***!!!!HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!***

Well here we are at the tag end of another year again.  If you are reading this, then I guess the world didn’t end on Sat 21 Dec and we can all look forward to another wonderfully creative year. To acknowledge and celebrate the creativity of my students I am going to share some of the wonderful  work they have done with me in the past year.

Bessie - Steve (Oils)

Bessie – Steve (Oils)

They are all to be commended on their perseverance and commitment to their art.  Creativity is seldom easy and we often have to fight for our right to nurture our creative spirit, as others often view it as an indulgence rather than an essential part of who  we are.  The other thing about that is that when you pursue your creativity, it makes others uncomfortable, because they aren’t honouring their own creativity. So congratulations to everyone who has nurtured their own creativity this last year!

Sunset – Ash (Acrylics)








Courtney – Humming Bird (Pastel)






Jess - Pen & Ink Study

Jess – Pen & Ink Study





Elise – Kapati Coast (Pastel)



Summer Scents - Deborah (Oils)

Summer Scents – Deborah (Oils)


Faith – Tonal Study (Oils



Skull Study - Rewa (Charcoal)

Skull Study – Rewa (Charcoal)











Jo – Pencil Drawing

Lee – Pelican (Pen & Ink)






Kandinsky Tree - Louis (Acrylics)

Kandinsky Tree – Louis (Acrylics)



Lorraine - Poppies (Oils)

Lorraine – Poppies (Oils)






Lorraine O’Day – My Dog (pastels)






Pumpkin - Merran (Water Colour)

Pumpkin – Merran (Water Colour)













These are just a few of the wonderful works from my students this year. It should be noted that while these works are all original works by the students, some of them are copies of other photographers and artists and are intended as learning exercises only. Thank you all for allowing me to work with you and guide you on your creative journeys.

Grace - Chay

Grace – Chay

I wish all of you, students and readers, an amazingly creative year in 2013 and trust that you will continue to grow and expand your creative horizons all year.

















Last week I talked a bit about palettes in general, plus the best ones for oils.  This week we are going to take a look at what’s the best type for water based media.  You might think that acrylics, gouache and water colours would all have the same requirements, however due to the nature of the different mediums, this is not the case. Let’s take a look at water colours and gouache first.  These mediums both have similar properties, in that they can both be reused after having dried out.

The main difference between them is that water colour is a more transparent medium than gouache. Gouache paint is  modified to make it an opaque painting medium (non-transparent). A binding agent, usually gum arabic, is present, just as in watercolor. Gouache differs from watercolor in that the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and an additional, inert, white pigment such as chalk is also present. This makes gouache heavier and more opaque, with greater reflective qualities.(1)


Below is a picture showing a traditional type of water colour palette, which is generally used for either water colours or gouache paint. This one however is a little small for the more serious painter and doesn’t have a lid to contain mess during transport.

Gouache or Water Colour Palette



A better type of palette is like the one shown below which has a separate lid, side wells for paint and then a central area for paint mixing. The beauty of this is that there are several wells to keep a large range of colours on the go at once.  Also you can just re-wet them in the next session and you are good to go.

Water Colour, Acrylic or Gouache Palette


Water Colour, Acrylic or Gouache Palette


Now you can use the above type of palette for acrylics however I came across a much better one recently. Below is a video of how it works.


If you have come across any other whizz bang palette ideas I would love to hear them if you want to share.

This Week’s Question: What is currently your favourite palette  and might you up grade to something more user friendly?








1. Marjorie B. Cohn, Wash and Gouache, Fogg Museum, 1977.


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