Tuesday, 15 December 2009

December/January Plans

I have been experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms being away from my easel for a few weeks. This has been ultra-frustrating but soon, very soon, I will have four weeks annual leave and I have promised myself to use this time mostly for painting. I have so many unfinished projects that it has become a joke. The day job took over with a huge relocation project to a new office which took both time and energy. Something had to give; sadly it had to be the painting. During 2009 I have been painting mainly ‘challenges’ for the Different Strokes from Different Folks and Following the Masters blogs. I have loved doing these, but during this end of the year break, I am going to play in my own playground as well as participate in one Challenge.

For years now I have really wanted to go back to basics. I haven’t painted traditional still lifes for decades, and I am going to try to do one small one every day or every second day and ‘loosen up’ a little and experiment with colour and composition. I don’t even know if I can still draw, let alone paint, an ellipse after all these years! I’ll have to scour a few flea markets and bric-a-brac stores to pick up some items to use as basics props. Just writing this is exciting but I also know that I might hit a few obstacles along the way as I am presently so unfamiliar with this type of work. I also hope to get a little bit of drawing done. The only real impediment to all of this could be ultra dark skies during the day here in England, which are typical for this time of year. I hope to paint still lifes of many types of objects; ceramics, fruit, vegetables, ornaments, food of any description, and I might even try my hand at some food packaging. Okay, I have probably gone too far now as I think, for a painterly foray across such a range of objects, I might need eight weeks, not four, to complete what is presently running across my mind’s eye.

Another ambition of mine is to use up all my old tubes of oil colour. I have quite a few tubes of a brand of oil paint that I no longer wish to use as I have moved ‘on and up’ in my choice of oil paint. The ‘old’ brand is traditionally considered a ‘good’ one, but for me it is not good enough, and I am a firm believer in only using the best materials.

Roll on Friday night and let’s hope by this time in 2010, it won’t be a case of “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley”. Who knows what might happen.


Hope Springs Eternal.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Bedroom - Interiors Series - No. 1.

I decided recently to try my hand at painting interiors. I knew this would be a tough call because I haven't tackled interior scenes since my school years. My attraction to this bedroom scene was the glow of the yellow and the strong contrast between light and dark caused by an overhead light. I chopped and changed my style and process a few times, tried glazes which took ages, and then in the last few days decided to complete it no matter what. I have learned so much from this work, that I am going to do a series of interiors when I have lots of time. There are so many mistakes and I felt that it wasn't good enough to 'publicise' but then again, also decided full disclosure of my work is not a bad thing either.

Bedroom Intepretation 1.

8" x 8" - Oil on Canvas

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Challenge No. 6 - City Rooftops.

This was a stinking hard challenge for me. I struggled with it like mad but ended up saying: "I AM going to make this work!" This is my latest submission for Karin Jurick's latest Different Strokes for Different Folks blog challenge. Karin put up a photograph of a view she had taken from her hotel in San Francisco and my first impression was that it was a beautiful photograph, with such icy, sharp contrasts and brilliant light. Of course this would not be easy to interpret realistically for me in the limited time I have on weekends, so I thought I would just let rip with something more loose and spontaneous.

25 October 2009

"Room With A View"

Oil on Gessoed Board - 12.5" x 12.5"

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Nothing to show for August so far.

August has been a weird month creatively. I just haven't been able to finish any works at all. I have started some, left others half way through in the drying process only to come back to them later and discover I don't like any of it and ended up scraping off the entire surface of oil paint. Strange month was August. I also discovered that I was trying to combine finishing my own art projects with the blog challenges for DSFDF and Following the Masters that confusion reigned supreme; too many disparate visions were being dealt with at the same time so I stopped all of them. I also had a huge amount of admin to do around the house; whatever that means, but I think most readers would understand. So, August has been a bleak month so far for finished work. I hope to change that with at least one work, not a blog challenge, but something from my own stable of projects.

I was also hoping to do some small sketches or watercolours in the spaces between paintings, one a day hopefully, but that has not happened. I need a studio to really enable me to do some work each and every day, big or small, oil or watercolour, sketch or painting. So even on a smaller level, I have found getting very simple work finished, an impossibility. Am I being too hard on myself? Maybe doing a charcoal sketch tonight - of anything - might clear the cobwebs.

The truth is, I need a break; something like a year-long sabbatical would do.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

My Latest Blog Challenge! No. 5.

In the spirit of adventure I have entered another blog challenge. Recently I discovered another super blog Follow the Masters which challenges artists to respond to various images of the Master Painters. This last challenge was to take any Maxfield Parrish work and interpret it. I have visited art galleries in the USA but confess, that I have never lingered in front of any of his work. This therefore was a double challenge because I only had a web image to work from. Interestingly, the images of his work on Google Images vary so dramatically that it is impossible to work out how far they are removed from the original but I would assume, very far indeed, especially the one I chose which is "The Tempest". I loved the web image I chose because it had huge drama and it looked as if it was one of those over-printed images that was many generations away from the original register. I loved the rock formations and I think they were the real hook to get me started on this work because, on close inspection, they reminded me so much of the abstract expressionist work I used to do at University. However, it was great to get it finished, even though it took me far longer than I anticipated, but that is what these blog challenges are all about; learning.

After Maxfield Parrish's "The Tempest"
Oil on Gesso Board - 12" x 12"

Detail that reminded me of my University days!

The Original Maxfield Parrish "Tempest"

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Challenge 3. - Madison Avenue, New York City

After not having submitted a painting to the previous 'Diana' challenge on Different Strokes for Different Folks, I was ultra-determined to get this one in by the deadline. I am learning constantly through these challenges as it has been years and years since I have painted seriously and this one gave me a couple of surprises to say the least. I should not have laid down the first colour in acrylics (just to speed things up a little) as it spoiled the surface for the oils. In addition, the surface of the gesso was too rough in the first place, so I couldn't render the fine lines I wanted to, and, most frustratingly of all, the format was far too small for the effects I intended to create. However, this is my first cityscape and even though I didn't have much fun with the skyscrapers, I loved the adventure I had with the cars. What's next?

Madison Avenue -New York

Oil & Acrylic on Gesso Board - 9.25" x 12.5"

Whacky Close-up

Monday, 30 March 2009

Challenge 2. - Beach Family

I just wish I had more time to take this challenge to the level of detail I was looking for. I just didn't 'get there' because I can only paint on weekends at the moment. I loved the scene in the photograph Karin Jurick gave us for this challenge; excellent light, crisp, clear with a magnificent stretch of sea and I felt there was something of a processional and solemn feel to the figures; a stillness even though they were in fact 'doing' something. For some reason or another it felt ancient to me and I wanted to create a feeling of the long-distant past, with a nod to illustrations in children's books, but again, if only I had more time I could have pumped up this allusion. I am also not going to paint on canvas again for something this detailed. The edges bevel downwards and for the photograph I have had to crop of about 2mm on either side which is a nuisance. This whole painting would have been much easier on board - we learn as we go along. So here is my second submission to Karin Jurick's 'Different Strokes From Different Folks' blog.

Beach Family - Hastings, 1066

Oil on Canvas - 10" x 12"

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Challenge 1. - Sushi

This is my first submission to Karin Jurick's blog "Different Strokes from Different Folks". It was one heck of a challenge and a really unusual subject. I don't like sushi so intuition really wanted to de-food the objects and take the situation as far away from eating as possible; a sundrenched beach somewhere, just a hint of it. Here it is:

Oil on Canvas - 8"x 10"