Thursday, April 25, 2013

Exciting exhibition news!


Snow on beach, Sutton-on-sea

I am absolutely thrilled because I've had all three of my entries for this year's Patchings art centre and The Artist magazine's open competition accepted for the exhibition!

The exhibition will take place at Patchings Art Centre from June 6th to July 21st. Of course I am very excited about seeing it!
All three were painted plein air, two snowy ones from a few months ago and one from Morocco last month.

Chicken huts in the snow

Le Médina, Essaouira

I am so happy about it you wouldn't believe :-)

I think I'll have a cup of coffee and pain au chocolat to celebrate, and then it's on with the LIST...

 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fresh fried fish, Essaouira

Fresh fried fish, Essaouira
Oils 30 x 40 cms
'Tis finished! I am over the moon with this because I now have another studio painting which actually beats it's plein-air brother, in my opinion, hands down!

This is exciting progress as, for a long time now, I have believed that all my best work is painted plein air. If I can now take plein air paintings and make a studio version based on them which changes and improves on my original vision this is a huge step for me!

I am now looking forward to doing the same thing with some of the plein air paintings I will bring back from Florida in a little over a fortnight's time.

Here's the original plein air painting so you can compare which was done in less than an hour to be fair...



And here is a detail from the studio version...


I absolutely love the depiction of the guy on the right and especially his cigarette! He became really friendly with me during the week as I was often painting in the area and he always called out to me as I passed. I wish I'd asked his name now! His job is looking after the toilets and he is sitting next to the entrance which is just around the corner.

I had to be so careful to keep the brushwork loose but descriptive, and when you are painting figures in a setting you must treat them just the same as you would any other part of the painting if you want them to look as though they belong there.





Monday, April 22, 2013

Going to Florida!

America's Great Paint-out


I am so excited because in eight days time I will be travelling to Florida, as one of the 23 invited artists to take part in Florida's Forgotten Coast plein air paint out - my first ever plein air event in the USA!
I've got quite a lot on my plate at the moment trying to organise everything in preparation for my time away. Today I've been thinking about frames, art materials and panels that I will need to prepare for the trip!
Recently I was interviewed by Wes Locher for the Star newspaper and you can read the article by clicking here.

Also you can read here all the information about the event so that you can see where I'm going to be painting and who with, and as usual I will do my best to bring you daily reports while I'm away!



Friday, April 19, 2013

Sledging at Belmont tower



Sledgers at Belmont tower, Grantham
Oil on canvas 14" x 18"

Here's the studio version of 'Sledgers', starring my own son in the foreground! I hope you like it, it really pleased me to do it. I loved painting the original at the time, but I feel this is a better painting. I hope I have managed to keep the freshness of the plein air piece, I think I have. I was careful to keep the sketchy treatment of the figures. The nice thing about painting this version in the studio is that I could better consider where to place the figures.

The original version painted en plein air
Oil on panel 10" x 12" 

In case you missed it back then, this is the fun video of the painting day!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wheeeee !!

Detail from 'Sledgers at Belmont tower'

Just time for a very quick post! If you're worrying about my big list... I'm plodding through it gradually (but you know how lists go.. things keep getting added on to the end!) but/and more importantly I'm putting in the time for painting and I'm very pleased about that. I'm still very excited painting in the studio - what's going on? Maybe I'm just having a good week or have I turned a corner?
Thanks SO much to everyone who has commented and emailed, it really is great to get a fresh perspective.

This is my son Oscar on the sledge... remember when I painted all the people sledging back in January? I've been working on a version in the studio - 'en studio air', I'll be able to show you tomorrow if I can take a good enough photo...

By the way somebody at my workshop yesterday left a lilac gilet behind, if you think it may be you I have it so let me know!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fresh fried fish 'en studio air'


You remember yesterday I showed you the 10" x 8" I painted on site in Essaouira. I am now attempting a studio painting (gasp! Yes it's not often you find me painting indoors) based on the plein air study and a few photos I have of the men who sell the fish. It was an idea I had in mind to do at the time I was there painting.
I started with this rough drawing painted in with plenty of turps in the mix.


From there I progressed to blocking in tonal values, with a nod towards colour, again using plenty of turps. I confess I was a bit horrified at this stage but you just have to stick with it really!


I was thinking it was really important to get the whole board covered in dark enough greys so that highlights added later will show up. One of the problems with the plein air sketch is that it's too light in value overall.


It was also really important to keep the paint moving freely and the edges quite vague, the brushwork loose. This because the original painting was too tight and fiddly, in my opinion.


This is where we stand so far and I'm really pleased with progress. I still can't put my finger on what it is that has got me excited, it seems so elusive. Pretty sure my subconscious will be working on it though.

If you have any ideas what it is, feel free to comment and add them to the fray!



Monday, April 15, 2013

Fried fresh fish

Painting a fish stall in Morocco 

Fresh fried fish
Fish fresh fried
Fried fresh fish
Fish fried fresh



I painted this little 8" x 10" in Essaouira on my recent trip to Morocco and now I am working on a studio painting based on it, since getting back from France in the wee small hours yesterday morning. I will post progress shots soon.

