Joseph Zbukvic paints an amazing street scene in watercolour I Colour In Your Life

Joseph Zbukvic paints an amazing street scene in watercolour I Colour In Your Life


Well 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) G’day viewers, welcome back to colour in your life,
I’m at the Canson factory in Melbourne to celebrate the hundred and twenty year anniversary
of Schmincke water colours and to also spend the day with the world’s leading
water colour Artist Joseph Zbukvic. Canson flew the colour in your life team down to
Melbourne so we could see their huge range and also see how a master Artist uses Archers
water colour paper and Schmincke paints to create paintings that dazzle the mind and excite the senses, we spent a great day going through the factory
and seeing the many items Canson has for Artists and also saw the team there branding
many of their products with the colour in your life stickers, so that you guys watching the show can have a chance
to win many thousands of dollars of Schmincke paints. Don’t forget to watch at the bottom of the screen to collect the
key words for the competition. Good luck to all and enjoy the show. Well viewers we’re in Melbourne for this episode and
we’ve come to see an amazingly talented Master watercolour Artist; a gentleman by the name of Joseph Zbukvic.
He is quite an extraordinary human being, let’s go in and spend the day with him and see what he’s up to. This is going to be absolutely great let me tell you. Joseph good to see you. G’day mate good to see you, come in. Thankyou very much thankyou, great to see you again Welcome. Well what an amazing studio you’ve got here Joseph. Yes I love it here, I’ve been here for about seven years and I just love the place. I quickly filled it up with
all my little collections and things. There is a sense of personal ambience in here. Yes, yes. What else have you got along here as well? Ahh there’s all sorts of bits, you know I keep all my materials here and I keep my pastels in here. I do quite a bit of handy work, so you know I’ve been an Artist and a bit of a carpenter or something like that. That’s great. I love it my Dad was a handy man. I’m a great believer in having the
right atmosphere when I work cause if you don’t have that. It’s an extraordinary place, so just looking at this book
here is this one of your personal sketchbooks? Yes, yes where ever I go you know most of it is done you will notice if you look through it’s kind of Cafes cause I’ll sit down and I’ll have a coffee then I’ll sketch. I’ve got all my reference books there and again bits of
collection you know from all over the world. You’ve got a fabulous studio, but we’re going to spend
the day with you and create one of your Masterpieces. I’m looking forward to that. Absolutely. I’ll do something wet for you seeing it’s a rainy day. That would be marvellous, that would be marvellous.
Let’s go back here and see what we are going to do. Alright, no worries mate. Thankyou. Well viewers here we are today with, I think personally,
the Master of Master Artists, Joseph Zbukvic, who I think is just extraordinary. I’ve seen a lot of Josephs work over the years and obviously followed his career but to say it is an honour to be
with you today is an understatement my friend, it’s an extraordinary situation to be here it really is. Thanks Graeme. Tell me a little bit more about your history. I came over here when I was eighteen; I was almost
a grown man my friends were getting married when I left. When arrived I went straight to Art school to be an industrial designer. I loved cars when I was a kid and it was my dream to be an
industrial designer and I did finish a diploma of industrial design, but in the process I discovered watercolour. We had to do
renderings of things we designed in watercolour and as I say the rest is history I just absolutely
feel in love with the medium and won my first prize here, I’d only
been here about… two years I think and sold my first painting for twice the
money that my Dad was earning working. That’s amazing. So it was obvious where I was heading from there.
I have a very simple philosophy on painting, I just say I paint, I just paint everything else comes after and I love painting to this day as much as I ever did. I’ve never been to a class and never been to a teacher,
I simply learnt everything myself. In the seventies there was no DVD’S there was no programs like
yours I just simply went and painted and that was it. And the funny part about that is um that you are
now one of the great water colour teachers throughout the world I mean you go all
over the world teaching other people, I mean booked out two to three years
in advance just to get in. Yes interesting isn’t it? It’s incredible. I hate snobbery in Art. Yes so do I. I think it’s just awful. So do I. All these concepts, once you have to explain a painting and
what it means well it’s no longer communicating to the viewer. Sure. Ok in starting one of your paintings what and how do we go about it One of the first things that happens is I paint outdoors a lot. It’s only the major work that’s in the studio, but that’s what
we’re doing today for the sake of your program, but I’ll show you a painting later that I did do
on location we’re going to do, but I know I’ve got a photograph there of it,
so we’ll go and find that and that will be at the beginning. I thought being wet in Melbourne and you’ve come down from warm Brisbane, I’d actually do something iconic like a wet Melbourne street scene. Ok. So it’s this little photo. What I’ll do first is
I’ll actually work on the photo itself it’s something I started to do a little while ago,
so its photo shop basically but it’s done by me. Oh ok. So that will be my next thing, so I’ll use that. Well lets go and do that then. Yep, that’s the next thing. Ok Joseph, so from here you are going to obviously go to your palette.
