Friday, August 15, 2008

old work, portraits and flowers in oil paints


On the Beach at Teignmouth, oil painting on board, Vivien Blackburn


As I'm not able to do any new oil paintings at the moment I thought I'd show some old work, done in my first year of the degree.

The one above was painted with brushes and knife on primed hardboard (?masonite in the US) - a surface we used a lot in the early classes at uni as it was cheap and didn't take much room to store. I don't use it now, preferring deep canvas with no frame. This one was framed very cheaply in waxed pine before I learnt more about framing. It would work better with an insert to separate it but it hangs in the bathroom and I've never bothered to reframe it. The frame was chosen at the time for a driftwood, bleached feel to compliment the subject.

It's of my daughter when she was young, curled forward in a deck chair at the beach, with the curve of the concrete promenade behind her. I moved it well away from a photorealist image as that isn't what interests me, what I really liked was the curve of the figure against the curve of the concrete and the deep 'red' Devon sand against her navy and white striped swimsuit and blues in the beachtowel - playing with complementary colours, orange vs blue.

It was done from a holiday photo I'd taken. I prefer to work from life but a young child isn't going to keep that pose for me! and Teignmouth is a long way away :>) - and it was a photo from a previous years holiday (...... enough excuses :>) ). The vague light shapes across her arm/sand are reflections from the paint surface.

I don't know if the figure is clear to you? I showed it at the local sketchclub when it was done (not for sale) and one elderly member came up and said she liked my 'abstract' and that then she had suddenly seen the figure in it.

It's a smallish painting - about 14 inches across probably, maybe a little more.

Masquerade and Albertine, oil painting on canvas, Vivien Blackburn

This one is a very small painting about 8 or 9 inches tall, on a deepish canvas, of the climbing roses in my garden done from life. Albertine is a very old peachy-pink rose that flowers in May/June just once but is covered in flowers and spectacular. The climbing Masquerade was a bargain buy of a small sickly plant for £1.60 ($3) that now covers a large fence. It's a loud blowsy rose that starts off a soft delicate peachy cream and changes through soft reds and apricots to a deep burgundy as it goes over. I like the soft colours but not the burgundy. It keeps on flowering for longer than the Albertine.

I keep meaning to do more of these flower paintings - I've always liked the almost Sanderson chintz fabric feel to this - the all over pattern of flowers with no reference to garden or vase or background. It's something I'd like to experiment further with.


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4 comments:

Robyn said...

Wonderful capture of light in this painting, Vivien and mood too - precious childhood memories. I'd be tempted to re-frame it and let it breath a little - of course you would then have to find a more prominent position for it. I imagine hanging space must be in short supply in your home.

You do have a way with roses too. Your paintings always feel like you live among them and don't just transport them in from the florist.

vivien said...

yes, it does need to 'breathe' a little doesn't it. Maybe I'll get around to it sometime!

dinahmow said...

Vivien, I know those roses intimately (but not in my present garden, alas) and you have caught that coppery light in "Albertine" beautifully.
I think Robyn may be right - that painting deserves a re-framing.

vivien said...

thanks Dinah - I will get around reframing ..... later :>)