Monday, July 29, 2013

Still standing, just!

Business Design Centre, Islington 25th - 27th July 2013
All clean and ready at 9.15am on Thursday
Guess what my friends? I've nothing much to show you from the "it's all about art' event as these are the only two photos I had a chance to take!
I can tell you though that I had more than 300 people take my mini workshops over the course of the three days and everyone seemed to be having a great time in spite of the heat.
It was especially lovely to meet some of you there, thank you for coming to introduce yourself! If any of you have any photos of the workshop I'd really appreciate seeing them.

Now I'm back home, the weather has cooled a little and I've a list of to-do's to get through before heading to the île de Bréhat on Saturday to kick back and paint on the beach :-)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's All About Art London 2013

I'm sending this from the train on the way to London, everything got a bit hectic in the run up to leaving home!
I'm on my way to the Business Design Centre in Islington for the SAA's 'Its all about art event'. It will be a massive affair with loads to see and do, and I'll be running seven workshops a day throughout, that's Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the brilliant Winsor & Newton Artists acrylics.
So come and see me if you can! All workshops are free to participate in, just pay £10 to enter the show and then fill your day however you wish.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer studio

Garden studio!

 It's a big one! I've been battling on with some studio paintings recently. I'll be honest with you I feel I'm on a huge learning curve!
Here are my main aims with studio paintings -

  • To paint on a much larger scale
  • To carry to a further point ideas I have gathered from plein air painting sessions
  • To keep the same simplicity and lively brushwork in the studio paintings that I have in my plein air work
My main difficulties with this presently are -

  • First and foremost to keep the excitement and inspiration going when one step removed from the beloved subject
  • Related to the above point and also due to working on a much larger scale, the awkward middle period when you really don't know if the thing is going to work or not goes on much longer and so...
  • It's harder to break through the pain barrier!

We're still roasting hot here so I have to leave my studio by 11 am at the latest as it's an oven by then, and move kit and caboodle outside.
The only drawback with painting in the garden is really that I have to keep kicking the football for Maisie. And sometimes I have to sit down with an ice cream or a glass of ginger beer. Ho hum.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fast, loose and alla prima!

The Artist August issue
The August issue of The Artist magazine (in the UK) is now out in shops, and in it I have an article on painting faster and looser with oils - alla prima or all in one sitting. Actually I say 'sitting' as a figure of speech, because I strongly recommend standing to paint!

You may recognise some of those paintings in the feature! Did you know that you can subscribe to this brilliant magazine even if you live outside of the UK and can't buy it in your shops? I have another article in the September issue on painting seascapes and plenty of others in the pipeline but of course it's not just me, the magazine is packed with artistic inspiration every month.
Take a look at the website for subscriber info by clicking here :-)

One of the other articles I did this year was on 'Finding your own style' and if you didn't have a chance to see it before you can read the whole thing online right here!

That's all for now, I'll be back to you soon to talk about studio paintings, and my part in a huge London event this week. Have a great day :-)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rowing club at Putney

Rowing club at Putney
Things get hotter! The day after painting with the Royal Institute of Oil painters at Maidenhead I painted at Putney with the Wapping group - boy was it hot in the city! Thirty degrees celsius I found out later. There was actually a weather warning in place, we're not good at dealing with weather extremes in this country. Heat and cold both take us by surprise. We're fine with rain and drizzle though.
Anyway, of the four paintings spanning the two days this is by far my favourite one and it only took HALF AN HOUR to paint - how does that happen?!
In fact I confess that I almost didn't start it, thinking it was too ambitious a subject for the time frame but there you go! Surprised myself by managing to capture the essence of the scene, with probably no wasted strokes!

Rowing club at Putney - detail

This is the other painting from the day, the one I laboured over in the sweltering heat -

Towards Putney bridge

And this is a better look at the afternoon one from the day before - 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Basking in the heat

Fishing on the Thames
We in the UK are in a state of shock. I must try to explain to my international friends. We are currently experiencing what can only be described as ... summer.
The days are hot and long, the sun is shining and the sky is blue and clear. The thing that's really taken us by surprise this summer is that it hasn't been one glorious day followed by the default setting (rain) but actually waking up each day to beautiful sunshine.
It's like the summer we fondly remember/ dream of.
Sun screen has taken up residence in my painting kit and long may it continue!
Yesterday I was painting by the river Thames in Maidenhead with members and friends of the Royal Institute of Oil painters.
Today I'm heading to the Thames again but this time it's Putney to paint with members of the Wapping group. Maybe I will find another willing fisherman to model like this one.. thanks to you Dan :-)
I'll post a better pic of this when I get a chance to take one.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Going to the beach

On location between Portscatho and Porthcurnick
You've already seen this painting on the easel in the field, literally, but I wanted to show you the step by step photos that I took along the way. The painting took around three hours to complete, on the hottest day of the year so far. This stretch of coastline is known as the Cornish riviera.

I started with a pretty careful drawing (with the brush and a turpsy mix of paint) to plan everything in and see how it all fits together. I was standing next to one of the main footpaths leading from the car park down to the beach, so there were quite a few people walking past me and I had the idea from this early stage that I'd like to put somebody into the painting for extra interest.

