Palette Knife painting

This is “my Tasmania”, just over one hour drive from home. Painted with a palette knife, using acrylics. A palette knife is great for the clean edges I want on parts of the building (old boat shed). I don’t mix the colours on the palette often,  preferring to merge them on the painting when necessary. The sky, I painted with my fingers and for the water, I find the brush gives my preferred finish. Basically, “use whatever tool gives the effect you prefer”, was my advice to my students…. with a caution that they will probably feel more comfortable with a brush, so try not to just use a brush. The palette knife effects are more alive I feel, even in this very traditional work.

SOLD to Gwen in Sydney (thank you for your support Gwen)

The Old Boat Shed, Cradle Mt, Lake Dove, Tasmania, Australia


10″ x 14″. Acrylic  (Atelier Interactive) on canvas board. SOLD


Paint little Watercolours for better health

I tend to get a bit anxious about things…. even when I don’t know I am…. and my bp goes sky high. But sitting in the studio playing with floating watercolours on paper helps return my body to a less stressed state.


View to the Nut, Stanley, Tasmania

Although one of these works started from a photo reference, hence the view to the volcanic plug ( The Nut,Stanley, NW Tasmania), the other is purely from the imagination. This way of working encourages more play as you  are not aiming for it to represent anything in particular…. just enjoying the experience and letting the painting flow out of the brush. I start with the suggestion of a sky then each successive mark is in response to the previous one. Limited palette of 2 or 3 colours so little decision making. They are small works so I can watch the whole image evolve at once and judge timing and water content.    (both are for sale at $50AUD each

These have both now been SOLD. 



Simple skies in watercolour for beginners

Well my “under 20 min a day “watercolours have gone by the way as other things have cropped up. Getting more silk and encaustic pendants done for a couple of galleries has been a high priority and of course classes and a few family things like “mothers’ day” and my sister’s 60th birthday. Today’s class was a repetition of one I took a few weeks ago as a couple of people who were present today had missed it. The topic, simple skies, as for a landscape artist skies are critical and in watercolour they are created so beautifully.
We used an eighth of a sheet Saunders 300gsm rough paper (good for dry brush and for lifting colour if needed). Two blues… cool and warm, a neutral red like brown madder and a yellow (raw sienna is a “safe” yellow).
Dividing the paper into 3 sections using narrow masking tape, the sections are easy to work and view the behaviour of the paint and water across the whole section. Important when learning. 90 % of each work is done with a soft goat hair, one inch hake brush. This encourages broad sweeping strokes and reduces the temptation to push the paint in a controlled manner.
The first sky was painted wet-in-wet, the second wet-on -dry, and the third with some lifting with both a thirsty taklon brush and with a tissue used variously. The suggestion of landscape below is based on our glacial valley with their small tarns and sloping hills cradling the valley

painting simple skies in watercolour

painting simple skies in watercolour

Limited palette watercolour… landscape impression

This is a demo painting from today’s class, using quinacridone gold and Paynes grey (W&N) and Burnt Sienna (Maimeri) with a weak glaze of cyan (Maimeri) over the sky when the paint was dry. A bit of ink work with a palette knife and rigger brush on the dried painting to get the final contrast for “oomph”. My signature twiggy dead branches which are in windswept areas here. If you try it, do keep some whites with dry brush technique. Paper choice is important… soft and textured. I chose Langton 300gsm roughTwiggy

“Smorgasbord” exhibition, Gallery Tasmania, Sheffield,

Whipped Sea, West Point Burnie, $440

Whipped Sea, West Point Burnie, $440

Here are the artworks in my exhibition at Gallery Tasmania in Sheffield. The exhibition will be hung until January 31st. Tomorrow (Sunday 12th January from 2 pm) I will be there to discuss the works, and show some of the techniques I used in the watercolours. You can even have a play with the watercolour. I will also have some of my handpainted silk and encaustic jewellery, silk scarf and brooch sets and cards containing original artworks available while I am there.
Apologies that the photos were mostly taken after framing so the quality is not necessarily high. Of course the look better in life. If you wish to know the size of any please message me. They are a mixture of previously shown and new works.

