Painting on canvas from a reference photo.


Reference photo from Sarah Anne Rocks, Tarkine Coast, Tasmania. Actually I took a number of photos at different exposure because the lighting was tricky. I was careful to compose my photo so that it would create a good composition for a painting. I was drawn to the geology and the colourful seaweed draped over the rocks… and of course the location!!!!!!

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Quick sketch with dilute paint. I draw loosely with the brush using dilute raw sienna rather than carefully with a pencil, as I want a free flowing work capturing the essence of the location rather than absolute photographic accuracy. This is really just a basic compositional guide to fit the features into the format of the canvas.

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First layers of paint. For the sky I mainly applied the paint with my hand and fingers….. for the rocks, more boldly with a flat brush and palette knife.

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I rather liked the white canvas for the sea in the photo above, but not in reality, so I added “sea” and more rocks.,,,, especially another layer on the right hand side.

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The sea needed lightening and a bit more variation in hue and tone, and I painted the rocks in the sea. IMG_0058

Still to go…. a few more little rocks to help link the sand to the larger formations and the decision as to how much “decoration” to include…. seaweed, twigs, beach debris.

palette knife painting…. flowers


Thick juicy paint, mixed with some gel medium and applied with a palette knife, creates luscious texture and colour.

Acrylic on canvas painted with a palette knife

Acrylic on canvas painted with a palette knife

As usual,there are lost and found edges that are present when I use other media… watercolour, pastel, ink, silk watercolour and watercolour. But this impasto work beckons the viewer to touch. Texture plus!

I love orange


I have never thought of myself as a big fan of orange. Is it a new post-cataract surgery colour vision thing?. Is it the hot weather making me subconsciously feel I have to paint the heat? I really don’t know but these are two recent small works on canvas.

“Industrial” is true mixed media… I almost threw everything at it. Starting with acrylic, partly applied with a palette knife  in impasto style with texture media and some mica paste, I then used encaustic and a few spots of gold leaf. I love the textures… some flat, thin passages, others thick and luscious with the richness of pigmented beeswax.

“Global warming?” is a luminous acrylic where I have experimented with new ways of applying the paint using, in part, crackle medium which did not work the way it should. That was great as I love the way the surface is subtly broken in places. I would love to repeat this in a larger work but I think it is truly a one-off as I don’t know if the same “mistakes” will happen again!!! It possibly works better smaller anyway as small encourages the viewer to look more closely at that textural surface.