A couple of post Christmas bushwalks in our Southwest National Park have inspired me with their fantastic scenery. We walked up Clear Hill and then into Lake Judd a few days later. They’re opposites scenery wise so I have a variety of influences floating about in my mind.
Whilst these photos show the wonderful scenery I’m not aiming to paint realistically. Rather, my aim is to bear in mind the visual forms and textures, the feel of the place and my emotional reactions.
Ok, enough of that. Let’s get started on the painting!
I thought I’d show you some progress shots of a couple of paintings from a current group of seven. They’re based on memories of the above plus bits and pieces I like about “Switchback” (below).
Somehow, I’ve ended up with two different styles in this group! (Your guess is as good as mine as to why?!)
This first one was painted over a previous non-starter (below).
As you can see in the photo below, I’m well into these paintings.
First, I created the hill shapes, then I thought scumbling or glazes might be a good way to go. A bit of lifting off opened things up. I scumbled the sky with layers of white and blue, trying to make it interesting, not too flat. Adding some new colour on the hills seemed a good idea and a “lake” began to appear.
In the version shown above acrylic ink was added to the foreground. It seems a bit too samey though, so, in the next photo (below) you can see I’ve lifted off paint to lighten some areas. I also darkened parts of the foreground to create more contrast. Almost there I think. Just wondering about lightening more areas on the foreground.
Now for the other style. It’s a bit more intuitive and abstracty but still with landscape shapes.
I managed to pull this out of the random starting marks!
I felt the stage above needed more colour so I’ve added raw sienna and turquoise inks (below) plus I attacked the sky and painted over some of the drips.
I then added warm colour in the white areas but it’s not feeling finished yet. I’m still feeling uncomfortable with that light square even though it’s smaller. Can that sky do with lightening too?
A couple of the paintings in this group are tentatively finished, but I like to wait a bit in case I see things to fine tune. Some paintings say “I’m done” quite quickly while others take their time.
Things have progressed with the “On My Marks” series and it’s time to start contemplating what’s next. I guess that’s fitting for the new year!
There are eight works at 25 x 25cm and most of them have changed quite a lot from those first marks.
“Switchback”, below, is the most successful I think. It’s going to be the inspiration for another series shortly. I like the way I’ve done the sky and the variety of marks and shapes that make up the “land”.
Reactions vary when my arty friends see me working on my art. It’s interesting to see who likes what and sometimes, I can predict their preferences. My own favorites will sometimes be different again. Regardless though, I keep plugging away towards some sort of resolution.
Resolution? It can be at one of several stages. I might feel quite unsatisfied with things or I can be comfortable with what I’ve done to varying degrees. The best result for me is to be feeling excited and inspired to move forward. There’s a large range of perceptions between the two extremes of unsatisfied and excited! The “unsatisfying” paintings are set aside, in “halfway hell”, to be reviewed sometime in the future. They might get a touch up if I can see something to improve, or they may end up in the reuse box.
This one has been a challenge. A problem child that wouldn’t cooperate! It’s going to “halfway hell” but I’m leaning towards using it for collage.
The in-between/comfortable paintings sit, waiting, until I make alterations or come to another conclusion regarding their fate. Are they done or not? I have to remind myself that not everything can be “exciting”. They might still be good enough to send out into the world.
This fellow is one I feel comfortable with. It’s almost there but I need to think about why that is the case and what I might want to do about it.
The “exciting” ones are offered for sale and entered into exhibitions. There are only two in this series that feel “exciting” at this stage. “Switchback” above, at the start of this Studio News, and “Refuge” below.
“Refuge” is one that felt exciting to varying degrees along the way. I still like it and it’s a starter for exhibitions etc.
Bearing in mind the different opinions of others when deciding these things is fraught with danger. I need to make the decisions myself otherwise I’ll forever feel uncomfortable about what I do with particular pieces.
I think, putting the doubtful ones aside earlier, rather than later, frees me up to build on what has been successful. Some would prefer to keep at it, trying to resolve things, but I feel better if I put them aside and move on. Depending on how far aside I put them, I may review things later and do more!
I wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Christmas and I hope the New Year brings all you hope for along with some nice surprises you weren’t expecting!
I’m on the move! With all the work for the final 2021 exhibition organised I started a new group of paintings …. the “On My Marks” series!
The above is a tiny section of a mark making and collage exercise. It appealed to me immediately. I like the shapes and the flow of the lines. Now that I look closer, I can see a sneaky “s” hiding in there. It’s basically a curvy design with a hint of diagonals. That texture is nice too. The crop won’t be translated visibly into the new work, it’s a starting point, an inspiration!
The palette of colours I’m using is one I’ve been playing with for a while. Pthalo blue and raw umber yellowish with black and white. I’ve added cadmium yellow light to the mix. It’s providing some brightness and a little touch of playfulness.
I started with eight small squares taped together. To begin, I made some intuitive marks using leftover paint from exploring the colour mixes. Then, some drawing with water soluble graphite and water flicked about to create a few drips.
Standing back to look at them, I felt they needed a bit more warm colour. So I added more marks with a raw umber yellowish mix, did a spot of drawing with a coloured pencil, made some more drips and lifted off things here and there. Then, I left them alone to “cook” for a while. We’ll see what I feel like after that.
It can be difficult not to plough ahead with things, but sometimes I get to a point where I know I’m just continuing for the sake of it, not because I have a useful contribution to make.
Here are two of the squares. I’m more interested in the bottom one than the top one. There’s still a way to go though, so don’t panic!
What to do next? I had a look and decided to do whatever came to mind, or hand! I started with a bit of collage, then felt I needed to lighten them up with “sky” areas. I was led by each image as I worked. (If they are leading me I don’t have to take responsibility do I?)
Sometimes you don’t know whether what you want to do is right or not. No, that’s all the time really I think! It means that you do things and immediately regret them. I often wonder why I keep taking things further when I liked what I had at the start. People often say that you build up a history by creating layers. I think that’s true and I have done that successfully, but I’m not convinced it’s the only way to work.
The four images below are the two paintings I picked out to show you earlier. I’ve done more to them now. The first one has been turned upside down! They’re still not done.
The others are coming along too, but there’s more to do. Either more to do or more to learn! Painting is a learning experiece as well as a creative one. There’s always more to learn, especially from the “duds”.
Have you ever been plagued by being stuck, unable to move forward? Desperately wanting to run towards your dream but, somehow, unable to move. A ball and chain around your ankle perhaps.
There’s lots of advice and stuff (other than silly gifs) on the web to “assist” you in this quest! I’ve always believed that it’s really only me that can find a way around my ruts. But I get very frustrated when I get stuck again and again and end up feeling like there’s a major fault somewhere that needs fixing.
“Just do it” they say. Yeah, right! Like it’s that easy! There are any number of “solutions” out there, none of which have worked very well for me so far.
I think there are so many factors that contribute to these frustrating times that you have to be very lucky to find the right solutions for you. Our lives are so variable and different and our backgrounds just as much so. Surely “just do it” is an oversimplification. I often feel it comes from people who miraculously don’t seem to have these problems.
Yet, at the same time it seems to be one of the keys because no matter what tiny thing you start with, it’s likely to make you feel good about what you’ve done and it might lead to more action, at least in the short term.
It worked today. I chose the mindless studio job of gessoing paper. I got into the swing of it, which led to gessoing over six old paintings so I can reuse the canvases. Now I have some inspiring textured canvases to work on.
Recently, I watched a couple of videos about this problem and creativity in general.
One of them stated that you can’t keep going with self motivation alone. It later went on to say, about one of the proposed steps, that, you won’t feel like doing it, but you just have to! Wouldn’t that take motivation? Mmmm!
The same video suggested that action changes your mood. I think I would generally agree with this. Taking action means you can cross something off your list. Or, you’ve started and it’s most likely going to be easier to keep the momentum going. You might now be excited and have completed or moved closer to completing something.
