Jul 3, 2021

Le Tour de France

 I'm back in from of the TV, watching Le Tour de France. I paint one scene each day.

Check out my web shop: bikeartbyshirleypeters.com

Jun 17, 2021

IPassword broken!

Can’t believe that this app “iPassword” has become useless since Apple’s recent upgrade to 14.5. 
I have many passwords stored on it. Plus other private info. Beware of electronic dependency! I’ll use a notebook in future. 

Jun 14, 2021

Abundant Water


Getting close to "brushes down": I need to leave one week before delivering my paintings to the gallery for my show. 

This painting is 83 x 101cm, oil on canvas, painted on the sides. You can see it at the gallery, and also on my web site from July 1st onwards. My instagram has this and others as well, as I had to post them as soon as each one was finished. 

Jun 7, 2021

The Walk of Shame: picking up your paintings from the NSW Art Gallery when they are not chosen for the prizes.

I can't recall how many Archibalds, Wynnes and Sulmans I have entered, but it's a fair few. I do know how many times I have scored a short listing: none. So I have walked the walk any times. 

The staff are lovely, non-judgmental. They find your painting, and offer to carry it to your car if it's a biggie. 

No one looks at the work. It's the elephant in the room. It doesn't exist. It's a frame of wood with a canvas covering.

Your work is not good enough. It's a fail. You have wasted your $50 and a bunch of time in delivering and picking up. So why look at it.

When delivering to the prizes, at the beginning, one feels hopeful. It's a happy time, as at least you have something to enter that is not still wet – main criterion.  But no one looks at it then either. You lean it against the wall, face hidden. Then it is numbered and carried off.

I had hope, fingers crossed, that this year when they selected a nobody, and they always do, my entry would be the one.

After all, it's a good piece. It's well painted, fits the criteria, and everyone likes it on Instagram.

But the phone remains silent. Time passes. If you are on the outside (ie: you don't know any winners) you don't know when they will call. Your hope dwindles over the weeks, and eventually you face the fact: "babong"– another fail.

The winners are announced online. I used to rush to read the list, thinking it was a surprise for everyone! (not) 

But it's fascinating to see who is chosen. Often the same artists from the year before, and of course, lots of well knowns. And some I've never heard of. And they publish the images. Always interesting, especially when seeing what the judges liked this year.

On this note, I've noticed that drips are now out of fashion.

Realism and traditional painting have always been out of fashion.

But then, what do they like?? The rules of the competition say:

Archibald: Best Portrait

Sulman: Best Genre painting or Best Mural

Wynne: Best Landscape Painting or Best Figure Sculpture

Funny word: best. Does it mean technically clever, favourite, preferred, exciting, new, different? Who knows. The Archibald has been compared to the Melbourne Cup. Yes, in my opinion, it's just as hard to pick a winner.

So, time to collect the paintings. Not easy when they are too big for my car! I have to use roof racks, so rain is a consideration. I have three paintings to collect, and two are huge. I won't be able to sneak in and out. I will be seen.

Today was the day. I went through the process: parking, collecting, wrapping, strapping and preparing for the drive home. A bit like going to a dentist, or a covid test. Unpleasant, but has to be done. 

A small upside today. Leslie Dimmick from the Tap Gallery in Surry Hills came up and invited me to hang my work at her Real Refuse exhibition, for all of us losers. What a gem. She has been doing this for 25 years. (I think I've shown there before, a while ago. Can't quite remember now. )

So my Sulman entry will get a chance to be seen by the public and my peers. Hooray.

"Lockdown" My entry for the Sulman Prize.
180cm x 120cm, oil on canvas 2008 – 2021
Available at the "Real Refuse" Tap Gallery
259 Riley Street Surry Hills NSW

"Weeping Rock After Rain" Entry for the Wynne Prize
160cm x 110cm, oil on canvas 2021
Available at Gallery One88FineArt
My solo show "Abundant Water"
July 1 – 13 Katoomba NSW 

"Returning to Work Photographer Bob Peters" Entry for the Archibald
67cm x 100cm

May 30, 2021

The Process involved in doing a Commission.


"Sirius Cove, Distant Rain" 180 x 100 cm Oil on Canvas 

I have finished this large seascape and delivered it to the client last weekend. I haven't seen it on the wall yet - hoping they will send a photo when it's up.

It took a few trips: first one was to meet the client and see the space. And they showed me their 'backyard' which was this view: Sirius Cove

Then I returned the next day and did two plein air studies:

I used these paintings to create a 'mock-up' of the client's living room with a selection of layouts.

