Monday, 22 December 2008

Three Fennel on Stone


Finally finished the Fennel…I want to get back into using oil for a few paintings next year, so thought I’d get a bit of practice on this…it’s been ages since I used oil and the first couple of hours were…interesting…:)

I know a few of you find this one VERY boring, but I think it’s been a very useful exercise…I’ve been focusing on the swirly watercolours this year, so this kind of tight accurate(ish) oil is a big contrast…much more like the work I was doing before the swirls…somewhere in the back of my mind is the feeling that I can somehow fuse the two…I’m not quite sure how yet…but that will form part of what I do in 2009…:)

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…Hope Santa brings you all you desire…X

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Rollright Stones

Ahhh, better late than never, here are the Rollright Stones on a cold wintry afternoon...Not much to say today, so I’ll stop there…:)

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Oh dear...

I’ve been sat in the Bartholomew Rooms today, invigilating in the current art exhibition…very quiet…I was going to take in some paints and work on my next swirling watercolour, but there’s a limited amount of table space and I couldn’t be bother to take in all the bits I needed. So, again inspired by Lorna, I decided to take in a pencil, paper and a small mirror and have a go at a self portrait…how very out of practice I am lol. This makes me look like my grandmother…and lovely as she is, I’m not sure it’s a look I want to cultivate. However it was a fun exercise for a few hours :)…swirling watercolours tomorrow though I think :)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Just up the road from Lornas picture...

Well another long gap between pictures…better late than never… I’ve always done things at glacially slow speed…but I usually get there in the end…stick with me :)

Anyway, this is the third new Eynsham one, so I’ve got a full set for the autumn exhibition in the Bartholomew Rooms 22nd -30th November.

Alas the Woodstock painting didn’t win any prizes, but it did get sold…twice…which was quite impressive for an exhibition where it wasn’t actually for sale…so I must be doing something right…I guess there’s hope for me yet…?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Eynsham Square in the Sunshine

Eynsham Square in the Sunshine…and what a lot of sunshine…;)

Allotmenting and general chores have been taking up a lot of time lately…hence the lack of two paintings a week…but the weather should turn awful pretty soon, so I’ll have more painting time then… so there’s a positive in everything.

Missed out on my beer time this evening to get this done, but I’d been in and out all day doing little bits of it in between other jobs and I really wanted to get it finished.

Obviously I’ve pushed the colours a bit further on this one, It’ll be interesting to see what people think of it…overall I’m pleased with the final result, plenty of movement…:)

It seems like next months Eynsham Art Group exhibition will have lots of local flavours, Lorna, Sue and I have all been focusing on similar themes of late, should be a good exhibition, I know I’m really looking forward to seeing their pieces in the flesh...fascinating to see how we’re all interpreting the same subjects…

News!…I’ve got a couple of paintings in the Oxford Open show on at Saïd at the moment, so if you’re in town and fancy seeing them, pop in and take a look, or better still, take your cheque book ;)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Eynsham Toll Bridge

Three weeks since the last post…shameful…I’m going to put it down to good weather and too much time on the allotment…anyway, back to ‘normal’ service now hopefully.

This is the Toll Bridge in Eynsham (I’m not copying you honestly Lorna :)) Drew this out yesterday, painted the sky last night when I got in from the pub…and finished the rest of it off today. I’ve tried to paint the bridge in one sweeping motion and made some masks for the trees before painting the masking fluid on…I don’t think the effect is very clear in this painting, but it’s certainly a technique I shall try again…:)

A couple of quick updates…

The Woodstock picture got into the competition, so it’ll be on show at The Henmans Garden Gallery, The Oxfordshire Museum, during Art in Woodstock (25th - 2nd November)…competition winners are announced on 2nd November, so we’ll see if it gets any further…:)

Oil painting experiment is STILL wet, so I think we can officially say that masking fluid and oil paint do not make happy bedfellows…a new experiment for ‘swirly’ oil paints is penciled in for New Year…:)

Friday, 26 September 2008

Woodstock at night


I've painted this one for a competition in Woodstock which has the theme of 'Illumination'...Hence a view of Woodstock, at night, lit by the moon and windows. It's taken AGES to paint :) (Well, about 13 hours...) balancing the flowing, swirly lines with reasonably accurately rendered buildings was...a challenge...lots of drawing to start with and then lots of masking fluid...and then lots of water in with the paint...in lots of layers...hence, I've been working on this all day...However, I'm quite pleased with the results, it's got the kind of look I had in my head...anyway, It's entered into the competition, so we'll see how it does...off to sleep now...very tired :)

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Land of the Sheep...

