Tuesday, 31 December 2013

54. Autumn in Blighty

Landscape, W&N Griffin Alkyd oil paint on Arches oil paper, trimmed to 8" x 8"

Before trimming (9" x 9")

This is to be cut and displayed on mount board so I used alkyd oils for speedy drying. It needed an autumnal look to it and nearly all my paintings end up predominantly blue (as opposed to red or yellow) so I used the 'Zorn' palette (Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and Black*). I was very pleased with the nuances of colour achievable, including pale yellow and some good greens.

*  I wanted a black that was completely transparent so I mixed together Alizarin Crimson and Phthalocyanine Green. I thoroughly mixed it out with a small palette knife on a transparent party plate then tested it by adding white to ensure it was not biased to either red or green.  This gave me a very deep, luscious black without any chalkiness at all and resulted in a darker mix than the equally good Ultramarine Blue/Burnt Umber (or Burnt Siena) mix.

I agree that most mixes should still show a hint of their components but if I'm mixing two colours to get a third colour, the plastic plate has two benefits. I can turn it upside down to check that the two pigments have been blended completely - no streaks at the bottom of the mix - and I can also lay the 'palette' down onto a surface which is the same colour as the support I'm using to give an accurate reflection of how the paint will look on the actual painting.  My ground colour is often black, an umber (see previous post) or white so I usually have at hand a second support in the current colour placed under the transparent plate. Some artists paint their support and then the bottom of their glass or perspex palette; the party plate is less hassle and there is no clean-up or scraping off afterwards.

Phew!  If you've read this far, please will you let me know if all this information is helpful or if you'd prefer a shorter post? I'm happy to continue sharing my findings with you if you wish.

(Btw, Santa brought me a lovely present which I'll share with you soon!)

Happy New Year to you and your families.  x

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

53. Pink House, Cumbria

Landscape, oil on Pebeo canvas board, 30cm x 30cm (approx. 12" x 12")

Hello again, everyone.  I'm sorry I have not posted since mid-November (shocking!). Although I've done a fair bit of artwork, it was nothing I could post.  Some of it is for a friend's upcoming wedding, the last bit of which I finished yesterday so am now able to return to my own work for a while.

You may remember the underpainting above, done for Day 29 of Leslie Saeta's September challenge.  A week or so ago, I quickly blocked in some of the colour (middle image) but had to abandon it again until last night when I painted the distant mountains, tree, gate, road and finally the house.  I also tidied up the background trees and the dry stone wall.  I had originally shortened the fence (which in real life runs behind the gate and past the tree) but eventually ditched it altogether to achieve a more open space.

The only four colours used are from one of my major bargains - a pack of Royal Talens Rembrandt oils: Permanent Red Medium, Permanent Yellow Light, Ultramarine Deep and Titanium White.  I've heard it said that Rembrandt paints can be too oily but I get around that by simply using less medium than I would with, say, W&N paints.  My mix is Refined Linseed Oil, Stand Oil and Gamsol OMS at a ratio of 2:1:1 (Carol Marine's recipe).  I buy Gamsol from Stuart R. Stevenson on Clerkenwell Road in London - my first bottle was a free sample!  This time, I used two Liquitex brushes (soft, synthetic and great with oils) and a tiny palette knife for the pink blossom in the trees.

Anyway, thank you for visiting my blog and for reading this far!  I wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous and colour-filled 2014.  xx

Sunday, 17 November 2013

52. Yellow for Friendship

Still Life, oil on black gessoed panel, 6" x 6"

This was a gift for a friend's recent birthday.  She has shown us so much kindness over many, many years and I just wanted to create a token of our friendship for her. 

This time I used W&N Griffin alkyd oils.  I use them from time to time and don't mind them.  My first impression each time is that they are very thin and rather transparent but it just requires a few more layers to achieve more opacity in areas and, as they dry quickly, this is not a problem.  Now and then it needed a little 'Liquin Fine Detail' to increase the flow so I had a couple of 'high' moments - LOL!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

51. Hertfordshire Study - Not Stockwood!

Landscape, Digital Painting on iPad using the ArtRage app.
Did this digital painting as I had difficulty sleeping.  Mea culpa!  Looking again at my resource photograph, I realised it was a photograph of a walk in Hertfordshire so I've renamed the post (and the image).  It looks uncannily like the south side of Stockwood Park as you walk down from the main road.
I still love Stockwood Park!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

50. Bluefields - Stop the Car!

Seascape, oil on Daler Rowney Canvas, 12" x 4"

This is a view of Bluefields Beach that we pass on the way to Montego Bay.  I have stopped to photograph it so many times over the years that now, every time we approach it, the gentleman who drives us automatically asks me if I'd like to stop and take a photograph! :D
I painted the yellow boat with a palette knife so the paint would go down nice and thick.

