Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Renishaw Hall

While on holiday last week we visited Renishaw Hall, nr Sheffield.  I had wanted to go for quite some time and this holiday seemed the ideal occasion as we were staying not too far away.

Renishaw Hall is owned by the Sitwell family, and is a wonderful place.  the house is only open to visitors on Friday afternoon's, by appointment, for a guided tour (and August Saturday and Sundays).  It is well worth a visit as it has a large collection of John Piper artwork.  I have admired his work for years, and the chance to see it close up was wonderful.

I took loads of photographs of the outside of the house, and the lovely Italianate gardens, and have started working on sketches for hopefully, at least one piece of work.  I started by writing down all the points which seemed important in the photographs of the house and gardens, and then all the points I loved about Piper's work.  These drawings are quick sketches, looking at style and technique.

Coach house entrance

Main doorway to the hall

I did a piece in textile, based on Burton Agnes Hall, in a similar style, several years ago.  As well as paintings, I may also try these in textile.

Today marks the half-way point in my year of blogging.  It is becoming a habit that I find hard not to keep now.  I haven't done very well with my material blog, but hopefully I will get into that more, now I am going to the Foston Studio day once a month and working on my textiles there.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Compositional exercise No. 2

Here is the second exercises on composition.  I have used analogous colours, but in warm rather than cool colours.  The composition is a curve.

acrylic inks on watercolour paper, 5 x 5 inch

I don't often use reds so this was a departure from the norm for me.  I feel it could have done with some more dark marks to add emphasis and also a focal point.  I love the way the colour has spread on the paper because I sprayed it first with water.  I like the spot of magenta bottom right, and think a few more spots would work well.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Back from holiday

Came back yesterday, spent the morning sorting out and washing, even though it is my birthday.  I did manage to do a small piece on watercolour paper, the start of the series I talked about a few weeks ago.

Compositional exercises No. 1 6 x 6 inch

This piece was first painted with a wash of acrylic paint, dried then I added a little texture medium and some tissue paper.  When that was dry I added the dark green, drawing with the dropper in the acrylic ink bottle.  I had in mind tones of light, medium and dark, with analogous colours of yellow, yellow-green, and blue green.  The composition is cruciform.

I think there should have been less of the dark green, it draws the eye all over the picture, but not in a smooth flowing way, rather jumping about.  Not bad for the short time I have today.  

Next week I see in the diary I am out four full days plus a couple of afternoons, so I can't see me getting a lot of work done.  I hope I can continue with these little compositional pieces though.  I need to get out some books on composition.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

No. 15, the last

I have used the last of the small pieces of watercolour paper on this piece.  The good news is that I have bought some more watercolour paper and intend to work for a while in squares and/or basic rectangles.  I would like to work out what are good rectangles, based on the Golden Mean.  I know that 5 x 8 is a good size, so I need to look up how to work it out for other sizes.

I decided to give the pink and yellow another outing, but balanced it with Payne's Grey.  I think it could have a little more dark tone, or perhaps have the dark tones sharpened up a little.  Otherwise I think it works.

I haven't talked about edges yet, smooth, jagged, soft, sharp, hard/soft, lost and found - there are so many of them.  Perhaps I should get my books out and make a list of all the compositional elements I could experiment with and make each series of mini paintings based on one or more of the elements.  I now I would fall down on line, something I need to practise more.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Two weeks, No. 14

It doesn't seem like two weeks since I started doing these mini landscapes.  As I said in a previous post, I am finding them very therapeutic, a meditation before starting on other works.

I have tried to get more line in this piece, which I like.  I also love the explosions of colour that happen when I use the mist spray.  It is totally unpredictable, so risky, but that is what experimenting is all about.

I have moved back to my first love colours of blue, turquoise and green with some rust.  This piece lacks mid tones, which is very unusual for me as I usually have too much of it.  I also think it looks more balanced with the blobby right-hand side trimmed off.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Unlucky for some, No. 13

I don't know if I am superstitious or not.  I don't like to tempt fate, but I don't go in for counting magpies, or avoiding cracks in the pavement.  This mini landscape uses colours that I don't normally use much, certainly not together.

The shocking pink and yellow vibrate against each other, and the only other colour really is Payne's Grey.  Strangely it does seem to work.  I was tempted to trim off the left hand side, and it does look balanced without all the yellow, but it doesn't zing without it.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

No. 12 Extreme landscape

I am coming to the end of the pieces of watercolour paper, so I can only do only a few more of them.  This piece seems to break all the rules I wrote about in the previous post.

I don't think there is enough dark tone, the picture plan is cut into two parts, very light and mid tones.  Cutting a painting in half like this is a bad idea, but not irredeemable.   I could trim up to half of the sky away, which would remove one problem.  

I could also go in with more inks, or perhaps technical pens, and add some darks, perhaps increasing the blue area in the centre and to the right, making sure that each area was a different size.  It is also mostly warm colours, so by increasing the blue this would help to balance out the temperature.

I may do this, but this is an experimental exercise, not an exercise in making paintings, so I may not.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Extreme landscape No. 11

Here we are again, same but different.  I love how this one has turned out, there is a nice balance of light and dark tones, and I think the composition works well too, many because of the accidental line in the sky area pointing down to the dark area in the centre.  There is also a nice balance of warm and cool colours.

I know that I said I was not being judgemental, and I am trying to give myself critiques without likes and dislikes, but it is a very difficult thing to do.

I read somewhere that each element of composition should, most of the time, but not always, have a daddy, mummy and baby bear range.  For instance, a large area, a medium area and a small area of dark tone, or perhaps a large area of cool colour plus a medium and small area of warm colour.  This simple advice is easy to remember (I did), and I think it works.

Monday, 22 June 2015

No. 10 landscape

I can't believe that there is only a week to go before I have done my first six months of blogging, and six months of painting virtually every day.  Sometimes it has been a strain, trying to keep up, but since I started working on these small pieces to put on my blog, it has become easier.

I also think my work has improved tremendously in that six months.  Like a piano player, you need to exercise your art every day, or as near to every day as you can.  I love painting, and also love my textiles too, and if a day goes by without one or the other, I feel incomplete.  I never thought I would be able to say that.

I was thinking of lines whilst working on this piece.  I often feel that I don't get enough of a graphic quality into my work, even though I love to see it in other peoples work.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Extreme landscape No. 9

I am still loving this process, and I can see that my ideas are beginning to move more to an abstract form.  I bought the DVD downloads of Debora L. Stewart's from North Light books, together with her book on abstracts.  The downloads are fabulous, I have just finished watching them, and want to watch them again.  The book only came a couple of days ago so I haven't got very far with it, but it does look great.

This piece is very small, and I am still in my 'turquoise' period,  but I love it.  I am not being judgemental about these tiny pieces of work, but after watching the DVDs I want to concentrate next on combining colour theory with composition.

I will wait until I have finished all these small pieces of watercolour paper first, then work on some slightly bigger pieces, with perhaps square or normal rectangular shapes.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

No. 8 Extreme landscape on watercolour paper

I put all my inks away yesterday, so that I would come to the next piece with fresh ideas.  I did choose my favourite turquoise, but added ochre instead of my usual orange.

I think this has turned out to be a lovely seascape, although again, I try not to have any preconcieved ideas before or whilst working.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Extreme landscape No. 7

I feel as if I have been doing these for weeks rather than 7 days.  Watching the pigment floating and moving over the surface, suspended in medium and water, is amazing.

This has to be 'moorland fires' I think it's the best one yet, although I am trying to be non-judgemental about the results, as it is all about process.

Because I am taking my time on other, larger works, I am feeling so much more relaxed.  Doing these little experimental pieces is a sort of meditation, a lovely start to my working day.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Extreme landscape No. 6

I am so enjoying working with these mini works of art.  Each time I use the acrylic inks and fluid acrylics I surprise myself. 

I also used charcoal again in this piece, and there are a few technical pen lines, although they are very fine.  I love how the colours bloom into one another.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Extreme mini landscapes No. 5

Another mini landscape, or perhaps this is more of a seascape.  I don't have any particular view in mind when working these small pieces.  I looked at a lot of my photographs, taken over the years, of Yorkshire moors, dales and wolds, and the coast in all weathers.  

I didn't however keep any of the photographs out on view as I wanted to produce the feeling, the atmosphere of those places rather than any one place. I used charcoal in this piece as well as my favourite Payne's Grey acrylic ink.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Experimental mini landscape No. 4

I should say a little about colours.  I always have colour theory in my mind when painting.  I use colour complementaries a lot, such as blue and orange (my favourite), green and red or purple and yellow.

Of course the colours don't have to be strictly opposite on the colour wheel.  I like to use split complementaries such as a warm and cool blue, with a warm and cool Orange, and including the neutral colours made by combining opposite colours.

Of course when you mix opposite colours you do get Grey's so you have to watch for that.  I have included some Payne's Grey ink in this piece, a lovely grey with blue undertones.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Extreme, experimental landscape No. 3

I am enjoying doing these landscapes.  they are small and quick and I don't feel under pressure to 'make' a painting whilst doing them.  I am trying to use different colours each time.

6 x 14

I love the muted, earthy tones that this piece has, very reminiscent of the Yorkshire Moors on a misty day.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Extreme mini landscape No.2

Here is the next experiment,  I really like this one.  I used a fine mist of water to spread the colours.

5 x 8

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Mini landscapes

Whilst looking for and sorting out the watercolour paper I have left, I came across a lot of small pieces.  Some are only about 4 x 8 inch, some around 6 x 15 inch, but there are quite a lot of them.  They all have an extreme width to height ratio so seemed ideal for landscape/seascape experiments.

They are all different types of watercolour paper, but have in common that they are all quite heavy weight, probably 250 or even 300lb.

This is the first experiment, using acrylic inks and fluid acrylics.  A pity about the drop that fell in the sky area, but otherwise I quite like it.

Experimental landscape, 4 x 7 inch

Friday, 12 June 2015

Another watercolour

Another watercolour today.  I am enjoying doing these, but I don't have much watercolour paper left, so need to get some more.  The jug is rather tilted, as was the vase yesterday.  I quite like tilted as it gives the work some tension.

Jug of garden flowers, watercoluor, 8 x 12 inch

What I don't like is the leaf coming out of the jug, above the spout.  I need to wet and blot this to make it softer, and maybe add a stronger leaf on the right side to balance it out a little.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Trying watercolours again

I thought I would have a go at watercolours again as I have so little time at the moment.  I enjoyed doing this, and perhaps because I didn't have much time, I managed to leave it alone rather than messing with it.

Wildflowers, watercolour 8 x 12 inch

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Orange Vase with figs

I think that Orange Vase with Figs is finished, at least for the moment.  Neil Helyard gave me a lot of help bringing it nearer to finished.

Orange Vase with Figs, Pastel mixed media

I wish there was time to frame it before I go away, but there isn't, and perhaps when I get back I will see it needs more work.  This painting has been a real struggle, at times making me wish I hadn't started working with pastels, but without the struggles, you can never improve I guess.

Today I have a lot of housework type stuff to do, so don't know if I will have time to paint.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Another busy day

I was invited to join the Old Town Gallery, an artists co-operative, run by Bridlington Old Town Association.  I know lots of members of the gallery, which is lovely.  I set up my small space yesterday, and it looks very nice.  I will have to wait and see if my work will sell there.  I know that several artists do very well, so I will live in hope.

I did a little work on the Orange vase with figs, but I am going to work on it today at Neil Helyard's class, so it isn't finished yet.

Orange Vase with figs stage 4 Pastel mixed media

I also did an under-painting on the last of the sanded boards I prepped.  Yet another harbour scene, but I thought I would bring in more orange and make it an autumn painting.

Autumn Harbour

I am still running up a down escalator, and I must stop making 'beginnings' as the studio is full of them.  I had hoped to prep a few small pieces to take on holiday with me, but I'm not sure if I will have the time.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Harbourside stage 4

Worked on Harbourside yesterday, and also played around with a few techniques and materials on some heavy watercolour paper.  

This painting is at the slightly ugly stage, but I know it will be fine, it just needs more work, but it's one of those paintings which I need to keep looking at throughout the day to see where to go next.  Some paintings seem to paint themselves and others, like this one, seem to resist being finished.

Harbourside, stage 4

I like how the quay side is coming, it just needs the finer details putting in such as window frames and chimney pots, plus railings, signs etc.  The boats need a lot more detail as they are in the foreground.  Hopefully I will get it near to finished tomorrow.  I don't like the two boats in the background facing the same way, so one will have to up anchor and turn around.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Harbourside stage 3

I'm not sure if this is stage 3 or stage 4, but it's the next stage anyway.  I have added the buildings, copies from my sketchbook.  I couldn't get my printer to print them on the rather thick watercolour paper I have, so I printed them on some medium thick card.  I decided not to make them large and prominent, which had been my first thoughts.  Because the prints looked so good, I made the images a little smaller and got lots more on.  It reminds me of East Looe where the town down goes down the side of the estuary to the harbour, and I think one of the drawings was done there, but as in most of my 'harbour' pictures, it isn't anywhere really.

Harbourside, stage 3

I also added the boats in various collage papers.  It is all a little rough at the moment, but I love working from chaos to resolved painting.  I need to add more smaller boats in the background to give distance, and paint the houses a little, but not so much that I lose the graphic, drawing quality.  I don't usually have distance in my paintings, but this has happened all by itself, and I try and go with what the painting is saying to me.

I had a lovely day out yesterday, although I feel shattered today.  Diane Leach and I went to The Dutch House Gallery, nr Crayke, north of York  to see the work of Lesley Birch.  It was a fabulous exhibition although we didn't realise that it was preview afternoon, so very busy. I hate going to previews as people stand chatting IN FRONT of the work. There was also a very good ceramicist whose name I didn't write down sadly.  Her pots were wonderful.  We had lunch there and it was lovely and the cafe was full of art too.

We then went over to the Lund gallery at Alne, just the other side of the A19, and found that it was North Yorkshire open studio, and there were three artists there - all with fabulous work.  As it was Open Studio, we looked in the booklet and found another open studio on the way home, that also had three artists, held in a beautiful Victorian (?) racing stable.  I came home with my head absolutely crammed full of the imagery of over a dozen artists and some fantastic scenery, but went to bed at 9pm absolutely shattered.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

From trees to harbours

I'm still not feeling 100% today, so I haven't done very much.  I came across this prepped canvas when I was trying to bring a little bit of order to the studio.  It started life in a series of trees, but this one never got finished.  When I picked it up today, upside down, I immediately saw it as another harbour scene - obviously I am in a mind set with harbours at the moment.  I added a little more blue ink to the overall canvas to give it the right feel for a harbour scene.

Textured deep canvas, 12 x 12 inch

It has tissue texture on the bottom half, and texture medium at the top.  I am thinking about copying some of my drawings of houses onto watercolour paper , and collaging them into the flat area.  I like the idea of blocks of smooth collage against the more texture top and bottom.  I may even add them onto some light molding paste so that they are raised from the surface slightly,  I will have to see what works.

Friday, 5 June 2015

No painting today, sore throat and headache.  I'm planning to go over to Easingwold on Saturday, so I hope this clears up quickly.

This is a quick Daily Drawing Practise drawing.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Orange Vase with figs

I was out most of the day as it was the first Wednesday of the month, which is Foston Studio day.  I had a lovely day, there were six of us today which made it work very well.  I managed to finish (I think) the piece I was working on last month, and I have started another which looks as if it will work OK.  I will post them on my other blog when I have time.

I worked on yesterday's pastel for half-an-hour after dinner tonight, but I had loads of other things to do, and I am rather tired.  The painting still isn't resolved, but it is getting better.  The bowl isn't the right colour, I think maybe dull green.

Orange vase with figs
Another busy day tomorrow, but hopefully I will get some time to paint.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Prepped boards for pastel work

As promised I have covered two boards with a random selection of collage papers, mostly hand-painted tissue.  When they were dry I added the pumice powder and acrylic medium mix.

collage beginning for pastel

collage beginning for pastel

I enjoyed making the boards and hope to find the time to work on them in the next few days.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Two posts in one day

I was really annoyed that I missed blogging on Monday, so I am posting again today to make up for it.

This piece is worked on a ground I made myself.  It started off as one of my abstract collages on board, I then applied a mix of pumice powder and acrylic medium to it, to give a key for the pastel.

I forgot to take a photo of the prepared board, so I will do another one tomorrow.  I enjoyed working on this surface, even though it was quite rough and wrinkled in places, it gives the pastel a fresco painting look which I like. The painting isn't finished, but I need to buy another fig before I can work on it any further.

Missed a day

I was so busy yesterday, I didn't get a chance to blog.  I am having another week where I am out most days, so fitting in painting and blogging is hard.

This is another beginning, in a red-violet - yellow-green complementary colour scheme.  These are colours I don't normally use, so it is a challenge.

still life beginning, 8 x 8 inch

still life stage 2

The little purple-pink shape is destined to be a fig.  I love the shape, texture and colour of figs but not the taste, so I don't buy them very often.  I like the way the fig and the vase are leaning in towards each other.
Hopefully I will get more done to this piece later this week.