I also wrote a new 'to do' list when I got back, it's three pages long and fairly terrifying. Mostly it is work or work related but doesn't involve painting, so I have had to make time for two hours painting a day despite the big list. Those hours are keeping me sane and calm.
I also feel as if I've made a big breakthrough or a new discovery in my painting but I can't put it into words yet. Be assured you will be the first to know when I do manage to verbalise it!

What's coming next?!




Saturday, April 13, 2013

Le dernier jour

Le dernier jour

For my last afternoon of my last day the sun shone! Hooray!
I was able to get out with my easel and found this fantastic view looking down towards the Guerzido beach. Usually I can't paint this view as there is a high stone wall running alongside the path down to the beach, but as luck would have it a large wooden gate is broken and lying flat on the ground.
I knew I had to paint from this spot as it could well be fixed again by summer, making this view private once again.
I'm not sure what to call this painting, maybe something about the private view? Or 'le dernier jour' to remind me of the week it rained and rained until the last day when the sun came out.

Friday, April 12, 2013

White sails on a windy day

White sails on a windy day
I'm coming towards the end of my five day break on the île de Bréhat now, and the weather has been disappointing with lots of rain! I've only managed three painting trips out on the island and one was completely rained off - I mean you should have seen me standing on the rocks with my easel trying to huddle under a flimsy umbrella while it poured down all around me- impossible to pack up or do anything until it stopped (by which time my easel was holding an inch of water with my brushes swimming, my palette containing more water than oil!).
This was my next, rather more successful outing. It was pretty windy but the rain held off.
It struck me that plein air painting is very like riding a horse, in that if you fall off/ have a disaster you need to get back out there and have another go just as soon as you can.
It makes everything better.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Early doors!


Day one at Brunel's old station Bristol - a very busy one! I'm here with the SAA at their 'It's all about Art' event. Here's a photo I took right at the beginning of the day- getting ready to rumble!
After that, I didn't have time to take photos (of course!). I have painted that scene with the beach huts seven times today, to give lots of lovely people the chance to have a try with Winsor & Newton Artist's acrylics.
By the way, the people from Bristol have wonderful accents! I didn't know that before, and it's a pleasure hearing them speak. Although mostly it was the sound of my own voice coming through the speaker behind me that I could hear I'm afraid.
It was especially nice to see you there Joy and thank you for the Friday cake- so sweet of you!
Bit tired but I enjoyed the day, and am looking forward to a lovely dinner tonight :-)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Walls at Essaouira


Here's another one painted plein air on my trip to Morocco. It's one of my smallest at 10" x 8". This is really the smallest size I like to work, any smaller and I get all fiddly and want to use tiny brushes and perhaps end up with something that doesn't look as though I painted it!
I remember the sky was rather changeable on this particular morning with the sun coming and going. I wanted to capture the tower lit up in front of the dark sky and the long morning shadows stretching across the square. That's all. I'm quite a simple creature really with simple ideas.

And now it's time to head to Bristol... I'll try to blog about the event but if I don't manage it I will be in touch next week from Bréhat!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Contre jour, Essaouira harbour

Contre jour, Essaouira harbour
Oils on Arches huile paper 32 x 42 cms 

Did you see some sunshine today? Wasn't it fantastic? If sheltered from the wind you could believe it was finally spring here!
This is a studio painting of Essaouira harbour that I've done since I got back from Morocco. Do you remember I reviewed Williamsburg handmade oil colours last sumer for The Artist magazine? Well recently I've had the pleasure of trialling 18 new colours in the Williamsburg range. I've been really enjoying myself with them.
I painted this one on Arches huile oil painting paper. It reminds me of watercolour paper so much that I usually want to start with flooding colour on in washes when I use it. That's just how this one started off, with Indanthrone blue, Cadmium purple and Cobalt green. 

First stage
I then began to add warmer colours and more detail, with the paint getting thicker.


Playing and playing...

I'm off to Bristol tomorrow to get ready for the 'It's All About Art' event which takes place on Friday and Saturday at Brunel's Old Station. Click here for information and come and see me there if you can! :-)




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gulls at Essaouira

Gulls at Essaouira 10" x 14"

Here's another one painted plein air in Morocco. I really wanted this one to be about the gulls, there are so many here! The fish sellers throw their scraps on this wall and these are the fattest, fittest looking gulls you've ever seen! Of course it's difficult to paint moving birds. I did also take photos and have started looking at those and sketching some of the shapes of the birds in flight in my sketchbook, which will hopefully be of help next time I am in the same situation.
There are lots of cats living all around the harbour area too, and I'm pleased that one jumped up onto the wall so that I could get it in the painting. It actually rained for about three quarters of an hour while I was doing this one but I carried on, holding an umbrella in my left hand.

Are you free on Thursday June 6th or Sunday June 9th and would you like to come and paint with me at the Patchings festival? We will be painting a still life with cupcakes in acrylics. It's a three hour workshop and the cost is £50. For that you receive over £65 worth of Daler Rowney materials to take away with you, free entrance to the Patchings festival (which is a great day out!) and a cupcake (gift from me!). You can easily book a place online by following this link here - Patchings workshop 2013!


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