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

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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

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….

Image

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.

Image

 

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.

Image

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!

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