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My first painting this year was a portrait of my brother, Timothy. I had the painting on the go for a year, and finished it during my January holidays. My dear brother passed away 4 years ago of a physical illness none of us knew he had, including himself. So I lost my only brother. But he has been a companion in my studio for some time. Now that the painting is at my parents (it was their 45th wedding anniversary recently), I am keenly missing the painting, as it was a constant reminder of him. So I’ve found living with original artwork both enriching and endearing, and very meaningful.
As well as my oil paintings, I am currently developing a series of artworks for baby’s nursery and children’s bedrooms. I am painting these works on acrylic instead of my usual oils. Acrylic has an immediacy which I am finding wonderful!
In my last blog I featured my daughter Alice’s 2 oil paintings, (see below). Well there’s another painting in my Alice’s room now, I completed it the day before her 5th birthday party. I painted it in acrylic, as it needed to dry in time for the party game “Pin the Tail Feather on the Flamingo“. It was a hit!
A giclee print is a printed digital reproduction of an artwork.
I’ve had gallery quality giclee (pronounced zee-clay) prints made for many of my paintings.
The top 5 reasons I reproduce my original oil paintings:
I started my art-life out in printmaking, where multiple copies can be made from a single plate or block.
High quality printed reproductions of paintings make art comparatively accessible and affordable. I believe art should be made available to as many people as possible.
In the technological age, it is possible to obtain a very accurate reproduction of an oil painting, and whilst is a significant investment, it is economically viable.
Taking reproductions has many commercial applications. Aside from selling the print as wall art, I have also have a range of high quality greeting cards, gift cards, and gift tags. There are many more possibilities.
Being a trained lawyer, I like to keep copies of everything!
During 2009, I worked in the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide headquarters – the Goodman Building, on Hackney Road in Adelaide. There I conducted a legal review of legislation protecting South Australia’s conservation and biodiversity. I loved every moment of that role. Having returned to studies in environmental planning and management, it was the type of role I was hoping to engage in.
This is my first post since I published my website.
Since then, my art practice has ramped up a few notches. It has been a very exciting and productive time for me. I have taken a couple of opportunities which have arisen.
First, There was an opportunity to participate in a SALA exhibition:
Adelaide Hills Point of View – Artwork inspired by your perspective of the Adelaide Hills.
My entry, an oil painting entitled Camellia, 76 x 76 cm, is inspired by winter trips to the Mt Lofty Botanic Garden with my then finance, Simon. All rugged up and in love, with lots of camellias, everywhere. This painting was completed in late 2014. The exhibition is in its 2nd year, and apparently it was very popular in its 1st year. So it is going ahead next week, as part of the SALA festival.
I spent some time on the weekend drawing with paint. Instead of drawing my subject in willow charcoal and then underpainting in acrylic, I used my brush to paint, hence ‘drawing with paint’. I used oil paint, painting it straight onto a fresh canvas. I had a beautiful but wilting bouquet of Western Australian gum blossom.
I have always been nervous to paint Corymbia Ficifolia, the red flowering gum. Maybe as they are one of my all time favourite flowers. Anyhow, the result of painting in this way is that a completed signed painting is now hanging in my hallway, within 24 hours.
A few years ago I completed a monoprint of a water lillie, the Nymphaea Lillie. It was based on a photo I took in the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, in South Australia. I have always wanted to do an oil painting of the same subject.
Some parts of the painting, mainly the top third, show the acrylic underpainting. The rest of the painting I have painted with the first layer of oil paint. The painting will most likely come alive when I paint the flower’s centre, it will give depth and richness of colour.
This is the painting I am working on this week. Its 24 x 30 inches.
Nymphaea Lilly, oil on canvas, Elisabeth Howlett, [on my easel]
For my birthday last year I had received a number of “spatulas” to apply paint, instead of my usual hog hair brushes. I was inspired by a Melbourne artist to try some different tools.
Some of these new tools were from the artist range Princeton Catalyst … very fancy! They have a large variety of durable and imaginative tools; alternatives to the traditional paint brush. Others were from ‘borrowed’ from my kitchen and others sourced from local cooking stores.
The following 2 photos are painted straight onto canvas board, with no under painting or drawing, the subject being Red Capped Gum, Eucalyptus Erythrocorys.
Red Capped Gum, oil on canvas board, Elisabeth Howlett, December 2014
Being limited for space on our most recent beach holiday I didn’t want to bring all of my oil painting gear. Instead, I included some small canvas boards, charcoals, oil pastels and some acrylics. What I had in mind was to do drawing and acrylic underpainting for an oil painting to complete on my return home. Instead, I ended up having a lot of fun with the oil pastels by painting , i.e., straight onto canvas board, alla prima, with no drawing either. Not a traditional approach but hey, I was on holidays, and it was fun.
After 10 years of painting, I have recently begun to paint portraits of people. Until then I had focused on flowers, bouquets and still life.
One evening I completed a self portrait; a simple charcoal drawn from a recent photograph. It was my first attempt at drawing a person or a face.
That day my then 3 year old daughter had painted some bright acrylic colours onto the canvas board. It caught my eye and as the canvas was not blank, it was easier to commence. The result was surprising, (I say humbly), as it actually looked a bit like me! Please note though this is my first ever go at drawing a face!
Self Portrait, charcoal & acrylic on canvas board, Elisabeth Howlett, 2014