Australian Fine Artist

Archive for October, 2016

Advanced Seascape Painting

Fourth in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Relating Objects in the Background to Those in the Rest of Your Composition

Most of us are aware of the concept of the foreground, middle and background divisions in compositions. These planes help the artists to create depth in a scene so that the viewer gets the impression of looking into a painting, not just at a two dimensional flat surface.

When creating these planes, however, we need to think about the relationships between items and objects in each of these areas. without a flow, or reltaitonship in a painting, we end up with a load of disjointed and unrelated objects that have no ‘conversations’ going on between them.

Portrait Painting for Artists

Workshop Number Four of Five 2016

Tutor: David Chen

In this session we discussed the difference between painting portraits using high key colours in contrast to low key, and where these methods have been and are used. Since the Impressionists began using colour so much more dramtically, and the invention of many new colours during the 19th and 20th centuries, high key, or colourist paintings have become the trend for painters. This is in contrast to the low key, and dramatic portraits of artists like Rembrandt, who used a limited palette, a strong single light source from a window for example, and dark simplified backgrounds.

Modern painters often use the wet in wet technique to complete portraits in a single sitting, and the strong use of light and shadow is dismissed for use of colour. This can sometimes mean that the dramatic shadows in paintings of the past is missing, resulting isn a ‘washed out’ look.

Building up a painting by creating a tonal underpainting in a single colour (like a burnt sienna) means more time to create and complete a work, as the undertpainting needs to be allowed to dry bofore the colour layer is added. A telented colleague of mine Cathy van Ee uses this technique very successfully.

To see some of Cathy;s work go to her site at:


Advanced Landscape Painting

Painting Workshop with David Chen

Understanding the Use of Intense Colour and Grey Tones

I sat in on an extra workshop this weekend, and this extra session was very helpful in pushing my use of colour. As a mainly tonal painter, my paintings tend to not push colour to extremes, I paint in a manner that uses a realist/impressionist crossover so my application of the paint can be conservative in a lot of areas.

The reason why I, and other artists, attend workshops like this one, is that they give you a new perspective and challenge you to go outside of your comfort zone. For me it means using more paint, lashing it on with broad strokes, and looking at my subject with new eyes. It means taking reality and bending it to my will, and creating a new vision. This may mean replacing one colour with another one, or several others. It may mean adding or deleting things from what I am looking at. It pushes me to be a creative painter and not just a copier of the real world around me.

Life Drawing – Using Light

Venue: Frankston Chisholm

Tutor: Bill Hay


The way we light the model for life drawing makes a huge difference. Like portrait drawing and painting, the light and shadow creates drama, and helps to form the contours of the body.

Famous artists have used dramatic lighting to create some of the most impressive portraits and nude studies in art history. Two examples of lighting used to its best are by artists Vermeer and Rembrandt. Vermeer used light through windows, seatng or standing his models so that the light cast strong highlights on to them. Rembrandt painted haunting portraits by keeping one side of the face in shadow and in the case of his self portraits, placing a dark background around the face.

(NOTE: Drawings of nude male figure follow in this article)


Life Drawing – Tone and Light

Venue: Frankston Chisholm

Tutor: Bill Hay


Creating form when drawing the body is mostly done by using the light source and tonal qualities created by light and shadow.

For this session, we started with some usual line drawings and then advanced on to creating a tone over the surface of the paper to draw into and then erase for highlights. If you have never tried this method before, it is a quick way to create interesting drawings that have more than just lines to depict the curves and proportions of the human body.

(NOTE: Drawing of nude female figure follows in this article)