Friday, 31 May 2013

Delight or Disaster!!

As I have written on facebook, I am really not sure about this one but thought I would post anyway. This photo which was taken by Nicola B on Paint my Photo has been on my to do list for a while now. You may remember last year I never had chance to take any photos of the poppies in our garden as they were all drenched and needed umbrellas during our wash out of a summer, however they are all that really gorgeous tomato red colour and I had the feeling I wanted to try another colour and I was drawn to this one.

I also wanted to do a large flower painting where one flower was centre stage, I haven't done any so large since the step by step I did on here last year but felt this lent itself to that sort of painting.... the last thing I wanted to do was try out the perylene green again though am not sure how well the palette works for this.

I used

Perylene Green
Permanent Rose
Winsor Violet
Permanent Mauve (I think, anyway it is a slightly redder purple than the violet!!)

I tried some colour mixing but I didn't want this to be a  colourful painting I wanted to use a more unusual combination and as such am not sure how well it worked... have a look and let me know what you think, no drawing on this btw.....

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Recent Holiday in Dubrovnic

We had visited the walled city of Dubrovnic once before from a cruise and really loved the wonderful marble stone of the beautiful buildings within the city and the pristine terracotta roofs mostly replaced since the war during the nineties when the city was severely hit by the fighting. The stone has a wonderful pink cast and almost sparkles in the sun, it has a magical fairy tale quality and we decided it was one of the places we would look to revisit.

After the "hip relacement" we decided we would try and get away towards the end of May and this holiday appeared on one of the Secret Escapes luck would have it was considerably cheaper the week we went than had we waited another few days.

The Lafodia Sea Resort was on the island of Lopud, 9 kilometres North of Dubrovnic and has been newly renovated to a high standard. The island is quite isolated and a ferry runs about 3 times a day to Dubrovnic when all the islanders set off with their suitcases at 6.20 in the morning to get their provisions. We made the journey into the city but unfortunately the weather wasn't good (in fact we got drenched!!) so it didn't show it in it's best light. Nevertheless it was lovely to return and explore some of the places we hadn't seen on our previous visit.

The weather was terrible on Wed and Thurs and as there was very little to do in the hotel, I held a little watercolour lesson with Kathryn, whom we had met on the short boat ride from the mainland and who was interested in learning and also invited me to conduct a workshop in their pub the Wheatsheaf Inn where they have a skittle alley which they use for conferences, weddings, meetings, parties etc. We had a few people gather round and I think I need to hire Kathryn as my PR as she was fantastic in promoting my blog and paintings!! Thanks Kathryn!! Anyway we are in the process of arranging, hopefully in the not too distant future, for me to go down and Kathryn will invite members from local art groups to come and do a session with me...... anyone living in the area who would be interested please either get in touch with me or with Kathryn via their website, it would be lovely to see you!!

Dubrovnic in the sun

                                                          and in the rain!!

                                                    the lovely bay on the island
                                                            The Gym!!
                                       Our hotel and the private beach to the side

                                    Our view from the restaurant with stormy weather

Just a few images to give you a taste of what is a truly beautiful part of the world... am sure we will return to Croatia in the future, it is still moving on from the atrocities of the war but it has some breathtaking scenery and areas of interest which deserve to be explored.

Friday, 17 May 2013

New Commission

At first this was going to be a charcoal drawing, a commission for a 60th birthday present of the family dogs. When the client saw my watercolour animals she decided she would like a painiting rather than a drawing.

This was quite tricky as the details, colour and composition were all left to me.  I know decisions aren't my strong point but got over it with this one!! I had several photos but didn't like the compositions so amalgamated them and I am happy with the one I ended up with.  I had an idea of which colours I wanted to use and did a few little planets and a sketch which helped me decide and I finally settled on

Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna
Winsor Violet

When choosing colours I always try and make sure I have a colour which will give me a good dark,  in this case the Winsor Violet. The Turquoise is a rich vibrant colour but doesn't have quite enough tonal value to give me the really dark areas when mixed with the Burnt Sienna. Prussian blue, UB, Indigo will all work and I think the Perylene Green I have bought recently might also give me the tone I am looking for.

