Are you Okay?
Tell me how you were going. How are current affairs affecting you?
Are you being adversely affected by the pandemic; by the current social unrest in the world?
I have experience that dates back to the racial protests in the 1960s.
The movement for equality grew along with the anti-war movement. The world positively changed.
Don't be too concerned about the struggles of today. It's positive that
Violence is never positive, but the action of saying, "enough is enough," when things are enough, that's positive. That can lead to great things.
I'm just telling you from my experience, because I don't know if many of you lived through the 1960s.
I came into the '60s as a young adult. The oppression of the 'certain type' of white male-dominated 1950s was oppressive to many people. Society has moved back to favor the growth of bigotry.
We've been complaining again that our politics have become white male-dominated. Things will change. It won't necessarily be brought about by violence.
It was a lot of the peaceful demonstrations that brought about the most change in the 1960s. it was peaceful demonstrations have brought about the anti-war movements of that time.
The 1960s brought about a lot of positive change. We had the year of the disabled, and the year of women. It wasn't just a year, it was a movement that went on, and continued to make progress. I won't go into all the disadvantages that existed before that time, but we made huge strides. The equal rights movement led to gaining more respect for people's freedom to practice their religion and faith.
I have seen a lessening of those rights over the last 10 to 15 years. I've been I'm saying, "Where is the protest?"
We needed the youth to come forward and say, "Enough is enough!" That is happening now. This is positive. Don't be too frightened by there being a strong, rebellious reaction to past prejudice and injustice, because it will lead to peaceful rebellion and that will bring positive change.
Now about the pandemic: I know we should be concerned. It's concern and even fear that is going to encourage us to continue social distancing and doing all the social distancing and hygiene actions that we need to do when we have a pandemic.
That fear is a good thing. Don't fear the economy problems, things will be okay.
We can look back on history for reassurance. My mother was born in 1910, so she caught the Spanish flu when she was 9 years old. She was ill for two years. That gave her an incredible immunity and she went through all the rest of her life, through to late adulthood, and she never had another dose of influenza.
She had such a strong immunity from having been ill from that pandemic.
After the 1918-19 pandemic was over, the world didn't crash.
The economy didn't crash. After the 1918-19 flu, most of the world went into a boom period. There was a huge improvement in the economic well-being for many people on lower incomes.
Many were awarded higher wages. Shorter work hours with improved work conditions occurred. Many essential workers during the pandemic were on low wages.
Their wages and work conditions improved after the pandemic ended. There was a lot of good social change. That has lasted. There was said an affluent period leading right through the 1920s, right through until the late nineteen-twenties. Following the 1918-19 pandemic, there were ten years of affluence for many. So don't be too afraid of what might happen after a pandemic.
I can look back on history and see that everything was okay, for most people. I wanted to pass on that information from my mother, that everything was okay after the pandemic, and the tips from me, that
things were improved, after the social unrest of the 1960s. I pass on that first and second-hand knowledge of history because it's not there for many of you to remember. You've only got accounts that you read about unless you are in my age group.
I am in what's considered a vulnerable age for Covid-19. I'm not afraid. I'm living in a social distancing rural community. We will be fine.
A little bit of fear is okay. It can protect us. It is a reminder to social distance.
A lot of healthy social unrest as peaceful protesting will be good. It will be
positive. It will bring about the change that frankly needs so be encouraged.
Work in Progress
All the great artists have experienced criticism.
There are some prejudices we artists experience.
We do experience prejudice too.
All the great artists have experienced criticism.
I will read out some of the criticism that has been leveled at some great artists.
That might help you feel better if you are criticised for what you're doing creatively.
It doesn't matter what we do as artists, we're never going to please everybody; We shouldn't try. I've been fortunate in my career that I've been able to do what I wanted it to, and there's been enough people who have loved what I do that I've been able to earn a living as a professional artist through the decades.
In my retirement, I can pass on many of these tips to you. I don't please everybody. If you look at my YouTube videos you'll see that I don't have a
one-hundred percent approval ranking on all of my videos. There's always the people that are going to hit the 'don't like.'
They're actually helping boost my channel. because when anyone clicks the dislike button, it is counted as an activity, and as such, it boosts the views on my channel.
If I tried to do art that everybody loved it would be pretty bland.
Be a smart, eclectic learner —absorb the best information, and reject dogma.
One of the world's greatest impressionist artists was Sir Arthur Streeton.
He submitted a painting to a Paris gallery and received a rejection slip and the painting back. The note said, "Your painting lacks clarity."
Sir Arthur Streeton penned a letter back saying, "Lack of clarity is my strong point."
* * *
One of the world's greatest landscape painters, and also a skilled trained portrait artist from Britain, was John Constable. He received this criticism from a Paris gallery. "Nothing is clearly defined in the works of this painter and the subjects themselves are badly drawn. It is impossible to identify the type of tree represented or where they start or finish. His skies are sullied with greys, and his waters are a sheet of ice not yet scratched by the skates.
* * *
Some artists have won my greatest respect for their humility and humour in criticising themselves.
