Watercolour painting techniques and plein air tutorial with Amanda Hyatt I Colour In Your Life

Watercolour painting techniques and plein air tutorial with Amanda Hyatt 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) GRAEME Well g’day viewers and welcome back to Colour In Your Life. Well we’re down in Southern Victoria today at a lookout called Bunjil Lookout in a valley, or an area, called Moorabool. AMANDA That’s it. GRAEME And I’m with one of the premier watercolour artists of the world, Amanda Hyatt. Not nationally, internationally famous. This woman’s an amazing human being: Amanda Hyatt. AMANDA G’day Graeme. GRAEME Welcome to the show. AMANDA Thank you for having me. GRAEME Just amazing. Now Amanda’s doing a Plein Air picture for us today and we’ve literally… Its just so picturesque. You’ll actually see these a bit later on as we pan across the horizon. But it’s just going to be a fantastic day. Before we even start, I’m going too have to thank a gentleman and I think you know who I’m talking about, Mr. Luke Senior. Luke has been so much behind Colour In Your Life, he’s been absolutely fantastic. AMANDA Absolutely, brilliant. GRAEME He’s a wonderful man and Seniors Arts really has got behind Colour In Your Life and enabled us to once again come down and work with one of the best watercolour artists in the world. So we really have to thank Luke for all he’s done. And also Daniel Smith. AMANDA Yeah. GRAEME Daniel Smith is a big part of the worldwide watercolour situation really, aren’t they? They’re just amazing. AMANDA Absolutely, and I don’t know whether people know that Luke’s got three shops. One in Frankston GRAEME That’s right. AMANDA One in Melbourne City. GRAEME Yes. AMANDA And there’s one in Malvern. GRAEME Absolutely. AMANDA Brilliant shops, brilliantly supplied and couldn’t be a better place to go. GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA I’d say Australia wide. GRAEME Yeah he’s a fantastic guy, just go in and if you want to know anything about art and obviously watercolour artists, and he knows the all best in the world, Amanda being one of them. Go in and say hi to Luke, he’s a fantastic guy. AMANDA And I thank him personally… GRAEME Yeah, tremendous man. AMANDA …for his encouragement of my art. GRAEME Yeah absolutely. When you see what Amanda does, I mean Amanda is one of those really, really proficient, professional people that does so much with so little. She’s that good that you’re going to watch this thing appear on the page in front of the page and think ‘oh my God how did she do that?’ But that’s what we’re going to do today. We are going to go to the other side of the lookout and look out across the beautiful Moorabool area. AMANDA Moorabool Valley GRAEME And we are going to make a start on a piece, so come along for the ride guys. AMANDA Absolutely. GRAEME Lets go. AMANDA Thank you. GRAEME Okay Amanda, now before we start your picture, you as a professional artist has developed five steps for watercolour painting. Can you explain those to us? AMANDA Absolutely. Well over my career of thirty years I’ve worked it out there are five things you must achieve in a painting. And if one of them is incorrect at the end of the painting, it will guide you as to how to make a painting a piece of art, rather than just a painting. So first of all I’d better explain the difference between a piece of art and painting. I think anybody can paint. My dog can paint – if you put paint on its feet and walked it across a piece of paper – it would be a painting. But is it art? I don’t know. I think art needs sensitivity, intellect and emotional input from the artist. And I think there’s a big difference between an artist and a painter. So to achieve a piece of art I think the five steps required are one, not to be too literal to your subject matter. I see the big picture first and then I do the details at the end. So when I look at the view that here, which is right in front of me here, I see the big picture first. So the first step is to make it a more artistic thing rather than to be literal to the scene. AMANDA Now point number two is all about colour. You don’t have to be literal to the colour either, so if you see a blue sky it doesn’t have to be blue it can be pink, it can be grey, it can be yellow, a sunset. It’s always better to paint morning or afternoon, you get lots of light and shadows and so forth. So colour you apply to anything. A river doesn’t have to be blue, it can be muddy, it can be grey. I think a lot of my students are so bound up with rules, and being literal, they have actually… they don’t see the big picture like I see the big picture a lot. AMANDA The third thing is the tone. It’s essential to have light, medium and dark. Darks are so necessary because without them there’s no light. And light is what my sort of paintings is about, which is realist, impressionist watercolour. Done along the lines of the old French Impressionists and the Australia Heidelberg School Impressionists and its all about capturing the light, capturing some sort of mood, magic, which turns your painting into a piece of art. So that third point introducing tone, three tones – essential. That’s where a lot of my students get stuck on, they can’t move past that point. AMANDA Point four is creating the magic through glazes, re-going into areas, fixing mistakes. A lot of art is about deceiving the viewer dare I say, but from a distance details aren’t really necessary. Impressionist art from a distance comes together where you’ve juxtaposed the lights and the darks. So my paintings look a mess all up close, but in my head, and I’ve worked it out where the lights and darks go impressionistically so when you get back from it they take your eye. I try to do a painting, such that when you’re away from it, it has an energy that pulls you to it. And you want to go and look at it and you can see it from a distance equally as interesting as it is close up. AMANDA The fifth point is pulling it together. That means putting in all your details and balancing it up and making it into a piece of art. It’s a very flat horizon so I’m taking the liberty because there’s no rules and I want the picture to look good, its my decision because I have artistic license to do what I want with that. So I’m just going to either raise it or dip it. In this case I’m just going to put something in there so that line is not straight. Now the rest of the valley, we have to incorporate the river, which comes through here. Switches down the front and goes out there and the vineyards GRAEME Yeah.
