Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Still Life No. 8 plus 100Artworks challenge

I had decided that this would be the last of the Still Life collage paintings, mainly because I feel it's good to try different techniques and different subjects.  That's, after all  what this blog is all about,  exploring design and techniques!  the trouble is, I am still really enjoying them, and I have loads of ideas for more.  The dilemma is should I carry on, or should I force myself to step out of the box onto the scary slippery slope of change?

Still Life No. 8, acrylic mixed media, 8 x 10 inch

I have also decided that uploading single images from the 100 Artworks Challenge is just too time consuming, so here are the first 9 in the experimental acrylic landscape series.

100 Artworks Challenge, acrylic landscapes, 1 to 9

I really can't believe that another month has gone by so quickly.  I have only missed one day since January 1st, so have 89 posts and about 100 photos uploaded.  I give myself a pat on the back, because some days it has just been so difficult to do, but I can see already that I am less hesitant to take chances, less worried about the outcomes (there's always tomorrow's artwork), and I feel I know my materials so much better than I did pre-Christmas 2014.

Here's to the next three months - they will be a real challenge as I am away three times in the next three months, so I will need to plan a lot.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Last of the March seascapes

I'm out all day today at a drypoint printmaking workshop with Claire West, so quickly re-worked this piece.  I'll be posting some of the drypoint prints tomorrow.

Seascape, acrylic, 9 x 10 inch

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Still Life No. 7, plus two more 100artworks

Another small Still Life, as I am trying to catch up with the Jane Davies online workshop 'Sketchbook Practise'.

Still Life No. 7, acrylic, 6 x 6 inch

And here are No.'s 7 & 8 of the 100 Artworks challenge

100 Artworks Challenge No. 7, acrylic, 5½ inch square

100 Artworks Challenge, acrylic, 5½ inch square, palette knife

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Still Life No. 6 plus two more 100artworks

I didn't have too much time today, so worked on a small Still Life.  It's good to change scale sometimes as it makes you think again about composition, and the scale of mark making.

Still Life No. 6, acrylic, 6 x 6 inch

I also managed to do a couple more of the 100 Artworks challenge in the Landscape Series.

100 Artworks, No. 5, acrylic 5½ inch square

100 Artworks No.6, acrylic, 5½ inch square

Friday, 27 March 2015

Still Life collage No.5 and No.3 & 4 of the 100 Artworks Challenge

Yet another still life collage, I haven't got tired of doing these yet, and am still loving them.  I have 3 or 4 prepared boards still to use, so expect more of them.

Still Life collage, acrylic, 10 x 14 inch

And here are two more for the 100 Artworks Challenge

100 Artworks Challenge, No.3, acrylic mixed media 5½ inch square

100 Artworks Challenge No. 4 acrylic mixed media 5½ inch square

I am so enjoying doing these small acrylics, giving me a chance to experiment with no pressure.  they only take between 15 and 30 minutes, so if it doesn't work I haven't lost much time, and the materials are pennies.

Thanks to Kellee Wynne for coming up with the challenge.  On her blog today she talks about taking it a step further, making it 10 x 100 Artworks, and I think it's a great idea.  I want to do still life for my next 100!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Still Life Collage No.4

I am so enjoying working with these still life collages.  Each one is an exploration of composition, colour and tone. 

Still Life No. 4, acrylic mixed media, 6 x 7 inch

And here is my second painting in the 100 Artworks Challenge, organised by Kellee Wynne, see yesterday for link.

100 Artworks No.2, acrylic 5½ inch square

I've also worked on about a dozen mark making pages for the sketchbook Practise online workshop with Jane Davies, but will post them over on that blog as they aren't very exciting.

Had a good day today, but I'm tired out.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Still Life Collage No.3

I am much happier with this one, I think the balance of light and dark, warm and cool, has worked.  The objects are also balanced small and large, angular and curved.

