Australian Fine Artist

Final of Five All Day Workshops With David Chen

The goal of today’s workshop was to paint either from a still life in the studio or from our own reference. We were to keep to the composition but change the colours to follow the theme of purple as the dominant, but not the only colour. As with the other four workshops in this series, the idea is to have a pool or puddle of your dominant colour on the palette and dip into it very lightly to introduce that colour to others you may use in the painting.

When painting a still life for example, this means that you can knock back your greens or reds to a cooler or more towards the purple. It needs to be just enough to slightly tint the colour without turning it into mud.

This tinting of all your colours unites the painting giving it an overall united look. Each colour relates to the other. Also think about the colour purple you use, as it doesn’t have to be one hue. It can vary from a reddish purple through to a very blueish purple, it can lighten off to a beautiful lilac or be so dark that it resembles black.

Suggested Colours

David gave us some suggested colours that we could use to create purples and to go with that colour for our paintings.

They were:

  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Viridian
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Van Dyke Brown
  • Yellow Ochre
  • White

For a couple of versions of purple to mix and try out he suggested:

  • Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue (darker purple)
  • Alizarin Crimson and Tasman Blue (lighter purple)

As you experiment with mixing your colours, try more or less of the red to warm up or cool off your purple. these variations will give you more to play with in your painting. Make sure you select just one of these as your dominant colour.

When working or training yourself to paint tonally, experiment with changing the background colours to the same subject. As the backdrops were altered in our workshop, the effect around the focal point was very interesting as certain colours came forward and others receded. The second work we did for the day was a painting of the same subject with a different backdrop and surface.

By setting up a simple still life and changing the surrounds, your ability to really see colour and create interesting and personal artworks will improve. This also gives you the opportunity to set your own palette and instead of painting exactly what you see, so you can give the composition your own interpretation. After all if you want an exact copy, you can take a photo, what you are doing as an artist is making this scene your own, giving it your interpretation and making a unique artwork.

In history there have been basically two kinds of art. What we see and what could be. Open your mind to see in your subject, what could be with creative translation.


Remember your basics when oil painting.

  • Painting your darks first
  • Remember the importance of grey tones
  • Think before your apply the paint, it is easier to do it right the first time than to try to fix it up later. Plus you may find that one stroke of the brush will suffice instead of working something over and over.
  • Remember your contrasts of light and dark
  • Paintings look more interesting with lost and found edges
  • Shadow areas can be in analogous or complementary colours. Decide how you want to apply your shadows considering your light source and the warmth of the light and the reflected light into the shadow area.

Below are my two paintings done on the day. They are fairly small and done with large brushes to keep the painting loose and bold. In the second my dominant colour is blue rather than purple, notice how different colours stand out or recede.



David Chen Exhibition at Without Pier Gallery

For those who would like to see David Chen’s work in person, he is exhibiting at Without Pier Gallery from the 26th of November to the 10th of December 2014 in their Cheltenham Gallery.

David’s work is stunning and highly sought after. One of his paintings is something you pass down in the family as an heirloom, or purchase as an investment in fine art.


Without Pier Gallery
320 Bay Road, Cheltenham, Victoria

OPEN: Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12 noon-5pm

Phone: 03 9583 7577

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: