Friday, 30 April 2010

The Virtual Paintout - April Challenge

This is my first submission to the Virtual Paintout Challenge. Choosing a scene to paint from the Google Map of the Canary Islands was, for me, a major part of this challenge. I chose about ten corners of the Canary Islands I thought would force a good painting out of me, but in the end I stayed with a scene I thought would be easy, but it wasn’t. I cannot say I am happy about this work but I pulled something together in the end. I could have gone in a bit closer to get the painting of the palm trees on the side of the house and made a quirky feature out of that, but I have learned valuable lessons from this one. One interesting thing I found out about the Tenerife flag is that it is identical to the flag of Scotland, only it is a darker, navy blue, so I thought I would just add this in as a little folly. A huge thanks to Bill Guffey for putting this challenge together!

"Calle Tequeste - Puerto de la Cruz - Canary Islands, Spain"
Oil on Gessoed Board - 12" x 12" (Approx.)

Scene painted from Google Maps with permission.

A link to the scene I chose from the Google Maps is here.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Water Colour - Value Sketch

I promised myself I would complete a couple of water colour sketches each week and I have managed to do that (just). I was hoping to do more, but I hurt my neck so for two days I really didn't feel up to it. I chose this landscape from a beautiful photograph of the European Lowlands, probably Holland or Belgium. I would post the photograph here but I don't know who to attribute it to. My basic intention was just to get the effect of the low-lying land with the stretch of sunlight just touching the horizon. The photograph had a serene drama that I have missed somewhat although I am closer to it than I was last night. A day makes all the difference to how one views a painting. I also found the exact rendering of the values very difficult, and I would lay over another dark wash here and there, but it is getting too muddy as it is. I also think there are some superb photographs that don't translate into good paintings, no matter how good the painter is. That is not an excuse for my work here, but to be original and inspired, I think I must get out into nature myself and take my own photographs, or even do some plein air work. so, if all goes well with my artistic plans this weekend, maybe another water colour will appear on this blog tomorrow. I am hoping to start a challenge work, but I have 'sketched' such a complicated response in my mind, that I might have to backtrack a little. That will be in oil, so I am looking forward to seeing how I respond to oil again as it is so much slower than water colour.

"Lowlands Landscape - Sketch"
Water Colour - 11" x 11" (Approx.)

Saturday, 17 April 2010

1,2,3, Testing.

My first foray into watercolours after decades was huge fun. I just didn’t know where to start as I had no references, so I made up a scene. I really wanted to paint some sort of landscape so I had to make it up so who knows what type of tree this is as I certainly don’t recognise it, nor do I recognise the terrain from any of my travels. A pastiche of sorts, I suppose. I can see so many mistakes, especially with the composition. I should have brought the top branches and leaves forward more, but I am not perturbed about them at all and I just love the way watercolour dries immediately. This instant drying of the substance was quite a shock and I had to stop putting so much gouache on the tray - rather reminiscent of acrylics. A change of pace was what I needed and I think if I can keep up with a couple of sketches during the week, I will feel that I am progressing with my art. I am only painting on weekends and it does take some warming up on a Saturday morning to get into the swing of things and feel as though the process is seamless. It isn’t seamless, so I need to do more during the week. This is such a basic work, I hesitate to post it, but I promised myself. Now, I'm on to start, and hopefully finish, a long-outstanding charcoal sketch project that has been languishing in the corner of my mind.

"Imaginary Landscape with Tree"

Watercolour & Gouache on Paper - 11" x 11" (Approx.)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Shopping & Rambling - But No Art

At work this afternoon all I was able to do was dream of painting and getting back home to the easel. Paintings were running around in my head and I found it hard to concentrate. The solution? I came home via the art materials store. If fiscal responsibility were my forté I would choose another route to come home because the ‘art shop’ is right underneath the station where I end my journey and I find it almost impossible to resist going in for a browse. However, tonight I really did need to buy some water colours, and I hoped to get in a ‘practice run’ with my new purchases once I got home. However, I hadn’t realised how incredibly tired my eyes were, so I decided not to do a thing other than sort out my new purchases like a child. I didn’t buy too much – seven tubes of gouache and some brushes, but these were ridiculously expensive and amounted to £51.00. Ouch!

I’ve decided to add water colour works to my small repertoire and as I have never tried gouache, I am aching to give it a go. I photographed the magnificent objects together with some ancient bottles of inks and pens I have had lying around and hopefully by the end of the weekend, I shall have at least one small work to post here. I shouldn’t tempt fate like that because I have other works on the go, but I think a foray into watercolours will free me up a little – I have hemmed myself in a little lately and I am sure things would be very different if I had a bespoke studio, but until that time comes, I am going to stretch myself in small ways. Now I'm off to rest my eyes in a dark room. Really.

Gorgeous New Tubes of Gouache and Brushes!

Old Pen and Ink Supplies - What could go wrong?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Singing da Blues Now

Who would have thought that I would really love this work after such a half-hearted beginning? I am not going to do any more, even though I would like to work on the shadows and the caps of the tubes, because the paint is getting too thick. Enough! I think I might do more tubes of this ilk, as I really enjoy the challenge of painting a well-worn and dented metallic surface with all the smudges of paint picked up over time. I seem to like painting things standing on their heads and shoulders - lamb chops, tubes of oil paints - what's next?

"Old Holland - Caribbean Blue & Kings Blue Light"
Oil on Canvas - 8" x 8"

Sunday, 4 April 2010

WIP - Blues Going Away

I am nearly finished with this work. I started this morning hoping to finish it but some tiny bits hadn't dried fully, so I couldn't put on the glazes I hoped to. What I am trying to achieve is the subtle 'golden' glow that hits the metallic tubes in some areas, and I just can't achieve this with brushwork; glazes are the order of the day. Now off to finish my Baroque Altar. This long weekend is just too short for me. I am too amibitious for my own good, with very little patience to prop me up.

WIP - Old Holland Tubes - Oil on Canvas - 8" x 8"

Friday, 2 April 2010

WIP - "The Blues"

Having a gap of 3 weeks away from the paints and brushes is not a good idea. I had no choice really. I was inundated with work and hugely tired and consequently got the 'blues' big time. I knew intellectually that a gap of this sort would throw my painting back a bit, but I wasn't aware of just how much of everything one can lose in such a short space of time. The trick is to always have some work in progress even if it is just an 'exercise' or a practice run. Some time ago, I took a photograph of these two tubes of Old Holland oil colour standing on their heads/caps, and loved it so much I promised myself that I would paint it one day. That day has come and I am not at all impressed with my first rough sketch. And "rough" it is. More tomorrow when I have calmed down and done some self-esteem exercises. If my second phase of this work 'works', I won't leave this one up on my blog. I just felt like tricking myself again by posting and feeling that 'something is happening'. The problem with this work is that I shall go to bed tonight thinking of ways to fix it. Surely I can only improve it?

WIP - Old Holland Tubes - Oil on Canvas - 8" x 8"