Vertical was a their original request.

Horizontal was my preference.

Then I added a less colourful version.

This last one they preferred, so my next visit was planned for an overcast day. 
I needed photographs that would help with that 'mood'.

And many more!

The final photomontage image.

I used photoshop to arrange the different shots.
I cut and pasted the foreground and the two sides. 
It's not accurate, but it gives the right impression.
This composite image became my 'muse' and I was able to sketch up and paint the canvas from this.

Tonal sketch on the canvas

I added the appropriate hardware and delivered the painting. 
And I can report that the clients were very happy.

My final thoughts on commission. 
Firstly, it has to be a subject that you are interested in painting, and can visit. 
Secondly, the price has to be fair, considering that it is an interruption to your usual work. (Unless commissions are your main job!)
Thirdly, making small version and getting approval from the client is important. I recently did a large montage of Le Tour de France riders, and the client did not like the riders that I chose to illustrate. His list was for the old champions who all took drugs!! So I was not interested in that and did my own guys, from that years TDF.
He didn't like it, and didn't take it. (Later he did, but for a discounted price, as I needed it gone!!) But the lesson was: get the client to approve your sketch, so that they know what they will be getting.

Bye for now

May 8, 2021

Plein Air at Mudgee

 Another week of painting with new and old friends.

"River Sentinals" 16 x 20" Oil on Canvas

"View from the Vineyard" 30 x 40" Oil on Canvas

"The General Store at Hill End"
30 x 40" Oil on Canvas

Mar 29, 2021

Plein Air Painting at Blackheath

We joined with four other painters in a three day painting holiday at Blackheath, NSW Australia. Blackheath is a lovely old town at the top of the Blue Mountains, not too far from my home at Mulgoa.

We stayed at a rental cottage and travelled to nearby lookouts, painting all day, every day. 

John Rice (right) paints atmospheric rural scenes with huge gums and misty rivers; Don Talintyre (centre) is an established plein-air landscape artist; Bob, my husband, came for the company. (he doesn't paint.)

Salwa Woodroffe (above) is a "modern" oil painter, who paints a variety of subjects, such as portraits and landscapes, 

where as I (above) am half modern, but trying to practice a more traditional method for my landscapes en Plein air. 

We also had a talented local artist, David Landgrebe, paint with us each day (left).

Here are some random shots from the days:

Salwa near the edge.

John Rice and Salwa Woodroffe.

Painting early before the mist rose.

David Landgrebe

John Rice

Don Talintyre

Three painters in the field!

John Rice

My set up for video.

Beautiful cave formations.

Vistas to fly through! (We painted from the
hang-gliders' launch pad!)



An easel on the edge.

My first finished painting: Anvil Rock

Seven half finished paintings at home, waiting for attention. 
I'll post them when I'm done.

Jan 17, 2021

I'm back on the video wagon!

 After a few months break, to paint Le Tour de France, build a chicken coup and xmas of course!

I'm now back making 'Learn to Paint" videos, and this is my first one for the year. Why not jump over and check it out?


Dec 19, 2020

I have been doing some plain-air landscapes lately.

Above is the view out my studio window. I have a classic dam in my backyard, and here it is half full. Once a year it overflows, and often it is empty. A constant reminder of the extremes we live with.

My sister Barbara and I visited the Megalong Valley. We were able to set up our easels and do an afternoon's painting. It was warm, not hot. A slight breeze, and very sunny.

Last February I painted this beach and the village at Stanley in Tasmania. I think it was my last one for the holiday, and I've just found it in the trailer, still attached to the board. So it finally gets an airing. I really like it, and might frame it for myself.

One day, Bob and I and Honey took the motorhome and went off looking for some water to paint. We were disappointed at how many parks are still closed due to fire damage. Our closest (going south from Mulgoa) was at Thirlmere. One of the few 'natural' lakes in Australia (most a dammed rivers). So I painted this grassy scene, which had ducks frequently landing and swimming past. Magic.

A plein air day with friends at the Old Weir at Penrith. They are in the distance. When I go out with other painters we always spread out so far that its like painting alone. Except if you have a tea break, or need a colour that you left at home! It's always a treat.

After painting, we visited the Lewers Gallery to see the Warrick Fuller Retrospective. 
Left to right: Myself, Don Talintyre, Salwa Woodroffe, John Rice.

On my recent trip for a two day break, I hit the waves! 
Well, I painted them from a rock platform anyway.