Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mulled wine and hot chocolate

Mulled wine - hot chocolate
Christmas market no 2
24 x 30 cms

Continuing on with the Christmas market theme, this one concentrates on the action within the mulled wine stall. I particularly was after the warmth, the bright lights and the distorting effects of the steam. Again I tried very much to stick to big shapes apart from the odd bits of interest. I loved it in it's fairly abstract stages, shown below. I was very tempted to leave it at stage two but I do like people to be able to recognise the figurative subject matter and so I felt it didn't say enough about it yet. I don't know, maybe there's an abstract artist within me trying to burst through!

The mostly warm colour palette offset by those lavender/grey blues, and small touches of hot red, pleased me no end. I think when a painting speaks to you in this way, you just know that something about it will affect something you work on in the future at some point, like having a new arrow in your quiver. You don't need to be conscious about it, or try too hard, it will just infuse and develop within your repertoire. 


Stage 1 - darks

Stage 2 - large shapes - could have stopped here
Lovely blog readers, I need to ask your help with something. I've decided to rename this blog in the new year. At the moment it's called 'ma vie en couleurs' which seemed appropriate when I started as I was living in France at the time. Well I've been back in England three years and I need a new title. Don't worry, everything else about the blog stays the same.

But here's where I need you... can you think of a couple of words or a short phrase that describes me and my work and my usual blog content? Please drop me a line or even better leave a comment on this blog post so that others can see your ideas too. If you are reading this in your email inbox, you can redirect to my blog here. Thanks so much for taking the time :-)



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sketching the sketcher

Adebanji Alade

Last night was the Royal Institute of Oil painters (ROI) annual painting evening event, when anyone can paint from portrait models alongside many members of the ROI. There is always a great atmosphere of camaraderie amongst the artists taking part. Not to mention the wine and enormous mince pies which provided sustenance throughout the three hour event. 
Thank you to the lovely lady watching who kept getting orange juice for me :-)

And look who my model was this time! My friend and fellow artist Adebanji Alade AROI whose blog will be familiar to many of you. He was very good at sitting still actually, which helps!
I'm really pleased with the looseness of this because I think that a painted face or person should look as though it could move at any second. I also love sketchiness because I like to see evidence of the 'workings out' or the process that the artist has undertaken. And I like illusion of depth balanced with 'look, this is just a painting' brush marks. I suppose that last statement is a strong guiding theme for me. 


Adebanji modelling in the gallery
Just to remind you that if you are in London you have until lunchtime on Sunday to see the ROI exhibition at the Mall Galleries, and there are many brilliant paintings still available for sale. One of my very favourites is only £500. See if you can spot it.

And here's mine in the exhibition -
Last hour on the beach SOLD



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas market

Christmas market no 1 - mulled wine stall
10" x 12"

I loved the lights, colour and busyness of the Lincoln Christmas market that I visited a couple of weeks ago. I did find a place to set up and paint but it was away from where I wanted to be and I got very cold! After a couple of hours of painting followed by a warm up in a cafe I decided to walk around taking photos on my phone if anything caught my eye. It was very busy by then and day was turning into dusk which was the very best time for me.  I find it magical when the artificial lights start to take over from the light from the sky.
Since that day I've been developing the theme in the studio, and trying some new approaches. In many ways this is easier to do in the studio than en plein air, when it's best to get the job done as quickly as you can (especially in this weather!).
With this one I really wanted to keep the drawing quite fluid, so I started with painting large shapes and masses rather than a linear or drawn approach. If you imagine screwing your eyes up so that you can only see a blurred vision of the subject, that's how I began. 
I carried on with large shapes and then assessed which places needed more definition and which didn't.
I wanted to describe a little more the two central figures and the lights and decoration of the stall, but to leave the background group of figures as loose marks and large shapes. I think it's best this way as the figures look as though they are moving and populate the scene without dominating it.
You can probably tell I really enjoyed the whole process, I think it shows in the juicy paintwork!


Detail

Detail showing broad treatment of figures

Thursday, December 11, 2014

June Mendoza ROI

June getting started 

I've had a wonderful two days at the Mall galleries in London. Tuesday was the private view of the Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition, and I am fortunate to have work included in this wonderful exhibition again this year. It was brilliant as ever to catch up with friends, and I was tempted by many of the paintings. Unfortunately I've blown the painting budget already this year, and I must keep some money aside for tax - yuk! 

June with the sitters, Ian Cryer ROI President and his fiancé Felicity

Yesterday I watched all day as June Mendoza (surely one of our country's finest portrait painters) painted a dual portrait. June explained that she would normally take around five two hour sessions with each sitter separately, so the day would serve to provide a glimpse into her working methods although nothing like a completed painting.
 
What a fascinating glimpse it was to be able to watch somebody so skilled with eye and hand as the painting developed and the sitters came to life on the canvas.

The demo in the middle of the gallery






There are other events happening during the course of the exhibition that you might be interested in getting to. On Tuesday 16th December there is a tour of the exhibition at 3pm with the President Ian Cryer (the portrait subject in these pictures) and then from 6 - 9pm on the same day it's the Painting Event evening. This is a great chance to paint from the model alongside ROI members or just come along to enjoy the spectacle with a mince pie and a glass of wine. For painting or spectating you need to book tickets by calling 020 7930 6844.

