Tuesday 31 December 2019

Looking back on 2019 and a decade too...

Once again it’s time for reflection, not only on the past year but also the last ten years. During the middle of 2008 my focus turned to Australia when I decided to emigrate. Bureaucracy moves slowly so it wasn’t until August 2010 that my visa was approved. 

Bunya Riverside - oil on canvas 1000 mm x 1000 mm

Most of 2010 was occupied with getting ready to move - selling my house, decluttering, and packing up in preparation for a new life in a new country. The decision to move was motivated in part by the resolve to be a full time artist. I set up a website and started a blog - Art Matters. Writing has become a most enjoyable and therapeutic activity. I’m pleased that over the years I have maintained regular posting about my work and life in Brisbane.

Classes at my Hamilton Road Studio were established in July 2011 and continue to be my main income source thanks to support from loyal students. Teaching painting led me to write my first book Colour - A Practical Approach. The first draft was completed in September 2017 but it took  another year to re-write and edit. The completed book was published by Blurb in September 2018. 

Over the years a number of commissions have been fulfilling and challenging. These included paintings for Maverick Travel and Deja Bru cafe. A local business Tradesmen on Time purchased these paintings for their office - Two paintings going to a new home.

This year I have been fortunate to have a wonderful commision to create paintings for Milk Cafe Ashgrove.  This post has all the paintings - More paintings for Milk

Each year I have been fortunate to have had work selected for both the Lethbridge 10,000 and the Rotary Art Spectacular. In addition, I took part in two exhibitions at Percolater Gallery with the cARTwheel Collaborative group. The 2016 Nundah Art Exhibition proved to be a highlight for me. I was awarded the Grand Prize for Riverside Trees.

I regard myself as immensely fortunate - the last ten years have been exciting, extremely challenging but so fulfilling - here's to the next ten.

Riverside Trees  - oil on Linen

And the years in review...

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Nine years later

Yesterday, nine years ago I landed in Brisbane to start a new adventure in Australia. The years have been eventful. When I arrived after packing up all my possessions to be shipped in a container halfway across the world, my daughter and her family were packing up their rental house in preparation for the move into their newly built home. So it was back to bubble wrap and boxes. We moved a few days before Christmas. 

The rain started shortly after my arrival and didn’t stop, culminating in the floods in January 2011. Friends said I brought the rain. In any case, Brisbane was flooded and this brought much hardship to many residents. Luckily, we were safe from flooding and were able to help out less fortunate friends. 

My planning for my new life in Brisbane included exploring a number of activities - visiting the art galleries; discovering the art supply stores; planning to meet up with Brisbane art groups; and exploring the scenic areas around the city. 

I did manage one short visit to GOMA but by the new year the galleries were completely flooded, and precious artworks were moved to higher storage. Both GOMA and the Queensland Art Gallery remained closed for some months. The city was in survival mode.

My Studio

All this upheaval forced me to change my plans and simply be patient.  Fortunately, I was staying with my daughter and her family and I could take my time to get to know the city. 

I remained there for six months then moved into my own home in July, 2011. That same week I started art classes, having converted my garage into a very workable studio.  

The Studio is on the small size but it serves the purpose. Extra lighting and an essential air conditioner make the space comfortable. I would like a larger area to allow more room for each artist. However, the size restriction ensures that the classes remain small and intimate. A maximum of six allows each person to follow their own projects and to work in a number of different mediums. If there were to be a dozen or more then the classes would of necessity have to be more structured and formal, giving less scope for individual experimentation.

I have been fortunate that teaching has afforded me economic independance as well as providing me the opportunity to make wonderful friends.

Student Reviews

This lovely email came from an artist...

Good morning Carol, Just wanted to pop you an email to tell you about my experiences at your studio.

When I started art classes at your Studio 5 years ago I hoped that your classes would re-ignite my interest in painting.  I had dabbled with painting in high school and a few classes when my children were young but had not pursued it any further than that.  I have learnt so much from you….. I love that each student in your class is encouraged to pursue their own ‘style’.  

I love that we, as a group, encourage and learn from each other. I enjoy the little talks or mini lectures you give on a different style or artist and how your classes are not just about the actual painting but also about the ‘love of art’. So good for the soul. 

When I started 5 years ago I had hoped to achieve certain things.  I have done this and more.  I thank you for sharing your knowledge with me ....

Another wrote this in an email to me after her painting was accepted for the Rotary Art Spectacular Exhibition:

Hi Carol
I’m so excited just to have my art accepted. Your mentorship over the years has been invaluable Thanks Carol and looking forward to my projects for next term."
And one more recent email:

I would like to also thank you for making the art classes so interesting and giving us, especially me, the confidence to have a go. I feel like I am finally getting into the hang of this painting thing and actually liking what I am doing. 
I did of bit more work on the sand grasses and actually forwarded a copy to family and friends, instead of just hiding it away. Big step for me.
Thank you.


Tuesday 3 December 2019

The very best brushes - Rosemary & Co

Whenever I do an order for brushes from Rosemary & Co I say to myself “I do not need another brush” it doesn’t work very well and the resolve is easily broken. 

A few of my favourites... (friends might notice that I put my Ardmore ceramics to good use - and I might add that when I bought these many years ago they were much more affordable!)

And there’s more...

The last order was no different. I have come to like the Red Sable Blend Brushes very much. The mixture provides just the right amount of paint-holding capacity along with some firmness in the bristles. They aren’t as soft as the all sable ones and have the added advantage of being cost effective. My favourites are the Designer pointed rounds which are tapered to a much longer point allowing the artist to ‘draw’ with the brush. The Sable Blend dagger is a very versatile brush allowing for very expressive brush strokes.

I am trying a brush design that I have previously only had in synthetic fibres - a Sable and Ox hair One stroke. It’s quite firm but holds a lot of paint. 

Then there is a very new brush set, the Snowdrop brushes designed for the artist Vladislav Yeliseyev to his particular requirements. The brushes come either as individual round brushes in a range of sizes or as a set comprising three pointed rounds and the wonderful Snowdrop Swordliner - this one was a very special surprise inclusion in my order so I could test the brush.

This brush has a long taper and takes some time to master - lots of practice is clearly needed to use it the way Vladislav Yeliseyev does in his masterful watercolours.  The balance of the handle makes this brush a joy to use - perfectly designed to allow free flowing lines to be created. 

Watercolour abstract using the Snowdrop swordliner.