise.
With graphite you have only got
black, white (the paper), and all the
many grey tones to play with (figure
3). The brightest highlights on any Fig. 2
drawing are obviously white, so it’s
very important to keep the initial stages
of your drawing as light as possible darker greys or black that can’t be Don’t crosshatch
until you have “homed in” on where shifted around or gotten rid of easily
the various differently toned shapes without damaging the paper surface. each separate
that make up your composition will The outlines and hatching lines should patch of hatching,
end up. When you sketch the first all be kept light enough to remove
stage of a composition (all the largest without indenting or embossing the just crosshatch.
shapes), whether they are separate paper at all for as long as possible The two layers of
objects (e.g.an arrangement of fruit) into the drawing. As you go into the
or the various shapes which make finer detail of the smaller shapes inside lines don’t have
up a single object (e.g. vehicle, the biggest ones (and so on, each to be at ninety
dramatically lit portrait) they will all be level of shapes have got more inside
white shapes on your paper before them) the same principle applies. You degrees from
any hatching starts. This creates an will find that you have to adjust the one another.
optical illusion which makes accurately outlines of the bigger shapes you are
judging the relative proportions of the trying to fit the smaller shapes into all
various different shapes very difficult the time which is not possible if the
until you have lightly and carefully lines and initial tonal hatching are not
hatched the darker shapes as part of kept light enough to remove. None
working up an accurate initial layout. of this applies so much in sketchier,
You only have to use light, neat lines looser styles. In that case you tone
in your hatching with a sharp pencil to as you go hatching off the shoulder
tone inside the darker shapes a light and homing in on the correct shapes
grey to break the ever-present and by making your lines progressively
inescapable optical illusion of lighter darker. You don’t have to remove any
shapes appearing relatively larger than of the lines and hatching you have
darker ones. A very light grey tone is used in the loosest styles, or you
all that’s required to do this. You can can lighten or remove just the lines
then more finely adjust the shape and and tones you want to with an eraser
relative sizes of the larger elements and still leave a sketchy feel. Most of
in your composition as your drawing the techniques I describe are meant
progresses without locking in any for highly detailed chiaroscuro work

Fig. 3

Artist’s Back to Basics 61


Pe n c i l s D o w n

Fig. 4 Fig. 5

where all unwanted lines are carefully becomes an established good habit
and completely removed but that’s (figure 1). The more precisely and
certainly not the only way to draw. uniformly you can lay the lines down,
You have to do a bit of pre-planning the easier it is to add more detail
on the kind of drawing style and to the hatched areas. If you let your
timescale you think would work best pencil become blunt while hatching
for the work you’ve got in mind. If and let your lines merge together
it’s a quick sketch or an intentionally as they get wider, before you know
loose or expressive style that’s called it you are just colouring the paper
for you can take less care with the in grey. This is very bad practice
neatness of your hatching and the for several reasons, for one thing
weight you put on the pencil. Leaving it will make it almost impossible to
all the initial rough sketch lines in the add more detail as the white spaces
finished work can add movement, between the hatching lines allow the
expression, and an appealing rawness next level of detail to show up yet
that looks as good in its own way still be light enough to be lightened
as the most meticulously rendered or removed completely with an
photo-realistic styles. It’s another eraser if necessary. To compound
parameter you have to be aware and the problem a blunt pencil has to
conscious of as you plan your work. be leaned on more heavily than a
We’ll cover this aspect more sharp one to maintain the same tone
thoroughly in future articles but which is the reason some works
we’re not finished with this hatching in graphite look grey and shiny in
business yet. Once you’ve been the darker areas instead of black
doing it for awhile you will notice and non-reflective. A good guide
that your pencil naturally becomes to knowing if your pencil is getting
blunt. The first few lines you laid blunt is whether or not you can feel
down (if you started with a nice the tooth of the paper through the
sharp pencil, which you should pencil as you draw or not. You can
have) will be thinner and clearer. actually hear it in a quiet room.
Your lines will become progressively If you can it’s because the sharp
lighter, wider, and less distinct pencil tip is bumping up and down
as you continue. This is no good over the paper fibres which are
as your lines will end up merging standing up like microscopic blades
together for one thing (figure 4). of grass (good), if you can’t it’s
This problem can be side stepped because the blunt end of the pencil
by getting into the habit of turning is bigger than the gaps between
your pencil a sixth of a turn each the fibres and can only push them
few lines by resting your thumb on down like smoothing shag pile
the next flat around the hexagonal carpet with the palm of your hand
shape of the pencil each time. It will (bad). Paper fibres won’t stand up
become automatic after awhile as it again like shag carpet does and

