Acrylic painting techniques and portrait painting tutorial with Solveig I Colour In Your Life

Acrylic painting techniques and portrait painting tutorial with Solveig I Colour In Your Life


G’day viewers, my name is Graeme Stevenson and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world, and lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads, and come and see how some of the best artists in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) (Music Plays) (Graeme) Knock, Knock, Knock, knock, (Graeme) Hello Solveig. How are you? (Solveig) I’m good. (Graeme) Good to see you. (Solveig) Nice to see you. (Graeme) Can I come in? (Solveig) Please do. (Graeme) Thank you. Well g’day viewers and welcome back to Color In Your Life. We’re in Mullumbimby today in the Northern Rivers at a place called the Nortec click Centre and I’m with a very well known artist from Mullumbimby, Solveig, welcome to the show. (Solveig) Hello. (Graeme) Fantastic to be here. Solveig’s got a very interesting history, you are a trained Psychologist, (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) Hypnotherapist, (Solvig) Yes. (Graeme) an LP (Solveig) Practitioner. (Graeme) Practitioner, That’s right, but also a fantastic artist which has an incredibly interesting and diverse career. But her style is really, really interesting it’s something that I’ve never seen before. And when I first saw Soleig’s work I went this is fascinating the way she puts it together. Tell me a little more about your journey to the world of art. I mean how did this all begin for you? (Solveig) As a child I was an artist; that was my main focus. Not that I thought I would ever be an artist, I just had those sort of interests. I got a scholarship to the National Art School (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) after school, and had a fantastic bohemian experience. I dived into the history of art, was influenced by impressionists, post impressionists. Left collage, got caught up in life, (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) had 3 children, married, did my Psychotherapy training, (Graeme) Sure. (Solveig) but grabbed pieces of art along the way, as you do. (Graeme) One thing I have noticed about what Solveig does is you really paint a lot of the identities in the area as well. (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) Famous people, I mean famous actors and just some characters that exist within this area. It’s a sort of fairly. (Solveig) It’s full of characters. (Graeme) It is isn’t it? Without a doubt. (Solveig) It’s a unique bubble that I live in here. (Graeme) It’s a fantastic place it really is. But we’re going to go through with Solveig today and show you some things that we actually haven’t seen before on the show. Which is actually utilising a projector, you take your own photographs of course. (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) But she’s utilising the projector to actually start this particular piece behind us. And Solveig’s going to be working on this one for us during today as well. But we’re going to make a start initially with the projector, and show you how that all comes about. It’s a fascinating way to produce your work without having to blow it up into giant posters. Lets rearrange the studio so we can do that (Solveig) Okay. (Graeme) and we’ll get the show started. (Solveig) Okay. (Graeme) Thanks guys… Okay so Solveig you, I was just noticing you’ve got the shadow over there. You’ve obviously got to stand aside when you do this type of work. (Solveig) Yes. Yes you’ve got to wiggle around and you get the bits. (Graeme) The ones that you need. And you’re just using a mixture of (Solveig) I’m using quite a liquid paint (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) and I’m using a square edged brush because what I want is thick and thin lines, (Graeme) Oh okay, (Solveig) rather than just a smooth line. So first of all I’ll get just very roughly the shape of the head. (Graeme) Yes. And the type of board that you’ve got there? It’s just a primed board, is that a special art board or? (Solveig) No, it’s just a normal craft-wood board. (Graeme) Okay. (Solveig) But I prime it back and front so there’s no water absorption. (Graeme) Gets through yes. (Solveig) And that seems to work very well for me. It’s a 3mm board. I like a nice light board. (Graeme) Yes. (Solveig) And I’m just virtually creating shapes for myself here. The blond shapes, the highlighted shapes, the darker shapes that come down. (Graeme) And the projector itself, how long have you been using something like a projector? (Solveig) I find that for my style and what I like to do, I’ve used a projector for a long time. (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) These modern protectors are excellent though, they’ve come a long way. They give me the exact shapes that I want you know, with no fuss. (Graeme) Yeah it’s fascinating to be able to utilise technology (Solveig) Technology has (Graeme) it’s amazing. (Solveig) has come to meet me. (Graeme) Which is great. (Solveig) For years and years it was much harder than this. (Graeme) But I mean this particular technique funnily enough, I mean obviously the fantastic part of technology but the old masters were using this type of technique 400 years ago. It just wasn’t with computers and projectors. (Solveig) Yes it gives you a good base to work from. I can be as abstract as I like from here on. Once I’ve just got this impression of the image, it doesn’t have to be totally realistic I can be quite rough with it. (Graeme) And the technique that you have I mean there was obviously a moment in your career when you had an