Acrylic painting techniques and tutorial with Ruth Reid I Colour In Your Life

Acrylic painting techniques and tutorial with Ruth Reid I Colour In Your Life


G’day viewers! My name’s 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. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down in side 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) (GRAEME) G’day viewers and welcome back to Color In Your Life in New Zealand. Now the team and I have come over to New Zealand, we’re going to be spending a couple of weeks here. And we’re circumnavigating the South Island of New Zealand to get some of the great artists of New Zealand on to the show and we’re going to have a fantastic time. And as you can see, look at this country it’s just amazing. So we’re going to make our way all around the bottom of the South Island and see some of these incredible people so come around for the ride it’s going to be fantastic. (GRAEME) Well g’day viewers and welcome back to Color In Your Life. We’re actually in New Brighton, – in Christchurch, in New Zealand. – (RUTH) We are. (GRAEME) With a very talented lady, Ruth Reid. Welcome to the show. (RUTH) I’m very pleased to meet you Graeme. Welcome to my studio and gallery. (GRAEME) Thank you very much, it’s great to be here. Now Ruth has a history of art in her family. Your dad and your sisters are artists as well, a long, long, way back. You’ve obviously had a great love for art and the natural beauty of New Zealand? – (RUTH) Yes, I do. – (GRAEME) You got a… a certificate in art and you’re going to have to tell me again because it’s Aoraki? (RUTH) Aoraki College Tech in South Canterbury. (GRAEME) It’s the language difference I must admit. So that was in ‘87 that you actually got that certificate wasn’t it? (RUTH) That’s right, yes. (GRAEME) And you’ve obviously had a great love of art all the way through that? A lot of what you do is about tramping, which is what they say in New Zealand as far as hiking is concerned. (RUTH) Yeah that’s right. (GRAEME) And then you go into the mountains and obviously take photographs and capture all these amazingly beautiful scenes of your beautiful country. Tell me a little bit about that. (RUTH) Well I head into the bush, we call it ‘going bush’ and ‘tramping’, and I take my camera, it’s always across my shoulder. And I stop all the time, a shot here, a shot there, and I even take a sketchbook with me so… (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. And just the country is so beautiful. I mean we saw some places the other day where – the lakes looked like they’re glass. – (RUTH) Yes. (GRAEME) i mean it’s just magnificent, the reflections. And also, obviously Christchurch had a very unfortunate situation up until a couple of years ago with the earthquake. But instead of sitting around and sort of moping you said ‘how can I use my creativity to create something that’s great for everyone here?’ And you actually painted one hundred paintings in one hundred days. Tell me a little about that as well. (RUTH) One hundred days straight yes, – and yes I survived. – (GRAEME) That would drive me mad. (RUTH) And everyone else. But no, I set myself that challenge and it actually created a lot of publicity. The radio station first of all rang me and did a live interview so that was pretty awesome and from there CTV even did a snippet for their news. Yes, by this time I was about half way into the hundred days, there was a lot of publicity so as my son said to me: ‘There’s going to be a lot of people who know – if you don’t manage to finish this mum’. – (GRAEME) You better believe it. Well done but I think it’s a great effort it really is under any circumstances. – (RUTH) It was not easy – Yeah, I bet. (RUTH) But it was satisfying and it has really inspired quite a few artists. So yes we’ll carry on with doing the odd challenge, not a hundred again, I might say. (GRAEME) Well, and talking about inspiration, that’s one of the reasons we’re with Ruth today, is that part of your legacy as an artist is to really create inspiration for people through right brain creativity. – (RUTH) Absolutely. – (GRAEME) And you’ve got groups of people that come and meet every month at your home. You know you’re really one of those people… very well organized lady. Not just an artist but a businesswoman as well. It’s very difficult to find that combination but you’re one of those people that is also. – (GRAEME) Which is just great. But anyway… – (RUTH)Thank you. (GRAEME) We’re going to do a beautiful painting today, which is one of the beautiful photographs you’ve taken of the area. And we’re going to get stuck into this right now. And we want you guys to come along for the ride. – (RUTH) You’re welcome. – (GRAEME) New Zealand, magnificent country, lets see if we can put it on canvas now. – (RUTH) Okay. – (GRAEME) That’d be great. Lets go for it. (RUTH) Right so today I’m going to take this small canvas and do a scene from the Catlins, which is the most beautiful area in South New Zealand, on the South East