Episode 9

23 June 2020

This week I have been doing a wonderful and free online art course with Louise Fletcher from Yorkshire. I think 8,000 plus people signed up for this course and facebook group. Videos, podcasts, and regular assignments. The aim was to explore what you like doing (and don’t like doing) and find your joy in painting and create truly unique art work.

The exercises helped to focus you and you art on what you love to do. You had to really notice things about your reactions to the process and what you created. A very busy 10 days. I did 24 pieces on paper (many maybe not yet finished); all bigger that 25cm square. The course was called ‘Finding your Joy’. I really enjoyed the course and have learnt lots. Does one ever stop learning???

We started with a black and white abstract on a large sheet of paper. Lots of different shapes and mark making.

This was followed by a series of at least 6 x 30cm squares completed as one; but revealed as 6 separate ones when the masking tape was removed. For all the exercises were allowed 3 colours plus black and white. We were also encourage to play with the colours and find mixes we liked and didn’t like.

I enjoyed doing these so much I did another set in a different colour palette. I used magenta, a deep yellow and Pthalo blue. I will work a little more on these I think.

I struggled with the next two. The first challenge was a familiar subject using an unusual palette; I used the magenta, deep yellow and pthalo blue. I didn’t like the first attempt so after sleeping on it decided to go more abstract which I am happier with. These were all done in less that 30 minutes by the way.

The next one was abstract using a different palette again. Randomly I chose paints that I have full tubes of because I hardly ever use them; vermilion(orange), Diox purple and pthalo green. These are all the secondary colours ie the complements of the 3 basic colours of blue, yellow and red. Usually if you mix them you would get muddy colours. I nearly abandoned the palette before I started but then thought what the heck be adventurous. The first attempt trying all sorts of different marks was horrible. I did two more layers and was happy with the result. Love that burnt orange.


I will post the rest of the collection next week while I ponder how I can take what I have learnt to move my art to the next level. Here’s hoping.

Thank you for reading my news.

Episode 8

17 June 2020

This past week I have been working on some more floral still life. These first two were inspired by the rich orange of nasturtiums.

I tried two more floral still life with different dominant colours; the first mainly reds and the second green. These are still unresolved. I try to challenge myself with different colour combinations; sometimes I am very happy, other times not.

Sunday I joined a local group of Urban Sketchers for a get together and draw near Wendy’s beautiful 1890s two story cottage near the city. I tried to work over a collaged print and it sort of worked. Need to experiment more with different pens and adhesives. It was easier to ignore the busy surface than I expected.

Yesterday I started a free online course called ‘Find your Joy’ with Louise Fletcher who is based in Yorkshire. There are 6,000 people enrolled with the goal of learning how to loosen up, have fun, and start to ‘find their unique artist’s voice’. There is one lesson a day for 8 days. These are my first two exercises. The first in monochrome using inks, brushes, pens, pencils and acrylic paint. Lots of layers which I love too

These are 6 paintings painted in 30 minutes as one on a single sheet of paper divided with masking tape. Black, white and 3 colours were allowed. I chose Aliziran Crimson, Yellow ochre and pthalo turquoise. The tape is removed to reveal crisp edges.

I am really looking forward to these daily challenges. Everyone posts their finished work on Facebook. It really interesting to see how individual the work is. Lots of ideas for new colour combinations too. It helps you see what it is you like or don’t like in your own and others work.

Episode 7

10 June 2020

I have been thinking for a while about revisiting loose expressive flower paintings but using oil paint and wax medium. I worked on 4 of these, mostly 30cm square. These two came together quite quickly. I will try some more in different colour palettes.

This weeks special is a series of 3 small canvases for $50. Keep reading for details.

Current inspiration

I have been listened to a podcast and following an inspirational artist from Yorkshire Louise Fletcher. She works mostly in with mixed media and acrylics. Louise builds her work up with multiple layers of paint as I do but using a different medium to my oils and wax. I have enrolled in a short online course next week with Louise which I am really looking forward to.


“My paintings evolve over time, layer upon layer, and in this way, they mirror life and the landscape that inspired them. Each new layer adds depth, but the history remains underneath and is glimpsed now and again.” Louise Fletcher

Progress this week

A few weeks ago I was experimenting with maquetes, small loose paintings/sketches done on one sheet of paper, that might form the basis of larger works. I tried out a different palette, orange and lime green. There were 8 in the set and I didn’t much like them, so reworked them intuitively and the results of 4 are show here. I enjoyed playing with colour.

My last series was predominately blues and I felt that with winter here I should try out a warmer palette. On two 60 x 50 sheets, I started with dark brown, a henna red and various neutrals in pink and violet but felt it needed spicing up. I added gold, magenta black and red. I am still working on them, but this one is getting there. It is more structured.

Loose black line drawing with oils stick covered with a layer of violet then brown pink
More layers of violet, brown, white, black and loose drawing with oil stick
Magenta, red, gold, black oil stick and crayon drawing added to the layers. Excavating to shown earlier layers.

This weeks special

Special offer this week is a set of three 20 x25 cm canvases collage using eco dyed fabrics, paper, found objects. $60 for the set. They would really look great in a beach side cottage.