epiphany about the separation. As you said before, you don’t really use tone you use color to get what you need. (Solveig) I’m in love color; color turns me on no end. And I love the whole psychology and science of color. (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) I like the mood effect of color. I definitely consider that in all my paintings, I’m considering the mood that I want to create with the colors. And not just one color but its opposites, and its complimentaries, and its harmonies, because they all have to work together (Graeme) Sure. But the there must have been an influence of some sort that gave you on the path that you’re on (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) at the moment. (Solveig) My fascination with Impressionism (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) when I studied that, how that happened in art history out of the blue, out of very strict, serious, traditional rules of painting you know, for church or patrons and things like that. When impressionism started these guys were like revolutionaries in my mind, just opened up the way for personal art, and again the way they interpreted color. (Graeme) And tell me who is this young lady that you’re painting? (Solveig) This is a friend of mine Clare who is a very excellent Cellist she’s one of my beautiful blonds. My next series of 6 beautiful Mullumbimby blonds and she’s one of those. (Graeme) Part of living in Mullumbimby really is very much about the nature and love of the area and the people. There really is a different sense of community around here isn’t there? (Solveig) Absolutely. We are devotes of nature here, (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) for the most part I would think. I mean why would you live here if not too? It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. (Graeme) Yes. (Solveig) And you walk out of your environment and you’re in pristine nature, (Graeme) Yes (Solveig) perhaps the only person there, you know with 10 miles of beach to walk. It’s beautiful. It’s for surfers, it’s to bring up children, just a glorious place to be. (Graeme) It’s very much a part of what you do which is nature and love.(Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) It’s the appreciation of all of that. (Solveig) Absolutely I um, nature is my muse, no doubt about that. I only have to look in that direction to find my next subject matter. (Graeme) Yeah, but even in the way you use color in your own work is dynamic. (Solveig) I don’t want to blend color. I want color to sit beside another color and have a dynamic effect, almost an energetic effect. I would like my paintings to look as if they are alive, and live things move and the eye has to jump to the edge of those colors. And if those colors are dynamic, the eye can’t sit still and so you get this incredible energetic quality. (Graeme) Mm, fantastic. (Solveig) Which really pleases me when I capture that. (Graeme) Fantastic. (Solveig) You can see I’m not a realist. These lines aren’t exact; they’re not precise. They’re just a guide that I’m going to come back in later and use as a shape to introduce color, and go from there. (Graeme) But this is a great demonstration on, particularly when it comes down to portraiture and you do it so well. Were people gets so wound up about this is too big, is it too small? Is the perspective right? (Solveig) Yeah. (Graeme) And this really assists you in taking out those unknowns. (Solveig) It certainty does. (Graeme) Okay we’ve almost mapped that one out, but you’ve obviously got this other one that you’ve been working on for a while, which has some really solid content in it. What we can do is we can move away from this one and then go on and see how you put all of these great colors side by side. Particularly with your flowers and your leaves and this is as you said before, that’s the setting that Clare would rather be seen in. (Solveig) Yes, absolutely. She’s an outdoor’s girl. (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) And she’s in Mullumbimby because she’s a nature lover as well. (Graeme) Okay. (Solveig) And her music it’s almost like you put it outside and it meets the clouds forms the trees, everything. It’s beautiful. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. (Graeme) Alright lets move onto the next one then. (Solveig) Okay… (Graeme) Okay well here we are, you’re going to go through some of your methodology with paint now. (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) And how you get those really dynamic effects so and you’re using Derivan Matisse? (Solveig) Yes I am. (Graeme) acrylics are you? (Solveig) I find their color is beautiful and rich and stays and doesn’t fade. I’m quite happy with that as a product. (Graeme) Okay. (Solveig) Being acrylic the opaque, you know I don’t get any bleed through, I can just sort of make it as dense as I like. And what I’m going to do here, is I have my flowers in their background color (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) and now I’m just going to go ahead and put a nice sort of inset color into that, leaving an edge as I go around. And the effect that this will have is to give form to the flowers themselves. (Graeme) Okay. (Solveig) And you can see the way they’re starting to leap forward, and that’s what I want. I want them to come right forward. (Graeme) You’ve got a fairly, you’ve obviously mixed that with water but it’s a real sort of muddy paste. (Solvieg) Yes I like it to not be totally flowing, (Graeme) yeah. (Solveig) but I don’t like an impasto paint. I like to end up with a very smooth surface. (Graeme) But I can see the amount of time that you put