G’day viewers, my name is Graeme Stevenson and I’d like to invite you to come on
a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the
series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every
family throughout the world, and lots of times there’s an 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 in Australia do what they do. (GRAEME) Well g’day viewers and
welcome back to Colour In Your Life. Well we’re down at Werribee
in Melbourne for today’s shoot, with a charming, charming lady; Uma Barry. – (UMA) Hi, Graeme.
– (GRAEME) Welcome to the show. Great to have you here. Now, Uma specializes in, and I think
they’re just absolutely fascinating, and we’ve never had anyone on
the show before that does this, but Uma specializes in miniatures. Tiny, tiny little paintings, just literally jam packed full of fantastic
information. Beautiful scenery. Now you’ve came out from Fiji – in 1983 is that correct?
– (UMA) Yes, I did Graeme. – (GRAEME) And literally, you’re a self-taught artist?
– (UMA) Yes. I am. (GRAEME) Fascinating
stuff. Fifty-four awards she’s won for her art,
which is just amazing. I can’t get over that.
Multi award winning artist, which is just fantastic.
Conducts teaching and workshops, just what you’ll see today is amazing. Tiny little pictures that
are just so grandiose. And you’ve obviously done really
well. You sell quite prolifically. Uma’s one of those ladies whose an artist and creative, and you’re
completely obsessed by what you do. (UMA) Yeah, I am. A little bit too much. (GRAEME) She spends twelve hours a day – she’s got this fantastic house that looks like little house on the prairie when you walk up, which is great. But we’re going to talk about
your history and what you’ve done. I’ve never seen a miniature
artist at work myself. And we’ve obviously never
had one on the show either so it’s going to be a fascinating day. Let’s get stuck straight into this
and see what happens as we go along. – (UMA) Sounds great.
– (GRAEME) Fantastic. Come along for the ride guys. (GRAEME) Okay Uma, one of your beautiful miniatures
we’re going to do today. They’re so tiny, it’s just extraordinary. I can see that you’ve
got either canvas or linen stretched over a board.
Do you do these yourself? – (UMA) Yes I do.
– (GRAEME) And so you cut the material. Is it like a PVA glue of some sort? (UMA) I do and these are the MDF boards that I
use and I stick it myself. Everything I do myself. (GRAEME) That’s fantastic.
Now I know that you go out – and take a lot of your own photos as well.
– (UMA) Yes. (GRAEME) Uma spends a
lot of time in the bush. – You obviously love the Australian landscape.
– (UMA) Yes absolutely. (GRAEME) Fantastic of course. (GRAEME) But you actually will
set up your own little mats that will surround your pictures as well. So can you show me what you do with that before we start. So you really set
the whole scene up with the mat? – (UMA) Yes I do.
– (GRAEME) You blue tack them on do you? (UMA) I do Graeme. That’s
the only way it stays together and so it doesn’t move around too much. (GRAEME) And you refer to those very
closely as you work on the miniature. (UMA) I do. I try to keep
as close as I can because I like people to look at them and say ‘I know the area, I’ve visited
there, and it looks exactly the same’. (GRAEME) And they’re beautiful shots. I
mean some of your photographs are fantastic. (UMA) Thank you so much. (GRAEME) They’re beautiful. So from
there, you obviously mix your paints. – (UMA) Yeah.
– (GRAEME) Everything’s like tiny, tiny. – Its all in miniature of course isn’t it?
– (UMA) Yes. It is. (GRAEME) So what type of paints do you use? (UMA) I just use Art Spectrum. I’ve been using Art Spectrum
for a very long time. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (UMA) Yes. – (GRAEME) Well let’s get some colours going then.
– (UMA) Yes beautiful. Thank you. My palettes are usually very
limited. Very limited Graeme. I’ve got my medium. I use the… – (GRAEME) Is that number one?
– (UMA) Yes it’s number one. Art Spectrum medium number one. Just go half and half with that. I tend to use Pure Gum turps. It can be very strong.
I have to be very careful because the smells quite strong sometimes. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (UMA) So mix it down together. (GRAEME) So it’s just a
combination of your own medium? (UMA) It’s just a combination
just to tie it together. I’ll just do a bit of drawing out of this. Got a little… (GRAEME) So you’re just going
to use the paint to draw? – (UMA) Yes.
