Saturday, 20 January 2018

New subject

A break from painting at the end of 2017, but time to reflect.

How to feel miserable as an artist
(or, what not to do)

No 4. Stick with what you know

So, I am not sticking to what I know.

 2018 new thoughts, a new subject.

‘There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. afterwards you can remove all traces of reality.’ - Pablo Picasso

Abstract art or composition 1

Oil on board 28 x 28 cm

Monday, 23 October 2017

How long did it take you to paint that?

Welland Valley oil on canvas 100 x 40 cm

I have been asked that question many times, and you can almost see the questioner calculating in their mind how much they think the painting is worth! I found these considerations on Pinterest; it is the hours of errors, experimentation, frustration, joy, someones heart and soul, a small piece of their life you are buying.  In addition to this Welland Valley took me two research visits before I actually started painting, so that took time and fuel to get there. My first visit was a scouting expedition with a quick sketch and photograph. The light changed quickly and became very poor, so I went again on a sunny summer day. The bright atmosphere enabled me to see a lot more and the colours were much more cheerful. To get my, ‘eye in’ I used a thick felt pen on news paper. A pencil sketch + notes with more photographs were taken. The painting was done from start to finish in the studio.

The painting is a small section of the Welland Valley, viewed from the top of Sutton Hill. This is Richard Hart’s land.  Access to it is by a bridle way. Hidden amongst the trees is an old tumbled down cottage. Locals tell me a Mr Smith used to live there in the 1960s, it had running water but no electricity. A doctor advised the then asthmatic Mr Smith to live there as the air was of a better quality for his health.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Autumn landscape

Feeling a little ‘jaded,’ after working on a 100 x 40 cm painting I decided to do a smaller 30 x 40 cm autumn landscape. I used a limited palette of colours: Titanium white, Cadmium yellow pale, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine blue, and Viridian. This time I didn’t use a palette knife to apply the paint, just a brush. Two and a half hours later, painting complete and I feel reenergised and motivated to finish the larger one.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Flower Painting

Flower painting

Flowers were the subject for the art club painting night, so for a couple of days before I had been thinking about what to paint. I would like to share with you a few thoughts. Nothing quite like laying in a field of buttercups on a hot summers day looking up at the sky, however buttercups are past their best, but there are plenty of daisies and Queen Annes lace to conjure up memories of childhood. Some wild flowers are protected so a photograph would be necessary. June sees an abundance of garden flowers, but I didn’t want to raid my garden. Aldi has a good cheap selection and that statement flower from the  florist shop would be a bit expensive.Further inspiration? Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O’ Keeffe, and Claude Monet are all master flower painters worth looking at. Modern, traditional, simple or complex? The Victorians used flowers as symbols. Many flowers were attributed with their own language. May be the gift of a painting could have a coded message? Everyone knows a red rose says ‘I love you,’ a deep pink one is for appreciation and gratitude, whereas a white rose states, ‘I am worthy of you.’  With a pansy and white clover you are asking someone to think about you, but a Hellebore means scandal and false statements. Having received pink carnations as a present I found on the internet they mean gratitude (how appropriate as they were given to me as a thank you). I added the deep pink rose, and Gysophilia (baby’s breath) which  is a symbol of everlasting love.

Fat over lean

Unhappy with painting in artificial light I turned my flower painting into ‘A wiper’!  The next day I set the flowers up on a windowsill and took a photo of them in sunlight.  Sometimes life gets in the way and I have to restart or return to a unfinished painting. July I made a restart, but is now August and I have had to work ‘fat over lean,to finish the painting. I much prefer ‘Alla Prima,’ (one shot) painting. Up to press I am never happy with a painting when I use the ‘Fat Over Lean,’ method. I persevered because I was experimenting with the red background. I think I am unhappy with this one because it is overworked, and the brush marks are unexpressive. Was it worth the effort?  Well,Yes, one must learn!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Feeling Inspired

Following a recommendation from an artist friend, Lisa Timmerman I took a day trip to Brancaster. Artists’ do have the ‘eye’ and a feel for a place, so thank you Lisa. Not only has Lisa saved me art scouting time, but she has picked a great holiday location! Over the Salt Marsh - Brancaster is oil on linen canvas 30 x 24 cm, so I was definitely feeling inspired!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Painting greens

Pretty Field 30 x30 cm oil on board — a palette knife painting

I was attracted by the patterns created by the ridge and furrow and the beautiful buttercups, but apart from the sky and buttercups the image was all green. Well, we all know recession is created by using blue in the green, but how do you get warmth in the foreground?

I was advised to put the greens in first, however not listening to advice I put the sky in first (you know how it is — old habits die hard)!

My plan was to have a dark foreground, a middle-tone middle ground and a light background. A warm cadmium yellow and a warm ultramarine blue mixed a nice warm green for the foreground. Cool lemon yellow and cerulean blue make a nice bright to cool green, however it can look so unnatural, so a tiny amount on the tip of the brush of magenta or burnt umber knocks the colour back. To given a tonal range to the greens, darken with its complementary red, or any other colour that contains a lot of red. To lighten the greens try using pale blue, or cream instead of just white. A Prussian blue is a powerful cool blue, so only a light touch is only needed in those colour mixes. 

I always check my paintings during the painting process by taking a quick snap with my mobile phone, and that sky looked too boring! A touch of yellow ochre in the blue paint along that horizon line made all the difference.

Friday, 7 July 2017

How cute is that?

Whilst out scouting for new landscapes to paint I saw a couple of swans with their cygnets. One had 'a piggy back ride'. How cute is that?