Eco dying 1
Eco dying 3
Eco dyeing 2

Episode 6

27 May 2020

In the past 2 weeks I have finished 3 new works and have one nearing completion.

I selected a composition from my library and tried to stick to a palette of scarlett, indian yellow and a dark phthalo blue with the addition of black and a lot of white. I mixed various warm and cool greys from these to provide neutral areas. I almost ran out of white paint even though had some on order on line. Postal services are stretched at this time with Covid 19 restrictions. Luckily a local art shop re-opened and I was able to replenish my supplies.

This one (662)developed with 14 layers of paint; these are the 6th, 8th and 14th. Lots of mark making and overlays. I really enjoyed making this. It is a 50cm square.

These are the other 2 in the series that are finished. These are 30cm squares

For ‘playtime’ I created two sets of small painting; which I have now found are referred to a maquettes. Created on a single sheet of paper with masking tape to divide them into 20cm or 15cm squares. I experimented with a palette I have never used before; lime green and orange. I included some mono printing as well. I don’t really like these much so now have to decide to leave them as is, or add more layers. The other set are in blues/turquoise and I am waiting for the paint to dry before I go further.

I have today started another set of four 30cm square ones but with loose abstracted flower subjects.

Yesterday we went on our first outing for over two months to our beautiful Carlton Beach. Inspiring and invigorating. I think the temperature was 10 degrees. A magic winter day in Tasmania.

Episode 5

12 May 2020

Designing a website sure has its challenges. Feels like one step forward two steps back sometimes. I had some very good advice from an artist and her son in New Mexico (Rebecca Crowell and Ross Ticknor) whose views I respect. One major change involved changing and simplifying the domain name which I have done.

My address is now gayeoakes.com

I am continuing to learn about websites, blogs and newsletters and how to use them and I haven’t stopped painting. The corona virus self isolation has allowed this to happen.

My work over the past two years has focused more on abstract work and working intuitively with oil and cold wax. I know abstract art is not to everyone’s taste and I get more positive feedback about my realistic oil landscapes and seascapes. But for me there is great pleasure and challenge in abstract work. Some succeed, some don’t, but that’s the same for any art.

In my studio I have been creating 12 small 20cm square works on paper. These early stages of these are made on two large sheets of paper with masking tape dividing the space. The first set I tried a lighter palette

In the second lot have played with pthalo green; a colour not used before. I will add some detailed drawing to each one and see how they develop.

I pulled out two larger painting which were disappointing and abandoned. I attempted to give them a fresh face; trying to keep to the pure hues in the process. They are a work in progress but I think they are an improvement. What do you think?

Almost forgot! I finally got around to a day of monoprinting with my gel press which is a 9mm thick plate of silicon that holds layers of inks and acrylics. Stamps, stencils and all sorts of mark making are used to create interesting patterns in the surface. Paper(in my case tissue paper) is placed/pressed over and the print pulled. I think I did about 24 . These are a few. I like to use them to collage into my work. The paper becomes transparent in the wax. These are a few.

Am planning(very loosely) a whole new series so will keep you updated on progress.

Check out my new website gaye oakes art gallery

Episode 4

27 April 2020

The unexpected outcome this week is that my Spring Abstracts and Moonlight paintings drew me back to rework them. I just love this process. It is so intuitive and all consuming. The Spring Abstracts were started about 18 months ago when I was new to the cold wax medium. I now felt they seem too structured so I tried to be more loose and organic in my approach. Not sure if they are finished yet. I am loving the richness of the colours. My challenge was to focus on pure rich blues, turquoise and pinks in these.

Spring Abstract 1 after 20 layers of paint
Spring Abstract 1 after a further 8 layers

Spring Abstract 2 earlier version

Spring Abstract 2 in its latest form

The Moonlight ones below were rushed for an Art Society of Tasmania themed black and white exhibition last year. They had some lovely marks but I wanted to add colour. So this is where they went.

Moonlight 1
Moonlight 1 revamped

Moonlight 2
Moonlight 2 revamped

My printed session hasn’t happened but it will. Always so much to do.

Episode 3

23 April 2020

Two new paintings have been added this week in my ‘geometrics’ series. Either or both are on sale at 20% off until the end of April

View latest work

Industrial 2
Industrial 2

My art practice is moving to a more intuitive way of working. This is a great challenge because I have to let go of some aspects of a painting for the ‘greater good’ of the whole painting. There are times when this doesn’t work and I keep going until I find what I feel is right. Working on a number of works helps with this as it’s good to move and re-focus.

I have four on the go in this yellow series. A neutral colour palette with one main primary yellow. So far there have been 23 layers. I photograph each layer or stage so I can see progress. Here are 4 photos showing some of the stages and some smaller close up detail of the last one. What do you think?

The last image of this work the first in the series
Small detail
More small detail
The second in the series

Coming up soon are some mono printing sessions to create interesting papers for collage as additions to a painting.

News from my studio

Episode 1

I have been working on building this website to show and hopefully sell some of my art work. I have been quite prolific lately due to being housebound because of convid 19.

Two analagous colours 4

I have four painting in progress using neutral colours and yellow as the one main colour with either red or green/blue as the secondary colour. The image is of number 4 and is a 30cm square. I am about 3/4 way through.