Episode 27

23 December 2020

As 2020 comes to a close it has been a time to reflect on what I have achieved in my art this year. I started with leaving an artists co-op at Salamanca Art Centre which was not taking me in a direction I wanted to go. Two aborted exhibitions due to COVID in March, and the subsequent self imposed isolation or several months set the scene for a major change in my art practice.

Setting up a website and (almost) weekly blog was a particular achievement at this time. The process really challenged me I find I enjoy sharing what I do and its great to have a platform to show my work. It was an added bonus to discover I could sell work from the site as well.

I enrolled in a free online abstract art course over 10 very hectic days which I really loved. Then this followed with a 10 week course called Find Your Joy 2020. Over 1000 people enrolled in this fee paying course which included a facebook page for the exchange of ideas and to post work in progress or completed. I worked more than 40 hours a week doing the course work and applying it to a series of paintings. I gained great confidence and found joy in all I did and I think my work displayed this. Subsequent to this I have joined an online group called Art tribe which continues with the course work in a more flexible way.

I am broadly planning 2021 at the moment and having a go at Trello, a sort of project management tool.

This week I have been working on the two paintings I mentioned last week; reworking older works which I quite liked but wasn’t happy that they were finished. A transformation. I think they are finished. I am naming them Rock pools 1 and 2.

Rock pool 1

Rock pool 2

I have worked further on more in my Flourish series. Still not sure if I am happy with them. The paper is getting very thick in the second one; it has had dozens of layers of paint.

I think my three larger Ocean themed ones are finished; ready for Waterways and Kingborough Art Prize in February.

I have nearly finished the 30cm exercise I showed last time. Finding some lovely crops in these which could form the basis of a new series.

And the crops

I have so many ideas and plans for 2021.

I wish you all a happy festive season.

Episode 26

9 December 2020

Finding time for my art in the past few weeks has been a challenge with so many other demands created by the season. Summer is upon us although you wouldn’t know to step outside today. Next weekend with be warm again with another 30 degree day forecast. Tasmania; four seasons in one day!! I have a large raspberry hedge which is producing an abundence of luscious fruit. But of course that means time spent jam making not art making. The garden needs time too as the weeds are as prolific or more so than the other plants.

I have worked further on my floral series in an attempt to increase the abstraction. I have three ‘waiting in the wings’. I want them to only slightly resemble flowers but to be joyful, colourful and full of the energy of nature. Might be getting somewhere with this one. It is hard because there are so many parts of these paintings that I like which I could so easily lose with one swipe of the silicon wedge I use to apply the paint. Lots of finger painting there as well I might add.

This is its mate in a more representational phase

I collected two paintings from my display at the Rosny Doctors Surgery. They hadn’t sold but no wonder as the staff there hadn’t put the labels I provided on the wall. No one would know they were for sale. I replaced them with two others. On bringing them home and comparing them to two others in the same series which weren’t working to my satisfaction, I could see a way forward with these. May not yet be finished but showing promise in my mind.

Flourish with red

I am never happier that when I am trying out something new or experimenting with different colours, approaches or subjects. I attempted a series of 4, 30 square works using a warm colour palette and bringing organic geometric shapes into the mix similar to this one done six months ago.

These have had 11 layers of paint but not going where I would like. Maybe by next week I will resolve them. I am thinking that working in this size is not suiting me now. We’ll see!!??!!

My main success this week has been with Lost in a wave, the latest one in my Oceans series. This is larger, at 60cm square and I hope will be one of my entries in the Waterways exhibition at the Long Gallery in February. I need to mount it on a cradled board with its two mates and see how they look on the wall.

Lost in a wave

Today I decided to rework two older works on board. Just because I can. They were quite nice as they were but thought I would add to them in a random way, disrupt the surface and see where it would take me. They have had two previous incarnations I might add.

This is how they look now. Regrets? I have a few.

I received a new book on the subject of colour. I bought this on a friend’s recommendation with the view to learning more about colour and colour combinations. It by David Hornung and titled Colour-A workshop for artists and designers. All I need now is some self discipline and free time to experiment. I finish with a some thoughts from Nicholas Wilton, a well know artist and teacher.