I meant to photograph my pen and ink drawing but only realised once I'd got this far with the paint.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

49. Mini Master - Still Life, Pitcher and Fruit

Acrylic on Saunders CP watercolour paper, 3" x 2"
Here is another 'mini master'; this one is Still Life, Pitcher and Fruit by Paul Cezanne, painted in 1894.  I thoroughly enjoyed painting it and discovered quite a few things that I had missed just looking at the painting over the years, such as the difference in temperature in the colours in the foreground compared to the background and the way he unified all the warm and cool colours in the pitcher.  Great fun!  I hope you are all having a good weekend. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

48. Mini Master - On the Beach

Acrylic on watercolour paper, 3" x 2"

This is one of my 'mini masters'; it is Edouard Manet's On the Beach, which he painted in 1873.  (In my Sketchbook Scribbles, I accidentally titled it 'At the Beach'.)  I was surprised that it was taking me as long to do as if it had been larger but realised that it was because I was trying to get it as accurate as possible because it's a fairly well-known painting. The frame itself is 8" x 6"; had I stuck to the correct ratio of the frame, the long side of the painting would have had to have been about 2.5" but instead I stuck to the ratio of the original Manet painting - I think I got away with it.

(The beady-eyed amongst you will notice that I've re-posted the image.  This is because I clean forgot to acknowledge Manet in the first photograph.)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

47. Sketchbook Scribbles

Pen and ink in A5 sketchbook

We have a project coming up painting 'mini masters' for a charity event so I've been doing some quick sketches.  Don't look too closely - LOL!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

46. Trees on Whinlatter Pass

Trees on Whinlatter Pass, oil on W&N canvas board, 7" x 5"
This painting went into Leslie Saeta's '30 in 30' challenge nude!  I had only managed to finish the under-painting by the time the challenge was over.  It's done now though and I laid all the colour on top using a small diamond-shaped palette knife for speed.  I have corrected the background shape as it looked like a line of trees instead of a mountain range.  My initials were put in using a colour shaper which, believe it or not, was the fiddliest part.  Have a good weekend everyone! 

Friday, 11 October 2013

45. New Paint Colours

Clairefontaine Oil Paper

I went to the Mall Galleries to see the Threadneedle Prize and, as I was in London, I popped over to Cass Art in Islington.  It was their student day and, even though it was evening, we had to queue to enter the shop and inside it was heeeeaving!  It was encouraging to see so many young artists embarking on their art journeys and great that they were able to get 15% off everything that day, including sale items.  (I'm not currently a student but the discounts were still really good.)

I bought the three luscious colours above.  They are Old Holland Classic Violet Grey (probably the heaviest 40ml tube of paint I own), Michael Harding Manganese Violet (looks good enough to eat but please don't!) and Michael Harding Yellow Lake.  For my paint samples, I blended them this time with MH Zinc White in order to retain the brightness of each hue because, as you can see, Titanium White makes them look a bit chalky).

 My very useful oil colour chart... also handy as a fan in summer!  :D

I haven't had to spend a fortune on oil paints; often, I've just been in the right place at the right time.  When I bought two Gamblin Radiants from Stuart Stevenson, I received three really nice free sample tubes of Schminke oil paints (including Madder Root Tone and Cadmium Yellow Tone).  At another art shop, they were selling heavily discounted packs of four Royal Talens Rembrandt oils as a promotion and on another visit I was handed two free tubes of Schminke Lemon Yellow and Ultramarine Deep, both of which are lovely.  At a recent watercolour workshop at the Mall, we were each given two 21ml tubes of Winsor & Newton oils (Winsor Lemon and Winsor Blue, two workhorses).

Happy painting!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

44. Workshop Project

Watercolour on cartridge paper, A4 sketchbook

I only had time to attend a third of Christine's workshop on Saturday.  The plan was to layer images and make collages using dried leaves together with gel and impasto mediums.  The end results were really interesting but, as I wasn't around for the full day, I just painted straight into my sketchbook, using flat images but following one of the shape structures she gave us.

