Thursday 13 September 2018

Colour - A Practical Approach Part 2

Such exciting times - the hard covered copies of my book Colour - A Practical Approach arrived today! It’s so rewarding to see the results of months of writing and re-writing, painting illustrations, selecting photographs of paintings and then editing and re-editing. Click on the link to see a preview. The book is available in both hard and soft cover and an affordable EBook. 

The book is a no-fuss practical handbook to be a companion to painting in the Studio. The colour wheel is explained and illustrated along with notes on complementary colours. I have a few colour “rules” to keep you on the right track and there are also chapters with basic tips for mixing paint.  There are suggestions for the arrangement of paint on the palette to help develop a more organised approach.

There are twenty colour exercises to work through. These cover many aspects of colour mixing. I suggest doing these in a dedicated colour sketchbook so you will have a comprehensive personal reference book at the end.

Many artists work from photographs so there is also a chapter on how to make the most of this resource. Step by step photos of my own paintings will give you some insight to my process of working form photos.

Finally, a book like this would be lacking without some explanation of the terminology of art. A comprehensive glossary sheds light on some of these mystifying terms. 

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Colour - A Practical Approach - Part 1

My new book Colour - A Practical Approach  has been published. When you click on the link you will be able to see a preview. It’s the culmination of a year’s work. The idea originated from a request from one of my Studio classes for more intensive colour studies, particularly on mixing colour. 


I began by making notes; collating information that had been used during colour workshops held over the last few years. These notes took shape and became quite extensive. When I realised that text with no illustrations would not be very effective, it was a logical decision to write a book instead.

Previously, I had taken an online course, By Design, with the artist and teacher, Roz Stendhal. The course covered the fundamentals of page layout and design for working with both handmade and digital pages so I was ready to try writing my book.

At the time I had a brief foray into working with Adobe’s InDesign. It soon proved to be a stretch to learn the programme since I wasn’t working with it regularly enough. Then I discovered that Blurb, a self-publishing company with a very good reputation, offer Bookwright software obtainable as a free download. It was the solution to my problems. The software is easy to use, offers hints and tips like - the resolution of this image is too low - reduce the size or replace. There are numerous set formats to use. alternatively one can self-design each page. 

There are a number of different kinds of books - Photo books, Trade Books and Magazines, each with a different focus and  price point. After watching a webinar on the Trade Book it was the best option for me. It would provide the best format, 8” x 10” and could be printed at an affordable cost. In addition, and Ebook could be published using the same format text and illustrations and easy and good value option for anyone anywhere in the world. 

I was excited to see how the book would look, to check the paper quality and the colour accuracy of the photographs so I ordered a single copy. Once I had the book in my hands, I realised that there needed to be more - more detailed information, more chapters, and more colour exercises. There were also a few layout issues with the Ebook which needed to be corrected. 

So it was back to the writing desk. 

Fast forward a year after the first draft, the new, updated extend, and largely re-written book has been published. 
Colour - A Practical Approach is available from Blurb in the following options - Soft cover, Hard cover and Ebook. 

More details to come in Part 2.

Monday 10 September 2018

The Story of a Special Shop - Koi @ Jungle

Twenty years ago, in August 1998, I bought the retail Aquarium shop based at Jungle Nursery in Sherwood, Durban. After working from home for a few years, the family Koi dealership had a new home. Together with my son Warren, and his wife Angela, we ran the business from these retail premises. Now we could separate home from the shop and employ more staff. 

When I bought the shop I had a five year plan. I would run the shop with Warren for five years, gradually working fewer days and spending more time on my painting. This did not go entirely to plan as, for various personal reasons, I remained at the shop for a total of twelve years. Finally, in December 2010, when I emigrated to Australia, Warren and Angela bought my share of the business. 

I knew I was leaving the business in excellent hands. Warren and Angela make a great team. They have extensive knowledge of Koi, filtration and everything needed for care for a Koi pond. Its fascinating watching Warren handle large Koi - I think he is something of a "Koi Whisperer." 

The thatched Balinese style building at the nursery was quaint, but rather small so over the years an extension was added providing some space for an office and storage. It wasn’t ideal. As a tenant, one’s future relies on the goodwill of the landlord. We experienced more than a few anxious times. The ponds were inherited from the previous owner, were poorly designed and leaked like crazy. To overcome the lack of pond space, Warren built a number of quarantine ponds at his home. 

Some months ago, Warren and Angela purchased a small house across the road from the original shop. Now twenty years later, after months of hard work, Koi @Jungle’s new shop at 829 King Cetshwayo Highway is now open for business.

Needless to say I am so very proud of Warren and Angela. I wish them every success in the new shop.

The  entrance to the new shop with a magnificent mural painted by muralist Jono Hornby

At a recent Koi Show this Koi supplied by Koi @ Jungle, was chosen Best Showa .

All new ponds, with state of the art filtration, have been built at the new premises. A magnificent large display pond for big Koi takes pride of place. 

It even has a cleverly designed glass ‘jump’ barrier installed. Anyone who keeps Koi will know that occasionally they do crazy things like leaping out of the pond often with disastrous results. There’s been great attention to detail to ensure the best conditions for the fish.

Tap water filtration system installed today which will supply water to the automatic pond refill systems. This will remove all chlorine and impurities from the municipal water.

The main pond drum filtration 

Monday 3 September 2018

Nundah Village Art Show at Honda Northside Nundah

The Nundah Village Art Show opens this Saturday. It will be held at Honda Northside, 1329 Sandgate Road, Nundah. The exhibition is accompanied by the annual Nundah Village Street Festival. This show includes a wide range of high quality artwork from local artists and I’m delighted to be exhibiting four paintings. All paintings are for sale.

There are two landscapes,and both are nostalgic in that they recapture my love for the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, rekindled by my visit in December.

Afternoon Light, Drakensberg - oil on canvas 900 mm x 900 mm

Escarpment Shadows - oil on panel 610 mm x 455 mm

Still Life with Lilies is something of a departure from my usual style, being more detailed and representational. In the end I’m very happy with the result. 

Still Life with Lilies - oil on canvas 505 mm x 505 mm

The Reader is a mixed media work, including collage, charcoal as well as watercolour. When doing Sktchy portraits I experiment a lot with different media, finding it a good way to loosen up and try new tools. I like this portrait with a matt and frame - it looks complete and takes on a new gravitas. 

The Reader - mixed media on paper 435 mm x 335 mm