Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Marie Grice I Colour In Your Life

Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Marie Grice 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 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 do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Well, hi folks, and welcome back to Colour In Your Life in New Zealand. Well we are in Wanganui, in the South of the North Island, beautiful, beautiful palace. And we are in the Fine Arts Wanganui Gallery – that was always a mouthful when I started. And we are going to be working with a young lady today who really is a fantastic wildlife Artist. She’s been very influenced by some of the people that have actually influenced me over the years. John Seerey-Lester, Ray Ching, Robert Bateman, and she paints some really, really, beautiful oil pieces on board, but I would like to introduce you to, Marie Grice. Welcome to the show, Marie. (Marie) Thank you very much, Graeme. (Graeme) Fantastic to be here. As I said, Marie paints some really, really extraordinary wildlife pieces, and you’re gonna see that as we go through the day, today. She’s going to be working on a painting of a sheep, and you actually own a sheep farm don’t you? (Marie) Yeah, a small farm. (Graeme) Beautiful place. I mean, surrounded by animals your whole life basically, but you had an unfortunate incident that happened to you in 2004, which really sort of turned out to be a good thing for you in the end. It was an unfortunate accident, Marie actually got hit by a car while she was standing on the side of the road at her property, which was a disaster. But what came out of that really unfortunate incident is you found the love of Art and began to paint. I mean tell me about the transition and what was going through your mind while you were in hospital. (Marie) Well, I needed something to do. I was boarded, I was hospitalised for nine weeks so I had to find something to do, so I started drawing from my bed, bedside and it really went from there. (Graeme) Yeah, and then obviously Ray Ching is a New Zealand Artist. (Marie) Yes. (Graeme) And as I was saying to you when I first saw your work, and I spoke to you on the phone I said are you a fan of Raymond Ching’s? (Marie) Yes, very much. (Graeme) And you’ve gone, yes. And I said, on the phone I said are you a fan of Raymond King’s? (Marie) Yes, very much. (Graeme) And you’ve gone, yes. And I said, my god, so am I. You know, from a long time back, I mean Ray’s one of the great Masters Artists of the world. But when you see Marie’s work as we go through today, a really, really talented woman that really captures the essence and the character of the animals that she works on. As we go through today we’ll talk more about Wanganui and the huge Arts community they have here and obviously Marie’s career and what she has done as well to get her to this place. But a very, very talented woman, a delightful human being as well. Lets start, and we’ll start on the first one, which is a portrait of a sheep. But the way that Marie puts these together is quite spectacular, and you will really enjoy today – so come along. (Marie) Alright, so what I’m doing, I’m starting with my lights and I’ve got: Titanium White, Yellow Ocher, and Transparent Oxide, and I’ve got a light red, Ultra Marine Blue, Raw Umber, and Vandyke Brown and a bit of black. (Graeme) So you were telling me before Marie, that a lady who is in the Wanganui area, who’s a very well know Artist herself, Julie Greig, had helped you out many years ago when you first started your career. (Marie) Yes, she’s a, I’d always been admired Julie’s work and decided to go and see if she’d do lessons, and lucky for me she did. So yeah, we started doing some lessons and animals I suppose had always been my passion. Okay, I’m mixing my colors and just to try and check whether the colors are right and they obviously need a bit of tweaking, but you can get the general idea of what colors you need. Okay, so I will start with just marking out my darkest darks, and I’m not being too fussy when doing this, I’m just simply, just laying it down, just putting it in place really cause I can move it around later. (Graeme) So do you often wander around your property with said camera, you know looking for opportunist moments to sort of get a great cameo shot of one of the local animals? (Marie) Very much so, yes. (Graeme) Oh, that’s great. (Marie) Yeah, we’ve really got pets of some sort there that are usually fairly obliging to have their photo taken, as long as they get a reward. (Graeme) But you can see by looking at your work that you’ve obviously referenced real animals and you’ve spent the time to get up close. You can see all of the fine detail and the reference that you’ve used. And you’ve seen people paint cows, or chickens, or animals, birds and they, they haven’t studied them properly. But you’ve obviously sat down and done that. (Marie) I think working as a Vet Nurse for many years has definitely helped with that. You know where bone structure is and where the fur lies and it definitely all helps. (Graeme) Yep. Absolutely. (Marie) So what I’m just doing is just finding quite extreme colors to start with cause that’s just what’s underneath the fur, (Graeme) Aha. (Marie) and just putting them in place really. (Graeme) You’re on masonite, how many layers of Gesso did you put down and then sand back to get that effect? (Marie) I’ve used about four layers and I sand in between. It’s actually an oil primer. And I sand back each time because I want to get a smoother texture as possible. I don’t like using canvas because I get too much of a weave (Graeme) Sure. (Marie) and that distracts from the detail that I’m trying to paint. (Graeme) So why initially did you pick the realist style? I mean was it just simply seeing what