– (GRAEME) Okay. (UMA) Very lightly. I don’t usually do a lot of sketches. I keep these brushes because
they don’t have a lot on them but they’re very good for sketches. (GRAEME) You’ve happily beaten
them up over the years have you? (UMA) Yeah. I torture them to death. I think they look at it
and say leave me alone, – these brushes.
– (GRAEME) You’ve been working twelve hours a day. – You’ve got no choice.
– (UMA) They still are precious for me so I keep them. – (GRAEME) Brutalised brushes.
– (UMA) Yes. (UMA) I just draw roughly small for me, just the outline. I don’t
have to do it perfect. (GRAEME) Yeah. I think the first influence
you had was in 88 when you actually won – the Royal Melbourne show with your miniatures?
– (UMA) I did, Graeme. – (GRAEME) Fantastic.
– (UMA) That was absolutely beautiful. That’s actually what
gave me a lot of interest when it came to miniatures. Because
I went in the show and I saw how beautiful and how small
they were and how people can achieve things out of it
you know? I just got very wrapped and I tried it and then
later on I was very lucky there was a gallery that took my
work and needed smaller paintings – and it all tied together. From then onwards.
– (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. (GRAEME) So tell me what
you felt when you first saw – the Australian bush after coming from Fiji?
– (UMA) Oh Graeme. It was absolutely beautiful.
I came in the middle of winter. I think I feel in love with the mist. Since then I don’t think I’ve ever
missed painting gums and mists. – So it was really beautiful.
– (GRAEME) And you do it so well, as well. – (UMA) Thank you.
– (GRAEME) There’s a great deal of feeling in your work, – you can see that.
– (UMA) Thank you so much. (GRAEME) So alright,
we’ve sketched that out. What’s our next move on our miniature? (UMA) Okay, what I’m going to now is
I’m going to mix up some sky colour. (GRAEME) Okay. (UMA) What I do Graeme is I
mix a big amount, mainly because when you mix a big amount
you can put some aside and it ties your colours together. – (GRAEME) It’s a warm base that you’re putting down?
– (UMA) It’s a warm base, Graeme. It’s almost like a morning
scene. Early morning scene. So usually you’ve got a lot of warmth
into the sky and everything else. These other scenes that
my husband and I took. We just get up very early in the
morning, about 3 o’clock in the morning. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (UMA) And head off to the coast to see if we can get
some early morning light. It’s the most exciting
thing is when you see this glimpse of light
coming out in the horizon. Everything just changes.
It gives you that nice feel. It’s the biggest inspiration you can have is seeing the early
morning light come through. Most of my miniatures are usually
based on early morning light because that’s what I appreciate. – And it gives a lot of warmth in everything.
– (GRAEME) Sure. And your wonderful husband Wayne is
such a great supporter of you isn’t he? (UMA) He is Graeme. He’s always been. I think if it wasn’t for him I probably
won’t have been able to carry on. My whole family is very
supportive and that. I think mostly if it wasn’t for husband, I wouldn’t have been able to
continue what I’m doing now. It’s the most enjoyable thing and
I’m always going to be thankful to him for what he’s done for me. He’s just a beautiful, beautiful guy. – (GRAEME) It’s great to have a great partner like that. It really is.
– (UMA) Spoils me with all these things. (GRAEME) Fantastic. You’re
a self-taught artist. Some of the great artists in the world
actually are as well funnily enough. – But Andrea Sala.
– (UMA) Andrea Sala. – (GRAEME) He was a big influence for you.
– (UMA) He was a great influence. He was my husband’s teacher. My husband
did know him for quiet a few years, about eight years. And that’s
how I got introduced to him. He was a very big support for me, and
even though he’s not around with us, I do appreciate everything
he’s given me advice on. – (GRAEME) That’s fantastic.
– (UMA) Really beautiful. (GRAEME) That’s wonderful. Is that
a chisel brush that you’ve got there? (UMA) Yeah, I’ve got a chisel brush. I’ve got a chisel brush, which is a Romac. And a quarter Romac, so I use them. And I like them because they’re
quite flexible and they’re small. And they’re not big paintings you know, so I just started keeping my
background colour a little bit like more towards the blue tones.
So that it gives that depth. – (GRAEME) Yes.
