Showing posts from 2006

digital images

I've been playing with digital variations on the paintings in the series so far. I find this often gives me ideas on ways forward in paint. The paintings won't be the same as the digital images but serve as ways of thinking ideas through and providing a new starting point. With the abstracted paintings I have no definite idea of the finished result - it's a matter of putting down marks and aiming to create a feeling/mood/colour vibration/sense of movement etc Once the first marks are down then others relate to them - constant changes are made, colours and areas can change dramatically and the works take much longer to evolve than an observational study. With a painting from direct observation so many things are 'given'. With an abstract there are so many decisions to make on the wing. I think it's like the difference between classical music and jazz. Layers may be almost totally covered, leaving just scratches and fragments flickering through overpainting of

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone I won't have time to paint again until the New Year I'm planning to go to the London Art Show in Islington at the end of January. It's usually a great show with a real mix of work from the Chapman brothers (uuuuggggh!) to Beryl Cook (mmmm .... fun ..... but..... ) with lots of good contemporary stuff from all over the country. It's really interesting to see up and coming artists as well as the more established.

oops I just deleted nice comments by mistake

sorry Lindsay - I just accidentally deleted your post instead of a spam one - thanks for the nice comments and sorry I deleted you! Tiredness? fried brain cells?

Christmas Card

As I've been too busy with end of term/Christmas/family to do any painting, I thought I'd add this digital image I used for my Christmas cards. It was created from a doodle in sketchbook, scanned and manipulated in Photoshop. The original was in charcoal pencil, watercolour and pastel pencil. I was in Ikea earlier - oh those hideous 'paintings' printed onto canvas that they sell so cheaply. If only people would buy original art instead :(. I went with a half Swedish friend who was gleefully stocking up on Sil with Dill in the food hall on the way out. I spent more than I should have - no Sil with Dill though :)

acrylic inks

I've been asked if acrylic inks are lightfast. Here is what Daler Rowney say about them: FW Acrylic InksFW Artists' Ink is an acrylic based pigmented water resistant ink in a range of 30 colours, all of which have either a 3 or 4 star rating. Such a degree of lightfastness over such a range of fully intermixable colours makes them ideal for use by artists' in the production of pictures for permanent display. The inks, being pigment based, are strong and rugged. Strong bold applications of FW can be made in the manner of John Piper or Graham Sunderland, where colour strength, expression and fluidity are required. Equally, however, colours can be substainally diluted to achieve the most subtle of tones, very similar in character to watercolour. Such washes will dry to a water resistant film and successive layers of colour can be laid over in highly predictable manner. Clearly the combination of subtle tone work with strong colour overpainting suggests really interesting cr

in answer to your request Katherine :)

quoteKatherineT : Katherine said... This is really great Vivien Those acrylic inks sound interesting as well - can you show us on the blog - I'm not familiar with them. I think you'd really enjoy them Katherine (and others). They are ideal for anyone who wants to splash about a bit :) but could also be used more graphically, Here's a link to Jacksons page on acrylic inks: (skim down to the FW inks - they are the ones I used) I only bought magenta, yellow and blue - plus a metallic blue I couldn't resist! They are really luscious and translucent and you thin them with water about 1 part ink to 2 parts water. They are really intense. I used them plus a borrowed fluorescent pink to underpaint this flower very very loosely, spraying water fo

our weekend show

The weekend show is over and I'm exhausted! It was hard work but we all work together well. The village hall was a really nice venue and I think we all want to show there again ...... just not too soon! We had to carry the heavy display boards across the car park and assemble them, hang the work, arrange tea/coffee/cakes/mince pies (it creates a nice atmosphere and people linger ... and hopefully decide they will have that painting they want after all :) !). set up tables and chairs and our individual browsers ..... Then we 'man' the exhibition, talk to the visitors/buyers ... and then it all has to be dismantled, loaded back into the cars and we sort out the money - the coffee money goes to our group funds and we also give 5% of any sales to the group funds - that and the annual subs pay for the hire of the hall. Now I can think about Christmas and the next show in January. We made a few sales so it was all worth it :) I sold the one shown here. This is a small pa

one exhibition delivered and another hung

I delivered the flower paintings to the gallery this week and today our group hung our small group exhibition - so I'm exhausted . The gallery were delighted with the work and wanted to show all of it - I had thought I'd give them a choice and bring some home for the weekend show. So I had to rush around sorting out some more of the trees and woods paintings and finish a flower canvas and frame a watercolour flower abstract in a rush this morning. These images are my boards from our small group show (in a church hall) There's more work on the wall and in a browser and folio as well. These shows with friends are really hard work but also fun - though each time we say we'll leave a gap before we go through it again! I'm dead on my feet now but have to be back there in the morning to 'man' the show with the friends. There are 8 of us showing work - the show looks great so lets hope it goes down well with the public. I am now fed up with framing and wrappi

