The new year is here. I hope it has been a great start for you all. I have begun the art year by experimenting with floral tableaux combined with light and shadow compositions. I have been looking to add a “new string to my bow” for a while and I am finding still life as exciting as my landscape work. Teamed with my wife’s love of flowers, my duty to buy them each week and a new direction… the results have been pleasing. The new paintings seem to be received well by the comments sent my way and thank you to all who have provided feedback.
Summer workshops in Shellharbour have begun. The two so far have been blessed by suitable weather, fantastic scenery and happy participants. It is amazing to see so many different paintings from similar vantage points! Everyone worked hard and pushed themselves to explore new techniques and styles. All went home armed with vigour and resolve to be better at what they do and celebrate their successes.
I celebrated my son’s thirtieth birthday this weekend. I painted two seascapes at Stanwell Park while we were all away together as a family. Coastal inspiration continues, further north and higher up. The travel will continue this year with the USA, Portugal, Melbourne and Sydney planned. A little more of Australia is a possibility... thinking... thinking. Looking forward to meeting more new and old friends this year at workshops and exhibitions too! Keep in touch and don’t forget to follow @mystudiodoor on Instagram for those wanting a peek behind the scenes into my artistic practice.
Some work from this month:
Another Sydney show and another year gone. Thank you all who have supported in so many ways. Turning up to the exhibitions, encouraging words, buying artwork, likes and shares, photos and visits. Thank you so much! I really value your friendship and help.
The Sydney show at Aro gallery was a success on a number of fronts. People seeing the work for the first time, others building their understanding, some travelling from interstate to be a part of it all, valued friends calling in faithfully. With more than 30 paintings finding new homes, it was another very rewarding year at Aro Gallery. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who keeps turning up and supporting me... it’s that support which enables me to paint every day and keep doing what I love.
My recent trip to Bathurst gave me much to work from. The weather was warm, the fields green and lush and a few forays into new territory has provided inspiration for a series of country landscapes. I caught up with precious family and returned refreshed for my next session of studio work. I am enthusiastic about revisiting old themes and branching into new!
My new year will begin with a series of workshops at the Shellharbour Village Exhibition Space, in our local Shellharbour township. We have the seaside, rock pools, coastal scenes and rustic urban landscapes to explore and capture en plain air. Here’s to good weather, new friends and plenty of art! I will also have a selection of my work on display at SVES and available by appointment for those who missed my Sydney show.
Best wishes from Kerrie and me to all of you. Hope you had a great Christmas and all the very best for a fantastic 2019!
Some images from "Vision Field" at Aro Gallery...
For those who have been asking, I'm pleased to announce that the online catalogue for my upcoming Sydney exhibition is now available!
You can preview the works here www.richardclaremont.com/sydney-catalogue. For purchase enquiries please respond directly to this email.
Doors open at 11am on Wednesday... if you are near Sydney I hope to see you at Aro Gallery!
The big news of this month is my upcoming Sydney show starting on November 28th at Aro Gallery. Titled “Vision Field” it highlights my love of landscapes and seascapes. Texture, light and form are the common threads, captured and transferred to the canvas. There will also be a selection of my smaller UK paintings available from my trip in September. Thanks to the generosity of my wonderful supporters, last year at Aro was my most successful show ever. I am looking forward to again meeting friends old and new at the opening on November 28th.
Please stay tuned as I will be sending out a newsletter with a link to the online catalogue which will be available two days before the exhibition begins.
As part of my exhibition preparations I have been reviewing old works and applying fresh touches to pieces that will more accurately reflect my present focus. Limit the palette, increase the contrast and tweak the composition. The Zorn Palette has become a new favourite, especially for seascapes. It allows for spontaneity and greater engagement.
Framing has been a bit frantic… with suppliers of the moulding I use closing their doors earlier this year. My framer and stepson Patrick has responded with ingenious methods which include hand milling the moulding profile from scratch! This year I have started using White Oak as well as American Oak… each has their own subtle colour and grain variations. I am thrilled that there is now a streamlined production line of high quality, artisan, hand crafted frames for my paintings.
A month overseas. I gain a month travelling and being fed the beauty of England, Wales and Scotland. An easier travel load this time, not a new place each day, rather a new place every other day. Observing, walking, painting. Experiencing all weathers, clouds and trees… in the Peaks, along canals, by mills and over dales. They have fed me, enriched my senses and taught me skies and colours. I have painted in all sorts of nooks and crannies, window seats and tiny places. Trying even harder to not leave my mark anywhere… Christo-plastic all surfaces and myself, unpeeling at the end. I miss my big studio and large canvases! My big brushes and mottled spaces, time being my own and breaks for reflection. I have spent a twelfth of my working year on the road and in planes and cars and strange places… I see it in small studies and same styles… canvas is small, the strokes deliberate and intricate, the places pretty and neat. Be prepared for some big dramatic work when I come home!
Travelling gives time for reflection, contemplation and self evaluation. I learn more about myself as an artist and a fellow human being. Meeting so many different people, rubbing up against different cultures and living in confined spaces breaks off many bristles that we tend to grow when not moving so much. Learning about other people’s art story and practice rounds the edges of my practice too. I hope that I am more tolerant of myself through this. I also want to push myself to do better and more adventurous art.
The light in the UK is different. I always knew it but never so much as this time here. Especially in Cornwall. The tendency is to think artists who painted here romanticised the landscape. I think not so much. The light is different. I can see why people travelled to paint in Cornwall. European light is different! The greens are different. I found it challenging to paint the greens… never entirely confident with greens, I had to wrestle with the Aussie green reflex and adapt to another sort of greening of the landscape.
Be prepared to see a few more northern hemisphere paintings when I get home. I am not finished with it yet. I may have to delve back into the photo log and my memory to get a few more out here. With my Sydney exhibition looming, the focus will be on Sydney and more local scenes. I am excited about painting some large works and pushing my techniques further.
Here’s a selection of the 30 6X8” studies I painted on the road… some are still available.
It is places and spaces this time. The exhibition at Brightspace Gallery in Melbourne heralded a few firsts for me. It was the first time exhibiting in this wonderful space and it indeed lived up to its name. Many commented on the large viewing area and how vibrant the paintings looked on the newly painted white walls. This was the first time my exhibition in Melbourne spanned more than a weekend. The weekday visiting was steady, topped off with another first – a workshop at the gallery surrounded by the exhibition and interspersed with visitors to see the show. Twenty students attended and all said they achieved their aims and left inspired. The waiting list is growing for another workshop so plans are developing for another event before the next Melbourne exhibition.
Portugal is the next workshop planned. In conjunction with Art In The Algarve, I am offering a one week painting workshop next year in the quaint fishing village of Olhao in Portugal in October 2019! Located on the stunning Algarve coastline, this will be a relaxing and energizing art holiday with accommodation, all meals and tuition included. So if spending lazy days sketching and painting in a fully supported art environment with a wonderful home cooked meal and wine at the end of the day sounds like your idea of fun... this is exactly the holiday for you. To book this course and find out about the art school please go to Art in the Algarve.
The last place, but actually the next place is the UK. We will be heading off on an artist’s journey through the UK next week. I will be following in the footsteps of some famous painters and doing plein air painting as I go. Follow the journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I will be posting images of the paintings and all work will be for sale as I go. I have had many recommendations of scenic landscapes and information on famous and lesser known artists who have loved and painted the areas where they lived and travelled. I wonder if your favourite places will be featured? Keep me posted and I will do likewise!
Just a quick note for those who have been asking about the online catalogue for my Melbourne show. You can now preview and purchase the works from the online catalogue here:
For purchase enquiries please reply directly to this email. If you live in the Melbourne area it would be great to see you at the show!
July is Melbourne exhibition month! My new show "Bright New Day" has been a long time in the making and I am now at the stage of sorting and classifying paintings for the show. It is great to have a choice of strong pieces and I feel that my best work will be on display at Brightspace Gallery in St Kilda this month from July 17-22. Come and meander through the golden dusty laneways of the wine country all the way to the pale moody days of the coastline. If you live in the Melbourne area please pencil this one into your diary and stay tuned for the online catalogue which will be released close to the opening date.
Forays into limited palette and old masters colours have produced some interesting paintings of late. Partly adventurous, partly pushing my artistic skills and part foolhardy, I have found that the paintings have been rather pleasing. It suits the winter on the coast, reflecting the moodiness of the coastal skies and bringing home some of the blustery conditions.
