Game board

December 24, 2014

Just a quick posting of a recent illustration. This was for LCB Resources, a company providing training for healthcare professionals. This was a game they had devised to help trainee health visitors gain an understanding of their job whilst having some fun. Quite a big image, approximately A3, a nice fun job to do.Board

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Vector geranium

June 17, 2014

I’ve had to suspend the oil painting for the time being as I’ve got a couple of freelance jobs, strictly digital so I have to switch back to Adobe Illustrator mode. I’ve finished one batch, some maps, and whilst summoning up the energy to tackle some of the more complicated drawings in the other job ( a book of brain teasers and illusions and the psychology and physiology behind them) I managed a nifty bit of replacement strategy and found a half-finished ( or more accurately quarter finished) vector image of a geranium ( or probably more accurately Pelargonium), photographed in our garden and drawn because I came across the photo and felt I could get a decent illustration out of it.

Here’s the final image, rushed a little at the end as I suddenly felt I’d had enough of drawing those fiddly leaves.

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And another one….

May 30, 2014

There always seems a certain point in the production of an artwork where boredom suddenly sets in and I feel the need to finish and move on to the next project. I got up this morning determined to finish the 2nd painting documented in my last blog, it was getting fairly close anyway and just a little push would get it done and out of the way. Nothing very insightful to say about it, just finishing the fruit, adding some more thickness of paint to the sky, and some additional colour texture also in the sky, tidy up the clouds and add some red accent colour horizontally. I hesitated about adding a little pattern to the plate but finally went for it, secure in the knowledge that an advantage of oil paints is that mistakes are easier to am and than, say, watercolours. Anyway, it’s now done, my Mary Fedden book has arrived in the post to inspire me, and 2 more canvases await my attention.

 

White bowl1

I’ve currently got 3 paintings in progress and finally managed to finish another one today. The big interior, as written about in previous blogs, has been put to side as being just too big to finish at the moment. I mistakenly thought I’d be dashing off paintings at a rate of knots, but the reality of finishing a big piece has caused me to re-think my ‘size of painting’ strategy and downsize my ideal canvas dimensions. I started 2 more after finishing the ‘Brown jug’ image shown in my last blog. One was a conventional canvas, one a board with an applied ‘canvas’ finish, which turned out to be more ‘slippery plastic’ rather than canvas, and resulted in my smearing paint around in a rather more uncontrolled manner than was usual with canvas. I chose one of my favourite objects, an old and rather battered ceramic bowl of ours, probably from Pakistan or Afghanistan and in reality far more battered and less pristine than I have made it look here, and just went for it. My first attempt made the bowl look more like a flat plate, so I had to repaint the bowl interior with a more convincing bowl shape, but it is finally done to my sort of satisfaction…..

Tree of life bowl

I’ve also spent a bit more time working on my ‘white bowl on a black plate’ painting, which is pretty much an unashamed Mary Fedden clone, just to get me into the frame of mind that doesn’t bog me down in too much  detail. It’s a work in progress here but I’m hoping another day might get it finished, and I’ve bought 2 more canvases today so I can think about what I’m painting next…

White bowl

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.

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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