Phil Courtney is a long time user of Rosemary Brushes and it is about time we shared his absolutely stunning work with you all. Phil graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine arts located in Philadelphia and has been in the industry ever since. Exquisite both in Oil and Water colour, Phil always manages to capture the beauty of his subject material.
If you would like to see more of Phil’s fantastic work and to see his process, workshops and online shop, please check out his website: www.philcourtney.com
Thank you Phil for allowing me to show off your art! The watercolours are my personal favourite, especially “The Wooden Rabbit”!
Luiz visited us in Yorkshire for almost a month this Summer. The images shown are quick Plein Air studies, on the go!
I spent the month of June painting in Yorkshire, England. It is one of the most beautiful places in the whole world and paradise beauty for any artist.
Rosemary & Co Artists’ Brushes hosted two painting workshops in their premises and around the area. The first one with Michelle Dunaway, we were out and about painting the landscape and the figure in the landscape. Michelle was a wonderful adviser, always helpful and sharing her thoughts in art and the life of an artist. A true inspiration! We had a fantastic time painting at Bolton Abbey for two days.
On the second day, we painted model Ross dressed in character – A real Yorkshire man! I didn’t feel the time passing by, I was so immersed in capturing the scene. I stayed for the second workshop with Michael Klein, painting florals. I’ve been such a fan of his work so it was like a dream for me to be able to paint flowers with him. The set was Rosemary’s orangery, a stunning place and each student had the most beautiful flower arrangement to work from. In the mornings, we watched Michael develop his own piece, and I had to sit really close to him and see how he handled the paint and his brushwork technique.
“I LEARNT that the POSSIBILITIES of painting are INFINITE!”
We all watch videos but nothing compares to the experience of observing an artist responding to his subject matter right in front of you. With these workshops, I learnt that the possibilities of painting are infinite! And more: it helped me to find out what is really important to me. I also had the opportunity to explore the area on the days before and in between classes. I met old and new friends and enjoyed the camaraderie whilst going to places like Haworth (where the Brontë sisters lived) small villages in the neighbourhood and idyllic places like Malham Cove.
Last but not least there were Rosemary and Symi (who showed us how to make brushes in two demos and shared tips on how to take care of your brushes – really helpful!) and their team striving to make our experience unforgettable! I like to quote from the master:
“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual – become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. It is in the nature of all people to have these experiences; but in our time and under the conditions of our lives, it is only a rare few who are able to continue in the experience and find expression for it.” – Robert Henri
I feel truly blessed and thankful.
Images courtesy of Luiz Vilela. Please visit Luiz’s website
My words to Michael were, “This is a marathon not a sprint!” and boy was I right. Two 3 day workshops and a demonstration evening over 7 days was no mean feat – but we did it! We had 30 students over the two workshops from all around the world, and 16 flower bouquets to arrange. That, alongside the heatwave we’ve been experiencing in Yorkshire leant itself to a dreamlike situation. One we and hopefully the students too, will never forget!
Each morning Michael set up his easel and palette to give an in-depth demonstration to the students. The first day Michael outlined the basics, although quite honestly, he makes it look so easy. (I’m sure the students
will agree!). A true modern-day Master. My job was to make sure folks had enough tea and coffee, and that they were generally comfortable at the workshop. Rosemary had allowed us to use her Orangery to host the workshops. The space is at the back of the Rosemary Brushes workshop and has the most glorious views of our valley.
At lunch we all sat outside and we brought out home-made packed lunches and nibbles for the students. It was a relaxed and calm atmosphere. Idyllic some may say. In the afternoons the students painted, working on the same piece over the three days. Michael went to each student time and time again to help and give advice. This indoor set-up was something new for us!
With the week before the workshop being National Flower Week in the UK, we were lucky to have the choice of so many beautiful flowers for the set-ups – all at their peak and many from Rosemary’s garden!
The students were painting peonies, avalanche roses, agapanthus, sweet alyssum, alpine thistles, bell flowers… the list goes on. We made our own still life stands ready for the occasion, to ensure a professional set up
(thank you to Kenny!).
Michael also gave an evening demonstration to the students, which we opened up to the general public. We filmed this evening, which you can find on our YouTube channel. Search Rosemary & Co to watch this! We’re
making lots more videos now.