The other video I watched was looking at Leonardo da Vinci’s ideas and habits around creativity. The ideas, while seemingly simple, point again to motivation plus consistency in habits.
The stand out item here for me was keeping a notebook and consistently using it for various things that were suggested. No, I don’t do it consistently!
So, to get started…..plan something vaguely motivational, however small, to get you started, take some action, write about and record it, make more plans in your notebook and….back to being motivated! Leonardo would be proud! Together, they all lead to action and hopefully the development of habits.
But what about the inevitable obstacle? Internal, external, emotional, physical and mental obstacles, out of our control or not. In my case, this puts me back to square one! The first video suggested planning for these obstacles.
But how?! Probably, the stronger, more long lived, the habit and the greater the importance we attach to it, the easier it will be to overcome obstacles?
For example, with respect to the “obstacle” above, I suspect most of us have been conditioned to feel better about our art time if we diligently put in some time using it, or a cousin, before starting our art! Only if it’s needed of course!
Obstacles come in a wide range of types and it all seems complicated. But really it isn’t, once you have a good think, you can try to brush aside the unhelpful thoughts and alter unhelpful habits! You have to try, then try some more and more again, because it doesn’t seem to be consistent or predictable and circumstances change. Habits take a while to change as well. Some sort of reliable method is needed and it probably needs to be your own. Not that of an internet guru, who when it all boils down to it, is just like you and I, but they’ve found their own way and want to spread the good word!
My advice. Find your own way folks. I’m still looking!!
I like to remember these wise words that are generally attributed to Einstein:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
I would add that it could conversely be ….
The definition of insanity is not doing something time and time again and expecting a different result!
Here’s to momentum and bliss in art!
Here’s a little “stop press” item!
It’s a very nice feeling to think six of my nine little A5 size images sold (that’s $600!) at the Mystery Art Sale in September for the children of Haiti. I received these three back today with this lovely photo and card.
Its amazing and inspirational how sometimes there can be happiness coexisting with hardship. These children are only a few of the 500 or so in the Despuzeau area which is an extremely poor region.
I have to admit I was quite skeptical about selling unframed, unmounted, anonymously presented A5 sized images for $100, but with $16,500 in sales my hesitancy was unjustified.
I could ask you “What’s your poison?” because painting and art in general gets into your system and insidiously affects all you think and do. Motivation for most artists is so strong that at times nothing else matters, except perhaps a fire in the studio.
What’s my motivation?
Getting awards and selling a couple of pieces lately has prompted me to think a little more rationally and less emotionally about why I paint.
Emotion in the how is what we want folks. But, the wrong emotions taking over the why can lead you down many paths that won’t necessarily be good for your art or you.
The “please buy my art” path will most likely be the undoing of some of the enjoyment in making your art. I’ve experienced this first hand and believe me, it’s soul destroying. I think I have partially let the need to sell go. I’d still like a sale here and there but that’s a nice byproduct of painting and exhibiting, not a major reason for doing it.
There’s also the “Why didn’t I/when will I win?” mindset. This whole scene is quite fickle. Wondering whether you might win an award is counter productive. It stops you making art in a relaxed way. You tend to adjust what you think or do to suit judging at the expense of your own preferences. And, funnily enough it can detract from the art you create.
Judging awards is really down to the judges and is difficult to predict. Even if you have three judges, they are all going to have differing opinions about the work being judged. I know from experience that there are always other works as good as the winners, but for some reason, mostly unknown to the artists, a particular piece is chosen. Some years ago, a judge told me I won an award because I had collage in my graphite drawing!
As for my personal motivation, I could ramble on with some arty garb, but I just want to paint, learn and improve my art. For me, the need to be creative, to paint or draw, comes before the subject, medium and techniques. My art (process and product) is, first and foremost, for me!
With that in mind, these two paintings are the newest additions to the catalogue of art I have available. They’re two works from a small series where I recall really relaxing into painting and, as they say, “just doing it”!
With the listing of these two I’m up to date with my offerings of paintings for sale on Bluethumb.
