Artist Jo Bertini is one of my favourites and she is also a great teacher. She is a superb colourist and has recently been a finalist in the Portia Beach Portrait Prize, the Paddington Art Prize and on an artist residency in Georgia O’Keefe country (New Mexico desert). I have been fortunate to have attended workshops run by Jo in the past and jumped at the opportunity to do a weekend workshop with her at Artworkshops Australia in Knockrow near Byron Bay (and just a hop, step and jump from where I live) last weekend.

The workshop space itself is fabulous with plenty of space and original paintings around the wall including works by Jo Bertini herself, Wendy Sharpe and Cherry Hood. The views from the property are superb and a landscape artist’s dream!

Jo is quite a task master, so we started off by going through our materials and how to get the most from them and then a series of exercises painting the elements of an interior still life using the scene around us. We discussed other artists and their practice and inspiration including Richard Diebencorn and a new one whose work piqued my imagination – Lilian Tomasko.

We were challenged in our exercises to paint our subject  (no drawing allowed) firstly in a representational way, then in a ‘blind’ manner (no looking at paper or palette!) and then from memory. I worked on a pile of colourful towels on a chair. I was totally thrilled by my result!

The second day was given over to representing a person in a landscape or interior. We tackled using Jo as our subject before lunch and then worked on a person we knew well. In each case we performed the same exercises…….very interesting process and one I will certainly use again!

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