Friday, 4 October 2013

43. More Underpaintings


7" x 5", thinned oil sketch on Winsor & Newton canvas board

Included in my '30 in 30' collage for Leslie Saeta's September challenge but omitted to post separately here.  Hopefully, as they are small, I can complete them this weekend.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

42. Collage for September 30x30

Ah well, I managed two full paintings and a few sketched underpaintings.  Thank you, Leslie; I might not have done any artwork had it not been for your challenge. 

Well done everyone else who painted anything at all.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

40. Fenceposts on Whinlatter Pass, Cumbria

6" x 6", oil on primed hardboard

Day 2 of my 30 in 30 (posted on Day 28!).  This is another view between the rain showers.  This is painted on hardboard primed with black gesso and left for a few weeks to dry thoroughly.  I roughly indicated the scene in light grey pencil then went straight in with a large brush and some Michael Harding paint.  The wire on the fence posts was done with a couple of palette knives (one diamond shaped and the other rectangular); I also used the little 'diamond' one to scratch in some foreground grasses.

Friday, 27 September 2013

39. After the Rain on Whinlatter Pass, Cumbria

4"x4", oil on primed hardboard.

 Blocking-in stage.

Well, four days before the end of Leslie's September '30 in 30' challenge, I at last have something to post; it's been impossible before now.  Thank you Leslie for encouraging us to post anyway.  (I may still do a final fiddle with the reflections.)
This is a view we saw when we were in the Lake District a couple of weeks ago.  England has some beautiful spots and the Lake District has some exceptional examples.  It rained a fair bit while we were there but it didn't ruin our visit.  The UK landscape tends to look very green and lush due to the damp weather and it looks and smells particularly good immediately after the rain has fallen. 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

38. Barn and Sheep Study

Landscape, oil, 4" x 4"

This is a little study painted from my imagination back in August - I may work it up into a larger painting. 

I made up a set of neutrals and divided it into two then added a little red to one side and a little blue to the other.  I then used the neutrals as a base, adding a little red, blue and/or yellow to them to paint the scene.  I got the idea from Richard Robinson.

Friday, 23 August 2013

37. Summer School Colour Studies

Watercolour, A3

Sennelier Oil Pastels on Clairefontaine Pastelmat, 7" x 9.5"
On the last day, we worked up some of our studies back in the studio.  The oil pastel study was just something I did on a whim, with no intention of showing it, but I actually like its looseness so I've posted it here with the others.

36. Summer School Sketches

On the first day of summer school, we practised drawing and painting reflections as that would be the theme throughout.  On day 2, we drove down to the canal-side at Ware and sketched and painted there.  The weather was superb so it was a lovely day all round.

Monday, 19 August 2013

35. St James's Park Workshop - Sketchbook

5B pencil, A5

Watercolour, A3

After lunch, we crossed the road to St James's Park and did quite a few sketches there.  The couple in the foreground appeared to enjoy being the focus of our attention.  They put on various poses and actually held them for a while!  The girl had either one or other foot in the air at any one time - they both looked very comfortable.

34. Green Park Workshop - Sketchbook

Watercolour, A3

I attended an excellent one-day workshop run by Paul Banning at the Mall Galleries.  I had met Paul before at an RI exhibition so was delighted to be able to attend his workshop.  He is an excellent draughtsman who agrees that you need to be able to draw to give your image a good structure, even if you paint loosely under or over it.

We walked down to Green Park and set up in front of Buckingham Palace.  I walked about a bit and found these sculptures at Canada Gate.  I had to get used to using watercolour again in its pure form but it's the medium I first learned with so it felt natural after a while.    (I painted in the building and foliage later on.)

Monday, 5 August 2013

33. The Coast on Coasters

Seascapes, acrylic, 4" x 4"

This is a set of coasters that I painted for a good friend's birthday as he never has anywhere to put his coffee mug!  :)

The images (clockwise) are: Bluefields, Frenchman's Cove in Portland, the view from the restaurant at Idlers' Beach Hotel in Parrottee (that's my nephew down on the beach).

Saturday, 27 July 2013

32. Stable Surrounds

These images from my sketchbooks are some of the artwork we did at our July workshop.  They are all views looking in various directions while standing at the door of the studio.  The colour study is of an old greenhouse in the distance.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

31. Painting of a Man

Acrylic paint on acrylic primed paper, 20" x 16".

A painting from a resource photo in Paul Strand's book (which was loaned to our workshop).  I have made the gentleman look a bit cantankerous so will be softening his eyebrow area!  I also need to finish his beard.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

This is the lovely Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire - just itching to be painted!