Coast. First of all I’m going to mark in around about where the horizon will be. And I need to put this on reasonably accurately because water levels need to be straight. You know, you don’t need to do a lot of preparation. But this is one thing that I like to have an idea, even before I put the paint on to start with. And I’m using these background Matisse colors, which I think are lovely vibrant colors. Now I’ve pre mixed my colors today because I knew where I was going to be – going with this particular painting. – (GRAEME) So do you often do that? (RUTH) Yes I do. Yeah I mix a few of them, of the classic New Zealand blues. Some people from other countries find it sort of rather stunning. – (RUTH) They really are very, very blue. – (GRAEME) Yeah and it’s amazing how the whole landscape is full of blue. It’s incredible. (RUTH) Right, and I’m using nice wide two inch brushes to get started with. What I’m trying to do is, this is a dawn shot so it’s really quite a dark picture… (GRAEME) Yeah… (RUTH) with the focus coming through here on this part. Where the central light is just starting to merge. I took the photo that I’m going to be working from at about 5:30 in the morning in January, so the light is only just starting to come. – (GRAEME) Okay. – (RUTH) Right, so… making sure I do those little corner pieces because nobody ever wants to see those afterwards. (GRAEME) I think actually preparing your colors like that, you know obviously you can get a mixture of certain colors with these products, but there’s obviously there’s a balance of colors that you specifically like. I think it’s a good idea what you’ve done there. (RUTH) Thank you. (GRAEME) And I notice by sitting in your studio, Ruth, is that you have literally a library, a really extensive library on art books as well. It’s obviously, I think it’s very, very important obviously in education, but you’ve sort of gone overboard with it. I don’t think there’s a book on art that’s not in here. (RUTH) I’ve got all the very best ones I think. (GRAEME) Yeah, no it’s a fabulous collection it really is. (RUTH) Well I made the studio, which is separate to the gallery, just so I can have it dedicated to enjoying what free time when I’m out here. (GRAEME) Yeah. The beauty about this is you’re virtually right on the beach at Brighton, but you’ve got your own gallery and your own studio. So it’s just great to have people drop in and purchase your work and – talk to you about creativity and… – (RUTH) It’s an easy to find place, Graeme. It’s right on Marine Parade. So the gallery’s open by appointment and when it is open and the signs out at the gate… – (GRAEME) Come in and… – (RUTH) Yes or by appointment. (GRAEME) So you’ve got a, the brush that you’ve got there now is one of those brushes that lends itself to being very, very smooth and pliable. (RUTH) Yes, yes they’re the Golden brushes from Dess. (GRAEME) They’re fantastic but look at, you can just see the technique that you’ve used there, that really soft graduation that you are able to get. I suppose when you’ve got landscapes like New Zealand and like Australia where you actually have to cross for days and days to get to a location. I mean you can drive for a day here and be on the most beautiful country on the planet. (RUTH) Oh thank you very much. Yes, well I think New Zealand’s fabulous. I’m fairly well traveled and I still think New Zealand’s – scenery is second to none. – (GRAEME) It is glorious, absolutely. (RITH) Mind you Australia is pretty good too. I’ve been over there maybe a dozen times for one reason or another. (GRAEME) I’d say that how can I best describe it, you’re a hands on woman? From what I know of you and looking at your work, you’ve literally trekked out into the mountains. And I can remember at one stage you said that you had actually built a snow cave… – (RUTH) Yes. – (GRAEME) … up in the hills and you and three of your companions basically spent time up in the mountains. Just amazing and you’ve actually painted some of those pictures that are part of those memories you have from the past. (RUTH) Yes it’s amazing really isn’t it? At the time I hadn’t thought about that. I was going to paint them but now I just love the fact that I’ve got extra time, and I can go back and revisit all those things because I’ve always taken lots of photos. Right, so I’m just putting in that little tinge of orange. Not too… too over powering but just where it comes through and that’s just sitting on that horizon line that I marked before. And this part is going to be where the water is. (GRAEME) Okay. (RUTH) So I can actually start to – put the brush on its side a little bit. – (GRAEME) Yeah. (RUTH) And it already gives that illusion of water. (RUTH) Okay so this is just a continuation of the sky… becoming water. So all the colors I’ve got up here will reflect down here. That is really what water is about. So remembering that it’s early morning, very early morning and that will do it for this stage. Right so now the next stage, it’s dried enough I