– (UMA) Which we need. I’ve taken this background colour, and deepen it down with a bit of red. And as you put red into the
mixture, it comes forward. – (GRAEME) Sure.
– (UMA) So you can have that little difference of colours – more forward. (GRAEME) You’re making, it’s in a miniature
and you’re making theses tiny changes – every step of the way?
– (UMA) Yes. You’re making tiny changes and you can’t leave it because
with miniatures you’ve got to show the depth. And this
is what gives the depth. Like I’m doing the next peninsula and I’m going to put a little more red,
and that brings it a lot closer. So this is what you do, I don’t
introduce new colours in, Graeme. I find the moment I bring new colours in I don’t
like using a lot of the different coloured tubes. If I do the next peninsular, it’s
a little bit darker. Can you see it? – (GRAEME) Yes.
– (UMA) Throws that back and brings a little more forward. (GRAEME) Yeah. This is just a lot of fun. I
mean you can see results really quite quickly and they’re just happy pieces. (UMA) I think a lot of people
really like small paintings because they don’t get to see a lot of
painters doing small paintings. (GRAEME) Now your dad, who
unfortunately has passed away, was a huge influence on you as
a young woman as well wasn’t he? (UMA) He was, Graeme. My dad was the
most beautiful, wonderful human being. I think he’s the one who
gave me the biggest help when I was growing up as a
little girl and wanting to paint. He gave me a lot of encouragement,
a lot of help. He used to get all the framing equipment
for me, and boards and paints. I couldn’t get paints in Fiji. Because when I started painting it
was late mid 70’s and started painting. There weren’t a lot of
people who painted in Fiji, and paints were just very rare. He helped with getting me
house paints to start with. And this is why I’m used to paint
with a lot of the primary colours to start with, and now I’m building
up slowly but the thing that is, that’s what gave me a start, and I’m
very proud that my dad did that for me. My mum’s the biggest
inspiration too for me. But my dad did a lot of the
other side of things too. And I’m grateful, very grateful
that he’s given me the chance. (GRAEME) Wonderful to know you’ve had
such great support from your family. I think that’s incredibly important for
people that are in the creative industries. – (UMA) Yes. Beautiful.
– (GRAEME) If your family’s there with you, it makes such a big
difference, it really does. (UMA) Yes. I’ve just noticed that I need to bring this in just a little bit. Because it gives me a better
composition by looking at it. Bring it out a little bit. And
just change it a little bit around (GRAEME) But even so, I mean you look into
the work and there is so much in there. – (UMA) Thank you.
– (GRAEME) That’s quite fascinating. (UMA) Thank you. It is. I’ll always do miniatures. Miniatures
are something that have gives me a lot of confidence in everything. (GRAEME) Plus the fact that you sell them so incredibly well. You finish it and it walks out the door. (UMA) I’m going to try and do, put my sky, put some clouds in the sky. – (GRAEME) Wonderful.
– So it’s just wet on wet? (UMA) It’s just wet on wet. And
actually to tell you the truth Graeme it’s not easy. Because wet
on wet is what tends to. Wet on wet is what tends
to make it very messy. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (UMA) I’ve got to be very careful. This is why sometimes I’ve
got to let it dry a little bit. Because if you don’t let them dry… (GRAEME) Of course. They just get muddy. (UMA) It just gets very muddy and stuff. Now I’ve got my little Filbert. And now what I tend to do is just – blend it in a little bit.
– (GRAEME) Oh there you go. (GRAEME) It’s just a swirly motion? (UMA) Yes. It’s just a swirly motion. (GRAEME) There’s so much
atmosphere in a tiny little space. (UMA) Now I’m going to apply
some foreground colours so that I can put some bushes in later. It’s got a very beautiful colour. It’s got a lot of bushes
in there that I really like. Now I’ll just do the foreground. I don’t have to worry
about making to many edges. I fill up this gap a little bit. (GRAEME) So generally
you would let this dry? (UMA) Yes Graeme. I do. I let it dry. It’s better when it’s dry because
you find if you’re putting in details, if you’re putting any
highlighting in, it’s better. Because if it’s wet in wet
everything blends into it makes it very dirty and
that’s what you don’t… I don’t need that with miniatures. It’s a little bit more controlled. (GRAEME) Alright. Well let’s
let that one dry off. It is oils. There’s good sun out there today so
it should dry pretty quickly I’d say. (GRAEME) So how many
miniatures do you reckon – you’ve probably painted?
