Close family ties take me to Australia, to a town on the Great Ocean Road. This coastal strip has wide beaches of white, soft sand and dunes, backed by low tree-covered hills.
On my last trip I endeavoured to do a painting most days and very nearly achieved my aim; a holiday can seem to be missing something unless I do a few works – I guess I’m an addict and just can’t do without my painting fix. My sketchbooks fill quite quickly.
But I also had a small pack of basic equipment with me and the newness of this landscape prompted me to paint small works on acrylic paper, working from my sketches and glancing occasionally at the image on my mobile phone screen.
Light and colour
I have painted numerous times in the south of Europe and used my experience of portraying this landscape to help me with my Australia paintings.
Perhaps it is due to the area’s lack of air pollution, and also its proximity to the colder south polar seas, but here the light seems clearer, with an added sparkle and intensity, compared with the sun-filled glory of the Mediterranean. The red-orange cliffs with colour-filled shadows, blues and violet, and the ochre and red sunlit surfaces are topped with blue-green foliage and complementary colours, yellows, lemon, pink and lime green.
The colour of the sea changes from cobalt to turquoise, pale violet and cerulean blue, all hues deep, clean and pure with not a hint of grey! Bearing in mind flight weight restrictions when packing, I choose colours that are clear, bright, and versatile.
These increase my colour mixing opportunities and help me steer
My Australia painting kit
l Small tubes of acrylic colour: azo yellow, yellow ochre, cadmium orange, cadmium red, magenta, cobalt blue, Prussian blue, turquoise, dioxazine violet, titanium white and raw umber.
l Two bottles of Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic ink: purple lake and antelope brown.
l Oil pastels: white, lemon, ochre, pale olive, purple, pale orange and magenta for mixed-media work.
l Two Rosemary & Co flat brushes (I recommend these, good value and hard wearing), 1in and 1 1 ⁄ 2 in. l My fold-up palette (a WH SMITH plastic document case with a pad of tear-off paper palette sheets); a palette knife and 20 sheets of 10 ? 13in acrylic paper.
l My sketching kit comprises: hardback sketchbook with two large bull-dog clips to hold pages down in breezy conditions, a pack of children’s wax crayons, felt-tip pens, (large Italic from Berol and fine 0.5 tip by Pilot,) two chunky water-soluble crayons in blue and black, a field box of watercolours and watercolour brushes