CanDo4Kids The Amazing Race

October 25th, 2009
by billyt
Geoff Mike Paul Aaron as Team Wombats

Geoff Mike Paul Aaron as Team Wombats


Early in the year, about June,  my wife Wendy and I had the privilege of supporting our grandson Aaron with his team Wombats in the Amazing Race, a charity event, run by Cando4kids to raise money to help the deaf and the visually impaired children of South Australia.

Wendy’s son Geoff sponsored the team through Highland Accounting and her other son Paul was also a member of team Wombats along with Geoff’s friend Mike who is also Aaron’s uncle.   We gladly paid to have put on the back of the T shirt that they wore during the race.  6 other businesses and friends also had their names on the T shirts.   We raised money by having a sponsored walk with the Encounter Bay Walking Group in Victor Harbour and an afternoon playing ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’.   I donated a painting of a horse race at Broken Hill and we sold lots of raffle tickets for my painting.   We don’t know who won the painting yet as it will be drawn in November.

To read more about team Wombats race and the fun they had please refer to where you will see more photographs.

Reflections in the Port River at Pitstop 2A

Reflections in the Port River at Pitstop 2A

Wendy and I decided to volunteer to help with the race and we were situated at Pitstop 2A where we sat in the sun by the Port River at Port Adelaide and waited for the 25 teams to find us, then we put a sticker in their passports.  What lovely people we met that day and I took a photo of the two team players of each team,  who came through our pitstop whilst the other two team members were off kayaking around Garden Island.   Geoff and Paul found us whilst Mike and Aaron did the kayaking.

We enjoyed it so much that we plan to volunteer our services for both days next year.  The race is around Adelaide and the hills for 2 days and the lads got to do lots of fun things that they’d always wanted to do and we got a suntan.   The Corporate charity event raised $130,000 for Cando4kids.  The team that raised the most money raised well over $12,000.  The team were a little late in joining the fund raising this year but we still raised in excess of $4,500 and hope to do better with fund raising next year when we will start in April with all the other teams.  Aaron’s wife Kris did a marvellous job and had some great ideas for fundraising.  The Amazing Race has a website.

Aaron’s son Noah is a recipient of help from Cando4kids as he has a visual impairment.

The reflections in the river were spectacular and where better to sit and wait and munch on the goodies we were given.  We even saw the dolphins and one of them had a baby swimming with her.

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Mack Truck – Commissioned Work

October 25th, 2009
by billyt
Portrait of Mack Truck

Portrait of Mack Truck

I was approached to do a commission, for a lady at Hope Forest, of a horse called Mack Truck.  I was given a few photographs and did some preliminary sketches and thought the photo of Mack Truck jumping over a hurdle would be a good one to do.  So I did a colour sketch of that and then decided to plot a course for the horses head painting.  This went so well without any preliminary sketches that I sent a photo of it by email to the lady and she loved it and bought it.  I decided not to put any trees or background behind the horses head as it would have detracted the eye away from Mack Truck.   This is my first venture into doing a portrait of a horse and I am well pleased with it just as my client was also.

I have done horses racing lots of times but this is something new for me and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to paint Mack Truck.   If you go to my website you will see the pastel paintings of horse races both here and in Queensland where they run around the track in a different direction.

Mack Truck in action

Mack Truck in action

I bought a book about horses and have redone the one of Mack Truck jumping over the hurdle.  The hind legs were a bit muzzy in the photograph and with the help of the pictures in the book I was able to finish them off properly.

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My Approach

September 5th, 2009
by billyt


Before commencing a painting I study the subject and look for the areas of highest contrast.  Where are the darkest darks?  Which way does the light come from?  What to include and what to leave out, this is important as many people, when they start to paint, include very little detail in the scene.  Not only is this hard to do but can make the work very confusing and detract from the main point of interest.

The next stage is to decide where the eye level is and then work out the vanishing point.  The point of interest should preferably be on or near the Golden Mean, one third in and one third up or down.

I never approach a painting with a view to selling it as I feel this is the wrong approach.  I paint subjects that interest me or subjects that I enjoy painting and find that this way of working very satisfying.  Funnily enough these are the paintings that usually sell or win prizes; probably because I have felt happy when creating them.  Commissions are a different matter altogether.  I have done a few but prefer to avoid them as I would be painting someone else’s idea and what they see in their mind would be different to what I, as an artist, see in mine.


I do not often work en plein air; I work from on-site sketches or photographs that I have taken, often using elements from several photographs and from computer enhanced ones so that details in shadow can be observed.

Usually I start by doing a charcoal sketch on an A3 sheet of cartridge paper to work out the composition, where the darkest areas are and to establish the centre of interest but mainly to warm up and get a feeling for the subject.