Still Life No.3, acrylic mixed media, 9 x 10 inch

Later today I will be adding another artwork.  I have joined the '100 Artworks Challenge' started by Kellee Wynne


You can read all about it here:The 100 Artworks Challenge by Kellee Wynne  The idea is to create 100 pieces of artwork within these loose guidelines:
  • One size (small works or large if you dare!)
  • One substrate (paper, canvas, etc)
  • One subject (landscape, still life, imaginary, abstract, etc)
  • One set of materials (printmaking, acrylic, mixed media, etc.)
  • Work every week, but without a deadline
  • Share your work
To explore one thing and improving that by repetition. I have decided to go with 'Landscapes'  I think at the moment I am going with very loose landscapes, but I will see where it takes me.

I am starting on heavy 'all media' paper by Seawhites, cut to 5½ inch (14cm)  square.  I want to explore other formats later so this will change to include landscape and portrait rectangles, including extreme formats in these.

I have made myself a 'list' of ideas to explore such as complementary colours, analogous colours, neutrals, high and low key colours.  I am also going to experiment with the backgrounds, including gesso, absorbent medium, light molding paste, and collage.

I will also try to experiment with mark making, including the tools, round brush, flat brush, palette knife, fingers, credit card, stamps, scratching tools etc.

Lastly I want to look at compositional formats such as cruciform, diagonal, S curve, low horizon, high horizon etc.  So no pressure!

And if that isn't enough, I also start Jane Davies 'Sketchbook Practise online workshop today, which will last for the next six weeks, and I know that I will be producing loads of work for that.  So I may not get much sleep over the next couple of months.

Here is the first of my 100 Artworks Challenge

100Artworks No.1, acrylic, 5½ inch square

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Still life collage No. 2

Here is the second in the series of Still Life collages.  I am not quite so happy about this one.  I think it needs a little something else, but will leave it on the wall for a while to see where to go with it.

Still Life Collage, acrylic mixed media,  9 x 10inch

Monday, 23 March 2015

Still Life collage

Felt like doing some collage today, so I got out all my papers that I have coloured and patterned, prepped up some boards and got started.

It's very compulsive, once you start adding papers to boards to form backgrounds, and I ended up making eight of various sizes.  I managed to stop myself, and get on actually designing a Still Life collage on one of the prepared boards.  

Still Life Collage, mixed media acrylic, 9 x 9 inch

I also use transparent papers, a technique learnt from Jane Davies in her Extreme Composition class.  These are so useful for adding pattern without adding colour.  I like to use Tissuetex, sometimes called Lens Tissue, or Abaca Tissue.  This is a very strong tissue, which when glued down is almost invisible.  I use markers, pencils and pens to scribble, write or stamp onto the tissues.  

I also use catering greaseproof paper in the same way, the catering type being thinner than normal.  I like the fact that the greaseproof wrinkles when wet, giving texture to the work.  Thank you Jane Davies.

I have worked into the piece when it was dry, with charcoal and water-soluble pencil.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Another charcoal drawing

While I had the paper and charcoal out I did another drawing.  In this one I am trying to make more expressive marks.  This was also done from a photograph.

Jug, charcoal and Conte pencil, 9 x 10 inch

Saturday, 21 March 2015

still here

The weekend away was cancelled so after I put away all the stuff I was taking, I got out the charcoal and white Conte and did some drawing.

Still Life, charcoal & Conte, 9 x 12

I first drew this still life last year, from observation.  I worked this piece from a photograph I took at the time. It isn't as good as the original, but that piece was sold.

Friday, 20 March 2015

more sketchbook work

I'm getting ready to go away for the weekend, so not much time.  Just working in my sketchbook in the evenings.

Bridlington harbour, sketchbook

Thursday, 19 March 2015


I go away tomorrow, so will have a few days off.  Here is aother sketchbook page.

Bridlington harbour sketchbook

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

sketchbook work

I have been working in my sketchbook this week, using photographs I took last week, trying to capture the racing clouds and the empty beach.

Bridlington beach, south side, sketchbook pages

Using your own photographs, printed onto thin watercolour paper and then torn to make a collage is a good way to quickly capture the feeling of a place, without having to stand in the freezing cold.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

one day missed

I missed yesterday's post.  I thought I had published the preview, but missed the button, so here is a double one for today and yesterday.