It’s been a busy month of helping with and entering exhibitions. In theory, I should now be able to paint my heart out creating more art to share!
Well! It’s been a busy month exhibition-wise! As I write this there are still two in progress. See this link.
I just received word that my mixed media piece “Feral” has been awarded Runner Up in the “Artery Art on Show” exhibition at the Royal Hobart Show. I feel humbled and excited that my art has won awards this year. Humbled and motivated to push the boundaries even further. I’m also very pleased to see that two of my arty friends also won prizes. A big thank you to Artery for my $600 voucher.
More good news! “Fusion” sold yesterday at the same Show! And while I was on duty too! It’s always nice to meet the buyer.
You know how there’s a plethora of art courses online? Well…. just to add to my workload I found two that I decided to squeeze in amongst delivering, picking up paintings, helping to organise and set up a large exhibition and everything else.
One, “Time to Shine” by Alice Sheridan seemed very timely and I could do with improving my social media posts etc. Still working on this one. There’s some excellent content and challenges to keep me busy!
The other is, Judy Wood’s, free stARTs workshop where I have been exploring a different way of working. It involved collage, layering black, then some white paint and working towards an image on top of that. I felt like I’d gone a bit feral when I covered the whole thing in black! I’m not sure I like a lot of black.
These are three of the images I worked on.
The one above was the first to feel like it was somewhere close to finished. After thinking on it for a while, I made some minor adjustments in the bottom left corner. I think I’m pretty happy with it now.
Number two here is feeling tentatively, almost, done after I demolished a large black area in the bottom third. That line on the left is trying to say something though?
I love how a picture can come to a point where it feels like it’s time to stop. It isn’t finished yet, you know that, but at some point, serendipity will play a part and the required touches will come to mind! Just like magic!
Now for this little fellow. Normally, I’m not keen on “seeing” things in my abstract work, unless I intended it of course, but for some reason I’ve grown quite attached to this guy holding what could be a fishing rod. Perhaps it’s treasure he’s hooked? Anyway, I think this one is a bit whimsical and it has been declared “done”. All that’s needed now is a title?
I’m all set up in my new studio and there’s been a burst of play activity on the new painting wall!
The room is so much brighter than the old one and Jessie, our kelpie, and myself are loving having the French doors open. She naps and I work. Here’s a shot taken from the doorway. The walls are a lighter than they look here. Cameras!!??
Can’t wait to get settled into producing whatever artworks are lurking about.
Apart from painting the studio, building the painting wall with my husband, then moving in, it’s been a busy time organising pieces for three exhibitions that are starting early in October. Use this link to check them out.
Sales of my art are now being processed on Bluethumb
wendygallowayart.com now redirects anyone interested in purchasing paintings or needing more information about them to Bluethumb. Bluethumb is Australia’s largest online art gallery website. It provides customers with more options and better service than I can hope to offer. Each painting I have for sale is now linked directly to its own listing on Bluethumb.
There’s been minimal painting or even thinking about painting happening lately. I fiddled a little with the work in progress below but I’m still not happy and the answer is not forthcoming. Maybe some rubbing back?
I often attend the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s “pARTicipate” sessions. Last week Allan Mansell gave a printmaking workshop. I went along with not much idea of what to expect and no possible images in mind.
Allan instructed us in making collagraph prints. He had plenty of great reference material to choose from but I chose to make a print of our mountain, Kunanyi/Mt Wellington. It’s right on our doorstep and a wonderful backdrop to Hobart. Currently, it’s the subject of much debate as developers are itching to build a cable car that cuts across the “organ pipes” (as we call them) along with all the required supporting infrastructure.
I think the print turned out pretty well and Allan’s advice to remove more ink from the sky was spot on! He may have prompted me to make more use of my baby etching press. We’ll see what happens.
Those composition/design finding exercises I’ve been doing continue to interest and inspire. It’s fun creating random pieces and marks, cutting them up, reassembling them in different ways or cropping them to find pleasing compositions. Trouble is, I don’t know whether I have enough time left on earth to use them all, or even just the best ones!? Still, I’m having fun.
