G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artists do what they do. (music playing) (Graeme) Well, hi guys. Well we are in Kingston, in Massachusetts today, and we are with an award-winning watercolour artist, Mister Tony Visco. Tony, welcome to the show. (Tony) Hey, thank you for coming. (Graeme) Great to be here. Great to be here. (Tony) My pleasure. (Graeme) This man’s an amazing artist. You’ve got a fantastic background as far as your career is concerned as you started out as a graphic designer. (Tony) I did, I did, yeah, absolutely. (Graeme) And your whole life’s been basically creating. (Tony) My business has been art all my life. It’s been commercial, but it’s still been in the business of art. (Graeme) Yeah, and you’ve were involved in media advertising with that as well. (Tony) Absolutely, I spent a lot of time with it and actually from being on the board as a designer I gradually got into the marketing process, started writing headline copy as well, so I wrote motivational copy for a lot of the work that was done. (Graeme) So what about transiting from that career as a graphic designer, into a full time career as a professional artist. How did that come about? (Tony) Well Graeme, I’ve always been painting, (Graeme) Yeah. (Tony) but it’s always been in the back of… in background as a painter. And what ended up happening is that my love for painting sort of slowly, gradually increased. Being tied to clients slowly decreased. (Graeme) Yeah. (Tony) And what happened is that I finally retired from the commercial world, and decided to approach this full time. I paint in oil, I paint in acrylics, I’m a graphite artist – I work heavily in graphite. Pastels. There’s not generally a medium that I don’t not touch, but I have a passion, a passion for watercolour, especially wet into wet watercolour. (Graeme) Yeah, absolutely, well that’s what we’re going to be doing today. You’ve actually got a draft sketch that you’ve made out. (Tony) I did. (Graeme) And it’s a beautiful area. I mean this whole area is just a fantastic area, and you know, lots of water scenes. And that’s what we’re going to be doing today is a water scene, that (Tony) We are. (Graeme) you’ve obviously captured down the road. I’m going to step out of shot. We’re going to let you do what you need to do. I’ll be asking a lot of questions because as I said, it really is quite an amazing place, and we’re just really, really happy to be here. But let’s, I’ll step out of shot, and you go for your life. (Graeme) Okay, Tony, what are the paints that you actually use to do your watercolours? (Tony) Well, Graeme, let me tell you, I’ve been using Winsor Newton colours, as long as I’ve been painting. I do use some Schmincke, I do use Daniel Smith, and I do also use Holbein which I love as a paint. But primarily all my colours have been Winsor and Newton – that’s the primaries (Graeme) And what about your paintbrushes? (Tony) My brushes consists of a number of different things if I may. I use Strathmore brushes, and I use these wonderful synthetic brushes by Dynasty. These are their Black and Gold series, and they’re a wonderful brush. I’ve been using this stuff for quite a while. So we’re going to get into first laying in some wash. I’m starting with Cerulean Blue, and I’m going to come in here and I’m actually working on a soft fibered paper. We’re working on a BFK rives or a BFK freeze, and what I’m going to do, is I’m going to start laying in the background with a loose wash of paint here. (Graeme) Aha. (Tony) And as I go through this process I’m going to start to move down a bit. We’re going to cut around all of these figures, and I’m going to go in here and I’m going to basically work my way down. And as I get down here I’m going to gradually get warmer as I get into the water. And I’m getting a lot of loose water in here right now. And I want to do something else here, I’m cutting this area in, and this area is going to dry a lot lighter. As I come down here I’m going to add a little bit of my opera, and I’m bringing the water in down in this area here, if you can watch. I’m going to leave a lot of white in here, so as I paint this (Graeme) Yeah. (Tony) I have to be cognize of that. It’s important that we make sure that when we’re cutting around the piece that we leave enough white around there, so that eventually when I finish this piece I’ll have the white that I want left on the paper itself. (Graeme) I was going to say the paper that you use is a little more fibrous than normal. (Tony) Yeah, this paper is very soft. A very soft, very porous paper. I use that because it has a nice consistency, it gives me some nice texture rather than a hard paper where I’m going get a hard line all the time. The soft fibres of this paper is what I like most