and the foreground. Foregrounds are notorious difficult to paint so they’re best left done quickly. Edges are difficult to paint so they’re GRAEME Yeah.
best done darker so your eye throws into the center. There are always areas in a painting that are fudged, I call it fudged.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Alright.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Because they’re difficult to do. You really don’t need them. And instead of putting details there like on the edges and so
GRAEME Yeah. forth it will distract you from what the whole painting is about. So these fudge areas are deliberately fudge areas,
GRAEME Yeah. it’s so you don’t have to deal with them too much. So just filling in and looking out at that huge vista.
GRAEME Yeah. When I say I draw it up I don’t draw it up I position things where they should be. So we get started on the actual painting now.
GRAEME Yeah. So a graded wash, Hake brush, nice big one.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yes.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA I’m always dipping onto a towel. I’m dipping in there, washing it off. Dipping it off. Just keeping it clean.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yes.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Towel over the shoulder all the time and just keeping it running so you get a nice clean graded wash down to the top of the hill area.
GRAEME Yeah. My colours are pretty basic. I’m just using Indian Yellow mixed with the previous colour, which was Cerulean Blue just
GRAEME Yeah. to get the wash on. I’ve got a Daniel Smith colour palette available from Luke Seniors.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yes.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA And you can play around with the paints and dissolve them and see what colours they do, which is pretty handy.
GRAEME Yeah. And as you come down just a bit of Viridian and add that in. Burnt Sienna I’d say I use more Burnt Sienna than anything in the world.
GRAEME Yeah. I’ll go through tube after tube of Burnt Sienna. It mixes with absolutely everything, great colour.
GRAEME Yeah. I hate primary colours, I prefer mixed colours and often you know, you get a good colour by just mixing the sludge on your palette.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA It comes up with a nice dulled down sort of greeny-grey. So I’m just going into some red, just filling in but who cares
GRAEME Yeah. that will do something.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Happy mistake.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Yeah, happy mistake. Alright we’re up to the hills now. Just using a small Hake brush, and the trick with the horizon
GRAEME Yeah. is to leave some gaps, or to make it softer at least.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Ar ha.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA In a couple of places so you can…
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Rub it out.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Rub it out with the towel. The trick is a bit like oil painting, you have to, with watercolour, have some lost and found.
GRAEME Yeah. You have to have sharp parts and you also have to have soft parts, which watercolourists tend to think they don’t need but they do.
GRAEME Yeah. Alright so we get this tree line in over here. Use your water and if you think you’ve gone wrong somewhere,
GRAEME Yeah. just use the water to soften it and pull it down. Just catch some and drag it down. It reduces, so just dots and dashes,
GRAEME Yeah. a little smaller up there.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME I can see that you’re continuously referring back to your picture all the time.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA The image, what’s in front of me. Yes absolutely. As you see things that you didn’t pick up before,
GRAEME Yeah. so I’m just going to put in just a darker hill area in the middle. There’s a road coming down that hill so to do the road we just
GRAEME Yeah. leave some paint showing basically.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME There you go.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA And I’m just going to put some paddocks in. When you leave the previous wash on, it leaves shapes and
GRAEME Yeah. artifacts and things that can look like roads or pathways or something. You just get a, you just get a negative space…
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Which means something. If you’re putting on paint with watercolour it always fades back as well, so you can afford to go fairly strong
GRAEME Yeah. because it does dry lighter. And we’ll just get this back down again and keep using thicker
GRAEME Yeah. paint now where we put that wash in I can paint straight into it with thicker paint. You can see the thicker paint. I don’t know
GRAEME Yeah. if you can see that?