Large paintings allowed me to develop my technique and use different effects to create specific landscapes. Exciting colours and bold movement painted with huge brushes... while initially daunting... ended up leaving me with a taste for more. In contrast I have also been producing a swag of small paintings... in cigarette cases, on small canvases and also on board.
On the home front, a major commissioned piece "Sydney Skyline From Milsons Point" has been delivered to its new owner. Measuring a whopping 1.2 X 2.4m, this piece pushed me to the limit in terms of technique, scale and the sheer quantity of paint required!
I returned to Melbourne this month and visited a paint factory, watching the most luscious blue paint being made. Travelling and painting is a challenge, so I trialled cigar case paintings – the new old miniature version of painting. Easily fitting into a pocket, discreet amongst the shoppers, cute between the coffee cups, they achieved their purpose. My next exhibition will be in Melbourne. “Bright New Day” will be held at Brightspace in St Kilda next month. The first interstate workshop will be held there in the studio. It is full already and there is demand for another, so more Melbourne sojourns are being pencilled in on the calendar.
Portugal, Paris and Italy are also in the feasibility study stages for workshops. Planned for 2019 with steady interest and growing expectation coming together. If you would like to register your interest for one of these workshops please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I recently researched the "Old Masters" colours. Using a limited palette was challenging but so rewarding I applied it to my local landscape. It helps capture the winter sky on the south coast. Another limited palette that I tried was out of necessity. I was in Victoria last year and had to source my paints locally – from the one newsagent in town. There were only a few colours. All my paintings for that trip were easily identifiable. I am sure I will revert to using the full scope of colours available but it is good to push practice and use what is locally available.
A clean studio, with well organised supplies and systems has enabled me to be more creative. This month I have also taken on two studio assistants. Luke prepares the studio for workshops and Ethan packs away. He has the energy at the end of the day to clean when I am spent!
Some large commissions dominate my wall and encourage me to be bold with colour and expression. Encouraged, I find the seascapes and skies are an opportunity to use big brushes and lots of paint to good winter sky effect.
Flight time seemed longer than the numbers on the page, but we landed in Houston for a breather before heading to Charlotte. There was time for a few quick paintings that connected with people following our journey. It is home with precious memories so we were told. Across the other side of the country… Charlotte, and in particular Lincolnton, is Southern Charm and hospitality. ‘You’re welcome” is meant and pronounced with a smile.
Our first impression was tall trees, warm sun and yellow flowers dotted along the road. The studio was glorious, wide and welcoming; a fully stocked studio with fabulous hosts and assistants. Donna, Liz, Gabby, Zhon and others made the three day workshop flow beautifully. The students came armed with expectations and enthusiasm and were housed on site and in the immediate locality. The 14 acres stretched out and about, embracing woodlands and lanes. It was enough to provide inspiration for the first day where we sketched and painted and shared stories. The focus was on composition and the demonstrations were delivered to an engaged audience who then applied what they learned to their own masterpieces.
The second day was about sharing memories and the landscapes and stories abounded. More demonstrations and a discourse on colour encouraged the participants to try new skills and processes.
The final day was about imagined landscapes. The exercises allowed the artists to extend their imaginations and stories to embrace colour, texture and expressive painting techniques in their final works.
New York called. I was there 31 years ago on my birthday. I planned to repeat the experience. Brooklyn was…..interesting. Manhattan and Central Park were enthralling. I could walk the Park all day. We saw the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim and filled out the few days soaking all that the Big Apple had to offer. Subways, grunge, blossoms and noise. The birthday came and went and left a strong impression – just as it did the decades before. I reflected on how far I had come as an artist and how much further I want to go. I feel like I am just beginning.
San Francisco was meant to be a stop over to confuse the jet lag but it became a stop in itself. The place was to my liking and temperament. The bay captured my imagination, the architecture caught my eye, the pace allowed me to catch up with myself. We walked and watched and breathed the salty air and prepared for home. We wondered if we would return.
At home and in my studio, I remember the smells and sounds and special places. The lovely people we met and the arty threads that bind. I paint and think and remember and tie the strings closer. They are pulling tighter. Pulling me back. I think I will have to go back. I have park places to explore and paint. People to see and share arty things with. Friends to see. Urban places to put on canvas.
Some workshop photos and paintings inspired by the trip...