about this. It lends itself to a wet into wet watercolour. It has characteristics in the paper itself that allow the pigment to work its magic. So now the that I’ve got this sort of done in this area, and I’m letting that dry a bit. I have to come back up here and I’m going to put in some brown in the top. I want this is, these are all wooden piling over here, (Graeme) Aha. (Tony) so it’s going to be a dark area, Graeme. So what we’re going to do, is we’re going to bring in some of that brown cast a little bit up in this area, and we’re going to start to work out my dark areas. I’m using Burnt Sienna to bring this in. And it’s still wet so I’m letting it, I’m letting it just do its own thing. I’m not doing a lot of pigment yet on this stuff. I just want this to be loose and wet and free. So we’re just going to back in here, and we’re going to start to paint some of this in here. (Graeme) And you’ve got a lovely piece here as well, I mean obviously in your travels you get to see a lot of the world, but this one’s called A Parisian Stroll. A very striking painting with the brilliance of the building just sort of popping out through the perspective there. It’s wonderful. (Tony) That was a nice piece that I did. Actually that look a prize recently in one of the shows. I was real pleases about it because it’s a very loose painting. Okay, so right now I let this all – I settled it up and let dry a bit, and I’m going back in. You notice some of the browns – everything was washy, loosely done. And I’m going to go back in now and I’m going to start to build some of the cool areas. I’m going to go into my purples, mix a little bit of opera and my Cerulean Blue over here together, and we’re going to come up with a nice, warm violet kind of colour in here. And I’m going to start building the darks now in the background, so that’s what I’m doing here. You notice I’m working with a flat brush for the most part here, right now too. (Graeme) Aha. (Tony) And I tend to do that, I tend to work mostly with flat brushes, and as I said with the soft fibered paper it just absolutely wonderful the kind of stuff you can create doing this. What I’ve decided to do is bring the darks up in the background a little bit here, so that you can start to see the white against it. Where you want your audience to look, which will be the darkest dark against the lightest light, is important in a painting. You’re are driving your audience into that area so here’s my white and light areas right here, these are going to be darker. So just to give you some idea as to how I approach this when I think this through. So all of this stuff that’s in the background here is going to go darker. Now that I’ve got some small lines back here that I can see, and I’ve got pilings that are sticking up back, but this is sort of like a slow build. Still working wet; still working very loose, but working around here. I don’t generally mask, I try to cut around and I try to use the white of the paper as much as possible. So it’s important that I understand this stuff as I go in, and I can start to build this a little bit at a time. It’s a slow build. You want to make sure that you’re cutting around the proper area. (Graeme) Now one thing you love to do Tony within your work is tell a story. You’re a story teller with art and you’ve got a piece called Food For Thought, and it’s of a little Haitian girl being fed some food. Obviously they’ve suffered pretty badly down there because of the earthquake and things. But very expressive and just a great story that you see straight away. (Tony) I really feel in love with that piece. I have a friend of mine that went down with a missionary, and somebody took a shot of him feeding this little girl. And it was so expressive; it was so wonderful. It told the story. And I really fell in love with the little girl. It was just absolutely incredible. You know, she came to life for me in that watercolour, and it was just wonderful. She more than he, but the combination of the two and his reaching out feeding this little Haitian girl was absolutely magical to me. And I try and do stories with a lot of my works. I do a lot of old trucks and old broken down boats and stuff like that. It’s just a lot of fun to do. So what I’m going to start to do right now then is as I start, I’m going to start getting into the figures (Graeme) Yeah. (Tony) a little bit, and start to get … And I’m going to use a smaller brush to get into those figures, and we’re going to end up starting to put a little bit of colour into this. This is Colour In Your Life, so we’re going to throw a bit of colour into the figures over here. And we’re going to come in here, and we’re going to just start to put in some light tones in these areas here – flesh tonnes. I’m going to