painting

I'm addicted to creating

I've been thinking that there are some parallels between my need to paint and descriptions of addiction. But addicted in good way.

Looking back there were signs even at a young age. My Aunty Mary took me away for a beach holiday to one of our favourite beaches when I was five or six. It was a wonderful time but we hadn't packed any drawing paper. As soon she returned me home I dove into the hot water cupboard where the scrap paper was stored and then furiously started drawing out ideas on the floor. My Aunty commented that obviously I had been missing drawing equipment!

During primary school images were much easier for me to relate to than words. And word soon got out that I could draw. Kids would pass their books down the table for me to draw up a fancy title page for the latest topic.

Once when I was collected from school I announced I had had the best day ever at school.  "We did art all day. We drew pictures and made sculptures. If only school was like that every day!" I still agree with that statement, if only everyday was filled with art.

Returning from a fun weekend staying with a friend I was in a really bad mood. After some questioning from my mother I said, "Yes I had fun but I didn't get any of my project work done and I have so many ideas."

Later on in my high school years I would be up late on a painting roll. Mum would put her head around the corner and say “Come on, time to go to bed.” In those days I painted in acrylics so I had a handy excuse up my sleeve “Oh but I've just mixed up some colours Mum. I can't stop now or they'll dry” so she would leave me for another hour, for which I would have conveniently just mixed another batch by the time she came back hehe! At which point she said “You would paint all night if I let you!” And of course I replied “Then why don't you!?”

Nowadays I think about painting all the time. It's like I'm itching to get my next fix. Planning the next strokes on a painting. Seeing a sunrise and analysing how I would mix the colours. Looking at photos and breaking down the shapes in my mind. Looking at a landscape and planning the order of the layers. When there are days when I don't paint I'm anxious to when I can next get on the brushes. And when there are multiple days not painting I'm almost tapping and the table wanting to get back to it.

Am I obsessed? I hope I don’t come across that way. I think it is healthy to have a passion and a drive. Everyone needs one. I feel lucky that I have found mine and I discovered it so early on in life. It is comforting that it is something that has always been with me and always will be. It’s like a loyal friend.

 A young Georgette aged 4 years. Much later in life I painted this as gift for my sister.

A young Georgette aged 4 years. Much later in life I painted this as gift for my sister.

 Picking up on harmonise colours from a young age. Pig, aged 5 1/2 years.

Picking up on harmonise colours from a young age. Pig, aged 5 1/2 years.

 A witch with many rings. Aged 8 years.

A witch with many rings. Aged 8 years.

 Comic strip of characters I developed aged 10 years.

Comic strip of characters I developed aged 10 years.

 Scotty dog, aged 11 years.

Scotty dog, aged 11 years.

 Happy family. Vampire family drawing aged 11 years.

Happy family. Vampire family drawing aged 11 years.

 Mural on Ashburton College 2017. Aged 17 years.

Mural on Ashburton College 2017. Aged 17 years.

 'Young Georgette' Acrylic on board, 2007. Aged 17 years.

'Young Georgette' Acrylic on board, 2007. Aged 17 years.


The Canvas Project - A Visual Encylopedia

I think it's important to find ways to renew inspiration in our creative endeavours. Inspiration from external or unexpected places can result in you exploring a direction you may not have otherwise thought of. So I decided to join The Canvas Project by The Brooklyn Art Library. The project is best described by The Brooklyn Art Library

...a visual encyclopedia compiled by creative people from around the world, completed on mini canvases. As a kickoff to this challenge, our artist community contributed words that are meant to inspire and energize their fellow artists. We have exactly 2,000 prompted words that will make up the entirety of The Canvas Project.
— Brooklyn Art Library

Put simply each artist receives a tiny canvas and a word to express in their own way. The artist returns that canvas and then receives another artist's from somewhere in the world. All the canvases will be scanned to then compile in a visual encyclopedia book. How fun!

The word I received was "Mallam". Which I have to admit I had to look up the meaning. "Mallam is an honorific title given to Islamic scholars." I searched around for a figure that advocated for good and came across, Makarem Shirazi an Iranian religious leader. In reference to underage marriage Makarem stated that "although such marriages were permitted in the past, in modern times it has been demonstrated that they are not in the best interest of the parties involved and should be considered invalid".

 The final painting

The final painting

blog-canvas-project-9.jpg
blog-canvas-project-7.jpg

Watch the painting come to life in the time lapse below.


Front Cover - The New Zealand Artist Magazine

Even as I write this one week on from the magazine's release, I still don't quite believe it. My painting chosen for the cover of the New Zealand Artist! Crazy.

