Free Acrylic Art Lessons with Jeanette Sellwood on Colour In Your Life

Free Acrylic Art Lessons with Jeanette Sellwood 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 the 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 Aunties, Uncles and Mums and Dads and come and see how some of the best
Artists in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) Well G’day viewers and welcome back to another great show of Colour In Your Life We have a very talented acrylic artist here from Magnetic Island today she has traveled all the way down from QLD to be in Mealie’s studio down next to the Gold Coast I’m really good, Graeme. How are you? Excellent! It’s great to have you down here.
You’re sort of – – doing a bit of a traveling thing at the moment,
aren’t you? Yes. Tell me a little bit about that. I decided to get a camper van,
sell everything up and go free spirit artist, and I bought a camper twelve months ago,
had some small trips in it and decided to come South. I’m actually going right down to Victoria. OK. And then I found “Colour in your life”
on the way, and Changed her life forever. I know, and I was so lucky to find my way here to Murwillumbah
and be doing this and meeting such really lovely people. Yeah, we’ve got a great team of
people working with us these days. But Jeanette, I mean, you’re amazing as far as your
prizes is concerned and the awards that you’ve won. I mean there’s a litany of firsts, and commendeds, and
seconds and your work really is based around acrylics, obviously coming from a very wet and
moist area up in North Queensland you’ve really got to use acrylics to be able to
maneuver what you want. Oils would take – Yes. – quite a long time to dry in that humidity. Yeah. But you’ve really mastered the oils and I
would think when I look at your work, she does wonderful paintings of her grandchildren
and children on the beach. They really are very emotive and emotional pieces.
Obviously in the acrylics that you use. Tell me a little bit about your
influences – who’s influenced you, and why did you get to the stage where you decided
to paint your beautiful grandchildren as well? Well, I can remember my Grandmother – Yeah. having oil paintings around but I didn’t ever
see her paint. My primary school teacher, we used to watch her drawing and I loved that. “Sure.
” I was in awe of that, and I really didn’t start
a painting career as such until I was 30,- and then I had a couple of male mentors who
were just fantastic and taught me the basics That’s wonderful. – of painting. And as you go through you and you look at Jeanette’s
work, the soft pastels that she uses, and the colours, they really are just wonderfully combined well
and obviously using her complementaries and her tertiaries and her primaries together extremely
well. But today, you’ve actually started already on a sketch this is the basis of where we’re going to start the image today,
and this is one of your beautiful grandchildren called John and by the way, Jeanette does
paint all of her grandchildren – All of them! – so we needed to make that – I paint all of them! – a poignant position. But we’re going to actually go
through this today with you and see how you actually work your paints and using the various mediums
into the process of putting this together, so I’ll move out of the way and I’ll let
Jeanette take over from there. OK, great. So, in looking at this, I mean you’re obviously using,
you use Chroma acrylics, is that correct? Yes, I love them. Yeah, they’re very smooth and buttery I suppose you could say.
That’s the best way to describe them. A lot of artists, and then looking at what you’re doing,
a lot of artists put base colours down on their work, but you’re just literally putting the purple as
your base colour for this particular picture? Yes, it doesn’t really matter what colour I’m using,
it’s just some colour that represents the ocean for me – Yeah? – and so a mauve is a lovely soft foundation. Yeah. Sometimes I’ll do the drawing first, or sometimes
I’ll do the drawing over the top of the acrylic. As you can see, as I’m layering
this over the drawing, still seeing. You can still see underneath. Yes. I put some fixative on it. I was going to ask that question, yeah, because mainly
because it would have torn up with the paint as well. Yeah. Most of the colours in your work are very light. You don’t use really
dark colours at all. You can still see a great contrast in the work – Yes.
– but there’s not a lot of very, very dark colours in what you do. The colours have changed because I’ve moved North. Oh, OK. In Victoria, the colours were quite
dark and I worked very tonally. Yeah. There’s still tone here, but the colours in Victoria were
quite sombre compared to the colours in North Queensland, and I found that the further North that I moved, the brighter
and lighter the colours have become and I’ve had to adjust. OK. Acrylics have been perfect for the
brightness and the lightness – Yeah. – even more so than oil paint. So OK, we start to fill in around the drawing. Now, the
first time I actually met Jeanette was at the Sydney Art Expo and she came down to join us at the Colour
In Your Life booth. Had a great show, and Jeanette really showed her particular skill,
particularly when it came to drafting. Now you’ve obviously just simply drafted this on
yourself without any other mechanism to help you at all. Yes. So, well that’s – Freehand. – yeah, that’s a good indication of how good
