Fine Art Tips with Scott Denholm on Colour In Your Life

Fine Art Tips with Scott Denholm on Colour In Your Life

G'day viewers, my name's 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.

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 do what they do.

(Music Plays) (Graeme) Well hi folks, we are on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, at a beach called Moffat Beach, in Queensland, and I am with a gentleman, Scott Denholm.

How are you bud? (Scott) Good thanks mate.

(Graeme) Thanks for being here.

Scott loves the environment, very, very much involved in water sports – he's a fantastic surfer himself.

But paints a series of pictures that I think you'll find really fascinating today.

Tell me a little about your background as far as where you started and how you got involved with the environmental side of Art work? (Scott) Graeme, the environmental side of it started with living out west as a kid – sort of grew up in the outback.

Sort of got a real appreciation for the landscape, and the animals and that sort of thing.

When I was about thirteen we moved to the Sunshine coast.

I took up surfing and that was the end of it, It was love at first sight really with (Graeme) I bet.

(Scott) it was surfing in the ocean, and yeah, it all just sort of went from there.

So from a young age was you know, very landscape base, outback base, and then had a very big shift to ocean base.

(Graeme) Soon as you climbed on a surfboard.

(Scott) Yeah, exactly, exactly.

(Graeme) But today, and we've got to thank a company and a gentleman, Mr Alex Holzer from Hydrocryl Paints in Melbourne.

Now because of people like Alex, that enable great Artists like Scott, to be able to come on the show, he's part of the sponsorship of Colour In Your Life, and obviously you use his products extensively.

I mean what do you think about them? (Scott) As far as a quality Artists acrylic goes, they are top notch.

(Graeme) Yeah.

(Scott) And as far as the environmental side goes, they are environmentally friendly, they are non toxic, It's just a great company doing things with paint.

(Graeme) Yeah, and it's fantastic and it works really well as far as the synergy concerned with Scott, as far as the environment's concerned, and these are you know, nonpolluting paints.

I mean they're water soluble so you can wash them out.

We're going to be demonstrating those today and what Scott actually does with this fantastic product.

The pigments are amazing, they really are incredibly bright, and you're going to see Scott use them today, and I'll be firing off questions about what he's doing and you know we'll build it from there.

But Scott's actually prepared a board for us, he's gonna do one of his fantastic wave paintings.

You've actually got a coat on this already? (Graeme) What's this? (Scott) Yeah, I've gessoed on this and there's a modelling compound on there as well, so it just gives a bit of texture in the underpainting and (Graeme) Okay.

(Scott) yeah, (Graeme) Cool, (Scott) bit of interest.

(Graeme) yeah cool, well I'll step out of the way, we'll get on with the piece.

But beautiful work, I mean I really love what Scott does and you'll see some fantastic paints today as well, so lets get stuck into it.

(Scott) Okay, I'm just gonna start here with some of these brilliant Hydrocryl blues, so the turquoise which is my favourite color.

That's those blues that you get in the reef at the beach.

(Graeme) This paint was actually invented by a chemist back in the late seventies, a Doctor Jeffery Pura.

He had a lot of Artists friends from what I've been told that you know that when the environmental movement back in those days kicked into gear, and everybody's going look I want less pollutants and toxins in what I do.

So he basically worked with Artists to come up with this paint and it's you know, the best nontoxic paint on the market which is great.

(Scott) It is and that's exactly why I use it, Graeme.

one hundred percent nontoxic, environmentally friendly and what else can you say, it's brilliant paint.

(Graeme) And it goes with the pictures that you create as well.

(Scott) Yeah, definitely.

(Graeme) One of the most polluted places that we have on the planet these days is our oceans, (Scott) Yep.

(Graeme) and you being a surfer would probably have seen some stuff out there that shouldn't be there.

(Scott) Sure have.

This is the deep orange, these single pigments are probably the most vivid paints that I've ever used.

I've never seen anything like it.

And the cadmium hue yellow, hue being the purest form of the pigment and last one is the Inka Gold.

I love this color.

(Graeme) So you're sort of still using a fairly basic palette but you get all the colors that you want because of the intensity of the pigments anyway.

(Scott) Yep, exactly.

And because they're all single pigment they're just, once you mix them they're still extremely vivid.

They're not going to muddy like some – some brands do, some paints do.

(Graeme) Okay Scotty, you've got a roller there mate.

(Scott) Yeah, I just find that it distributes the paint just that a little bit more evenly I guess.

(Graeme) Yeah, a sponge roller.

(Scott) Yep, sponge roller – just an el cheapo from the craft store.

(Graeme) Yeah.

As we were saying I mean before those colors are just dynamic aren't they? (Scott) Oh yeah.

