Our Guest Speaker for the KAS July 2016 Meeting was Joe Cartwright
Joe’s presentation on his “watercolour life journey” was inspirational to many in the audience as was his watercolour demonstration of a sunset over water. Joe has self published a book on Watercolour painting based on practical experience from his teaching over the years, it proved very popular with our members and supplies on the night almost sold out.
Meeting Report by Tomasin Graham
At our July meeting our guest artist Joe Cartwright demonstrated for us by painting a beautiful landscape – the last rays of the setting sun, reaching into the sky and reflecting in the water below.
He explained his process step by step.
“Water is the most important ingredient in watercolour. If you are going to paint good watercolours you have to understand what water does. It’s the water that gives you nice smooth passages in your work. If you go to a workshop or demonstration, look at the consistency of paint, the wetness of paper, the wetness of the brush, and how quickly it is drying”.
The only drawing Joe did was to draw in the horizon. “Make sure it’s flat. Hold it up and check your horizon is right”
Mixing the colours
Joe likes a palette with big mixing areas.“It’s better to waste a bit of paint than run out of paint during a wash”. “Time is your most valuable ingredient. The clock doesn’t start until you touch the paper, so you can take all the time you like mixing paint and test your colours on pieces of paper.”
Another important tip is regarding reflections. If a boat is dark, the reflection will be lighter than the boat. If the boat is light, the reflection is darker than the boat.” Also, before signing your painting, place a framing matt over it to ensure your signature will not be covered!
He also gave us some great advice about using hairdryers on watercolours which he discourages. “A hairdryer is a bit like a helicopter landing – forcing the water away from the paint uncontrollably. Be careful and keep it well away from the painting”. He suggests leaving your work for about half and hour instead.
Joe also gave us some great self promoting advice. “Your signature is your brand and needs to get your name out there. It had to look ‘arty’ but always readable from about 8 feet away. At the Easter Show, if 100,000 people pass your painting, 1% might remember your name. Your paintings are your biggest marketing tool. He often use red for his signature.
How to price your paintings
“I used to go to all the shows in my area on about the last day. I would buy a catalogue and look at the paintings that had sold. That told me what quality of work would sell at that price in that area.” “When you start, sell at a bit less than you think it is worth, because until it sells you don’t know. I have kept records of every painting I have sold by price/size/area/subject matter, so I know what sells where.”
In his previous life Joe worked in sales and marketing. “My wife suggested I chuck in my job for art. I finally said I’m leaving”. He has sought to use his marketing experience in selling his art. Joe likes to use Facebook and Pinterest. The number of ‘Likes’ gives him a sense of what is saleable. He doesn’t claim copyright by placing copyright stamps all over his images on Pinterest and he feels this has helped him as there have been thousands of links from Pinterest back to his website. He also uses ‘YouTube’ in order to promote his website.
Joe has also written a teaching manual, “Mastering Watercolors – A practical guide” Details can be found at his website www.joecartwright.com.au Tomasin Graham
I have been painting since 1998 focusing on Watercolour.
My paintings cover a wide range of subjects including portraits ,seascapes, landscape, flowers, wildlife and townscapes. I do not feel inclined to specialise in any one category as any subject can make an interesting work of art.
I have been exhibiting at regional and National art shows over this period at which I have sold many paintings and received many of awards. In 2009 I won the prestigious John Copes Watercolour Prize.
I have also also exhibited and sold paintings at other major exhibitions such as the Sydney Royal Agricultural Easter Show and the Blacktown Art Show.
The Australian Artist Magazine has published my articles on two occasions.
I am a member of the Macquarie Towns Art Society as well as the Nepean Art Society at which I teach watercolour and run regular workshops.
I have created this site so it can act as a resource for my students and as a repository of some of the things I have learnt about watercolor.