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A few months ago the Gallery Director at Finite Gallery ( asked if I would be interested in completing an Art Talk at their monthly event, First Friday @ Finite. I used all the usual excuses …. I’m an Artist not a public speaker! I hate public speaking it terrifies me! there is no way I could talk for that long! …. which are all true! Thankfully she didn’t accept any of them and I am so grateful to her for persevering with her request.

I proceeded to prepare notes for my Talk and did lots of online research to find out what other Artists had spoken about in their talks, in order to make this a successful event. The basic outline covered the following areas:

  • My background

  • Early Career

  • Current Work

  • Inspirations

  • Future Goals

  • Turtle Series

  • Painting Process

I wanted this to be more of a casual talk than a ‘speech’ so after a couple of practice sessions I realised that I was really only talking about things I was completely familiar with. It wasn’t something I had to learn from scratch! So then I reduced my talk to “reminder” dot points. This way I wasn’t tempted to just stand there and read from my sheets of paper.

On the morning of my talk I dropped off some of the paintings I would be discussing, as well as other items of interest, to the gallery. I was lucky enough to be able to take my seascape on the large canvas that was still a work-in-progress and made sure it was at an interesting stage to enable me to talk about the different techniques used.

The “Painting Process” stage of my speech involved the following:

- A step-by-step of one of my turtle paintings, which included the reference photo, enlarged drawing, painting up to background stage and the completed paintings for people to see.

- Discussion in relation to the different tools used to complete the paintings; eg, proportional divider, sponge roller, natural sponge, graphite paper, palette knife.

- I had four paintings on display and with each painting I discussed the reason I chose to paint it, the techniques used and the differences between the mediums and supports.

The large work-in-progress seascape was particularly interesting to other artists in the audience as it was at a stage where you could see the difference between the blocked-in stage of the wave and the area where I had used dry brushwork to create depth and translucency. I had also used some glazing on one of the rocks to create atmospheric perspective.

I discussed the difficulties that a larger canvas creates, such as the use of lots of paint, requiring bigger paintbrushes and the need to break down the reference photo into manageable areas.

Here is the most unexpected review of my Art Talk:

“Carole Elliott captivated the crowd at the First Friday @ Finite evening on 1st April and that’s no joke.

Carole shared her love of painting water scenes and gave insight into how she finds the image and prepared it as a subject for her painting. Perhaps one day she will show some of the 1,000’s of photographs she has taken as she searches for the material for her paintings.

From a very early pastel painting to her latest large acrylic wave painting, Carole told us of her journey as an artist. Now with a dedicated studio area, she is able to work on a larger scale than the early small pastel works she completed on the dining table.

Her travels to north Queensland have inspired her to paint the sea turtles, which make an adjunct to her other aquatic work. Carole is donating part of the sale of these sea turtle paintings to the Turtle Hospital.

Carole also shared her techniques and showed some of the tools she employs to achieve some of the effects and details in her paintings. There were lots of questions from the painters in the audience and Carole generously shared her experience with different mediums, fixatives and glazes for both the interactive paint she uses now, and the pastels that she formerly used.

It was a fascinating evening.

Thank you Carole.”

I came away from the night feeling more confident and able to “take on the world” … well not quite but you get the gist :)

Happy Painting!


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