Australian Fine Artist

One of my students recently asked my about the use of masking fluid for water colour painting. This useful tool was introduced to me only a few years ago, and it is very helpful for keeping areas of your paper pristine for later washes or for the white to show through.

The accepted way of painting water colour is not to use white, but to allow the white of your paper to show through and around your colours. this method also helps the painting to look more ‘painterly’ and can create a sarkle and added dimension to the light.

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If you are fairly new to oil paints, you may not have encountered transparency in the various colour yet. Even for those of us who have been painting for a while, remembering which colours are transparent usually means double checking the back of the tube.

To begin with I will talk about what I mean by transparency in oil paints.

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Painting Nudes 2017

The Second of Five Workshops with David Chen

Have you ever noticed when you paint a subject, that it looks like a stencil sitting on top of the surrounds? Painting along the edges when we paint can result in the subject, in this case, the figure, looking like it is popped on top of the background with no relationship to it.

There is a place for edges, or clear defining changes of colour and tone in a painting, but suing them all through the work can result in somethign that looks ‘stiff’ and lacking in life or movement.

How to avoid this when painting, so that the model is placed within the context of the background and a narrative is created is something that we see in the examples of artists that we admire in galleries, and somethng that we can achieve if we work at it.

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I have been using acrylic paints for several years now and something that I have known about them but have not investigated is why some acrylics tend to change colour when they dry.

You may have had this experience before. You mix a nice bold colour and apply it to your painting, then when it is dry, the colour has lightened or changed in some way, becoming less vibrant for example.

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Oiled Charcoal

Tip for Drawing from Winsor & Newton

I especially like the Winsor & Newton brand. I used it many years ago when I first began painting. Interestingly, the paints I had left over from that time were stored away when I began work full time and didn’t have the time or a place to set up to paint have lasted to today.

When I pulled out my old art kit about ten years ago to start drawing and painting again on the weekends I found that my Winsor & Newtons were still mostly useable! Only a couple that I hadn’t sealed properly had dried out. The same was appliccable to my left over drawing materials, all still good to go, even my small jar of Indian ink.

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Essay for Bachelor of Fine Art and Visual Culture Curtin University 2017

The sublime fascination with the night sky began very early in human history, evidenced by early records of the movement of the stars, moon and sun in stone monuments. The dwelling place of the gods in ceilings of the tombs in Egypt later became the firmament of heaven for Christianity, and with the advent of the telescope, the night sky increasingly became a place of investigation into our place in the universe. During the 19th century, the paintings of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) revealed his fascination with the night sky inspired by literature, religious beliefs, and prominent artists like Rembrandt (1606-1669) and Whistler (1834-1903). An examination of van Gogh’s three most prominent night scenes contrasted with contemporary 19th-century paintings, historic and contemporary sources, and current views of deep space will argue that the Sublime beauty of the universe is clearly evident in his paintings and that they are forerunners to the images viewed by the Hubble telescope. It will provide evidence of how visions of the night sky have expanded from ideas based on myth or religion to a broader interpretation of the Sublime, and comprehension of a universe in which the earth is but a tiny spec.

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White, like black, is an under estimated and misunderstood tone in oil painting. Most people think you just add white to any colour to lighten it. this is a basic and common mistake. By adding white to your colours too early and by too large an amount, you will will end up with what is called a ‘chalky’ finish.

If you have ever noticed that the colours in your paintings looks dull and lacking in tonal depth and contrast, this could be because, as I did in the past, you have been adding the wrong white, too early, and in the wrong quantity.

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Painting Nudes 2017

The First of Five Workshops with David Chen

Learning to paint nudes, like learning still life, is an important part of training as a painter. It teaches observational skills, how to recognise patterns, form, colour and tone. Once you master these things you can look at any subject and be able to interpret it into painting.

A common problem that artists face when painting is painting continuously and repetitively around edges. this effectively isolates your subject from the background and surrounds. It then loses context.

Repeating brush strokes creates a ‘stiff’ and boring result, so knowing where to break lines so that your focal point or main subject connects with the area around it is important. The solution lies is learning where it is best to break lines and change brush direction.

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Essay for Bachelor of Fine Art and Visual Culture 2017

According to Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, the legendary ‘face that launched a thousand ships” was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. In Homer ‘s Iliad, which covers only a short period of the siege of Troy, Helen represented an understated but essential part of the story. Plato, who both admired and ridiculed Homer for his writing of the Iliad, wrote about his standards for beauty and character especially for the ‘ideal individual’ in a city-state, and it is by the employment of these principles that continuing admiration of the beauty of Helen of Troy will be analysed. Examples of visual art will support this investigation, but it is her portrayal in the Iliad that will underpin the argument for and against her beauty. A broad investigation of Helen’s complex character, and how she has been depicted for centuries, will result in a better understanding of her by exposing her inward and outward beauty, or lack thereof, according to the ideals expressed in Plato’s The Republic and Symposium.

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Advanced Seascape Painting

Final in the Series of Five Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Loosening up Versus Painting Against the Contour

If you are like me, and admire the work of the Impressionist painters, you may look atyour work and think that it looks too ‘tight’ and wish you could ‘loosen up’ your method of painting.

Like me, you may also be confused as to how you go about doing this. This is where the concept of loosening up is usually confused with the method of painting against contours.

In this final workshop for the semester, this very portant method, that will help your paintings to gain some of that more immediacy and freshness, so often seen in the finest impressionist artworks, can begin to be understood and applied.
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