Tina Mammoser has written a really good blog post today on abstraction at http://tina-m.blogspot.com/ - do go and read it. It gives a good insight into the way she thinks and the preparatory sketching that goes into her lovely abstracts of the English coast.
Sketching plein air in the local woods led to the first painting shown here - a watercolour/mixed media done from memories of different days working there over a long time.
Sometimes I find I work best this way - lots of studies done over time but then putting them away and relying on visual memory. Degas believed in this approach. He talked of an art academy on (I think) 6 floors with the model on the top floor. New students would work from the model on the top floor but as they gained in experience they would move down a floor - running up to look at the model and then back down the stairs to draw on their paper/canvas. Experienced students would have the 6 flights of stairs to climb each time. He said that only essential elements would be retained and the unessential filtered out. In effect, abstracting.
approx 12 ins sq
Of Flowers is a watercolour and pastel (Unison pastels) painting done after I'd done a series of studies of pansies and irises and contains elements of both without being a direct painting of either.
oil on canvas approx 54 ins square. Vivien Blackburn
The last one is a large oil on canvas that evolved from some small sketches done sitting on the banks or the river Dordogne in France. I sat under the shade of some trees and the water surface was a complex ever changing mix of light reflecting off the water, reflections of the trees, wave and current creating patterns and ripples and the weeds and rocks partially seen through the water. I didn't want a representational 'frozen moment' but to create the confusion of elements and movement as it was when I was sitting there watching.
I'm tied up with visiting family and friends at the moment so though I'm thinking and planning the next paintings, there isn't any serious painting happening . It has been a very grim grey dark day today and I find that the light is really important to me - I hate painting in gloomy light like this and don't like working under artificial light. I think I need to work out a lighting solution.
Christmas was lovely with visits to both daughters - lots of mileage, some in freezing fog which wasn't fun! and young Sam's first Christmas :) ...... but back on track soon.
I hope you all had a great Christmas.