People are all so different, and everyone will see and feel different things when they experience your Art. I believe we make our best Art when we are free of any mental restrictions. The day I decided to give up caring what people might or might not feel when they see my Art, was the day my Art took a big step forward.It is helpful to realize that there is far more value found in the making of your Art than others’ reactions once it is made

Nicholas Wilton

Episode 25

25 November 2020

I am so amazed that I am doing Episode 25 and it’s 25 November. The year has flown by. I have worked on 110 paintings; many successful, some still unresolved. I tend to work in series or groups of 4 or 5 at any one time although looking around the studio there are at least 20 that are near completion. This past month or so it has been florals and oceans.

Life is intruding on my painting time. The late spring garden demands attention. Nets were put on the 20m long bed of raspberries just in time as I picked a bowl full yesterday. The wet mild spring has created abundance in the garden while looking great, has to be trimmed or it gets out of control. My summer interest as uniform co-ordinator for the Carlton Park Surf Club is also claiming my attention as the season starts up.

I have lists of ideas for art projects so will have to discipline myself to put in more time.

I wanted to work on my latest 60cm square oceans painting but so far I have only prepared the substrate in a mixture of burnt sienna and yellow ochre and completed a small study. This one I want to be darker in tone and show the power of an ocean wave.

I have been working on some colour exercises as well to develop further my understanding of colour. These are not meant to be finished paintings but I might continue and see if I can. Only small 20cm squares, all done together on one sheet of paper with masking tape to divide them. The first one is painted in acrylics using cool colours and the second is in warm colours. They are very busy, too busy to my liking. The next step is to add a little warm to the cool one and cool to the warm one. So still lots to do. One of these or a section of one might be the inspiration for a larger painting, Who knows??

I have focused mainly on the floral series this week, when I had had time to paint. There are 6 in the set in various sizes. They are nearing completion now. There is always a risk that one you start fiddling you mess them up. I want to keep the looseness and abstraction. The last one is the largest and the one I am most happy with.






I am thrilled to have sold Hidden depths this week to the lovely couple who had provided the title for it when seeing it on my blog. I had entered it in the Rotary Wrest Point art prize last week.

Hidden depths

I am taking some fresh paintings to the Rosny Doctors surgery in Bligh Street this week. The first two are 50 cm square and the florals 30cms.

Terra 1

Terra 2

Turn towards the light 4

Turn towards the light 3

Have a great week everyone!

Episode 24

18 November 2020

The highs and lows of an artist. Last week I mentioned I was entering 4 paintings in the Rotary Wrest Point Art Show; one of which was a donation to charity. When I went to look at the exhibition on Saturday I was surprised and pleased to note I had sold a painting, ‘Spring Beach’. This was good news for Rotary’s coffers as I had donated it.

On returning on Sunday afternoon, I found that I hadn’t sold any of the other three(No red dots). I am philosophical about sales; if it happens that’s great but I am not disappointed if I don’t. There will be someone out there who will see it and love it enough to buy it sometime. Or as I often do I continue to work on it with more layers.

Surprise, surprise as I was signing out I was told that I had sold another and to a well know art collector. I asked them to check as there hadn’t been a red dot. But now I had three people about me very excited about this sale. So I left the particular painting there and went home very happy and excited not by the fact I had sold one, but to whom I had sold it.

My euphoria persisted so I announced my sale(s) on Facebook. Then an hour or so later I received a call from a very apologetic organiser to say they had made a mistake and that it hadn’t sold. Back to earth!!! It has been retained by Rotary until a lunch for Art Appreciators in a few weeks time when they will try to sell it. The story is not over yet. This experience made me realise that I value and aspire to recognition by art collectors; not something I had thought about before.

I have been working on my floral series again this week trying to get looser and freer in my approach. I have used a lot of big oil sticks as well as oils and wax medium. These are nowhere near finished but showing promise. I need to keep the looseness but apply more layers. The third one is a larger 60cm square.

I am doing some small studies for more works in my Oceans series too. Hopefully there will be something to see next week! I continue with my personal development playing with colour this month; learning more about mixing colours, placing colours for impact and creating harmony in colour palettes.

The wonderful thing about art is you are forever learning new things. I love experimenting and taking on new challenges. I also spend a lot of time recording what I am doing and journalling ideas and thoughts. I need to as I am very forgetful. The journalling process is proving very useful to me. In the past I would start but interest soon waned. I think the secret is to spend more time making art and recording things. Spend more time doing what you love!

Episode 23

11 November 2020

The year is flying by.

