Friday, 15 July 2011

Opportunity Knocks

Sitting in my room last weekend down in Norfolk having spent a hard day at the Norfolk Painting School I felt the need to relax a little or have a lie down and risk staying there till the next morning. I decided that a little watercolour work might keep me awake and get me in the mood to head out for an evening meal.

In the lounge of the digs I had spotted an interesting piece of porcelain and set it up on a table with a small vase of flowers. My palette box was sitting in front of the objects and demanded to be part of the composition so I stuck a brush in there as well. The effort did the trick and I was ready to eat once it was complete.

Susie's Pot - Watercolour on Not paper 14" x 11"

Monday, 11 July 2011

Studying at the Norfolk Painting School

The Norfolk Painting School has become a spiritual home for me since I first went there to discover the mysteries of oil painting. The teaching skill, encyclopaedic knowledge and enthusiasm of proprietor, Martin Kinnear make it a pleasure to spend a couple of days there to expand one's education. This time I had selected a two day investigation of impressionism.

As usual I was not disappointed, the depth of thought required and the rate of working contributed to a very satisfying experience.

The course was largely based around the work of Monet and we started with a detailed presentation relating to the scientific basis of various aspects of his technique. This lead to our first practical exercise exploring the notion of equiluminence and the use of balanced value colours to create the illusion of value shift in the picture. The selected image was the Sunset in Le Havre. We began by making a judgement as to the overall value of the piece then making a grey mix of paint at that value. The grey mix was then used to balance the other colours. We checked our effort using red coloured filters. The technique is one that many plein air painters use to unify their work; the so called 'mud' from their palette boards being the equivalent of our grey mix.

Sunset at Le Havre after Monet - One hour oil sketch on MDF 12" x 10"

Our next task was an exploration of some of the Seine series of paintings. The theme was Motif Planning, making decisions about dominant colour, warm/ cool bias, harmonic colours and complementaries. Having made a set of choices we then produced a sketch to show our thinking.

Seine at Giverny after Monet - Oil sketch on MDF 10" x 8"

As often happens on Martin's courses the main task is the production of a large piece, 40" x 30", and the Seine paintings were to be the stimulus. After creating the colour beginning for our large works we retired for the evening knowing that we had a hard day ahead completing the piece.

The results of my efforts are below.

Seine at Giverny after Monet - Oil on canvas 40" x 30"

Another fine couple of days. Try it sometime.