start out with flesh tonnes, and then I’m go to a, I’m going to put in some violet in there in a minute. But these are the dogs, put a little bit of value in there. Now you heard me say value, interesting enough, I think it’s very important that people understand that value is probably one of the most important parts of painting. That’s what creates the interest. The colour is an adjunct to that, but value is so important. (Graeme) And you were discussing before about the timing of watercolour as well. (Tony) Incredibly, you have to be aware and congnize of a moist paper, a wet paper and the amount of pigment on the brush that you have. As a matter of fact one of the things that you really should understand is the when you pick up pigment, you should be basically be taking most of the water out of brush so the damp, so that if your going to pick up pigment, you pick up more pigment than water and then you apply that to the paint. (Graeme) Now in your past as a younger man, you served your county with distinction in Vietnam. You did two tours (Tony) Yes, I did. (Graeme) of Vietnam, which is pretty amazing. And you actually painted – the pictures called South China Sea Push Over, which is actually one of the last hewys (Tony) It is. (Graeme) that they pushed into the sea. (Tony) Yeah, it actually is. When everybody was vacating Vietnam, when they were all over there. That was the helicopters were running back and forth, and bringing everybody onto the ships, that was the last, that was the very last helicopter that they tossed overboard. (Graeme) You’ve got another piece called Beached, which is an old trawler that’s obviously been beached. What’s the story with that? (Tony) Yeah, an old trawler came up here on Plymouth Beach. It was a few years back and it was there for probably a good month, because they were waiting for the tide to come back up, and be able to take that out. So I decided to do a painting of it, and it was just incredible, because that’s was one of those lovely old rusted old hulls that I love to do. And it was just a very interesting piece for me. (Graeme) Even Duxbury Channel Markers which was, which was the channel markers for obviously where the trawlers go out as well. That’s a great, that’s a great piece. Lots of colour in it, really expressive, lots of geometry. It’s wonderful. Now you’re also involved with a number of the watercolour art societies in the area, actually even nationally. But you’re involved with the New England Watercolor Society, the Copley Art Society at Boston, the Scituate Art Association. I know you’re a Russell Gallery member of Plymouth as well. (Tony) Yeah, I had been fortunate enough I’m a signature member for the New England Watercolor Society. You’ve got to get in four times. One national show, three regionals within a ten year period, so they give us a little bit of time to do that. And it’s far as the rest goes, the Copley, yet all of these you need to be juried in. You can’t get into any of this stuff unless you’re juried into them. (Graeme) Okay. (Tony) So that’s a kick because it just helps create a little more ambience I guess for my work. It helps to create a little more identification and given it some credence and credibility I suppose for other artists. (Graeme) It also tells you who’s serious about their work as well. (Tony) Well that’s true. And I’ve been a signature member, I’ve been grandfathered in down here at the Plymouth Centre for the Arts, formally the Plymouth Guild. And one of the nice things is that I work in all kinds of media, so I was juried in for everything down there, so that’s kind of a nice thing. It was not just watercolour, but it’s oils, acrylics, all kinds of good stuff. (Graeme) You’ve done a fair amount of traveling and you’ve been to Saudi Arabia as well. And there’s one piece that you’ve got which is really detailed and it’s of a whole bunch of pots and pans called Pot-Pourri. (Tony) Yeah, that was a challenge for me. (Graeme) I bet. (Tony) That was one of those interesting paintings. I don’t usually take a month to do a painting. But in that case, that’s one that I did, and I had to do it a little at a time, because of the amount of pots and pans in there it was very demanding for me to paint each of those, so that they were very realistic. (Graeme) Yeah. (Tony) Yeah, so it took a bit of time and I did it as a challenge. And fortunately I entered it into a major show and it took first prize. So I was really pleased about that. (Graeme) Well done. And there’s another one that you’ve got called Plumage, and actually the lady on the left in this is called Deloris. She’s a friend of yours. (Tony) Yeah, actually Deloris is a friend of mine, and she contacted me not too long ago, and asked me if I was the person that she grew up