(Graeme) Yeah.

(Scott) I have to, really have to put in black sometimes to dull them down.

(Graeme) Yeah, that's amazing.

But I just love the effect with the roller as well, you're just getting so much quicker than (Scott) It just distributes a hell of a lot quicker.

(Graeme) Yeah.

Spray bottle.

(Scott) Yep, so I'll just spray it every now and then just to, just to blend the colors in with each other.

But also creates, creates some textures and sort of contrasts underneath.

(Graeme) Yeah.

You actually really started out your creative career by working with Australia Zoo, many years ago.

(Scott) Yeah, so I started at Australia Zoo in mid twenties as the website designer actually, so I was a graphic designer before that.

And that lead to website design and then one thing led to another, and I ended up at Australia Zoo as their website designer, which sort of went to social media as well, so I was the zoo social media manager for a while.

(Graeme) That's pretty cool.

The very famous Steve Irwin, whose name changed the environmental world (Scott) Certainly did.

(Graeme) as well didn't he? (Scott) Massive, massive influence on myself, (Graeme) Oh, that's great.

(Scott) on my Art.

(Graeme) He was a pretty incredible human being.

(Scott) He was, yep.

(Graeme) And you don't muck around with your canvas either.

I've noticed you actually use linen.

(Scott) I do, I have to.

It's a bit stronger.

(Graeme) Yeah, well you're obviously aggressive but the fact is, that if you're going to be serious about your work, you need to be serious about your materials.

(Scott) Well that's right, yeah.

The other good thing about linen is that it's actually made from a plant called flax, which is like hemp – very, very sustainable.

A lot more sustainable than cotton in terms of production as well as growing it.

Just a lot more environmentally friendly, so it was sort of a natural, natural thing for me to lean towards.

(Graeme) Yeah, you're obviously very conscious about everything that you put into your work.

(Scott) Definitely.

(Graeme) You know, it was sort of saying look if I'm going to be serious about this I need to do all my research.

(Scott) I did, I did a lot of research actually.

Going from oil based painting as a junior, as a kid that's what I was taught.

And then went to acrylics, once I learn't about these paints specifically, but also learning a lot about the environmental impact sort of, just the pigments and the minerals used, and even easy mineral turps to, to thin out your paint or to wash your brushes, that sort of thing.

(Graeme) Yeah, I supose being an avid surfer you know, it goes hand in hand.

(Scott) It certainly does.

When you're out there in the water you see the effects of the coral reefs that you're surfing over, and the water quality and it's you know, you're in the elements and it really does make a difference.

It makes you want to make a change, and to get other people to make that change as well.

(Graeme) And you've been down to places like Samoa, which is very, very isolated (Scott) Yes.

(Graeme) obviously.

I mean your work's obviously been influenced by the ocean, that's pretty obvious.

(Scott) Samoa was a great trip, so I went there for a surfing trip with my brother several years ago.

I just love getting out to those really remote places, fairly untouched.

Alright, so I'm just going to bring in some warm colors now on the left hand side of this painting, just to balance it out a bit.

(Graeme) There goes the roller.

But I think using the roller as well, in comparison to using a brush, you've even given me some ideas right know, it just would save a huge amount of time putting all your bases down.

(Scott) It does, and one of the main things I like about it also, is that I'm not getting brush strokes; I don't like brush stokes in my artwork.

I mean some, some Artists do it brilliantly, but I don't know, for some reason mine just doesn't really suit it.

So this is only going to be part of the underpainting, so you'll see this come through in some of the layers underneath.

(Graeme) Yeah.

(Scott) So that the end result won't quiet be as vivid, but it's definitely under there, so (Graeme) Yeah.

(Scott) I use lots of thin layers on top, and you'll see you know, many layers sort of coming through.

So we've got the Hydrocryl turquoise, even just coming out of the tub here – just a brilliant texture.

Some other brands can be inconsistent, they can have little imperfections, but straight out of the tub these are just perfect every time.

So more of the turquoise just in through here.

So I'm just gonna put a couple more darker areas in just to balance it out a bit more.

(Graeme) And Scott, you've also got a really cool time lapse of you creating a picture called Deep Blue Dream.

(Scott) Deep Blue Dream.

(Graeme) That's an angle that probably only a surfer would probably know compared to most people.

(Scott) Yeah, it's kind of the angle when you're surfing, paddling back out out into the surf, into the water.

Sort of, you know, you look across down the line and that wave's just sort of break-in and you've got the spray coming over, like it's.

(Graeme) It's fantastic, like we've said before, unless you've been a surfer you really can't describe to people (Scott) No.

So I'm just going to come from the top left, and just sort of come down a bit over the background of the painting here.

What I'm going to do is apply it with the palette knife and then what I do is just sort of distribute it with my brush, just so it thins out.

(Graeme) So you're not particularly precious with those brushes either? (Scott) Not at all.

(Graeme) Some of the other pieces that I really like of yours – just screening one up now called On the Other Side.

And I really love how you juxtapose the cool greens against the reds.

Obviously they're complimentaries but they stand out so much more in the way that you portray the work.

And then there's another one called The Shining.

(Scott) The Shining.

Yeah, that was actually one of the first ones I did in the venture to after doing my traditional landscapes.

So I'm just bringing this color I've mixed up here – it's sort of a violet and bring it up here.

This will all be part of the underpainting again, so this is just another layer I'll come back over again and maybe soften it up.

(Graeme) So how many layers would you put on some of your work? (Scott) I might have half a dozen layers.

(Graeme) Okay.

(Graeme) Now hands – what you're doing right then, the best part about Hydrocyrl, is you don't have to worry about any poison sneaking into your (Scott) You don't, no toxins what so ever so (Graeme) Yeah, (Scott) as you can see I'm not the cleanest of painters, so in the past you'd sort of get your hands into it and go, oh, should I be wearing gloves? Should I, should I even be doing this at all? (Graeme) Because some of the cadmium content and some other paints is really extreme, (Scott) A bit nasty.

(Graeme) you've got to be really careful.

(Scott) Yep.

(Graeme) Music actually plays a big part in your work as well, and (Scott) It does.

(Graeme) I was only just informed before we started shooting that all these pictures are named after, or have song lyrics in them.

That's pretty cool.

(Scott) You know, music's a fairly big part of my life, and I like to listen to the old – all the old classics.

I listen to a lot of music while I'm painting; I like to think that music and Art sort of go hand in hand.

(Graeme) But I saw you had one of my favourite bands, and the song was lyrics out of Black Dog with Led Zeppelin.

(Scott) That's right.

Some more, more dry techniques here, just put in some dry paint on to dry layers.

And what I'll actually do now is I'll get out the spray, the spray bottle again, (Graeme) Yeah.

(Scott) and I'll just bring some of that original painting, the original colors back through.

(Graeme) Okay, it sort of bleeds it back out again.

(Scott) Just nice little textures in there sometimes cause it's subtle sometimes it'll just wash it right back – let it drip through.

That'll create some create some nice textures later.

Sometimes what I do too, is I'll come over with the palette knife, and just rearrange while it's wet.

And that gets some nice transparency actually up through there like a glaze.

I have friends sometimes come over and have a look at my Art while it's maybe at this stage of a painting, and sort of look at it and go – oh, how is that ever going to be a finished product? I just tell them it takes a little bit of time and a few layers, sometimes they don't understand that.

All paintings start out this way.

(Graeme) I think that's the thing about people when they're first learning how to paint, is that they expect the result to come the moment they put a color on the canvas.

(Scott) If you don't have the patience, you're going to think that you know, the first layer is it.

So I'm just going to rip most of this away.

I want that – I want this section to sort of be a bluey green.

So the idea here is that there's a background here of maybe a old forest or palm trees, or something like that.

And it sort of goes a little bit deeper.

A bit more depth in it where the two different layers of palm trees and then this side here will sort of have the same sort of look as well.

So do get the painting to a point were I can put in the wave, what I'm going to do is I'll just finish off.

There's a few more layers still to go in through here, and down on this side.

So I'll put in this background here, the suggestion of the palm trees, or the jungle in the background.

So what I'm gonna put here is little palm tree looking things sort of sticking out.

They'll come out over onto the contrasting colors there, the warm against the cool colors.

(Graeme) Alright Scott, well you're making some fantastic progress there, but we're gonna let you work for a little while, and we'll come back later on.

(Scott) Beauty.

(Graeme) Right, so you've got to the stage now where you want to start putting you're oils on.

(Scott) Yeah, so I've blocked it in with the Hydrocryls – best base around for that.

I've put in a nice warm sort of a base to what will be the spray and sort of the crashing part of the wave – the wash of the wave.

So I'll come over that now with these oils and we'll fix it up, and we'll build a little wave and watch it come alive.

(Graeme) Sounds fantastic.

(Scott) So it's a fairly traditional sort of a technique from here, just applying oils as you normally would.

(Graeme) Yep.

(Scott) So with the waves the most important thing is to get the light correct.

Every wave is unique, the shape, the way that the light sort of filters though the wave.

(Graeme) That's the beauty about your work when you look at it – it's just so understated.

There's a whole story in the picture with just a slight hint of form and shape.

(Scott) Yeah, I think that's something that I've been drawn to with this style.

Is just sort of, you know it's fairly drawn back, fairly minimal too you know, to a degree but it also says a lot.

