Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Sam

Happy Birthday Sam! One year old :>) - it doesn't seem a year since my daughter was rushed into hospital for an emergency caesarian .... but it is. And Sam is now a delightful active .... errrm very active one year old :>)

Sorry about the lack of recent posts but we are going through a really bad time at the moment and I'll get back on track as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

building an etsy shop


I'm thinking of setting up an Etsy shop - I did have one for prints ages ago but closed it down - now I'm thinking of putting small works on, with the odd larger one.

What do you think?

And what do you think of this for a banner and avatar?

I thought I'd do 3 pages :

  • Works on Paper - various sizes of sketches and more 'finished' pieces
  • Small Canvasses
  • Larger Canvasses
  • ACEO's (thanks to Chrissy's suggestion)

Feather. Vivien Blackburn, pencil sketch

I'd put small paintings on as well as sketches like the feather above - what do you think?

Feedback welcome :>)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

sketchclubs and watercolour pencils

Mawgan Porth, Sunny, Wild Day. Watercolour, watercolour pencils and coloured pencils. approx 9 ins square. Vivien Blackburn

I decided to have a play with paint and pencils this morning before I have to get ready for the next hospital visit. This is done in watercolour with touches of watercolour pencil and glazes of polychromos coloured pencil to enhance colours, like the pink glow of the wet sand. I really like to use coloured pencil, just a little, over watercolour like this.

This is a favourite place for me - the beach that was only a couple of miles from where I lived as a child. It was done from a combination of sketches done plein air and photos I'd taken last year. The day I wanted to capture was sunny and the sea was wild, the horizon a heaving mass of swells and line after line of huge breakers pounding in and crashing against the cliffs in clouds of spray. The clouds were fine., white and hazy.

Mawgan Porth , Dusk. Watercolour pencils. 6x7 ins approx. Vivien Blackburn
At this months sketch club meeting we were given a free raffle ticket - and amazingly I won! I never win! The prize was a tin of Derwent watercolour pencils and the image above was done to play with them and see how they worked. I think they are going to be very useful :>) they were used in the the first painting as well.

This is the same beach from the other side at dusk at the light is fading and the pools catch the last of the light, the marram grass silhouetted, colours become subtle and different, hard to discern and the clouds make dramatic patterns in the sky.
I did such a lot of sketching there plein air, that the sketches plus photos are giving me a lot of material to work from :>) The photos don't catch all the colours that the human eye can - but my sketches give me the information and really help to bring back the scene as the act of sitting sketching/painting there fixes it in the memory in a way that clicking a camera button doesn't - for me anyway. How about you?

http://sitekreator.com/vivien/cornwall.html some of my photos of the area

Sketch club talks:

The talk at the sketch club this month was by John Gilbert a courtroom artist which was fascinating. He demonstrated his techniques for catching likenesses quickly and talked knowledgeably about the structure and proportions of faces and showed a lot of his work and sketchbooks.

Cameras are not allowed in court in Britain, so courtroom artists - if given permission - sketch the characters for newspapers and TV. There is a very short window in which they can work because of getting the images scanned and sent to the editor in time for publication or to make the news reports on TV. You can see some pieces here http://www.artprofile.co.uk/artist.asp?artist=John%20Gilbert

Someone asked him if he thought they would ever allow cameras in court here as they do in the US. He thought not - he pointed out that it's easy to 'accidentally' take photos of the jury - but sitting drawing them couldn't be an accident! If photographed and identified they could of course be open to blackmail or threats to change their verdict. So it seems he has a job for a while yet.

Incidentally - if you like my seascapes you can buy a book of 40 of them :>) - the link is at the top of the right hand column on my blog or you can click here: http://vivienb.blogspot.com/ you can look at the first few pages on the website.


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.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

sketchbook exchange - another update

monoprint and coloured pencil. in Casey's book for the FPP exchange, by Vivien

http://flyingpictures.wordpress.com/ - link to the exchange website

These are my additions to Casey's book - theme: Local Colour. It's safely arrived in France so I can post them here now :>)

The monoprints were done by painting onto acetate with turpsy oil paints and then using that to print onto paper. I then worked on them when dry with coloured pencil in some areas.

My husband and my father are both seriously ill - I won't go into detail but it is having a huge impact on the family so bear with me if postings are a bit erratic while we all come to terms with things.


re absence

sorry for the absence but we've had a couple of major family crises with major serious illnesses - hoping to get into a routine of dealing with and still keeping up with artwork and blogging.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

bees by my daughter

Bees. Photograph. Copyright Caroline Blackburn
I've not got anything new to show at the moment so thought I'd share these great photos of bees that my daughter just emailed - look at its little legs hanging on to the spikes on the teasel!

I think she's a really talented photographer :>) and love the way she's cropped them.