You can see Bill Dean ROI painting in the gallery on Wednesday 17th December from 2 - 4pm, and Tim Benson VPROI working in the gallery on Thursday 18th December from 2 - 4pm.
The exhibition finishes on Sunday 21st December at 1pm and you can get a flavour of the exhibition here


The portrait at the end of the day




Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas cards

Chicken huts in the snow
SOLD

I have been so busy with Christmas things as I like to really leave it until December to get started. Hence a few weeks of present buying, house decorating, food ordering, socialising... I haven't started to write any Christmas cards yet. And as for wrapping, well... 

I've also been working on my website developing the store items so that books and greetings cards can now be purchased easily online direct from my studio, including this new winter card 'Chicken huts in the snow'. I've added about a dozen paintings to the site also, it's worth checking back from time to time to see new ones which become available. My calendars have been so popular that I only have two left as well as one for me out of the 100 I had printed. Be quick if you want one!

I've also been out painting and taking photos at the Christmas market in Lincoln so I hope to show you a few of those paintings very soon! 

Tomorrow I'm off to London for the Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition, so it will be great to catch up with many friends there, and that will be my first visit of three to the exhibition which ends on Sunday 21st December at 1pm. You can see many of the paintings in the exhibition online if you can't make it to the Mall Galleries. Click here to see the works.


Winter collection of ten cards, two designs

Collectors pack, assorted designs

A peek inside Volume 2 Paintings of light and colour

Take a look at my cards and calendars here :-)



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hanging out the sheets

Hanging out the sheets
Oils 12" x 16"


This is definitely one of my favourite paintings (and subjects) from the last trip to Venice. Parts of this were reworked a little bit back in the studio, and I find there are some very pleasing passages. I have photos of this scene including passing gondolas so I don't think I'll be stopping with this motif yet...

But I'm driving off to London today to deliver this special one along with two other Venice faves and a couple of London scenes to the Russell Gallery in Putney for their winter show.

I'm also meeting a couple of artist friends for lunch who I don't see very often so that will be a great treat!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Last hour

Last hour on the beach
Oils 16" x 20" SOLD

I painted this en plein air on the French island of Bréhat this summer. It was fairly late afternoon when I got started, a very hot day, and the tide was going out. It was the usual race against the clock, and it was important to get a statement down quickly about the sea and where it reached to on the sand and pinky rocks. 
I was very grateful for the can of cold drink on my easel that Tim brought me. Some local and Parisian friends stopped to say hello. I didn't want to take my eyes from the subject!
So funny, the things you remember. Every plein air painting has a story like no other. This one takes me right back to lazy hot August days on the island.

I'm very happy to say that this painting will be exhibited in the forthcoming Royal Institute of Oil painters exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London. The exhibition is open from the 10th to the 21st December, closing at 1pm on the final day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Portrait of Shirley





Shirley




I painted a portrait demo today at Patchings art centre, in the middle of my exhibition. Shirley was my patient model, and a really lovely crowd of people came to watch. Matthew in the gallery looked after us well as always. I have just one more painting session in the gallery, it's on Saturday 22nd if you'd like to join me.
I also met a few Facebook/Twitter friends for the first time in person today, thank you for coming such a long way John and Chris, I really appreciate it and am glad to have met you. I might pop back on Facebook for my birthday at the weekend - a birthday treat!

Now I really must say a big hello to Shirley's friend Dimitra who lives on Spetses Island, which sounds like a gorgeous place! Hello!

And now I find myself on a train to London in the dark to meet my husband to catch a train to Paris! How fun!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oasis in Chelsea

Oasis in Chelsea
26" x 28"

This is a recent studio painting, the inspiration for which came from my visit to Chelsea in July for Pintar Rapido. This is the market place that I painted but the day before the event there were no market stalls and instead children played in these water jets. I was absolutely captivated by the subject with the bright sparkling water seen against the dark buildings in shadow. 
I really enjoyed building up glazes of colour for the darks, something that is only really possible in studio paintings with the benefit of drying time. The wet and dry, sunlit and shaded pavement area was a challenge! I tried to give the children's figures a loose treatment, to add an element of confusion, movement and splashing water.
I'm not altogether decided if it's finished, but it is hanging on my studio wall so I can glance at it occasionally and maybe I'll dip back in.

I'm taking a little holiday from Facebook so I am sorry if you are used to seeing me on there. My blog posts will still automatically update to it because frankly I can't be doing with figuring out how to stop that right now! I will be popping back on from time to time. And if you miss me you can still find me on twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Why? Well I find those easy to dip in and out of, they just don't take up my time in the same way. 

Today (Wednesday 12th November) I will be painting a portrait demo at Patchings art centre. Still a few days left if you haven't seen my big exhibition there yet - it finishes on the 23rd.
Thank you Paul for coming all the way from Canada - you should really get a prize! :-)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

San Giovanni e Paolo

Morning shadows San Giovanni e Paolo
Oils 24 x 30 cms

It has certainly turned chilly here this week! This is one of the plein air studies that I brought back from Venice in October. I was standing on the bridge looking down at the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo in the morning. I really liked the long shadows cast by the Colleone statue and buildings and posts, and I knew I would have to act quickly to get them down and in so doing not worry too much about the drawing of the statue and column. The facing buildings, all in shadow, could be described quite rapidly. I just needed to be fairly careful about the rooflines and how they all fitted together, and then I could block in the dark shapes with just a suggestion of windows.
This was painted in oils on a small panel, 24 x 30 cms.
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