Australian Fine Artist

The First of Five Workshops with David Chen

Last semester ended with us understanding more about skin tones and how to use edges, tone and colour to place the model into a scene.

This semester we began by going over David’s philosophy for the workshops and his experience as first, an art student learning Academic Art Training at university (something that is not widely covered in Australia) and later as a practising artist and art teacher.

The technical issues that David has overcome during his 40 years as an artist and teacher are invaluable for students to learn as we take on the difficult subject of the human body.

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Painting Nudes 2017

The Final of Five Workshops with David Chen

During this workshop, we learnt about another method of working the model into their surroundings. Rather than having your subject, be it a human figure or even a still life or an animal, looking like they are part of their surrounds, and keeping the painting interesting takes planning and often altering what you see to what you want. During this workshop, we could either take from the objects surrounding the model and apply our imagination to make them work, or use vignetting (leaving areas of the canvas white) to merge parts of the model into the background and surrounds.

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Adding depth and texture to your paintings

If you like the texture of paintings that shows mounds and gullies of paint rather than the flatter surfaces typical of traditional tonal paintings, you may want to consider using modelling paste with your acrylics.

A similar product is available for oils, and is as easy to use. It is typically called impasto. Both of these products added to the paint will add a large amount of volume without taking away from the intensity of the colour. If it does change to another brand. Good quality ones which I have used are Winsor & Newton and Atelier.

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Painting Nudes 2017

The Fourth of Five Workshops with David Chen

This workshop followed on fromthe previous subject about “loosening up” your painting style. One thing that I have noticed over recent years is how edges can make or break a painting. The softer and “looser” result that you may be looking for has to do with how you approach painting edges, particualrly those on you main subject in relation to the surrounding composition.

There are a few different methods to help with creating interesting edges that also bind your subject to their surroundings, rather than having them look like cardboard cutouts.

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Letting the Paint Do What it Does

Water colour painting  can be a challenge. A lot of artists avoid it as it tends to do what it will on the paper. Interestingly, you can have control over your water coloours depending on how you use them, and really, some of the beautiful affects gained when allowing the paint and water to flow and merge can be a delightful happy accident or surprise.

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Painting Nudes 2017

The Third of Five Workshops with David Chen

When I began training with David Chen, my goal was to not only learn the principles of Modern Impressionist painting, but also to ‘loosen up’ my style a bit from what i saw as sometimes ‘stiff’ and contrived results. Sometimes the details become so important that I forgot to place the subject within and connected to the foreground and background in which it was situated.

Context is just as important as your focus and main subject, and when the subject began to look disjointed, unrelated or worse, like it has been stuck or pasted on top of an unrelated scene, is when I start wondering how this could have been avoided. My thought was that if I could put more planning and less effort into my paintings, that would be a start, but what kind of thought and what kind of effort?

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How Important Are They? Why do they deserve your suppport?

There may be a lot of people who wonder why we have public and regional galleries. Surely they are just for people who love art or who are in the arts professions? What is not always explained about visual art in particular, is that even if you are not an artist or even in an accepted creative profession, or learning one, the methods of creative thinking and problem solving that artists do, is also useful in science, engineering and other professions.

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Impasto for Oil Painting

Adding Texture and Volume to Your Paintings

If you have ever tried to create volume to your paintings by using your paints alone, you have probably encountered the same problems that I have in the past.

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Titanium White vs Zinc White in Winsor & Newton Oils

You may have grown up like me, thinking that there is just white. What could possibly be the difference between whites in paints, surely they are all the same, but possibly with different pigments or mediums to blend them with.
In this quick blog, I will discuss the differences between the two most commonly used white in oil paints and how you can gain best use from each one.

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A Commentary Comparing Views and Comments
(Written without Prejudice)

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

Edmund Burke

“How can you tell the story of a culture when you don’t include all the voices within the culture?”

Khalo (Gorilla Girls)

While it could be said that since the beginnings of the Australian Feminist movement women have made inroads into professional acceptance, this may not be the case for generations of women artists. Depending on the sources that the general public may read, a vastly different view of a particular artist may be perceived, and resulting impressions swayed by the research position, personal biases, or emotive rhetoric by the writer. Although I believe it isn’t possible to completely omit a personal interpretive lens, as far as possible, I will endeavor to critically analyse the comments and conclusions made about artist Jane Sutherland in the texts reviewed in this commentary.

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