into your work. I t’s quite detailed (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) in its composition. (Solveig) And when this is finished I may even come in again at a later time and highlight these with a little white or just depends. Like with everything you stand back and have a look, you see how that’s working. (Graeme) So some of the portraits that you’ve done of the well known people in Mullumbimby, now we’ve got Paul Brecht, who is an activist. (Solveig) Yes he’s a global eco-warrior. He does a lot of work, writes a lot of letters to the paper. Makes everybody aware and conscious of their responsibilities, in helping things like Sea Shepard. If the council isn’t behaving properly Paul will let you know. (Graeme) Sure. And you’ve got a lass called Dannidoo Butterfly who is a performance artist. (Solveig) Dannidoo she’s a performance artist and she’e quite a brilliant musician. Yes just a very authentic, a very entertaining lady. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. And then Mandy Nolan who’s one of your well known comedians around here. (Solveig) Ah she’s a queen of comedy. Mandy is a great asset to the community (Graeme) And also Rebecca Ireland who is a singer songwriter. (Solveig) Wonderful singer songwriter. The painting I did of her was at a time her son had died a year before and she was coming out of that awful situation and her son’s name was Rain. (Graeme) Okay. (Solveig) So I’ve done a portrait. (Graeme) Yeah, it looks fantastic. And then Shanti who I actually know myself who’s a very well known character in this whole Northern Rivers area I suppose you could say. (Solveig) Yes Shanti hitchhikes the whole area every day and just bringing his own unique style of happiness to the planet. (Graeme) Yeah and then Mr Tony Barry who’s a very well known Australian actor. (Solveig) Yes. Tony came up here in the last couple of years. A very dynamic person in the community who is probably going to be setting up his legacy for the rest of his life now with youth. (Graeme) A magnificent community of people that really care about you. (Solveig) It is and these people need to be celebrated, they do a great job here. We all appreciate them very much. (Graeme) So in that time, obviously that acrylic paint has dried or is still wet or? (Solveig) Oh no acrylic paint is brilliant; it dries like that. (Graeme) It’s done. (Solveig) As apposed to oil paint and I’m not patient enough for oil paint. I use to oil paint. But no this is wonderful and I love the opacity (Graeme) Yes. (Solveig) of acrylic. (Graeme) And you’ve actually tried a number of different mediums over the years (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) but obviously coming to the stage were you are now with acrylics it’s something you obviously greatly enjoy. (Solveig) I do I enjoy lots of mixed media and like you say, I’ve tried heaps, but I’ve come home to this technique and to these colors or acrylic color. I don’t know that I’ll venture away from here again because it’s just too damn good. (Graeme) So I can see that you put a base color down and then there’s another color that goes off to separate the lines. (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) So you can sort of keep building on that as much as you want. (Solveig) Keep building I mean by the time it’s finished each little shape might have 2 or 3 or 4 edges, and that just puts it in a context and that just either makes it come forward, or recede back, and it, it gives it movement. Because of the colors, because of the pink here and the orange in a sea of green, that’s going to be really dynamic. And these orange flowers are really going to work with the blue of the sky. (Solveig) So it ties it together. Because I’ve so much blue sky here, this cello will be a very orange sepia, which will just be the foil for that blue sky. And this orange will come right forward and the sky will just go right back. So it’s all about creating depth of field with color. (Graeme) And I think with that creative aspect in the way that you approach nature, I mean the closer you get to it you can look into your work and can see this it’s just fascinating, there’s so much to learn simply by walking into the backyard. (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) It’s amazing it really is, and most people don’t know the formulas that make up nature. (Solveig) No. (Graeme) How it actually operates. Why the plant has a leaf a little bit above the other leaf (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) just off to the side, it’s so the sun can get through on to all of them. (Solveig) Exactly, exactly. It’s creative but it’s ingenious science as well, and it’s a beautiful marriage. My style is just purely shape and color. Now there are 7 elements of design, you’ve got texture, contrast, line, lots of others, but none of them appeal to me like shape and color do. It may start off as a big shape, but by the time I’ve finished it will have shapes within shapes, within shapes, around all of these. And what will come out of that is you’ll see the depth and you’ll be able to see inside the cello because of the way the colors come out. This area here will be white because it’ll be the light flaring off the shiny chello. And that white here will balance the white clouds. (Graeme) Okay. (Solveig) Yeah so I suppose my rules and my laws are internalised but they work and every time. I can finish a painting and be very satisfied, and not have any parts of it that don’t please me, because it’s almost like its followed a particular rule, rather than just be creative free flow. (Graeme) The laws of Solveig. (Solveig) Yes. Yes. (Graeme) Okay