During the demonstration evening (a 3 hour session), Michael showed how he would approach a still-life set up, with limited time. We are blessed to have our workshop where we make the brushes in such beautiful surroundings, and so this evening was filmed in Rosemary’s garden.
Overall, it was such a magical week. I couldn’t pick if you made me as to which workshop was better! They were both fantastic, and I am confident the students would tell you the same. I urge you to look at the Masters we have joining us to teach next year and consider a trip to this beautiful place we call home, Yorkshire!
Rosemary & Co welcomed Michelle Dunaway and students to paint within the grounds of the workshop and around the Yorkshire Dales.
In the month of June 2018 we welcomed Michelle Dunaway and a group of students to Yorkshire ready for a workshop on the figure outdoors. Each day we headed to different locations and placed a model in what I would consider, the most beautiful landscapes. Close your eyes and think Pride and Prejudice and you’d be almost there. Michelle had asked that I make it timeless – so that’s what we did!
Each morning the students arrived at the Rosemary Brushes workshop early and eager to go out and paint! Plein Air is tricky at the best of times, but with Yorkshire’s seemingly unpredictable heatwaves of late – this was set to be a challenge! Fear not I thought, folks on these workshops are usually most understanding and roll with it. And that they did! The weather turned out to be a friend not a foe. We were actually wearing shorts asking for cold drinks, not piling on coats and hugging a cup of hot chocolate!
The students came to me throughout the week to let me know how much they loved the area we are lucky to call home, and also to tell me how much they were learning from their maestro – Michelle. I have to say, the landscapes I can take very little credit for – Yorkshire is beautiful and I’m the one who’s lucky to live here.
Two of the days we visited the grounds and painted amongst the ruins of my favourite estate, Bolton Abbey. To think that Turner was painting in the same place as us some two hundred years ago gives me goose bumps.
I always think about how things must have been for him as a painter back then. He didn’t have the luxury of squeezing any colour paint out of tubes, or of the most lightweight, compact easels on the planet. Turner didn’t have over three thousand Rosemary Brush ranges to choose from either! But then I think – if he did can you only imagine what he would have painted! How could he have been any better!? Now, I know I’m dreaming here, but quite honestly, it makes me think of what our masters of today have at their finger tips. Never the less, you can have all the tricks of the trade at your finger tips, but that does not mean you can sit in front of the most beautiful ruins with a model and paint like Michelle Dunaway. That is talent, years of hard work and a million brush miles.
These workshops started because Rosemary and I wanted to bring our friends to Yorkshire. We figured we travel so much, it’s about time folks come to us! We never dreamed we could bring the world’s best artists to Yorkshire and teach! If you ever get the chance to join us on one
of these workshops, I’d urge you to do so. The teaching ability is sensational, the general running of the workshop is by me (so it’s a little nuts, but it’s sure to be fun!) and of course, I have beautiful Yorkshire to thank for the most incredible backdrop, a painters paradise. We tried to capture a slice of this workshop on Youtube. Check it out!
“That painting´s really good, it looks just like a photograph!” went the comment.“Uh-oh!” I thought “Back to the drawing board…”
As much as I love photography, I want my paintings to be expressions in their own right. I´m not an abstract artist, although I love abstract art. I am inspired by shape, light and form and want to include these in my work.
I love realistic art but I have been looking for the sort of freedom which allows a liberal dollop of artistic licence! I find myself caught between the desire to render an image faithfully and yet abstract it, play with it and create something new. Such comments (as above) started a journey to capture the essence of what inspires me about an image in the first place but allows me to express something that is not in the scene but speaks to me in my imagination. The brushes I used before did not help me achieve this. They splayed when I needed them to hold their shape, they dripped paint, the outer hairs would rub off – where did they go? – and they shed loose hairs at the most inconvenient moments! Working with acrylics I had to remove these before the paint dried.
