Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Struggle Indeed

Regular readers will know that it is over a month since my last post and that absence indicates a state of inactivity on the painting front. Holidays, company, family celebrations, grandchild sitting and excess induced inertia have had the brushes well and truly redundant.

In preparation for the monthly project I moistened the paints and squeezed out some fresh pigment and had a bash at a favourite subject, flowers on the kitchen table. You may have heard me mention in the past that regular practise is the key to consistency, well these efforts are a case in point. In fact the main reason for posting them at all is to give myself the appropriate boot up the rear and get down to some more serious work.

Flowers - watercolour on rough paper

You will notice that the first piece attempted has resulted in an unfinished picture. It is not usual for me to abandon a work but my inconsistency in paint application became a mental barrier on this occasion and I decided that instead of soldiering on I should step back and reflect on why I was dissatisfied.

Below are two details that I think get to the heart of my problem. In the first I've managed to get some decent paint in the irises with some variety of colour and interest. Now compare that with the weak colour in the second detail. The greens lack any depth or vibrancy. For me this inconsistency kills the balance in the piece and the reason is mostly down to the painting muscles being out of use for so long and then finding difficulty in what is a difficult technique anyway, that of getting the consistency of the paint right before laying it on the paper.

Detail 1

Detail 2

The next session had me attempt another interest of mine, old photographs of the mining communities and their use as subjects for study. Whilst this picture has problems of its own I started to get the feel of the paint again. Hopefully, the next session will produce another step in the right direction.

Miner - watercolour on Not paper

A little thought at the start of the new year and that is a thanks to all of you who have visited and given me food for thought and inspiration. Last year was a big learning experience for me and resulted in me entering the world of selling artists. That has been a real novelty and very flattering that there are people out there who have enjoyed my work sufficiently well to put their hands in their pockets and buy them.

Hopefully next year will be as exciting and full of similar learning experiences.


Caroline said...

You really have a technical eye Mick! I look at both of the paintings and think how lovely they are. To me the flowers are fresh looking and alive which is something that is not easy to achieve. The miner is well painted the paint is fluid and there are no hard edges it flows! Don't be so hard on yourself simply paint and let your ability to capture likeness and give the painting emotion free reign. Good to have you back blogging. It is never easy to make a start yet once we start it can be hard to stop painting!

Peter Ward said...

Glad you've stirred yourself out of your painting inertia Mick! It is true that you get `ring rusty' if the paint box is closed too long (and the paints dry up). I've just this minute done another post on mine, flowers also as it happens but under quite different parameters. My only comment would be why don't you crop the flower painting in portrait format and get rid of that blank area on the right? I think that would work very well.

Peter Ward said...

I should have said I like the miner, and as someone who was initially brought up in a mining village in the North-East, know what they look like.
The flower painting is nice and delicate.

Mick Carney said...

Caroline - Thanks so much for your kindness. I think my frustration with the flowers is my wish to combine delicacy with good colour and value range. When I fail to achieve that I am disappointed with my efforts. Hopefully this striving will be the vehicle by which I gain some improvement.

Mick Carney said...

Peter - Cheers. The space on the paper is where I intended to paint the rest of my table top composition but it was never finished for the reasons mentioned in the post. Just been doing some more work on the miner to create a bit of context, not enough light to photograph it so I'll post it later.