I chose this lady with her straw hat and orange bag, so I had to paint her in quickly while she was still fresh in my mind.

I then wanted to remind myself that the sunlit sand on the beach was one of the lightest values.

From there to the colours of the distant cliffs. I was extremely particular about getting the tonal values right. I think one of the hardest jobs in painting is to paint an area with different colours that have to be almost exactly the same in value, as in a distant landscape like this. I was already uncomfortably hot, but I wasn't slacking!

The next big challenge was getting in the sky and sea with the right colour bias and even more importantly the right relationship of tonal values between each other and the distant land.

Buoyed up by the results of that struggle, I needed to get some greens going to cover this foreground area and from there it was just a skip, hop and a jump to....

 darkening up the foreground greens plus some detailing on the little tree and filling in the missing gaps before hot footing it out of there quite literally... I was so very hot.

Little did I know that a delicious lunch was waiting for me at the Hidden Hut!

I'm sorry that the link didn't work yesterday for the Harbour Gallery in Portscatho, hopefully this one will! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Portscatho harbour in evening light

Portscatho harbour, evening light

The short break in Portscatho resulted in four paintings, this one on the evening I arrived and then three on what was to prove the hottest day of the year so far!
The harbour here is so pretty and I adored the sweep of the hill and those white houses lit by the evening sun. Almost every house in Portscatho is whitewashed. Can you imagine how dazzling that can be on a 'blue sky' day?
Here are a few photos I took along the way...

And here's a snap of it in it's frame, white washed to match the houses and looking rather spiffing!

And all my Portscatho paintings as well as three of my Mousehole and two Sennen cove paintings are now available to buy from the beautiful Harbour Gallery in Portscatho :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hot in Portscatho!

Hottest day of the year!
Hope this little 'postcard from Portscatho' reaches you, I don't have access to much wifi here. I sort of have to stand on one leg in the bathroom holding my ipad above my head... anyway, trying to send a photo might be a bit too much for it!
It's a very pretty place as you can see.
I have painted down in the harbour here on Saturday evening and yesterday I managed three, of which this is one. It was so so hot all day, I couldn't have done this one without my umbrella to keep the sun a little bit removed from my head!
Later on today I'll be travelling home, via Somerset, and then I'll be able to give you more info from my trip, more pictures of paintings I've done here and even let you know how you can buy one! ;-)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mini Mousehole exhibition!

Mini Mousehole exhibition
Well I spent yesterday evening and this morning painting frames and framing up my Mousehole work here in the artist's studio I am staying at. It looks not a bad little show for three days work. There are several other paintings that didn't really cut the mustard but I'm happy with this lot and have lots of ideas to take back for future studio works. It's a bit of a shame neither of the cameras I brought with me are working though! I have missed taking a load of great photos.
Anyway I am now packing and heading off to beautiful Portscatho to see what treasures await me there...

(Strange thing happened last night, two badgers ran right past me! Literally, right past my legs and boy were they fast! I've never seen badgers up close and personal before, and they pant like dogs when they run!)

Friday, July 5, 2013

The day before regatta!

Fluorescent man in boat!
All I can say is... so much to do here, so little time! And now, I'm going to Sennen Cove...

Colours of the regatta

Painting at the harbour in Mousehole
Of course I couldn't resist this subject, with those brightly coloured flags having appeared, and the turquoise sea. After a rainy morning the sun came out and stayed out for a brilliant afternoon. I ended the day watching the sun set at Sennen Cove. This whole place is magical. It is no wonder at all that so many artists have lived and painted here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's complicated!

It's complicated!
I had my first full day here in Cornwall and I produced three and a half paintings in beautiful Mousehole.
This one took the longest and had the most head scratching!
There were many times in the first hour when I thought I would give up and pack it away. The excuses went like this - 'it's getting too windy now' and 'it's a complicated subject. I've got the drawing sketched in. I should come back and finish it another day'.
Then my determination set in. I turned down my internal voices, turned up my podcast (Artists helping Artists) and carried on.
Three hours after starting, I was really glad I did it. The sense of achievement is even better when you have doubts to start with, when you get over hurdles. :-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A lot of rain

Between the showers, Mousehole harbour
Actually not just a lot of rain but a lot of driving too! I've finally arrived in Mousehole and it's such a magical place, even in the rain!
After settling in the rain stopped for an hour and a half this evening so I managed this one down by the harbour . I planned to stop after an hour and a half anyway, and the rain recommenced bang on cue as I was packing up. I wonder what the weather will hold tomorrow... I think I might stay in Mousehole all day...

Teddington lock and Cornwall

I spent a peaceful morning painting here at Teddington lock in the midst of a really busy day during which I drove past many of London's famous sights including Buckingham palace!
The painting got a few little areas of damage during transportation home which I haven't had time to fix yet but eventually I will do so and take a closer photo.
Apart from the day in London and preparing for my gouache workshop which went really well I have been packing for my trip to Cornwall. I'm very excited to be going down there to paint, it's about six to seven hours drive away from where I live in Lincolnshire. The last time I went was a family holiday about five years ago now. This is my first painting trip to the area and I intend to work very hard which is why I'm definitely going solo on this occasion! I'll hope to blog from there, if I can find wifi.
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