What colours? I think that your using Schmincke is that correct? That’s correct; the wonderful Schmincke paints which is a good
quality product with amazing intensity. If there was anything to be said about them that differentiates f
rom the rest of the water colours, that’s it, also so the ability to stay moist… So the colours spectrum is obvious I start with yellows
and go through earth colours into oranges, reds, I just think of them as warm or cool.
The photograph itself quite nice, its showing us a wet day and all that, but the
spacing of the cars is not very nice, it’s not telling much of a story except it’s
a wet day in Melbourne. What I want to tell is an intersection;
it’s a rainy day, people are scurrying across, there is traffic and its evening peak hour,
let’s say, that’s what I want to tell. I mean you do tell a story don’t you? You have to; if you don’t tell a story you’re just making a picture. I won’t fuss with it too much; you
know it will be pretty quick. First thing is that I feel that it is very
flat and it needs a lead in, so a few more lines like that. I think a little tram
there to really make it Melbourne would be good, and I’ll have a bigger car probably about here somewhere,
so high lights first. This tree is too big so I’ll probably eliminate
some of that and not have it come in so far. This is truly very very rough and I’ll end up probably hardly
looking at this, and we’ll add some taillights in there. Oh, look at that. Ahh and there we are. Marvellous. That’ll do. Absolutely marvellous. Alright it’s time to paint so I’ve got to stretch some paper. I’m going to stick some wonderful Arches
paper on to this bit of plywood. So the next move is to do some drawing. I usually start with the biggest first, which are in any
landscape the two biggest shapes are sky and earth. So an horizon line as people tend to call it and I’ll say you know,
I’ll have it a little bit below half, so that’s for our road, it’s going to be below
here and the buildings up there. So here’s a tram and the little antenna, which goes up.
The rest of it oddly enough is not that important, apart from the two lights, which are fairly crucial. And Joseph, you actually have your own collection of brushes as well,
I’m very envious about all of this, I have to tell you. Can you tell us a little more about your brushes? Yes. Look, it happened by accident.
I went to Spain to do a work shop and discovered that the brushes I was using were made a half
a mile from where I was giving a workshop and I met the owners who were delightful people
and I was instantly sold on them. The factory is called Escoda. The first thing I am going to do is wash
in a large very pale wash for the sky, I may have some clouds but I don’t think so…
and then I’ll wash in the surface of the road itself. Students tend to make skies to dark
and their watercolours lose light that is they lose that translucent beautiful
light quality that is watercolour. Some people even say that a sky is the eyes
of the portrait in landscape painting, cause the sky is what gives the painting quality. So here comes the wash, and as I say I start at
the top and I just simply go over the top quite a bit to make sure it’s very wet, looks
a bit too dark so I’ll put a bit of water in. So every time I go in to mix a wash I
had just a little bit more colour, so it’s just a fraction darker and
that’s it, we travel down. So there we are we’ve come down to about
close to these cars and buildings we’re somewhere in here. So it’s now time to start
looking after highlights and so on. And I want to introduce you to Mr Bead, this thing here, I call him Mr Bead, it’s kind of a joke. Out of respect this welt of colour is your
locomotive in your watercolour, that’s what takes the paint down, you can
see it running as soon as you break past it. Grey is made of many colours, mix your greys
by mixing all your three primaries reds, yellows and blues and you’ll end up with a
nice gradual wash like that. These are direction lines to lead us
into the painting eventually… You should never start to put your brush to the paper
unless you are almost dead certain in what you’re using, how you’re going to use it, what is it going
to be and see it in your minds eye. If you’re just going blindly to see what happens
it’ll be just happy accidents and that’s ok for abstracts and things, but a realistic painting like this,
you’ve really got to concentrate and say, look at that for a second.
So you’ll find that I often fiddle and fiddle with pigment here and do all sort of things.
I seem to be doing nothing but I’m actually, probably doing the most important part of this painting
and that is I’m trying to see it in my mind’s eye. I do what I call a test, I just make
a mark and I’ll say is that too dark, is it too light? It looks about right.
It can quite often look as if it is too light, when it’s not and I start with this little bits,
air coolers, aerials what ever. I’m going to re wet that, there’s a few bigger drop lets.