I feel very honoured to be have been chosen and it has been quite the buzz this past week. It certainly was the most surreal feeling to walk into the bookstore and see my work staring back at me from the shelves.

 A very excited Georgette holding her cover of the New Zealand Artist magazine at the local bookstore.

A very excited Georgette holding her cover of the New Zealand Artist magazine at the local bookstore.

 Close up of the cover.

Close up of the cover.

 Oh fancy that! Look what found its way onto the coffee table.

Oh fancy that! Look what found its way onto the coffee table.

 The article, page 14.

The article, page 14.

blog-NZ-Artist-Magazine-3.jpg

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)

blog-under-the-blue-final-3.jpg
blog-under-the-blue-final-2.jpg

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!

blog-abstract-over-hat-final.jpg

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)


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.


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.


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)


Grazing in Glentunnel - Landscape Oil Painting

It's not every day you get to 'break into' a house to deliver a painting. This was the surprise waiting for the client arriving home from her honeymoon. By 'break into' I mean - let in by the house-sitter to hang the painting in place.

 Grazing in Glentunnel insitu above the fire place.

Grazing in Glentunnel insitu above the fire place.

I started this commission in January, it was to be a surprise wedding gift. So I have been itching to reveal the results - but only after the client had seen it first! Thankfully they arrived home yesterday.

I am stoked with how this painting worked out and I am truly going to miss it. I find the colours so typically 'kiwi' and restful yet there is also an energy to vibrant colours. I took a series of photos out at the farm to work from. I returned home thinking I hadn't quite captured the true essence of the place but after a little merging of different shots I came up with a composition that both I and the client were happy with.

This was my first time painting a cow I'm quite happy with how this came out. Check out some of the detail photos below.

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

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

Detail photos - click on the right side of the photo to see more.


Firenze - Portrait Painting

It has been a few months since my last 'proper' portrait. So I am excited to have started off a new one last week! Itching to get stuck into this project.

So I thought I'd show a bit of the process of 'Firenze'. I did this portrait as a birthday present for my partner's 30th. We came across this chap in a bustling market square in Florence. We wondered what was his story, was he waiting for someone, was he contemplating something or was he just having a rest?

 Firenze, 2016, Oil on canvas, 350mm x 450mm (13.7 in x 17.7 in)

Firenze, 2016, Oil on canvas, 350mm x 450mm (13.7 in x 17.7 in)

 First session VS final session. Clearly a bit of time between these two shots.

First session VS final session. Clearly a bit of time between these two shots.

Below shows the progression of the painting and the various steps along the way. I start off with a charcoal sketch on top of an acrylic wash. Then a monotone value study where I figure out where my high and low lights will be. This give me a road map for the rest of the painting. Then into building he coloured layers.

  Progress photos:  From start to finish.

Progress photos: From start to finish.

Watch the time lapse of the painting coming together below.


Mt Aspiring Painting Finished

Finished this bad boy of Mt Aspiring last week. It ended up taking longer than I expected to complete this painting. I had thought I would try a quicker style on this but then I couldn't resist and had to put the detail back in. As I explained in an earlier post this landscape is painted from a photo I took helicoptering over the Southern Alps. I remember circling Mt Aspiring, the sharp peaks standing so impressively. There were some hikers near the top on the other side which made me feel rather lazy at that moment. I bet it was hard work getting up that high!

As always, I learn from every painting. This time I was reminded of the value of "just paint over it and start again". I had a particular corner of this painting that was not working. I struggled with it for weeks until I just went over it. Fixing the corner in a matter of minutes! Sometimes a fresh approach is all you need.

 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)


Painting Time Lapse - Dog Portrait

My first time lapse of my painting progress. You get to see the way I work as I add extra detail to this dog portrait. Turns out painting with a camera in the way is more challenging than I thought!
Music: Myself dabbling on the acoustic guitar

I learned a lot working on this wee video. Film setup, video cutting, music editing, then adding start and end frames. This was a lot of fun and I hope to get better with the next one.


Making art while making art

It's amazing that you can be making art without even realising it. I looked down at my painting cloth yesterday and just loved the overlapping colours. How often do we stop to reflect on the colours we have mixed on their own, as these are the foundation on which the painting is built. This cloth is the result of years of use. I really must get a new cloth as it is hard to find a clean spot. This can be quite frustrating at times but I love the way it looks. It tells a story of the paintings I have created over the last few years. Some of these colours are never seen in the final paintings and as time goes on the colour of the cloth itself is slowly disappearing.

 Close-up on my painting cloth.

Close-up on my painting cloth.