a draftsman she actually is by doing that. It’s very difficult for a lot of people to do that.
They have to sort of either graph them out, or do something, or blow them up onto a screen.
But I was noticing when I was down there that Jeanette was actually drawing a lot of the
patrons that were coming into the expo and just doing an amazing job and they were
literally, people were lining up for her to do that. And it’s important in a sense if you – and Jeanette’s
done this herself – is to really find a mentor. It’s all well and good struggling through on your own, but
the beauty about Colour In Your Life is we’re creating, you know, dozens and dozens of them over a
period of time, Jeanette being one of them. But it’s important to find a mentor, somebody whose style that
you really enjoy, which you obviously had done as well – Yes. – and you take the best out of that – Yes. as you go along. You know, there’s obviously,
when I look at your work, there’s been even overseas artists, there’s
artists that have influenced who you are. So I think that’s an important part of developing an awareness
of your own ability as well as to find that mentor factor, and it I was very lucky – I had a well-known watercolour artist and
a marvellous figure drawing teacher who was also a sculptor, so they were really important in my life at that time. Right. I’m putting on the base skin – Base skin colours, OK. – colour, which I tend to keep quite warm. You’ve got a specific type of background
that you wanted to put on this young guy too. Yes. How do we go about that as well? I try to keep the painting evolving at the same pace. So I’m not inclined to just work on the figure alone.
I like to work the background in at the same time – “Sure.
” – if I’m now putting some ochre onto the hair here. Yeah. The next stage then would be to use ochre in the background – OK. – as well. So you really try and balance those colours out,
which is a really good important part is that it doesn’t matter if it’s landscapes or figurative the colours that you have in the ground
need to be in the sky, and vice-versa Yes. – the colours that are in the sand need to be – Yes. – particularly with your work, need to
be within your figure as well. Yes. So really, from there you’ve sort of mapped
in your character – young John – obviously as you’ve said the background is very,
very important as well, or just the presentation of the background to make the figure stand out,
so what colour are we going to be using on that? I’ve got in mind a more sand coloured background
although I still like to think about the ocean in the background, so my idea is to simplify the whole background, and it’s
been a happy mistake over time working with acrylics that I’ve learnt to simplify this process
using a palette knife rather than – Oh, OK. – brushstrokes, blending, blending, blending, it was
always very hard for me to get the colours to blend – Yeah. – in acrylic, so it was by accident that I
decided one day in a fit of impatience – Yeah? – to pick up my palette knife and just start putting it on broadly – Yeah. – and then I discovered that it worked!
I – you know, there were lots of lead-ups, of course, but I’ve realised now that
it works really well and you still have the illusion of the ocean and the sand when you stand back. Well, let’s start on that happy mistake then! OK. It sounds like a beauty! OK! Alright, so – what is it, satin medium? Satin medium and varnish. And you’re just throwing the whole lot in there just
to give it a bit of texture or a bit of thickness? I’ve thrown it in here instead of water – OK. – and it will hopefully retain some of the final
sheen that I would like to have in my painting. Oh, there you go, OK. As the acrylic dries – this is a quite
annoying part, I’ve found, about acrylic, for me versus working in pastel like I did years ago –
acrylic is a bit like watercolour and it changes as it dries, so therefore what I put down isn’t
what I would really want originally. I’ve had to learn to adjust, really, with
acrylic. It’s been very challenging. Now, see, that looks quite dynamic.
Really does, you’re just using, you’ve still, and then still leaving certain
areas of that background colour as well. It’s all about the illusion when you stand back, Graeme! It’s all about the illusion! It looks great, doesn’t it! I might just move this out of the way. Take the little fellow out of the way. Well I think this is looking really quite dynamic now,
just using the thickness of the paint with the plastic spatula. Pretty sure they sell those plastic spatulas at a lot of the
art stores but I know they sell them in the Art Shed in Brisbane, so for all those Queensland/Brisbane folks,
you can just drop in and see Manny. Alright, well I can see you’ve mixed up a nice
sandy colour there and then you’re going to proceed to put that up on the top there as well, is that,
or cover that over the layers too? I usually decide when I get up here – Yeah? – how I’m going to leave some of the mauve showing through – Yeah? And some of the blue. I’ve put some compound paste in this – Oh, have you? OK. – to make it nice and thick. Yeah. Because I like a little bit of texture happening – Oh, and that will sort of dry high then, will it? Yes. Alright, well we’re going to duck away and
leave Jeanette to work on this for a little while, and when we come back we’ll see what she’s up to