A proud and noble sheep...:)

If you zoom in you should be able to see that I've softened some of the lines by painting into them once the masking fluid has been removed. On some of the stones at the base of the picture I've done this in such a way that they still have a white highlight on the top. This has given them an interesting 3D feel...something to explore further at some point :)

Friday, 12 September 2008

Llyn Llydaw - The Miners' Track - Snowdonia

Allotmenting yesterday, but pulled my finger out and painted today...(after painting the raised bed I built yesterday...but that wasn't my best work, so I won't bother blogging it :)) ... This is Llyn Llydaw, one of the lakes on the Miners track on the way up Snowdon. Initially I'd drawn the mountains in the background, but I decided to extend them up a bit and do away with the sky altogether...I think this maybe the first time I've painted a landscape without a sky...anyway I liked the way the light hit the hills and wanted a darker background...so up went the mountains :)...I've actually painted them in a slightly different way...laying on lots of colour and then lifting off the markings on the cliff. I'm quite pleased with the way thats worked out, the slight blur gives a sense of depth and adds a nice contrast to the sharp lines of the masking fluid...all in all, not too bad :)

A quick update on the oil experiment...oil is still wet...I may have to rethink this ;)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Two Farmhouses in Wales

I've been somewhat distracted with summer holidays, allotment building and general sloth like behaviour over the last couple of months...time to get on with things! I've got my oil experiments and the acrylic pictures to continue with but I need my main focus to be these swirling watercolours...I want to have 20 good ones to take to galleries next year and that means I need to crack on...17 weeks until the end of the year, so I need to aim for a couple of paintings a week, which is perfectly doable...if I focus ;)

Anyway I think I'm going to add this one to the good pile as I'm really pleased with the way it's turned out. I used some new tubes of watercolour for this one. I'm increasingly finding I prefer tubes to pans as I can get more pigment on quicker, hence the colours on this are a bit more intense and there is a bit more time to play with the paint while its wet on the paper.

So one done this week...need to do better next week :)

Oil Swirls Experiment


I'm trying a little experiment at the moment to see if i can use oils with the swirling landscapes...I've got a canvas and a board I've coated with Gesso. Both are divided into two and I've used masking fluid on one half, moulding latex on the other, I've made a variety of marks with both and then painting on some oil. Thin to thick across the surface. I need to wait for it to dry now, then I'll add another coat... then I'll need to wait a LONG time for it to dry fully....and finally, we'll see if the masking fluid/latex comes off or not :)

Also did a painting yesterday which I'll blog later...need to head off now and am late already :)

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Just for a change...Ink...


I've been meaning to try one of these swirling landscapes in ink rather than watercolour...So today I did :) I'd taken a few photos on the path down from Snowdon to Rhyd Ddu (Where there is a fantastic tea rooms that does wonderful Dutch coffee...) and this was composed from several of those. I've wanted to try ink as i thought i might be able to get an engraving/print(ish) effect...and to some extent, there is an element of that...though this is still very much a painting...One day, I must get myself a printing press...and somewhere to put it... :)

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Holiday painting 2 - Gesail Gyfarch


Here's the second painting, a view from the hill above the farmhouse where we were staying. I'm particularly pleased with this one, there's a nice rhythm to it I think...

I'm getting more confident painting these and that's allowing me to paint them more freely, which is exactly what the style demands...all in all, a reasonably productive holiday :)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Holiday painting 01 - Harlech


This is the first of two larger paintings i did while away, a view of some tumbled down walls over Harlech in North Wales (for anyone that knows the area, the castle would be directly ahead behind the trees and lower down :) the hills in the background are Criccieth and Porthmadog...:)

Broadly speaking, I've been trying to use three variations of mark making in these watercolours...it's a habit that's been forming as I've been doing them...in the case of the masking fluid, there are the outlines (done with a knife or masking fluid bottle), the brushstrokes (done with...yes you've guessed it...a brush...;) ) and a bit of splatter (with an old toothbrush)...I've really enjoyed having this mix of effects and trying to balance them...it's certainly something i plan on continuing to explore :)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Girl with Butterfly


