Journey to Sunlight - Oil Painting

It's not often that the client is living in the same house. My good friend and flatmate Matt commissioned me to paint a scene that he had photographed from Mt Hutt looking down on the Rakaia Gorge. With the patchwork nature of the Canterbury Plains I knew it was going to be a challenge! And one I couldn't hide from the client :)

During the painting process there are times when it looks nothing like the final outcome. But the painter has the proceeding layers mapped out in their head. Thankfully Matt enjoyed watching the painting throughout each of the stages.

Below you can see some of the steps throughout the project. I have also created a time lapse of the painting coming together.

 Early stages.

Early stages.

 Detail of brushwork.

Detail of brushwork.

 Working at night requires extra lighting.

Working at night requires extra lighting.

 Colour matching is so much easier outside.

Colour matching is so much easier outside.

 Journey to Sunlight, 2018, Oil on canvas, 900 x 450mm (35.4 in x 17.7 in)

Journey to Sunlight, 2018, Oil on canvas, 900 x 450mm (35.4 in x 17.7 in)


HWK Fundraiser Painting - 'Under the Blue'

When approached to help with a charity art auction to help raise funds for The Kings and Queen's Kapa Haka group I jumped at the chance to be involved.

Each artist was sent out a 'patu' shaped board to paint. Patu is a term used for a broad-blade club used by Māori warriors for close-quarter fighting. When I received the board I ponded what to create. The shape reminded me of a whale with its wide body and narrow tail. Remembering that the patu is a weapon I thought it even more appropriate to paint an animal that needs us to fight for its protection more than ever.

It wasn't until writing this blog that I realised that patu were sometimes made from whale bone. I find that almost spokey.

Watch below as I build up the layers of 'Under the Blue'.

 2018, Oil on Patu Panel, 420x145mm, (16.5 in x 5.7 in)

2018, Oil on Patu Panel, 420x145mm, (16.5 in x 5.7 in)

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Portrait Oil Painting - Alan Dobson

Quite often my portrait commissions are a surprise for someone. It makes it exciting waiting for the big 'reveal'. I finished this painting in December and can finally reveal it to you now. This is a painting of my Great Uncle Alan it was commissioned by his son Colin. Colin flew over from Melbourne to pick up the painting and surprised his mother with the painting. She was delighted. What a beautiful gesture from a son to his mother, just in time for Mother's Day.

I have made a behind the scenes video to show the process of the painting coming to life. Check it out below.

 2017, Oil on canvas, 350 x 450mm , (13.7 in x 17.7 in)

2017, Oil on canvas, 350 x 450mm , (13.7 in x 17.7 in)


A drastic way to fix an Oil Painting - Time Lapse

I had this painting of a summer hat but unfortunately it was damaged, so rather than fixing it I decided to have a bit of abstract fun with it instead.

Abstracts aren't usually my thing, I'm not trained in creating these but I felt like a little relaxation 😊 It was a lot of fun and has given me some ideas for future projects I want to try out. Don't you just love the textures and colour combinations here!

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Landscape Oil Painting - Mt Aspiring

This painting was such a thrill to create. I worked from a photograph I took from a helicopter of Mt Aspiring, New Zealand. How lucky I felt to see this magnificent mountain up close! 

Watch this artwork come together from sketch through to the final result.

To read more about this painting see an earlier post here.

 Mt Aspiring, 2017, Oil on canvas, 700 x 400mm , (27.5 in x 15.7 in)

Mt Aspiring, 2017, Oil on canvas, 700 x 400mm , (27.5 in x 15.7 in)


Yosemite Landscape Painting - Process Photos

It is hard to believe it has been 8 years since I started painting the Yosemite painting. It took me over a year to complete and it travelled from America to New Zealand with me.

Here are some photos of the process and a younger looking me!

 The very begining. 

The very begining. 

I had to use two easels to hold up this rather large blank canvas. It was winter time in the States and the sun would go down about 5pm so I was often working under lights.

 So intent on get the right view point I would kneel for hours.

So intent on get the right view point I would kneel for hours.

 Early stages.

Early stages.

 The last progress photo in the States before transporting the painting to New Zealand.

The last progress photo in the States before transporting the painting to New Zealand.

 Progress in New Zealand.

Progress in New Zealand.

 Now working in the New Zealand Winter under lights.

