Fine art tips on Acrylic Art with De Gillett on Colour In Your Life


G’Day Viewers, My Name is Graeme Stevenson and I ‘d like to invite you to come on
a journey of creativity and learning, and adventure through this series,
Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family
throughout the world, and lots of times there’s an artist
deep down inside all of us as well, so grab your kids, your
brothers, your sisters, your Auntie’s, Uncles’
and Mum’s and Dad’s, and come and see how some the best
artists in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Well g’day viewers and
welcome back to Colour In Your Life. (Graeme) We’re actually up in Brisbane
today at Wynnum just on the coast,
it’s just beautiful outside today. (Graeme) And we are with a very, very
talented lady. We’re going to spend
the day with her, De Gillett. (De) That would be me. (Graeme) Welcome to the
show. Thank you so much.
(De) Hello Graeme. (Graeme) Now De’s a teacher, a fabulous teacher,
a number of students, does life drawing. (Graeme) We’re actually in the
studio workshop area at the moment. (Graeme) But De’s also, I really could say
you’re an academic as far as art is concerned. (Graeme) But in saying that, you’ve got a degree
in fine art from the Queensland College of Arts. (De) I do indeed. (Graeme) Which I think’s fabulous. (De) But you know I got to fifty-two
and thought I wanted this since
I was sixteen, so hurry up, really. (De) So yes, I graduated last December. (Graeme) I think it’s so important that De,
I mean fifty-two years of age and you sort of
say ‘I’m going to go and do a fine art’s degree’. (De) Yeah. (Graeme) That’s fabulous, I think that’s
just wonderful. But I think also, in looking
at De’s CV and speaking to her, is that you also, (Graeme) disregardless of the academic side
of things, there is a real purist essence about
who you are as an artist and as a teacher. (Graeme) Can you tell me little bit more,
I mean you go into, particularly when
it comes to cubists and Picasso. (Graeme) There’s a certain psychology that you
still look towards when you do what you do. (De) Absolutely. What really interests me is
joy and abundance. And using art to
bring more of that into the world. (De) Now when I was at uni they tried to
explain to me that my ideas were the only
important thing and how well I painted or drew (De) was completely immaterial. But
that’s what I have to bring in the world. (De) I don’t pin my guts to the wall and be the
person who is joyous and full of life and abundance (De) then that art isn’t going to exist.
And I want it to exist because it makes
the world a better place. I’m on a mission. (Graeme) Absolutely you are. When you see De’s art you’ll understand because it is so electric. It’s so tactile as well, (Graeme) I mean she really paints in layers and layers of impasto and colour. It’s just one of those forms of art that when you look at it, (Graeme) and I was doing it before when I walked into the studio, I’m going, ‘I can’t keep me hands off this stuff’. (De) I nearly had to slap him honestly. (Graeme) But it is going to be a great day.
Apart from the litany of awards you’ve had,
you’ve got this huge track record. (Graeme) I mean, I was actually downloading
De’s information when I first spoke to her, (Graeme) the pages just kept printing
out and I said ‘this is nuts’. (Graeme) But I read through it and I thought
‘well we can’t get through it all’. (Graeme) But obviously when you go and
have a look at De’s website yourself, (Graeme) you’ll be able to see the amazing
CV that she’s got. It’s just extraordinary. (Graeme) But today we’re going to be doing
a picture of one of your loves and obviously
there’s a lot of nature in your work as well. (Graeme) We are going to be doing
a painting of Rainbow Lorikeets. (De) Yes. (Graeme) Absolutely. (De) I’m really interested in the notion, the
cubist notion of simultaneity. So where things
are, where they were, and where they will be. (De) And birds in flight just give me all
that, all of that abundance and joy and
movement, and they’re just pretty too. (De) So yeah, that’s a good thing. (Graeme) Alright well I’m going to take my
normal seat just on the side here and
I’m going to let you do what you do. (De) Okay thanks Graeme. (Graeme) Okay De, well I can see that you’ve mixed
up a whole bunch of Atelier Interactives there. (Graeme) And did you put some impasto or
some moulding gel in that? What was it? (De) No this was just gesso.
I like the Chromacryl Gesso.
