Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Abstract Holiday

from time to time my paintings start to become "samey" and I begin to lose my way, creatively speaking. Things stop working for me and I lose interest. It is on these occasions that I allow myself an "abstract holiday".

I can paint what I like, no need to worry about producing a great masterpiece and  it really helps me to find my way again.

This is tonight's result. I did not start with any preconceptions except that I was going to make this a work in two halves, with a large red area on one side, the smaller side of the paper. It is in pastel and is painted on a very rough 200 lb water colour paper; size about 16 x 12 inch.

Of course everyone thought it was an image of buildings but I did not have this in mind at all when in the process of  painting. It was purely geometrical considerations which were uppermost in my mind.

Of course, the magic of digital editing means that once I have the image in digital form, I can play around with the colours to my hearts content. In fact the original has been "re-coloured" so that the larger blue area has been made bluer to hide the purple/violet which I found I did not like. I normally do a series of thumbnail sketches to see if a colour combination works before I start on the actual painting. Unfortunately I did not do this with this painting.

Just to show the effect of different colours and degree of saturation, I include two edited images.

All three are better than the ooriginal unfortunately, c'est la vie!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Watercolour Demonstration night

Knowle Art Group had a wonderful demo from watercolourist Graham Blaine, a member of the Royal Birmingham  Society of Arts, last night. One of the series of professional demos which we have thru the year.

I haven't done any for quite a while, except for a little playing around, but after this I may well put the pastels away for a while and knuckle down to start using watercolours which is the media which turned me on to painting in the first place. Take a look at a couple of my old paintings:-

"Where's Daddy?"

"The Old Lane"

But back to Graham Blain a wonderful artist and a very entertaining evening, even if Graham himself was not altogether happy with the results. It seemed to have conveyed some very useful ideas to all 20 of us who were captivated. See some of Graham's work at one of these sites:-

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A colourful sky, a pastel painting

Painting has been taking a back seat recently as I have been very busy and also decided to start my very first novel. But I still manage to get to my art group, once a week for a couple of hours so it is great that I can usually complete one of my landscapes in that time.

This one for instance, one which I really like and received some very good comments from my colleagues at the art group.

But painting it was more involved than it might appear.

Starting with an A4 sheet of black general purpose art paper (cheap!), I covered the paper with a layer of black pastel. Simple linear strokes with the side of a softish pastel stick (origin unknown). This was then blended all over using circular strokes with the tips of three fingers and then fixed using an inexpensive hair spray.

I repeated this procedure twice using a mid-blue pastel and then a dark violet pastel. This was the background.

The next step was to use a mid-brown, again on its side, to paint in the top of the horizon at the bottom of the painting. below this a dark green was wiped across the painting. These colours were blended where they overlapped, and then grass-like strokes were added at the extreme bottom in a lighter green and other colours.

Cloud shapes were the next step. A light and mid-violet were used to create the main shapes and then a red to top off these shapes. A mid-blue was then added to create texture around the clouds.

Next, a red-brown was used -on its side- to create the colouring on the horizon. This was blended in a single direction (up) using the side of the thumb to create the spiky appearance. More colours were added at the horizon to ground this colour. I am not sure what it represents, make your own mind up but it does help the composition.

And finally, some dark brown was added and blended along the lighter brown of the horizon.

Here is a shot of the original from a book :-

it is in Ron Ranson's Painting School Series, PASTELS by Diana Constance.

Mine is not meant to be a reproduction of the original, I always aim to create a  painting from a reference which inspired me without copying. 

Perhaps this is more involved than you thought after all.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Two new pastel paintings for 2014

Ok its 2014 (well I know I am a little late but it has been a hard month!

So what have I been doing? I had intended to turn my hand to some watercolours after christmas, it has been so long but because it has been such a difficult month for a number of reasons I took the easy way out and have been using my pastels at my weekly art group meetings. And that is getting to be the only time I actually get down to any painting these days. Something else that is going to have to change, what's that? Who said something about New Year Resolutions? Well you are not too far off the mark and that's another that fell by the wayside.

The first is a version of a painting which I first did in watercolour. A hilltop with a road/track going between a line of birch trees.

Here is the original watercolour

Very different, of course the media creates a difference but the compsition is somewhat different as well. The major difference in technique, is that in the watercolour of course the lighter trees were saved when the blue background was washed in. In the pastel, the background is painted first and then the trees are painted over. It certainly makes a difference.

The second pastel is a very simple winter landscape, last week I did not have a lot of time because I had lost the key to the coffee cupboard and spent so long looking for it. We eventually had to manage without a drink that evening. I think it actgually needs a few details finishing off but for now at least it shows that I am working - not a lot, but working.

Apart from these I have completed an abstract but that will have to wait for another post. 

Have you ever thought about visiting my Zazzle store, I have most of my paintings available on stretched canvas. prices start at around $70. Also available on posters, cards and postcards. I would also love it if you would visit my page on Facebook and like it. Yes I know, but I get more information with more likes. Thanks in advance