A lot of unnecessary effort was expended while I compensated for all of this. Sometimes I just wanted to complete the picture and leave any playing with the image and experimenting for another time. There comes a point where the initial impulse dies and the painting loses spontaneity and looks overworked. I wanted to avoid this at all costs. That’s why I was thrilled to discover your brushes. Painting has become so much more of a pleasure, as I have brushes that work with me, not against me. They have freed up energy and thinking time – sometimes only one brush-stroke is enough to complete a figure or suggest a window. They make a statement. Your brushes support a creative process where I can paint realistically but take artistic licence where I choose to. Needless to say, I have more confidence to experiment and take more risks. I´m enjoying a new freedom in my work. My latest paintings have been inspired by a visit to Sri Lanka this year. Just as our memories merge and blend the people we meet and the places we discover, the images do the same in my work. The colours are as intense as the brightly coloured temples, the smell of the spices and flowers.
My sketchbook, diary and camera travel with me wherever I go. I cannot wait to return to Sri Lanka one day with its enormous variety of landscape, animals and nature. Thanks to my photographs and sketches I can capturequick impressions but this is not enough for me. Painting helps me not only to re-live the experience but explore the images. The result is an expression of something personal, a mini-adventure with brushes and paint that a camera cannot capture.
Images courtesy of Judy Krauss. Please visit her website
For almost two years Rosemary and Andrew Tischler have been working on creating a new range, The “Tisch”. Here’s the story.
I’d been looking at Andrew’s work on YouTube for some time and noticed he had been mentioning our brushes, in particular our Series 25, 1˝ Angular. Though Andrew liked it, he wanted something he could love because it didn’t quite do what he wanted it to do due to his unique brush strokes.
So, Andrew got in touch and said that he wanted to make certain brush marks, and wanted the range to be available to his followers in all different sizes. Firstly, Andrew drew me pictures of the angles of the brushes he wanted me to create.
I took those pictures and made a set from them. I explained to Andrew we probably wouldn’t get it right first time, but I needed to know what was wrong with them to get it spot on. Again, Andrew trialled the set, told me we were 90% there but he still needed more of a curve on them. When you see how Andrew works, you’ll understand why that curve is essential.
I made another set, sent them to New Zealand and Andrew said “Rosemary, I love the brushes, you absolutely nailed it. I am ready to go! I love them! I look forward to adding them to the kit, these will be my go-to’s.”
Once we launched the Tisch Daggers I thought it would be best to ask Andrew to tell you what he loved about this new range, “I paint a wide variety of subjects that require different technical approaches therefore, I need a wide range of brushes that will allow me to create an engaging
sense of reality across many genres.
Rosemary and Co make the best brushes out there. I choose these brushes for their reliability and absolute quality. I highly recommend these sets, which contain some of my favourite brushes made by Rosemary and Co! These sets will give you the range and versatility you need to master many subjects from portraiture and still life to landscape!” – Andrew Tischler
From there we expanded all the sizes and made from ⅛˝ right the way through to a 1˝ available on the long handle only. As a brush maker, it’s really so lovely to think we can actually design something different that works for that artist, who a lot of artists around the world are following. This range will help Andrew and his followers make brush marks easier and in a small way, I feel to have contributed.
Images courtesy of Andrew Tischler.
To see more of Andrew’s work visit his website:
Mary tells Rosemary & Co about her path into the world of art…
I have been a Rosemary customer for a couple of years now, having learned about Rosemary brushes from my art teacher. I use your brushes almost exclusively, and now I cannot be without them! My particular favourites are the Shiraz short filberts.
I hope my story might give encouragement to others who are considering venturing into the world of art. I was born and brought up in England, but have lived in the United States for over 30 years. I started painting four years ago almost by chance, when a friend at church suggested that I take her religious iconography class. I was reluctant at first – still working full time and wondered how I could fit this into my busy schedule, but went along, admittedly half-heartedly. Little did I know that it would open up a whole new world for me!
After that first class, I began taking lessons from Ma Ly, a French-born art teacher here in Fresno, California. I have learned so much from him, but am still such a neophyte! I paint in acrylics and particularly like working with wooden boards. The majority of my paintings have been icons, but I also enjoy still life, and have just completed my first portrait. I have had several commissions!
I retired a year ago, and now have more time to devote to my art. What wonderful therapy it has turned out to be! There is a whole theology behind iconography: every brushstroke is a prayer, and the artist comes to know the subject very well as the weeks go by. Icons are also therapeutic for the recipient. I find it gratifying and humbling when people tell me that my paintings give them comfort.
Rosemary and Symi met Cesar in 2016 whilst on a trip to Cuba with 100 other artists. After meeting Cesar for only a few minutes it was clear that they were with a modern day master. Enjoy this interview!
Santos’ art education is worldly and his work has been seen around the globe, from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sicily, Italy and the Beijing museum in China to Chelsea and New York. Santos studied at Miami Dade College, where he earned his Associate in Arts degree in 2003.
Cesar then attended the New World School of the Arts and, just before graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, he dropped out to study abroad and to amplify his understanding of art. In 2006, he completed the Angel Academy of Art in Florence. He still visits this beautiful city with his wife. Santos’ work reflects both classical and modern interpretations juxtaposed within one painting. His influences range from the Renaissance to the Masters of the Nineteenth Century to Contemporary Art. With superb technique, he infuses a harmony between the natural and the conceptual to create works that are provocative and dramatic. As a small company we are so proud to have a brush set with Cesar – a dream come true!
HOW DID GROWING UP IN CUBA INFLUENCE YOUR WORK?
Growing up in Cuba gave me the ability to seize every opportunity, to not take anything for granted. Communism keeps people from achieving their personal dreams, it forced my family to work hard for very little return. Emigrating from such oppression to a free society where I can enjoy the fruits of my art inspired me to work hard and honestly to better myself.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER?
My parents sold their only home and moved to a small apartment in a poor neighbourhood to be able to pay for my classical training in Italy. They never asked for their money back. Nine years into my career I was able to buy them a bigger house and in a better location than their previous one. That was definitely our proudest moment in my career.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ABOUT MAKING ART YOUR FULL TIME CAREER?
Commit to your Art fully and don’t have a plan B. Make sure you like to be alone for 14 hours a day for the rest of your life in front of a canvas, working, studying and getting better. Take every opportunity that matches your goals and give 100% of your efforts. Don’t mind the people who criticize or don’t like your art. Welcome those who do appreciate it. Develop your personal voice. Make sure your art is not aimed at pleasing your peers, teachers or family.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATIONS?
I find myself most inspired when I visit museums, especially collections that show the highest standards of artistic achievement. Every time I encounter technical dexterity allied with a personal vision it gets me motivated to work.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SKETCHBOOKS?
Sketchbooks are the place to rehearse, to test your abilities, to have fun. Sketchbooks are a recollection of who you are and who you have been. For me, a sketchbook is the ability to do art and express myself anywhere I go.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BRUSHES AND WHY?
I started painting on canvas when I was in high school. I was using whatever the teachers offered in the classrooms. Mainly acrylic paint on bad rough cotton canvas and cheap mass-produced brushes. Then I wondered why it was so difficult to paint! I have come to realize that great tools allow for freedom of expression. It is difficult enough to have a good eye/hand co-ordination, to paint powerful images. The last thing you need is bad tools that get in your way as you paint. I don’t use random brushes anymore, I use Rosemary Brushes. I recently sent them a photo of my dirty brushes to allow people to know what I use to create my portraits. I am glad they have a ready-to-go Cesar Santos Set with my favourites!
HOW DO YOU GET IN THE ZONE?
I don’t know how to be out of the zone, my life is my zone! As I go to sleep I think of what to do the next day, as I travel through the day new things come up for the next painting and so on, including and planning to not doing anything some days.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF A YEAR FROM NOW?
Let me visualize and be specific; I see myself with a newly developed body of work. About two dozen paintings that should exhibit in New York, France and Art Basel. In a year from now I should have about 50 more videos uploaded to my YouTube Channel. In a year I should have increased my strength at the gym as well as in my relationship with my wife. I also want to start dedicating some time to writing comedy, I’ve always made people laugh privately but perhaps is time to test my humour publicly.
IF YOU COULD ONLY PAINT ONE SUBJECT FOR THE REST OF YOUR CAREER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Wow, we need to get hypothetical here! I would paint women.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT ROSEMARY AND GIVE YOUR OWN WORKSHOP?
Of course! I would love to witness how the brushes I use are made. It would give a new dimension to my knowledge and experience while I paint with them. I love giving workshops but if you look at my yearly ambitions, I can’t find the time to schedule it in without sacrificing my career plans.
David Smeadon takes a painting trip down memory lane…
I first started painting way back when I was in primary school. I was interested in the birds I saw in the parks and garden and began drawing and painting them. I remember my teacher said I captured the shapes perfectly.