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA But for people who are just learning watercolour they have a lot of trouble mixing paint so use thick and water and thin.
GRAEME Yeah. And on a level from one to ten, the wash I’m using now is probably nine. So that’s relative to how much water you mix with watercolour.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah. To a certain extent they’re linear and they’re positioned such that you’re balancing all the time.
GRAEME Yeah. Now it’s going from left to right.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Part of the fact of you doing this is that so many people can enjoy your workshops throughout the world.
GRAEME Yeah. And you’ve done workshops in France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, England. You’ve got Denmark and Germany coming up,
GRAEME Yeah. and also you’ve got a Baltic cruise coming up, which I think is amazing. You can go on a cruise and be with Amanda while she teaches
GRAEME Yeah. you watercolour painting, which I think is amazing. Who do you actually do that with?
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Yes. That’s Travelrite International. They have two offices – one at Balwyn and one at Heathmont.
GRAEME Yeah. And Shaun Wallace is organizing my trips for me
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Okay.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA And yes it’s coming up in July this year so anyone’s welcome to join me we have a pretty good time.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Fantastic.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA We paint two paintings a day.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yes.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA And the cruise ship is always good fun and people seam to really enjoy it. I’ve done three cruise ships before and had
GRAEME Yeah. a jolly good time. So as we move forward the trees get bigger, they’re coming right down at us. But this is point three that
GRAEME Yeah. I mentioned before about putting on the tones. You’ve got your light, your middle we’re going darker but
GRAEME Yeah. I’m going to go darker again, once I’ve done the shadows and washes and things. So I’m just following tree lines at the
GRAEME Yeah. moment and going out following these. Right just before I put the shadows on the hills at the back I… you realize that
GRAEME Yeah. it’s artistic license to make a big vista, which is impossible to paint the whole length of, and this goes through zero degrees
GRAEME Yeah. to one eighty degrees so I’ve chosen a section of it and I’ve actually pushed it a bit together so that the road that you see in grey,
GRAEME Yeah. which is way over there, I’ve brought it in a bit. So the big hill, the bald bit in the middle, is reduced because it’s not very attractive.
GRAEME Yeah. So I’ve sort of pushed it in and concertinaed it down, so it’s artistic license to do that. So we’re moving into point four, which is
GRAEME Yeah. putting glazing on to get the magic, to get the light hopefully. And then we’re going to put shadows under the trees just to sit
GRAEME Yeah. those down and anchor them to get some reality happening here. And it doesn’t have to be overworked. The trick to watercolour
GRAEME Yeah. is not to overwork it too much. So these vineyards should get in now and put a glaze over as well after. So you don’t need to
GRAEME Yeah. many lines and you certainly don’t put them in rows.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Hmm.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Cause people get in their heads vineyards are in rows, but i f you did it regimented it would look wrong.
GRAEME Yeah. Perfection in art isn’t necessarily the way to go.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA A little bit of lost and found, a little bit of chaos, a little bit of irregularity is often a better way to have
GRAEME Yeah. a painting looking. Okay, so the glaze for the shadows, we’re still doing point four.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA This is putting in the magic shadows, so a different brush, a Neef available at Luke’s.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Luke Seniors. So what we do is just very gently start something like putting in the shadows.
GRAEME Yeah. But take it up into the trees as well so don’t worry about going over what you’ve already done, because that
GRAEME Yeah. gives it another dimension too. These shadows are vital, it links and it also creates a sense of dimension.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME So who’s influenced you over the years with your work? You must have artists.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Oh gosh, everybody and everyone.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA I suppose my very first influence was a watercolour that my parents had of Penleigh Boyd…
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yes.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA …that I use to look at wondering how on earth it was done.
GRAEME Yeah. GRAEME Yeah.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA I know now. But when you look at it when you’re five or six you haven’t got a clue.
GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA So he was one of my first influences, Penleigh Boyd. And Norman Lindsay was the next. I just feel in love with his books first and I discovered he was a painter as well. GRAEME Yeah. There you go. AMANDA I found the books and then found his paintings and that was the beginning of my love affair with watercolour. GRAEME Sure. AMANDA And of course the great American, Sargent, Whistler and Sorolla the Spanish chap. I never used to paint vertically GRAEME Of course. AMANDA So I taught myself to paint vertically. GRAEME So in painting the landscape, you’ve got such a variety in the work that you do. You’ve got Portraiture as well, you know beautiful pictures like ‘A Fine Red’, and then you’ve got other pictures from the Gondola Building, Helsinki Harbour. AMANDA Yeah. GRAEME And one of my favorites because I think the light is absolutely fantastic in this picture, is the Malaysian Market light. AMANDA Yeah, yeah its all about the light. GRAEME The buildings, people, the landscapes. You’re so diverse with what you do. AMANDA Well I think a true artist has to be able to paint all subjects and all mediums basically. GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA Alright we’re just going to do the foreground now. Now the foreground is just in front of us and there’s a fence in front of us but its all grass. So the Fan brush again, a bit of this sort of activity. And get a Hake and pull it all around. GRAEME The actual dark portrays the light as well. AMANDA Yeah that’s it. So just while this is working out what to do with itself… GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA This area here is boring, what I call boring. So it’s dry enough to just wet and then get a glaze on it too. So just wet the top because you want a distinction. So we could just glaze the bottom… GRAEME Oh there you go. AMANDA …and leave the top a bit lighter so the eye goes onto there. GRAEME Yes. AMANDA So I’m up to just pulling it all together. That’s better, that’s given it – see the light, and now focuses on this road… GRAEME Yes. AMANDA …and up into here. So it’s all about using, use your water. It’s all about the water and letting it run a bit. I’m basically not looking at that anymore I’m basically just free falling now. GRAEME Yeah. AMANDA And finishing off the painting like I think it should be finished. I’m… these Hake brushes are wonderful for areas, these are fudge areas. That’s a fudge area, the corners, the sides are fudge areas. The last thing is a bit of white gouache. I don’t have a problem using white, some do but I certainly don’t. Not too many, you just don’t want too many take your eye. Just let the brush… just fall on the page basically. Just hit it. The last thing – I just put a couple of Burnt Sienna In Your Life and all the great artists in this county.
Just let the brush… just fall on the page basically. Just hit it. The last thing – I just put a couple of Burnt Sienna In Your Life and all the great artists in this county.
bits very thin in strategic places. The slightest touch in the right place makes the difference between an amateur and a professional
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. I think. Ta Da Done. I think I nailed it.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. GRAEME It looks fantastic. Really well done.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. AMANDA Good on you.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. GRAEME Okay guys, another fantastic day with an internationally renowned artist.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. AMANDA Thanks Graeme.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. GRAEME Thank you Amanda, that was fantastic.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. AMANDA It was fun to do.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. GRAEME Thank you so much.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. AMANDA I enjoyed it.
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. GRAEME An amazing, amazing result from a woman that really does so much with so little sometimes. That’s the thing that amazes me,
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. it’s incredible. Also once again I’d like to thank, once again, Luke Senior from Seniors Arts. Luke’s a fantastic guy behind Colour
In Your Life and all the great artists in this county. AMANDA Absolutely. GRAEME We can’t thank Senior Art enough. And Travelrite AMANDA Travelrite International. GRAEME Absolutely, because Travelrite enables people to go away on fantastic tours to work with master artists all over the world leaving from this country. So if you want to go on some of these tours just go to Traverite and have a look at their website. Also your website address as well so everyone can come in and have a look at you, and come along and do Amanda’s workshops. What is it? AMANDA It’s just amandahyatt.com. GRAEME amandahyatt.com. AMANDA Google me. Just Google it. GRAEME Okay. And then obviously colourinyourlife.com.au and come and see us on our Facebook page as well. But thank you so much. AMANDA It’s been great. GRAEME It’s been fantastic. It’s a magnificent area as well with an amazing artist and beautiful work. But we are going to head off again. Remember guys – make sure you Put Some Colour In Your Life and we’ll see you next time. AMANDA Bye! GRAEME Bye now. Bye.

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