Australian Fine Artist

Keeping it Simple

I had the opportunity to visit my painting teacher recently to catch up with my painting skills. University study has meant less time to paint, so very little has been done in several months.

When you are in this situation, it doesn’t hurt to go back to the basics, to reinforce the techniques that make an ordinary painting into something special.

As I love landscapes and seascapes, and a seascape workshop spot was available I decided to pop in for the day.

David Chen, whose practice is only growing Australia-wide, spoke about the need to look at any subject as a series of forms, colours and tones. We often get caught up in the little details in a photo in particular, before looking at the ‘bigger picture’. This means we start fiddling around trying to imitate ‘reality’ instead of planning how we are to create an artwork that reflects our responses to the land and sea.

If we approach painting with the right mindset, we can create rather than imitating, changing what, in the beginning may look like a pretty dreary looking scene into something striking.

Below, see how my paintings evolved under the instruction from David as he indicated how to add colour to areas, and simplify forms to bring out the drama in a painting.

The first three works were under his direct teaching with his additions in the second example. The following two show a quick sketch begun at the end of the session, which I enhanced in my studio the next day.

Have a look at how tonal values, vivid colour, and warm and cool colours, are used to push and pull form and add to the perspective in all the examples.

Final version. Note how the darkening of the area on the mid-left is brining the foreground further forward.

With David’s input.Note the addition of reflctive colour in the mid area and clean greens and blues improves the sea.
The spots of vivid red also attract they eye to the focal point.

Original version.

Finished version. Darkening of tonal values add depth, effectively pulling the crashing wave from the background, and depth to the scene.

Original version.

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