G’Day Viewers, My Name is Graeme Stevenson and I ‘d like to invite you to come on
a journey of creativity and learning, and adventure through this series,
Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family
throughout the world, and lots of times there’s an artist
deep down inside all of us as well, so grab your kids, your
brothers, your sisters, your Auntie’s, Uncles’
and Mum’s and Dad’s, and come and see how some the best
artist in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Lovely area – just beautiful. (Maria) Yes, it’s lovely up here in the trees, isn’t it? (Graeme) The entrance to the studio? (Maria) Yes, this is it. (Graeme) Viewers, I’d like to introduce you to Maria Paterson.
Maria is, without a doubt, an exceptional pastel artist (Graeme) and we’re going to spend a part of the
day today going through the various techniques (Graeme) that she actually used in her teaching,
but also in her work as an incredible artist. (Graeme) But, beautiful place you’ve got here too.
I mean the surroundings are just glorious, aren’t they? (Maria) Yes, I love it. We’re up
amongst the trees, among birds, and… (Graeme) Very, very inspirational, really. (Maria) It’s very peaceful.
(Graeme) Oh, it’s just beautiful. (Graeme) Let’s go in and start the day then.
(Maria) Yeah, come on in.
(Graeme) Come on in, guys. (Graeme) Okay viewers, well, here we are in the studio
of Maria at the moment and we are going to go through (Graeme) don’t you?
(Marie) Yeah, I do, yeah. (Graeme) and also a Bachelor of Visual Arts, so we
have got a pretty smart girl here at the same time. (Graeme) Tell me more about your career. What has been your
motivation as far as say, l for working with the pastels?
And how long have you been doing this for? (Maria) Oh, pastels – I have had since nine years old. (Maria) Actually, that box I got when I was nine years old from my Dad.
(Graeme) We were just looking at it, yeah. (Maria) Yeah, Yeah. It’s very old, 1930s, that box.
(Graeme) That’s amazing. (Maria) So I’ve always drawn. I’ve always known
I wanted to be an artist since a young girl. (Maria) So I went to TAFE when I was young. I worked, and then I go at night as a teenager, and it wasn’t until I moved up here that I took it up full time. (Maria) From then on I’ve just been creating
paintings and pastels and sculptures and… (Graeme) It’s wonderful. And a lot’s in the
screen; a lot of Maria’s work as we go along. (Graeme) You’ve obviously been involved in a lot
of shows as well, I mean, your CV is quite extensive. (Graeme) You’ve been very busy, and obviously as a teacher as well.
(Maria) Yes. (Graeme) And in passing on the wonderful legacy of the
education of art, Maria is part of that, students… (Maria) I love doing that. It’s really inspiring
teaching people, because everyone has a way of working. (Maria) and you’re just basically providing the tools
and inspiration and ways and means of doing that.
And so, yeah, I love doing that. (Graeme) What inspires you most of all? I mean the thing that I love most of all when I first saw Maria’s work was her still life in pastel . (Graeme) Some of them are just wonderful pieces of work.
What really inspires you with your work most of all? (Maria) I’d have to say nature informs a lot of my work. (Maria) For me, it’s the quiet times… I use intuition a lot.
I don’t over think my work. I just tend to be a visual person. (Maria) I’ll see something, and I go “Ooh,” then I’ll put that in and build the structure around it. Add objects in and then it starts to becomes something, (Maria) and it’s often not until I come to
the end that I understand what it’s about. (Maria) And that can mean different things for
different people, too., not just how you see it. (Maria) Someone might see a totally different thing,
and that’s the fascinating thing for me about still life. A lot of people go
“Oh, it’s just a bunch of flowers and a vase, and just decorative”. (Maria) But still life has a history going right back to
the Venetians in the 16th century. It’s very symbolic. (Maria) It’s the transitory nature of life and death. You can read
all sorts of things into it. That’s what fascinates me about it. (Graeme) That’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful. We’re going
to regale our audience with some of your really spectacular
techniques today and your extraordinary ability. (Graeme) Maria has actually already started on this piece,
but she’s going to take us through a couple of different situations today to –
obviously this is about education – where do we begin with this? (Maria) Being a pastel, it’s a very dusty medium. It fill up the tooth
of the paper. In this case I’ve got a nice, grainy sanded surface. (Maria) It’s a Colorfix paper, so it holds quite a lot of depth in
pastel dust, but because it’s dusty it will fall down. So I do
tend to work at the top and do all my darks first. (Graeme) Sure.
(Maria) Then I will turn it around for
different areas if I have to, for it to fall off. (Maria) Selecting colours before you start is really important. (Maria) So get yourself organized. I’ve got lots of trays and lots
of different departments for different areas I’ve been working on. (Graeme) I can see your vast collection of pastels here, (Graeme) you’ve got a couple of different brands, you’ve got Rembrandt
and Schmincke as well. It’s their 120th anniversary this year. (Maria) Yeah, yeah.