– (UMA) Oh Graeme, I have painted, I don’t know. Unbelievable. It’s lots. A lot, a lot. And I’ve sold. I sell a lot of
my miniatures very, very quickly. They go in the show and sell very easily. I don’t have a lot of difficulty. People appreciate it because
they’re small paintings and it’s good for little cottages
sometimes. A lot of cottages. A lot of people like it in cottages.
In smaller paintings it works. And as I said you know,
a lot of people like small paintings because easy
to handle, easy to transport. (GRAEME) Plus everybody
sort of tends to have a spot – that size on their wall somewhere don’t they?
– (UMA) Yes they do. They do. And it’s not very expensive either. They
tend to be quite an affordable price. On a miniature painting I don’t tend to do little close ups, like detailed work. I tend to keep it very, very small movement so that it doesn’t go out of control. Sometimes I can lose
it if I’m too fast here. So I need a lot more control sort of thing. (GRAEME) So out of all of these, what specifically is your
favourite subject matter? I know that you paint
gums, and flora and clouds. Is there anything that really stands
out that you really love to do? (UMA) Yes I do. I love the
sunrises and the sunsets. The early morning light. The morning
light does something to me that I really appreciate. I feel like I’d do anything to get up in the morning just to go and see that
glimpse of light coming. Just being there at the time
– it gives you a different feel of inspiration that I get from the morning light. It’s absolutely beautiful and I love it. That inspires me. I come
home and instead of resting I want to come straight into
the gallery and my studio and I say I think I’m going to paint
what I’ve seen today. It makes it very, very simple and easy that way. (GRAEME) That’s beautiful.
A woman obsessed. (UMA) I am. I am Graeme. I am a little bit. I think the funny part is everybody finds me in the
studio all the time. I’m never out. If people call in I’m in here. (GRAEME) That’s great. (UMA) Nine to ten hours a day is
a long time for a lot of people. For me it’s absolutely beautiful. I wouldn’t mind staying longer
if the sun didn’t go down. So I’m absolutely… I’m very passionate about what I do. And I’m thrilled that I
can show people what I do and have them appreciate
that’s the biggest thing for me. And I paint and I find people
like that extra value to my work. It gives me a lot of thrill. – (GRAEME) Yes absolutely. It’s very inspirational. Very inspirational.
– (UMA) Thank you. So I’ll just make some waves. I tend to dilute it down a lot
because it’s a smaller painting, I need to dilute a lot of my paints down so that I’ve got a bit of control. (GRAEME) Yeah. And this is obviously a
Rigger brush you’re using at the moment? (UMA) Yes it is Graeme. (GRAEME) So also down in
this area you were involved in a project called ‘Five of the Finest’? (UMA) Yes we were. We did
a show it was at Point Cook it was a pop up gallery.
It went for about 3 months. Yes so we enjoyed it and we all
had a lot of success with it. With the miniatures I think a lot
of it the smaller your movement is, the better control you’re going to have. As you get further and
further into the detail work, I try to keep it very
little movements in there. Sometimes it’s more like a dash, or it’s like just a few little strokes, and that finishes off the
last details. Sometimes. (GRAEME) Okay, well I’d like to talk about
some of the other works you’ve done as well. The picture ‘Crack of Dawn’, magnificent colours as the
sun just rises in the morning. Now you’ve got another one called ‘Cloud Fascination’, which is
it’s got beautiful light in it. And I love the yellowish
of the clouds and then just this picture of clouds and little trees
in the background, it’s just wonderful. (UMA) Thank you. They all just give me a lot of
excitement when I paint like that, Graeme. You know it’s just as a
painter the biggest excitement, the biggest pleasure you can have if
you can create something like that. Just going out and getting your
reference material, collecting them. And then finding out you can create
something beautiful out of them. It’s a miracle so I’m
very passionate about it. It gives me a lot of pleasure. (GRAEME) One thing I noticed about
a lot of your work is the bark. I mean you do such justice
to the Australian gum trees. And they’re fascinating
the patterns within them. The yellows, the reds and blues,
they’re just really beautiful pieces. (UMA) Thank you Graeme. (GRAEME) I mean just the
technique you’re using now, some would come along and use a
different shaped brush to do that. But you’ve developed a
technique so that you’re using the Rigger brush, and letting the end of the brush
develop the foliage for you. (UMA) Yes they do Graeme
I always do that because I like it this way because I always have and I just think I even use the
technique in bigger paintings too, because I do larger paintings
too. I paint both large and small. And I find I use a lot of this technique. You need a lot of patience for miniatures. And then you find little
strokes turn into little foliage. And you would not believe
it, because in the Royal Show I remember one year I did a painting
just very tiny, a cm wide, very tiny. And by the time it was all framed
up it was about 6 inches around. The actual painting was just a few cm’s. – Very tiny.
