Sunday, 31 May 2015

Absolutely shattered today after such a busy week.  I had loads of boring housework stuff to catch up on today, so I am posting a painting I did a while ago and can't remember if I posted it or not.  I do remember enjoying painting it though.

Wild Seas, acrylic 10 x 10 inch

I can't believe we are at the end of another month.  One more month and I will be halfway through my first year of blogging.  I am going on holiday in a couple of weeks, so I'm not sure what I am going to do about the blog.  I don't want to leave such a big gap, so will try blogging on my ipad to see if it will work OK.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

New way of blogging

I have tried, up until now, to blog the same day as I work, but this means I am working later and later in the evenings, trying to catch up, so I have decided to blog the day after in the hope that I will have more choice on when to do the blogging, i.e. anytime during the day.

I am giving myself the day off today as I am going to Hull to do a workshop with Jake Attree, which I am looking forward to.  I will blog about it sometime Sunday.

Meanwhile, here is another Daily Drawing Practise.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Red Jug collage work in progress

This is another collage piece, showing work in progress.  I have tried with this painting to use colours which are uncharacteristic of my work, but I don't know how long the jug will stay red as it's just not a colour I feel comfortable with.

When I start with a collage, but no composition in mind, I choose papers which I like, which show good contrast in tone, and work well together colour wise.

I marked in the composition with charcoal pencil, after studying the collage, and looking for something to speak to me.  In this piece I saw the window, the table and the shelf.

This is as far as I have got.  I had a busy day, so not much time to work on it.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

No.2 Harbour Top finished?

I worked on this painting again whilst stewarding at Burton Agnes Hall Courtyard gallery.  I think it's finished now, but I need to live with it for a while before I'm sure.

No.2 Harbour Top, mixed media, 8 x 8 inch

I seem to be working in a series of these harbour scenes.  I'm enjoying it, so I'll just carry on for the time being.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Harbour village in pastel

I went to the art class in Beverley today and did this picture.  I prepared the board last night with a mix of white acrylic paint and pumice powder.  I applied it firstly with a brush and then evened it out with a decorators sponge roller.  I gave it two coats, letting it dry in between each coat.  I read about this in Mark Leach's wonderful book "Raw Pastels".

Cornish Harbour, Pastel mixed media, 14 x 17 inch

At the class I brushed in a quick under-painting in watercolour, using complementary colours in places.  After this was dry I started to apply the pastel.  Pastel isn't something I feel in control of, but it's something I admire and I would like to get reasonably competent with it.  I didn't mean to make such a big picture as this, but perhaps using pastels works better on a large surface.

I intend to keep going with the pastels, and want to try all the things I have read about such as using alcohol to liquefy the pastel, making runs and drips; using different supports; using pastel pencils as well as soft and hard pastels.  I also want to experiment to see if I can include collage in a pastel painting.  I think this would work if I use acrylic matte medium and pumice over the collage.  I will have to try it and see what happens.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

daily drawing practise

I am still trying to keep up with my daily drawing practise,  still doing my hand.  I really need to find something else to do.  Had a busy day at Burton Agnes Hall, and getting ready for my Tuesday art class.  

I haven't been to class for three weeks so I'm looking forward to it.  I have decided to give pastels another go, trying to use them in an expressionistic way.  I have prepared two boards to use, with a mix of micaceous iron oxide and fine pumice medium.  They look as if they are going to be good when dry.

Daily drawing practise.

I worked on a couple of paintings whilst at Burton Agnes, but they are still there.  I have brought home No.2 Harbour Top, but it isn't quite finished, hope to post it this week.

There are times, when I'm tired and/or busy, I wonder why I am doing this blog, but I know I wouldn't get half the work done if I didn't do it.  I still need to work out how to balance work and and the need to  blog about it.  I feel under pressure, and do try to work small, but it isn't natural to me.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Whie blossom in blue vase

This is another work in progress post, as I am remembering to take the photos at the moment.  I'm finding it quite helpful looking at the photos, it gives another view of the work.

