Tag along for the ride

Riverfront Gallery, Denmark

I was pleased, this week, to be invited to hang my work at Riverfront Gallery in Denmark, Western Australia.

As the name suggests, the gallery is located right across the road from the magnificent Denmark River. The gallery space has been expanded in recent years and features amazing works by a number of artists working in different styles and media and I think my paintings will feel at home there.

Denmark is a small tourist town nestled alongside the Wilson Inlet on the south coast. It boasts world-class scenery from surfing beaches and rocky coastline to tall karri forests and hilly farmland. So next time you find yourself anywhere near the south west or south coast and with a little time to spare, be sure to drop in and see Denmark.

In the meantime you can visit Riverfront Gallery on Facebook.


Woolorama winners

I was very pleased to hear today that two of the paintings I entered into this year’s Wagin Woolorama have won prizes.

Rural Morn
oil on board.
© Andy Dolphin

Rural Morn placed first in Class 1 – Oils & Acrylics. (This painting had a working title of “Barker Shed” back in September.)

Organised Chaos
60x40cm oil on board.
© Andy Dolphin

Organised Chaos received the President’s Award.

In the past, when I’ve gone to Woolorama, I have always enjoyed the artworks and often felt I was among friends as many of the artists I knew in Perth have often also exhibited there.

I’ll be there on Saturday to take a look at this year’s exhibition.

Plein air tree oil painting video

Wheatbelt White Gum
25x30cm oil on board.

© Andy Dolphin

I posted this painting back in December and mentioned that I had shot video of the process.

Well, I’ve finally got it edited, narrated and posted on Youtube. In the narration for this one, I discuss my thoughts on  limited palettes and learning the fundamentals before getting bogged down in details about media and brushes and surfaces and the like.

In other news, I’ve entered a few paintings in Woolorama this year – my first competition entries for a few years.

The show is on this Friday and Saturday (March 9 & 10) so if you’re nearby, or just feel like a drive in the WA countryside, go along and check it out. There’s much more than art there. There’s sheep too. And other stuff that makes an agricultural show an agricultural show.


A bit more plein air

I have actually been doing a bit of painting in recent weeks. I just haven’t been doing any blogging.

This will fix that, at least for a while.

On a wonderfully hot day a few weeks ago, I jumped in the car and drove around aimlessly for a few hours. I headed down roads I’ve never been down before; out near Tambellup in the southern wheatbelt.

I ended up at the northern border of the Stirling Range National Park. It’s amazing how often I end up at the Stirlings despite having no plan to go there.

It was getting late when I saw this whitegum growing just inside a farm fenceline. There was room to park the car and to safely set up and paint. So here it is…

plein air oil painting of white gum, wandoo in western australia by Andy DolphinNorth Stirling White Gum
25x30cm oil on board.

© Andy Dolphin

And here’s the location shot. As you can probably tell, I finished just before sunset.

plein air oil painting lof tree - ocation photo in rural western australia

I’d like to do a bigger studio painting from this sketch – and I’ll have to decide then whether to still include the roll of rusty fencing wire. My gut feeling is it attracts too much attention to itself and I’d be better off with a few sheep instead.

Yesterday, I met up with the Albany Plein Air Group and found a new place to paint – at the old Albany Railway Station. I’ve wanted to paint here for a long time but on the one or two occasions when I’ve checked it out, there’s been no subject matter that interested me. But yesterday there was a freight train parked in the perfect position and in good morning light so I set up the easel and got to work.

I began by snapping a few photos, because there was some cloud around and it was likely to get worse before it got better, so I wanted a little “insurance”. Then I did a quick pencil sketch to get the main shapes and tones in my head.

After a quick chat with an inquisitive engineer who told me the train would be staying put for a couple of hours, I set to work on my painting.

Less than five minutes in, another train arrived at the freight yard – and stopped. And this was my view for the next half hour…

freight train blocks view of painting a railyard

There was no moving to a better position to regain my view as these trains are well over 500m long and I couldn’t see either end from where I stood. (Looking at it now, I could probably have done a new painting of this scene!)

So I continued painting using my sketch, the small image on my camera’s LCD screen and my memory. And things progressed surprisingly well.

Eventually the train moved on and I could see again. Things had changed a little – and the clouds were being…clouds, but I had enough information to get the job done just before my subject train moved.

freight train, railway, rail yard plein air oil painting by Andy Dolphin - albany western australiaAlbany Railyard
20x34cm oil on board.

© Andy Dolphin

For my first-ever train painting, I’m pretty happy with it. I hope to do more if I can get the timing right and find decent places to stand.

freight train plein air painting by Andy Dolphin - albany western australia

Plein air in the wheatbelt.

Yesterday afternoon, I packed the car and headed north.

The plan, as I told my wife, was “to drive half-way to Kojonup”. Koji, as it’s often called, is about 100km north from home and I ended up travelling about 55km to somewhere between Cranbrook and Tambellup. This is wheat, sheep and cattle country, and not much else.

Unlike the situation at home, the sky was blue out here – not a cloud to be seen from horizon to horizon.

I found a multi-trunk white gum just off the road, with a safe place to park and paint. I had set out with a “plan” to paint a white gum so, despite the flies and the occasional whiff of rancid cow dung, my subject was settled.

Here’s the result of a little over two hours painting.

Wheatbelt White Gum
25x30cm oil on board.

© Andy Dolphin

And here’s the “proof I was there” shot.

I used a limited palette on this one – cerulean, French ultramarine, permanent crimson, yellow ochre and burnt sienna, plus titanium white. I wanted to keep it “earthy” and play the warm tones of the dry grasses and tree trunks against the clear blue sky.

The leaf canopy on this tree was very open (you can see it in the background above) and presented quite a challenge but I was happy with the end result.

I did video the process so may upload that to Youtube when I get it edited and narrated.