and we’ll continue on with the process. See you shortly. And I see by your portfolio as well is that you’ve got a
number of pieces that really fall into the fantasy realm as well. There’s a couple of beautiful pieces that you’ve got –
one of a mermaid swimming with a dolphin under the water, I think. It’s just superb! It’s a magnificent painting
– what motivates you to paint pieces like that? I mean, you’ve obviously got a love of the water, but
what’s the fascination with mermaids and mermen? I just like to challenge myself, I think, to see how
good my memory retention was as far as recall, as far as painting without a subject in front of me. OK. And living on an island also conjures up that
mystical feeling, and I love swimming in the ocean, and I love the feel of the water, and like to
just embrace all of that and put it in a painting that had nothing to do with super realism
or copying my subjects, so to speak. No, but they’re beautiful pieces, and they’re very
emotionally evocative I suppose you could say. And as you can see with acrylics,
I think this is a good example of what acrylics do, is that you can actually see as it’s drying, it dries
back into this colour. So, this is what it’s like when it’s wet. That’s probably one of the difficulties with acrylics is that
they do dry to a darker shade than what they actually are when they’re wet. And another thing that I’ve
noticed about your work as well which I really enjoy – and you do it so well – is the reflections of water,
which is always very, very difficult. You have refraction, you have shadow,
and you have reflection all in the one plane. Water’s just not a matter of throwing a couple of colours
down, there are a lot of different things that go into it, but you really do do it well with the little girls standing in the water,
the little babies in the water and mucking around on the sand. You can see that they’re actually, you know,
playing in those reflective waters. When I moved to Queensland from Victoria a number of
years ago, I of course was drawn to the water because where I lived, there was none – no water at all! So I
spent a long time just observing people, especially when I moved North with
the sunset colours reflecting on the water and I would just watch it for hours
and hours and hours. So I took many, many photographs and I spent a lot of time trying to capture the
essence of the water and the reflection. Yeah, I loved it so much. And you do it really, really well. Thank you. OK, from here, are there any other layers that you want
to put on this at all, or how do you go about it now? Do you go back and forth? You said that you really try and, you
know, set the scene by building it up and all of it, not just one area. Well, I’m – What would you do now? – halfway through the painting at this point in time. Yeah. Everything’s evolving pretty much in the same middle tone area. Yeah. I have now to go into the lighter colours. OK. I’ll put my lights on now, and I will probably
save this area for another lighter tone. The way that I figure that out is by putting
on colour in the body and the clothing first and then I’ll stand back and see how I,
or what colour might suit best. Alright, well let’s have a look at that then. OK, now we’ve remixed our palette, and you’ve
used your fine mist sprayer with the water in it just to sort of wet it down a little bit, just to
keep the consistency going on it, beautiful. And from here you’re going to start, you’ve got
your midtones down there but you’re actually going to start to put your
highlights in, is that correct? Yes. OK. Well, see, I like those little flecks of highlight. Yeah, well. You can just see, it’s just, as you can see it really
changes the tone of the painting quite quickly just by somebody that knows what they’re doing just
simply putting in just the small – and as you can see, there’s no white in this sense. If you can avoid using
white as a highlight I think that you’re going to get a much better interpretation of
your painting. So from where you are now I can see that you’re really using a lot of watered down
glazes, that would be the best way to put it? Yes. You’re not putting a huge amount of colour on there, and then
just building the process of the tonal values as you go along. That obviously works well for you? At this point in time, Graeme, I’m doing the
best that I can with the material folds. There’s a lot of glazing and a lot of working up with this. Yeah. Sometimes it can be a simple matter but other times
you’ve got to pay a lot of attention here – “Sure.” – to make it look realistic. Got to make sure
that everything’s looking naturally falling. Yeah. So it takes a fair bit of concentration and
I do like to build things up in gentle layers. Yeah I can just sort of see they seem to be just washes
that you’re putting on top of each other as you go along. This is how I like to work with acrylic.
Within the figurative area, anyway. When I get to the background it’s much more fun
for me because then I can let loose with the palette knife. But you’ve got – are you going to
do anything else with that background there? I will – as I put the lighter tone on the hair, I think that I’ll bring
in the tonal area in the background to be of a similar – So it’ll be a sort of – – similar, is he going to be sandy blonde of some sort, or – He’s quite fair – John’s got quite fair hair. OK. I may need to wait for that to dry. OK. Five minutes. So what are we going to do about this background as well? So, I will now mix the lighter colour for the background, and – Yeah? put some, because I did palette knife some onto the hair. Yeah, OK. Yeah. Then just sort of match it all up, then? Alright, well how about we mix the colour