These are both re-works of paintings I did last year.  I printed them out onto watercolour paper, and then worked back into them.  The first one I added more expressive marks with acrylic.

wolds, acrylic, 8 x 10

The second print I worked over with coloured pencils, trying to keep the pencil marks in each area parallel.

Wolds, coloured pencil, 8 x 10

I often work into previous paintings, experimenting to see how I can change and improve )or not) each piece.  If the original was worked on board, then I get different results printing out onto watercolour paper.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Claire West workshop

I went to Beverley today to attend a workshop with the lovely Claire West.  Had a lovely day, but absolutely shattered now.  This is the landscape I did, it needs a lot more work before I can call it finished.

Landscape, acrylic, 12 x 12 inch

My shoulder is still very painful, so I will be doing small things next week.  It will give me time to look at today's and yesterday's paintings, to see where I want to go with them.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Still Life, after image

I spent the day at a workshop held by Driffield Art Society, lead by Paul Blackwell and Anne Thornehill.  The subject I (and most of the other attendees) chose was a white still life, light with a red light.

Paul explained about after image, and how a red light will actually give the shadows a green tint, and this was a fact.  We also noticed, as the day went on, that we saw more and more colour in the WHITE still life.  The sun came out and purple and yellow were added to the green and red.  Altogether a very good exercise, which I will be repeating when I find coloured bulbs for my lamp.

Still Life, acrylic,  14 x 15 inch

I still need to finish this piece, the top of the vase needs resolving, and the mid tones need strengthening, but it's a painting I really enjoyed.

The colour hasn't quite come out correctly in this photo, probably because I took it when the light was fading.  The orange at the left of the vase is more pinky.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Another abstract

Following on from yesterday, I managed to get another abstract painting finished.  
On the down side,  I've been researching neck and shoulder pain on the Internet, and I think I may have 'frozen shoulder' which seems to be a trapped nerve.  The pain is no better, and if it's the same by Friday I will need to make an appointment to see the doctor.

abstract seascape 2, acrylic, 12 x 14 inch

This is a real nuisance because it is my left shoulder, and I am left-handed.  The pain is in my upper arm now, as well as my shoulder and neck, so working is rather painful, but I am using my right hand as well, so not totally incapacitated yet!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Playing with abstract texture

I  worked on a still life for a while today, and then on an abstract, shown below.  Shoulder still very painful, so I didn't work for long.

Abstract seascape, acrylic, 12 x 16 inch

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Still life, stitched

I managed to get the still life I showed yesterday stitched.  I'm not sure if I am going to leave it as is, or add more paint and/or mark making.  I will probably print out the photo onto watercolour paper and experiment with it that way.   I wish I had left the pears with only a little stitching, as they leap forward now, and I don't want to add a lot more stitching to the rest of the picture.

Printing onto watercolour paper (or thin canvas) is something I have done for a few years now, and is very freeing, as if things go wrong I can always print out another copy to work on.  I also play about with the photo's of my work in Photoshop, changing the colours and tones, cropping and even stretching or adding artistic filters.

Stitched Still Life, acrylic, collage, stitch, 8 x 8 inch

I have also including a quick collage I made using transparent papers.  I like to use up any surplus acrylic paints or inks with transparent papers that I can then use in collage.  I use thin greaseproof (deli paper), catering tissue which is like the paper they wrap bread in at the bakery, and dressmakers tissue.

Still Life collage 8 x 9 inch

The pears are greaseproof paper, which wrinkles when wet and leaves these lovely marks when you paint it with very liquid colour.  The only problem with making collage papers in this way is I find it difficult to stop, and have mounds of them.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Still Life on canvas

I hurt my shoulder last night, so haven't managed to do much today.  The picture below is of a part worked still life.  It still has a long way to go, firstly with machine stitching, then maybe paint or pencil.  It will also need a good press!

Still Life, mixed media  8 x 8 inch

Sunday, 8 March 2015

An old sketch

The picture below is an old sketch, revived a little.  

