On an extended trip around Australia I had great intentions of sketching and painting along the way. I did have a few feeble attempts here and there but lack confidence and imagination to get out there and do it myself. By chance I tuned in to a local radio station in country New South Wales to hear that Amanda Hyatt was giving a workshop locally the following weekend. I called and was able to book in and enjoyed a wonderful weekend with this exuberant and energetic teacher. Although sometimes using unorthodox methods Amanda describes herself as a traditional realist impressionist and is a member of the exclusive, prestigious Twenty Melbourne Painters Society.
Amanda also has a dvd
available where she outlines her 5 important steps to painting.
3. Tone or Value
5. Pulling it all together – details ONLY at the end.
These steps were reiterated during each of the paintings she demonstrated during the weekend.
I'll attempt to make some sense from my jumbled notes and fading memory if I can, and I apologise for my lousy photography.
Day 1 started with a landscape taken from a photo Amanda had taken in the Flinders Ranges.
Amanda divides the sheet into thirds, horizontal and vertical and very loosely draws in her composition with a 6b graphite stick. Here she simplifies concentrating only on the big shapes – getting variety – NO detail – always checking the overall effect by stepping back and looking with a mirror over her shoulder.
After a VERY loose sketch mapping out only the basic shapes she wet the distant background and painted into this with Cerulean, Ultramarine and Alizarin Crimson, leaving the tree trunks white. Extra Ultramarine was dropped in where required after checking with the mirror.
When this was dry Cerulean, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber were placed on the shadow side of the trunks. A damp hake was used to soften the colours and branches were pulled out using variations of the colours.
The fan brush was used to scrub in the bush foliage with Indian Yellow, Burnt Sienna and a touch of Ultramarine. Violet was used to darken it in places.
Tree foliage was painted with the fan brush again with a mixture of Cerulean and Burnt Sienna, with Burnt Umber in patches.
The road is a loose wash of Burnt Sienna and Indian Yellow softening the edges where the road and foliage meet.
Now checking the tone – dark thicker Violet, Burnt Sienna and Sepia dropped in wet in wet – dots and dashes here and there moving from side to side – always checking in the mirror for balance. Scratch through some of the darks for smaller trunks.
Next shadows of Ultramarine, Cerulean and Violet were glazed across the road.
A Raw Sienna wash was added to the foreground with Burnt Sienna lines in the road.
Some branches were scribbled in with a rigger and a dark mix of Sepia, Violet and Ultramarine and some in White gouache.
Afternoon session was a difficult one – I thought so anyway. A dynamic view of a old sailing boat.
Once again the importance of the composition is stressed, while simplifying the shapes - accuracy is needed. Details are eliminated.
Amanda goes in boldly with Burnt Sienna brush strokes.
Burnt Umber shadows are placed softening with a damp brush. The figure is indicated only.
Masking tape is placed above the horizon and the water is painted quickly around the figure and the boats with a mixture of Cerulean, Viridian and Sepia, darkening and adding Pthalo blue towards the bottom.
Amanda is very bold with her colours and not afraid to use gouache. All the white foam is gouache painted with the fan brush. The railing and other details are a mix of gouache and colour.
Day 2 Morning
A different technique again. This time a mood painting - Venice in afternoon light in a very impressionistic manner. First a wash of cerulean and ultramarine was applied across the top, changing to alizarin crimson to almost halfway. Then plain water across the centre, then cerulean and finally cerulean and violet.
When dry distant buildings were indicated.
Loose impressionist strokes of strong colour were quickly painted over an initial wash on the right hand buildings.
Gondolas were also painted with simple deft strokes of thicker dark colour, pulling down the reflections with a damp brush.
More bold strokes for the water bringing the colour up into the awning shadows.
Thick Turquoise for the poles and dabbed here and there. Gouache lines and touches for the end detail.
Detail of the simple strokes to indicate the gondolas.
Another landscape from a photo of the valley near her home studio was painted in the afternoon but I think I've used up my quota of uploading pics for now.
It was a treat to watch Amanda in action. She paints with vitality and enthusiasm, and struggles to get the effect she is looking for. These paintings were completed in under an hour while she is talking and explaining at the same time. She constantly checks her progress by squinting and with the mirror.
Amanda teaches at various locations in Australia and also in Europe
. As yet she doesn't have her website up and running but will do so in a couple of weeks. I will add it to this thread when I find out.
I was delighted that I was able to paint with such an outstanding painter. She shares her knowledge and expertise very generously and if you get the opportunity to take a class with her you certainly won't be disappointed.
EDIT - this workshop was a bonus one - I had already booked into another with David Taylor coming up in Brisbane in 2 weeks time so I will do another post on that as well.