Portsea Beach Sheds

Portsea Beach Sheds

Portsea Beach Sheds

Portsea Beach Sheds

8″ x 10″

Acrylic on Board Framed


I recently visited the site where one of favourite artists, Arthur Streeton, painted at Barretts Point in Portsea.

After taking lots of photos I walked along the cliff tops and down on to the beaches below snapping pics as I went.

When I came across these boat sheds on the beach in Portsea I knew it was something I had to paint.

This is a great little view and for lovers of the Mornington Peninsula and the Sorrento / Portsea area it would make a great gift for Christmas.

Brisbane Ranges Farm 2

Brisbane Ranges Farm

Brisbane Ranges Farm 2

Brisbane Ranges Farm

8″ x 10″

Acrylic on Board Framed


There are certain subjects I am drawn back to again and again.

I love painting the Australian landscape especially when you get the golden fields and blue sky effect.

This subject is of a farm I spotted in the Brisbane Ranges near where I was parking to go for a bush walk. There was just something about the way the farm buildings where sitting in the field surrounded by large gums and the distant hills.

Will definitely be returning there in summer to paint.

Hanging Rock Painting

Hanging Rock (Mount Macedon)

Hanging Rock Painting

Hanging Rock Fields

12″ x 16″

Acrylic on Canvas


The area around Mount Macedon is a great spot for Australian landscape artists.

When we were filming for the TV show “Yes You Can Paint” we decided to do an episode at Hanging Rock in Mount Macedon. Local artist, and highly regarded Australian landscape artist, Richard Chamerski offered to help us out and found this great location on a local farm. The view of Hanging Rock was the best I had seen … thanks Richard!

So I keep coming back to paint this scene and just love it.

Anglesea Beach 2

Anglesea Beach 2

Anglesea Beach 2

Anglesea Beach 2

12″ x 16″

Acrylic on Canvas


Another view of Anglesea Beach with a view across to the next beach.

One vivid memory I have of going to the beach as a kid down this way was the colourful array of beach umbrellas, windbreaks and people.

Anglesea Beach 1

Anglesea Beach 1

Anglesea Beach 1

Anglesea Beach 1

12″ x 16″

Acrylic on Canvas


First sign of a sunny day on the weekends and Anglesea Beach starts to come alive.

Its a great spot for family’s to get away and enjoy the coast on the weekends or their holidays … however it’s an even better spot for artists as the subject matter is endless.

This is a little view of where the estuary runs up to the beach which is a popular spot for kids to swim.

A great little painting that is ready to hang and would make a great gift for Christmas.

I have a feeling there will be a whole lot more paintings of Anglesea Beach in the future.

Leopold Plein Air Painting

image 1

Great morning of painting this morning with the Geelong Plein Air Painters group.

I started the group basically to find some other plein air artists in the Geelong area. We are small in number but no doubt will grow in time. So this morning Moyra, Ferdie and I set off to the Gateways Sanctury in Leopold.

I have driven past a hundred times and did not even know that it was there. Great spot for some plein air painting.

In the above photo you can see that I did not end up painting the sanctury but instead chose the view of the farm next door. At this stage I had basically started out doing dark washes and placing the main shapes.

Image 2

In the photo above you can see I am progressing the painting along by blocking in key areas like the distant hills, the foreground grasses and starting on the sky.

You might be wondering where the large tree is in the foreground and why isn’t it in the photo … well sometimes you just need to move things around in order to get the right composition. So the tree is actually just off to the right hand side of where I was standing.

Image 3

Here you can see I have progressed the painting along a fair bit. I have probably been working on it for an hour and a half at this stage. This is always a tricky part of the painting, especially plein air, knowing when to stop. I have a tendency to start fiddling which is not always a good idea. As an example … the cows … I fussed over them way too much at this point.

Image 4

This is my set up … I have a fairly compact set of gear now. The French easel collapses down into a transportable box … and a small bag caries everything else.

Best thing I ever did for my plein air painting is to get the French easel.

Image 5

This is where I finished up. As you can see I added in more foreground details and a few posts.

I will let it dry off for a few days and then assess it to see what else is needed. Probably pick the bugs out as well 🙂

Mornington Art Show Exhibition – Painting of Portsea (Part 1)

Mornington Art Show Exhibition – Painting of Portsea (Part 1)

So I have decided to enter the Mornington Art Show which is happening from 18th January to 27th January.

The first big question then is what on earth will I enter for the show?

Always a challenge for the artist … picking the perfect subject to enter into an art show. There is no real right or wrong approach … however one thing I have noted from previous shows is that larger paintings tend to stand out from the rest (as long as they are done well). So I have decided to paint 3 or 4 larger paintings, for me anyway, and then pick the best two to enter into the show.

I am often asked by people how I approach a painting so I decided to create a series of blog posts documenting the painting process as I paint possible entries for the Mornington Art Show.

The first thing I did was go back through my old photos … I have over the last couple of years collected more than 5,000 photos so I have lots of reference material.

Here is one of the pics I chose to paint … it is a view of one of the little harbours near Portsea. I like this image because of the framing of the trees and the strong foreground darks they offer.


