Wednesday, February 28, 2007

quick sketch of paintbrushes in coloured pencil

The first one I've shown before,it was done with a carbon pencil












the second is a quick sketch of paintbrushes done with coloured pencils from a Portrait set by Lyra.

I really like Lyra pencils to use. These belonged to the college but I think I may invest in a set - they'd be interesting sketching in the landscape - just working tonally but with lovely warms and cools to play with.

Landscape, seascape and what is beautiful

Looking at some snowy photos a friend showed from a 'little walk' I wondered where our ideas of what scenery is beautiful start. Clearly she loves her area very much.

Snow is not my idea of fun! I like to see it - but from somewhere safe and warm and no 'little walks' in it at all for me thanks!

The scenery that I love best is the coast. Particularly the wild Atlantic coast of Cornwall, with small coves, wild seas, clean washed sand, rocks, rock pools, beautifully every changing colours of water and flower studded turf coming down to the cliffs. The lanes are very very narrow, one car width often, with high banks just packed with wild flowers. The small ancient stone harbours with old houses clustered round.

That was the north coast (it's a peninsula) - the south coast is tidal creeks (drowned valleys) with wooded hillsides and trees overhanging the water, herons, tiny hidden villages and a gentler quality. In spring the woods are totally blue with bluebells.

Winter gales are fierce and mists swirl and change - one minute you can see 100 yards and the next you can't see your own hand.

I lived there from the age of 3 to 10 and I loved it ... and still do.

I like woods but prefer the edges (in fact I realise I like edges a lot - edges of woods, edges of the land) - I'm not really happy in forests, I like views - and changing views please! In Cornwall you are constantly climbing hills, catching a view, downhill, through the banked hedges - glimpses through gateways across valleys to the sea or a small village - down a hill to a small cove that's always different - tide in or out, stormy or calm, grey or green or blue water, inland there are wild moors and stone monoliths - never never boring, often unexpected :)

I also don't really enjoy flat land, where there are no surprises - you can walk for miles and the view doesn't change :( so why bother? though you do get wonderful expanses of sky.

before that I lived in Gibraltar - rock, flowers, sea, colour .... again!

The Jesuits say 'give me a boy till he's 7 and I'll give you the man' - well this was where I was living then and this the country and landscape I love - sea, colour, rocks, some trees, flowers and change,surprises round corners, not seeing everything in one go.

Elsewhere I notice I relate to these same elements - the Dordogne with its villages tumbling down rock faces, shallow fast streams, flowers , woods but not forests. a patchwork landscape; Wales - rocks mountains, waterfalls over rocks, woods but not forests, changing weather and light ....

These are my intensely personal responses to landscape - what are yours? - I'm sure some will love huge flat plains, others the deep forests that I feel trapped by.

Friday, February 23, 2007

moonrise




I just realised that I'd put details of this in an earlier post - but not the full image! It's a work in progress and a little way from being finished. So far it's acrylic but now I'll continue in oil paint.

40 inches square on gallery wrap canvas

where people are


I'm feeling very sorry for myself as I've got an awful cold and with asthma it isn't fun :( so I was investigating google analytics (instead of painting) and looking where people who've read this blog came from. It was fascinating to see you came from all over the world including:

US

Seattle, Coquille, Tacoma, Sherwood, Hayward, San Diego, Winnipeg, Oklahoma, Denver, Sioux City, Kansas City, Abilene, Bellwood, Villa Park, Spring Lake, Lake Orion, Houston,Opelika, Nashville, Rock Hill, Washington, Laurel, Horseheads, Chesterville, Amherst, Cornwall, South Burlington, Bethlemhem, Amherst, Laurel, Washington, Belleville, Rock Hill, Nashville, Rock Hill. Opelika, Bryn Mawr, Palm Harbor

Europe:

High Valleyfield, Salford, Caunton, Leopardstown, Sheffield, Rogiet, Caunton, Llanishen, Bubbenhall, Plymouth, LLanishen, Zaanstad, Oxford, Heytesbury, Watford, Warsaw, Belgrade, Motta Visconti, Rome, Sant Just Desvern, , Vence, Madrid, Murcia, Malaga, Mapledurham

East:

Baidayingzi, Beijing, Weifang, Yongzhou, Patog,

Oz and NZ:

Mount Gravatt, Bangor, Northwood, Armadale North. Auckland

Africa:

Kew, Winburg, Southdene Estate
the internet is an amazing thing :>)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

update on trees and rocks

I've taken photos of the progress to date - I've worked on in oils as I was at the point where acrylics didn't give me the marks I wanted - I particularly can't get the subtle
gradations in skies with acrylics and I wanted a blue clear winter sky, graduating from dark at the top to a softer blue at the bottom. I may yet glaze the top with a thin layer of ultramarine to get the change in blue that occurs between the sky overhead and the horizon.