62 Artist’s Back to Basics


once it’s laid down (calendared) any you are just laying down tone and
graphite on the underside of the creating a foundation you can work
The brightest
fibres is there for good and won’t with, it won’t automatically look like highlights on
come off no matter how hard you the material in the composition you
scrub with an eraser. As I said before are drawing, you work that up in the
any drawing are
this only really matters so much on latter stages of the drawing. Any obviously white, so
the more highly detailed work. On edges or lines that stand out too
looser work it can sometimes be much can be blended in easily with
it’s very important
more useful to use a blunt pencil the sharp edge of a clean eraser. to keep the initial
for softer lines and creating texture There is a method of hatching known
on coarser paper surfaces such as radial or bracelet shading, where
stages of your
as cold press and aquarelle. the hatch lines follow the shape of the drawing as light
Once you are happy with your object being drawn like contour lines
hatching skills, start drawing parallel on a map to suggest shape and depth.
as possible until
lines across the hatching at ninety I never use this technique as I find that you have “homed
degrees. One layer of toning lines making the direction of the hatching
is hatching. All subsequent layers lines you use to draw tonal areas
in” on where the
of lines is crosshatching. This is follow the shapes of objects inevitably various differently
another one of those skills that you clashes badly with or hides altogether
really can’t practise too much and the finer details, reflections, and light
toned shapes
punches way above its weight as far effects needing to be represented. It that make up
as improving your drawing across the can even muddy up where the edge of
board goes as it allows you to add the objects are in some compositions.
your composition
and subtract from your tonal values A method best left to graphic will end up.
as you work up your drawing without designers, illustrators and engravers.
embossing, calendaring, greying, or
damaging the paper surface. When To recap
you practise your hatching skills off practise your hatching and
the wrist don’t try and continue the crosshatching off the wrist and
lines from where they end, which is off the shoulder, but off the wrist
as far as you can reach comfortably is by far the most useful. Always
without moving your hand from keep your hatching lines straight
where it’s resting on the paper, and parallel in small directionally
in practice usually 5/8”(15mm) to random patches. Don’t let them
¾”(20mm) long. Keep all your hatch fan out or curve to fit or follow the Fig. 4: blunt pencil equals
lines straight, evenly spaced and a outline the area you are hatching. hatching woes
similar length and then when you The two most common mistakes Fig. 5: hatching as a
do move your hand do the next set are to let your pencil become blunt tonal foundation
of lines at a different angle and so and speeding up until your hatching
on (figure 5). It doesn’t matter at all lines either merge or are too far
what angle each set of lines follow apart or just become too untidy to
as long as the various patches of really be seen as hatching at all.
hatching lines don’t overlap. Leave The main purpose of hatching is
that to the next layer when you start to lay a foundation to create tone
crosshatching and employ the same and texture. The main purpose of
method. Don’t crosshatch each crosshatching is to develop the
separate patch of hatching, just foundation created by hatching
crosshatch. The two layers of lines to create the tones and textures
don’t have to be at ninety degrees you are after in each situation.
from one another. Overlapping Again, as with straight lines and
the edges with the first layer of circles all time put into practising
crosshatching will help to hide the this essential element of drawing
edges of the hatching patches from will be repaid a thousandfold as
the first layer. Any areas that stand your journey progresses, happy
out too much can be gently blended hatching, see you next issue.
in with a clean eraser. Remember Brett A. Jones

Artist’s Back to Basics 63


Galleries

In the Galleries Contributed

Art galleries are scattered all over our wonderful country, hosting and promoting
the works of Australia’s diverse exponents of art. On the pages of
Artist’s Back to Basics magazine we will showcase a range of these important venues.