(Graeme) That’s pretty amazing.
(Maria) Got quite an old one there, I think from that box. (Graeme) You reckon that probably goes back to the 1930s.
(Maria) That one. That’s an oldie.
(Graeme) That sort of may not have been used for the last 70 years. (Maria) Yes, well that was in my 1930s box, so it’s probably that old, you know?
(Graeme) That’s incredible, isn’t it?
(Maria) It’s beautiful rich colour, but without these colours showing through, (Maria) you lose this vibrancy. If you just do a dull colour and then,
right on top, so. I want to see a bit more of these purer colours. (Graeme) A lot of people that will paint, but they won’t refer back
to their subject again. As you can see what Maria is doing is (Graeme) she’s looking up, looking down and
continuously referring back to her subject matter, (Graeme) instead of letting your own mind
drift away, particularly with still life, (Graeme) you’ve got to be very accurate about it. You obviously
get a lot of satisfaction out of your teaching as well? (Maria) I do. I really enjoy teaching and I have done it for a
lot of years. All different – children to adults; in pastel and oils… (Graeme) Sure.
(Maria) And it’s wonderful to see what people create and what their
style is and part of what I like to do is bring out their own style. (Maria) I don’t want them to do what I do, but I’ll give
them tools in which they can develop their own style, (Maria) with more, “What is it they are trying to get out?”
because you have a vision, don’t you? You know what you want to do,
but, “How do I go about it, and how do I do it?” (Graeme) Yeah, and I think it’s the simple joy of creating. (Maria) It’s a meditative process, isn’t it? (Graeme) It really is, and I find that when I work personally
myself sometimes, I can have 10 hours go past, and I won’t
even know that the time went past. It was just amazing. (Maria) It’s wonderful, like that. (Maria) Now this is going to start to tie a lot of these
areas together. Because this little spot has a lot of
got a glassy surface, it’s a very reflective surface, (Maria) So, there’s going to be quite a lot of colours in
this by the end, because a glassy surface will pick up
everything around it and it will reflect in there. (Maria) What’s out the door, what’s next to it. (Maria) So you really got to look a that. Just
concentrate on those smallest areas that you can. (Graeme) Even looking at the horse at the moment which has obviously
what the little sculpture is, it’s really looking quite abstract, (Graeme) and the funny part about it is that, a lot of people realize
that you simply got to put the colour down, and then work back to
where you need it to go later on, and not be afraid to do that. (Maria) Yes, because if someone walked in now and
went, “What are you doing? That doesn’t look like a horse.”
But it’s all underneath, and it’s all building it up. (Maria) It’s like you’ve got the skeleton and
now you’re putting the flesh on. It’s very important
to have something underneath that’s dynamic. (Maria) It gives it its energy, it gives it’s flow, it’s spark. (Graeme) Now just watching there, you’ve
actually got a pencil in your hand right now.
(Maria) I do. Yeah. (Graeme) So, tell me what that’s all about. (Maria) This is a color that I really
want, and I don’t really have it. (Graem) Oh, is it that…
(Maria) but it’s in the pencil form.
(Graeme) Oh, okay. (Maria) So, because I’m doing the fine edge of the top of the
main there, and it’s going to be coming off this flower, (Maria) which is what I use to get these little
wrinkles. You can see all this fine detail. (Maria) Then I’m going to use that here, just across the top.
It’s very good – the pencil, for getting into very tricky areas. (Graeme) So it actually is a pastel pencil? (Maria) Yes , it is a pastel pencil, yeah.
(Graeme) There you go, pastel pencils.
(Maria) They’re great. (Maria) Okay. Well, that looks quite unusual. It doesn’t
look like a pastel, I can tell you that, but what actually is that? (Maria) That’s one of my little mushed-up pastels. At the end,
you get little tiny little bits of pastel that you can’t hold any more, (Maria) but they’re all beautiful pigments and colours.
So what I do is I group them in their colour groups, (Maria) in this case, it is browns. It could have a
little bit of red in it, and I grind it all up until it’s powder (Maria) and I’ll add a little bit of water and just shape it into
a mould, or just into a lump in this case, and I can reuse it. (Graeme) That’s great, isn’t it? Really great, isn’t it? (Maria) And then I have got a colour that is very neutral,
because it’s not any specific colour, so it’s very handy
for doing tying-in works and blending. (Graeme) I guess, what we might do- because Maria…
I keep interrupting her asking questions all the time… (Maria) Trying to get this work done.
(Graeme) Yeah. (Graeme) But what I’m going to do is I’m going to let Maria work on this
for a while, and you can watch her as she gets along with it. (Graeme) All right, now hang on, she’s just picked
up a stick. Now maybe, I’ve been misbehaving.. (Graeme) What are you going to use that stick
for? What do you call the stick anyway? (Maria) It’s a mahlstick.
(Graeme) Is it okay? (Maria) Now this is to help you get into the detail,
and especially with a pastel because it is so dusty. (Maria) You can imagine if I put my hand on there, that will be the end of it.
So, what you got to do is steady yourself…
so you lean it on the hard surface on one side, (Maria) you pull back on one end, and you push forward. (Maria) this is where you’re going to lean, on this part of
your hand. So what that does – it allows me to steady my hand. (Maria) If I go like this and I’m trying to get into a
really critical line, and it has to be the exact right shape. (Maria) It’s going to be much easy if I got the edge. (Graeme) So the male-stick. It’s not a ‘fe-male’ stick – it’s a male-stick.
(Maria) No, it’s a mahlstick.
[laughter] (Maria) So, yeah. And then I can get in, and I can draw some
nice exacting lines that I need to do, or highlights, (Maria) and it worked quite well in these areas
where I had to get in and do the yellows and whites, (Maria) without going any where near these browns or blues, (Maria) because the dust does tend to
travel around a bit, so it’s quite tricky. (Graeme) Yes, I know there are a number of artists particularly oil
painters who will use them because you’ve got a lot of wet surface, (Maria) Yes.
(Graeme) and the last thing you want to do is get your hand on the paint. (Maria) And our instincts is to lean on something
when we need a bit of support, so this allows me
to get into areas, get around the pastel a bit better. (Graeme) So Maria, you can start to see the horse and those
colours really start to form the shape that you wanted. (Graeme) Really, beforehand, it was just sort of a hodge-podge
of colours, but now, it’s starting to come together a lot. (Maria) Yes, I’m starting to add those lighter tones
and bring the colours together to shape the form. (Maria) It’s actually moulding the form isn’t it.
It’s rendering it. That’s a 3-D object onto a 2-D surface. (Maria) It’s got a lot in common with sculpture that way. (Graeme) Now, I’m just noticing that you continuously refer to it. It’s
great to see that. You’ve still got your own interpretation in there, (Maria) Yeah.
(Graeme) but you’re continuously referring back to that object all the time. (Maria) I need to really isolate some of these
colour areas with a tone to shape the object, (Maria) so I’ve got to bring out the shape of it with the highlights. (Graeme) So, whereabouts are you exhibiting these days, Maria? (Maria) A couple of weeks ago I met up with Peter at
Bangalow, and he’s put a couple of things in there. (Graeme) Pete Mortimore?
(Graeme) Yes. Wonderful, talented man. (Maria) Yeah, he’s pretty good isn’t he?
(Graeme) So you’re in the Windhorse Gallery, are you?
(Maria) Yes, that’s it. (Maria) I need to get back from
this now, and look at it now. (Graeme) It really is a fairly essential part of good
work to be able to get back and assess it, isn’t it? (Maria) I am going to put a diagonal across here. (Graeme) So why are you doing that? (Maria) There is a big open space here, so within the
structure of the work, you need to have directional lines. (Maria) So just putting this little diagonal line across
this corner here brings you back in to this picture. (Maria) There’s a little bit too much escaping out this side
– so this blocks it. It’s all rhythms, it’s all pattern, rhythms… (Maria) As your eye travels around the work, where does it go?
Some people go left to the right, some right to left. (Maria) As you can see, I can come around here and
going to this horse sculpture, and then, I have
this diagonal line which can bring me back in again. (Graeme) All right. We’re going Maria finish this piece off later
on, mainly because she’s got another really fascinating technique (Graeme) that she wants to show us which is pastels and water.
(Maria) Water, yes.
(Graeme) I haven’t seen this one before. (Graeme) but, we’ll let her finish this off, you’ll have to see it at the see it
at the end of the show, and then we’ll go on with this other technique.
(Maria) Okay. (Graeme) Alright, viewers, Maria has set up her board for
this fascinating technique that she’s going to show us now. (Graeme) I’ve actually never seen this, so its going to be quite
interesting for me for s a start, let alone you guys. What do we do? (Maria) I hope it’s as exciting as you think. It’s water, basically.
Instead of using the pastel dry, we’re going to use it with water. (Maria) It is as simple as that, because pastel is a
pigment, and if you dissolve it, it will dissolve. (Maria) What I will do is just start working the
colours and the forms on the piece of paper. (Maria) I’m just spraying it with water,
getting some water on the surface. (Graeme) So, how wet
does it have to be? (Maria) It has to be wet enough that the
pastel doesn’t ‘grab’ and tear the paper. (Maria) The paper you would use normally for this is a heavy water
colour paper, or I’m using Colorfix which has got a primer over it (Maria) which is quite handy for not absorbing too
much of the water, it will sit on the surface. (Maria) And I’m going to grab a few really strong reds
at this point, and I’m going to float them into this water. (Maria) When I say ‘float’ them, what I’m doing is I’m just touching
the surface. I’m not scrubbing into it and damaging the surface. (Maria) So I’m just putting colour on now, you can see
it gives you quite a nice fluid water colour technique. (Graeme) Yes. Soft isn’t it?
(Maria) Very soft.
(Graeme) Wonderful. (Maria) And the other thing is, this can be used as an under
painting, so, when it’s dry, I can apply a lot more detail to it. (Graeme) So, can you- Once that starts to dry, can you re-wet that again? (Maria) Yeah, you can – many numerous times.
(Graeme) Wow. (Maria) Because if I hit it again, I’m going to get it starting to bounce
around the canvas as well, and that’s all textures you can use later on. (Graeme) I can see what you’ve done from the beginning
of this is you’ve just basically mapped it out. (Maria) Yes, I’ve just mapped it out so I know roughly
where I’m going, there’s going to be a few patterns in at the moment (Graeme) I have heard that the Schminke
pastels – is it quite soft? Is that correct? (Maria) Yes, they are beautiful soft pastels and they will come
straight off and onto the page really easily. They are quite thick. (Maria) The basic aim at the moment is just to get the colour on. (Maria) I’m not being exacting of anything at this moment. (Graeme) But you can see, it’s just so, wonderfully subtle.
(Maria) Just creating a background.
Yeah, a little bit of intermingling with different colours. (Maria) And so, have a little bit of flower
work to do at the end when it dries. (Maria) So you can move the colour around as well when it is this wet. (Graeme) I can see that you have got some paint brushes there ,.too.
(Maria) Uh huh. (Graeme) It is really like painting with watercolours, isn’t it? (Maria) It can be, yeah.
(Graeme) But it’s pastels in this case. (Maria) And you can draw in it and get some quite sharp lines as well.
Textures – You can do some lovely textures with this. (Graeme) I can still see with the positioning of your hand, you’re obviously very, very conscious that you are still very conscious of where your fingers are.
(Maria) [laughs] yes. (Graeme) All the time, it’s like you’re holding a cup of tea permanently. (Maria) Well, basically, yup, you’ve just got to ‘hit that spot’, you know? (Graeme) Yeah. Really – I’m looking at it and it is very much like
Chagall’s work, the way that the soft colours are coming through, (Graeme) and then you got the harder
outlines at the front. I can even see (Graeme) an eye poking up through here as well. (Maria) You can see that, the hard edges combining with the
soft edges, which is it’s a really nice feel, isn’t it?
(Graem) Yes, this is fine. (Maria) It’s mostly based on this still life, even though it’s not
exactly the still life. It’s just a reference point for me to look at. (Graeme) And this would be one of the
techniques that you would show your students? (Maria) Yes. Everyone loves this one because you can just let
go, and just get really into that zone of your right brain (Maria) and just create. It doesn’t matter so much.
Because, you’re concentrating on what’s happening
on the surface, more certainly than the subject . (Graeme) Well I think it’s just particularly for somebody that would be
potentially bevery much a beginner, this is just something that they can
play with, just get in touch with their creative right brain. Very important stuff. (Maria) It is very important. It’s getting a bit dry
here, but I’m utilising that here for the texture. (Maria) I keep ground rice in trays to clean the pastels. (Maria) It’s a good idea when doing this techniques to take them out and washing out with grains of ground rice if you may. (Graeme) Oh okay.
(Maria) Is that what you want? (Graeme) No. But actually, I just noticed that.
It does have ground rice grains in there too. (Maria) It can get really dirty and so, you can’t see
what colours your pastel are, so your ground rice will keep them clean and they
kind of polish them all the time. (Graeme) So where do you get the ground rice from? (Maria) Oh, just the supermarket.
(Graeme) Yeah? Okay. (Graeme) All right viewers, well to say the least,
it’s been an educational day is an understatement. (Graeme) Maria, I would really like to thank you
very, very much for having us in your studio. (Maria) You’re welcome, Graeme. (Graeme) And showing us your amazing techniques and
ability. It has been an absolute pleasure to be here. (Graeme) Once again, I have learned something
which always just fascinates me, it really does. (Graeme) If you would like to see more of Maria’s work, go into this website: www.colourinyourlife.com.au, and you can see Maria’s work (Graeme) and many other – I mean, the website
is just filling up massively these days. We’ve also got a lot of great prizes that we are giving
away. You can win an original piece of artwork. (Graeme) So come in and put your details in. You could
be part of that winning that prize as we go through the series. (Graeme) But, until we meet again, remember:
Make sure you put some Colour in Your Life!