Are you staying creative during lockdown? A positive outcome of Covid lockdown has been the length of idle time available for selfless creative activities. My main passion has always been gardening and I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t wander in my garden or the local community garden each day. Creativity enriches my life on so many levels, art, food, gardening, books, teaching grand-children etc.
Favourite medium and subject matter? The range of artists introduced in class has broadened my subject matter for paintings and application style. Painting and mosaics have been important activities for me but I’ve discovered I can control colour better with mosaics than paint. Initially I started with oil paints on canvas using the landscape and flowers for inspiration trying to create Monet influenced work. Later, when my children were young I spent time in Colorado and New Mexico being influenced by American Indian and Spanish art works painting more abstract/graphic works with gouache on paper. Since attending Priya’s Art House Studio I have been using water colours, acrylic paints and soft pastels. Watercolour painting was difficult for me as I tended to apply too much paint and not leave enough white space. I struggled with acrylic paint at first but now enjoy quick drying time and flexibility of application.
What are your artistic goals? To have a greater understanding of the impact of colour in an original composition. I like the results of soft pastels used on my paintings as well. They seem to soften the edges for a more harmonious outcome.
Which artists and/or places around the world have inspired you? The artists I admire and who have influenced me are -
Claude Monet for his garden and his garden paintings being lucky to have visited his garden, Giverny and viewed many original paintings in galleries,
Gustav Klimt for his use of gold leaf and abstract compositions,
Antonio Gaudi where I wandered the streets of Barcelona marvelling his decorative mosaics, incredibly different architectural homes and the spectacular cathedral, Familia Granada nearing completion 2026.
I love all the impressionist painters for their clever use of colour and emphasis on light especially Van Gogh’s gorgeous landscapes and flowers.
What does art mean to you? Art is a very creative way to do many things. For me drawing is my wellbeing & mindfulness activity. It is am relaxing way for me to release my creativity on to paper.
What are your favourite subjects to draw? Animals are my favourite subjects, especially dragons
Where does your inspiration come from? My inspiration mostly comes from a lot of good You Tube artists. When I see a good You Tube artists’ drawing, I think “I could be like that one day” and then I set goals for myself.
Do you have any favourite artists? Priya is one of my favourite artists and a You Tube artist known as Northflowo.
What do you enjoy about after school art classes? Generally, I love drawing things. Even when the lesson is not my favourite subject, I still have a lot of fun. I have no intention of leaving any time soon that’s for sure!
What would you say to people who think they can’t draw? Priya, Kirrili and Sarah say that anyone can draw & I agree! Maybe, try taking inspiration from art websites to choose your preferred style then just try it a little bit and then practising gives me great skills!
How are you staying creative during lockdown? I have been mostly drawing by taking inspiration from the books I am currently reading – the Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter and the Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland. I also received a great step-by-step animal sketching book for my 10th birthday which I am really enjoying exploring.
How long have you been painting at Art House Studios? Approximately 4 years most years have been interrupted by holidays, travel or indeed more recent COVID lockdowns. Until this recent wave of the delta strain it had been my most consistent year in terms of attendance and indeed I had not missed a week until the unfortunate lockdown.
How have you changed as an artist in that time? Good question I believe there has been lots of learnings along the journey hence changes to the way I would approach my art. However, the process in building a subject is always been very interesting and paramount to the finished product. I love the working sheets handed out at the start of each lesson showing the steps. I often would ask those interested in my weekly art work “what do think the first thing we did on the painting” often not very obvious but pivotal to the end result.
What inspires you/favourite subject matter? Retirement has presented me lots of free time to enjoy a number activities. As I primarily enjoyed outdoor activities such as cycling swimming kayaking and bush walking the idea of participating in an indoor activity and learning art when seeing your advertisement in the “Newcastle Weekly Magazine “ was something different and although I have enjoyed drawing at different stages this would definitely be an activity outside my normal interests and my comfort zone. The idea of learning the skills techniques the application and showing improvement but ultimately enjoying the activity inspired me. I looked very much forward to each weeks challenge and have enjoyed them all although must admit my passion for landscapes seascapes was possibly more motivating then still life. However, admit there were valuable lessons in all subjects and by the end of each lesson i had enjoyed the subject and the outcome.
What’s the secret to improving your painting skills?
Understanding procedure or process.
Understanding creating colours which I consider I am still to learn a lot more about.
Blending paints is fun and considerably enhances the product.
Finally the understanding the equipment brushes and the application of different techniques.
Are you staying creative during lockdown? In terms of art possibly not to much creativity as I would like but have been taking lots of photographs that I would like to attempt to replicate onto canvas one day soon.
Which 5 artists (alive or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? Well Priya my dinner party would be an interesting guest list. I have often been inspired by my mother in law who at 88 still enjoys her art. Yourself of course love your work and would like to learn a lot more particularly portraits and clouds that you seem to be outstanding at. I haven’t been great in studying world renowned artists but I did enjoy the Picasso painting we did so would have him along to ‘please explain’ Otherwise no one else springs to mine. Maybe this is an area I should indulge more in.
What do you miss about Art House Studios while in lockdown? I can’t believe the amount of work we can produce in two hours. Credit to the teacher there. But also the comradeship of the participants and the effort that all put in it is really an amazing and most satisfying 2 hour session. I also like the family critique and feedback once I send out the weekly effort.
Click here to check out a few of Garry’s artworks -
What inspires you? The things that mainly inspire me is the challenge to get the end picture to look the way you want it to and it's a thrill when something works the way you want it to. My favourite subject matter varies but I do like water scenes and reflections and of course lots of bright colours. I like arches as well so am quite interested in painting scenes with old buildings too.
How long have you been painting at Art House Studios? I think I've been coming to your painting classes for 6 or 7 years. Luckily I discovered them soon after I moved to Newcastle from Sydney.
How have you changed as an artist in that time? I've changed a lot as an artist since coming to Priya's classes. I used to paint watercolours but in my second class I think, we were inspired by Matisse and I thought the vividness of his style would work best with acrylics so now I've learnt to paint with acrylics. I think I've learned lots more about using colours and understanding perspective better and so on. Every week we've focused on a different artist so there's always something new to learn or try.
What’s the secret to improving your painting skills? I certainly wasn't confident painting people before but now I will do it although that's still developing.
Are you staying creative during lockdown? Funnily enough I finally found time to paint this last weekend and while the finished work wasn't perfect, it did teach me a little about trying to paint glass vases. I've also tried to give my students the opportunity to do some creative visual responses to the work I'm setting them for History and Geography lessons while we're in lockdown. Some of them have reacted well to that.
Which 5 artists (alive or not) would you invite to a dinner party? Only 5? What a difficult choice. Frida Kahlo, Ben Quilty, Margaret Olley, Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh for starters. Recently I've been viewing a Facebook group devoted to the work of female artists and I'm constantly astounded by the numerous creative and talented people who have painted the most incredible works.
What do you miss about Art House Studios while in lockdown? What I most miss about Wednesday social art nights is the fabulous mid-week opportunity to chill out and relax while playing with the colours. Priya always has a glass of red waiting for me and there's always lots of funny conversations and banter. I can't wait till we can all paint again!!!
Thanks Sue! Click here to check out Sue’s online gallery -
1. How long have you been coming to Art House Studios? I have been going to art house studios since I was in Kindergarten. I’m now in year 5 because I never wanted to stop. I enjoyed it from the beginning.
2. What do you like to draw? Sometimes I feel like sketching faces but most of the time I prefer to draw anything to do with nature, especially greenery and definitely water. Water can look so different from different perspectives and can have so many interesting coloured reflections.
3. What do you like to paint? My favourite thing to paint is landscapes, anything from a country view to a sunset or even underwater scenery.
4. Who is your favourite artist? I like Monet, especially his landscapes and waterlillies and bridge with overgrown plants.
5. What do you love about after school art classes? I love that I get to let myself be creative with other people who are just like me. I also love the great techniques that I learn every time.
6. How does art enrich your life? I can’t imagine my life without art, it helps me to express myself and just relax and be me. I always feel alive when I’m making art.
7. How are you staying creative during lockdown? Sometimes when I feel bored it’s actually good because that’s when I get creative, when I have nothing to do. Last week I set up a little art studio in our garage with my easels and art supplies. I took lots of my artworks to the garage and put them all around for inspiration. Apart from some paintings I’ve also recreated one of my little sister’s barbie dolls. I painted her face and cut her hair and made her a dress. It now looks completely different.
Please enjoy a Covid-friendly catch up with our amazing artists each week, and enjoy viewing some of their work in our online gallery.
What inspires you? I am inspired by colour. When I choose a picture off the wall to paint, I’m often most attracted to the colours that have been used. I also enjoy painting things that are more loose than technically accurate or photographic. Impressionists like Van Gogh and Degas, and contemporary artists like Brett Whiteley and Ben Quilty are some of my favourites.
How long have you been painting at Art House Studios? Five years. Wow!
My introduction to Art House Studios came from my wonderful wife organising a painting party for my 40th. There was about ten of us there, all couples, and the challenge was to paint a portrait of your partner. It was great fun and we had plenty of laughs. That is when I learnt about social art night, and I’ve been coming ever since.
How have you changed as an artist in that time? My skills have definitely improved with time. Priya, and sometimes others who come along give good advice or sometimes see things you haven’t noticed when you’ve been too close to or too engrossed in a painting for too long and haven’t stepped back, taken a break and had a look at your work from a different distance or angle. That’s been a key lesson too, sometimes you need to stop, step back and check in from a difference perspective.
What’s the secret to improving your painting skills? I’d suggest three things.
Practice is an obvious one, that’s how you build technique but also important to be challenged in what you like to do – that’s one of the great things about social art night. I used to think I was terrible at painting people but got better at it by choosing people as a subject. Now I am less terrible😉
Don’t be afraid to listen and discuss with others their work and yours. One of the great things about social art night is seeing how other people do things, discussing your challenges, and even having a laugh sometimes when it’s just not your night for producing a masterpiece.
Think about the process. I think of it as constructing a painting. When I look at others people’s work I’m like “how did they do that?” and try to think about the order in which the image is built.
Are you staying creative during lockdown? I’ve done a little sketching but haven’t pulled out the paints. I tend not to paint much at home so I’m looking forward to when social art night kicks off again.
Which 5 artists (alive or dead) would you invite to a dinner party? So many to choose from, it’s hard leaving people off that dinner list:
Margaret Olley – an aussie icon who forged a career as an artist in a time when few women were able to do so Ben Quilty – I like his style, his social conscience and the stories he tells Jackson Pollock – he threw some paint around, but didn’t it look great! Van Gogh – such beautiful works Frida Kahlo – if you know anything about her story, she had great determination
What do you miss about Art House Studios while in lockdown? Wine, cheese, pizza and adult conversation😉
You can see some of Adrian’s recent artworks here -