Ray Ching was doing? Was that the main influence? (Marie) I like detail; I like having to keep working at something, and each layer you put on, you get more and more – it comes to life more and more. And that’s the bit that I get my rewards from, is when it starts to get that 3D look and starts to take on its own self. So as you can see the colors don’t actually make sense at this stage, it’s just simply getting the underpainting on. (Graeme) And we are actually in the Fine Arts Wanganui Gallery today, which is a fantastic space. All of the Artists within the Wanganui area and there are a lot of them. It’s probably got one of the biggest Arts communities in New Zealand, really have rallied together to open up this fantastic spot, so people can come down and see all of the works from the people in the area, obviously Marie included. But it’s sort of like a one stop shop really, you’ve got an Art store on one side, and you’ve got a frame shop directly behind us. I mean we’re standing in the gallery now (Marie) Absolutely. (Graeme) so you really don’t have to go anywhere to be able to get everything you need. (Marie) Right, it’s a very good location. (Graeme) Yeah. And looking at some of the pieces that you’ve got, you’ve got the Kingfisher on the Beach, was a Sacred Kingfisher. And that’s a, its an immature Kingfisher as well, but the colors in that and the depth of field that you’ve got in that piece is just quite remarkable. And then the Kingfisher on the Fence, which is an adult Kingfisher as well, Sacred Kingfisher. And you’ve really captured the essence of what these beautiful, beautiful little animals are. The Kiwi bird, very unusual bird; its the one of the native birds of New Zealand of course. And it’s got the famed reputation of having an egg that’s half the size of its body when it lays it. Yeah, but you did a fantastic job, you really did. And some of the other birds that you’ve got, the New Zealand Falcon, which is a beautiful animal. I mean, your work is so well constructed, I mean I think that any of the leading wildlife Artists in the world would look at you and know that you’re in the tops of your trade as well – without a doubt. (Marie) Okay, so from here my next step would be to be putting the eye in, because the eye gives it the life. So I actually turn it upside down. (Graeme) Yeah? (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) So okay, well that’s a good point. Why are you turning it upside down? (Marie) Because it’s so easy to get focused on all the detail, that you turn it upside down you can just focus on colors and shapes and that makes it easier. I’m not trying to make the whole picture look right. (Graeme) Yeah, I suppose by turning it upside down you’re not looking at it as an eye, but you’re looking it as a shape. (Marie) Yeah. Yeah, just colors and shapes just simplifies it and takes the pressure off. So I’m just putting my darkest darks in once again first, and just basically mapping it out just so I’ve got a bit of a guide. (Graeme) Now the thing about varying animal eyes, is particularly with sheep they’ve got this long drawn out iris. (Marie) Yes. (Marie) Quite an unusual shape. (Graeme) Yeah, that’s just not a normal looking eye is it, by any means? (Marie) No, no it does make it look, well it does make it hard trying to get in and also the light when it’s hitting the eye, you’ve got to get that right too, cause that gives the life of it. You take the eye out of the equation and there’s no life in it so. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie) It’s such an important part to get that right. (Graeme) Yeah, I know people hate to say this, even Artists, on how long does a painting take? I mean, how old are you is the length of the time. But you’ve got one over you’re right shoulder called Nesting Spot at Shags, and the amount of work in that is quite extraordinary. The question is: how long did it take you to paint that piece? (Marie) Many hours. That’s, that’s a couple of months worth of work there. (Graeme) I bet. (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie) There’s so much detail in that and while I’m using lots of layers, I’ve got to wait for the layers to dry between. So yeah, (Graeme) Of course. (Marie) quite time consuming. (Graeme) Plus it was done in oils as well (Marie) Yes. (Graeme) which is even tougher under any circumstances. (Marie) Yeah, I use Liquin a lot cause it helps speed up the drying process (Graeme) Yep. (Marie) and also helps with layering and building. (Graeme) Yeah, but it’s just really, really well executed without a doubt. (Marie) So I’m not being to precious at this stage, it’s just simply getting colors on just so I can find my way later. A lot will change to this. So as well as using the upside down method, I also use a mirror just to make sure that I’m getting the colors and shapes right. It changes your perspective, takes you away from what you’re doing and you see a different view. Okay, so I’ve just basically mapped in the eye colors and shapes, and from now I’ll actually like to take it to the next painting that I’ve done – the second stage, which has moved a long a little and I can show you a bit more of the process. Okay, so as you can see from here I’ve blocked in a little more of the color and I’ve also done the background a fairly neutral color to make the animal stand out. So from now on I just do these last few bits here and just basically get the whole canvas covered. (Graeme) Great. (Marie) So I’m just starting by putting my darkest bits in once again, so that I’ve sort of just mapping out where those lines will go. And then I can go in with a lighter color along side it and merge them together. (Graeme) You’ve done a number of cows as well, and I think one that really stands out, which is a spectacular piece. There’s a couple of them here but these