I couldn't get far enough away to get the whole canvas in the picture :( and I haven't got time to bring it downstairs.


I've added some close up details below.



Next stage is to introduce a greater range of greyed blues and a hint more of complementary colour - there's a little added that may not show up in these pictures.













Sunday, February 18, 2007

doodling, painting, and whether to use grids or projectors

I was just taking part in a debate on the use of grids or projectors and whether using them is 'cheating'. I think it is partly to do with the way your brain is 'wired' .


Many old masters used camera obscuras which is only the equivalent of projectors etc or using the computer.


I don't like grids or tracing - so for me it doesn't work. It makes my work go stiff and and I hate it - I need the slight inconsistencies, the natural distortions that I add unconsciously, that emphasise lines and compositions.


I like my lines to be fluid and rapidly drawn and none of that is possible with tracing - for me anyway. If you draw a fluid flowing line fast and then copy it slowly, tracing or gridding, it loses the spontaneity of the original. To me that's important but it isn't in everyone's work - so it depends on the work you do whether it's better to work freehand or not.


I'm totally right brained on tests (with zero organisational skills! ) and I think those with a higher left brain element may gain from grids/tracing, unlike me.

I do think freehand sketching is important though and that not all work is done by tracing/gridding and that work is done from life not always photos if you are to develop your skills.


I use the computer regularly to work through ideas, scanning in sketches and changing them.


This is a doodle I did while the class were all occupied, no-one needed help and the coloured pencils were sitting in front of me ....




















and then I played with it in Photoshop, creating a repeat pattern



















and then altering the colours.





















I did some more work to the trees&rocks painting today, using oil paint but it's wet and so won't photograph without shine. I'll post on the progress in a couple of days probably.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

trees and rocks progress

When I started this painting I roughed it in with Prussian Blue but never intended it to remain a blue painting - I've decided I'm enjoying playing with the image in shades of blue and I'm going to continue, making it winter.

I'm taking part in a group project in a few weeks, doing work in response to Picasso - not one of my favourite artists I'm afraid. It occurred to me that I can use this, relating it to his blue period :>)

So far I've only used Prussian Blue acrylic, some blue acrylic ink (pthalo blue-ish) and white with some tissue collage. I will introduce further blues and mauves and greyed blues as I go.

The next stage will probably need to be done in oil paint as I need the qualities that oil paint has - the ability to scratch through to the underpainting through the buttery texture of it and using a palette knife.

close ups:


















It's going to be interesting making it work in a limited colour range. I may introduce a very very little complimentary colour to stop it being too limited in range. It's a case of working it out as I go along :>)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

details of moonrise




















Details of the large canvas - you can see the colours and marks just a little better in these


I didn't get chance to work on it today :( but hopefully on Friday I'll have the time and the light.





Monday, February 12, 2007

seascape and trees

I've made a start on two of the 40inch square canvasses.


One is going to be an evening/nightfall view of the beach with the moon rising and the last light catching the pools left by the ebbing tide. One of a series of works I've done about the beach at this time - just before and just after sunset.


There are more subtle colour changes and more shine on the sea than the photo shows. It has a way to go yet - this is the beginning, establishing lights and darks and the form of the pools.


I sketched it in roughly in Prussian blue acrylic and then worked on with oils. Some of the acrylic will show in the finished piece.

Next I decided to work on another of the 40 inch canvasses, loosely using the sketch I'd done in charcoal. I used the prussian blue again just to establish where things were, the form of the rocks and the lie of the land with the way the tree grew out of it with some of the tones roughly put in. This has a long way to go and a lot of decisions to be made.

Part of me likes it in blues and I could make it winter, keeping the colours knocked back to blue greys and mauves.