Solveig, so you’re going to start blocking in some color for us now. (Solveig) I am. I’m going to start doing the clothes, again it’s just quite rough at this point, leaving the lines that are already there. I don’t want to really loose those and so I’m just going to keep them happening. (Graeme) And the mixture you mix with with that, it’s um, it doesn’t look as solid as (Solveig) No it doesn’t have to be solid because it’s a base color. (Graeme) Sure. (Solveig) And if it’s a little bit varied on the edge that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be all dark . Sometimes it works just as well for a bit of pale purple to turn up. And I’m back to using a square brush for this sort of stuff because I can get thick and thin lines. And the only part of this purple you will see when it’s finished will be the edge color around as it builds up. But the purple is a very good one because its quiet electric once you put anything yellow or red on top of it. (Graeme) I was noticing in your water paintings as well, the effect that you get with the light when you get up close when you’re obviously observing the painting. But you step back and they form photographs just about. (Solveig) That’s part of the sheer delight is to work up close and it is so abstract is just little shapes you know of color. But then when I put it back and I step back, it goes click, and I think: oh yeah it’s working. (Graeme) That’s fantastic. (Solveig) And that’s part of the joy of it, to work in both abstract and realistic impressionism, because it’s all about how light plays on form. It’s not really about what’s there, it’s only ever about the illusion that is created through rods and cones, (Graeme) Yes. (Solveig) that is so fascinating and so beautiful, because you create the beauty with your own vision. (Graeme) And the fact that our eye actually sees everything upside down. (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) And the brain changes it for us. (Solveig) The brain does amazing things to create our reality that we perceive because our brains are brilliant. We are pretty incredible creatures, why we behave so badly in the world I don’t know. We could be such good influences on everything. My great love apart from art is my town, my community, and that’s where I’ll be working for the rest of my life, drawing from my community subject matter and ideas. (Graeme) But it is an incredibly creative area. (Solveig) Oh unbelievable. (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) Artists per square inch: musicians, writers, creators of all sorts. We also have a very inclusive town for people with disabilities. Rather than being locked away in facilities, they get to be part of the town. They’re always out for coffee with a carer, everybody knows them. Yeah, it’s very inclusive. At this point you can see it just needs to be as rough as it is. (Graeme) Yeah and there’s obviously with the various layers that you put on, there’s a tremendous amount of work involved. (Solveig) The top layers are done you know, in flow and end up being incredibly smooth and opaque and flat. There’s none of this tetxured work or a paint brush effect. There’s just sort of areas of flat color. (Graeme) You were even talking before about the washes or the glazes, it’s really a wash I suppose that you put into the clouds in certain areas as well. (Solveig) Yeah and especially on complextions and things like that. So this is really me just getting rid of all the white with a base color that is only really going to peek out at the sides. (Graeme) Yeah. (Solveig) What most of this color is doing apart from the edge is building up a depth that by the time I get the top layer coat on it’ll be nice, thick, really opaque. If I just did the edge and just did the color, it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t have the same richness to it. That you know 3 layers of paint would do. (Graeme) Okay Solveig, I’ve seen that you’ve put in, looks like Raw Sienna across the top of those face and the hands. You’re really getting to a place now we’re you’ve got those base colors mapped in. (Solvieig) Yes. (Graeme) And as I said beforehand with the amount of time it takes you to do the work, we are going to have to leave you to finish this off (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) over a period of time. But with the beauty of television, obviously the audience can see the development of this as it goes along, (Solveig) Yes. (Graeme) and you can see the pictures changed. (Solveig) Yes (Solveig) In that first sketch you think you know what it’s going to look like, but then I do a journey way out into left field before it all comes back together. (Graeme) That’s fascinating. Okay viewers, well another fantastic day with a very talented lady. (Solvieg) Thank you. (Graeme) Solvieg, thank you so much for having us along. Now we’re finished with a great piece here, and this is Mr Tony Barry, one of Australia’s very well known actors, and obviously great celebrity within the area. Now if people want to come and see your work, what’s your website address? (Solveig) solveig.com.au (Graeme) And a fantastic artist as well. And if you want to see more of all of these fantastic artists you can come to colourinyourlife.com.au and our Facebook page at Colour In Your Life. Amazing things going on these days. But we’re going to head off again, love Mullumbimby fantastic people, fantastic woman. But we’re going to head off, but remember, before we go: (Tony Barry) make sure you put some color in your life. (Graeme) Thanks Tone. See you later guys. Bye now.

20 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *