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Artist's Palette Art Magazine Project

Artist's Palette - Art Magazine coverArt Magazine Project - Artist's Palette No. 38 - Giselle's Articles

Article about Giselle, and one of her acrylic painting demonstration.

The article is reflecting on a previous exhibition, called "Close and Personal".

1. Article - Giselle - Close and Personal - - | - - 2. Article - The Necklace - see below

the Necklace - A painting demonstration

Article - The Necklace

... by Giselle Luske - Artist Pallette ©

I am currently (2001) going through what I call my people period - people and the era they have lived in really inspire me.
My favourite subject material at present mostly relates back to my grandmother and the stories she told me, which coincides with my love for the "Art Deco" period.

I don't consider myself to be an artist who paints in a fixed style. I may use certain elements of a period, but I create paintings in the way that best represents the mood I want to express. I wouldn't call it realism, art deco or impressionism, I like to call it 'creatism' - just to get an ism in there somehow!

I like to capture the elegance, the touch of decadence, as well as beautiful designs and ornaments in a semi-realistic view. I bring all that together with images of my grandmother, relatives, friends and an item that actually comes from that period and belongs to our family.

I start my paintings with endless sketches. This phase is probably the most important for me as it's where I transfer the image I have in my mind into something tangible. I use pictures as reference points and my collection of subject material is huge. Over the years, as an artist I have collected pictures and cut outs from absolutely everything that I can imagine - especially my travels - as well as my own drawings and sketches.

As the sketching starts to show the various elements I want in my painting, I sort them, cut them to shape and put them loosely together.

When I like what I see, I do a final quick sketch of the imagined painting and usually add more with details. All of this couldn't happen without me being in the right mood. Luckily I have my own studio which is separate from the main house and has lots of space and beautiful surroundings. The stereo is loudly playing the music that suits my mood - Miles Davis perfectly matches what I'm painting. It's only now that I start painting, and if I'm still hesitatant, the aroma of a fresh espresso will get me to the starting point.

Acrylic Painting Demonstration Step 1 STEP ONE

Before I begin painting, I do many sketches on paper.

I have already chosen the faces I want to paint, but how they will actually go together only evolves after trying out various compositions. To do this, I usually cut out my individual faces and lay them out in different combinations.


Acrylic Painting Demonstration Step 2 STEP TWO

Once I'm happy with the composition, I trace the sketch onto canvas I have prepared beforehand by sanding it lightly. Even though it has already been undercoated with white gesso, I like to give it two more coats, and then sand it again when it's dry.

I don't worry about the background yet, I like to see what happens when the faces come to life on the canvas and look back at me. This way, I quite often find myself surprised.


Acrylic Painting Demonstration Step 3


For the skin colour I use a mixture of Jaune Brilliant, Napthol Red Light, Burnt Sienna, Titanium White and Naples Yellow Hue.

For the hair I use Indigo, Titanium White and Paynes Grey.

My preferred brushes at this stage are No 12 filbert, No 7 filbert, No 4 round.

When the painting is dry, I very lightly dry-brush white over parts of the woman's face.

Acrylic Painting Demonstration Step 4



The man's skin tone will be darker than the woman's, so I use more Burnt Sienna and Indigo for him.



Acrylic Painting Demonstration Step 5 STEP FIVE For the man's suit I use Mars Violet, mixed with Permanent Purple Madder and Titanium White. At the same time I use his suit colours, mixed and pure for his hair.

In the meantime, I've decided to portray her with one of my beautiful art-deco necklaces that once belonged to my grandmother. This means that my female subject has stopped smoking ­ good for her - so I wipe out the cigarette with the background, and I'll paint the necklace in later.

I have decided, however, that I love the look of the cigar for the man as it gives him that certain touch of elegance and a slight decadence. In a split second, triggered mainly by the surprise of the emerging faces, I take my graphite block and draw in some background. Although this looks good, I'm not quiet there yet.

Acrylic Painting Demonstration Step 6


I placed the silhouette of the two heads on the background I drew in the last step. I love the perspective, but feel it would be too overpowering, taking away from the faces. Instead, I decide that I'll probably use it for another painting and put it aside.

* this sketch was used later for this paiting
... "the never ending dance"


Acrylic Painting Demonstration Step 7 STEP SEVEN

I grab a cloth and just wipe the whole background with a mixture of greys and whatever is left on the palette.

It's lovely to work this way. I can work around the faces and in a very short time everything that was left white on the canvas is covered.

Now I am ready to attempt the real background. I take a No 12 short flat brush to start matching up the suit colour and bring it over to the right. This is repeated by taking the woman's dress colour to the left.

With Miles Davis still playing in the background, I am deep inside the painting now - I am her and I am him, understanding their situation, their energy and connection. I know what they think, and I certainly know now what the background must look like.

Acrylic Painting by Giselle


Now I work more on the background to get sharp edges for the walls and curtain. Her stole becomes more feathery with white mixed with Indigo.


My necklace is hers now. The picture's cigar and my espresso combine into a fine aroma and a wonderful nostalgic atmosphere imported from Europe.

See the Final enlarged painting image, click Art Deco Necklace


  • I can't put enough emphasis on the importance of sketching and drawing. The speed, freedom and creativeness graphite or charcoal offer are unequalled.

  • My preferred sketching tool is a graphite block - hard to get in Australia so I have them sent over from Germany. You can alter the stroke or texture with just a twist of the wrist. The block I use is 4mm x 12mm x 600mm and extremely versatile. While there are similar ones here, they aren't as wide.

  • Make your sketch into a drawing and fill in all the darks and lights. Create a drawing like a painting to know all the values.

  • I do my sketches and drawings on endroll paper, which you should be able to get from the local newspaper. It lends itself to sketching without the inhibition that can be triggered by using the more expensive art material. I even use it to sketch with watercolours!

  • When I have created my own sketches and drawings, I need a quick and easy way to transfer them. If your drawing goes onto watercolour paper, simply tape your sketch onto the window, place your preferred paper on top, and trace it.

  • If it goes onto canvas or board, you have to reverse it with an 8B pencil or charcoal. Turn it over again, placing it onto your canvas, secure it, and now trace it onto the canvas. The graphite on the reverse is transferred to the surface of the canvas by the pressure applied from the top

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Art Deco Necklace

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My Art Deco Necklace - painting by Giselle - Art Studio Canungra

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My Art Deco Necklace - painting by Giselle - Art Studio Canungra

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My Art Deco Necklace - painting by Giselle - Art Studio Canungra

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