with. I don’t know how she found me; she found me on Facebook. Told me that she did Dinner Theatre, and she sent a photograph out of her and her girlfriend, with a shot. It was all a bit blurry, hard to see. But I thought it would make a nice painting and it did. (Graeme) You’ve got a piece called Waterfront Homes Province Town, and you’ve got a couple of pieces like this, but they’re really distinctive, and they really are Tony Visco. They’re wonderful pieces too. (Tony) Thank you very much. I’m always experimenting. One of the things about staying in a safe zone is you never learn anything. If you paint what you feel you know all the time and it’s always safe, you never excel, you never learn, you never go beyond that particular style. So what I try and do is to reach out all the time and get into a situation were I’m painting a little bit more differently. I keep evolving my work I guess, and I think that’s good. I think the idea is to constantly continue to challenge yourself. So we’re going to take my one inch brush and going to come in here and I’m going to start to do my water. So we’re going to come in here and get some darks around this area, and they’re going go blues and blue-browns and nice and rich and vibrant. So we’re going to just start to very simply move this in the right direction to where our finished piece. This is wet. And we want nice broad stokes over here, and I’m going to rewet a lot of this stuff, because it’s dry. And just going to work our way into this water, so that we have some nice feeling. We’re going to come around so circle this area here, we’ll start to put all of this in. (Graeme) Now Tony, you also are a well known teacher in the area as well. All over the place in fact. Now if somebody would like to come and talk to you about workshops, what’s the best website address that they can do that? (Tony) Well, they can go to my website, which is www dot P. Anthony Visco dot com. Now what’s going to happen is that’s going to bring you to a lot of my work. If they really want to talk about the teaching element, then they are going to have to call me directly, or email me directly. And they can email me at Tony V at the art dude dot com. (Graeme) And you also do your own television (Tony) I do. (Graeme) show on arts on the Massachusetts area. (Tony) Yeah, I do, we have, we’re on local access in a number of the different towns around here. And it’s a lot of fun to do. I do this hour long video demonstrations, educational demonstrations and it works out real well. Actually from those alone I get a lot of people that are very interested in taking class. And I’ve got probably a dozen pieces that are up on my YouTube site. So you’re like the Bob Ross of Plymouth. (Tony) What’s that? The Bob Ross of Plymouth. Yeah. (Tony) God bless Bob Ross. He’s done a lot for the art world. I tell you. (Graeme) Sure did. It’s a beautiful area, popular for lobsters… (Tony) Oh yeah, yeah. (Graeme) Even some of your golf courses are regarded as world class golf courses. (Tony) Yeah, (Graeme) You’ve got a picture called On the Green, that looks like it was a beautiful day, and just chipping in on a par four. (Tony) It is, actually that piece is done – it’s actually Summers Marsh out here. It’s just interesting, that green happened to be close to the roadway when I thought maybe it make again, it makes a nice painting. So what I’m going to do here is I’m going to actually lift some of the painting, some of the pigments out and create some nice light areas. And that’s basically what I generally will do rather than, rather than use masking tape, or masking fluid on my paintings. And I find that if I lift it out, it has, I can almost – as long as I don’t use staining colours, I can pretty much get back to the white of the paper. (Graeme) You really do like doing wet on wet. (Tony) I love wet on wet. (Tony) Yeah, I think that it’s probably one of the most exciting ways in which to paint watercolour. So right here I’m going to come up with – you’re going to see this vibrant colour. The browns are going to come. Start to bring these brilliant warm browns in here into these pilings. And what I’m going to do is come down with some darks. So I just come up with a, come up with a real nice feeling, and I’m going to come over here and down with a little bit of dark into here and this area here. And I’m going to sort of marry those together. So a little bit of water I’m going to wash this down, and bring this up. (Graeme) And you also exhibit in some of the galleries in the area as well. The Scituate Front Street Gallery being one of them. (Tony) Yes, currently we have a show going on over there, and I’m constantly there. I have a permanent amount of space over there that I change, basically every six weeks we change it