Hello, my name is Rae Andrews and I am an Australian ex-pat now living in America.
I was born in Sydney Australia, and art has been in my family for years. My aunt was a professional artist and I was enthralled with her works from a very young age.
I think I picked up a pencil and drew at the very early age of around 5 years old. My mother and sister were artistic as well, but it was my aunt (Australian artist Hazel Johnson) who became my mentor and most profound influence. She has now passed and I miss her very much.
I was a business person for over 20 years, owning hairdressing salons in Sydney, and my art career was placed on the back burner. Although, I still did paint a lot, my businesses kept me very busy.
At the age of 32, I decided enough was enough, and sold all my salons, to pursue my art further. I went to college (City Art Institute in Sydney) and did my degrees, (BA in Visual Arts and a Post Graduate degree in Professional Art Studies). As I had already been teaching for a few years at a friend’s private art school, and a college in western NSW Australia; I decided when I graduated from my own college, to start an art school.
This, I called the Northside Art School. It was on the northern beaches of Sydney, and I employed seven other talented teachers part time. In the first year and a half, the school rose to a 400 student attendance. It was wonderful fun.
I also taught and demonstrated my techniques in many regions of Australia during this period, so my life was very full. I entered lots of art competitions and I am blessed to say I won many awards both regional and national at this time.
In 1990, I met and married my American husband and we settled on the island of Maui for many years. It was here on this beautiful island, I owned two galleries and began representing other artists as well as teaching. I loved my life there. Although island life is sublime, one can feel a need for change eventually, and after 12 years, my husband and I moved to Austin, Texas in 2002.
People ask me all the time, how I could give up my Maui lifestyle for a Texas one, but although it’s very different living in Texas, it’s still a wonderful state. I do miss Maui and go back to visit sometimes, and it’s still considered another home to me, as well as Australia.
My style of painting watercolor has evolved over the years. I think teaching helped me tremendously. I had to keep on my toes and ahead of some very talented students, always looking for new approaches to the lessons I taught; many of my students have gone on to be well-known teachers themselves so that makes it all worth while.
I paint and teach in all mediums, both in the United States, Australia and Europe. I think watercolor will always be my first love, however pastels are a close second for me.
Color and movement is possibly the best way to identify my art. I paint all genres: landscape, seascape, floral, portraits, still life to name a few.
My paintings mostly balance between abstraction and realism. I like to flick and move the paint onto a randomly pre-wet surface, leaving lots of dry white paper visible so my colors will ‘bounce’ as a contrast. Leaving the paper semi wet, is key to my leaving white paper showing through. As the water is the vehicle in which the paint travels, it stands to reason that it will only go where the wet areas are.
I often do not have a subject in mind at all, but merely wait till the paint is dry and see what I can find to fit into my painted marks. It creates that ‘lost and found’ effect I so love. I use negative painting mostly in my works, rarely actually painting the object; I like to push it forward with background information instead.
It can be very scary for a lot of people who prefer a plan at least; a photo or a drawing from which to refer. I know this technique is not for everyone, and I tell people after they have a lesson with me; later, in the quiet of their own studios, that some of my techniques will resonate. Hopefully, they can merge them with their own ideas, to get a more personal result.
My Art Supplies
I use mostly Winsor & Newton brand watercolor, however there are so many great brands on the market now, and I do branch out from time to time. Daniel Smith (very true colors) and Lukas watercolors come to mind, the latter is a very economical watercolor and good colors as well.
I use limited colors in my paintings, usually transparent and primary colors. I decide ahead of time which colors will flow well together, so I won’t get a muddy result, very often analogous colors are best for the first throw in. After that, I might use one complementary color to create some color contrast.
For instance, if I am using a few blue/ mauve/ green colors, I will complement that palette with yellow or orange in places.
I like Arches Cold Pressed paper. That texture suits my way of painting, allowing the paint to sit on top of the texture and giving my watercolors that degree of sparkle which I love.
I rarely use masking fluid, about the only time I will is with a palette knife dipped into the MF and dribbled and splashed onto the substrate first, just for a spontaneous effect later with random whites.
My brushes are a mix of good brushes. I like round, mop and dagger brushes, and I use a drinking straw to blow the paint at times, so I get random effects and marks.
So that’s about it. Thank you to all for reading about my journey. I hope you glean some useful information and have enjoyed it.Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!