Pablo Picasso is one when praised for being a great artist, he reprimanded the praise giver, and said, "No, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were great artists; I am an entertainer."
* * *
Often one can respect an artist's work without respecting their values. That is how it is with prejudices, those are things that we way learn. Many artists are learning prejudice as they learn art from various teachers.
I mean, some artists who do wonderful line and wash, will teach that only their way of doing a line and wash is correct.
Some artists that do watercolor are purists and teach only their way of doing the work is correct. That is why this is not a pure line and wash or a pure watercolor that would be approved.
I am breaking the rules applied by many people who are dogmatic about their way, that their way is the only right way. I'm showing you I am doing a work that is not pure watercolor, that is not purist line and wash, but it still watercolor, and it's the line and wash.
You can learn from how people do things the very best that they do, but you can reject the dogma.
* * *
Max Meldrum, who you may not know of, because sometimes the greatest painters may not be the greatest commercial artists as in commercially becoming household names.
Max Meldrum was a tonal impressionist.
I greatly admire his skill as an artist and tutoring skill. He was one of the best tonal impressionists teachers.
I studied under one of his leading students Alan Martin, so I highly respect that training.
However, this is his opinion of people who paint pretty pictures.
My voice doesn't carry the note of disdain that he would have used as he
said this. “Pretty Picture. A popular and money attracting form of painting but contains an exaggeration of color, sentiment and detail. Children with tears on their cheeks, babies, animals, flowers, etc.
They are certain to please and are paced on chocolate boxes and postcards. In short, a pretty picture is made up of things known, covered with a veneer of sentiment, and a disregard for the truth of that which is visual. Meldrum referred with disdain to such concoctions as commercial art in a gold frame.
You are you can learn from art tutors all the best that they have to teach, but you can reject the prejudice that might be in their words, the prejudice against people who choose to paint a pretty picture. Painting a pretty picture is not a bad thing in itself. It's just not purist tonal impressionism, that's all.
Just like the choice of religion, and choice of belief, we have a choice of art activities. If we don't choose to be like somebody else, or because we were born differently to others, doesn't make us right or wrong, any more than our choice of art makes us right or wrong. So keep that in mind and paint as you love and as you choose. As long as it's not disrespectful to yourself and others it's fine.
When you learn from somebody take from them the best that they offer that you feel fits your style.
Be an eclectic learner.
Reject any dogma that doesn't fit with your philosophy of life.
Lovely day in the central highlands of Victoria. The photos are of the view through one of my windows, and me with my Mother's Day cup gift (also got red leather gloves) from Carla. I'm getting quite settled here. I took enough time to adjust to the change. Decorating my new home has helped.
I've had huge health improvements, on multiple fronts, since I arrived here, partly due to a good doctor, specialist, and physiotherapist.
Not much to report. My life revolves a lot between Reg's good and bad days and if we walk around the gardens together, or if I push him in a wheelchair, or if I am 'catcher,' trying to prevent many of his falls.
I hold the back of his leather belt and threaten to "give him a wedgie," if he topples.
Very funny, me hanging on to a sinking man while balancing on a walking frame or stick and hollering for help.
Today's a good day. It is in-between the last two options of being a pusher or a catcher.
I'm sitting with him enjoying the views from his room and enjoying the assisted living, comprising of meal delivery to our room.
Some birds in our veranda garden, kangaroos, lama, and cows on the hillside entertain us. Carla sends us DVDs to watch. Carla messages daily, we have great conversations.
This will be the same report every day, week, and year, but nature makes it interesting and ever-changing. The autumn leaves have dropped and we are watching the bud swell on the trees with the promise of an early spring. We watched the summer gold on the paddock turn green, and now pockets of mist rise between trees on the furthest hills. Sometimes we have our heads is a cloud and speculate if we will see snow soon. I think I saw my first snow flurry from my window last week—exciting after not having seen snow for years.
My bathroom is a cross between a coffee bistro-wardrobe-physiology rubbing oils, and the art supplies' clean-up room. That and my bed sitting—art studio room, are now called "The Penthouse Suite."
I had two cleaners knock on my door yesterday asking if they "...could do anything for me." They looked so disappointed when I said "No I looked after my room."
Then they confessed, they wanted to come in to "LOOK."
What followed was a guided tour, with accompanying "Oohs" and "Ahs" of the art supplies, which are out on display, along with artwork, and artwork in progress.
I think I've done wonders with the allocated space in getting so many art options out and accessible to use, while having it look great, and be functional, at least to my eyes.
The room isn't any larger than Reg's or my previous room, but with a different furniture layout it's amazing how much art studio space I was able to create.
The penthouse is decorated with accents of a cheery wood, also called rosewood decor. It would have been mint, but as I was ordering my first decor item I saw the lovely rosewood items were half the price of mint. It must be last season's decor colour, with everything now half price to clear, which suited me fine.
Reg has a cherry wood coloured soap dish to give me for our 52nd wedding anniversary present on the 25th of May.
52nd is a spa-related gift, so the soap dish is the only spa I'll fit in my new penthouse suite.
