When I came across the work of Casey Baugh I was totally blown away and obsessed. I took his online workshop in charcoal and have absolutely fallen in love with charcoal as a medium. No waiting for paint to dry and quicker to lay in deep blacks compared to using graphite. Charcoal is such a rapid way of laying in shapes and then erasing back into the charcoal.
I don’t have the charcoal sachet, so made my own very dodgy version and had a go at drawing a reference picture provided by Casey in his workshop. After putting down some preliminary shapes I thought, “oh no, this is not going to work”.
So I persevered and unbelievably something half decent materialised, although the pinky finger bothers me!
I’ve been continuing to practice portraits with charcoal in my Canson sketchbook. I think watercolour is going to go on the back burner for awhile! Charcoal is too much fun.
At the end of last year I signed up for a free trial of skillshare. Some classes are not particularly useful but if you are willing to trawl through classes you will find some real gems.
Among those gems are classes by Louise De Masi, an Australian artist. She produces classes that are very professional, clear and easy to follow. She also provides great reference material and in most classes will give you an outline of the picture you will be painting if drawing is not your strong point.
The style she paints in is probably not something I would want to focus on but it’s always great to learn how to paint in different styles to add to your skill repertoire.
These are the paintings I have done so far following her classes. The giraffe on the right I painted on my own with my own reference picture after watching her classes. I’m really happy with how it turned out without following class promptings.
I recently had the opportunity to do a work stint in the Northern Territory. I worked for about 18 years as an Intensive Care Nurse and in the last 4 years I changed my specialty area to renal/dialysis nursing. The company I currently work for needed someone to go and help out for 3 weeks in the Northern Territory so that a couple of local nurses could take annual leave.
It is something I’ve always wanted to do and haven’t had the chance with raising a family but I was initially reluctant to go simply because it was over the Christmas and New Year period, however, my family were supportive, saying that if I wanted to go I should. So I did. The thing I missed most was seeing my youngest son “shake with excitement” as he opened his stocking to discover he had more presents than expected and things he was planning on buying with money he was saving.
I had a brilliant time, the staff and patients were wonderful, kind and supportive. On my days off I got the chance to travel around. A lot was closed due to the wet season, but I still got to see and appreciate the amazing diversity of the Australian landscape. It’s certainly somewhere I’d like to go and visit again.
My first day off saw me get a bit of heat stress as I walked too fast up to this lookout in the Katherine Gorge in temperatures over 40°C. I decided against walking further after I realised I was sweating profusely, my heart was racing, I was dizzy and light headed with a thumping headache.
The frequent crocodile signs were a little off putting! Especially since I had previously watched the movie Blackwater. I haven’t watched the movie Rogue yet, but apparently parts of it were filmed at Katherine Gorge.
My next day off saw me going for a walk around Edith Falls. This time I did not walk at my usual fast pace and instead took my time to avoid overheating. The main area was closed due to crocodiles in the area, so I did a loop walk to the upper pool.
The waterfall is where I was heading to on my walk:
At the top of the first waterfall in the previous photo:
Boxing day was spent on a boat tour of the Katherine Gorge – thankfully no massive crocodile came and capsized our boat as seen in the trailer to the movie Rogue.
The highlight of the Katherine Gorge tour was when we got to get off the boat and go for a bit of a walk to a waterfall for a swim. It was insanely stunning!
The most surprising thing to happen on the tour was as our boat was heading out for the tour and another boat was returning, I looked across to the other boat to unbelievably see my next door neighbours from NSW! They are on a year long trip around Australia and just happened to be where I was at the same time. They were waiting for me at the jetty when my boat returned and we spent the afternoon catching up. It was the most fabulous surprise!
What I enjoyed most was the thermal pool at Mataranka. I visited it twice during my stay in the Territory.
I recently tried watercolour on canvas. I first of all applied Daniel Smith watercolor ground and gave it a light sand to smooth the surface. Overall I was not impressed with the ground. The watercolor paint did not behave the way I am used to at all – it was very different and a real struggle. I was hoping it would be a good alternative to the Ampersand Aquabord because I like the idea of a final piece not having to go behind glass but I don’t think I will give it another go.
I’ve been unsure whether I like the piece or not but I’d say it is growing on me.
An artist I’ve admired for awhile now is Ali Cavanaugh. Her work is truly amazing. I’m particularly in love with her latest more abstract work. It is completely mesmerising. Her pieces are rightfully pricey and if I had a spare few thousand dollars I’d be absolutely buying from her.
In the meantime, I’m having a go at my own Ali Cavanaugh inspired pieces. Obviously a million miles away from her perfection, but that’s ok. Ali uses Ampersand Aquabord, so I thought I’d give it a try as my local art store now stocks it. The surface is quite good, with a big plus of no buckling and the ability to hang the finished product without glass. You can buy floater frames for the boards but the art store here does not stock them and they are way too expensive to buy and ship from America, so these pieces will just have to stay as is.
Today’s watercolour practice revealed not only the requirement to continue to discover the colours that I enjoy working with, but also how important composition is to the feel of a piece. I am not particularly happy with the “feather” head painting and the other one is similar to yesterdays painting inspired by Conrad Roset, however, today’s painting is a little off balance. I perhaps should have stepped back at the sketch stage instead of diving straight into applying colour. Oh well, presumably I will get better with practice.
Today’s quick watercolour practice is using an image from the artist Conrad Roset. Instead of using black ink, I have brightened it up with my current favourite colour – blue.
Slowly but surely I am starting to get a sense of how I like to use watercolour and my favourite colours. I have a whole stash of colours, but I am finding myself leaning towards a restricted palette of cool primaries and mixing my colours from there.