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AUSTRALIA COLLEY WHISSON FOUND A TRAIL OF INSPIRATION ON HIS VISIT TO USA

My American 0dyssey n most occasions l've started my US trips by landing in trip was of this nature - starting out with a heart filled with optimism and a head fullof Los Angeles; my recent

ambition. I headed off in my trusty rental car for the coasiline. After spending the day around Santa Monica I then moved onto Laguna Beach. Depending on the local surrounds, I only stay in the one place for no more than 2 to 5 days. My most productive moments come when l,m walking around, compared to driving a vehicle. Walking around is like seeing the landscape in slow motion and it gives me the best opportunity to

visualize and analyze the scene and to formulate my resp0nse. Feeling fully recovered from my international flight, I had a short flight to Tucson for a 4 day workshop at the Tucson Art Academy.

0n many occasions when l'm teaching I don't get to see a great deal of the outside world. So I take every moment I have to soak up as much of the local atmosphere as possible. I was just beginning the teachrng phase of my travels - my next stop was Austin, Texas. After picking up s0me art materials it was onto the workshop venue and time to set up for my 3 day workshop. The

light in Texas is very similar to the light quality in Australia

- unfortunately I was only in Austin for a few days, so l,ll

have to

wait until next time before I will get the chance to truly investigate the local scenery. My next destination was Ailanta for a workshop at Binders Art Store. Even though I get enormous pleasure from conducting the workshops, eventually my adventurous mind turns Warmed hy the Sun Tucson, llSA,7 x 6,, Ihe first version of this scene was completed as a demonstration painting for my class. I was happy with my initial resp0nse, but just before going to sleep that night it dawned on me that a figure in the mid-distance would enhance the

scene n0 end. This painting is a result of a quick impression and some enlightened reflection.

Santa Monica Dreaming, USA, g

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to get offto a good start with this trip so I was relieved to stumble across this scene, which has a magnif icent foreground, mid

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distance and distance. The one compositional element I needed to be cautious of was the strong diagonal line so I made sure to break it up as often as possible.

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@1 Melting Snow tolorado, 10 x 7" I found this scene 0n the way back to Denverr

sometimes looking for great subject matter requires patience and perseverance. I was determined to get just the right angle for this composition, so I waded into the icy cold water. My feet were frozen in seconds but it was well

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worth the effort.

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fhe Reading Room, USA,11 x g" I arrived in Atlanta fairly exhausted from the

recent teaching assignments. I was staying with an artist friend; up0n arrrving at his residence he gave me the guided tour of his house and

this little subject to photograph. favourite part of this painting was the lamp and all of it's wonderful patterns. I spotted

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Tomorrow's Child, 10 x 12" With all the trips that l've ever made I deliberately search for the widest variety of subject matter possible. I tend to fatigue fairly quickly if l'm in

the same area for too long, I need to be prepared to cover plenty of miles in the car and get plenty of blisters on my feet.

Majestic Morn, 10 x

8

Different subjects have different degrees of accuracy required. I have never attempted to paint chickens from life. I prefer to do plenty of drawings and get the composition sorted out and save the oil painting for the stuCio. Ihe most c0mm0n problem with photographing chickens is that they

don't stay still for long enough or go to where I want them to go. The best trick I have found is to throw out some feed to entice them to stay in the one sPot,

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Afternoon Light, Nashville - US/,8 x 11" that I prefer to leave until l'm back in the studio, so I made sure to capture this scene with my 35mm Canon digital sketchbook With the benefit of hindsight and time, I decided to add a small figure in the mid-distance to improve the focal point.

There are certain subjects

to getting out to paint, sketch and photograph. While in Atlanta I had the opportunity to catch up with a few artist friends for a day of painting. The weather was glorious and a great day was had by one and all. l'm always grateful for the generous spirit of my fellow artist

from the airport we headed west from Denver to Colorado Springs where we were based. Even though Colorado is quite dry, what I love is the light intensity and I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of

their generosity. Next, I travelled by rental car to Nashville for a workshop and a meeting with a gallery owner. lt's a bit under 5 hours drive and once I started to enterTennessee it's quite noticeable how much the colors

subject matter - valley scenes, vineyards, street scenes and snowy rivers scenes. Unfortunately, I managed to pick up a stomach bug which had me confined to bed for 24 hours. 0nce the worst had passed, we were able to continue with our outdoor exploration. Before I knew it, my time was up in Colorado. I was off to San Francisc0; even though I had been to San Francisco twice before, it's great to get back after a four year absence. When l'm travelling I like to keep a keen eye on what the weather is

and terrain has changed from Atlanta. Many times when I travel to

doing. The weather report for San Francisco didn't look promising so

friends when they show me around all of their favourite spots. lt can save days, weeks, even months of trying to {ind those special places that have taken years to find. So l'll forever be eternally grateful for

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as s00n as I landed, I headed out to make the most of my stay. I was determined to look for something new; I had painted the cable cars

new destination, there is an air of uncertainty as to what I may encounter. My only knowledge of Nashville was that my favourite singer- songwriter, Roy 0rbison, lived there for many years. With all

and street scenes 0n my previous visits. Making sure that I kept an

this swirling in my mind it was time to get back to workshop mode. I made it safely to Leipers Creek Gallery to c0mmence the workshop.

open mind, I stumbled upon a few new ideas and concepts before the

0nce again, I had the great privilege of meeting and teaching another

more rain. My body was actually looking forward to a break and also

group of dedicated artists. I felt as though I had stumbled onto

I had some paperwork to update. Due to the weather conditions I was

day was complete. The next few days were highlighted by rain and

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looking forward to getting back to Los Angeles. With only a few days

painting paradise; I took every opportunity to explore and immerse myself in the local landscape and culture. Next, I flew into Denver, Colorado to catch up with an artist friend for a few days of painting and photographing. After being picked up

left, lwas able to catch up with a few artist friends and with a little luck I was able to find a couple of new interior scenes. Before I knew it my 40 day trip was over and it was time to return home...to paint! 95


Style and Grace, t/Sr4, 8 x 6"

A Qarden Scene, USA, 8 x 5"

Being invited into an artlst friend's home or studio is always a treat. Even though I don't deliberately go out of my way to

0ne of my strongest instincts when searching for subject matter to photograph is to head for high ground. When I'm in the field, it's like l'm

find subjects to paint,

I guess it's an occupational hazard. Most times it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time and being open-minded to any possibilities.

on the hunt, l'm relentless. With the weather starting to turn for the worse,

I need to get active and be patient. Sometimes I only get a glimpse of sunlight and with this scene that's all I got.

The Atlanta Scarecrow, 7 x 7" With most of my workshops I like to do a quick

plein-air demonstration or a small still life sketch in the classroom. To keep the still life exercise fresh, many times I simply grab something that may be laying around in the classroom on this occasion I got lucky because I found a small scarecrow decoration left over from Halloween celebrations.

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& Exhibitions 2013

USA Workshops

APRIT

Tucson Art Academy Contact: Christine Svagrik Email, info@tucsonartacademy.com Dallas Art Group Contact: Becky Parks Email, beckyparksartist@gmail.com MAY

lmpressionist Painting in 0ils - Austin Contact: Qiang Huang Email: qhart002@yahoo.com

Ihe Art School at Binders - Atlanta Contact: Jacob Gunter Email' jacob@bindersart.com

leiper's Creek Gallery - Franklin, Contact: Lisa Fox Email' lisa@leipercreekgallery.com

Pomeraug 0utdoor Painters Connecticut Contact: Ellie Boyd Email: ellieb203@mac.com

For more information go to www.colleywhisson.com

The Embrace, USA,11 x7" Notice how the two figures together have created an interesting triangular shape. With the lamp and the yellow cushioned chair in the background I feel that I have a marvellous arrangement of shapes worthy of painting. The outfit that ihe main figure is wearing is made up mostly of Cadmium Red Scarlet and varying amounis of Ultramarine Blue.

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My American Odyssey  

Colley Whisson found a trail of inspiration on his visit to USA. Featuring 11 works of tjhe Australian artist.

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