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Art materials are expensive. How do I choose the right materials?

You are new to painting, very enthusiastic about starting your new passion and it’s time to go shopping. You wonder where to go, what to buy and how to choose? Here are some basic guidelines: Where do I get my supplies? The first question is where to go? Which shop do you think is the cheapest option? Your local professional art supply shop,  The Warehouse Stationary, Spotlight, or The dollar shop/Variety Store/2Fantastic? Careful, number 2, 3, or 4 are most…

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5 Plein Air Painting Tips for the Beginner

When you are new to plein air painting (painting outdoors), you may have a few questions: 1. What is a good plein air painting easel? My favourite easel is a French half easel. It fits most of my painting supplies and gives me a tray to place my palette on and a shelf for my painting supplies. However, it's always good to go and see what other plein air painters use. Talk to them and ask them why they have chosen…

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Photos of Plein Air Painting at Waahi Taarakao Reserve

Unlike the weather forecast predicted the morning turned out to be beautiful and we had a gorgeous time at the Waahi Taarako Reserve. Some of us enjoyed painting the Gibbs Bridge and others focused on the swimming hole. A lovely lady travelling through New Zealand joined our group unexpectedly. She had parked up in her camper van and wanted to do some yoga in the park when she spotted us artists. Back she went to her van, grabbed her sketchbook…

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Photos of Plein Air Painting at Riwaka Inlet

It was a beautiful day when we went to the Riwaka Inlet for Plein Air Painting. The weather was slightly overcast with no wind. This meant no sunny glare on your canvas or palette but still comfortably warm. The sun came out around lunchtime, but by then we were mostly finished with our paintings. This time I went larger than usual (11"x14") and wasn't so sure if I would manage a painting within my two hour time limit. Not only…

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Photos of Plein Air Painting at George Quay, Motueka – Zorn Palette

The day at George Quay couldn't have been better for plein air painting. No wind and mild temperatures made a perfect day for painting outside. Lately I have been playing with the Zorn palette. Anders Zorn's palette became very famous and consists of titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red and ivory black, which is a very limited selection. As you can imagine, the colours are not capable to represent the true colours of a landscape. The green mixed with ivory…

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Photos of Plein Air at Isel Park

The weather is getting cooler now and it takes a bit more convincing to get out Plein Air painting. I almost didn't go because guess what, there is always something else to do which seems more important. But then I reminded myself how happy I am every time I do go Plein Air painting. I enjoy the fresh air (as long as it doesn't freeze my fingers off) and I feel productive with getting another painting done. This time I…

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Photos of Plein Air Painting at Silvan

Silvan is always a lovely place to paint, especially in autumn. I'm still sticking to my little 6x8 oil paintings and love working with the palette knife. The big advantage is that I don't have to clean brushes, which means that I don't have to use solvents or wash my brushes at the end of day with soap and water. This little painting was finished in one go (alla prima) and wet-on-wet, since the oil paint doesn't dry until the…

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The Simple Secret to Better Painting by Greg Albert

Have you ever heard of the one rule of composition? If not, you will find that the book by Greg Albert, "The simple secret to better painting" is marvellous. Greg Albert talks about randomness in you painting created by "never making any two intervals the same". Interval refers to "distance, shape, tonal value, colour and just about every other element in your painting." The book discusses design dynamics and refers to landscapes, still life, figure or portrait. If you are…

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Autumn in the City – Test Paintings and Transfer

This blog is about: Creating test paintings until they come out of your ears, and  a good approach to working with tracing and transfer paper. Test Paintings Have you ever had an idea in mind but no clue how to approach it? This can happen if you are trying to paint something that doesn’t exist or it exists but looks very different from the way you want to show it. I found this dilemma with “Autumn in The City”.  The…

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Painting Beautiful Autumn Colours

Do you know the feeling when you go for a walk and you see all these beautiful autumn colours and you want to paint them immediately? While you are walking you are thinking of what colours you have in your palette that might do the trick. A gorgeous autumn scene is already developing in your head and you can't wait to put it down onto paper as soon as you get home. For several years I wanted to paint these…

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