(Graeme) So you’ve just put the gesso in have you? (De) Yeah because it’s important at this
stage that the colours are mid toned. (Graeme) I want them light to mid tone
because it’s really easy to get too dark. (Graeme) Yes. (De) I’m trying to develop interest and
excitement in this early layer of the painting. (Graeme) And you’re using
a fan brush there. (De) Yes, my favorite gnarly,
horrible, rotten fan brushes. (Graeme) You’re a big fan of fan brushes? (De) A huge fan of fan brushes. (Graeme) There you go. (De) I see what you did there. I’m a huge
fan of fan brushes because when I started
as an artist I was poverty struck and (De) I could get fan brushes really, really cheap. And
I hate to tell you that was my big, big motivation. (Graeme) But in saying that you still
use really high quality paint as well. (De) Absolutely. Because if you’re going to sell
paintings to the public they have to last. If it’s
all going to fall off your canvas in six months, (De) I don’t think so.
That’s not a nice thing. (Graeme) I even notice with your
canvas you’re on linen as well. (De) Yeah I love linen canvas. (Graeme) Yeah I mean it’s generosity towards
the painting as well to be able to do that. (Graeme) How did you develop this
style that you’re doing now? (Graeme) I mean your work is so different
to anything else I’ve seen once again. (De) Yeah, basically I wasn’t taught to paint.
I was a drawer so I worked in pastels a lot.
I was really terrified of paint. (De) I’m sure viewers can relate to that.
I got hold of a lot of second hand art equipment
and included a whole lot of paints. (De) And a very dear friend of mine, who’s
an art teacher, spent about six weeks
with me in my studio. (De) And we played with paint for six weeks.
Part of it was some clear gel medium
that I use a lot in my work. (Graeme) You can always read people
personality in their work as well. You’ve
got a very exuberant personality, (Graeme) you’re a well known teacher as
well. I think that’s really part of being a great
teacher also, is to have someone that’s really (Graeme) exuberant about their work and about
their life and that’s exactly who you are. (De) Well if I’m not excited about it, how can
I expect everyone else to be excited about it? (De) Yeah, very true. (De) And it is exciting.
Making art is so exciting. (Graeme) Very true. Alright the excitement
continues. What are we going to do now? (De) We’re going to spatter.
(Graeme) Okay. (De) So spatter is a way of just
getting some liveliness into things.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) So what I’m going to use is my Atelier
paints. Got to love this brand of paints. (Graeme) But the colours
are brilliant aren’t they? (De) They’re just glorious. (Graeme) So thick and luxurious.
Or as you would say, sumptuous. (De) Sumptuous. Sumptuous, juicy, reckless
are favorite words of mine.
Okay so the fine art of spatter. (Graeme) Oh what do I do?
We can have a paint fight. (De) Yeah. What I want you to do is, we’re going
to develop some areas of splatter, so one here. (Graeme) Yeah.
(De) One down here.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) And one up there. So what I want
you to do is load up your brush.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) And then just, when your brush
stops, the paint’s going to come off it. (Graeme) So I just do that over the top of yours?
(De) Yeah.
(Graeme) Okay. (De) I’ll be the locator with my Quinacridone
Magenta here and you just follow me along. (De) So one of the important things about spatter is you can
use it to give a sense of perspective right from the start. (De) So when your brush is fully loaded Graeme…
(Graeme) Yes. (De) You’ll get big dots and as it
empties out you’ll get smaller ones. (De) So if you concentrate your bigger dots
down here at the front under the painting, (De) it’ll straight away get that whole
spacial thing happening where
the top part of the painting is (De) further away from us than the bottom. (Graeme) How about that?
(De) It’s good fun huh. (Graeme) Ah it’s just the great enjoyment.
(De) Alright that’s enough. (Graeme) Yeah, yeah I feel
like I’m getting carried away. (De) Put the brushes down and
move away from the painting. (Graeme) Step away from the painting. (De) And now because I know there’s going
to be some wings in here, what I’m
going to do is comb some of this. (De) So I’m going to
pull this with my comb… (Graeme) Ah.
(De) …just lightly. That needs to dry. (Graeme) Okay we’ll let that dry and
then we move onto the next section. (De) Indeed we do.
