Saturday, September 23, 2006

macro flowers

It's early autumn so there aren't too many flowers in the garden - but I was desperate to try out the super macro on my camera, focussing so close that the flowers are virtually touching the lens :)

These are the results

this one is out of focus because the wind blew the rose hip just as I took the picture, but I rather like it as it is, abstract shapes and colours.

the centres of flowers are the subject of a new series of paintings and, though I don't like working from photographs, I'm sure these will help.

If you want to see more, they are on

The immediacy of digital photography is great, take them and see them onscreen, edit, crop and delete failures within minutes.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Walk in the woods

I went for a walk in the woods this lunchtime and tried out my new camera. The light was difficult as it was very bright and sunny and very dark under the trees - difficult for the camera to cope with and dazzling to walk through.

There's a shallow stream that flows over stones, reflecting the sky and scattered with acorns and leaves. I tried taking photographs of it, the mix of warm earth colours and first fallen leaves against the cool blue sky reflections was lovely.

This is blurry as it's moving water taken in dark conditions and blown up from the centre of a larger image - but I like the colours and movement in it.

The purple loosestrife seeds had nearly all blown away, leaving those lovely skeletal spirals silhouetted against the shadows.

The woods are ancient and once belonged to the family of Lady Jane Grey - beheaded by Mary Tudor when her family tried to claim the throne on her behalf.

The ruins of her old family home are nearby at Bradgate Park.

The story:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

20th September Poppy canvas nearly there

I've got a bit more to do to this canvas but it's coming along. It's 18 inches square on gallery wrap canvas.

It's based on sketches I did of the centres of oriental poppies. The bottom petal has fallen off - which isn't very clear yet and the image is a bit blurred as it was taken in a very gloomy room using flash.

The small patches of deep blue green in the background aren't showing up in this photo. When it's finished I'll photograph it in natural light.

The centres of oriental poppies are so dramatic, with the deep dark purples reflecting electric blues as they catch the light and the petal colours so vibrant. I'll probably work on a much larger canvas later, abstracting from this one. I'll be working on the contrasts - more orange and light catching the petals, pushing the fallen petal back a bit and bringing out those electric highlights.

I'm convalescing from a small op on my foot at the moment, so can't stand to paint, I have to keep sitting with it raised. Maybe in a day or so I'll get it finished.

There are a couple of others underway but not quite this far on.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

16th September

I've managed to do a bit more to the close up of the Poppy but haven't photographed it yet.

It's been a busy time of work+++ and a family get together.

excuses, excuses :(

I'm due to have a small (and I have a horrible feeling, painful) operation on my foot so won't be able to stand to paint. Maybe I'll get some sketching done.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Norfolk continued :)

In the lovely old flint churches were fragments of medieval stained glass windows, carved Norman fonts, medieval rood screens, painted with the apostles, beautifully engraved tombs, medieval decorative floor tiles - it was fascinating

The Medieval windows from the 1500's

The Norman font (1100's)

The traditional building material in the area is flint and a lot of church towers were round as the corner stones to make square towers were expensive. Several of these survive in the area around us.

Trip to North Norfolk

In August I went to Norfolk with friends for a week. Between us we walked, sketched, visited galleries, bookshops and old churches and had a great time.

This is a not particularly good coloured pencil sketch done there in a small sketchbook. It was the first time I'd tried CP's plein air and I've decided I prefer to use oils plein air for the speed of working and the ability to change and push things around as I work. It's in a very small 6x4 inch sketch book so the double page spread is only 8ins across.

I have only recently started using coloured pencils as a medium in their own right, previously I'd only used them as an element in mixed media sketches.

The sketch was done at Burnham Overy Staithe, a small saltmarsh harbour. My friends had gone for a walk and I'd opted to sit and sketch the boats as the tide slowly crept in. Not a usual subject for me but an interesting challenge. The scan hasn't quite picked up the mauves and pinks in the wet sand/mud and I noticed a problem that's happened to me before - when held slightly bent the image is ok but when flattened out it doesn't read as well - I obviously worked with the book slightly closed in, distorting it.

Nearby children were catching crabs and as the tide came in people were coming down to their boats.

The harbours are very different from the harbours of my childhood, when I lived in Cornwall. There the wild Atlantic sweeps in and harbours have thick stone walls and there are high rocky cliffs. On this much flatter coast there are dunes and salt marshes with gently rising hills behind. The sea goes out a very long way with vast expanses of sand and sky with a thin line of sea on the horizon. I prefer Cornwall but this coast has a charm of its own.

This is a pencil sketch of nearby Brancaster Staithe, another salt marsh harbour done on a previous visit in April.

6th September - back on at last!

Somehow the log in stopped recognising me :( and I've been unable to post anything for ages - all I got for ages were automated responses that just sent me around in a loop, never getting anywhere :( - finally a PERSON! Danish, who kindly sorted things out :)