More oil painting.

May 23, 2014

Having overcome the urge to put my foot through my previous painting, the progress of which I documented below, I decided that I needed to persevere and not be defeated. I went to my local bookshop, had a browse through the art books for inspiration and found a book on Marry Fedden’s work. She painted still lives but unlike me had a light and spontaneous hand and didn’t get bogged down with detail. I went home and started work on one of my small canvases, determined to finish a painting by lunchtime, and that was what I did, result here.

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Although the composition was mine I unashamedly used the style and overall feel from Mary Fedden, just to help myself overcome the desire to fuss over detail. I also painted with much thicker paint. On my previous attempt I built up layer on layer of colour, whereas here it was one thick layer and then work into the wet paint with additional colour to build up some colour texture, rather than having just one flat shade. I was pretty pleased overall, as much for the fact that I had actually finished my first oil painting as anything else, but also because I felt I had perhaps gone some way to moving forward in a positive way. Ironically, after finishing the painting I went back to Waterstones to buy the book, only to find someone else had beaten me to it and it was gone!

I’ve now started another painting, the only trouble is I’ve used a canvas mounted on board which after starting the painting I realised has a weird shiny surface, so hope I can finish that today, and I have another small canvas ready to go after that is finished, so watch this space for progress.

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After my earlier documented excursions back into the world of drawing with pens ( as opposed to using a computer) the bug bit a little harder and by coincidence I came across a local artist and teacher running a painting class nearby. My father had left me with a large collection of brushes, canvases and paints after his death, so I thought an introduction to oil painting would be a good idea. A couple of days before the first class I sat in the conservatory and did a little drawing of what I saw…….Image with the aim of using this as a basis for a painting.

I transferred this onto a canvas, which I took along to the first class.

The first task was to put a stain on the canvas, just a wash of colour diluted with turps, where I soon learnt that turps plus oil paint plus pencil all dissolve into a grey mush. I persevered however and by the end of the first 3 hours had this on my canvas….

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I managed  to paint out the worst of the smeared graphite and felt reasonably pleased with my progress.

Enthused with my new found skills I carried on at home, adding detail and building up layers of colour, helped by the use of Liquin, a jelly-like medium for oils painting which makes the colour flow better and dry quicker, slow drying being both an advantage ( its possible to keep working on an area of paint for days before it dries) and disadvantage ( large quantities of paint transfer themselves to every available surface if the slow drying is forgotten about)

This was the progress later in the week.

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Parts of the painting I was quite happy with, I liked the mug on the table, but other areas, such as the rug and the cushion on the seat of the chair, were looking a bit crude and harsh. Both objects are quite old and worn but the patterns I put on looked too hard edged and I felt I would need to rework those.

The following week I attended the class again and decided to concentrate on tidying up the door and finishing the chair, so one part of the image would be complete. This started off OK, but I began to realise that I was just getting too involved with detail and somehow the image was losing the spontaneity that the original washed on colours had given it and had become dull and static ( that’s how I saw it anyway). I could feel my enthusiasm draining away and by the end of the class had decided that my career as an oil painter might not advance quite as quickly as I had hoped. I feel the painting has some merits and I hope I can finish it over the next few weeks but I feel I need to stop getting too tied up with detail ( always a failing of mine) and bring some speed and life into my paintings.

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I’ve put the painting to one side, found three smaller canvases which I am going to use to do some quicker paintings whilst resisting the desire to fiddle about with tiny brushes. Watch this space for progress!

New work.

March 24, 2014

I’ve decided to just post some new images without taking too much time to comment, these are basically a series of images that have progressed on from the last post, either coloured versions of previous drawings, scanned and live traced in Illustrator to produce a vector version, or , in the case of the birds in the tree, where I have taken a tree from a park drawing and added the birds from another, plus some leaves from a third image. I drew the birds to fit a small decorative frame I have but, because the frame was designed in such a way that I needed to trim the artwork down to the very edge, I thought I would scan it and use the print in the frame instead, but for some reason the colours would not scan accurately and every imperfection in the drawing seemed visible, so I abandoned that idea. I now have a tiny drawing which took ages and which I don’t have much use for now, but I may have another go at scanning it and play around with the settings more to try and get a more accurate reproduction.Image

Below is the drawing with the birds, originally pen and ink on watercolour paper, then coloured with Doctor Martin liquid watercolours, looking more garish here than the original.