(Graeme) Cool. (Graeme) Well as you can see De has actually
moved on, the canvas has dried, but there’s a
beautiful, beautiful soft pattern in here as well. (Graeme) And you’re actually using charcoal to sketch
out your main characters, which are obviously, (Graeme) you’ve actually got cockatoos that
you’re turning into lorikeets, is that right? (De) That’s right.
(Graeme) Okay. (De) Because I can.
(Graeme) Artistic license. (De) Exactly. I’m just giving myself a
fairly rough guideline. Okay, I’m finished
drawing for the moment. (De) We’re going to move on to
the next most exciting thing.
(Graeme) Great. (De) I’m going to be mixing the
Chromachryl texture paste. I really like
the consistency of this particular brand. (De) I find some of the modeling compounds
are too stiff and when I try and push them
through the plastic bag, (De) I explode the plastic
bag all over the place. (Graeme) Oh fair enough. And you just use
sandwich bags do you, in doing that? (De) Well that’s the next process. Right now…
(Graeme) Okay. (De) I’m going to be using palette knives. (Graeme) Okay. And you do, with your particular
techniques, you do use a lot of paint don’t you? (Graeme) These are three dimensional paintings,
that’s the best way I can describe them. (De) So what I’m doing here is a loaded
blend of paint and textured paste. (De) I want this to stay sitting up as it dries.
Okay so I’ve mixed that…
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) …not very well. It’s a bit like muffin mix,
you don’t want to, you don’t want kill it.
(Graeme) Okay. (De) So I’ve got my biggest palette knife,
loaded up, making sure that the paint is still
variegated and it’s all the way to the end. (De) And then what I’m going
to do is bed it down here.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) So give it a little squish…
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) …so that it builds up either side of the
blade and then I’m going to create a feather. (Graeme) Look at that. Isn’t that great? (Graeme) And when you say variegated
it really means you’ve got a lot of the
colours in there that are separated. (De) Yes, correct.
(Graeme) Sumptuous is the word.
(De) Recklessly sumptuous. (Graeme) Recklessly sumptuous, that’s
wonderful. You do travel around a lot
doing workshops don’t you? (De) I do. And there’s this thing that happens
where, when I go one time, they have me back. (De) So I’ve been, I’ve done
four workshops in Tassy now. (De) And I’ve done, I’ve been to Dubbo
a lot of times. I’m going there to judge
their annual art competition… (Graeme) Oh wow.
(De) …in about 6 weeks. (Graeme) I can see why. You’ve only got
to spend a little bit of time with De to find out
that her personality is quite electric (Graeme) but it’s just really fun to be with
her. And fun to see what she does, it really is. (De) You say the nicest things, Graeme. (Graeme) But it’s the truth, it really is. (De) Okay so now I’ll start again on the other
side to pull it in. But because, because I can’t,
I’m left handed, I have to work left handed, (De) so I’ll have to turn it all around. I
think working with the natural flow of
your body is really important. (De) It’s also really important to work with the
big muscles of your elbow and your shoulder rather
than the little tiny stuff of your fingers. (De) I think with dynamic work like this. You
know let your body speak, make it a mind,
body visceral whole story. (Graeme) You’re obviously Mediterranean
from somewhere aren’t you? (De) I lived in Ingham for a long time.
(Graeme) Did you? Okay.
(De) A lot of Italian folks there. (Graeme) Untie my hands, I need to speak. (De) Precisely. One of the hardest things about being
an artist is getting out of your own way and just (De) understanding that the
universe knows better than you do. (De) And if you can get out of your own way
and your own ego and let that happen you’re
going to have some better work. (De) The possibilities are much more open. Okay,
so I’m going to go now with the second row of
feathers along the inside of the wing. (De) So I’m just drawing here on my knowledge
of where the feathers sit in a bird’s wing. (Graeme) It’s like sculpture with paint. It’s unreal.
(De) Well I was a sculptor… (Graeme) Oh okay.
(De) …for twelve years. I’ve sculptured my
way through eight tons of clay. (Graeme) Oh goodness.
(De) Art chooses us, we don’t choose it.
You know, deny that at your own peril. (De) You are going to be a miserable person
if you don’t paint. Do it. Get inspired.
