Friday, 15 January 2016

Australian Wood Duck

Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata, watercolour on paper, 28 x 30.5 cm,  © Matteo Grilli 2015

This Australian Wood Duck was painted using only three paints and all of them are 100% handmade by myself. A selection of my favourite handmade watercolour paints are now for sale on my online shopin case you feel you want to give watercolours a go, they are made only with 100% Artists' quality materials. Following this link you can read how I made my own watercolours.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, watercolour and gouache on toned board, 29 x 25 cm,  © Matteo Grilli 2015 

The following original watercolours have been recently added to my online gallery:

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Study of an Eastern Sedgefrog

Eastern Sedgefrog Litoria fallax, watercolour and gouache on toned board, 18 x 26 cm,  © Matteo Grilli 2015

I was visiting the Rainforest Botanic Gardens in Lismore and came across lots of these beautiful little creatures hiding among the water vegetation. Apparently Eastern Sedgefrogs hide in banana trees and become lost in fruit shops and supermarkets once the bananas are shipped across Australia.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Eastern Grey Kangaroos at Grampians National Park

Eastern Grey Kangaroos at Grampians National Park.
Watercolour pencils on paper, 40 x 30 cm,  © Matteo Grilli 2015 

 For this artwork I made the exception of using watercolour pencils, a medium I haven't been using often recently. I enjoyed very much to see how the colours change with the lightest touch of a moist brush, it almost felt like a new work was magically developing quickly right under my hands.

I saw a large mob of Eastern grey Kangaroos while visiting the Grampians National Park in western Victoria, here they are represented in the beautiful valley around Hall's Gap which is surrounded by very wild, rugged and beautiful mountains as well as heaps of wildlife including Kangaroos, Emus, Ekidnas and many species of birds including the Powerful Owl.

This original artwork is now for sale on my online shop which will be having a break from October 4th until November 1st, I will be enjoying new adventures with a long-awaited visitor from overseas... so, in case someone wants to avoid the November Christmas rush for art presents, I would suggest to order your gifts in September.

 Bush Heritage Australia is launching a campaign to raise funds to purchase and protect land to studying and conserving the endangered and recently re-discovered Night Parrot, thought to be extinct until two years ago. To find out more, please follow this link and if you wish, make a donation to support the project.

All the best,


Thursday, 9 July 2015

Lace Monitor

Lace Monitor, watercolour on paper, 30 x 30 cm,  © Matteo Grilli 2015
I was visiting North Stradbroke Island and enjoying the beautiful shore of the Brown Lake when I heard something scratching on a tree, this 2m-long Lace Monitor was climbing a gum tree not far from the lake shore. Now, this Lace Monitor watercolour has been published as a greeting card by Nuovo Group.
The Coastal Artisans gallery in Peregian Beach is now stocking my Giclee prints as well as some original framed works, if you find yourself around the Sunshine Coast area, the Coastal Artisans gallery, the Baked Poetry Cafe and the beautiful beach are certainly worth a visit.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Red-browed Finch - An Insight

Red-browed Finch, watercolour on paper, 21 x 27 cm, © Matteo Grilli

I decided to start this portrait of this little gem of the Australian bush from the brightest of all its colours, red. I mixed a warmish red from Transparent Yellow and Permanent Carmine adjusting the temperature using just those two colours and applying them on the beak, lore and eye-stripe and upper-tail coverts. The darkest parts of the beak and the eye were painted with a mix of Prussian Blue and Madder Red Deep. The subtle greys of the head, breast, belly and flanks were achieved with a mix of Ultramarine and Burnt umber. For the back of the neck, mantle and wing I started with an under-was of Transparent Yellow and Ultramarine blue, building up layer upon layer and slightly changing the hues darkening with Madder Red Deep and the blues. The delicate tints of the legs are light mixes of Permanent Carmine and Raw Sienna for the pinky parts and Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Umber for the shadow areas. The final darkest details are mixes of Prussian Blue with Madder Red Deep. This Red-browed Finch is available as a greeting card published by Nuovo Group.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Masked Lapwings

Masked Lapwings, watercolour on paper, 21.5 x 39 cm, © Matteo Grilli 2014

 A detail from this watercolour, is available as a greeting card.

I recently joined Pinterest, there, I've started sharing my artwork as well as some images of favourite art and other things collected from around the web and my own photo collections, it's been fun so far and I'm looking forward to connect with those of you who are there too.

 I would like to remember my grandmother Novella Torregiani Grilli (1935-2015) with one of her many and multi awarded poems (English translation follows):


Canta uomo
finche' alito empie la voce:
dal cuore all'azzurro
eleva il tuo poema.
Canta il pensiero che supera l'immenso
prima che giunga


Sing man
until breath fills the voice:
from the heart to the blue
lift up your poem.
Sing the thought that goes beyond the immense
before silence arrives.

More of her poems (Italian only) here.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Chestnut-breatsed Mannikin

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, watercolour on paper, 25 x 27 cm, © Matteo Grilli 2014

This watercolour, together with all my latest works from 2014 and older, features a new range of greeting cards just published by Nuovo Group.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Making Watercolours

Last year I was finally able to practice and learn something I've been wanting to do for a long time, making my own watercolour paints. It's not difficult, it's fun and fulfilling. Here is the list of supplies I'm using:
1. measuring spoons;
2. Schmincke watercolour binder;
3. Schmincke 100% pure powdered pigment;
4. notebook;
5. spatula;
6. small spatula;
7. distilled water;
8. small plastic containers;
9. glass muller;
10. glass slab.

After pouring 1 tsp of pigment on the glass slab I added 1 and 1/2 tsp of  binder and roughly mixed them together with the spatula. Getting the pigment/binder ratio can be tricky, the general rule is 2 parts of binder per 1 part of pigment but some pigments like Ultramarine Blue Light turned out to be too moist, requiring a bit less binder. After a few experiments all recorded in my notebook, I worked out that for some pigments the 1 tsp of pigment to 1 and 1/2 or 1/4 of binder ratio works best.

  Then I started grinding and thoroughly mixing with the glass muller. Watercolour requires long mixing times, so far I've always been mixing for one hour with circular movements, a good thing to do in winter. As the paint becomes thicker and harder to mix, I evenly sprayed some distilled water and started grinding again, collecting the spread out paint from time to time with the spatula.

 After one hour of grinding and lots of good music as a background, I gathered the pigment with the large spatula and then, with the help of the small spatula I put the pigment in the small plastic container and let it dry overnight. Checking the paint one or two days after, a perfect paint should be a bit shiny and just a little sticky with no cracks. It is important to write down in the notebook the procedure so that next time it will be easier to improve and make a perfect paint.

And here is my favorite palette, testing transparency, lifting, wet on wet, dry brush, wash techniques and mixes with other colours. On the left Raw Sienna; Ultramarine Blue Light and Raw Umber Greenish. On the right, Madder Red Deep, Prussian Blue and Burnt Umber.
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