– (GRAEME) So the other people in these art competitions must get sick of seeing you. You keep winning all the prizes. Oh God, not Uma again. There goes that cheque. (UMA) We got a very good
bunch of people there, Graeme. We’ve got a really good bunch of
people that I actually know the names. You know I can roughly go into
the show and appreciate them, I see them around a lot. And I appreciate their work. Because
we got to support each other, you know. And you got to appreciate everybody’s work. I add a little bit of extras on to it. I don’t just copy what’s in there.
Sometimes I just put some extras in, a bit more interesting, just to make it look
a little bit more interesting for me, you know. (GRAEME) This is these warmer colours
pulling forward to the foreground? (UMA) Yes. The build up
of foreground a little bit so that separates from the mid ground. The background and everything. Just going to put some little trees. – (GRAEME) Little trees.
– (UMA) Yes. (GRAEME) It’s almost as if we’re there. – Looking through a little picture box.
– (UMA) Thank you. (GRAEME) Once again what a
great way to lead your life. Getting up early in the morning
and travelling to beautiful scenery. And I look into your studio, and it’s a bit of a one stop shop here, because you obviously do your
own framing in here as well. (UMA) Yes. My husband started framing. He’s just started and wants to
retire as a framer. So it helps me. – (GRAEME) So we are getting to the finishing touches.
– (UMA) Yes. (GRAEME) It looks wonderful. (UMA) Thank you Graeme. Now finally what I like to
do is pick up the matte board. – I’m going to put it over.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. Look at that. (UMA) And that does. Then I’m going to have to
sign it, to finish it off. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (UMA) I have a colour that just blends into it so it’s nice. (GRAEME) Okay. (UMA) So I’m just going to
put my initials U B. That’s it. (GRAEME) Voilà. Magnifique. That’s marvellous. (UMA) Thank you. (GRAEME) Alright, miniatures. Can you
believe it or not. And here we are in this fabulous little studio:
house on the prairie. Uma that was fantastic. (UMA) Lovely, Graeme it was
so lovely having you over. – (GRAEME) Thank you.
– (UMA) Thanks for giving me the opportunity. – I’m honoured.
– (GRAEME) It was wonderful. A very talented lady. It’s been fantastic. A really great day. Now your website is, if people want
to come along and see your work? (UMA) It’s umabarry.com. (GRAEME) Umabarry.com.
So go and have a look. Now you’re also doing some
pretty amazing workshops and teaching people how
to do these miniatures. A lot of fun and you
should come in and try this. And a fantastic teacher as well. – (UMA) Thank you.
– (GRAEME) Come along and ask Uma about her workshops. Also our Paint Your Life Foundation where we send artists into
the elderly nursing homes, kids with cancer, muscular dystrophy, inmates in jail, we’re really helping out
a lot of people right across society now. Come in, it’s paintyourlife.net.au. We really want to change
society through art and through the right
reason for doing so as well. Colourinyourlife.com.au, come in and see all our fabulous artists. Lost of stuff going on these
days. We are revamping the website, so it’s going to be pretty
amazing in there as well. And also our Facebook page
and YouTube site as well. We have literally tens
of thousands of people – from all over the world theses days is in there.
– (UMA) Great. Beautiful. (GRAEME) We’re going to head off again. As we always say, remember, – make sure you Put Some Colour In Your Life.
– (UMA) Put Some Colour In Your Life! (GRAEME) And we’ll see you again next week. – Bye guys. See you. Bye now.
– (UMA) Bye.