think. Yep. I’m going to take some masking tape and mark across my horizon line, so that I keep that nice level area I was talking about earlier. It needs a fairly firm push in so that the dark color that I’m going to put on next doesn’t bleed through underneath. Now this is an impression of these bushes all across it, and I’ll go back and make it a bit more interesting. But because of these liquid acrylics they still allow a little bit of the under color to come through. There’s a few little trees that poke up. We’ve got some rather large, beautiful trees in New Zealand as I’m sure you’ve been seeing. Not like those beautiful eucalyptus, but our native bushes are still stunning in their own right. And I’ll just keep on working away and I’ll work along here, which is another sort of horizon mark. And it’s all scrub over that side. So once I’ve got where I’m going. This area here, which I’ll develop later on is all lovely reeds and it’s a wet land area. So this is Tautuku Wetlands. A lovely Maori name. (RUTH) Alright, so this is dried enough now for me to take this masking tape off. I can very very carefully take it off so that it doesn’t rip. You do have to wait for that to dry well enough. (GRAEME) You’ve put the fun back into art Ruth. (RUTH) It is fun. That’s what’s wonderful about it. If it’s not fun then – you’re not doing something right. – (GRAEME) That lovely horizon in the distance. Beautiful. (RUTH) Thank you. I’m never going to put some more masking tape on because I want to keep this little wee thin strip up here. So I’ll take that off here. So I’m just putting it down very, very carefully to preserve that little bit and rubbing my finger along it again and we’re good to go again. (RUTH) So now I’m going to work on this water across here. Instead of doing that dabbing motion, although it’s the same brush, I need to pull it across it, which keeps that flat horizontal look. So this is a reflection and it’s not exact. It just needs to have the impression. And if I’m careful I should be able to preserve the odd little bit of color in there. That has to dry for a little while before I can take that off, or I’m likely to take the paint underneath. – So I’ll just leave that one for a moment. – (GRAEME) Okay. (RUTH) So now that’s had time to dry. And once again, carefully, taking it off. (GRAEME) And it’s ready to go. (RUTH) Preserved it. (GRAEME) Look at that. (RUTH) I think it’s important not just to keep the horizon line, it gives it a sense of distance, the little light bit. Alright, so now we can start working on this part. (GRAEME) Okay. I’m about to work on these reeds. This part here, which goes around the corner a bit, I want to keep that a little bit smooth on the edge. So I have quite a short motion of the up and down on this bit, because it’s in the distance. And that helps to keep it in the distance. And you’ll see it’s just starting to leave a bit of the under color. Which gives it gives it a bit of reflection even though it’s very, very early morning and almost no light at all. And then I’m going to get even braver and change the brush. A good old rough house painting brush. I always like to just check to make sure there’s no loose bristles or any little bits of dried paint on it, sometimes I give it a bit of a flick first. And now I’m starting to bring bigger ones down and notice it’s just slightly darker. So it does give the illusion of a bit of distance. See now where it’s just reflecting off the water. And suddenly you’ve got reeds without overworking it. And suddenly that dawn is starting to jump out more. (GRAEME) Yeah. Just the end of that brush is perfect for it isn’t it? (RUTH) Yeah it just gives that impression doesn’t it? (GRAEME) It’s great. (RUTH) Without having painted all those reeds in any fussy manner. (GRAEME) Yeah and I like the fact that it looks like some are poking through with a little light on them. (RUTH) Well it is a wet lands area this Tautuku wetlands area. So the water is all actually under this. (GRAEME) Obviously with all the things you do in art, that you’ve got a June Spectacular coming up every June? (RUTH) Yes. (GRAEME) So tell me a bit more about that. (RUTH) Yes, well as if I haven’t challenged myself nough already with the hundred paintings. Because the hundred paintings in a hundred days seemed to inspire a lot of artists, I’ve agreed to doing a thing I’m calling ‘Join Us In June’. And it’s for arts people to join me and I’m going to, and there’s already half a dozen or a dozen or more. And every year in June we plan to do thirty paintings in thirty days. (GRAEME) Okay. (RUTH) Of course it’s our winter in June so it’s an inside month for quite a few people. If others are prepared to brave the elements outside well there’s nothing to stop you doing it inside or outside. (GRAEME) I was going to say it looks like it’s going to be an inside job. (RUTH) Well mine won’t be all inside because I like to do some out. (GRAEME) Sure. One really fun project that you did, which I thought was quite fascinating, where