MURRAY CHARTERIS ART GALLERY

“This is what
B
ay Art and Design has what the gallery has to offer.
recently opened the ‘Murray According to many local artists, ‘This
Hervey Bay Charteris Art Gallery’ in Hervey is what Hervey Bay has been waiting
has been Bay, Queensland, showcasing the for!’ The gallery has a room set aside
brilliant work of Murray Charteris for artists to exhibit their own work,
waiting for!” along with some more of Hervey along with a working studio for art
Bay’s finest artists. The community lessons and an art materials store.
of Hervey Bay is very excited about Gallery owner and artist Murray

64 Artist’s Back to Basics


Charteris has spent the last opened my eyes to experimenting “Painting is what
decade as Head of Graphics at with different techniques, and the I really love to
Channel Nine in Brisbane and has landscape was so beautiful.”
recently made his sea change to On his return to Australia, Murray do,” he explains.
Hervey Bay to realise his dream started work with Australia’s leading “I love to create
of becoming a full-time artist. television network Channel Nine, where
“I’m really excited to have this he quickly gained a reputation for his new worlds that
opportunity,” he says. “This is design. He was placed in charge of the could only have
a turning point in my life.” Videographics department in Brisbane
Murray is quickly gaining a in 1997 and led the department for once existed in my
reputation in the art community for ten years. During that time, he won imagination. I like
his dynamic, energy-filled fine art. a Gold World Medal in the New York
His bold colours and powerful Festivals and twice became a finalist to create a feeling
compositions come together in the Australian Effects and Animation of energy and
to produce artwork that is Festival. His design work has been
increasingly sought after. seen splashed across our television motion into my art.”
Murray started painting at a very sets for more than a decade.
early age and during his childhood Murray’s real passion has always
was tutored by several Brisbane been drawing and painting. In
artists. After studying animation for 2007, he relocated to Hervey Bay
three years at Queensland College and has devoted his time to his art;
of Art in Brisbane, Murray forged a now working as a full-time artist.
successful career from his animation “Painting is what I really love to
skills – creating 3D computer do,” he explains. “I love to create
animation and special effects for new worlds that could only have
television commercials and programs once existed in my imagination. I
both in Australia and overseas. like to create a feeling of energy
Spending a year in Papua New and motion into my art.”
Guinea was one of the highlights Murray Charteris is extremely
of Murray’s artistic development. versatile as an artist, working in
“Experiencing the different most mediums. He can adapt his
culture and artwork in New Guinea style from realism to cartooning.

Artist’s Back to Basics 65


Galleries

“We have always His caricatures are becoming very about giving them an opportunity to
popular with Hervey Bay locals. prosper as artists,” he continues. “I
wanted to live Being an artist in Hervey Bay has am hoping to bring recognition to
here … it is just long been a dream goal for Murray. the Hervey Bay art community.”
The oceanfront location was a Artists currently exhibiting in the
such a beautiful favourite holiday destination for his gallery include watercolourist Brian
place for an artist, wife Kathryn and their three sons. Harris; Paul Petterson; Kenneth
“We have always wanted to live here Brown; Neta Alcorn; Judy Lamont;
full of inspiring … it is just such a beautiful place for Daniela Caravella; and master
scenery with an artist, full of inspiring scenery with glassblower Wolfgang Engel.
unspoilt beaches and Fraser Island Visitors can watch artists at work
unspoilt beaches on our doorstep,” he says. “With the in the gallery’s built-in functioning
and Fraser Island population of Hervey Bay currently studio; or they can participate in the
booming, at over 56,000 people, it art classes that will be conducted
on our doorstep.” was just the right time to move here.” there. Murray is conducting lessons
It was immediately apparent for beginners right through to
that, despite there being hundreds workshops for experienced artists.
of artists in the Bay, there were The gallery will be offering tuition
very few options for them to after school for children interested
locally sell or exhibit their work. in developing their art abilities.
“Initially, the Gallery was set up as a “We are committed to encouraging
space to exhibit and sell my own work, young artists to enhance their artistic
but it soon became clear that most skills; to be confident to experiment
other artists in Hervey Bay wanted the with different techniques,” says
same thing,” Murray excplains. “The Murray. “We would like to see them
gallery now has its own exhibition room entering competitions and exhibiting
that artists can hire to display their their work to lift their confidence and
work. Selected works are also for sale self esteem – and enable them to
in the main gallery, with over a dozen become accomplished artists.”
artists’ work currently on display … The Murray Charteris Art Gallery
most of them are locals in the Bay.” is something new for Hervey Bay.
“There are many talented artists The positiveness coming from local
in the region and I am excited artists visiting and exhibiting in the