Here's a little sketch I did while away...I want to try and find a slightly different way to depict the female form in the acrylic paintings i'm doing at the moment...so I'm playing with a few more flowing lines here...nothing even close to a finished idea, just a first step :)

Postcards from the edge...Part 3





...Like buses, you wait for ages and then these posts come along in threes...jump back a couple of posts and all should become clear :)

Postcards from the edge...Part 2




previous post continued...:)

...However, having created these little pictures I wasn't wildly keen on I started thinking about what might work on such a small scale. Inspired by the weather I started doing these bolder pictures of views through the rain covered windows. For these I used normal brushes and masking fluid, as with the larger paintings, but they were still very quick to do...lots of splashing water around and making a mess everywhere...I know Sue will be very pleased to hear that ;) The first ones were actual views through the window, but I ended up just sloshing the paint on to do the later ones, I enjoyed the effect I was getting, so I just kept going :)

Postcards from the edge...Part 1






Well, it's been a long time since the last post as I've been away on my holidays...lovely weather...;) Anyway, while I was away I had a play with some watercolour postcards. Quick sketches done with a little brush that you fill with water, so all very easy to pop in your pocket and capture something quickly (thanks to Lorna for the idea :)).

I'd have to say I didn't really enjoy doing these first ones, I hadn't done any watercolours for a couple of months and the combination of brush and scale really didn't get things flowing. But they were a good way of getting things started, I did a couple of full size paintings (which i'll post soon) and they turned out ok.

...Blogger doesn't seem to want to let me post millions of pics at once, so I'll split this post up...:)

Saturday, 19 July 2008

More work in progress

Birthday parties, allotment digging and visits to Art In Action all out of the way today, so I did some painting :) Tiger and 'man in box' shapes in. Need to do a bit on the box and the background and then I can start building up the paint.

Friday, 11 July 2008

and then there was a rhino...

Got some paint onto the rhino figure this afternoon. Re-drew him quite a bit while I was at it...the hybrid human/animal look is working well I think and I'm starting to see some of those interesting lines I get so excited about, so all in all a positive session :)

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Finally got some paint on...

Have been working on this over the last week, just drawing the design out, changing a few bits here and there as it develops... Pencil on black canvas doesn’t really show up very well in a photo, so I haven’t bothered posting anything until now…today I’ve started adding some paint as you can see :). This is the ‘Ape’ character sat atop the box… the big cat has now become a tiger…I like the idea of using the stripes to echo some of the spiky shapes in the foreground. I’ve marked out the main line of the tigers spine in the background, but I’ll leave drawing him fully until there’s a bit more paint on and the shapes become clearer…The way the figure in the box is drawn is now totally different and I’m really pleased with the way he’s developing (though you can’t see him very clearly yet…:))

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Black and Red Ideas



Thought I’d post a few scribbles I’ve done while thinking about the next picture I’m going to do…currently called ‘Black and Red’. I’ll leave you to see if you can interpret anything from these…they are quite messy, but that’s the way I do things…I don’t think I’m going to explain what it’s all about, a painting should be able to stand on its own two feet, rather than need a written dissertation…

I had the idea about a year ago and I’ve been looking at ‘Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X’ by Francis Bacon and ‘Guernica’ by Pablo Picasso for…emotional inspiration…So it’s going to be pretty dark :)

Friday, 27 June 2008

"The Parents" back at home

Here I am with my painting in the Royal Academy!...albeit out back in the storage area :) (thanks to Ian, for the inspiration for taking this pic ;))

According to the handlers who fetched it out of storage, this was their favourite picture in there…So someone likes me :)…perhaps next year, a few of them will be on the selection committee ;) Then again, they might have said that to everyone…or it might have been the last one in there, but either way, it was nice to hear :)

Went for a lovely wander around the embankment after picking up the pictures, ate too much, drank too much …saw this sand sculpture and lots of buskers, jugglers etc, sat in the sun talking about arty things we might all do in the future… all in all had a lot of fun…swore next year I’d take a smaller painting though…but I doubt I will :)


Sunday, 22 June 2008

Golden Key - Finished



Came down with a bout of man flu this weekend, so didn’t get much painting done, however I’ve finished this one off today. I’ll put it in the Eynsham Art Group Summer Exhibition 5th – 13th July, should you want to go see it…or better still, go and buy it ;)

I’m really pleased with the way it’s turned out. As with the watercolours, I think the techniques I’ve used here are giving me an interesting, unique vein to explore further…will get another canvas gesso’d up this week ready to go…:)

(Have attached a couple of close-ups for anyone that wants to view the mysterious lines in more detail ;))

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Sunday, 15 June 2008

More shapes...