limited palette watercolour; 2 colours only

There are so many things to learn in watercolour and often choosing colours is something new painters focus on. This is understandable as we are in a very colour conscious, indeed often colour saturated, world. But to show how simple colour harmony and correct tone can result in a pleasing painting without the confusion of a barrage of different colours, I am currently working with just 2 colours with my new watercolour students on a Tuesday (which 2 colours depends on the image the painting is based on, and we discuss this choice first). This little work (card size), was done as a demonstration this week. The 2 colours used were cyan (Maimeri) and Light Red (Winsor and Newton). Working small means it is possible to watch the whole work and observe subtle intentional and incidental changes as they occur. Doing hundreds of these (they do not take long) is a great way to learn how watercolour behaves and I find them very relaxing2 colour watercolour. The location for this painting is Burnie, Tasmania. I often snap a few pictures when I work up there as a silk painter. this was a cold, wet, winter’s day. On such days we often get lovely soft changing light.

Painting Sunsets

Most landscape painters will be tempted to paint a sunset at some time. One thing I tell my students is to make sure the do not just use black (I don’t actually use any black) for the very dark silhoutted shapes. I liven them with an underpainting of the brightest hues in the painting, then I bring in the darks mixed from the darkest pigments on the palette. I usually “mix” as much on the painting surface as on the palette to keep some life in the darks too. This view of Chasm Creek also had a few buildings within the dark area. This was good as it gave some relief. This painting is all about the light. Chasm Creek Sunset

Painting Tasmania’s Coastline…. works in progress

On the easels in the studio I am back to a favourite subject… Tasmania’s coastline.
These both been started as demonstrations for students working on canvas. The large Bluff Point one is a scene which I have painted before. I want a painting of this for myself but the 4 I have done so far (oil miniature, larger acrylic on canvas and 2 quarter sheet watercolours have sold…. maybe this one will stay with me…. of course I don’t have to put them out for sale but I do like to share my creations). The source photo is one of my favourites, taken on a day when it had been raining, then the sun shone brilliantly while still the sky was dark to the west. We walked for ages towards the water along a gouged track in the sand. Such contrast of colours and the wonderful fresh air of our “wild west” coast. As I write this I can feel our rugged coastline beckoning again…. instead I will go to the studio and try to capture those intense feelings on canvas.

Bluff Point unfinished

Bluff Point unfinished

The second work is almost complete but will have a she oak (Casurina) on the lhs. I have pencilled this twiggy, wind blown specimen in. Such vegetation is typical of our coastal areas and its many little twigs are a contrast to the sweeping curves of the beach and sand beyond. I was happy with the broken shells and pebbles to the fore…… as I look I can “feel” them under my feet and you do sense they are on a raised area above the sweeping
Bakers Beach Tasmania unfinished... acrylic on canvas

Bakers Beach Tasmania
unfinished… acrylic on canvas

beach. Bakers Beach is a magnificent long stretch near Devonport Tasmania. Part of the State National Park System it is a haven for wildlife (wombats abound and there is a large area for waterbirds). Often there are few if any people on the beach this side of Griffith Point……. you can walk along and sing with the wind and no-one will even know. Love it.

Painted with Chocolate

I have painted with many media. Yesterday I ran an encaustic art workshop. At Burnie, I demonstrated painting on silk last weekend. I am about to deliver three miniatures painted in oil paint and I have a commissioned acrylic on canvas to be collected this week. Most of my adult students like to learn watercolour. One of the awards I have won is a TasArt one for a work in soft pastel and have also done art in coloured pencil, kiln fired paintings onto glass, scraperboard and more. But the most unusual, and probably the most difficult, is painting with chocolate. The works here are all painted with chocolate. Lovely rich dark chocolate from local chocolate maker Anvers melts so beautifully, but I also use the lighter toned milk chocolate and white chocolate which often needs the addition of a little copha to obtain a suitable paint consistency. This is coloured with powdered dyes for chocolate for the colourful works.snowy peaks

The Nut, Stanley, Tasmania


painted with chocolate

painted with chocolate

I hope you enjoy this novel painting medium… if you are brave enough, have a go. I used fingers and palette knives to apply the chocolate to canvas boards. Judging from the hundreds of people stopping to watch, it is entertaining and I had two TV crews film and interview me for a snippet for the evening news. A fun day and a fantsatic event every July in Latrobe Tasmania. A must do for chocaholics or those who like something a bit different.