The piece started as one of my abstract 'beginnings'.  The picture above isn't the actual collage I started with but it is very similar.

white blossom in blue vase, mixed media 12 x 10 inch

I missed taking a photograph of the blocking in part of this painting as it seemed to go quite quickly.  It's one of the paintings I was working on whilst stewarding at Burton Agnes Hall on Saturday.

This one is quite interesting because I haven't radically changed anything.  Often I will change colours or shapes, but this seemed to work from the first.

I have added some charcoal lines at this stage, done on Sunday morning.  I like the graphic quality of charcoal.

Although there doesn't seem to be very much change from one to the other, there are subtle shifts on colour, tone and some edges are softened and lost whilst others are sharpened.  

The painting is propped up in the studio where I can see it as I come in.  I have already changed the chair back (the yellow rectangle with the orange & blue square in the middle, on the left of the vase).  I felt the angle of the top of the chair back needed to be higher on the left to balance the golden bowl on the right.  I think I am also going to lighten the yellow of the chair.  I think I also need to add a little dark mark in the top right-hand corner to balance the two other dark areas.

I really like this painting, and hope it works out, but the one thing that painting every day has taught me is that you can't be precious about a painting - if it doesn't work then it has to go.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

No. 2 Harbour Street

Following on from yesterday, this is the work I've done today on the small 8 x 8 inch canvas, which now has the title of No.2 Harbour Top.  I worked on three pieces today while I was stewarding at Burton Agnes Hall Courtyard gallery.  Working on several pieces gives space enough between each painting session for reflection, so you come back to a painting in progress with a fresh eye.

In the picture above you can still see quite a lot of the dressmakers tissue lines showing through.  I have roughly blocked in the colours with acrylic paint.

At this stage I am defining the shapes: large and small, looking at light and dark, warm and cool colours.   It is still nowhere near finished.

I am beginning to move towards the finish, sharpening up the edges, working firstly in positive and then in negative, juggling to try and get the effect I want.  It still has a long way to go.  I can see that the second and third houses from the left need to be a little duller to give some recession.  The boats need some shading and the whole picture needs the little finicky touches that make it finished.

I have left this at Burton Agnes so that I don't mess it up.  I will see it with fresh eyes on Monday when I go, and hopefully will be able to get it finished.  this is the most difficult part of a painting as it's so easy to go past the point where you should have stopped.

Although this blog is about painting every day, for me it isn't about 'a painting a day'  I know that I need to work on several paintings at any one time.  I think I have six 'in process' at the moment, from one that just has some gesso and molding paste on, to this one which is almost but not quite finished.

If I feel stuck, or just 'not on the mood', I make some 'beginnings' .  This may be gesso, crumpled tissue, prepping experimental boards with a very wide variety of textural materials, or perhaps just acrylic inks splattered onto thick paper or a canvas.  Usually after an hour of this sort of playing about I feel eager to get started on yesterday's 'beginning'.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

More on work in progress

After the last post I thought I would try the work in progress idea with a smaller canvas.  The one below is only 8 x 8 inch.  I painted the canvas warm AZO yellow, then covered it with crumpled dressmakers tissue.  I did this as an experiment to see how it affected the look of the canvas at this stage, and I was surprised by how much the yellow showed through.

Harbour work in progress, side of canvas

The above picture shows clearly how the yellow is shining through.  I really like this affect and will experiment with it more.  I think it has great potential for using complementary colours under the tissue so that the painting will zing!

Harbour work in progress, composition

The front of the canvas shows the composition roughed in with a charcoal pencil.  You can clearly see the printing on the dressmakers tissue and I will be keeping some of it to incorporate it into the final piece.

Unfortunately I didn't get any further yesterday, and today I am back at Burton Agnes Hall.  I am taking it with me but don't know how much I will get done.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Work in progress

I was stewarding all day at Burton Agnes Hall Courtyard gallery yesterday, and although I worked on three different pieces of work whilst there, I forgot to take any photographs, so that will have to wait until Saturday or Sunday.

I thought it might be interesting to take some 'work in progress' photos as my work changes radically throughout it's progress.  I think it will be difficult to remember to take the photos, but I will do my best.  I remember I did post about using a video camera to record a paintings progress some time ago, but I haven't done anything about it as yet.

