Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pictish Creatures and New Work

It all started with just the one small painting, that is all I thought, what harm can one Pictish Cat do?  Before I knew it, I was doing another Pictish creature, a dragon this time.  It is OK, I told myself, one more won't hurt, I can give up any time I want!

Then there was the Pictish stag, everyone loves the Pictish stag and now I had to admit it, I seem to have some kind of addiction.  With slightly unsteady hands, I reach for more paint and yet another Pictish creature has, unbidden, formed under my brush, a goose and then a wolf and now the curious Pictish "beast".  Why can't I stop?  What is wrong with me?

So, here is something completely different, some strange woman on top of a hill, facing another hill, wonder who that is and where she is - and isn't she cold?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

June Painting-a-Day Challenge

Is now completed!

I now have a super bunch of 30 paintings that represent a journey from my first experimental steps towards a more looser, abstract form of representing the landscape.

My paintings have, more often than not, been a very representational moment in time.  I have always, always, however, wanted to be able to paint my own feelings about a place, a sense of being in the moment, the atmosphere, the sounds, the light around me.  I knew I needed to work differently, I knew it would take a lot of effort and time to approach a new way of painting for me.  Which is why I set myself this challenge.

It was hard at first, although I was prepared with 30 compositions, it was unnerving to me to not paint every little detail, to use colours that I had only seen fleetingly, to try to represent atmosphere and feelings in a painting.

As the project continued on, though,  I began to loosen up and by the end of week 2, I had begun to get a feel for what I was doing.  During week 3 I turned a corner!  I began to be able to manipulate the oil paints wet-in-wet with much more confidence and used that to my advantage rather than trying to fight it and a greater confidence grew in my compositions and the way the brush applied the paint.

Of course this new-found confidence was short-lived and I stumbled a few times nearer the end, which is quite often what happens when learning new things in art - there is an almost step back before the final push forward, I have seen it and experienced it often.

So here they are in date order, all 30 paintings, one for every day of June.  All I can say is, thank goodness for the extended daylight hours we get at this time of the year!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Days 17 to 22

Just one week to go and my Painting-a-Day project will be complete.  It has been very successful and a lot of fun.  Here are the paintings from 17th June through to yesterday's (22nd June):

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Half-way Through the Month

I have made it to Day 16 now and very pleased I have managed to paint every day, even if it means getting up early and/or staying up late to wash brushes!

Did I show you my nifty drying rack for the 6x6" boards? 

Whatdya mean it looks remarkably like a DVD rack on it's back?

I tried to photograph all of the paintings at the half-way mark (Day 15), but had lighting issues, so did a Photoshop compilation instead:

Here is today's painting:

I am really enjoying this project, I am learning a lot, trying out new things and generally working outside my comfort zone.

Friday, 7 June 2013

One Week

Day Seven is here and I am pleased that I am managing to continue to work on these every day, despite other distractions/commitments.  The longer daylight hours have certainly helped, I have got up early and finished late on some occasions. 

Here are days five, six and seven, all the small format, 6x6" of course:

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Continuing the Painting-a-Day Project

I have to confess, I am a slow painter.  Working every day on a small painting gives me the chance to actually complete small pieces much faster than I would normally.

Sunday, just day two, it suddenly dawned on me that this was 30 days working with no time off! The sun was shining and I wanted to be out in it.  Fortunately at this time of the year, I get up early and go to bed late, so there was time to do both.

Here are days 2,3 and 4:

I am really enjoying this project - I am making an effort to be looser with my paintings, to express atmosphere, feelings and fleeting impressions.  I wonder what the paintings will be like on day 30, will I have learned anything?  I hope so.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

June Painting-a-Day Challenge

For all 30 days of June, I am producing a painting every day, just 6"x6" and as today is the 1st, here is today's painting:

"Like Coming Home", oil on board.

Much to my amazement and delight, not only did I finish it today, but it has also sold today - what a great start!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Gallery Pictures and New Works in Progress

I took some photos of my paintings at Maisie & Mac gallery this week and thought I would share, it gives an idea of scale in context of the pieces, I feel.