66 Artist’s Back to Basics


“We are committed
to encouraging
young artists to
enhance their
artistic skills;
to be confident
to experiment
with different
techniques,”
says Murray.

gallery has been phenomenal. piece of local art is a great way for
A beautiful interior appearance them to do that,” Murray claims.
combined with fantastic artwork
is making it a ‘must see’ The gallery is open most days from
location for visiting tourists. 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. It is situated
“Tourists want to take home a part opposite the pier at Urangan. The
of Hervey Bay, and buying an original telephone number is 07 4125 1177.
Galleries

ARTHOUSE ARTISANS AT YAMBA

F
rom 7 January to 15 March landscapes. Each artist uses
2008, Arthouse Australia different mediums and techniques –
Gallery is hosting a special capturing different subtleties, details
exhibition in its premises at 25 and moments within their works.
Coldstream Street, Yamba. The The art displayed will entice
town of Yamba is on the north viewers to look closely and
coast of New South Wales. investigate the detail and techniques.
Creativity and inspiration abound Exhibition curator Melinda Gibbs
at the new exhibition at Arthouse selected the range of art to
Australia. Over 20 artists are involved, appeal to a wide audience.
with each portraying a very different “I looked carefully at the artworks,
approach to art. Together the art the techniques, the media, quality
works showcase a diversity of subject and the subject matter … making
matter, techniques and concepts. sure that the diverse range of
The artists have created works work displayed would appeal to
that are based on simple designs all art tastes,” she explained.
found in life, as well as intricate A creative visit to Arthouse
abstractions and beautiful Australia could inspire you to buy a
landscapes and beachscapes. All creative gift – or even purchase the
works have combined beautifully art materials to create something
to create an exhibition offering significant. Prices for original
something for everyone. artworks range from $75 to $25,000.
Artist John Beeman has created
a number of paintings for this Arthouse Artisans group exhibition
exhibition. John’s traditional at the Arthouse Australia Gallery
technique with oils, his observational is open from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm
skills and his dedication are Monday to Friday; 10.00 am to 2.00
evident. His ability to capture a pm Saturday; or by appointment.
sense of movement combined with The gallery has a website at
simplicity of subject matter makes www.arthouseaustralia.com
his art intriguing and inspiring.
David Stewart, Roger Warsop For further details,
and Christine Denham Kempnich telephone Melinda Gibbs
have a passion for Nature and on 02 6646 1999. ■

68 Artist’s Back to Basics


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Mark It With A Brush

Paint Brushes
I
never cease to be amazed at how hours on end, it makes sense to
many experienced painters struggle fully understand its limitations or
with painting a particular technique; capabilities. I firmly believe that
wrestling with both the brush and most people never push their
the medium when having a profound brushes to the limit, they never
understanding of what one brush will take the time to understand the
do, would solve most of the problem. myriad of different effects you can
Do you really have to suffer that achieve with just one brush.
much for your art? Given that we Writing an article about all the
hold a particular tool, often for different types of brushes is a

70 Artist’s Back to Basics


challenge for me. Although earlier in job I need it to do?”. You will develop
my career, I had dozens of brushes an instinctive understanding of your
to do different jobs. Now I generally needs and the brushes capabilities,
use just 5 brushes, and know several even if it is when working with
very well established artists who watercolours, when you are used to
seem to have adopted the same working with oils or acrylics. So my
approach. They, like me, like to keep question is, when have you taken
it simple. Keeping it simple means the time, on a blank canvas, to
knowing exactly what each of my work out exactly what your chosen
brushes will and won’t do (although, brushes will do? Pick one brush
I’m open to further discoveries!). and find out how many effects can
For the record, I use chisels, and you achieve? How many different
I mostly use a 2, 4, 8, 10 + one effects can you achieve with a dry
whacking great house paint brush. brush? Have you tried loading your
Of course I do occasionally use paintbrush up, and rolling it? Have “Keeping it simple
other brushes, but I know I can do you tried hitting the canvas with it?
almost whatever I want, with those 5. Scratching into the paint surface means knowing
In the early years, to supplement my with the back of it? Or even pounding exactly what each
artistic endeavours, I have painted the bristles onto the bench top, so
houses, murals and faux finishes. In that they’re splayed? What can you of my brushes
fact at one time I was employed by do with your brushes? Get out a blank will and won’t do
a display and exhibition company canvas, and find out. Find a photo,
and we painted window displays and try to paint the image using just (although, I’m
and all sorts of objects to look like one paint brush. Try and achieve open to further
something else. We learnt marbling, the effect of rocks by loading up
and scumbling, wood graining, and the paint brush such that the paint discoveries!).”
lots of other “ings”. I learnt from creeps up onto the ferrule, and push
people who really knew how to use that around. What ways can YOU
a paintbrush, and they had a huge come up with to discover the true
knowledge of a large range of tools. capabilities of your paint brush?
I was introduced to badger brushes, We like to paint for a reason.
dagger brushes, stippling brushes Finishing something, or working
and floggers (too many jokes, I know). specifically on something becomes the
Each of these brushes is designed for end goal, and often overtakes other
a specific purpose, many of which do possibilities. We tend to put pressure
have applications for us painters. If you on ourselves to achieve something
want to learn how to use a paintbrush, finished. What if we just got paint and
spend some time with someone who is poked it around for a while for no
adept with faux finishes and pick their reason? What if we were just trying to
brains. Alternatively, read some books find out what our brushes would do?
on the subject. You will learn more We rarely take the time just to muck
about the possibilities of your tools about with our brushes. And lets face
than you may have thought possible. it, that’s where half the fun is. To me,
Over the coming issues, we will having a paint brush and only being
be looking at paint brushes in detail. able to do one or two things with it,
We will be finding ways to utilise is a little like have a Ferrari to go and
these tools efficiently, and to their get the milk & paper on a Sunday.
maximum capability, specifically When you really know what your
relating to oils and acrylics. I will brushes will do, you will find a lot more
not, however, be giving you any versatility, control and confidence,
insights into the mystical world of and your paintings will reflect that.
watercolour brushes. That form of Now that you have spent all that
sudden death painting scares me. lovely time pushing coloured goo
I know very little about it. I will say, around, really putting your brushes
though, when you have worked with through their paces, and developing
brushes for a long time, it becomes the confidence that comes with
more about “will this brush do the that, the next thing to consider is

Artist’s Back to Basics 71


Mark It With A Brush

“When you really this. My general rule of thumb is themselves are often very simple.
“use as big a brush as possible”. When demonstrating how my work
know what your Unless you are determined to is done most people are surprised
brushes will do, you achieve a particular effect or point, when they see the size and range of
then painting what is a mostly a the brushes. The ability to work with
will find a lot more subtle soft gradation of colour on limited tools has been cultivated not
versatility, control to a 3m x 9m canvas with a size 2 through any major insights, but from
liner is crazy and counter productive, sheer laziness and some curiosity.
and confidence, and will possibly be a job that your My laziness, fortunately proved to
and your paintings children’s children will finish. be very useful in this case. I want
Use a 10cm house brush, or a broom things to happen quickly and easily. It
will reflect that.” if that works! Conversely, using a 10cm illustrates the point though, when you
house brush to do a tiny painting 6 cm know the abilities and limitations of
square may be a smidge ridiculous a tool; you are more productive. The
… although … The point is, using painting process is more enjoyable,
an “appropriate” size brush can not and you know when to move and
only expedite the process of making use a different tool. You minimise
a painting, using a larger brush will that place that we have all been to,
make you a better painter. You will that terrible space when we have
learn to control a brush in ways you been pushing paint around for hours
never thought possible. As a bonus, without achieving anything. Next
the less often you have to change time you are about to shuffle away
brushes, the easier it is to stay in with that glazed look on your face
the zone. Like having to mix colours mumbling (or sobbing) to yourself
unnecessarily, I sometimes find that because you are sick of fighting
changing brushes is a little jarring, to achieve something; change the
and wrecks some of my continuity. size of your brush, just for kicks. No
I try and use as big a brush as one will die. It may not work but…
possible, and change brushes as it may just break the deadlock;
little as possible. I did mention and you will learn something
that I use a 2 and 4, but it is one way or another. (Didn’t you
often just to sign the piece. always want to paint fearlessly?)
My paintings appear quite tight and Next issue - pushing your
detailed, even though the images brushes to the limit. ■

