Saturday, 27 June 2015


I love to reference the Golden Mean in my paintings, it is something I consider when putting a composition together, whether on canvas or when photographing something.  I have been doing it for so long now, it is almost automatic.

Unable to quite bend a flexi-rule to a neat spiral, I decided to make some out of wire.  I shall call them Spirulers(c), heh-heh, patent pending!

Friday, 26 June 2015

New Canvas Works

I am continuing to work on the ideas from my mindfulness sketchbook pages.  I am still working on the boundaries in the landscape subject and the sketchbook pages are an extension of that. 

I am specifically looking at the shapes that fields form, I love how no matter how hard the farmer tries, they are never square due to things like hillocks, burns, buildings, pylons, rocks, uneven ground.  The shapes of the fields are endlessly fascinating to me.

So drawing those shapes and expanding on them became a great exercise in meditation and the results are now creeping into my everyday work.

It is harder to go bigger, so I am doing it gradually, from 6 or 7 inch square in my previous post to one that is 10inches square and one that is 16inches square.  I am challenging myself with the square format to see how the shapes work.  I don't want them plonked in the middle, so I am experimenting with the placement of them as well.  I also want to do some long thin formats too.

More ideas than time, as usual!

The first one is more or less finished, it is 10"x10" and very precise.  I worked in a very strict, planned manner, drawing things out before transferring them to the canvas and keeping the paint as even as I could.

The second one, is still in progress, sorry for the slightly fuzzy photo, even though we have daylight until the wee hours here in Scotland, we do have cloud and that has reduced the light quality. 

Here I have worked in a much more intuitive way, applying paint, oil pastel and charcoal and letting the shapes form themselves.  I am also applying the paint in a more textured manner.  Although much harder to work this way, I do find it more satisfying and more painterly.

I still have a way to go with this, but I like how it is progressing.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Summer of Colour - Week 3

Actually finishing earlier this week, here are two pieces completed for the Summer of Colour challenge using two purples and a yellow.  The first one I use the purples with just a touch of yellow and the second one uses a wash of yellow over the entire painting, apart from the reserved shapes, with more layers of yellow in some selected areas.

I couldn't choose a favourite, so I am including both!

Here are the mixes I used:  The darker purple is ultramarine and magenta, the lighter purple is cerulean, magenta and white and the yellow is cad yellow medium with a little white.

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Bigger Picture

In yesterday's post, I showed you a painting for Summer of Colour that I made in two pinks and orange.  What I didn't show you, was the bigger picture - the image was just part of a larger whole.

Here is the larger painting in progress, you can see, I have already made changes to the parts shown yesterday.

There is much more still to be done, but I am loving the process.  It is an extension of the ideas that have been forming during my mindfulness sketchbook sessions and it is such fun to be able to get them onto a larger canvas (well, board in this case) at last.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Summer of Colour WK2

Working on board this time, out of the sketchbook for a change, here is this week's Summer of Colour painting.  The colours we were to work with are two pinks and an orange.

I have been using pastels and acrylics and these are my chosen colours: magenta, pale pink and flourescent orange.

It is a lovely colour-scheme, apparently a big hit in previous years, I can see why.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Mindfulness Sketchbook Pages

Things are still very busy in these parts, but I am managing to find time to work in my sketchbooks during my mindfulness sessions, here are a couple of pages that I finished recently.

I really enjoy doing these and am looking forward to experimenting with them on a larger scale soon.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Summer of Colour - Wk 1

The colours for this week are two blues and a green.  I was afraid this was a bit unexciting for me, but by mixing my own blues and by making a nice bright green, I felt the colour addict within me was satisfied.

I mixed ultramarine blue with a little paynes grey for the darker blue, then I  mixed cerulean blue with a little white for a contrasting blue.  For the green, I used pthalo turquoise with lemon yellow.

Sketchbook - Finished
I decided to work in my sketchbook and on a small canvas (10" x 15"), the sketchbook is finished, but the canvas has more work to be done on it.

The Canvas - Work in Progress

Monday, 8 June 2015

Boundaries Series - Push it

During my mindfulness sketchbook sessions, I find I spend more time drawing with charcoal on top of previously painted pages.

Liking the results in the sketchbook, I decided to try it out on a prepared canvas (the one in the last post, that looked like a snow scene).

First I painted over the lovely burnt paper effect (it is OK, I now know how to replicate it if or when I need to), with a few layers of acrylic paint.  I always start with darker colours and work towards lighter as I progress.  Well, when I say always, I mean mostly (sometimes I deviate from this).

Now, I rather liked what I had so far and I really didn't want to change it that much, but, you know and I know, that to progress with art, we have to push it - we have to push it real good!

So I pushed it and I am not entirely happy with the result, I overworked it and lost the translucency that I a wanted in the negative space, I was battling with the texture, it was making the drawn and calligraphic lines that I wanted broken and untidy, the tonal contrast is a bit too harsh to my eyes.

But I am happy that I tried and I have pinned this up on the wall, where it will stay with many other experiments until I AM happy with the results!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Serendipity in Art

It is great to let go of the control-freak inside (well, sometimes).  I was prepping some paper ready for painting and just love what happened here. 

What I am trying to achieve is a sense of perspective in this painting.  You have to imagine it upside down for this, I wanted texture of cracks and creases, with finer ones in the distance (top of the painting) and I wanted harder, larger ones in the foreground (bottom of the painting), so I used tissue for the finer ones and dug out an old fax roll for the harder creases.

Pleased with that aspect of the work, I then applied some lettering through a stencil using texture paste.  Now, texture paste takes ages to dry and I am impatient, I wanted to get started asap, so I blasted it with the hairdryer.  (sidenote here, I have managed to blow out one hairdryer in six months by using it in the studio, but it was an old one).

As I moved the hairdryer over the lettering, I noticed that the fax paper was beginning to darken, even after I stopped.

I thought it looked rather interesting like this, but even so, I will be painting over it.  At least I know how to achieve this effect if I ever want to!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Summer of Colour 2015

Mindful Sketchbook page
It starts today (1st June)!

There is a blog, a Facebook page and a Flickr hosted by Kristin of Twinkle Twinkle blog, that runs the  Summer of Colour challenge.  It has been running for the last few years, this year is the fifth and, after wanting to take part since the very beginning, I am finally going to join in.

When I first heard about it, I was working a lot in photography, I used to have a Flickr site and post photos there regularly and fully intended for a couple of years to take part, but for various reasons never managed it.  

I love colour (did you guess?) and this challenge will be great fun for me.  The work can be in any medium, paint, collage, textile, nail art, ATCs - basically anything!  It is open to participants of all levels, beginners to professionals alike, even children.  I shall be working in my sketchbooks, on canvas and on some art jewellery during the six weeks that it is running.