Or I could make it autumn and go for singing colours

Or I could make it Spring and go for lime greens and fresh growth

Or I could do 3 versions of it :)


I may use some collage for texture - lots of thinking and decisions on direction to make.

I don't fully plan these big canvasses but take off from preparatory sketches and see where they go - it's more time consuming but for me, much more interesting as unexpected things happen, I can go with the way the painting seems to need to develop rather than following a set plan and I get bored if I simply try to reproduce something and the freshness dies :(

what do you think?

and why does blogger sometimes refuse to leave spaces between paragraphs? it's really really annoying :(

Friday, February 09, 2007

quick sketch

A quick sketch from a reference photo, taking part in a project.

I don't normally work from photos and especially if I haven't taken them myself but this is somewhere I know and very much like scenery in a area I do sketch in.

I'd been painting for quite a while and this quick 30 minute sketch was a nice change of pace and subject, it's done with a cheap, waxy charcoal pencil so subtle greys weren't easy, It's about 8 inches tall.



The snow has melted quite a lot in town thank heavens but I haven't stepped outside the house at all today :) One of the cats, like me, hasn't set foot outside and the other, who normally likes to be out a lot has only spent a few minutes at a time outside before wanting to come back in.



















How I hate snow! It wasn't nice driving in it yesterday but I did take a couple of photos - colour though you'd never know it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

progressing

I looked at this painting and decided to rework it, making the sand cooler. It had been warmer, reflecting the very last of the sunset but I think it works better this way. It's about 48 ins tall.

I'd like to do a night scene on a 40 inch square canvas - but will it be toooo dark and overpowering? I think I'll try it and see.

Admin and stuff over for the day so I'm off to paint now :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

adding google analytics



I added google analytics to the blog and it's fascinating to see where readers come from and how many there are :) - more than I thought. If people didn't leave a comment I didn't know if many people were reading or not, now I do :)

I'm continuing to juggle the different subjects at the moment and there are several shows coming up so I need to get moving.

I'm off teaching in a minute but wish I was going here

Saturday, February 03, 2007

experimenting with photobucket slide show

It worked! so this show is done with photobucket, where my images are stored to go online anyway, so access is quick and easy.



Anyone wanting to add a slide show to their blog, and who isn't already light years ahead of me in technology and knows already :) , can join the sites and create their own by simply clicking on the 'get your own' tab next to the images

Apart from the pencil sketch these are variations on the beach at nightfall, from sketches done plein air. There's a small 12 inch square oil painting, some collagraphs and a pencil sketch of the sea defences.

Collagraphs are a lovely printmaking method using mount (matt) card as a plate. It's inexpensive and I really like the marks you can achieve with it. It does need a printing press though as it's an intaglio process like etching and not a relief print like lino.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Today .... pastels

I spent the afternoon painting :) - ignoring the fact that I really should have been tidying up
It's based on sketches done sitting on the beach as the sun set and night fell, and memory, it's the last of the light, just catching the sand and sea and clouds.
It's only 11 inches square in a black leaved sketch book by Pink Pig, using Unison pastels (I love them best) and compressed charcoal to regain some of the blacks. Unison pastels are so luscious and don't constantly break like some pastels. I know a lot of people like Rembrandt pastels but I found they just constanly broke and shaled into little pieces and were a bit scratchy feeling to draw with.
A very good pastel painter told me that Schminke white is the whitest white of all with brilliant cover so I plan to treat myself to a couple when I'm near a supplier and see how I like them.
I do love working in pastel but .... oh the framing of it! it's a nightmare. I may just get my framer to do this one completely and for once have a dark frame - I usually go for limed ash as it suits my work but this one wouldn't work so well with the pale wood.
I was also working on some canvasses in oil but they aren't in a fit state to be seen at the moment :)
I don't know what's up with blogger but it won't allow me to have spaces between paragraphs - no matter how many times I edit it, it just scrunches the text all up together again :(


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dawn Light

Driving to work this morning, just after dawn, the light was lovely. There was a huge sun ahead of me with a veil of cloud over - just enough so that you could look directly at it and see the size and shape of the sun without it dazzling you at all. There were drifts of mist still lying in low lying damp fields and it was going to be a fine sunny day.

It was lovely.


I did this doodle from memory, with a thick graphite stick while the class were involved in their own projects