72 Artist’s Back to Basics


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Te a c h e r ’ s Pe t

10 Teachers
– 10 Ways
to Paint
By Phil Frankel

" … there is no
right or wrong way
in art. Flexibility is
G reetings! In this article, I
am going to present my
experience of learning
from different teachers.
Various Styles of Teaching
My introduction to painting was via
a 3 day course with a teacher who
falls into what I now call the “monkey
the key and also When I first decided to go to art see – monkey do” category. “Mix a
groups and/or courses, I chose little of this with a lot of that and hold
your strength." them on two criteria. First, it had your brush just so”. Of course, our
to be cheap, as I had a family end product never came anywhere
to consider and bills to pay. near the demonstration. I came to
Second, it had to be local. realise, and suggested to others
who were also a little disappointed
with their final result, that we couldn’t
expect to be as good in five minutes
as the teacher was after 50 years.
The teacher would talk about
darkening this part or that “to lead
the eye into the painting” or “to
attract attention”, but never used
jargonistic terms such as “Tone”.
Don’t miss-understand me, I
learned a lot from this person
who has become a close friend,
and I gained a solid foundation
upon which I have since built.
At one community group I went
to, the teacher demonstrated how
to paint “commas” to new students,
and then made them paint a page of
commas before they were “allowed”
to do anything else. At the time I
didn’t know that the “comma” was
the basis of Folk Art and I could see
no relevance to what I wanted to
do. However, I decided that I had
come to learn from her and would
see where she was leading me.

74 Artist’s Back to Basics


I expected her to extend from this
basic work but it never happened.
Once we finished the page, we were
free to do what we liked. Being a
teacher myself, I could imagine what
my maths students would do if I
gave them one guided example, then
told them to open their books at any
page they chose, and get busy.
Another teacher I went to, early
on my journey, picked up one of
my brushes, and without asking,
changed my work. I admit what
he did was inspiring, but it was no
longer MY work. The more I worked
at the painting, the more apparent
it became that I had a battlefield.
A hero in the middle completely
surrounded by hordes of barbarians.
I then started becoming too
detailed, and with no further
guidance forthcoming for the first lesson (which was free) she came "I was reading
remainder of the lesson, I past me once and said “you’re doing
concentrated on small parts of the well”. At one point, I decided to follow books, art
painting trying to emulate what he her surreptitiously to listen to what she periodicals and
had done. Have you ever played had to say to other students. I wanted
that game of battleships? I was to see if she actually did help people, watching all the
dropping bombs here, there, and before I gave her my hard earned videos … They
everywhere and hoping for a hit. By dollars. For the rest of the lesson she
the time I was ready to “pack it in”; walked around and talked to various say that when you
my painting looked like a bad case people about all sorts of things; mostly learn to paint,
of the measles, in reverse. A mess, not pertaining to painting. When I
speckled with a few “good spots”. questioned her about her teaching you learn to see."
A friend of mine introduced me to style, she said she didn’t want to limit
her teacher who appeared to be well the student’s creativity, nor influence
thought of by her students. During the their painting content or style.

