Tuesday, 29 November 2011

November Challenge.

Pemaquid Wave - Photograph

This month's challenge subject shared with my friend Peter Ward, (watercolourfanatic.blogspot.com). I set the challenge with the photograph above. It is a shot that I took whilst in Maine last month. As is too often the case I became pressed for time and don't think I've given this the attention that it deserved. Art fair and house guests along with the usual grand parenting tasks seem to have eaten up the month.

What would I have done differently given sensible planning? Well the first thing would be to do a test strip on how the various hues worked together. First mistake was to choose the wrong blue as the basis for the sea. It jars against some of the hues. I tried to kill it a little by putting on a second wash and it's not as successful as I'd hoped. I was pleased that I decided to crop the sky out of the picture as it would have created another horizontal line across the picture. Some of my mixes didn't work out first time, again something that could have been remedied by testing beforehand. Just a bad day I suppose.

Pemaquid Wave - watercolour on Rough paper 14" x 11"

Sunday, 20 November 2011

North East Art Fair

Once again the North East Art Fair has come around and I set up stall to see how my works were being viewed by the local public, always an interesting experience. And this year was another learning day that left me with some suspended questions.

The good thing was the positive feedback that certain images garnered and I had some interesting conversations about subject matter, painting style and presentation of pictures. Another good thing for me was a sale and a strong expression of interest in another piece. Not as good on the sales front as last year but I was expecting nothing in the current climate.

That brings me to the main question that I came away with, should we artists reduce our prices to reflect the reality out there? It was clear from some of the pricing adopted by some of the other artists that they were gambling on lowering their prices to make sales. In fact there were one or two whose pricing was little more than the cost of their frame. I'm not sure that this makes any sense at all but I would love to hear what other artists think of this.

My collection at the North East Art Fair

Thursday, 17 November 2011

More Flowers

While the flowers are still round the house it is tempting to continue working with them. This has presented me with a problem that I hadn't thought of until Ray commented on my last post. I was a little dissatisfied with the last effort and felt even more so with the first of these. The reason being they have a tight feeling about them that makes them look a little laboured.

Regular readers will recognise the same old problem, a difficulty in remaining loose throughout a painting. The only reason I can think of relates to moving between oil and watercolour. The two media require different considerations in technique and it has become clear to me that I need to think a little more carefully when shifting between the media.

Bouquet 2 - Watercolour on Not paper 14" x 11"

The next one is a study of one flower extracted from the bunch. An exercise in wet into wet. Choosing the right moment to introduce the second colour and getting the correct consistency of paint are the two challenges in this process. I'm not too unhappy about the way these experiments have worked on this one.

Rose - Watercolour on Not paper 14" x 11"

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Sheila brought in a bouquet and when I said the I'd be constructing one of my usual still life arrangements she responded by suggesting that I concentrate on the flowers themselves and forget about other distractions. So I decided to take up that idea and fill my sheet with what lay in front of me.

Bouquet - Watercolour on Not paper 16" x 12"

Monday, 14 November 2011

A few final tweaks

Made a few little adjustments today. Altered shadow shapes, put in some extra darks, greyed some of smaller rocks and softened the base of the main stack. Just thought I'd post it to see if anyone thinks the changes make a difference.

South of Marsden - Oil on canvas board 20" x 16"

Sunday, 13 November 2011

South of Marsden

Having got on a bit of a roll recently, drawing and painting, I decided to try a studio piece based on a plein air oil sketch that I'd done earlier in the year. After my first pass at this I posted it on Wet Canvas as a 'work in progress' and I received some good feedback in terms of how it might be improved. After incorporating these I am starting to feel that it is moving towards a finish, so here it is. As with all these works, I like to sit back for a while before deciding that it is finished. I always welcome any criticism or suggestion about pieces that I post.

South of Marsden - Oil on canvas board 20" x 16"

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Keep on Drawing

Another drawing, same model, my partner in crime, musician and artist Jed Grimes. This one looks a little more like him than the last one. Done with a 0.5 HB propelling pencil.

Jed - Graphite on Cartridge paper 8" x 6"

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Keeping One's Hand In

In all of the hurly burly of life it is often to easy to neglect the basics of one's craft. When time constrained it is not unusual to dive straight into the paint pots without the best preparation and it is even easier to forget about honing the important underpinnings of our craft by missing out on drawing practice.

So this week's post is a little reminder to myself that I should do it more often. Sketch of a friend of mine done on Thursday evening. It isn't a great likeness but is a better effort that some of my recent portrait attempts which are littered with school boy errors. What is they say about practice?

Jed - Graphite on cartridge paper 8" x 6"