you had eighty artists paint a small section of a John Singer Sargent painting, and they where ten inches by 10 inches… And each artist, each of the eighty artists had to do one section of the painting to join it all together. I think that’s a sensational idea. (RUTH) That was a lot of fun. So it happened a couple of months ago and it was another New Zealand artist who’s internationally well known, – Richard Robinson, and… – (GRAEME) Yes. (RUTH) it was his initiative and I dare say you will be seeing that very soon or it will be in International Artist’s magazine. (GRAEME) Oh it’s such a great idea, but just, I mean you’ve only got your little section, and you’ve got to do your best to make it look like that part, to make up the whole. – (RUTH) Yes, yes. – (GRAEME) Wonderful idea. (RUTH) That’s great. And Richard also set up a map of the world, one of those Google map things, and we all put in where we were. So once we started to see that we where in Peru, and America and England, Australia and New Zealand… (GRAEME) That’s great isn’t it? (RUTH) It became even more fun, – that we all managed to do it. – (GRAEME) Crossing the globe with creativity. – (RUTH) Yes, yeah. – (GRAEME) You can’t beat that. (RUTH) So that’ll be out soon on a big format were we can buy the poster. And I believe Richard’s going to have it available for people to buy. It looks like a wonderful patchwork quilt. It’s really exciting. -(GRAEME) Yeah, that’s fantastic. -(RUTH) And that’s going to be in aid of some charity. I’m not sure whether he’s chosen that one yet. (GRAEME) So as you can see now I’ve worked along this, you know I can touch it up a little bit. I don’t want to go too much into that bit because it’s sort of in the back. And suddenly that water is just, the stillness of the water, the clarity of the air in Tautuku Wetlands in the Catlins area. And just a little bit of movement. I might touch it with just a few little strokes through here, but you’re starting to see – where we’re headed with it. -(GRAEME) It looks great. (RUTH) Alright as you can see it’s dried off enough now so I’m just going to sign it. Lift it off, move that back a bit, and choose one of the colors that’s not too strong. And not to too close to the edge, so that when I photograph it, it’s within the frame. But there we go. That didn’t take me too long to do. It was a simple landscape but stunning in its simplicity. (GRAEME) Yeah and it really is. I mean the technique that you’ve shown here today is just one that, it’s fascinating how quickly it can come about, and how effective it actually is as well. In saying beautiful areas like this, you also take people trekking to some of these really beautiful and iconic places in New Zealand to do Plein Air painting. So I think if anybody really wanted to be part of this, and it’s such a great outdoor adventure with creativity as well, that they should really get in touch with you. So what is your website address? (RUTH) ruthreidart.com. We’ve got wonderful areas to tramp in to. And that we can take our paints in, and do sketching or do the full paintings. (RUTH) Okay so she’s all finished now and I’ve got one more thing to do and that is to take it outside and spray it with a protective cover. (RUTH) Okay so here we have it, the finished painting: Tautuku Wetlands in the Catlins, which is in the South Island of New Zealand. (GRAEME) A fantastic piece of work there Ruth, it really is. -(RUTH) Thank you. -(GRAEME) Thanks so much for being on the show. -(RUTH) Thank you. -(GRAEME) I mean this is just a fantastic technique for all of those people out there who have watched what Ruth has done today. – Once again your website is? – (RUTH) ruthreidart.com. (GRAEME) And if you want to be part of what Ruth does with the trekking, which I highly advise to do because this country is unreal. The scenery is just beautiful. -(RUTH) Thank you. -(GRAEME) Come and see Ruth and she’ll take you out into the wilderness. I think it’ll be amazing. Now if you want to see some of Ruth’s work as well because we insist that Ruth has her work in our website, you can come to colourinyourlife.com.au and see what she has in there. We are selling a lot of paintings in the gallery and shop these days, so if you are artists and you want to sell your work, because the word has spread, literally, it’s spreading across the planet now, come in and put your art work in there, because it’s a fabulous place, tons and tons of people in there. Also you can come into Facebook at Colour In Your Life, come and see us on Facebook and like us there as well. And we’re going to continue to move on. It’s been fabulous. Thank you so much. (RUTH) Oh thank you for coming. It’s been great to meet you. (GRAEME) It’s an amazing country and we had a really, really great day with you. But we are going to head off again. But remember, next time we see each other, make sure you Put Some Color In Your Life. – We’ll see you then guys. Bye. See you. – (RUTH) Bye.

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