for the background and we start building that? OK, I’ll do that. This is the finishing layer for the picture.
I want it to tone in, more or less, with John’s hair, I’ve decided, and I’ll put some more lighter
tones on the pants and the body – OK. – bring it all into shape. Alright, well we’ll let you go ahead with that.
I actually quite like this technique because it’s using the spatula and looks great the way that
you build up the different layers, it’s very, very effective. Look at that – beautiful! Sparkly effect here. Yeah. I like the sparkle. You sort of tend to roll that spatula across the top and
then it catches all of the layers underneath too, doesn’t it. Yes, it was a good technique that I found
by default and accidents one day. Looks great. Well, these are these really light highlights. You’re
actually using a little bit of white in this process, correct? I will use white, I’m still not there yet. OK. I’m a shade off it. OK. But once again this is a part of your technique
of just simply building those colours all the time. And as you can see, it’s really not a matter of trying to get
every tiny little hair, which some artists do and it looks amazing, but with Jeanette’s process it’s just giving you an impression of what the
hair is really about by using the light and shade to do so. Alright viewers, well as you can see, Jeanette has really made
quite some amazing progress since we’ve ducked away. Obviously it takes time to put these things together and,
but as you can see she’s really done just an amazing job at this beautiful portrait, figurative portrait of her
young grandson John. I think it’s just amazing. Congratulations on such an amazing painting,
and obviously also an amazing career as well. Thanks Graeme. You’ve obviously achieved a great deal with what you’re
doing and as you can see by beautiful pieces like this, it’s fairly evident that this lady has an amazing
and wonderful ability. So if people really wanted to see your work and what you are doing, you’ve
obviously got a website – what’s that address? I have a website – OK, so if anybody wants to come and see
Jeanette’s paintings, and obviously her history as well, they can go to that website. If not you can always come to and you can see her work in there as well. Well guys, once again an amazingly talented woman.
Thank you so much for coming on the show, darling. Thank you, Graeme. It was absolutely superb to see the ability of another amazing
human being. If you’d like to see more of Jeanette’s work, you can obviously come in to and catch
up with her and obviously many of the other artists in there. This is a great example of what you can do with acrylics.
A lot of people have trouble working with acrylics, but another good example of what you can do. Also, I’ve had a
number of people phone us in over the last couple of months since the show’s been on asking about wanting
to be on the show. Yes, artists can, if they want to submit their portfolios to the team at Colour In Your Life,
we will review your work depending on where you are of course, and we would be happy to look at what you do,
what your ability is. If you’re a semi-professional artist, or a professional artist and you want to be part of
what we’re doing in our team, we are literally crossing the planet these days and it’s just an amazing thing to
be involved with. We have a number of different organisations coming on board with us, so if you would like to be part of this
idea as it crosses the planet, you need to get in touch with us, obviously at the website, and we go from there.
But, once again, we need to move on, and obviously hopefully go and see somebody
else somewhere in this amazing country, and hopefully tell the world what we’re doing.
But until we meet again, remember: make sure you put some colour in your life!
We’ll see you next time. Bye guys!

30 thoughts on “Free Acrylic Art Lessons with Jeanette Sellwood on Colour In Your Life

  1. Graeme Another great artist profile. I know your job is to ask questions and move everything along but it seems like you pushed a bit to get what you wanted from Ms Sellwood. But maybe it was the editing. Anyway I'm so enjoying this series. 

  2. Doesn't matter what orientation people are as long as their soul is good and they enjoy life, bring anyone you want

  3. madam , jeanette sellwood    you are great artist . your all paintings is v. very good  .i feel  as a artist from india .  & i wish you long live  god bless you.

  4. I just enjoyed watching this and have forwarded it to two of my artist friends.  Jeanette is just a wonderful artist with a beautiful soft touch.  Her paintings seem to reflect her personality.

  5. i love how she just up n sold everything and bought a camper!
    this is my plan for next year to paint and signwrite my way around australia!
    awesome talent jeanette!

  6. I just want to say thankyou so much for this series. It's brilliant to see other artists and how they work. Hope one day you come to the UK.

  7. when you say watered down, do you mean actual water or medium. if medium, which one? Thank-you for this video it is wonderful and very inspiring xx

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