a day of painting canvas edges and framing :(

I really don't enjoy all the work of putting the paintings together to show - all that painting of the edges of the canvas, putting on the D rings and cord (even with help from my husband with that).... ... and as for framing - I hate it! It costs me less if my framer makes the frames and cuts the mounts/mats and then I put the thing together. But you know how it goes. You polish the glass, no dust, you put the painting in - there's a speck of dust, you take it apart and clean it again, put it back together - there's more @"@^@@@**&@ dust :( This why I mainly work on canvas and yet I enjoy working on paper too. That's how I spent today though. I've yet to discover where I 'safely' put the picture hanging cord and they still need bubble wrapping. I have to deliver them on Wednesday and then on Friday I have to hang my section of a group exhibition with friends - and then 'man' it on Saturday and Sunday. Roll on Christmas and a bit of a

the series continues...

I'm still working on this flower series, in between being pressured into covering extra classes, having new windows put in at home and feeling totally exhausted! This one is about 14x16 inches on canvas. I used acrylic inks - something I'd never used before and loved. I'll definitely be using them again ..... tomorrow I hope :) It was finished off with some acrylic paint then oil paint in places (more covering power) and a little drawing with a pearlescent blue Sennelier oil pastel . This one was started in the workshop I did last week. It was great fun and was really refreshing - pure experiment and no pressure.

progress ....

The paintings are progressing but unphotographable at the moment as the paint is wet. I'll update the blog when I can take some pics. I've been checking on the website of one of my favourite painters, who also paints my favourite part of the world. I lived in Cornwall when I was young and the hedges were one of the loveliest things - especially in May when they are ablaze with flowers. KJ has now done a series of work on the hedges, with a really interesting write up. it's well worth looking at.

progress with the poppies etc

Several canvasses are now mid-way but these are almost finished first the poppy This is very similar to the research sketches but on a larger scale. Then an abstract from flowers. These are both on canvas, the poppy is about 18 inches square and the abstract is about 20/22 inches square. then a mixed media piece on paper - it's in this frame to stop the pastel on it smudging but it needs a bigger frame to 'breathe'. I like working on paper like this as it enables me to add more drawing and a wider variety of media. It isn't quite finished. The trouble is that I really don't like glass in front of work as it distances you from the work and the shine, and mere presence of it, spoil the velvety textures and marks. There are several other canvasses in progress but not really at a photographable stage. I also plan to do some more mixed media pieces on paper, a couple of much larger canvasses to finish and some smaller pieces.

groups and talks

This week I went to a talk by an artist who'd won a prize at a prestigious pastel show in London. It was organised by the local Pastel Society. The members are very good and many are professional. The talk was disappointing, The artist was a very good illustrator but didn't have the insight or imagination to move beyond that. The light and form were good - but he had a 'style' which ls and he continues to produce similar paintings again and again and ag again, never experimenting or learning, moving forward. He assured us in one breath that he was lucky as what he liked to paint sold. When we suggested that we preferred his work at the loose sketchy stage, before he tightened it up he admitted he'd tried showing that but it hadn't sold. so .... he is allowing the market at particular galleries to dictate his work and instead of trying the looser work in another place he just gave up :( I do appreciate the talent he has but it seems so sad that i

progress with the poppy

I managed to work a bit more on the poppy canvas yesterday. It's nearly there. There's a bit more thinking and resolving to do first. I also managed to start a few more canvasses so that I can work backwards and forwards between them as I wait for paint to dry. This one has been done in Alkyd Oils - I like them for small canvasses because of their quick drying properties and the fact that they handle just as well as 'normal' oils. The tubes are too small to use them on larger canvasses though - I'd have to squeeze virtually the whole tube out at once - or sometimes more than one tube :( I've also been playing with the new camera :) I love it!

playing with those macro flowers in photoshop

I put thos macro flowers into photoshop to see how some worked in black and white. Black and white photos can have such a beautiful quality with the right images. I think that it really enhances the shot of the lavatera - using 'levels' and 'brightness and contrast' to give the image more punch it creates a far more interesting result :)

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.

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. Th

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 hav

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.

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

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 :)

it's too hot :(

This weather is too hot for me - and the cats. Here they are flaked out on the patio in the shade of the evening. I've been offline for a few days as my husband cut through the phone line while massacring my lovely climbing rose :( On googling my name (to see how my website is doing - it slipped right down the ratings when I didn't update it for a while :( ) I found a school at Menahga in Minnesota has me as the artist for the students to look at - curious! I'd love to know how they found me. They are doing colour theory.

artichoke flower

Artichoke flower in coloured pencil and a red flower, not sure what kind this is. I like the slightly more oblique views of the flowers better than the direct views like this, this is more of a design.

and yet more flowers ....

