I just loved listening to Cellostrada, they travel Europe busking to gather interest in their concerts. Their movements were impossible to capture so I took lots of reference photos and decided to paint one player at a time – take a mental snapshot and go for it!!
I found a shady spot along a street filled with washing on the line!! I was attracted to this particular balcony with all it’s lovely terracotta pots and the lovely Nonna hanging out her laundry. The walls were filled with odd sized and oddly placed windows, texture, bricks and cracks – a painter’s dream!!
Painted en plein air in Lucca at the Piazza San Salvatore, I was drawn by the complementary colours of the two umbrellas – orange and a deep winey purple, although I kept my sketch simple I painted only the orange umbrella and used the purple shades for the background. I got rained out a couple of times but the lovely people at the café welcomed me and allowed me to finish under the sheltered of my favourite umbrella in Lucca.
Singer and stripes
Some years ago I visited a beautiful fabric store in Parnell and saw this totally amazing black and white striped fabric with appliqued pink flowers and embroidered lime green leaves - I fell madly in love and just had to have it!! The challenge was painting the essence of the fabric pattern without it taking over the whole painting.
Bubbly and inspiring New Zealand artist Amanda Brett says: “Creating is what I am meant to do. It all started when I was very young, drawing and painting with my father. I prefer pastiche painting; I rarely set up a still-life from which to paint, instead, I design my composition from my imagination and one or two reference sources. “This ensures I create an essence of the light and the subject, providing an opportunity to play with shapes and create unique effects all without the distraction of detail. I love painting light and colour!"
Amanda is totally committed to watercolour and to the wet-in-wet technique. She says: “I don’t try to control wet-in-wet washes: I let the natural laws of watercolour play out. I’m very happy to watch the paint settle and dry by itself, thus achieving more unique, painterly passages of colour".
“My aim is to design beautiful wet in wet colour blends that mysteriously materialise into nothing. I create watercolour washes that contain hidden depths, inexplicable layers and unexpected details. I love painting light and colour!”
She’s also addicted to her ‘little squirty bottle’ (“watercolourist’s technical term for 100ml plastic spray bottle = cheap!”).
Amanda says: “I love the texture and visual effects I can achieve with this simple tool. I really enjoy blooms (aka cauliflowers) and frequently let them develop by themselves. I think watercolours are stronger and richer with an under-painting so I frequently paint over an under-painting or if I am painting wet-in-wet I will continue to work until the paper is totally dry and beyond. I also find wet-in-wet calligraphy done with my rigger and paint straight from the tube an exciting effect.”
As far as teaching is concerned, Amanda says: “I never knew I would love teaching watercolour as much as I do. My mantra for my students is, you cannot do anything wrong in watercolour: everything is right!! The problem is, we sometimes get unexpected results and then struggle to move ahead. This is where I come in; I help you to move your paintings forward to a finished work of art! It’s my job to help you develop your style and create better art."
“Each session starts with some theory and a demonstration utilising that theory, then it’s your turn to create your own work making use of the new knowledge. I then help each student individually in turn helping them through challenges and demonstrating techniques to them personally.”
Praise for Amanda’s teaching
"I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Amanda was so "efficient", if one can use that word for an artist, but she shared all her super secrets with us so freely, and gave each student equal time and attention. That was appreciated very much.” - Shirley
“I love your enthusiasm and laid back approach." - Hilary
"You generously imparted a huge amount of information. I particularly enjoyed your demonstrations." - Trevor
"Thank you Amanda - you were awesome! -- and very generous with your knowledge, technique and time.” - Shelley