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Next is a coloured up version of the dividing path image, featured again in the last post, same process here, scanned original drawing and coloured in Illustrator.

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I wanted to expend on the park drawings, perhaps add in some more map influences, something I’m always interested in, so I took a pice of the Suffolk coast I know well and drew a pretty abstract map featuring the area, without making any reference to a real map but just fitting in the features as I knew them to be, but without worrying too much about accuracy. The checkerboard area is Southwold, the sea the North Sea, the river the Blyth, with the wide area of the river where the A12 road crosses the river. It was just a device to give a backbone to hang an image on, with the added though I would be doing my next art fair in Suffolk, and I will be hoping to sell some framed versions of the map.

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Just to finish , a poster for the next fair, drop by and say hello if you’re in Ipswich on the 6th!

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I’ve been feeling the urge to draw something recently, to get back to basics, with a pen and paper. I’ve been churning out digital imagery to sell online …. http://www.istockphoto.com/search/portfolio/911920/?facets=%7B%2225%22%3A%226%22%7D#1ec98cad

but sometimes it’s hard to keep up the momentum, and declining sales and views has made me feel restless and needing to explore possible new avenues. I’ve a pile of lino printing tools and lino, and I have thought I’d like to try some printmaking, but in the search for quicker results I decided to get drawing, using a nice long landscape format Tate watercolour pad I was given at Christmas, and a set of varying weight Staedtler pens I decided to use my local park as inspiration. I walk my 2 dogs there twice a day and it has a great collection of trees, some many hundreds of years old, and as I draw a lot of trees to sell online it seemed an obvious place to start. I also like the formal layout of paths and flower beds, a bit map like but in 3D, so I quickly sketched an idea in my sketch book and then worked this up more in the long pad.ImageThe first sketch is here, and this is the finished version, drawn with little or no planning, just straight onto the paper with a pen and hope for the best.

ImageThis was based on the arboretum area (the grey on the corner of the picture is just the shadow of my arm), and I then moved on to a couple of others based around the same theme, the 2nd one starting to get away from the looseness of the first one, as usual getting caught up in too much detail.ImageImageI then decided to return to a theme of a dividing road, something I’d illustrated before and which sells reasonably well as a stock image, useful for showing ideas of direction and choice.ImageI felt this one was loosening up a bit stylistically too, I tried to get away from the tightness of the 2nd one. I’ve done a couple of individual trees too, and I’m planning a bigger one, worked out now but not started. I’ve done digitally coloured versions too, but I’ll come back to those in a future post. I’m hoping to do an art fair here in Ipswich next month, something I’ve had a bit of a break from, and I’m planning to do one or two more to take to that framed.

We moved house 10 weeks ago, and the process of finding a house, buying a house, and then actually moving house have taken a bigger than expected chunk out of my blogging life. We have moved from a rural Suffolk village to the centre of Ipswich, and although we love the convenience and the activity of a busy town, it’s been exhausting too. Freelance work has all ended so it’s back to producing digital images to sell online.

http://www.istockphoto.com/search/portfolio/911920/?facets=%7B%2225%22%3A%226%22%7D#155d4954

iStock have recently announced they’ve reached the 1 million vector files mark, so getting things found is getting harder. Maps are quite a safe bet for sales, so I decided to add a couple more maps, UK because it’s where I live, and USA because it’s where most buyers live. I recently saw an image of an old  badly printed map from a magazine, and I wanted to replicate that sort of look, so using a map I had already drawn previously as the outline, and adding some dotted lines and a nice grungy texture, plus some  halftone dots, again textured and worn, and two background files, one solid colour, the top one having a texture cut out of it so the flat background behind shows through, I got the sort of look I wanted. I also offset the colour slightly, to achieve that sort of out of register look. I think one has sold already so I may do some more maps in the same style, again using maps already drawn, but applying the same look.Image

It’s a bit boring doing them so to break the tedium I did a couple of illustrated maps. I re-drew my UK and USA maps, using a much simpler style for the outline, just simplifying right down, whilst retaining the feel of the shape. I then applied a thick edge to the land and added detail, the UK map being the first. I put a bit more into the USA map and I think it shows, just a bit more detail, more clouds to give visual interest etc.

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I also added another grunge version, using some old painted wood texture I digitised and which makes a good background, seen in quite a few of my images, don’t let a good background go to waste!

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