Wolds sketch, acrylic & Inktense pencil, 8 x 10 inch

I had meant to put up a still life piece today, and I did work on five still life works, but I didn't get any of them finished.  I am trying out a new technique, painting and adding collage on thin canvas, then I intend to stitch into the pieces and probably add mark making with pencils and/or charcoal.  Working with a new technique takes time to develop, so I don't even know if I will have one finished for tomorrow.

I'm working on five pieces because a) it gives them time to dry; and b) it gives me time to reflect and see what needs doing next. 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Snow on the wolds

Although I did a Still Life as I planned, I also did this landscape yesterday, and I liked it so much I decided to post it up for today.

Snow on the Wolds, acrylic 9 x 9 inch

Friday, 6 March 2015

Another seascape

I reworked another of the seascapes from last weekend.  Hopefully I will re-work yesterday's still life today, and get another still life done.

seascape, acrylic, 9 x 9 inch

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Still Life

I started this still life with the idea that I would do it in the style of Mary Fedden.  Unfortunately it just ran away and ended in my own quirky style, so it ended up more after Van Gogh than Fedden.  I seem unable to leave a hard line.  I was also looking at a book about Anne Redpath when I had my lunch, so the teapot is more in her style.  I must try and stick to a plan!

Still Life, acrylic,  12 x 16 inch

I'm not happy with the background on the right, and am going to make it much darker.  I also need to tidy it up generally.   The composition is too strong on the left and is unbalanced, so I hope the dark background on the right will help this.

I love the fruit bowl, I found it in a charity shop, which is where I find most of my still life props.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Yet another seascape

I feel as if I have been doing seascapes for weeks, but it's only a few days.  I am going to start working on Still Life again tomorrow.

seascape, acrylic, 10 x 12 inch

This is another Saturday effort, that I reworked today.   I will probably work on this one again as it's still not quite right.

Re-worked seascape, acrylic, 10 x 12 inch

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Seascape 3

Another seascape.  I am really enjoying working with the seascapes.  I started this on Saturday but have re-worked it.  I like the loose, Mediterranean feel to it, although it's based on a village on the Yorkshire coast.

In the bay, acrylic, 8 x 10

Monday, 2 March 2015

Another seascape

This is one of the seascapes I did on Saturday.  I have worked on it a little more with water soluble crayons.

Seascape, acrylic, 9 x 10 inch

Below is the reworked version, I have also turned it round 180 degrees.  I like this view better.

reworked Seascape, acrylic, 9 x 10 inch

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Seascape and preparing boards

I prepped about a dozen boards yesterday morning, different sizes, different formats.  Some with tissue glued on, some gessoed, some with texture paste, and some with a mix of more than one surface. I put these surfaces onto heavy, all media, cartridge paper, which I then glue to mountboard.  I also added more paint to my 'table papers'  and glued these to boards, so I now have plenty to work on.

The 'table papers' are large sheets of the same heavy, all media, cartridge paper that I cover my work table with.  When they get messy, I use up the paint on my palette and scrape or brush or roller it over the papers.  This means they are usually dark, sometimes a bit muddy, but I add a little more paint if I need to.  They make great 'beginnings'.  Sometimes it's difficult to start on a pristine white board or paper, and one that already has paint on and was lining my work table just doesn't give the same stress.

I then painted a few seascapes yesterday afternoon,  using a few of my 'new' prepped boards.  I wanted to try out different ways of painting, in a very loose, stress-free way, so I painted six different ones with the idea that if one was good, then I had had a great day.  I actually ended up with three that I really like, and three OK ones that I will work on with dry media.

This painting is on a board prepped with gesso and a little pumice powder sprinkled onto the wet gesso through an old tea strainer.

'Sailing' acrylic on board, 22 x 8 inch

Just in case anyone is interested, I glue the papers to mountboard with PVA glue.  I use a spreader to put the PVA on the board, and use plenty as the board tends to soak it up.  I then use a clean spreader (or old credit card) to carefully smooth the paper, trying to exclude any air bubbles by starting in the middle and working out.   I stack the boards with wax paper in between and pile a load of books on top to make sure that they dry flat.