Artist’s Back to Basics 75


Te a c h e r ’ s Pe t

part the fog in my head was that


a few artists were stressing that
you needed to work on the whole
painting simultaneously. According
to them, at any point in time, the
painting should be at the same
stage of completion. I know there
will be artists who disagree with
this (using for example, George
Stubbs (1724 – 1806) who painted
horses in detail, with no background
till the horse was done).
Don Gallagher’s book “See it
Paint it” is one example based
on the concept outlined above. It
impressed me greatly so I started
following his guidance. I think I
learned a lot of what I now know
from reading, cross referencing
and practising what he wrote.

Growth brings Growth


As I learned more of the content
of my craft (colour mixing, tone,
composition, design, etc.) I began to
grow from the shy person I was. You
may question that a teacher could
be shy. In unfamiliar situations - Yes!
(Don’t forget, I am moving from 40
years of logical (left brain) thinking
into new territory - creative thinking
- and I was very unsure of myself)
So I started asking questions of
my tutors such as “Why don’t you
give a guided lesson on tone”.
Answers varied from “People
come here to paint pictures”, “I don’t
want to confuse them with jargon”,
“I don’t do that sort of stuff”.
Simultaneously, I was reading
books, art periodicals and watching Finding the Right Teacher
all the videos (so, I’m old – ok!) I An artist near where I lived advertised
could borrow from the library. a 6 week Pencil Drawing course. He
insisted that all participants buy paper
“A”, pencil “B” and eraser “C”. His
Another teacher I went to … without asking, reasoning was that if we all had the
same tools as he did, any difference
changed my work. I admit what he did was in our work could only be caused
by our usage of the materials.
inspiring, but it was no longer MY work. He demonstrated one, or at most
two, technique(s) each week and
They say that when you learn to made us do our version in class. He
paint, you learn to see. I began walked around continuously, telling
seeing more in what I read, and us where and why our work differed
one of the things that started to from his, and would re-demonstrate

76 Artist’s Back to Basics


About the Author
Having finished my working
career and now being
retired, I started to paint
seriously, and liked it.
I always thought I could paint,
despite criticism of my early
attempts whilst working, raising
a family, etc. This year I decided
to immerse myself; to make
myself as good an artist as I can
be, by enrolling in a Bachelor
of Arts (Fine Art and Visual
Culture) at Curtin University.

if we asked (or if he felt that we gets in the way – see previous article)
needed it). We were then set and by the end of the ten week
homework – 2 pages of “orange peel” course were not much better than
technique during the next week. when they arrived in week one.
I felt he had earned my hard I still attend courses, but now I
earned money and eagerly went base my choice of course purely
back to the next course he ran. on the “quality” of the teacher.
I also did a ten week course (3 I have travelled to the Gold
hours per week) with a retired art Coast (120 km) for several 10 week
teacher. Each week, she would courses with one particular teacher.
talk about subjects such as tone,
colour mixing, etc. demonstrate Conclusion
it, and then get us to do a guided What have I gained from all this?
practice. We then spent the At first, confusion, but much later
remainder of the class doing some I realized, as has been said many
relevant exercise which was to times before, there is no right
be completed for homework. or wrong way in art. Flexibility is
The values of these lessons were the key and also your strength.
immeasurable for me. I don’t know This way today, that tomorrow.
if it is because this type of teaching Let the subject dictate. You may
suited my strong logical (left brain) even jump ship mid-stream
mode of thinking, or if, as a teacher, if you suspect it will help.
I related to the structured lesson It also helps to know your learning
(which is the way I teach), or if it was style then you can keep looking
because I used the following week till you find a suitable teacher.
to practise as often as possible, Mind you, I can make these
doing more than the one exercise I statements now that I have Ref:
was set - old habits die hard. I used years of brushwork under my Don Gallagher, SEE IT! PAINT
this same method to learn, and belt, but when I first started, IT!, 1991, ISBN 0 646 06596 3
eventually enjoy, maths as a kid. I didn’t have the confidence, http://www.artyfactory.com/
I know some people did the bare knowledge nor assertiveness art_appreciation/animals_in_art/
minimum or didn’t even finish the that I have since acquired. george_stubbs/george_stubbs.
previous week’s assignment (“life” Until next time, happy painting. O htm (accessed 2 May 2011)
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82 Artist’s Palette
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