These ultra realistic artworks are the creative product of Brisbane fine artist Geoff Hale.
Growing up in Brisbane and with close proximity to the Gold and Sunshine Coast, Geoff’s inspired by the environment around him. Featured here are some of his coastal works from Currumbin, the Gold Coast, Brisbane’s Story Bridge, as well as a couple of beautiful commissions of client’s pets. In each piece, you can just picture being there.
“Water has always been a favourite subject of mine to paint. I enjoy the challenge of representing the movement and translucency of water in a still image and I find the subject itself quite tranquil and relaxing.”
Through years of experimenting with a wide range of media, Geoff’s found that he prefers pastels. He particularly likes the versatility and immediacy of pastels – without waiting for layers upon layers of paint to dry.
With a combination of underpainting and a thick application of layered colours, Geoff does admit that his pastels are often mistaken for paintings.
Read more of Geoff’s story below – and find out how he started his career studying interior design, and ended up as an architectural illustrator and fine artist!
How have you got to where you are today?
I have always enjoyed art as long as I can remember. I particularly enjoyed art and technical drawing at school so this led me to study interior design at university. By the end of the course I wasn’t too enthused about interior design as a career choice but I did enjoy a painting subject that I elected to do in 3rd year. This was my introduction to gouache, a medium suited to architectural illustration.
After working for an interior design company for about 6 months, I then changed jobs and became an architectural artist — painting detailed perspectives of buildings by hand using gouache. Due to using the same medium every day at work, I decided to try something different at home to keep my enthusiasm up.
I bought a box of soft pastels and my very first pastel artwork was a portrait of my parents — they still have it hanging on their wall at home despite my work improving since then!
As I produced more pastel artworks I started framing some of them to hang at home, and then one day the framer offered to buy one from me. A few months later I had my first solo exhibition at the framing gallery which turned out to be a success. Twelve years on I have now had 6 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows.
With the advance of technology over the years my architectural illustrator role ended up changing significantly to the point where all artwork was eventually produced digitally on computers. I now run my own digital 3D visualisation business from home, balancing this job with my artwork.
In a few words, describe yourself…
Perfectionist, daydreamer, easily distracted, warped sense of humour, friendly and honest.
What are you spending your time on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a big pet portrait for a client. This was an interesting one to do… The composition was of a dog sitting on a leather lounge with a painting hanging on the wall in the background (which was actually another pastel commission I did for the same client previously) so I had to reproduce my own artwork again which was something different.
I have plenty of inspiration for more artworks but my architectural illustration business is keeping me away from the studio at present.
Do you have a ritual for getting into the creative mindset? Or a creative process?
Creative inspiration and enthusiasm seem to come in waves for me – some days I simply don’t feel creative and other days I’m so motivated that I can’t leave the studio. I love my music so this is a must when I am in the studio.
What or who inspires you?
There are a lot of things that inspire me — most of the time though I think it’s subconscious. I’m always inspired by nature, travel, music, architecture, photography and dreams.
When I first started out with my art, I was inspired by Salvador Dali’s paintings and the detailed drawings of M.C. Escher. Many of my artworks during this time had a surreal influence. I also find Peter Lik’s photography aweinspiring.
What are you most proud of?
Following my dream of doing what I love and getting paid for it. It’s not always easy — it can sometimes be stressful running your own business and making a living from art, but I believe it’s important to follow your dreams and pursue your passions.
I’ve worked in jobs before where all I did was look up at the clock every 5 minutes willing the day to be over.. this is soul destroying. I love my work and I’m proud that I didn’t give up when things got tough.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Apart from wanting to be a superhero when I was very young, I always had trouble deciding what I wanted to do. I do remember loving drawing so much mid-way through primary school that I wanted to be an artist even back then. Later on I decided that architecture might be a good career choice. I’m now working as an architectural illustrator and fine artist so I guess I ended up combining the two!