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.

Image

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….

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!

I’ve had this hanging around for a bit, so knuckled down today and got it finished. I have a desire to endlessly add bits, and in a way I feel it would be a lot better with perhaps a couple of cars ( maybe a 2CV or a Renault 4) and some people about but I’ve got an increasing freelance load. The  London Book Fair is in about 10 days so lots of little bits to do for publishing clients finishing off book fair presentations,

http://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/

plus a fairly complex illustration for our website designers, Silk Pearce

http://www.silkpearce.com/

so I want to clear my desk and concentrate on bringing home the bacon, so , finished or not, I have to upload this to my iStock portfolio and hope it gets accepted.

Coloured pencils Part 2

April 1, 2012

Finished off the half completed map from yesterday, scanned it, saving the file as a 300dpi TIFF file, which will enable me to edit the image and save it with no loss of quality, then, once I’m happy with the cleaned up file, and having done a few tweaks in Photoshop to contrast and saturation, I’ll save a copy as a highest quality JPEG which I’ll upload. I start cleaning up all the stray pixels that are the result mainly of the scanner picking up the grain of the textured watercolour paper.

Here they are magnified..Although it’s a bit dull, trawling the whole surface of the paper, enlarged 2 or 300 times, selecting them and filling with white, I quite enjoy it in a mindless sort of way.

End up with the cleaned up colour pencil map, which I feel is OK, may sell a few once I’ve passed the hurdle of inspection at iStock.

It will hopefully end up in my Maps lightbox on iStock.

http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/3406037/#1a82ac7

Next to put some water onto the water soluble pencil map and get a watercolour version too…I don’t feel as happy with it as the pencil version, and I may try working into it a bit more, in areas where the paint has gone a bit thin. I’ll look at it in the morning, with a fresh eye, to see what I think.

 

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