One of the key things for me is keeping a limited palette so I will be using just a handfull of colours for this painting:

unnamed (1)

The colours on my palette are Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Titanium White. And as you can see … I use just a few brushes … one for initial wash.

I start off by using washes to establish the darkest darks. Its an approach I learnt from watching a few Allan Fizzell DVD’s. Allan is a great landscape painter in NSW and after watching his DVD’s twenty or thirty times I changed my basic approach to painting. Cheers Allan!

unnamed (2)

You can see in the above photo that I have mixed up a dark wash (very runny) and placed in the darks. I had previously done a pencil sketch using the photo. I love the dark wash approach as I started out as a watercolour artist and always loved the washes 🙂

unnamed (3)

Once the washes start to dry off a bit I start to work on the sky leaving room for the clouds. I could have just as easily started with the water mass. Its best to leave the initial wash to completely dry so you can then work around the darks in the sky easily.

unnamed (4)

A little more work on the clouds and then I have started to block in the water, the rocky ledge in the water and the sandy part of the water. One of the things I love about painting these Portsea / Sorrento bayside scenes is the variety of tones in the water from dark blues, to dark greens and through to the light greens. People who are familiar with the area will know what I mean by this.

At this point I have pretty much completed the block in … I played around with the clouds a little more however I decided to stop at this point for a day or two and let it dry off a little. When I come back to it I will work on the distant water and headlands and strengthen the colours in the sky.

Please check back in a few days for the next update.

Glen Eira Artists Society “Paint In Park” Day at Caulfield Park

paint in park 1

Glen Eira Artists Society “Paint In Park” Day
at Caulfield Park

I was very fortunate recently to take part in the annual Glen Eira Artists Society “Paint in Park” day held at Caulfield Park.

It was a terrific event and an opportunity to paint plein air along with fellow artists.

Here I am at start of the day mapping in main shapes:

Faye Kirkwood

Image by Faye Kirkwood

Caulfield Park is an ideal spot for such an event as it offers a range of different subject matter. As you can see from the photo above I choose this view of the path as it curved around. When I started out painting the sun was casting great shadows across the path which was one of the key reasons I choose this. Naturally though the sun soon hid behind the clouds and made only a few brief returns during the day.

paint in park 2

Adding highlights to trees:

Image by Rina Reiss

Image by Rina Reiss

A big congratulations to Glen Eira Artists Society for putting on such a great event. At least 26 artists took part in the event … so it was a huge achievement getting them all organised and having the event run smoothly.

I imagine that trying to organise a group of artists could be a bit like herding cats at times.

In above picture you can see I have blocked in the darks and have been working on the sky and grass areas.

paint in park 3

Close to finishing and discussing the paintings merits with a passer by:

Gillian 1

Image by Gillian Schofield

The event went for approximately 5 hours … that is a long event for painting plein air. Typically plein air artists would paint for a maximum of 2 hours in one session due to the changing nature of the light.

Well on this day we had all types of light conditions, wind and some rain (part of the fun of painting plein air) and most of the artists managed to get close to finished works on the day.

You can see my progress above … this is about where I left it and made a few corrections at home a few days later.

As you can see below the event was well organised and run:

Ray Burgess

Image by Ray Burgess

paint in park 4

It was great at the end of the day to see the finished work of the other artists. During the day there was not a lot of opportunity to do so as artists were scattered through out the park.

As you can see there was a huge variety of subjects and approaches to representing them.

paint in park 5

All of the finished works are now on display in the Fourth Annual Paint In The Park Day Exhibition.

The exhibition is running from 2nd December 2013 – 15th December 2013 at the City of Glen Eira Gallery Annexe.

If you are in the area why not drop in for a look.

Here is my finished framed painting that you will see in the exhibition:

Caufield Park 2

The painting is for sale and can be purchased here – Click For More Details

On The Easel … What I am Working on

Working On Theme Small

This is a sample of the paintings I am working on at the moment.

They are all in various stages of finishedness (not sure if that is a word?)

Recently one of my mentors was taken sick. He just stopped painting and posting on Facebook. Now he is a prolific painter when he is up and running so for him to just drop of the radar like that was a surprise.

Fortunately he made a recovery and is back at his easel painting … and then I noticed something which I had been aware of previously but not paid enough attention to.

As I said he was a prolific painter and when he started up again producing these incredible paintings in rapid fire I noticed that they were all centred around a very tight theme. In this case it was the theme of fly fishing in Colorado River. All of these paintings were produced using a serious of photos he had taken in Autumn in Colorado. Previously it had been Cowboys on horses in snow scenes in Colorado.

It struck me of just how valuable it is to work on a series of paintings in a tight theme and produce a body of work around this theme.

If you really want to get good at painting something then painting a whole series of works just makes sense.

So here is a pic of the paintings I am working on at the moment. Using this idea of working within a tight theme I am concentrating at the moment on my breaking waves in the smaller paintings. In particular what I am really wanting to achieve with these is a sense of light on the waves … so exploring the shadows and the lights within the foam bursts, as well as different lighting moods at different times of the day.

So while these paintings are all at various stages I think they show a strong theme through out which is pleasing.

I will keep working on these and posting them up as they are finished.

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