Artist: Sue Jarvis
Venue: Berwick Artists Society
Sue has been an artist and teacher for over thirty years. Her CV includes some of her achievements from 2004 to 2011 in exhibitions around Australia. Being a local to the Dandenong area much of her works have been centred around the change in the greater city of Dandenong from what was nearly a rural town to a large suburb on the eastern side of Melbourne.
Sue’s most recent interest has been not so much the normal subjects of landscape as we might think of them, but the story of change and tearing down the old to make way for the new. Much of the subject matter is what has happened to the old.
Many of us would not find too much to be excited about if looking through the local tip or a building site, but the play of light and patterns of building materials and left over industrial waste are something that Sue finds interesting enough to paint.
For this demonstration Sue had already drawn in the layout and blocked in with her own mix of sepia colour to start getting the tones right. The canvas was a whopping approximate 4 foot by three foot and divided into nine segments taken from 9 photos that she had selected to complement each other. With a very limited palette she goes over the whole work in one colour and then another. This way there is a continuity and balance of tone and colour.
She uses a neutral to balance out complementary colours and nothing is too dark or too light. Her colours are mixed and not straight from the tube and the reds and yellows in particular are always of a very high quality.
Most of the demo was about using complementary colours and balancing a painting. Analysing what you are painting and why was also discussed. Look at your subject and really decide why it is that it attracts your attention and then mentally pull it apart to see whether is will make a good painting and if it needs you to make some decisions about simplifying or changing colour or lighting to make it work.
Sue works with large and cheap brushes to begin with and as the painting progresses changes over to smaller and better quality, finishing off with some very good small brushes for finer details. The under-painting needs to be worked into the canvas so why wreck a good brush. She also works from photos and manipulates pictures on the computer with filters for some interesting effects. She uses a program called Nero, but Photoshop can also be used and has more filters.
The painting was not finished during the demo as it was a large and involved piece. We did get to see many of the processes in various parts of it and got some valuable tips. Even if the subject matter is not “your cup of tea” there is always at least one thing you can take away from every demonstration you attend, even if it’s a style you haven’t seen or subjects you hadn’t thought of but still are not interested in, at least you have had a look to help you decide. On the other hand you may make a great discovery that leads your art in a new and exciting direction, you never know until you attend.