Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Randall Froude | Colour In Your Life

Oil painting techniques and tutorial with Randall Froude | 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, well we are in Richmond on the South Island of New Zealand, and I am with one of the great master artists of New Zealand, Mister Randall Froude. Randall, how are you sir? (Randall) Oh, I’m fine thanks, Graeme. (Graeme) Thank you so much for having us in your studio. Randall I would say is one of the great statesman of New Zealand art for a start. I mean your career is very illustrious stretching over seventy years. I mean it’s your ninetieth birthday next year isn’t it? (Randall) That’s right, yeah. (Graeme) That’s amazing, and Randall started at the Elam School of Art in Auckland in 1942. I mean most of the people watching probably weren’t even born then which is amazing. But you’ve done so many things during your life, you’ve actually educated and some of these people have gone on to be master artists themselves, and about three and a half thousand students over that period of time. It’s pretty amazing – absolutely. (Randall) Yeah, that was account about twelve years ago, then I stopped. (Graeme) Yeah, (Randall) I thought oh this is… I just needed to know, (Graeme) Yeah. (Randall) but it’s still growing even now. (Graeme) It’s amazing. And you’ve been honoured by Governor Generals, your work has been licensed right across the world. I mean they’ve sold literally tens of millions of dollars of your images to people literally all over the world. I mean Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada, The… is it Albert China Company? (Randall) The Royal Albert (Graeme) The Royal Albert china company as well, which is just amazing. (Randall) In England. (Graeme) So in all of that, and we’re going to talk about a lot of this as we go through with Randall today. How did you end up here? (Randall) Well that’s a big question, but really my wife died about six years ago and I moved up here. Right here now as far as my work in concerned well it’s just evolved through what I’ve been doing. Doors opened, I walked through and another door opens and so on. And before you know where you are you’re up to here with requests – whatever. (Graeme) Aha. (Randall) And because it’s my… a real God given talent that I’ve got . That all I do is use it. (Graeme) Yeah, and one of the great loves that you’ve had which is a spectacular thing to do in this country, and they call it, we call it hiking in Australia, or bushwalking, but you call it tramping. (Randall) Yes. (Graeme) You’ve done, obviously when you see Randall’s work you’ll understand he has literally tramped all over these islands, and just painted some magnificent scenery, I mean landscapes and seascapes – it’s quite extraordinary. (Randall) Well it’s all there just waiting to be put down on canvas. And at the end of the day, there’s no way that I could really express the beauty I see. I mean this big one here behind us (Graeme) Yes, (Randall) and that’s only five minutes off the main road going south. (Graeme) That’s amazing, it really is a spectacular country. But what we’re going to do is we’re going to let this master, I mean probably one of the most elderly statesman that we’ve had on the show, so it’s a great privilege. We’re going to let you take over and show the people right across the world what you do, and how you create these simply magnificent pieces of work; they really are quite amazing. So let me get out of shot and lets get on with this. (Graeme) You’ve got a technique that you’re about to explain to us that you learnt from Richard Schmid, the famous American portrait artist. (Randall) Yeah, that’s right (Graeme) And it’s a fascinating technique. Can we have a look at that? (Randall) Yeah, sure. So what I’m doing here, I’m going to put out three colours on my palette. That is Burnt Sienna, Colbert Blue and the other one is Alizarine Crimson. And they’re put together like fingernails, touching each other like that in three little globs. There’s one, Colbert. (Graeme) And you use a combination of paints, Lefranc, Rowney and also Art Spectrum as well, sort of does what you needed to do. (Randall) Yes, that’s correct, Graeme. It’s not always possible to get the paints that I want, so I’ll go to another brand just to full-fill the purpose on the particular painting I’m doing, which is no great problem really. It’s just a matter of knowing what will work. I’m putting out these three globs of colour and I’m using a white palette which I don’t normally use, because I’m going to run out of space if I use this one here which will be in general purpose. But this way I can tear this off and throw it away. So now I’ve got some pure turps in this little cap here, and I fill the brush up with turps until its dripping, and I put it on the side of those colours there. Once I’ve got that I give it a bit of a wiggle. I look for the darkest place in the painting, which will be here, there and I go. (Graeme) Ooh. (Randall) What’s