cow pieces are amazing. The Angus Bull, he looks like he’s about to come straight through the painting at you; it’s quite incredible. The other one is I’m Watching You, which is another big, I’m not quite sure what sort of bull it is? (Marie) He’s a cross breed that one. (Graeme) Is he? (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) He’s a big old boy. (Marie) Yes. He’s solid, very solid and I liked his impressiveness. He just had a stance about him. Alright, so as you can see there’s not a lot of drawing here, so what I’m doing is just putting these dark areas and just drawing them in basically and working from there. I’m actually using a Princeton Brush, I actually really enjoy using these because they hold the paint. They hold the shape, and they’re a nice size; they’re not to big and not too small. Yeah, and so I use them especially for detail. I find the brush that I, probably my favourite is the Liner, the tiny little brush that does the microscopic little hairs. That’s really good. (Graeme) Yeah, we’ll have a look at that one later on when you go into the third piece because this is really mapping down those base colors, (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) and then you’ll be able to see the beautiful rendering that Marie does with the detail in the last piece after this one. It’s really amazing. (Marie) I’m just constantly just blending, merging the colors together so that it’s not strict ridge of color. A sharpness of color, it’s just blended together. (Graeme) But there’s been a lot of introduced animals brought into New Zealand, and you’ve got a picture here of a Red Stag or they call them a Royal Stag in Britain. (Marie) I was able to go and photograph some stags in the wild and that was such an experience. I don’t know how I managed to get the photograph because I’m sure he would have been able to hear my heart pounding cause I hear him making his noise coming down through the bush. It was just such an impressive sound so rather than working over the work I’ve already done, what I’ll do is turn it upside down so I can work on focus on this bit without working over the top of my work. (Graeme) So how often do you turn your pieces upside down? (Marie) All the time. (Graeme) All the time. (Marie) I paint, I paint probably half of my paintings, or half of the time I spend is upside down, cause I just find it so easy to get caught up in the detail. It just seems to work, that you turn it up the right way and it works. So, and I’m just once again I’m just go back to putting in the shapes, the colors, just the little contours there, around the – where the wool is, and just leaving patches of that and taking some away. So I’m just dabbing it on really at this stage, but it’s just to cover it. I’m putting the next color highlight so I’ve got my darkest dark, and then I’m putting a shade lighter and then I’ll put a shade lighter again along side that, just to give it that depth. (Graeme) Yeah, it’s just really putting those base colors down (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) and come back later on. (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) I mean you’d potentially wait till that dried anyway. (Marie) Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s best to have that dried later because that’s when you can start putting the detail, otherwise it just lifts, lifts off color and you loose the underpainting. I’m just going to turn the painting on the side now, just to be able paint the eye. (Graeme) It doesn’t have to stay in the one place, you can turn it wherever you want it to go. (Marie) Yeah. Okay, so I’m just once again blocking in the color. Not being too specific, just getting, just mapping it in really. And it’s really important to leave the highlighted, where the lights hitting the eye. I try not to make sure I get that muddied, cause quite often it’s such a light color you can’t afford to leave too much underpainting. (Graeme) Yeah. You’ve got a picture here of it’s of the Rallidae family, and you call them Weka, Weka’s in New Zealand. But you can see the detail in the eye and the light and the dark particularly in the beak. (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) It’s a fantastic picture, obviously speaking of the dark and the light. (Marie) Yeah, and if you look in the eye, so many different colors, you’ve got oranges and yellows, (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie) and so many different shades of things in there that make up that color that gives it the life. (Graeme) Well as you can see, Marie has put the third piece up of the day, and there’s obviously a lot more work done on it. But what are you going to show us on this particular piece, Marie? (Marie) Okay, I’d like to just show you how I put the top layer of fur on, and obviously around the nose and muzzle area, I’ll work on that. But what I’ll do to start with is turn it upside down again (Graeme) Okay. (Marie) just to, just to gauge where I need to start here. (Graeme) A much better idea. So I’ve just changed to a Dagger Brush, just to get that detail. And it’s quite important to keep the brush, to keep its shape so I keep wiping it in between times just to keep retaining that shape. (Graeme) And that’s a Princeton brush as well? (Marie) Yes, it is. Yeah, they’re great for detail. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie) so I don’t want the featuring to be too strong here, because obviously on the animal there is not a lot there. It just starts to get thicker as it comes down further. The other important part is that is as you can see on this, the fur actually goes on a round shape, so it’s really important to keep going the shape where it would be on the animal. (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie) So that just makes, that helps with making it believable. And just using Liquin just to help to guide the brush a little, and to not make the paint too strong there. And also really important to change the shape of the fur by, the fur is not going to be straight up and down. It’s really important to make it as natural as you can so you have, it’s going in all sorts of directions to make it real. (Graeme) You’re using that fine brush that you’ve got. There’s a piece that you’ve painted of a White Herron (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) and you can see the tail features there’s really, really minute detail you can get with a brush like that. (Marie) Yeah, it was extremely hard to paint because being white (Graeme) Yeah. (Marie) and to be able to keep the depth in it without muddying the colors was a real challenge. (Graeme) Yeah, white animals are always difficult to do, and they’re not actually white – they just look it. (Marie) No, that’s right. There’s so many colors that make it up. Sometimes if I want to put in a shadow in somewhere once I’ve done these finer details, I quite often will use a wash and use the Liquin and transparent color and just change the tint slightly. If that was too light I would just put a wash over that so you’re still, you’re still keeping the detail. The devil’s in the detail, but that’s just changing it rather than changing any of the underpainting to do that. (Graeme) Yeah, just layers of transparent glazers (Marie) Yeah, yeah. (Graeme) that can create a lot of depth in the end. (Marie) So sometimes I just map out a runner just to show me as a bit of a guide as to where the hair needs to lie, and just make sure that I get the angle and I just follow that, duplicate it. And sometimes when I’m working on it t’s a good idea to turn it up the right way, and make sure that it actually does make sense. (Graeme) It keeps spinning it around. (Marie) Yeah, most of the time it does, but sometimes yeah, sometimes it can go a little astray. But yeah, it’s just double checking and then once again using the mirror again to make sure that it is sitting where it’s suppose to. (Graeme) And you can see that if you’re looking in the paddock the sheep looks white, but its actually not. Its got blues and (Marie) Yeah. (Graeme) yellows and browns in it. (Marie) That’s right, it’s a million array of colors. (Graeme) Not too many pure white and pure black things. (Marie) Now I’m just starting to come down below the nose there and along the muzzle. And just once again trying to make sure I get the right direction of it. Sometimes you have to wait till its dried. A little more before you can put the final, final details. So that’s the general look there, so I’ll just go back up to the top. (Graeme) Just sort of turn it around so you can follow the flow of the whiskers. (Marie) Yeah, yeah. (Graeme) Yeah, makes it so much easier if you can do that. I mean it’s obviously difficult with big canvases, but if you can turn it around so that the line becomes a little easier for you it’s much better. (Marie) Yeah, just, rather than focusing on making the whole thing look right, it just takes that pressure off really. Okay, so as you can see it’s quite a time consuming process, so I’ve just, this will take some time to do that. As you can see there’s just lots of parts to it so, but I’ll turn it up so you can sort of see the general idea of how that works. So, yeah. (Graeme) Thant’s fantastic, and because of the beauty of editing, we’re screening up the final piece now. As you can see, Marie has done an extraordinary job and looks like the sheep can almost jump over the railing and come out of the picture. Pretty, pretty amazing, but it’s been an incredible day, Marie, and thank you so much for letting us into your studio, and this beautiful gallery as well. It’s quite, quite exceptional. (Marie) Oh, thank you. Thank you very much, it’s been a pleasure. (Graeme) Alright guys, live from Wanganui, we have had a great day. Marie, fantastic. (Marie) Thank you very much, Graeme. My pleasure. (Graeme) It was wonderful, wonderful stuff. As as you can see by the many pictures that we showed throughout the show, Marie is an incredibly talented lady, and obviously a devotee of Ray Ching’s I would say. He’s pretty amazing isn’t he? (Marie) Absolutely, I love his work. (Graeme) But before we go, also, I mean it’s been fantastic being in Wanganui, the people have been great. But you really do have a pretty thriving Arts community here as well don’t you? (Marie) We sure do. We have over four hundred working Artists, and in Wanganui there’s something for everyone. There’s so much to see, and it’s definitely an Arts destination worth a visit. (Graeme) It’s a beautiful town, I mean it’s a very old world heritage town. Just driving into Wanganui, when we first got here, I just though god look at this place, it’s incredible. But there is a huge thriving Arts community here as well. So, I think if anybody is coming over from Australia, America, or even if you’re living in New Zealand, come down to Wanganui, and see what they’re doing because it’s a really fantastic place with many, many talented people. Your website address? (Marie) Marie grice artist dot co dot nz. (Graeme) Okay, marie grice artist dot co dot nz. Come in and see Marie’s work, a very very talented lady. If you get down this way, obviously look her up at the Fine Arts Wanganui Gallery. And come and in and see us at colour in your life dot com dot au and also, on our Facebook page and YouTube as well, we have a thriving community ourselves. But thank you so much. It was fantastic, (Marie) Thank you. (Graeme) yeah, we had a great time. And from Wanganui, as I always say – remember: make sure you put some colour in your life guys, and we’ll see you next time. (Marie) Bye. (Graeme) Bye now. (Graeme) Bye.

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