Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Sanctuary, Castlerigg

In the absence of much other painting activity, here is another piece from my watercolour sketch book that accompanies me to most places. This was done on our recent trip to the Lake District.

This is a magical place. Castlerigg Stone Circle sits up above Keswick and fascinates the thousands of visitors who come to marvel at its design and speculate about its function in the ancient world. To make this picture I sat upon one of the flatter stones in the inner circle known as the Sanctuary. My idea was to create a more intimate image than would be possible taking in the full circle of stones.

The Sanctuary, Castlerigg - Watercolour on Not paper 14" x 11"

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Lakes Break

This week we got away for a couple of days in the wonderful Lake District and even experienced a little decent weather. In between the pleasant walking and relaxation the odd splash of paint rested on paper. The image here is from a watercolour sketch done at one of the most popular spots in Keswick. The view is across Derwentwater from Friar's Crag.

Cat Bells - Watercolour on Rough paper 14' x 11"

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

May Project

The latest in the series of monthly projects shared by Peter Ward (www.watercolourfanatic@blogspot.com) and myself. The photograph is one I took on the Bridgewater canal at Lymm.

Bridgewater Canal at Lymm - Photograph

My regulars will be tiring of my recent travails and this piece epitomises the difficulties. I selected the image, thinking it would be a good test of a variety of things, including perspective. I began work on the picture a couple of weeks ago and it took days till I got the drawing anywhere near right and it's still not there. This had me almost avoiding the piece rather than get on with it. Once the painting was started the work was interrupted by other matters and was completed in stages over a number of sessions and I think that shows in the lack of linking passages. Had it not been for the arrangement I have with Peter I may well have ditched this piece.

Anyway here it is and I'm always happy to hear what fellow artists have to say about the flaws and how they might be worked upon.

Bridgewater Canal at Lymm - Watercolour on Rough paper 16" x 12"

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Frustration and Working Through It

Feeling uncreative and attempting to get to the other side of it is something that many artists complain of, and I'm no different. The last couple of weeks have given me opportunities to paint, much wished for as I've struggled to find that time. Having found the time it is easy to imagine the despair of producing nothing of any merit, even in my own limited view. Oil painting in the Lake District produced more canvas wiping than I've ever done before. Watercolours were so weak and insipid that they hit the bin. How to get over it became the question?

Strangely enough the potential key to unlocking the impasse as I watched a late night film about the White Stripes. During the course of the programme Jack White was interviewed and made a very clear exposition of the relationship between work and creativity. Work is the answer. I awoke to the self evident thought that I need to work harder.

Going back to first principles is often a good way to re-focus on what is important in one's work. I decided to look through some of the books that line my shelves and pick out one or two that related to the type of subject matter I had been attempting in the Lakes. The book I ended up with was one by the Welsh artist, David Bellamy. In there I found a demonstration piece that gave me a chance to do some basic exercises in landscape rendition. The resulting effort is pictured below and whilst not perfect is a lot closer to being acceptable than other recent work.

Pembroke Coast - Watercolour on Rough paper 14" x 11"