(Graeme) She’s brilliant. (De) You could watch Put Some Colour In Your
Life and get a whole lot of new
techniques. How does that work? (Graeme) Oh it’s wonderful. Okay so you’re
going to turn it around and you’re
going to show us a technique (Graeme) and then we’re going to move
on and let you work for a little while.
(De) Yep. (Graeme) A technique involving
the body and some doilies? (De) Highly technical
piece of equipment again. (Graeme) That’s great.
(De) Get these from your local art shop.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) Don’t tell the ladies what you’re doing with
them because you know what’s going to happen is (De) they’ll refuse to sell them to you. If you
say I’m going to cut these up and push paint
through them. No they’re not happy about that. (Graeme) You can’t do that. But it’s a
fascinating technique that just gives
you an amazing texture in your work. (Graeme) I love the colours but; they’re just so rich. (De) These colours, this brand: marvelous. So what
I’m going to do is locate part of the pattern. (Graeme) Yeah.
(De) That works with the idea of the chest feathers…
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) …and then I’m going to pick up
some yellow and push it through. I can just
see my charcoal drawing through there. (Graeme) I suppose once you get a little bit of paint
on there it tends to stay there anyway does it? (De) Yes it does. (De) Have I mentioned the
attention span of a gnat before? (Graeme) There you go. Got to do something
else. But then again that’s what
right brain people are like. (Graeme) So how did you come up with this
particular technique? It’s just a matter
of the journey of discovery.
(Graeme) There you go. Got to do something
else. But then again that’s what
right brain people are like. (Graeme) There you go. Got to do something
else. But then again that’s what
right brain people are like. (De) Yeah. (Graeme) There’s no way of getting away from it. We
don’t, it’s very difficult for a right-brained
person to use the word bored at any stage. (De) Definitely.
(Graeme) There’s always something you can do. (De) Oh and if you can do things that no
one else has done, then there’s the
thrill of discovery as well in that. (De) See how I have a harsh line there between the two colours, so I’ll just pull down into that. (Graeme) There you go. (De) And so then. Can you help
me lift up this one please? (Graeme) So what do I do? (De) Just grab it here and here.
(Graeme) Here and here. (De) And we lift straight up. Ta Da.
(Graeme) Look at that.
(De) Thank you. (Graeme) That’s so cool isn’t it? No wonder
how you’ve got such a great three dimensional
effects on it all and it obviously stands out now. (De) See, now you know. (Graeme) Now I know. I think what we might do
is we’re going to let you work on this for a
while and then we’ll come back later on, (Graeme) because there’s obviously some
drying times and everything else involved. (Graeme) And we’ll come back in a
little while and keep going with it. (De) Sounds like a plan. Let’s do that.
(Graeme) Excellent. See you soon. (De) So I need to mix the colours that I want
and I’ll mix the turquoise on a
base of white ink so that it’s light. (De) One of the big issues with ink painting
is that it gets, it goes dark very, very easily.
So a little bit of turquoise in there. (Graeme) Yeah. Oh look at that.
(De) Near the kind of colour I’m looking for.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) So now I want you to do this one.
(Graeme) Yeah. We’re getting surgical now. (De) If you are someone who likes control,
honestly walk away now. Do not attempt
this technique, it is probably going to kill you. (De) That’s marvelous, Graeme, that’s just the
right amount. So now I’m going to drop in some yellow, (De) so now this is just water in my spray
bottle. So anywhere I can see now that’s dry
because it won’t be reflective. Just go in. (De) I want to depress the canvas
because I’m quite interested in
this flow that’s developing and (De) I’d like to encourage it to
continue out into the feathers. (De) And that’s probably as much
ink as it needs I would think. (De) The hardest thing in making
ink work is to move away from the
painting and let it sit for ten minutes. (De) And you know in my classes I say
‘leave it for ten minutes’ and then
they come back in two minutes. (De) It’s not ten minutes yet, ten, this many, ten
minutes. Then you can come back in while it’s
still really wet you can throw some more ink in. (De) As soon as it gets thick and honey-like and
starts to dry, don’t touch it because you’ll ruin it. (Graeme) Okay. Alright well we’ll
let this one dry then.