around. But I will always have work there. It’s a wonderful gallery right down town Scituate, in Scituate Harbour. The other thing is that I’m heavily involved in locally in the Plymouth Center for the Arts. Now the Plymouth Center for the Arts is a venue. It’s a wonderful area. Now what’s happened is that we as New England Watercolor Society members, contracted with the Plymouth Center for the Arts for permeant space. So we will have as New England Watercolor Society members, permanent space to hang in. (Graeme) You also paint some of the lovely seascapes along the shore line of this great state, Pastel Cove being one of them. (Tony) Yeah, that’s up on Maine. That’s really up Drimiss, Drimiss in Maine. Nice area. (Graeme) It’s very pretty. (Tony) It’s a beautiful place and it’s very vibrant. A lot of art groups up there. It’s a big centre. New England, New England really is a big centre for the arts. (Graeme) Aha. (Tony) Okay, so what I’m going to do, is I’m just going to try to get you to understand how to handle this water. And I want to give you the understanding of how to make it watery. So if we come on here and we just lift some of this stuff out. You notice what I’m doing, is I’m coming in here and I’m wetting the brush, and lifting this stuff out. And I’m grading it, it’s gradually going from the white, or the white of the paper I should say, into the colour of the waters. And you don’t need much of this. This is not – you can overwork this stuff to death. You’ve got to be very careful about it, but just putting a few lines here and there is just enough. And the idea behind this is to create the illusion of movement of water, and the reflection from the boat. So with the reflection of the boat, I’ve got some linear stuff that’s happening over here that I have to put back in, and you want to soften this up a bit. And the way to do reflections is to do a little S curve I guess if nothing else. For instance if you have a piling right here, and you have to have some reflection in the water. You’ve got to S this down, you notice what I’m doing is just giving it a little bit of a wavy look. That gives you the reflection that you want in the water. So we’ll take a little bit of darker colour, a little bit around, come over here and do the same thing. Okay, see a little wavy action. Maybe you want put in a nice rich dark that’s going to come along right here, see something like that. Okay, a little bit of nice rich dark. And you might be chasing these darks, because you know again, this paper it’s not static, it’s dynamic. See it’s always drying, it’s always moving, you are creating the illusion. You know what we are? We’re magicians. We’re doing a magic show here. We want to convince you this is water, and that’s the whole process. It’s just a whole big illusion. The effect is I’m looking at a boat in water with pilings in a pier, and that’s the whole idea behind this. (Graeme) Well you’ve shown us some fantastic techniques today, Tony, and we’ve really enjoyed being here. It’s been incredible, and due to the magic of television we can show you the finished work that you’ve been working on, and it looks spectacular as well. But than you so much for having us in your studio today. (Tony) Well, thank you, Graeme for coming in. I’m really excited that you guys are here. (Graeme) Well guys, from Kingston in Massachusetts, fantastic day. Tony, that was, that was wonderful. (Tony) Great, it was great having you here. (Graeme) Thanks so much for having us. A very, very talented man. We had a great day. Now before we go you’ve still got your workshops that you do. (Tony) I do. I have those going on, and I’m teaching on a regular basis. (Graeme) So your website address again is? (Tony) www dot P Anthony Visco dot com. (Graeme) And you’ve also got your own YouTube channel as well which is pretty cool. (Tony) I do. Actually, you can just go to YouTube and type in P. Anthony Visco, and I should pop up there. (Graeme) Absolutely. (Tony) You have to remember that it’s P. Anthony Visco though, because there’s other people that (Graeme) Okay. (Tony) stole my name. (Graeme) How inconvenient. Yeah, so thanks for a fantastic day. We’ve had a great time, we’ve really enjoyed being on the East Coast of America. It’s just amazing. But you can also come and see all of this in Colour In Your Life dot com dot au. And go in to our YouTube as well and subscribe. We’ve got a lot of people in there. Things are going really great these days. But we’re going to head north again into Maine, and film some wonderful people up there as well. But until we see you guys again remember ~ from Massachusetts: make sure you put some colour in your life, and we’ll see again guys. See you now. (Tony) See you later. (Graeme) Bye. (Tony) Thanks for coming.