The pieces of work below are three different pieces, showing the different ways I might start a painting.  I now tend to work from chaos, gradually pulling the painting together, and hoping not to go past the point when I should stop.  This way of working is largely due to Neil Helyard, my tutor on Tuesday's.  He has always said that you can't start worrying about the details until the painting is nearly finished - "adding the jewels" is what he calls it.  I owe Neil a lot, as I would never have reached this stage without his help.

Canvas with dressmakers tissue, fluid acrylics & acrylic inks

The first one above, is a canvas which I hope will evolve into a harbour scene, there has been no forward planning other than blue at the bottom for water.  I love harbours, combining boats and buildings seems to work for me.  I used dressmakers tissue, crumpled up and then glued to the canvas with PVA.  When dry I added acrylic inks and some fluid acrylics.  I may go directly in and paint, or I may use a charcoal or white conte pencil to rough in the composition.

I use the dressmakers tissue to provide texture,  it's slightly stronger than normal white tissue.  I also like the serendipity of odd words and arrows peeking through the paint.

Harbour scene, collage, acrylic paint

The next 'beginning'  Harbour scene above is slightly different. In this piece I have planned the composition before I began.  I applied white tissue to the top area, then added a few pieces at the bottom, together with other collage papers.  There is a band of dressmakers tissue across the centre area, where the harbour wall and road will be. I have added some collage for the boats, and for the houses.  I then added a little acrylic paint to set the colour scheme.

No.2 Harbour Top. Acrylic mixed media

The last piece is different again.  I did apply dressmakers tissue, but also added gesso and some light molding paste in places.  When dry I blocked in the main areas, which look very crude at the moment.  I try to work from positive to negative and back again, altering and refining until I am happy with the result.

I should mention that I like to have several paintings on the go at once in the hope that I don't overwork any; when stuck I move onto the next painting rather than keep painting on one and ruin it.  I also like to work in series, the subject being whatever 'floats my boat' at the time.  Boats and harbours and also Venice canals seem to be my 'thing' at the moment.

Finally, I try to keep in mind that if it doesn't work, then I can just gesso over it and/or cover it with tissue and start again, everything under this layer will have been a learning experience, adding to my skills and knowledge.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Landscape experimenting with grounds

This piece is done on one of the boards I prepped last week.  The sky and distant hills had a primer of gesso, the lower right hand side had light molding paste and the left lower side had absorbent ground.  I glued crushed eggshells down the centre and along the bottom right hand side.

Landscape experimenting with grounds 6 x 7 inch
This is not a great painting, not even a good painting, but I have learnt so much from doing it, and I keep all these experiments so I can see how they look.  I used acrylic inks to paint it, letting the inks run and flow, and only guiding with a brush when necessary.  I did brush over the sky as it didn't flow so well on the gesso.  I also added some oil pastel to the rough areas of molding paste and eggshells.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Yorkshire Dales

This is a very large painting I started about a year ago, and then gave up on.  I got it out last week and started working on it again, but I am still struggling with it.  I think that the size overawes me.  Its 24 x 36 inch, which as I like to work on something between 6 x 6 to 20 x 20 is just a step too far.  

Yorkshire Dales, acrylic, 24 x 36 inch

I am going to keep it on the easel for a while, see if I can see what it needs.  The dark part is too central and your eye just floats around without anything to settle on so it needs a focal point.  Only time will see.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Daily drawing practise

No new painting today, just another day rushing about getting non-painting stuff done.  I did manage another 'hand' drawing though.

daily drawing practise

Monday, 18 May 2015

My first woodcut

I did a workshop with Claire West last week on woodcuts and loved it.  The Japanese ply was so much easier to carve than lino, much better for arthritic hands.  In fact the wood was so soft that I could make fine lines using a ballpoint pen.  The print below had a multi-coloured background printed with the back of the woodcut block, then overprinted with black.  I think it works really well.  I need to order some supplies to carry on with this wonderful printmaking technique, the best one I've tried so far.

Wren, woodcut, 6 x 6 inch

I have also resumed my daily drawing practise, moving on from the cup and saucer to hands, well only a right hand, as I am left-handed.

Add caption

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Koi carp monoprint

I've had another very busy day today getting ready for the exhibition.  I also worked on a spread in the Bridlington Art Society SAA Frisk layflat sketchbook challenge.  I forgot to take a picture, so will have to catch up with it later.

Koi Carp, mixed media, monoprint

This started life as a monoprint, three curved blobs.  It took some time to make something of it.  I did it last week while at Cober Hill.

Because I have been working larger and larger lately, it is getting more difficult to produce a piece of work everyday.  I am reluctant to stop doing a daily painting, so have made the decision to begin a series of small paintings, probably only 6 x 6 inch square or a similar size.

I want to find time to do more of my textile work, something I haven't touched for a long time due to lack of time.  I'm hoping cutting down on the size of my daily paintings will give me more time whilst still letting me experiment with my paintings.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Experimental pears

Only time for a quick painting today as I have spent most of the time sorting out and getting paintings ready for an exhibition that I am doing with Diane Leach at Burton Agnes Hall Courtyard Gallery.  We set up next Tuesday, but getting ready always takes twice as long as I think it should.

Experimental pears

The pears are mixed media, acrylic paint, charcoal and water-soluble pastel.  I then altered it in Photoshop to give an impressionist feel to it.  I enjoy mixing real painting with digital painting, although I'm sure purists would shudder at the thought.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Not sure painting

This is a painting I did while staying at Cober Hill last week.  It's of Bridlington Harbour in case you aren't sure.  I'm not sure about it at all but the tutor, Val Pettifer really liked it, so I am leaving it for a while, living with it.

Bridlington Harbour, 16 x 16 inch, acrylic mixed media

This is one of those cases when I push myself to make different paintings.  I painted it very loosely on a crumpled tissue and molding paste background, then gave it a coat of watered down Zinc white as an experiment.  It may get painted over, I shall have to wait and see.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Pastel painting

This is a pastel painting which I worked from a book, 'Painting the Landscape in Pastel' by Albert Handell. This is an excellent book, showing a loose impressionist style of painting which I love. I don't usually work from books, preferring my own photographs whenever possible, however, I am a novice when it comes to using pastels, and need all the help I can get.  I think this is a good beginning, and I intend to work more pastel paintings in the near future.

Pastel painting 12 x 12 inch

I made the ground for this painting by first painting heavy watercolour paper with blue acrylic, making sure the brush marks were random and in different directions.  When that was dry I added a thin coating of Golden Acrylics Micaceous Iron Oxide which has a gritty texture, but is fairly transparent if applied thinly.  When dry this gave a good surface for the pastels.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Esk in autumn

This painting was worked from a photograph I took almost thirty years ago.  I feel that I have taken a retrograde step with this painting, it's tight and not the way I like to paint these days.  I'm not sure why it went the way it did, but I'm not happy with it.

The Esk river, acrylic, 14 x 18 inch

I prepped up a load of canvasses this afternoon with tissue paper, clear gesso, and molding paste, ready to do some very loose paintings.  I am out tomorrow afternoon, but hopefully I will have time in the morning to paint the next layer on some of them, using.acrylic inks.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Making lemonade

Another collage, this time a still life.  I really enjoyed doing this one.  It has a lot of painted tissue papers in it, which gives it a transparency that unfortunately doesn't show up in the photograph.  I use fluid acrylics to paint the tissue as it's so fragile.

Making lemonade, acrylic mixed media, 12 x 16 inch

I used to love homemade lemonade, making it with my mother on hot summer days.  I lovely memory.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Venice, washday

Here is another collage, worked on a crumpled tissue base.  This picture also had light molding paste and some clear gesso applied on top of the tissue, using a brayer.  This, with the tissue texture, gave a great representation of crumbling plaster walls.  The washing was added last, each individual garment being cut out of collage papers.

I have had an offer for this painting already, but I'm not sure if it's finished and I need to live with it for a while before I sell it.  It's one of the best I've done for a while,  I think the water is particularly good.

Venice, Washday, acrylic mixed media, 16 x 16 inch

I really enjoy doing this type of work, both the technique and the subject matter feels right for me.  That doesn't mean that I won't keep trying other subjects, techniques and materials, but it's nice to feel that I have found one thing I really enjoy doing and can go back to any time.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Harbour Street

I love doing collage, and I love doing harbour scenes. This one has worked out particularly well.  The background is dressmakers tissue which I had coloured with streaks of acrylic inks, when dry it was screwed up and then flattened out and glued to the board with acrylic medium.  It's a great way to get texture, and the dressmakers tissue is particularly good because it's quite tough.

I painted the scene with acrylic paints, inks and technical pen.

Harbour Street, acrylic mixed media, 12 x 14 inch

My shoulder is feeling a lot better now, and I am eager to get lots of work done.  I had a lovely break at Cober Hill, feeling recharged.

Saturday, 9 May 2015


Came back yesterday from Cober Hill, tired but had a lovely time.  This painting is one I did about ten years ago.  I like the mistiness of the background, but it needs something else in the foreground. Perhaps more boats?

Whitby, acrylic 14 x 18 inch

Friday, 8 May 2015

Daily Observational drawing

Another daily drawing, this time using 3b pencil.  I was quite tired when I did this, so the shading is a bit scribbly.

Daily Observational drawing No.4

And here is another of the 'use a ruler' school of painting.  I think this one must have been a perspective challenge.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

This was worked from a photograph I took of Burton Agnes snowdrop walk.   I am hoping it will inspire me to do something in textile from it.  I have a few ideas, but just need the time.

Burton Agnes snowdrop walk

and Daily Observational drawing No. 3

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Rough Sketch

This is another sketch from my sketchbook.  I worked it last month, from a photograph I took years ago when we were in Scotland.   It's worked in watercolour with some gouache and charcoal.

Scottish cottage

Here is the second of my Daily Observational drawings.  I am trying to vary the materials a little bit, this is done with a technical pen with brown ink.

Observational Drawing No.2

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Daily Observational drawings

I started doing a daily observational drawing again, in the middle of April.  I managed to do over ten months the last time I did it, so hoping I beat my own record.

I have started with a simple white ceramic milk jug and a matching cup and saucer.  Today is just the milk jug.  I need to try and slow down my 'looking', and really SEE the object.  I find it difficult to slow down when working.  When I paint I work very quickly.  I am hoping that the drawing will help to balance this out.

Daily Observational Drawing No.1

I am also posting one of the very old paintings, in the 'use a ruler' style of painting.  I still can't believe that I painted in this way.


Monday, 4 May 2015

Burton Agnes Garden

Here is another watercolour sketch, which I then worked in Photoshop.

Burton Agnes Garden

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Burton Agnes Gardens

This is another sketch which I painted in watercolour, this time worked from a photograph I took last year.  I then altered the picture in Photoshop.

Burton Agnes Gardens

The paints I used for the original sketch are by Koh-i-noor.  They are Anilinky Watercolours which are dye based and have very bright pure colours.  They are wonderful for painting, but if you get any on your fingers or clothes, its very difficult to get off!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Cafe sketch day

This is a development from a sketch day a couple of months ago. The sketch was painted with acrylic at home.  I experimented with the photograph in photoshop yesterday.  I know that purists will be horrified, but I think that any technique is worth experimenting with.  The Photoshop filter has given me an idea of how it would look  in watercolour, although it was actually painted
in acrylic.

Coffee time, acrylic, Photoshop

Although I am left-handed when drawing, painting and writing, I mostly do everything else with my right hand, including using the computer mouse, so not a problem to play around with Photoshop.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Washing in Venice

Happy May Day - starting my fifth month of blogging, I am thrilled I have managed to keep it up.

I painted this mostly with my right hand, which as I am left handed, has turned out a bit wonky looking.  I am going to try doing a painting tomorrow using pieces of card rather than brushes. My daughter took loads of photos for me when she went to Venice last year, I love the pastel colours.

Washing in Venice

I am going away on Sunday for a few days with a friend, so rather than leave the blog without any posts, I am going to post some older paintings.  I have only missed one day since I started at the beginning of January, and I don't want to miss any more if I can help it, it's a challenge thing.