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 -