Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Fantastic Opportunity - Art With Cary McAulay (and a small giveaway!)

Last night I had a last minute, fantastic opportunity to be involved with my eldest Son's school youth group. Why is that so fantastic you ask? Well ... because it was an acrylic painting night! I went along, hopeful that there might have been one spot free, and there was!

The night was a proper art class, that was lead by famous Australian artist 'Cary McAulay'. If you've not heard of him before, or seen any of his incredible work, you can check out all of his artworks here.

“No Matter who you are today… if you call yourself an artist – you are at all times standing on the shoulders of the giants that walked the earth before you…. even Rubens, Giotto, Dali, Homer, Monet and yes even Picasso, also stood upon the shoulders of giants!”….originality? that’s when you manage to climb up over the ears and onto that shiny bald head and while slipping around to get a better footing, you realize that it is all about belief in yourself!! heh heh I only get there in my dreams ! that’s because in them – I CAN FLY!” - Cary McAulay.

Cary is a fantastic teacher, breaking down the process of the painting for the year 7 & 8's into 7 easy to remember steps. He is a genuine Aussie bloke who has a passion for art, and a gift for teaching it. He's very modest and ready to assist young artists (or artists of any age) and answer their questions. 

I was able to have a quick chat with Cary before the class began and I asked him the following questions ...

Q: "How long have you been painting for? 
A: "Oh I'd say, since kindergarten, but professionally since 1980"

Q: "Do you only use acrylics or other mediums as well?"
A: "No I use acrylics and oils"

Q: "Which one is your favourite medium to use?"
A: "Oh I couldn't pick, I like them both as much as the other"

Q: "Are you self-taught or have you had lessons"
A: "A bit of both really"

This is the painting that we were taught how to paint step by step by Cary ... 
Isn't it amazing?
The master artist Cary McAulay at work.

A very talented, genuine bloke.

Here's the photo's that I took at each of the seven stages of the painting ...

1.  Finding the horizon line and marking it out.

2.  Creating the sky starting from a darker blue then working to a lighter blue down to the horizon. This stage is also where we added clouds.

3.  Adding the greens and yellows of the ocean and defining the shape of the wave.
This layer is the 'background' of the water.

4.  This is the stage where we added the foam to the crest of the breaker, 
making it crisp white with 'swirling' texture to add to the foam effect.

5.  Blocking out the white in the sail boats and grouping them in an appealing composition.
The white block out is to ensure that when we painted over the top of the sails with the patterns and other colours, that they will stand out effectively.

6.  Adding the reflection from the sky into the water, the white reflections of the breaker wave and little glitters of white on the tops of the waves.
7.  This is my finished painting. In this step I added the patterns to the sails of the boats,
and fixed up places here and there. We added foam sprays to the edges of the wave and small little wave crests out a little bit further

This is my eldest Son and I with our finished artworks! It was such a great night together!
My Son's piece turned out really well, he is a very talented artist!

While I am happy with my finished piece, like every artist, I can see the areas that I don't like. I would have done the waves smoother for sure. I think that's the one thing that really is bugging me! 

Cary told us all that our piece is not finished until we say it's finished, that we reserve the right to change our piece, go back to it and re-work it if we're wanting to ... maybe I will with the waves, I'm not sure yet.

My Son listening to the 'Introduction'.

I learnt so many new techniques that are able to be used when creating other artworks as well. I never knew how to paint water, and now I can practise what Cary taught until I have more of a grasp on this technique.

I have actually found one of my original photographs on my computer that I love, and I'm going to attempt to paint that one using the same advice and techniques learnt from Cary. 

His teaching is clear, inspiring and motivating. With the approach that he takes, it makes it easier to end up with a half decent artwork!

I'm so grateful for this opportunity and that my Son's school organised such a brilliant youth group activity! My Son learnt so many new things as well, and he's thinking of attempting the photo I've picked to paint next too! (I may even get my other three children involved too!)

It's not only original art and art prints that Cary sells, he has a great range of products like throw pillows (which I just love!) and Calendars. To purchase any of his range, go to his shop here.

So, now all that's left to do, is name my artwork. Cary has named his piece (can't quite remember the name though!) and I'm wanting to give mine it's own name ... I was thinking maybe 'The Race Is On', or 'Ocean Adventure'. What do you think? 

Leave a comment bellow if you have any suggestions for the name, and I'll pick the name I like best as the winner! The prize will be a colour copy print of my artwork! So get busy commenting! I'll announce the winner in a couple of weeks!

If you're wanting to contact Cary you can email him at

Cary, thank you for the time and effort you put into teaching these young students your techniques. Your passion is obvious, your talent outstanding, and we had a great night. Thank you to my Son's school for arranging this great event for our children, and thank you Son for not being embarrassed to have mum come along!

Happy creating everyone!


  1. Oh my goodness! How amazing that looks. I love that painting and am now inspired to find something similar in my area. Wow! That was just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Celi! I'm glad you like and I'd love to hear if you've found some art lessons in your area! Have a great day! :)


Thank you for your comments, they make me very happy!