I’ve just given it more life so it’s wetter, so it’ll last longer. Clean water and soften this so we get
this lovely misty look going back. This remains alive this line, as long as that bead is there it’s alive,
so I can keep going down. Once that dries it’s the end. It’s finished. So that tone alone is bringing that forward,
we’ve got a weak tone there, stronger, stronger, stronger still and now it’s time to not muck around. It’s an ergonomically way of doing it,
there it goes. As this tightens as it is in deed, it’s starting too slowly, you know, set or dry and so on.
You really need to start looking at the shapes a little bit more carefully, so if you leave this funny little thing here
and it dries it will come to haunt you. So and the car has to be cut… A few bits of architectural detail but some of that I’ll dry brush in a little later And this is quite nice, it’s painted itself and the more you can do
that when you paint water colour the better off you will be. And another thing I am fond of doing
is… scratching things out with my nails. I’m not scared of touching my watercolours with my hands.
Fingers are great for just lifting off just a bit of paint, not too much, so I’m quite happy doing these sorts of things.
I’ll scratch a little high light there, put that in front and I think make this wall a bit lighter,
so this will have my DNA on it and my finger prints and no one can forge this. Can’t mistake it. Yeah and just the last kiss of life as its drying to see what it does. And you really just float that mist over it? Yes, you don’t blast it close, it’s… you’re finished, and I now need
to start moving into my trams and cars before this dries completely. Trust your watercolour and if you just trust yourself and say…
what destroys paintings is not technique its lack of confidence, lack of belief, faith; that’s what will ruin it. You know if you don’t believe
it’s going to work you’ll never convince the viewer that it will work. A little bit of colour into this just there… It’s got a bit
of a hump in there and a fine adjustment. This is a bit high… there… better. Time to do this last car here, that’s the back of it,
this one is driving up the street, the dark under the car, the shadow is more important than the
wheels or head lights on a car that’s what anchors it to the ground, some mirrors sticking up. I’d like to put in the taillights and make them run into there,
so we’ve got this bright, beautiful bright cadmium orange… which is doing it. Now I’m going to do the same with the head lights and I use it straight out
of the tube nice and thick and um put it on again while this is still quite moist, so it melts in. Now I’m going to really have to go for it. I’m going to have to give it yet another kiss of life. It won’t hurt, never hurts,
it always looks good. There, beautiful. Too much paint on the brush. There is a tree growing on this side, it’s a fantastic way of
connecting this shape and draping it in front of this one and it’s just a lovely way of making kind of a tunnel through.
We simply do this, it’s not dark enough… not enough mixing. And what type of brush have you got there. It’s just a sable, squirrel brush, soft, but not so big I need to get a bit of control, the other thing I do is actually punish it by going like that,
so it goes into this shocking thing like that and you push it forward and that should give us out tree leaves
and again vary your brush marks so they don’t look the same. The worst thing for your brushes is to not wash them
out and clean them after you’ve finished painting. I promised myself to wash and clean them every time
I’ve finished with a new year’s resolution in nineteen sixty eight and I still don’t do it and hence it absolutely ruins your brushes. There you go. It is shocking, because it goes into this hard harsh thing. A few branches again and this paint is lovely and think. I’ll do quite a bit of rigger work now, here’s a
little high light now and I will change that into a light, like so. I sell some work in America and they always find these wires
a little bit strange, but Melbournians readily except these wires running through the sky for the trams
but to me they are just simply connecting and direction lines. They’re just terrific for directing your eye through the picture. Time for this wonderful cadmium red mixed in with the cadmium
orange, but I actually will use them straight out of the tube. Ahh I see what’s happening. Then this is pre-wetting the paper so it gives
pigment room to run not everywhere but enough to give it space and then we’ll get it really wet,
it has to be about as wet as you can get it. Now I’ll choose a reflection colour,
which will be a little bit warmer. It either works or it doesn’t, but as you can see this
time my adage of things painting themselves is… they’re true. You just have to let it do what it wants to do. You can see that this is now starting to work as a wet road. I think that’s about it. I can just angle this a little bit
and I will sneak in some little figures here. I’ll give him a little umbrella. So I’ll just lift this off. Well there we are, this is now finished and this gives it that nice clean edge I was speaking about before and I think its reading
quite well. I’m quite pleased with it. It’s just amazing. Thanks mate. The crew and everyone standing in the back ground there and myself
would really really like to thank you so much for having us down here. Thanks for coming and sharing the time. It’s been an extraordinary day. As you can see when
I use the word master I was not kidding by any means. Joseph is an incredibly talented
human being. I have to thank Canson, Schmincke and Arches for getting us down here
to film Joseph as well. It’s a really rare opportunityto get to walk into the studio
of a man of this calibre so we’re really grateful to be here. Once again you can always come to Colour In Your Life and see what we are doing
but… until we meet again remember, make sure you put some colour in your life.

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