Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Mountain Stream

Sheila and I snatched a couple of days in the Lakes and I managed to pack some painting kit. A short walk from the road near Ullswater and I decided to sketch a stream as it cascaded towards the lake. The resultant piece is very unfinished but gives me a decent impression of the scene I was faced with. It would be possible to make some additions and bring out some more detail but that might reduce the immediacy of what was done on site. It could be worked up into a studio piece. Just delighted to get the brushes out.

Mountain Stream - oil on canvas board 12" x 10"

Friday, 23 September 2011

More Fresh Air

When the opportunity comes to spend time with the paints it should be taken. So while I was out with the oils painting the rocks and beach I found myself with some time left before heading home. Fortunately the watercolour stuff was in the car so I decided to use the little time left to splash some of them as well. Strange thing, when I use oils I like to stand, with watercolour I quite like to sit. I wonder why that might be?

There are some flaws in paint application with this, trying to get another glaze on without checking how dry the layer is makes for problems. Lots of fun to finish the day out.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fresh Air at Last

My frustration at not getting out to paint had begun to irritate me and the first rain free day that came along saw me pack the plein air kit and head for my favourite stretch of coast. Light conditions were variable, my technique really rusty but the sheer pleasure of splashing oil paint in the fresh air made up for it all.

As I said the technique is rusty, meaning that the myriad decisions that need to be taken during the painting process were taking a lot longer than would normally be the case. That means problems with the changing light. It takes confidence to map a lighting plan at the start and stick to it regardless of the changes that are taking place in front of you. The constant observation required to paint sends all sorts of conflicting messages between the scene and what has made it onto the canvas. Nevertheless I went home with a certain amount of contentment having made it out at last.

Marsden Beach - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Short Walk

The wind died today so I was determined to get out for a short while and try something a little different. Last night I was browsing some of my art books and came across Judi Whitton's book "Loosen up your Watercolours". Regular readers will know that one of my hang ups is the fairly common response to tighten up as a painting progresses. So I decided that today would be a sketch book attempt to loosen up my work.

Durham is a favourite city of mine and I'm lucky enough to have the benefit of living just a few miles away. There are many stunning views in the city but none of the better ones have the Cathedral and Castle as absentees. So the river bank it was and the image below is today's effort to loosen my watercolours. I'll let you judge how successful I've been. I have my own views as to how it might be improved.

Durham - watercolour on Not paper 11" x 9"

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Cerulean Blues Brothers beat the Wind

Some while ago I introduced you to my lifelong pal, Jed. We met in schooldays and have kept in touch ever since. He is a very versatile artist, working in a variety of media, musician and educator. Now that we have reached an age where we are not permanently engaged in work we have the occasional opportunity to get together, share ideas, experiences and our latest projects. Then there are the days we devote to painting. Yesterday was one of those but the weather made it impossible to get outside as we had planned. The obvious solution in the circumstances is to throw a few bits and pieces onto the table and create a still life composition.

Still life is difficult subject matter requiring patience in getting a decent drawing down before the problems set by light and colour selection kick in. In my current tentative 'getting back into it' stage I'd set myself a testing task.

The resultant image is below. There are some passages that I'm pleased with and others where a more confident use of the brush might have improved things but nevertheless things are heading in the right direction. We felt we deserved the contents of the bottle after a testing afternoon.

Still life Sept. 13th - watercolour on Not paper 16" x 12"

Monday, 12 September 2011

House Bound by Hurricane

I had intended painting outdoors today. In fact I tried and couldn't find a spot where it was possible to keep the easel upright, the tail end of Katia is currently visiting the North East. So home and a change of plan. I decided to try and produce something loose using one brush, a size 10 sable. Out came the sketch books from our round the world trip of last year and I lighted upon one of the drawings I made in Monument Valley.

Another step on the road to growing confidence with the brushes. I need to get in form as I'll be off to do a week with Charles Reid next month, that will get the juices flowing as well as the pigment.

Butte Monument Valley - watercolour on Rough paper 12" x 9"

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sketch book portrait

A small portrait sketch done on holiday.

Portrait - watercolour on Not paper 10" x 10"

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Belated June/ July Project

The post title says it all. This was due to be posted at the end of July and as seems to be the case at present, life got in the way. Not in a bad way. A friend wanted help to deliver a car to his apartment in Southern Spain so I didn't hesitate to say 'yes' when asked. A week's road trip after which Sheila flew out and we then had an unexpected holiday in the sun.

On return we headed off to the Lakes but unfortunately I conspired to cause myself injury and ended up with a bunch of torn shoulder muscles and damaged tendons. Some excuse, but excuse it is for my latest hiatus.

The painting posted is one of a number of unsatisfactory attempts to address the photographs sent by my pal, Peter for the latest round of our monthly challenges. You can find him and his post at www.watercolourfanatic.blogspot.com

For me the painting lacks depth of both colour and tonal variation. The handling of the water puddles is poor and the drawing suspect. Need I go on. Just lots of apologies to those of you patient enough to hang on till this appeared.

Another LEARNING experience.

Boats - watercolour 11" x 9" on rough paper