I lay on my bed and rest with a book, reading and writing or window gazing or nanny nap after lunch and know I LOVE my room. I'm not a pink, fluffy or clingy feminine person, but I've allowed my feminine side have more freedom in decorating the penthouse suite, as I'm not catering to Reg's taste in any way. I like the result.
I have been doing some pen ink line with watercolour wash work. Tired of using throwaway pens and began using dip pens again which I love. I tried to use my half dozen fountain pens without success, also did some research to find out why I never have success with any fountain pen I have ever purchased in my adult life. I had a great fountain pen when I was a teenager. What was I doing wrong now?
Turns out I was doing everything wrong, from pen selection to ink, to set up, use, and maintenance. I joined a few fountain pen groups Learned a lot. Hovered around until I got a great extra fine point pen second hand, excellent condition at a savings and a superb, broad, oblique nib fountain pen at a substantial reduction. I chose two suitable inks. Then I got out of the groups before I became a 'fountainhead,' because fountain pens, inks, and the accessories, plus the attraction of online auctions for vintage pens could become addictive. I found myself eying off leather pen bags, wooded ink and writing boxes, brass, and antique fountain pen writing accessories that could get one caught up in a collectors frenzy. I had two excellent writing and drawing tools, it was time to 'get out of there,' before I got hooked.
Well, this is 'all about me,' how are you?
Accept nature as a tutor to avoid painting in a style
Because I'm social distancing, a local Darrel Raine has been kind enough to go out and be my eyes for me. He supplied me with some wonderful local subjects of the rural landscape to paint for you. The first scene that I did from this wonderful old rural property was easy to complete because it was less complicated than this scene. I did it in pen and ink, and it's already published on YouTube for you to view. It was a far simpler subject than the one that I'm doing here in mixed medium or predominantly line and wash.
I'm going into semi-opaque wash over the transparent wash, because
I'm wanting to set the background back into the distance. It's such a complicated scene, it's important to not try to have everything in focus as you see in the camera; the human eyes see things differently to the camera.
You need to decide what your major focal points going to be.
I decided it would be this rusty old iron gate and the timber fence.
I wanted the fence to recede into the distance with both aerial and linear perspective. The foreground grass has become more important than the trees at the back. Those trees of the back are wonderful trees, and they would make a wonderful feature painting, but not in this painting. The first thing that I want your eye to see is the two vertical fence posts. Then I want your view to go across and see the ramshackle building, and then to pick up the archway that is the two eucalyptus trees and then coming
down the old dead tree, the branches, and then you come back, and your eye wanders through these grasses. the wildflowers amongst them, and back through the pattern of the sky with the suggestion of clouds.
So this is a very busy scene, and it's important to reduce a lot of that busyness of the complexity of the landscape by hazing it back and just having your main of your painting with the greatest contrast of light and shade, the greatest jump of color, and the rest going back hazy and out-of-focus. Otherwise, it just had too much to view. So I have painted most of the subject that was in the photograph. I have reduced the accents and the focal points.
I kept the main points of interest in focus. That allowed me to paint a complex subject without the whole work becoming too detailed.
Often the success of a painting isn't in what we paint, but what we leave out of a scene, or what we throw out of focus in a scene. What I'm doing here is putting down a semi-opaque watercolor wash. It's a milky wash and the color I'm using is Nickel Titanate Yellow. I'm putting it down in varying degrees of thickness depending on how far back and atmospheric I want the area to appear.
I am putting the fences in with the correct lineal perspective. Now I have created the aerial perspective, pushing it back. This helped me achieve the 3-dimensional effect.
This glaze has also overcome the color tint from the film process.
Nature comes in color tints the human eye can pick up; a subtlety of atmosphere.
It's winter here in Australia and I guess I'm trying to capture the feeling of the Sun breaking through the morning haze, so I'm trying to capture the atmosphere that I might have seen from my own window here where I'm living in this lovely rural setting.
I'm taking a compromise between what I'm able to see, and what the camera in the hands of Daryl Raine has seen and saw I'm putting together a combination of my own vision along with the line drawing that I've been able to achieve from the photograph. It's a combination of using the photograph and my own vision of nature to influence as I've created as a painting so I never let the photograph dictate to me how I should paint. I use my vision, my knowledge of nature, what I've seen with my own eyes. It's both what my reference photo shows me, and my vision from nature, using a photograph when I've needed to use a photograph because I can't get out, and what I'm actually seeing here looking out across the landscape.
This hazy winter environment, cold mornings, with the lovely sunny afternoons. I watch that sun break through the early morning haze. That's what I tried to capture in this artwork.
As I start to paint my Muse comes and talks to me, and the painting suggests to me how I should paint it. I don't paint in the style. I don't show you one way of painting and say, "this is how you do it.”
I have been taught so many different mediums and so many different techniques; I've studied under so many artists. When I go to paint a scene, I let that painting, that scene, influence me.
It tells me how I should paint it.
I don't go to it with a style in mind. Nature doesn't come in a style. I go to it to be inspired by the scene.
I open my mind and I let my muse sit on my shoulder and tell me how
that scene needs to be painted.
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