Thursday 25 August 2016

Portraits on a new surface

I had read about Ampersand artists boards and seen many examples of artwork done on the different surfaces. I was impressed with how good they seemed to be. Recently when I saw that  my local art shop Art Shed Brisbane, had started stocking Ampersand artists boards, I was eager to experiment.


I was given a couple of sample sizes and bought some of the Aquabord and Claybord. I was particularly keen to try watercolour on the Claybord since I am fascinated by Ali Cavanaugh's amazing portraits. 

Well, it's easier said than done. The clay surface is as smooth as silk. It adds a wonderful translucency to the layer of paint. It's forgiving because offending brushstrokes can be wiped off leaving the surface clean. However, if you're hasty, everything you've painted will come off too. Adding a too-wet brush to an already painted area will lift off all that's below! I know that I have a very long way to go to achieve a result that I will satisfy me.

Here are a couple of portraits on Claybord:


Portrait of Daniel - watercolour on Ampersand Claybord 250mm x 250mm 

Portrait of Tamara Lara from Sktchy - watercolour on Ampersand Claybord 175mm x 125mm

I've used a couple of timber panels lately. The rigid surface is quite different to the bounce and spring of stretched canvas. The lack of woven texture is also very different. A firm support is ideal for working in impasto since there's less chance of the the thick paint layer cracking. This can easily happen on flexible canvas.

Next on my experimentation list is using oils on Claybord as I think that the results on the smooth surface will be interesting.

The Aquabord has more tooth and texture, more suitable for watercolour, for which of course it has been designed. I need work with it more so that I investigate the properties of the surface properly. And really, at the end of the day, am I making life difficult for myself ? I should just stick to watercolour paper for watercolour!

And here's the framed portrait - from Bizarre Frames in Newmarket, Brisbane. The lovely people there are always happy to help with my odd requests. As usual, I forgot to photograph the painting in the frame minus the glass so there are a coupe of strange highlights. I managed not to include a reflection of myself, though!


Sunday 14 August 2016

River Reflections

Some days you know that if you don't pick up a brush and smoosh some oils around you're going to go crazy. This was me two weeks ago. The new canvas I had in stock was too big - over the maximum size for a show - and much as I love visiting the Art shop I really wanted to paint and couldn't bear to spend time in the car going to buy another. Pity there isn't an app for immediate canvas delivery like one does with pizza! 

I hunted in my painting storage room and found a canvas that I had painted as part of a colour workshop aeons ago. It was the right format and size and I loved the colours. A little recycling was the plan. After dusting off the surface I gave the canvas a rubbing down with painting medium to make the surface receptive to the new paint. 

No drawing, just paint directly on to the canvas. After painting for a short while I decided to set up my iPhone so I could use Hyperlapse to record the process. In between I photographed the painting. Looking at the work on my screens helps to see if the painting is going in the right direction. Here is the video of the process. When I returned to the work after a break, I completely forgot to set up the camera so the last part hasn't been filmed.

It was good to get back to working in oils and with colour too. I love my job. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen some snippets of this work in progress. I've also added some crops which show, (sort of) the whole painting if you go over to my page. I rather enjoy seeing small crops of a painting - the abstractness of the detail is appealing. 

River Reflections - oil on canvas 600mm x 760mm

Sunday 7 August 2016

Red Bubble - some lovely products

Red Bubble is a great site for artists wanting to use their images in a broader context. Images of your art can enhance a variety of products from mobile phone cases to throw cushions, greeting cards, cups and spiral notebooks. New designs are added frequently with many styles of clothing also on offer. 

I thought I would include a couple of screenshots so you can see some of the items on offer. I've used many of my paintings as designs for these.

Before promoting the products, I purchased some of the range to check the quality. My iPhone case has proved to be durable and looks good. The cards, in various sizes, come with an envelope. The more you buy, the bigger the discount. I also bought a throw pillow with the artichoke design and am so pleased with the quality of both printing and fabric.

Please note: the prices shown are in AUD$ and do not include postage. 
If you sign up for the newsletter you will receive a discount on your order. often certain products are promoted with extra discount offered.

The unique and colourful iPhone Cases & Skins on Redbubble have custom cuts and independent designs for these phones iPhone SE, 6S/6, 6S/6 Plus, 5S/5, 5C or 4S/4.

In addition there are designs for Samsung Galaxy phones.

I ordered the design shown first which is from the painting Nymphaea. My iPhone case has proved to be durable, minimal scratches on the case and moreover looks very good.

Throw Cushion covers - please note that the cushion can be ordered separately.