I have been working on a new series of paintings and here is a wee taster:

I am working hard to convey the essence of a place, leaving out the extraneous detail, trying to get to the heart of an experience.  Not easy to do, but I am enjoying the challenge!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Drying Rack

I have quite a few smaller panels on the go at the moment and reached a point where I had so many to paint and not enough places to store them while they dried.

This little gizmo, a dish-drying rack is just perfect - now I just have to find a space to put it where it won't topple over!

See all those paintings on there?  Yup, I have been painting, more about those at a later date.

(Also, I am sorry not to be following blogs at the moment, I am trying to find a new blog reader to replace the Google one which is being discontinued.)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Works in Progress from Sketchbook Studies

After sending off all my paintings to the gallery, I decided to clean and repaint the studio and it is only today that I got some serious painting done.

Working in oils from a an old sketch only - I have no photographs to help and I cannot remember where the scene is apart from possible in Grantown on Spey area in Scotland (along the whisky trail).

I had previously worked the underpainting in crimson, yellow and cerulean blue, establishing the main shapes.  Today, I worked in local colour all over and now it is too wet to do anything else until it dries a little.  I want to establish some more shadows and put in some highlights.

It has been fun to do as the sketch isn't very detailed and this has forced me to work loosely which is what I am aiming to do with my painting.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

All Wrapped Up

All my paintings are wrapped up and ready to be delivered to the gallery - it seems oddly empty around here now.

Time to tidy up the studio and get started on a new body of work.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Finding Possibilities in my Sketchbooks

I really shouldn't be starting new paintings, I have enough for my exhibition, but I was going through my old sketchbooks and found two plein air pieces that I thought might be good worked up into full pieces.

The first is an old watercolour, that I continued working on later at the place I was holidaying and I kind of overdid it.  I have no additional photographs of the place (I didn't carry a camera around quite so much in those days and it was before I got into digital photography) so I have to work from this sketch alone.  I wonder if I can do it?  It will be fun trying:

Oh dear, it is quite bad, isn't it?  I am very embarrassed to show this!

The next one is not much better, I worked in pastels on this one and, again, brought it back home and worked on it further.  Likewise, no additional backup photograph, but it is a local scene here and I can go back and refresh my memory, although the bales won't be there, I am sure!

Well, it is worth a try and I will post here my results! 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Summers Storm - Another Work in Progress

I began this 3 foot wide painting just a week or so ago and it has been occupying my painting time ever since.

One of my favourite subjects to paint are hay bales, maybe it was my earlier years when I avidly studied Monet's haystack series, I don't know, but I always enjoy seeing them in a sunlit field.

Here it is with the key elements blocked in, I used the largest brush I have and will continue to do so throughout this painting to keep a loose fresh feel to it.

 Here, I have begun to work into the clouds, they form an important part of the composition and I wanted to be sure to get them right. 

After a couple more sessions, where I brought the landmass down a bit as it was creeping a bit too close to the half-way mark (naughty, naughty) and a lot more work in the field areas.  A few hay bales have been hoisted all over the field. I really should have planned that out better before I started painting!

Here it is, very nearly finished, I have a few adjustments to make, but I want to keep it loose and fresh, so will not fiddle, I promise.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Summer Road Revisited

So in an earlier (much earlier) post of August 2011, I showed the work in progress of a panoramic painting of a road nearby.  I brought it to a conclusion some months later, or so I thought.

It was hugely popular and despite quite a bit of interest and two offers to buy it, I wasn't totally happy and kept on feeling it needed some more work.

Finally, after a lot of contemplation, I knew it needed quite a bit of work, mostly in the sky and also in the very foreground.  I worked some more on it and this is how it looks now:

Much better!  It has now sold even before going on exhibition and goes to its new owner when it comes back from framing.

Monday, 1 April 2013

I Aintn't Dead

This poor blog has been sadly neglected over the last year or so.  Work and life had got in the way of updates, but of course, I am still painting!

I will post more pictures of my paintings over the next few days, but shall leave this up as a taster, a detail of a larger painting: