My name is Rita Drysdall and I live on the Gold Coast, Queensland in Australia on small acreage with my husband and a number of animals (follow me on Facebook and Instagram!). To date, we have 4 cats, a dog, a small herd of alpacas, a goat and a sheep and 3 chickens. I love all the pets but the cats make my life complete.
I was a tax accountant for 30 years but a few years ago I retired from the profession and changed my career direction to graphic design. It was the best thing I could have done and I should have done it sooner.
Since a change in careers is often held back by lack of education, I went back to university to complete a degree in Digital Media. I am now in my third year of studies and it is getting quite intense. It has been an interesting experience to go back to school though and I’ve enjoyed interacting with the lecturers, tutors and young kids.
While studying, I re-discovered watercolours and now base my work and my hobby in watercolours.
I am mainly self-taught in watercolours. I have completed a couple of workshops to help me develop my style. I obtained most of my knowledge from books and by exploring techniques. I think I’m still discovering my style but I prefer a loose style with suggestions of details in inks, charcoal, gouache and collage. My paintings are either fine art on half or quarter sheets or small illustrations on A5 paper.
When I paint, I start off with thumbnail sketches to break down the scene into simple shapes and dark and light toned areas. Then, when I start the painting, I stick to the plan and break the painting down into a series of shapes. Often, geometrical shapes that contrast with lines.
My palette is very simple and limited to about 5-6 colours. Periodically, to give myself challenges and sketch using only two colours or even just one.
In my painting journey, I have also fallen in love with sumi-e painting which is the Japanese brush and ink painting and it has been challenging to learn the strokes used.
I try to paint every day. The courses and deadlines for assignments don’t make it possible all the time. Quite often, I can combine my art with my assignments so it keeps me happy.
I also make my own watercolour books. I noticed that I could not get a book with the paper I like so I hand-made a few for myself. I hope to be able to do this for other watercolourists as well on a larger scale. I am conducting a feasibility and demand research study as a project for a university course assignment. There is a survey on my website for this. The basic idea is to allow watercolourists to select the cover, paper for the pages and binding thread. Please take a peek at the survey with the link below and enter to win a prize!
You can see more of my work on my website, Facebook page or Instagram at the links below. My graphic design portfolio shows my work which also includes watercolours wherever I can fit them in.