Which one of these would you choose to develop first?
“Wetland Walk 3” sold at the Rotary Hobart Art Show which is great! I hope the new owner is enjoying it.
Things are happening in preparation for moving into the new studio.
It must be Spring! An almost uncontrollable urge to clean out stuff has arisen. Yes, including art gear, which really shouldn’t count as hoarding anyway!
I had a cleansing art bonfire last year and it felt so good. All that art isn’t cluttering my mind or my space any more. I have that same feeling now.
As mentioned in the last Studio News, I’ve donated some paintings and also shunted a lot of old ones in various directions…..to the collage box, the reuse box, the inspiration folder or storage (not hoarding!).
Looking at the reuse box (below), I may never need to buy paper again.
Anything that tells my journey or that I can’t part with is being safely stored away.
There’s a difference between old work that tells your art story and the stuff that’s cramping your development. As far as art story goes, it’s pretty easy to pick which pieces best illustrate my various reincarnations.
Cramping your future art is another thing entirely. In the past I’ve kept all my art…incase! Incase what? No idea really! They were precious back then.
Hoarding served both a positive and negative purpose. As a member of a local art cooperative for two years, customers were buying my older watercolour paintings. That was great, but it caused me to become stuck and stagnant artwise. I adapted everything in order to get sales. The desire to venture into abstraction was put on hold. In retrospect it was the wrong decision. Lesson learned.
Lately, there’s been more thinking going on than action being taken. The collaged pieces that were sanded back are moving along nicely though.
All the sorting out, freeing up and the anticipation of moving into the new studio has me wondering and thinking about what might be coming up next.
Rotary Hobart Art Show 2021
These four paintings are now at Wrest Point in Hobart, ready for the Rotary exhibition this weekend – 18 and 19 September.
If you’re in Hobart, go along over the weekend and check out all the Art. Don’t gamble your money away though, buy art instead!
There must be something in the air! This year I’m putting a painting in the Rotary Club of Hobart’s Philarthropic section. These donated works are auctioned to raise funds for worthy causes. Since donating that one, I’ve received two more requests for donations. All unrelated, but isn’t it funny how these things go?
I’ve also donated the painting shown above to be auctioned at Hobart’s Town Hall on 1 October for “Engender Equality” (formerly “SHE”) – a Tasmanian not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Plus, I’m sorting out some A5 size images (below) to donate to the Gateway Baptist Church in Launceston. They’re having a fund-raiser event on 16 October for the children of Haiti.
Great ways to help others and create space for more art at the same time. It just sits there gathering dust otherwise and if I have to dust, I’m not painting! Come to think if it….I wonder if I could paint with the feather duster? Why not?…. Our clothes airer has transformed a collage paper drying rack!
There hasn’t been a lot of painting going on lately because I’ve been sorting and culling art stuff ready to move into a different room. I want it to be a lot less cluttered and the new room has more light with French doors that I can open up in good weather.
I’ve played more with those black and white designs. You may remember the painted squares I created for this exercise from Studio News number 10. “Trying Times”. I’ve started picking out a few squares to put together rather than always using nine. It’s giving me better, more open designs. They are yet to be used in paintings though!
During the studio clean out I found some “junk” that I’ve since used to print collage paper (polystyrene, old cork placemats, foam and cardboard packing with a nice pattern). Amazing what a person can hoard away as potentially useful…..one day! It really is fun fiddling about making collage paper. Nothing can go wrong and everything is potentially useful.
My entry is done for The Colour Circle’s Kaleidoscope exhibition in October and there are still more exhibitions to come!
On a very sad note, I found out today that Roy, the very generous and lovely man from my favorite art shop, Artery, passed away on the weekend. My sincere condolences to his family and others who were close to him. It’s sad to think he won’t be there to say hello to when I go art shopping. Over the years Roy has very generously sponsored thousands of dollars worth of prizes for artists and I thank him sincerely for his huge contribution to our art scene here in Hobart.