Day three and I’ve added some more detail to the background.

I spent a LONG time just looking at this today…there are some elements that I like (overall composition, sky, pose of the figure, sections of the outlines), but the general application of the paint is not yet working…it’s too like a lino cut and not enough like a painting…this is partly due to the nature of acrylic paint and my love/hate relationship with its properties(or lack of skill in using it), but mainly due to the fact that this is an experiment and I don’t know exactly where I’m going…

I need to find a way to blend the acrylics, that gives me a ‘painterly’ look, without having that ‘messy’ look that you can get from acrylics when sections are drying before you’ve had a chance to work them…the current blocks of colour are too lino cut ish….too like a cartoon…

Friday, 13 June 2008

Phase 2

Day two of experimentation and some of the lines are starting to come together nicely. I’m painting the background spaces rather than drawing the actual lines, which is giving me some interesting details along the lines which I really like…the effect is a little bit like a lino cut…anyway, there’s a bit more blocking in of colour to go yet, then I’m going to work the lines themselves, pulling out a few details here and there while tiding up balancing the weight of the lines…Once that’s done I’ll start working on the internal painting…all in all, I’m please with the way this is going, I’m certainly picking up some useful tips :)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Experimentation part 1

I’m doing a bit of experimentation this week. It’s an acrylic, playing with lines, figures and storytelling, based on a very short story called The Golden Key by the Brothers Grimm.

For quite a while now I’ve wanted to take the strong lines used in the watercolours and get them onto canvas in some form. I’ve considered several different methods, some very similar to the watercolours themselves, but part of my desire to use canvas/oil/acrylic is to gain more control over the lines in order to depict figures... The looseness of the watercolour method just doesn’t allow me to achieve that. However, I want to retain the spontaneity that I’ve been getting in the watercolours, which is something that is sometimes missing from some of my ‘traditional’ oils…

So this is it, phase one, blocking in the composition. I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to develop…we’ll see as the week progresses…:)

Saturday, 7 June 2008

The Hills are Alive...

Woodstock Church seen from over the lake in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Blenheim 07

Column of Victory, seen over the water, Blenheim number 07. I’ve two more Blenheim sketches in my little book, so perhaps I’ll get those done over the weekend. Then there are a couple of Burford sketches, with lots of curvy flowing buildings and giant lollypop trees, then a Cornish sea view waiting to be done…I should stop typing and get a move on :)

Friday, 30 May 2008

The Man from the RA he say…

No…not this year alas…So it’s 2-0 to the RA…will have to think of something truly spectacular for next year...

I’d already seen the article in the RA Magazine on some of Tracy Emin and Humphrey Oceans selections and they were certainly ‘different’ from my entry, so I wasn’t that surprised that my painting wasn’t selected…but there’s always a moment of “Why don’t they like me..." Still, onward and upward, there’s always next year and next month I want to enter one of the swirling watercolours for the RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour competition…so let’s see if that fairs any better…Good luck to everyone else that entered the RA, I know there are a few of you out there that read this :) and if you don’t get in this year, try again next year…I know I will :)

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Giant Bulrushes

Blenheim 05. Giant bulrushes…Have been playing around with perspective again, flattening the architecture while letting ‘nature’ run wild. Am also building up a number of different ways of applying the masking fluid which are starting to give nice flowing lines (not that easy with masking fluid…) All in all, I’m very pleased with the way these are going…

I got lots of sketches for paintings done while invigilating during Artweeks, this being the first of those…Am increasingly enjoying changing the views to make a better picture, rather than being a slave to the accuracy of the scene…which I’ve been doing for FAR to long :)

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Can't think of a title, but here's a picture :)

Painting days are a bit all over the place this week, but here’s today’s effort. This is the barn on the right hand side of the road as you drive towards Burford. It looks like builders are about to move in and turn it into a house, so I thought I’d have a go at it before it changed or got hidden from view.

Am really pleased with the way the watercolours are going at the moment, the uniqueness of the style is getting stronger and I’m increasingly pushing the painting further away from the source material…well that’s the aim anyway :)