Now working in the New Zealand Winter under lights.

 The final push to the end.

The final push to the end.

 I remember small sections would take me hours.

I remember small sections would take me hours.

 The final piece. Yosemite. 2011, Acrylic on canvas, 1016mm x 609mm (40 in x 24 in)

The final piece. Yosemite. 2011, Acrylic on canvas, 1016mm x 609mm (40 in x 24 in)

The artwork now resides back in the States in California. It took over 125 hours to paint and was one of my most ambitious pieces of that time. The detail of this landscape was a challenge I relished. See some of the detail up close in the photos below.

 

Pet Portrait Oil Painting - Rueben the Dog

I thoroughly enjoyed this commission last year. An oil painting of Rueben the Dog. I loved the challenge of creating enough mood that dog stood out from the tussocks. This dog had sadly past away so I wanted to bring life back to Rueben through this painting. The client was stoked when she saw it for the first time as a surprise gift.

Check out the video below which shows this painting evolve throughout the layers.

 Reuben the Dog, 2017, Oil on canvas, 350 x 450mm , (13.7 in x 17.7 in)

Reuben the Dog, 2017, Oil on canvas, 350 x 450mm , (13.7 in x 17.7 in)


Ink & Wash Time Lapse - Happy Fox

Recently some dear friends of mine had a baby boy. I couldn't resist drawing a gift for the new bub to represent my excitement for the arrival of such a treasure!! Check out the video below showing the drawing come to life.

 Finished sketch unframed.

Finished sketch unframed.

 Finished sketch all framed.

Finished sketch all framed.


Old Blue Black Robin Sketch

I created this sketch of 'Old Blue' the black robin was a thank you gift for a writer. She wrote a story designed to help my Mother's students who have difficulties in reading. A wonderful story about the revival of the black robin population. I was so taken by this writers generosity in offering her story to those in need, so I wanted to help in the form of a sketch.

 Old Blue Black Robin, 2018, Ink & Wash on paper, 148mm x 210mm (5.8 in x 8.3 in)

Old Blue Black Robin, 2018, Ink & Wash on paper, 148mm x 210mm (5.8 in x 8.3 in)

Watch 'Old Blue' the black robin come to life. Here I show the process of drawing in the black robin bird after I have first laid down some watercolour washes. I really enjoyed drawing this wee native bird and must do some more.


Raising funds for the Christchurch City Mission

Recently I saw a sad figure walking down a street in my home city, Christchurch. The person was pushing a shopping trolley filled with their possessions but what was most haunting was they had covered their face with a threadbare blanket. I found this so heartbreaking to see a person so ashamed of their predicament that they had covered their identity.

 Sketch of the haunting homeless figure I saw which prompted my response. 

Sketch of the haunting homeless figure I saw which prompted my response. 

I felt compelled to stop and help but the blanket made me unsure of how approachable this person would be. So I decided to create this give a little page to raise fundings for the Christchurch City Mission. The work the mission does for those in need is invaluable - providing ways to improve the quality of people’s lives and enable them to be more self sufficient.

As a local artist I would like to see my art helping others in a positive way. As part of this fundraising effort I am donating a limited edition giclee print of 'Everything is Temporary' a sketch of the Christchurch Cathedral depicted as a sand castle, as a gift to a randomly selected donor as a thank you from me. 

 Limited edition giclee print on 100% cotton rag paper. 330mm x 345mm.

Limited edition giclee print on 100% cotton rag paper. 330mm x 345mm.

Any amount you are willing to donate is greatly appreciated. Together we hope to help make a change to the lives of those in need. Visit the give a little page below to donate.

givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/helping-the-homeless-raising-funds

 

I AM / WE ARE - Group Exhibition

Last night was the opening for the I AM / WE ARE exhibition held at the Welder Collective. This is the last group exhibition to be held at the Welder Collective on Welles St before the building is transformed into another venture. The exhibition runs till February 28th.

The theme of the exhibition was to reflect on our roots and how this has affected us along our artistic journey. Its hard to forget the CHCH quakes, it was an event that will stay with me forever. It was a time when we realised that as much as we would like to create structures that will last forever unfortunately mother nature is always stronger. Much like a sand castle 'Everything is Temporary' which is the title of this piece. Yet there is an element of hope to this piece, by taking an almost 'childlike' perspective like they do towards sand castles that nature will have its way but we must accept it.

 The finished sketch unframed.

The finished sketch unframed.

As part of the theme each artist was also to submit an influence piece. This could be something that was given to them by a loved one. I chose to submit a poem written for me by my mother, below is the text I included in the programme: 

A poem from one of her number one fans - Mum. Growing up, Georgette knew she always had the support of both parents on her artistic journey. Her mother once told her “Fools and children should never see things half done”. This quote has served her well as she has often reminded herself of this comment when reviewing her own work at various stages of completion.

 The framed work hung at the I AM / WE ARE exhibition at the Welder Collective.

The framed work hung at the I AM / WE ARE exhibition at the Welder Collective.

 Close up on the poem.

Close up on the poem.


My first solo exhibition

I had never dreamed at the start of this year that by the end of January I would be exhibiting my work in my own show. Yet indeed this is what happened. With the help of my friend Lorraine I stumbled upon an opportunity too good to miss. A gallery space in the Arts Centre had become available the week of the World Buskers Festival so there would be a greater amount of foot traffic. I had to dispense with the fear and just do it!

So with just one week before opening I managed to get together enough of my work to fill the four walls. As well as organising paintings to to be scanned and printed at the printers and getting them produced in time for opening. It was an intense week!

This exhibition could not have been possible without the help of many people. Lorraine, who has owned many galleries, manned the show for me throughout the week days. She taught me so much throughout the week about how exhibitions work. My father helped me set up the exhibition on the Monday. My mother and partner supported me during the weekend with manning the show. At times it got very busy so it was so great to have their help.

For me it was so lovely to see how the public reacted to my work by seeing what their favourite pieces were and explaining the stories behind those pieces.  I was overwhelmed (in the very best way) by the support of friends and family who came in to see the exhibition and feel so honoured to be surrounded by such love.

 Me looking chuffed at the exhibition. Sketches and prints behind me.

Me looking chuffed at the exhibition. Sketches and prints behind me.

Click to the right hand end of this picture above to view more photos.

 Lorraine and I colour matching with the paintings behind us.

Lorraine and I colour matching with the paintings behind us.

My plan was that I would use the walls of the gallery leaving the floor space available to promote the talented work of my father Chris Thompson of Thompson woodworking. He designs and crafts custom furniture, to view his work see his site thompsonwoodworking.nz

 The talented work of Chris Thompson.

The talented work of Chris Thompson.

Over the course of the weekend I set up a Go Pro to capture the coming and goings of people during the exhibition. This is just some of the weekend.


Portrait Painting - Ginny Yellow Top

Recently I got to spend time with my gorgeous wee niece Ginny over the Christmas holiday. Gosh how she had grown since I had painted this portrait. It was wonderful spending time with her and watching her learn to walk. Then she hoped on the plane with her parents back to the US.

Here is a video of the process I took to paint this portrait earlier last year. I was such a pleasure to paint, as I knew it would be for my own collection, I could relax into the process more than normal. And obviously I was inspired by the subject too! Enjoy the video.


Watercolour Wash - How To Video

Recently I had a request to show how I create my watercolour washes in my illustrations. Here I go through the whole process explaining my approach. In essence it's all about having fun!

It was quite cool recording my first 'How To' video. It was interesting analysing my process to be able to convey it in the video. This was also my first attempt at doing a voice over. It is quite strange hearing your own voice on the video. I took several takes until I had to say "that'll do".

This video shows the process I use to create the coloured areas used in drawings like below.


A Wonderful Surprise!

I was thrilled to open the mail to find my penguin painting received an Honourable Mention in the painting competition I had entered recently. Pretty cool to see my work printed in the The New Zealand Artist magazine. Huge congrats to all the winners!

So if you see this copy of The New Zealand Artist magazine in stores be sure to flick to page 5 to see my work.

I got quite the kick out of seeing my work among the other entries. It has given me a little boost of confidence to go and enter a few more competitions.

Featured on the New Zealand Magazine website here: www.thenzartist.co.nz/competition

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 My painting "Time to Reflect" top left on the right hand page.

My painting "Time to Reflect" top left on the right hand page.


Painting Time Lapse - The entire process

Wahoo!! My first ever time lapse of the entire painting process!! I've learned so much and made so many mistakes along the way from filming to editing and spent waay to long selecting the 'right song' but here it is.