I have been working on three fronts in the past week or so with Oceans , florals and abstracts. Another 60cm square work has been added to my Oceans series and I am declaring these two finished. They have been painted over an orange gold background layer which really makes the blues sing.

I am really liking these at the moment.

After my frustrating and time consuming work on floral still lifes over the past weeks( I am unable to accept defeat). A few of you said you liked them but they weren’t what I was wanting to produce. So, I decided to try something loose and free in the manner I have been developing in my other work. A bunch of roses, azaleas and iris were picked from my garden(which is magnificent at the moment). These are the two attempts at loose and free.

The second one needs some tweaking but I am quite pleased with them so far.

The third thread that I am following is a more structured abstract set of two. I am happy with where they are going too.

I have made some further changes to them both today. Works in progress but nearly finished. Lots of layers and interesting marks and shapes.

Coming up this weekend is the Wrest Point Rotary Art Show at The Boardwalk gallery. I have four works on display including a donated painting semi abstract of Spring Beach East Coast Tasmania.

Hidden depths

Lost in my mind

The exhibition is usually of excellent standard and very well curated. Open from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. Well worth a look. I have also uploaded some framed miniatures to Bluethumb this week.

See you next time and hoping this magnificent weather continues.

Episode 22

28 October 2020

This last fortnight has not seen me as productive as the one before. I have continued to make small changes to many of my works in progress. I became a little bogged down in flowers in my quest to find a style that suits me and the media I use. Oil and wax medium is a very creamy material that is spread rasher than brushed on. Some techniques that might work in acrylics paint or watercolour may not work so well. If you remember I recently did a couple of small painting which just seem to flow naturally.

and so I tried to work in a larger size 50cm x 60cm

I am happy with how this is going. There is another on the go and hopefully I will have that to show next time.

I have been busy updating the images on my website. I seem to have done a great deal this past 6 months due to the stimulation of an online course and self imposed lock down. I would love you to check it out, especially the 2020 series.

My ocean series is continuing. I am trying to add final details to two works without loosing their freshness. I have started another one of two which I am quite excited about. See below.

Spring Beach Inspired

The second one is in final stages.

The most exciting moment in the past two weeks was the surprising online sale of my painting of Bridport Tasmania. This painting was quite big 90 cm x 60cm. Its the first I have had to pack and send; a process which took a few hours and quite a bit of blood sweat and tears to accomplish. I decided I wouldn’t put myself through that again until I got a quote from a local company to pack and send and it was $260. Changed my mind. Have honed the technique I hope for next time. I have had paintings on the Bluethumb site for quite a while and this was my first sale. The lovely lady who bought it had been looking for the right painting for her entrance hallway. When she received it in Belrose NSW about 3 days after I sent it, she was thrilled and sent me a photo of it in situ. It looked great so I am thrilled too.

I have almost finished preparing 3 works for sale at the Rotary Wrest Point Art Show in mid November. It will be inspiring to see my work on the wall along side some really talented Tasmanian Artists.

I so love to paint.

Episode 21

4 October 2020

I had a lot of unresolved works happening last week so didn’t publish my news. I have been very busy though and the studio is becoming chaotic again. Seems to be a pattern emerging, with weeks of frenetic activity follow by a step back and having a clean up.

I have continued working on two of my Oceans series and am planning two more. I worked from small studies developed from my own photos taken on Tasmania’s east coast. I have then referred back to the photos in the final stages and am now in danger of overworking and loosing the freshness.

‘Flourish’ is a series I started a few weeks back and now have two gracing the halls of the Rosny Doctors surgery. I really enjoy doing these. Big loose gestural applications of paint. Can’t say brush strokes as I don’t use brushes, rather palette knives and silicon spreading tools. I have been using different combinations of colour each time keeping to two colours and black and white.

This is one I did earlier and have now finished featuring a favourite colour magenta.

Also hanging on my studio wall awaiting further work was one from several weeks ago. I was chatting to a friend and happened to rest my eyes on it and suddenly saw how it could be resolved. Here are the before and after. Well it might not be completely finished.

On the floral theme I completed two more small 30cm squares boards with vases of flowers. Lots of texture in these. And fun to do!

Coming up soon is the deadline for entries in the Rotary Wrest Point Art Prize. The exhibition was postponed due to Covid 19 but set to go ahead now in November. Always a great exhibition at the Boardwalk Gallery on the waterfront. I have been struggling over calling these two finished. But decision time looms. They are both larger, 60cm square works in oil and cold wax on cradled boards. Still undecided about titles. Ideas gratefully accepted!

I have been sitting on the prints I showed you last post not knowing where to go with them. Yesterday I spread them out, tore up the ones done on tissue paper and am preparing to collage them. I will then probably do some further printing on them. Will be fun. Seem to need to distance myself enough from them to have the courage to tear and cover etc. Its so exciting to see what prints you pull and they are a bit precious immediately.

I have been working on my journaling and study of composition. One thing the course I did recently has taught me has been to seek out and study in depth the work of other contemporary artists. So to finish this week with Betty Krause and one of her abstracted fields of flowers.

Episode 20

30 September 2020

I packaged up and delivered the 5 paintings now on display at Rosny Doctors and in the process I had new business cards made. It’s good to be exhibiting again and clearing some space in the studio for more creations.

I have joined an online artists community called Art Tribe runs by Louise Fletcher who also ran the course I was doing recently. A challenge in the group for September is to experiment with a different or new medium or approach. I chose gel printing on to cartridge as the base for further painting. After doing the exercise and making 11 prints I realised that I hadn’t done anything new really, to that point anyway. I like most of them as they are so feel stuck about taking them further. These are some of them that I like.

I will sit on these for a while.

One I didn’t like. It was a 60cm square and I felt the colours weren’t inspiring me. There were some lovely textures though. There were multiple imprints on this.

By accident I came across some Youtube videos by Betty Krause, a Californian artist. She most paints very abstracted flowers or fields of flowers. I thought I would steal something from her way of working.

I had a good session yesterday and this is where it’s at. I will continue to abstract. I seem to have lost most of the blue so will have to bring some back.

My Oceans series is developing. I started two more 50cm squares, based on two small studies done two weeks ago. They had an orangey underpainting. The first is from some photos and a painting I sold of a storm approaching Bicheno. The second was a storm receding from Spring Beach. I am happy with the second one but the first needs more work.

I had a brief visit to Park Beach on Saturday and did some loose sketching using ink and a feather of rocks and water. I took photos but they don’t do justice to the scene. Need to go back for more!

Experimented with different colour palettes too this week ready for two more paintings in my abstract Flourish series. I am also enjoying the abstract florals so will soon have three series on the go. Garden needs attention too!! The Rotary Wrest Point Art Exhibition is coming up in November so need to get 3 or 4 paintings ready for that. Website needs attention too. Think I need an assistant!!!

Episode 19

23 September 2020

Now that ‘Find Your Joy 2020’ has concluded, the course materials are available for several more months, I intend to go back over the exercises and notes to consolidate my learning. Of more interest is that I have joined a follow up group called Art Tribe to continue to learn and challenge myself at my own pace. There are monthly challenges. In September, what is left of it I am going to explore using printing techniques to create interesting back grounds. I will continue to work on my Ocean series as well.

In the past week a couple of opportunities came my way including a short teaching stint sharing my knowledge and experience painting with oil paint and cold wax medium. Nothing confirmed yet but I am thinking it could be enjoyable.

The second opportunity is in a permanent exhibition space in a large new medical centre in Rosny. This offer resulted in some intense activity on my part for a day or two, sealing and mounting the works I will display for sale on cradled birch boards. Attaching wires, labels, designing and ordering new business cards. Busy busy! All ready to go.

These are the paintings that will be displayed at Rosny Doctors 27 Bligh St Rosny(opposite the library).

The first two, Flourish 1 and The day begins, measure 50cm square, the next four are 30cm squares and will hang together as a group.

A new day

The studio was in such chaos post course and the above frenetic activity. I was tripping over things and storing paintings on the floor. I had a massive clear out. Regretted after a couple of hours, but then made a list of Gaye size jobs that I will do over the next few months. So on the surface its now looking tidy and organised. I bought a new shelving unit and my grandson assembled it for me. It very difficult disposing of art work that you have ‘grown out of’ and materials bought for the many tangents I have gone on over the years. Online garage sale coming up!!!

So I am back to my ongoing Ocean series and the collage experiments that have been in the too hard basket for a few weeks.

This week I am going to experiment with some direct printing to create interesting backgrounds for new work. Some I will be doing with a gelli plate and acrylic paints. Looking forward to lots of fun with this.

I also need to update my website with all my new works from the last few months. So watch this space!