Muddy watercolors

There is a lot of confusion about what are muddy watercolors and how not to create them.

Firstly muddy watercolors are not the color of mud. Some of the most beautiful watercolors I have seen have been in browns and greys, commonly associated with mud.

Muddy watercolors are dull and lifeless, without the translucence we normaly associate with a good watercolor.

Continue reading “Muddy watercolors”

Wet watercolor paper first or not

A common question I get asked by new students, or while doing a demonstration is, do I wet watercolor paper first or not?
Rather than giving a simple yes or no answer to this question I must first talk about what happens when the paper is wet. With watercolor painting answers are easier to find by looking at what the water is doing. Continue reading “Wet watercolor paper first or not”

Hawkesbury Art Prize – Finalist

This week I received the good news that I am a finalist in the $10,000 Hawkesbury Art Prize.

Historically, the Hawkesbury has a strong association with art and artists, which dates back to Australia’s earliest European settlement. The art prize is also a commitment to recognise these historical ties, and strengthen the cultural artistic community with contemporary creative ideas.

The Hawkesbury Art prize

Here is some information from the organizers:

The Hawkesbury Art Prize is a national competition calling on artists to enter their representation of contemporary Australian identity. This year’s entries have initiated from all states of the country. Three high profile judges have selected 50 finalists, and on Saturday 17th November 2012 the winners will be announced.

First prize will be donated by patron Maggie Scott and sponsors Turtle Landscaping Supplies, Tina Dwight Real Estate and private donors will present highly commended prizes. Federal MP for Macquarie, Louise Markus, will officially open the event at 6.00 pm. Musician Rhiannon Lawson will present her musical compositions throughout the evening. Please join us to celebrate the opening of this important Hawkesbury cultural event –The Hawkesbury Art Prize at Purple Noon Gallery. You will be enlightened and inspired!

If you can’t make the event, the exhibition and sale will run until the end of the year. The competition is set up as a not for profit project and further details about the project can be found at

My painting was produced with pen, ink,and brush and was done on a full sheet of Arches cold pressed 300 gsm  watercolor paper. The painting which you can see below is of the Hawkesbury plains as seen from Streeton Lookout at Freemans Reach.

My entry into the Hawkesbury Art Prize

From Streeton Lookout Freemans Reach pen and ink
From Streeton Lookout Freemans Reach pen and ink

I have painted this scene a number of times but in the past I have used watercolor paints. This is the first time I have done it using ink.

See you at the gallery!

Latest watercolor landscape demo

I have just finished posting my latest watercolor landscape demo. It is titled “Light over old Shearing Shed” and you can find it under the Watercolor Demonstrations tab of my main menu or by clicking here: Old Shearing Shed

Painting shadows finished Light over Shearing Shed
Painting shadows finished Light over Shearing Shed

Should you have any questions please let me know.

Happy painting


Featured Artist at Winmalee Artfest 2012

Winmalee Artfest 2012

Ashton watercolor painting portrait by Joe Cartwright
Ashton watercolor painting portrait by Joe Cartwright

I have been honoured to be appointed the feature artist at this year’s Winmalee Artfest exhibition. I will be there on opening night and would love to meet with you if you can make it. I will have 11 of my water colour and pen, ink and wash works on display.

Here is a short segment from their website about the show:

 Winmalee High School’s 21st Annual Autumn Artfest in 2012!

A fantastic event not to be missed! 

The 21st Annual Winmalee Autumn Artfest will be held on the 4th May, 5th May & 6th May at Winmalee High School in the Lower Blue Mountains.  Investment pieces are available for the serious collectors, or for those looking for a unique gift or something very special for the home, there are many high quality art and craft pieces available at very reasonable prices.

Artfest has developed a very large following and draws artists not only from the local community, but also from art communities right across Australia.  Artfest is well recognised as one of the biggest and best art exhibitions in the Blue Mountains.

Hundreds of artworks are displayed for sale in various media including oil, water colour, silk and mixed media.  There is also a multitude of craftwork available such as timber products, millinery, pottery, glass, leatherwork, dolls and jewellery.

Purchases can be made by cash or credit cards. It is worthwhile remembering that 25% of all sales is retained by the school to enhance our teaching and learning programs.

Opening night is Friday 4th May at 7.00pm and entry is $15.00, which includes catalogue and catered supper.  The remainder of the weekend is $5.00 per person and also includes a catalogue.  (Primary school aged children attending with their parents are FREE of charge).

Artfest is open Saturday 9am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm.  The Artfest Café is open all weekend.  With each entry ticket to the exhibition, you have a chance in the lucky door prizes.

Details about Artfest in 2012 are as follows:

Friday 4th May 2012       7.00pm to 10.00pm

Saturday 5th May 2012    9.00am to 8.00pm

Sunday 6th May 2012      10.00am to 4.00pm

You can follow the event on their Facebook page here: Office Winmalee Artfest 2012 Facebook page