A CP of a tree paeony from my garden. It has huge beautiful flowers about 9 inches across. and playing with abstraction, CP's are probably not the right medium for this. I needed to be working larger and layering oil paints but it was fun to experiment. I just hadn't got time to get all the paints set up.

artichoke seed heads

Last year I saw artichoke and cardoon flowers and seed heads for the first time. They are a beautiful sky blue, the cardoons towered above my head, the artichokes much shorter but the seedheads of both are huge. These are a couple of coloured pencil drawings from the photos I took. This one is on black paper - another first for me as I've never used coloured pencils over black paper, the whites didn't go quite light enough, the image is a little too grey but I do like working over a dark background. and on white paper It has been suggested to me that this would make a good coloured etching and I think it's a great idea - I may do that, or else a collagraph. Either would be suitable and both different . Oh for more time and energy so I could do more painting and printmaking.

and another in the poppy series

I've been playing with ways forward with the poppies and this is today's effort. 8 inches square in watercolour, coloured pencil and oil pastel. I don't normally use quite as much oil pastel when I use this combination .... but got carried away trying to resolve it. :) I do like working in mixed media as I can select the medium I want to create the marks, subtlety or vibrancy, transparency or opacity, fine or coarse mark, whatever, that I want. I forgot that I'd decided to moderate comments before they appear - I had someone spamming - so sorry to anyone that I ignored and didn't answer - I've only just realised there was a queue of valued feedback from you :) thank you all.

Paddy update

Paddy's hip dislocated even with the sling still on, so amidst a great deal of growling and swearing he had the sling taken off. Because of the problems with his airway they can't operate yet and we have 3 options to consider. 1 leave it alone and the muscles will take over 2 operate and remove part of the femoral head so that the bones can slide against each other 3 a new untried operation to create a cage at the top of the bone that is wired in so that the hip can't dislocate again we go back next week to see how he's getting on and maybe make a decision. 2 and 3 are of course expensive :( Meanwhile he's desperate to go out to play but can't.

painting from the flower sketches

Yesterday (and this morning when I should have been getting ready to go out) I worked on this piece in watercolour with some coloured pencil. It's about 8 inches square. I'm planning to continue with the watercolour/mixed media pieces alongside the works on canvas.


today I picked a pansy from the garden and sketched it from various angles. I'm not sure if it will feature in the larger canvasses but I enjoyed doing it anyway. It was much more interesting working from life again, I really don't like working from photos - there's more vitality in images done from life. mmmm - as vitality is from the Latin for 'life' I suppose that's a bit like saying there's more life when I work from life , repetitive. I had been planning to paint but I've ordered some canvasses in the size I want and decided to wait. I'm going to work on 24in square canvasses at first and do the larger canvasses later.

and I've been playing with the poppies digitally

manipulating the sketches in the computer to work through ideas for the canvasses.

more cat sketches

Rosie is still very upset by Paddy's injury and bandages and hisses at him as she passes aah well, I suppose being prepared to be in the same room has to be progress. Paddy is getting on well and is scooting about much faster in his sling but is getting cross about not being allowed out and being force fed antibiotics and pain killers. I'm not their favourite person at the moment. :( so I've been drawing them.

more poppies and dislocated hips

A really hectic week this week. I've nearly finished another poppy sketch - I liked the way the petal had dropped off and you could see the inside clearly. It needs intensifying a bit and the darks pushing a little I think. Youngest cat, Paddy, had some sort of accident on Monday and struggled home, obviously in a lot of pain, crying and swearing piteously. I was on the vet's doorstep at 8.30 when they opened. They gave him painkillers and antibiotics and an appointment to go back on Tuesday for a review. He was no better and now they decided it was dislocated - no wonder he was in so much pain. So, on Wednesday it took them an hour and a half to put it back but it kept coming out again so he's now sporting the sling in the sketch here. He's coping really well with it and isn't fussing about it much apart from shaking the leg a bit. Rosie on the other hand is absolutely freaked out by it and hisses and runs away. She's the one s

more poppies

a coloured pencil sketch done from one of the photographs I took yesterday when I was out working plein air. Hopefully leading to a largish canvas.

more flowers - poppies and foxgloves

On Monday I went out sketching flowers with a friend. She's working on a series of paintings of poppies and I want to do some large canvasses of close ups of flowers. Mine will become quite abstract using poppies and other flowers. So first I want to get out there and do some studies, looking hard at form and colour. The first sketch on the left is of some foxgloves, which I love, they always remind me of the country lanes in Cornwall. Poppies have such beautiful, dramatic centres - the ones I did a couple of posts back were vivid red with electric blues in the dark centres. These were a pale delicate pink but with very dark markings and centres. Sadly the red poppies had been dashed down and left petal-less by a thunderstorm the previous night. I would have liked to have sketched those as well. Close up details of seed pods and a flower bud The whole page of sketches in an 11 inch square sketchbook