I quite often start the painting by using black Indian ink to do a full tonal underpainting.  I have tried gouache (it dries too quickly for me); watercolour (not very effective on Art Spectrum Colourfix which is my favourite surface on the other hand Fisher 400 accepts watercolour readily as well as acrylic, oil and charcoal); and acrylic (fill the tooth).  I find Fisher 400 extremely strong and pastel can be washed off using a  wet piece of towelling which brings you back to the original tooth.  Ink is good as it can be diluted easily to provide the full tonal range and dries very quickly without disturbing the surface.

Another useful way with difficult subjects like street scenes and architecture is to grid up the surface using willow charcoal or a soft charcoal pencil as these are both compatible with pastel.   Renowed Australian artist Jeffrey Smart uses this method and I don’t regard it as cheating if it helps to provide balance and ease of composition.  I divide the longest side by 4 and the shortest side by 3 and where the lines intersect I draw diagonal lines.  A piece of clear acetate the side of a 4 x 6 inch photo with the same grid drawn on it with a Chinagraph pencil will help when working from photographs.

To fix the pastel and thus prevent particles falling onto the matt I giave a light spray of fixative to the dark areas, particularly dark blues as these are the colours most likely to come off and are the very devil to remove from the matt board.

Another method is to place the work face up on a hard surface, cover it with a piece of flat, unwrinkled paper, newspaper is idea; then using a heavy roller, a brella it is called, or a rolling pin, roll over the paper using lots of pressure to push the pastel into the paper.  It is important to ensure that the covering paper does not move and smudge your work.


The choice of subject is a personal thing.  It can be a flash of sunlight cutting across a vista or the way it strikes a tree; an approaching storm; in fact anything that stands out and strikes your artistic eye.

I was taught by one of my tutors, the late Brian Allison who was proficient in all mediums, to vary my subject matter so I have never been short of painting ideas.  I only have to look around and there is a prospect waiting to be painted.  I will work on a short series of beach scenes then move on to another subject, e.g. horse racing, street scenes and wet days.

Recently I have been portraying street scenes of Adelaide, the State capital of South Australia, in the rain which is a rare occurrence here and also in sunshine which we have in abundance.  People walking, standing talking and just sitting drinking coffee fascinate me.  We also have some wonderful old buildings in the city and the streets are lined with London Plane trees which turn a beautiful colour in Autumn.

Vineyards are another favourite of mine.  We have magnificent beaches backed by the Mount Lofty Ranges and we are surrounded by vineyards, so I am never short of material to paint.  I live in Victor Harbour which is on the Fleurieu Peninsula where we are visited by whales from June to August during our winter.  My house looks south to the Southern Ocean, the next land is Antarctica and the two bays that I look down into have several islands just offshore.  Many wellknown artists live on the Fleurieu Peninsula where we have a wide subject choice.


I have worked with pastel for almost 20 years since meeting with English pastellist John Patchett whilst he was living in South Australia and I attended two workshops run by him.  I was amazed by the wonderful light and vibrancy the pastels produced in my work and it is now my only medium because I like the immediacy, I put down a stroke and it stays there.

Pastel is the only medium which is fully permanent.  It is composed of pure pigment bound in gum tragacanth and as such will never fade, as evidenced by the wonderful pastel portraits by Quentin De Latour and Ingres; and the fine detail work by Degas in his ballet dancers.

My preferred brands are Art Spectrum, Rembrandt, Unison, Lucas,and I love Schminke for their soft buttery texture.  The only white I used to have was Schminke as it is so intense but that is hard to come by, and I find the new Art Spectrum soft white is up to the same standard and as it is Australian made I am now using that.  Another brand, of which I have a 150 pastel set, is Geoff Waterson hand made pastels.  These are large, flat sided, almost oval in shape and are easy to hold.  Unfortunately Goeff died a few years ago and the artist who purchased the business hasn’t yet resumed production.

I find Art Spectrum Colourfix paper or Fisher 400, a new paper that I’ve recently discovered, are ideally suited to my way of working.  The weight of the paper makes it very robust and the pumice bound in acrylic medium, with which it is coated, takes an enormous amount of pastel without using fixative.  It does, however, discourage excessive blending with the fingers as it does tend to remove a layer of skin.  The range of colours in Art Spectrum (16) is enough to be compatible with any subject matter.   Fisher 400 only does a sand colour and it is covered in silica.

In closing I would like to say that the key to success is perseverance and practice, practice and more practice, and don’t be afraid to try new ideas and subjects.

Bill Truslove

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About Bill

June 20th, 2009
by billyt
Bill Truslove 2009

Bill Truslove 2009


Bill was born at Stoney Stanton, near Leicester in the U.K. on 6th July 1936.
He came to Australia on the 7th November 1973.
He attended Art classes at T.A.F.E. in Woomera, South Australia in 1986
and became the founder member of the Woomera Art Group.

A member of the old Enfield Art Society from 1987 to 1989. Studied at Adelaide Central School of Art, under the direction of Rod Taylor, Anna Platten Chris Orchard and Christine Lawrence for 3 years.

Former Member of Adelaide Art Society 1990-1999 and Tea Tree Gully Art Society, 1995-1999.

He commenced painting with Pastels after attending two terms at WEA under John Patchett.
Exhibits in most major Art shows in South Australia.
Exhibits at the Australian Guild of Realist Artists in Melbourne and the
Royal South Australian Society of Arts on North Terrace, Adelaide
He has won numerous prizes; highly commended and merit awards.
Member of Southern Districts Art Society in Victor Harbour

Founder and past President of ‘The Pastel Artists of South Australia Inc.
In February 2001, Bill founded and became President of ‘The Pastel Artists of South Australia Inc.’ which now has a membership over 120.
The society includes most of South Australia’s foremost Pastel Artists, many of whom are Fellows of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts. He is now an honorary life member.

In 2007 Bill opened a branch of PASA at Victor Harbour where he lives.
Bill has been a finalist in the Heysen Prize
And a finalist in the Australian Artist Magazine competitions.
He’s been featured on the front cover of the Aust. Artist Magazine.
Bill’s work has been featured on three teaching DVD’s
by Donna Aldridridge
His pastel of ‘Ellery Gorge’ in the Northern Territory was displayed on
the front cover of the August 2004 Australian Artist Magazine in June 2008
Bill was one of the featured artists in the Australian Artist Magazine
In June 2005 he was a Finalist in the Australian Artist Art Awards
And again in September 2006 he was a Finalist in The Australian Artist Magazine Art Awards
June Australian Artist Magazine – 6 page article “How it all began” featuring
demonstrations by Bill and including some examples of his work.
The February 2009 ‘The Artist’ magazine UK featured a demonstration
of Bill painting a wet day in Rundle Mall, plus more examples of his work.

His work is represented in collections in the U.S.A. Sweden, France,Canada,
Great Britain, Sicily, Philippines, New Zealand and around Australia.


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Miniature Strip Paintings

June 20th, 2009
by billyt

I find that these strip paintings in a neutral frame are selling really well at the Hahndorf Academy in Hahndorf and the Meridien in North Adelaide.  They are a well priced painting and easy to put in a suitcase and take overseas or to wrap and give as a present.    The paintings measure 5 x 30cm unframed but larger with a frame of course.

Kite Flying

Kite Flying

The Grampians, Victoria

The Grampians, Victoria

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Current work

June 11th, 2009
by billyt
Riding the Waves at Maroochydore, Qld.

Riding the Waves at Maroochydore, Qld.

 I have been working on long thin strip paintings of 30cm long and 5cm high for sale in gift shops at a cheaper price than my larger pastel art.  I find that these are very popular with tourists as they are small enough to be wrapped up and put in a suitcase and taken overseas or interstate.

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About Pastels

March 22nd, 2009
by billyt

Pastel is basically raw pigment mixed with a binding agent, usually gum tragacant and water, made into a dough-like consistency combined with white chalk for tints, and black pigment for dark shades. The mixture is then kneaded and rolled into sticks of vibrant colours or extruded through a tube and cut into desired lengths for easy handling,

The strength of the binder, the hardness of the pigment and the pressure exerted on the stick during manufacturing determines the degree of hardness or softness. The soft pastels have just enough binder added to the pigment to prevent the sticks from crumbling when applied to the painting surface.

There are three types of pastel you can use, soft, hard and pastel pencils, each produces a different textural effect and can vary the character of the medium, by lessening or strengthening the pressure applied to the stick, and by choosing a rough or smooth surface.

A skilled artist with a thorough knowledge of pastel properties can create a variety of artistic expressions. Pastel paintings need to be placed under glass when framing, due to the delicate nature of the medium, but once framed correctly, pastel is very durable and long lasting. Some of the great artists of the past, such as Edgar Degas, Toulouse Lautrec and Mary Cassatt, to name a few, have their work hanging in Art galleries throughout the world, still as vibrant and beautiful as the day they were created.

The Pastel Artists of South Australia was formed in February 2001 to promote and encourage the use of this beautiful medium. Exhibitions held by P.A.S.A. show the versatility and expressive works by the talented members of the society.

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