that? (Graeme) I said ooh. (Randall) Good fun. (Graeme) Beautiful. (Randall) All running down, that’s fine I like it that way. What a mess. If you think of baking a cake and you put all the ingredients in a bowl, and you stir it all up and you get a total mess, and you can’t believe it’s going to be a wedding cake in the end, but this is much the same. Same process, you start off put the ingredients in, make a mess and then tidy it up as you go. Okay, what I’m going to do now is just take off some red; a bit too much red in there at the moment. So I’ll just blot some of that out because that alizarine is a real killer when it comes to drying. It’s very, very slow. (Graeme) There you go. (Randall) There we are. (Graeme) Made easy. (Randall) That’s got rid of that for the time being. Now we get some more blue, Colbert Blue and the brown, that’s Burnt Sienna into that. Now we’re cooking. (Graeme) Now what you have done today for us today Randall, which was fantastic, is that you’ve actually prepared a number of pieces for us to go through, cause your work does take quite a long time to paint. But we’re going to do these in stages as we go, but just obviously learning some fantastic techniques as we go along. (Randall) Okay, so the next thing I’m going to do is get some wash up here, up on top of the mountains which will be like this but darker. (Graeme) And the brushes you’re using look like fairly stiff bristled. (Randall) Yes, this is what they call my pastry brush really. (Graeme) Aha. (Randall) I know it’s a pastry brush, cause my wife used to take them down and use them. (Graeme) There you go. Yeah, you’ve got a piece called Down to the Water, Randall, and probably one of the places you went tramping as well. Just as I said before, there’s some spectacularly beautiful scenery in this country. And also, Fox Glacier, you’ve got a scene with the dairy farm, and obviously the water and cows looking up into the mountains. It’s quite spectacular as well; a beautiful piece of work, quite amazing. (Randall) So what I’m doing now, with the same brush that I used for here, I’ll drag some of this colour down into the water. (Randall) Now straight away gives you the feeling its reflecting because the strokes are downward, as reflections usually are in still water. (Graeme) And all of this is very, very loose. You’re just letting the paint and the turps do a lot of the work for you. (Randall) This is a bit like watercolour. You’re letting the turps do the work for you as when we get down to the real oil paints which will come in the next step or two. And then we start to refine the whole thing up and get more sort of a three dimensional look to the whole thing. At the moment it’s pretty wishy-washy, – let’s face it, but we’ll get there. (Graeme) So I think probably now we could swap over to the next one that you’ve got prepared, and luckily enough that’s dry so we can get stuck straight into that, and we’ll look at some more techniques on that one. (Randall) That would be great. I’m ready. (Randall) So now I’m changing over to a brush like this. I call this my yard broom, because it does all the sort of donkey work. I don’t have to be too fussy. In fact I want to keep as free as I can, for as long as as I can, before I get tied down hard. Get some Liquin out… some Raw Umber, Colbert which gives me almost a black. Ah yes, it did too. Okay. (Graeme) And you’ve got another piece called Dart Valley, just a glorious place to be. (Randall) Yeah, Dart Valley is a marvellous place, right out from the end of Glen Orkney. Growing up there yeah, I spent quite a bit of time up there. (Graeme) Now when you first started your career Randall, you were actually a commercial artist, and you used to do branding for Tip Top and Ford and a whole bunch of national companies as well. You know, it sort of all led to where you are not right now. (Randall) Yes, well it was very good discipline because you had to do the best you can with the advertisement that you were doing at the time, who ever it was for. It might be for Golden Crumpets, or it might be for a tire company or Watties. So you had to learn to adapt depending on what job you were working to, and that has been a great asset to me all the way through. What I’m doing now is just trying to get the darkest colours in first. It’s a bit like if you like, putting snow on a mountain. You must have the mountain there first, because you can’t put the snow on no mountains at all. Or if you like it’s a bit like building a house, you don’t put the roof on until way after you’ve dug the foundations, so you must get it in the same order that it happens. So to simplify that if you like, everything that we see is a highlight in a dark place, because if it was pitch black you wouldn’t see anything. So straight away the most, the smallest glimmer of light that you get will give something form. (Graeme) I’ve got a picture here called Mt Cook, and I think its a good example of what you were talking about from the dark to the light. Particularly on the left