Gum Trees & Billabong

This tutorial was provided by Roger as an attempt at this subject in Acrylic or Watercolour using the ‘dab, dab, dab’ style of Len Hend, the Australian Artist.

12 members attended the session and whilst some work was in watercolour most worked in acrylics. For each artist there are two photos arranged in matched pairs. In each case the half-time image is on the left with the full-time image on the right.

Just a note on how we work. We meet for 2.5 hours and normally break for tea and coffee half way through. We then have a peer critique of the work at the end but with Roger we may get a half time walk round after tea. For the images on this page the half-time images were photographed while everyone else was supping their tea – the work still goes on!

  • Billabong & Gum in AcrylicBillabong & Gum in AcrylicColin
    For this piece he worked in acrylic on a piece of hardboard. It was very large format. It was generally felt that the tree worked well. Colin said that the work was unfinished.
  • Billabong & Gum in WatercolourBillabong & Gum in WatercolourDavid
    David has been a member of the group for a few months now. His work is normally very precise and he produces some superb work over a number of sessions. Working quickly takes him out of his ‘comfort zone’ but this work, painted in watercolour, was felt to show good reflection of the red sky (Cadmium Red) giving the picture a humid feel.
  • WHAG - Diane half timeWHAG - Diane full timeDiane
    Diane produced this picture of a gum tree in acrylic. The canvas had been pre-painted in a pink colour which seems to show through onto the finished picture. It is an impressive tree.
  • Billabong and Gum tree in water colourBillabong and Gum Tree in WatercolourFran
    Fran came to the tutorial with only a set of watercolours. This painting is stronger than a lot of Fran’s work. The tree was felt to be impressive but Fran feels it would benefit from more work.
  • Gum tree and billabong in AcrylicGum Tree and Billabong in AcrylicIvy
    Ivy rarely gets a chance to complete her work as she scurries round with Club business, so to have got this painting to completion is an achievement. It was said that this is one of Ivy’s best, with a powerful gum tree and convincing rocks. It stands scrutiny from a distance when it indicates the vastness of Australia, and the foliage demonstrates how effective Len’s techniques can be.
  • Gum Tree, Billabong and rocks in AcrylicGum tree, Billabong and rocks in AcrylicJean S
    Jean seemed to get off to a slow start on this one but the finished painting seems to imply hot rocks. The vibrant mountains were considered convincing, reminiscent of a red desert.
  • Impressionist Gum tree in AcrylicImpressionist Gum tree in AcrylicJean W
    Jean is an experimenter and in this picture was trying to work for texture in impasto style. One comment made was that the painting would benefit from greater light dark contrast to make the tree stand out; work in progress…
  • Billabong & Gums in AcrylicBillabong & Gums in AcrylicMaggie
    It was felt that Maggie had caught the essence of the gum trees. There seems a good contrast between background and foreground. The greens were mixed using burnt sienna.
  • Gum trees and Billabong in WatercolourGum trees and Billabong in WatercolourMalcolm
    Malcolm is good at getting reflections and this painting is another example of this. It was felt by some that the trees were a little washed out. Malcolm’s comment – “I think I would like try this again”.
  • Billabong and Gum tree in AcrylicBillabong and Gum ttrees in AcrylicRichard
    This painting got good reviews. It was felt that the tree is good particularly in the way in which it goes fully across the painting. The colours are well balanced.
  • Billabong and trees in acrylicBillabong and trees in acrylicSandra
    This is the first time Sandra ever used acrylic having previously only used watercolour. It was felt that Sandra had managed to catch the reflections of the gums in the water well.
  • Water and trees in the background in AcrylicBillabong and Gum treesSteve
    Painted in acrylic using Cobalt Blue for the sky, Prussian Blue for the water, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and plenty of white. Attempting using Len Hend techniques. Yes they are two different pictures, the one on the right completed in about 40 minutes with extensive use of ‘fast and loose’ brushstrokes and plenty of ‘dab dab dab’. The trees in #2 seem to work but the water in #1 is better; the ripples were applied with a palette knife. I prefer the second. Here are some further examples painted later. Stephen.