I wanted to show the whole process from prepping the board right through signing it off. Still getting the hang of filming there were some mishaps along the way. I missed most of the sketching as I hadn't properly hit record and I took 20 minutes of blurry film as I hadn't focused the scene.

Compressing many hours of film down to 1 minute is quite the task. What I found super interesting while editing was that well over half the time the brush is not on the canvas. I didn't calculate the percentage but it was rather high. There is a lot of thinking that happens when painting, always planning your next move, and as you know there is no handy undo button.


Nothing like a deadline

Recently I decided to enter a competition to see how I might get on. Coming across the competition late in the piece I left myself 4 weeks until the entries closed. I then realised it was subject specific and nothing I previously painted would fit the theme.

The theme was the New Zealand environment with a focus on areas we needed to take care of. I chose to paint a scene of a penguin splashing through the shallows. I liked the way the penguin almost looked down at his own reflection. Titled 'Time to Reflect' my concept was our need to reflect upon our individual responsibilities to take care of our precious environment, for it is our actions that effect the defenseless. Environmental responsibility is a subject I am passionate about.

 Myself and the final piece.

Myself and the final piece.

 2017, Oil on canvas, 203 x 203mm , (8 in x 8 in)

2017, Oil on canvas, 203 x 203mm , (8 in x 8 in)

 Detail. 2017, Oil on canvas, 203 x 203mm , (8 in x 8 in)

Detail. 2017, Oil on canvas, 203 x 203mm , (8 in x 8 in)


Grazing in Glentunnel - Landscape Oil Painting

It's always satisfying looking back over the process of a painting in retrospect and seeing it come to life. Throughout the process there are often times when it feels like portions are not working out. It's part of the challenge of painting - resolving areas until you are happy with the final result.

Here is 'Grazing in Glentunnel' from start to finish shown in progression. At the end of each step or session I would take a photo. First is the acrylic wash, then a charcoal sketch and then building up the oil layers.

Music: Good Old Times (Alex Cohen)

Grazing in Glentunnel, 2017, Oil on canvas, 700 x 400mm , (27.5 in x 15.7 in)


Observational painting practice - 10 minute apples

I am always wanting to improve and learn new things when it comes to art. I usually paint from photographs for reference but I want to learn more about drawing and painting from life.

There is something so challenging about working from a realtime subject, the lighting changes and the perspective changes as you tilt your head. But as the impressionists found out, there are some colours and observations you can only make from life and not from a photograph. For example a photograph will flatten the colours out within shadows and detail is lost, detail that our eyes can see.

So I wanted to start simple with some quick observational paintings at home. I can’t take credit for this exercise as it was one I read in the book Daily painting by Carol Marine. She is a master at daily painting and paints mostly still lifes from life in her studio. I found her book very inspiring and she gives lots of handy tips she has discovered along her art career.

10 Minute Apples:

Setup your painting surface with 8 or more small squares. Light your apple dramatically and set the timer. Sketch and paint the apple in your first space. When the timer goes off - stop and don't go back to fix anything (as temping as it is I know!). Then change the angle, maybe even the lighting and paint it again mixing up the compositions as you go.

With the pressure of time it forces us to simplify the shapes and focus on conveying the most important things. Looking back I could reduce my brushstrokes even further (I can't help but pop some detail in!). Give it a go it’s so much fun!

 My 10 minute apples.

My 10 minute apples.

If you are interested in Carol Marine's book it is available on Amazon here.


20 Days, 20 Sketches

This July I challenged myself to create a draw each day for 20 days. I wanted to celebrate reaching 200 followers on my Facebook page the best way I know how - to create.

It was a great way to explore and refine new techniques. I mixed things up with a range of realistic charcoal sketches and looser 'Wash & Ink' imaginative drawings. With my Wash & Ink drawings I splash a bit of watercolour on a page and then let the story reveal itself. These drawings are quite liberating.

What I also found interesting was the pressure of sharing a new drawing daily. Drawing each day was easy. Producing something that I felt was to the standard I wanted to share was much harder. Often drawings in the past have spread over days (if not longer) until I felt they were finished but with this challenge I wanted each piece to be completed within the day of sharing. Thankfully the pressure paid off and I am proud of the drawings I created over the 20 day journey.

So here are the 20 drawings I created: