Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Bit More Progress

I managed a bit more on the landscape, I worked a fair bit on the sky but it still needs some attention, plus I blocked in some of the fields and trees.  It is now beginning to look a little less purple!
Tomorrow, I may post the beginnings of another similar format painting that I have begun to draw out.  I need something else to work on while the layers dry.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Panorama Landscape WIP2

Thankyou very much all of you who have left such positive feedback on my newest landscape.

Here is a bit more work on it, I completely changed the sky as I thought the clouds were a bit too pointy and unrealistic.
This is it just blocked in and I will add the lighter parts of the clouds in a day or two.  I am having great time working at this size and format - and on canvas, for a change!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Church Ruins

I haven't much to report on the progress of my latest painting as I have had a very busy week.  I have managed to redo the sky a little.  I hope to have more to show in a day or two.

In the meantime, here are a group of photos that I have taken over the years.  The subject of ruined churches appeals to me, especially the ones in a rural setting.  Part of me thinks that I would like to do a series of paintings of this subject, but on the other hand, the original photos are good enough to stand alone as they are.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

New Painting on the Easel

I have begun the next painting and got the underpainting all blocked in.  Once it is dry I can begin to get working on it straight away.
It is on canvas for a change and is 30cm x 100cm (1foot x 3feet).  I am using purple as the under colour so it shows through in the shadows (I hope).

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Bluebell Woods, Finished

I am so pleased to have this painting finished, it was a lot of work, with many twists and turns and a heck of a lot of learning in it!

The scene is of some beautiful traditional bluebell woods in Murthly, Perthshire, made famous by the pre-raphaelites, in particular, John Everett Millais who painted in Murthly.
And here it is in all its stages, missing out the scraped off, one step forward and two back, stages!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Bluebell Woods - Work in Progress Part 2

I am still working on my bluebell woods painting, it is taking a lot longer than I thought it would!  After a bit of a panic thinking I just couldn't cope with all those trees and all those bluebells, I think I am almost there.

This is where it was last night.  More has been done to it since, but I am beginning to think I prefer last night's stage better.  Hmm.

Hopefully, soon I will be able to post the final, finished version!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Beeswax Collage Revisited

While looking for my bookbinding kit so I could get started on pimping my sketchbook (see previous post), I found this little beeswax collage that I had made (and not sold) many years ago.  I used to make these a lot and they were great fun.  You can see more in my Mixed Media page, here on this blog (link just underneath the banner).

They were very popular too and sold all over the world.  I used to enjoy using up those little bits of drawings, etchings, screen prints, found ephemera and papers by creating collages, using the beeswax as a binder instead of glue.  The benefit being that layers show through because the beeswax makes the papers transluscent.  Another benefit is that unlike glue, you can easily undo a mistake by reheating the wax if needed, to reposition an element.

I used locally sourced beeswax which made me feel connected to my community and I was always tempted to buy some jars of delicious locally made honey.  The smell of the wax melting in my wax pot was delightful.  I kind of stopped doing them when I began to paint seriously, I guess I needed the workspace and my pot got put away.  Maybe I should get it out again?

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Sketchbook Project

I am very excited to announce that my sketchbook arrived, much sooner than I expected too!

Here it is about to get a bit of a makeover - I shall rebind it with some extra pages, some watercolour ones and also some Frederix canvas sheets, so I am ready to work in whatever media takes my fancy.  Somehow, I don't think I will be working from page 1 through to the end, but dotting about here and there.

I also shall decorate the cover (being careful not to paint over the barcode, that is).  

So, next time you see this sketchbook, it will look quite different!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Solvent Free Brush Cleaning

I suffer from very severe asthma and solvents really affect my breathing.  It took me a while to figure out why I was so ill at university where the studios were always full of fumes.  

I spent a lot of time in the printmaking studios and they too used solvents for cleaning up.   Once I began to figure out that inhaling vast amount of solvents every day was affecting my health I did a little research and discovered that some printmaking studios in Australia were pioneering a green method of using no solvents at all.  They just cleaned up with vegetable oil and soap and water!

It didn't take me long to realise that the same could be applied to oil painting as well.  

So now I paint almost entirely without solvents.  I do miss them slightly, in fact I love the smell of proper turps and used to love using a turpsy wash to establish the first layers, but it is well worth not using solvents to be able to paint in oils again after thinking I couldn't.

Having said all that, I do take solvents out with me when I do plein air painting because I hardly breathe any in out in the open.

But how do I clean my brushes, you may ask?

First of all, I wipe most of the paint off my brushes onto old phone book pages.

Then I wash the brush in one of those cleaning tanks filled with cheap linseed oil.  

I use proper artists linseed for moistening the paints if absolutely necessary.  Mostly, it isn't necessary and I use the paints straight from the tube.

After washing in the tank and wiping the excess oil off on paper towels or rags, the brushes are ready to be used again.

During the painting process I use a set of brushes for dark and another for light and most of the washing gets done at the end of the painting session.

To clean the brushes properly at the end, I put them through the tank, wipe off the excess oil onto a rag or paper towel, then plonk the brushes in a jar of Daler Rowney Water Washable Brush Cleaner or just simple liquid soap which I keep in a jar with a metal sink filter at the bottom to work the bristles.

I think the DW Cleaner is liquid soap and some kind of oil and that is what I will replace it with when it is all gone.  

The brushes are perfectly clean after this process and once dried they are ready for use the next day.

My lungs are happy, my brushes are happy and I am happy.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Bluebell Woods - Work in Progress

It has been a busy week here and little progress has been made on this painting, aren't these colours fun?
Here are the first few block in stages, I have worked a little on the background since this photo was taken and am now planning to work forward to complete the foreground.  There wa a set back with this during the week when I worked on the wooded area at the back and went to bed, thought about it and decided it wasn't right, so got up and wiped all that evening's work off!

I will be busy teaching tomorrow at my local guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, but hope to get back to the painting on Sunday, bringing it to near conclusion I hope.

The piece is 12 x 12 oil on board.