(De) Okay let’s. (Graeme) Well as you can see, we’ve taken the
painting from flat and its dried and obviously
as De said the colours will change and (Graeme) they’ll sort of dry in their own
direction. It’s got a beautiful finish to it. (Graeme) Like a silk finish, it’s just wonderful.
So what are we going to do now De?
You’re obviously going to finish it off. (Graeme) Where do we go from here? (De) Well now, because the inks have done
their own thing and they haven’t necessarily
gone where I wanted them to, (De) which is just part of the course. One of
the things you can’t do with ink is panic about
that while the flow is happening and (De) try and correct it because you
just end up with a sea of mud.
(Graeme) Sure. (De) So you get what you get and then you
work with it. So what I do next is work with
this Impasto Gel Medium. (De) It’s a product that dries clear and shiny.
So the shiny mimics the enamel quality of the
ink, the shininess of that. (De) But I can make it the colour that I need to,
so that I can repair things like the rhythm. (De) So here for instance where I’ve
got this sweep going through here.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) It’s orange here but the blue ink has overtaken it.
(Graeme) Yeah. (De) So I’ll want to mix
myself up some orange impasto. (De) So I’ll do another one of those loaded
blends where it’s yellow on one end
and comes through. (De) You can feel the difference when
you mix it too. Textured paste feels grainy
when you mix it but this is just smooth. (De) So I’ll work across the ridges and
draw through so that continues there. (Graeme) When you were saying about
that line breaking the pattern, can you
explain to me what you mean by that? (De) Well all good paintings should have rhythm.
I always think this bit is like dancing with it. (De) That you’re trying to get it to
this place where it just feels that, (De) where these lines come out of the
canvas, that they could come around in a great
big swoop and come back in at the top. (De) So having that rhythm that feels
comfortable, that there’s no sort of jagged (De) interruptions to things
except where you want them. (De) So it’s like a dance for me. That this is
my absolute favorite part of making
a painting because I get to, (De) I get to sway with it and dance with it. And
just feel, feel my way into it, what it wants to be. (Graeme) That’s great. I can see
it just sort of snaps it out.
(De) It just pops it doesn’t it? (Graeme) People can learn this from you at your
workshops. Now your actual company name for that is artstree.com.au? (De) Yes, artstree.com.au. (Graeme) And this is once again a
really, really amazing teacher that
has incredible techniques to learn. (Graeme) They are all so different but
once again De’s one of those people and (Graeme) you can just tell by the way she
talks, is obviously a brilliant teacher. (Graeme) So I would suggest anyone that’s
in the Brisbane area if they want to get together
with a really, really great master teacher, (Graeme) who has been through the whole
gamut as far as the academic side is concerned
and the practical side is concerned. (Graeme) She understands how artists feel
about what they create. But come along to
this lady, I think you’ll have an amazing, (Graeme) I mean we’ve had a great
day, which has been fabulous but… (De) Thank you Graeme. The Inks
Workshops are my most popular thing. (De) And people come along and say things
like “Well, I thought it was going to be fun, (De) but I didn’t know it was
going to be this much fun!” (Graeme) Well that was about as interesting a
day as you could possibly have painting with
a really great teacher. De, thank you so much. (De) Thank you, Graeme. (Graeme) It was absolutely wonderful. Now if
you’d like to see more of what De does and
enquire about her workshops and her DVD’s, (Graeme) she’s got a collection of great DVD’s
coming out so you should go and have a look
at those. You can go to artstree.com.au? (De) Correct.
(Graeme) Excellent. Go in there have a
look at their website. It’s just full. (Graeme) You can get all the workshop
details, it’s just full of information. See De’s
work, see all the other guys work as well. (Graeme) See what they create because it really
turns out to be just a fabulous day
with this woman. It’s amazing. (Graeme) Thank you so much for being on the show.
We’d also like to thank our sponsors as usual. (Graeme) Chroma as usual is always behind us
and as you can see De was using Chroma
products today. They really are fabulous. (Graeme) We have a number of sponsors
coming on board these days, we’d
really like to thank them as well. (Graeme) They’re also in our website. But we’ll
leave it from there. We are going to
head out and go south after this one. (Graeme) But as we always say, remember… (De) To put some Colour In Your Life. (Graeme) Thanks guys. See you again.
(De) Bye.
(Graeme) Bye.

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