Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Reformed Reprobates Painting Society

Yesterday was a lot of fun. I spent the day with my life long friend, Jed and along with our usual bouts of surreal story telling we knuckled down to do some painting and drawing. Our occasional art get togethers we have dubbed meetings of the Reformed Reprobates Painting Society. The name being the euphemistic title describing our alternative to the occasional lost days partaking of social liquid refreshment.

When I arrived at Jed's he had set up a complicated breakfast table as the basis for some still life work. Much as I love still life work this one was a real challenge, difficult drawing, difficult perspective and a beggar to get the inter linking of the shapes and sizes anywhere near correct.

However, recent excursions in still life had built up sufficient confidence to give it a go. This is a subject that I would have found daunting not too long ago but I had the distinct feeling that the many hours drawing were starting to show some dividend. Just goes to show, it's true what they say about 'practice'.

As always there are all sorts of things that strike me as needing to be attacked a little differently next time but I found this a very useful and interesting exercise with some pleasing aspects. All in all, a fulfilling day.

Breakfast Table - Watercolour on Not paper 16" x 12"

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Value, value, value

A few weeks ago my blogging buddy, Peter Ward, posted the photograph below along with his painting of it. Peter is engaged in an interesting project making a set of paintings of native americans from old photographs.

In my comment on his picture I mentioned the fact that the wide range of values in the photograph were not part of his picture plan. Peter asked at the time how that might be done so I decided to have a bash myself using the same source picture.
Apache Brave - photograph

One of the difficulties with watercolour is representing the darkest values without using thick paint and little water and thereby losing one of the great appeals of the medium, its ability to convey a sense of luminosity. Making the darks interesting is another challenge and that requires sensitive use of mixes to retain inherent value and colour interest.

My own work often suffers from poor value range and I have spent some time thinking about ways to improve it so I relished the opportunity to give this project a go.

Whilst only partially successful, poor drawing and some insipid passages, there is a reasonable value range without getting to the darkest end of that spectrum. So all in all I think it needs a bit of dark boosting. The danger in attempting that would be to turn the darks into a muddier broth than I have at present.

Apache Brave - watercolour on Not paper 11" x 9"

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Belated August Project

This is last moth's project that my friend Peter and I have attempted. His version can be found on his blog. This comes from a photograph that I took of a favourite location, Souter lighthouse. My sketchbook attempt and the original photograph are in my July 4th post.

At the time I passed the photograph on to Peter, he commented that he preferred another photograph where he thought that the elements linked together in a better fashion. This got me to thinking that I should try to make better links in my first composition. The solution for me was to include the diagonal path to take the eye up to the skyline and the end of the wall in front of the lighthouse. I couldn't bear to leave the seat out of the picture as it provides some foreground interest and a balancing shape across the picture from the lighthouse. The final image has some obvious inadequacies but nevertheless was an enjoyable piece.

Souter lighthouse - Water colour on Rough paper 16" x 12"