hand side of the picture you’ve got a very dark area, and you can see the moss and the trees that built up and then the spectacular view of Mt Cook in the background. That was a fantastic, profound comment that you made about finding the light in the dark. (Randall) Yes, well when you think of the whole painting process is just that. This program that we’re doing now, Put Colour In Your Life really just under lines that because I would think without knowing the facts, but I would think that about eighty percent of our responses come from what we see. And if it’s pitch black you don’t see anything, so everything you do see automatically is a highlight and that’s the process of what we’re doing. (Graeme) Fantastic. So you also have a book coming out later this year, Randall. Can you tell me a bit more about that? (Randall) Yes, well this idea of a book has been playing around now for I don’t know, thirty or forty years maybe. And finally I’ve got to a point where I’ve just got to do it. (Graeme) It sounds like a fantastic, fantastic book. Well we’re at the stage now, Randall where we can probably go onto the next one that you’ve prepared, because once again the paints have dried on these. It makes it much easier for you to work on. So lets swap to the next one and we’ll go from there. (Randall) Oh great, that’s fine with me. (Randall) What I’m doing here now is giving the trees some form. So the sun is up here on the right hand side coming down, and so the light would be catching the right hand side of the tree. (Graeme) Now there is a lot of green in your work and it’s a particularly hard colour to work with isn’t it? (Randall) It can be, pretty well all ever green bush. And so it’s not a clean green, it’s a dirty green. (Graeme) Now you also do a lot of motivational speaking for people through your church, and through other institutions that love to hear the wisdom of a gentleman your age with your experience. (Randall) Yes, well that comes because you can get a vast number of art books which tell you here it is and there it is and how you do this and so on. But there’s nothing like understanding the reason why and what’s behind it all. There’s more than just applying colour onto a canvas. (Graeme) So we’ve got a piece here called the Remarkables Road, tell me about the Remarkables? (Randall) The Remarkables are across the lake from Queenstown, (Graeme) Right. (Randall) and they are really remarkable. And the road runs right around the base of it going further south, and it’s a beautiful drive and there’s all sorts of stuff there you can spend a lifetime just painting on that road alone. (Graeme) And also one of my favourites, West Coast, really is very, very beautiful. (Randall) And the West Coast is so wild and woolly, it’s you know, a place of its own. Now while i’m using this colour here which is sunlight working on these tracks and so on, I can also use the same colour on some of these rocks that are coming down here out of the bush. Now this is pretty strong, but at this point we will bring these rocks right up into your face almost. (Graeme) That’s a fairly bold stroke, really bringing it forward. (Randall) It brings it right out. (Graeme) Yeah. (Randall) You know, you feel as though you can reach out and touch them. Yes, when I’m painting a scene like this I feel as though I’m right there. I can hear the waves; I can smell the damp bush and whatever else of those fine things that are going on. I experience that at the time and I paint accordingly, so I’m having a little mimi trip you might say as we go. (Randall) So Randall, tell me about the number three point seven five? (Randall) Well, that’s a very interesting observation that I’ve discovered, and no doubt other people have as well. But that is simply that our life is really as long as one breath; we don’t know wheather we’re going to get another one. And the average breath if we’re not doing too much exercise is about three point seven five seconds long between each breath. And that is the extent of our actual life that we live. Three point five seconds ago, that breath is gone and the next one who knows, may never come. If that is the case, what we do, what we say, how we act, the image that other people see in us, or through our work is of upmost importance. Alright, well what I need to do now get some slips in here, to show that we’ve got some bare rocks showing through there. (Graeme) Yes, and it’s really important you’ve changed brushes again. Without the right brush you’re not going to get the right effect are you? (Randall) No, you’ve got to have the right tools for the job. Right, what I’m going to do now, I’m going to make it snow. You’ve got to believe it. Just watch. So this snow up here will be in the shadow; it’s on the shadow side of the mountain. This one over here will be the same sort of thing happening, and that comes down to a ridge which is there. Now we’ve got some snow and sunlight, that’ll be nice and bright, so I’m going to use a pure white. Right, let it snow. (Graeme) Let it