Like every wave, like I said before – every wave is different.

Every light situation is different from day to day, and I just try and capture all those just those little moments.

So my favourite part about building one of these waves is like I've been saying the light, and it's the interest parts in a wave is the energy source, which is where the wave is actually breaking.

So the point where the wave is, the lip of the wave is breaking over.

So I've got two of those points there, and what happens because as the wave comes over, it's called the wall.

It's a bit thinner in that section, so it allows light to come through.

So what I'm actually gonna do is just come in to exaggerate it for a little while, for a little bit here and just blending it into the darker parts of the top of the wave here, the top of the lip.

You see you get little ripples of light come through, so even though I like to paint you know, the epitome of what a surfer would see a wave as – you know, the perfect wave.

It's still little imperfections which I like to bring in to.

(Graeme) You can actually see a similar approach that you've made in some of the other paintings like The End is Always Near, and another one, Every New Beginning.

You get that same beautiful effect through those waves.

(Scott) Yeah, when I'm out in the surf, it's actually one of my favourite parts of you know, favourite things of being out in the water.

It's you know watching the light if it's early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you get the light filtering through.

And really just reinforces and brings home why you're a surfer out in the elements, and it's a beautiful thing.

So I'm just defining the top of this wave – the start of the spray, which as a surfer would know means that it's off shore.

(Graeme) Yep.

(Scott) And you would know, means the conditions are perfect, (Graeme) Absolutely.

(Scott) or close to if not.

(Graeme) The winds blowing in your face.

Beautiful, look at that.

(Scott) So I'll just let that fade into the background there, and give it a little bit of shape.

(Graeme) Just as that wave starts to turn over.

Look at that – fantastic.

(Scott) So adding the spray really brings in some movement into the painting.

It shows the movement, you know, the direction of the wave.

It allows me to bring in just a different element to it.

So what I do is apply it fairly lightly so it's actually transparent, and then what I'll do is come back over with a dry brush with nothing on it, and just eat back into it a little bit so it just fades that little bit better.

So it's more of a mist than a harsh sort of a in your face spray.

(Graeme) So, Scott if anybody wants to get in touch with you about your work, your website is scott denholm dot com.

(Scott) That's right.

(Graeme) Is that correct? (Scott) Yep.

Built by yours truly.

(Graeme) Built by yours truly, that's right – you're a web designer as well, and pretty booked out with workshops these days, but they can always come in and acquire work can't they? (Scott) They certainly can through my website.

(Graeme) Yeah, absolutely.

And a part of the workshops you do is the fact that you teach photography as well.

You've got an extensive digital background, so anybody that wants to come and do these things with you, you've got photography, you've obviously got your painting, you know, you're a fantastic surfer as well.

What a great bucket list that would be to scratch off – unbelievably good.

So as I said, if people want to get in touch with you, they can come to scott denholm dot com (Scott) That's right.

(Graeme) and they can talk to you in there.

And you know, we've got some fantastic fans all over the world, but this is a beautiful part of Australia as well.

(Scott) Stunning.

(Graeme) Sunshine Coast is absolutely fantastic, (Scott) Yep.

(Graeme) and here you would have an amazing time with this young man, absolutely amazing.

(Scott) So I've just got to a point now where I've got to let the oils dry just overnight to be able to finish this wave.

(Graeme) And with the beauty of editing, is you can see the finished piece is in front of you right now, and it looks absolutely amazing; very well done Scott.

(Scott) Thank you.

(Graeme) Well guys, another fantastic day with a very, very talented young man, Scott.

(Scott) Thank you.

(Graeme) That was wonderful, wonderful.

Now remember, if you want to go to Scott's workshops, you can go to your website which is? (Scott) scott denholm dot com (Graeme) That's fantastic, and obviously this young man is very talented with photography, digital stuff, also his artwork is quite amazing.

So give him a buzz, you sort of get the full package and the bucket list as well.

Also we have to have a great thank you to Alex Holzer, from Hydrocryl, who makes an absolutely fantastic non toxic acrylic paint.

I mean kids can use this stuff, really is amazing.

Get in touch with Alex on their website as well, have a talk to him about what you're doing, he does demonstrations at schools.

He talks to Artists a great deal about the products that they do use, so go and have a chat to him as well.

He's a fantastic guy, and we're so happy to have him as part of the sponsorship and the community for Colour In Your Life.

Come and see us at colour in your life dot com, lots of great things going on in there as well.

And see us on Facebook and YouTube – many, many, many people coming in these days from all over the world.

Hope you had a great time again guys, and until we see you again – remember: make sure you put some color in your life, and we'll see you next time.

Bye now.

See you.

Source: Youtube