snow. let it snow, let it snow. Now you’ve got a piece here called Road to Round Hill, and it’s a fairly long piece, but drifting out along that New Zealand tundra again and the mountains in the background, as the sun’s slowly setting in the evening – beautiful. (Randall) Round Hill, yeah, that’s not far from where I used to live. Right, so now I’ll going to get into the water. I’ll try and keep my feet dry, but anyway I’m reflecting the colour of the hill behind us straight down into the water, which it would do once I get down past these rocks, then I can put the highlights on those rocks, which will again be reflected into the water. (Graeme) So just flicking those brushstrokes downwards. (Randall) It’s an interesting thing because if you have a surface like that, a canvas and you want to get a feathered edge on it, if you don’t move your hand, but just you’re fingers, it’ll feather off at the bottom of the stroke and that’s very important. (Graeme) Good technique, good information. (Randall) And if the colours wrong, if too dark I’ll put some up in the hill, and then it must be right. (Graeme) There you go. Now you’ve also been very well travelled across the world as well. You’ve been to many different countries, but you’ve worked in thirteen countries in one way or another. And even when you where in Venice, you’ve got some pieces here, Saint Marks Square (Randall) Yes. (Graeme) in Venice, You’ve painted all through Europe as well it’s amazing. (Randall) Well the worlds out there waiting for people like me to paint, and that was what it’s all about. And I’ve been doing it and I’ve been very, very fortunate to be able to do that. (Graeme) In all those different countries as well. (Randall) Yeah. (Graeme) And you’ve got a piece there called Lavender Farm, that looks like it’s in Europe somewhere. (Randall) One of the Lavender Farm’s in Italy, (Graeme) In Italy, of course. and the whole community lives on the proceeds of what they can do with lavender. But all that sort of stuff it enriches your whole life as an artist, so that when you get back and start to do things for that country, you’ve got a real feeling for it, and to me that was invaluable. What I’m dong here is getting ready to put in some horizontal marks through those, through those reflected colours in the water, (Graeme) Yes. (Randall) and that will make the water look wet. (Graeme) Nice straight line. So you’re looking at those lines being horizontal to the perpendicular you’ve got. (Randall) Yeah, so that makes the water look nice and wet. (Graeme) Yeah. (Randall) Would you believe I’ve finished, just apart from one or two little things that I would like to do, but I think I’ll just leave that for another time when I have more freedom if you like to do it. It won’t make any difference really, but it’s just very, very fine tuning that could be done, but I don’t want to go to a point where I wreck the painting by going too far. (Graeme) Thank you, so much, Randall. It’s been a great day in your studio. We really had a wonderful time. (Randall) Well I could say amen to that too. I’ve really enjoyed it, and you guys have been such a dream to work with. It’s been a great day. A great day. (Graeme) Thank you. (Randall) And I think that’s just the start. Thank you very much. (Graeme) Thank you. (Graeme) Well another great day in the beautiful town of Richmond, in New Zealand. Randall, thank you so much. (Randall) Thank you, Graeme. It’s been all my pleasure I’m sure. (Graeme) Yeah, no, we had a fantastic day. You’re an amazingly talented man with a world of wisdom behind you as well. Now you’re also doing workshops and teaching people as well as you go along. Are you still doing that? (Randall) Yes, I really do like to try and inspire people to use these talents that they’ve got, and many people don’t even know they have them. But it’s a very simple thing to unlock their talents (Graeme) Yes. (Randall) and set them free. I mean this has happened to thousands of others, and might as well be you. (Graeme) Absolutely, and a lot of Randall’s students have gone on to be professional artists and quite famous as well. So if you want to come and talk to Randall about his workshops, and about teaching and his work as well, you can go into Randall Froude dot co dot nz. And we’d also like to thank Meg and Rob from New Zealand Artist. The guys do an absolutely fantastic job in sending out the message right across this country to all of the people. This is the magazine to go to as far as art is concerned. And there’s some fantastic articles and amazing people in there as well. You can also come and see us at colour in your life dot com dot au, and of course in Facebook, and YouTube and all of our other social networking platforms as well. We’re having a great time in New Zealand, as we always do. We’re going to move on, see some other people. And remember: make sure you put some colour in your life, guys. We’ll see you next time. (Randall) Wooh. (Graeme) Bye now. Bye,

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