Am delighted to say the client was really happy with the painting, she loved the colours and composition as she said the smaller girl dog often looks up at them like that.

Just needs framing now and then I believe it will be off to their holiday home in France.

My blog will be quiet for the next few days as I am taking a little break... paints will be with me, can't go anywhere without them now!!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Review of Demo at Lodge Artists

Well.. dare I say, I think it went rather well and I really enjoyed it!! An artist friend of mine Lynne Frost (please check out her website her work is wonderful!!) decided to come with me and I am really grateful to her as she helped me set up and pack away  but more importantly was there for a bit of moral support!!

We arrived in plenty of time and a gentleman was setting up the camera and sound system and the room quickly filled up with I'm guessing around 25-30 people. I didn't really get the hang of keeping my work under the camera so it could be projected onto the screen. The trouble is I am constantly moving my work around so that makes it difficult to keep it in one place so got my hands slapped a few times when they couldn't see what I was doing!!

I also took some of my earlier work... I was so embarrassed!!! But I really wanted to prove to everyone that anything is possible if they have the desire to practice, practice, practice... I know I am like a long playing record droning on and on, but it is the answer to becoming a half decent painter!!!

I did get some wonderful feedback, one lady said she had been coming to demo's for the last 10 years and she found mine to be the most inspiring she had ever been to (wow!!!) and a gentleman said he always hoped to learn one thing from a visiting artist and from me he had learned 3 things, he also said that for a first demo I had done really well!! Other people said they had enjoyed and found it interesting so am really happy with that.

Of course there are things I would do differently.... speaking and painting for about one and three quarter hours takes some doing and I think I needed a touch more content as it flagged a bit to the end of each half. I had really come to the end of what I wanted to say about 10 minutes before the end of the first bit so did a bit from the second which then threw the timing for the second half... grrr!!! So that was the most difficult bit, I needed to plan in for questions and diversions so wanted to make sure I got everything in but would say I was about 15 minutes short. Having said that, I did pack a lot into the session and was also aware that if I did too much, they wouldn't remember enough to try and practice after.

So demo or workshops for the future? Well if asked, I would certainly do more demos and feel confident that I could  improve on what I did last night to have another go, we are always our own worst critic and I am just trying to be honest in my own evaluation but I am really quite happy with how things went last night and certainly happy enough to try again.

However I do think groups get more out of me when I do workshops and I am able to do both a bit of demonstrating and then help them when they start to have a go, I feel it helps reinforce what I am trying to get across and I sort of feel I have now left the group in the lurch without being able to help them if they decide to give the techniques a go. The thing is, because I feel so passionate about my painting I want other people to have a taste of that,  for them to have the joy of creating that special  magic for themselves and doing a demo feels there is unfinished business if that makes sense!!!

Anyway thank you to Lodge Artists for  inviting me, I hope you all enjoyed my first go, you were all really warm and friendly and made me feel so welcome and I hope to visit you again in the future!!

Monday, 13 May 2013

First ever full Demo.....

I am visiting an art group on Wednesday evening where they have asked me to do a demonstration rather than a workshop. A few artists I know prefer to do demos as they don't like the teaching aspect of the workshop but as I have always done workshops and I love the teaching bit, I was a bit daunted to hear they wanted a demo, then I thought "they have invited me to go along and talk about "me" and my painting to a captive audience...... how good is that and I actually can't wait now!!"

I will be showing a few techniques, doing some small quick demos and sharing as many tips and hints as I can remember... I know, I know,  maybe I should hold back and not share too much all in one go but I don't seem to be able to help myself, I want them to feel inspired and raring to go, to feel it is all achievable given a little time and of course practice and I may even take some older stuff to prove the point. We will have a break half way through where apparently the members like to have a chat with the artist and view some of their work and then it will be back to me rambling on again!! I will have a microphone and the whole thing will be projected onto a big screen so that everyone can see well... talk about jumping in at the deep end!!!

Anyway if I can get across my enthusiasm and the painting goes well I'm sure it will be fine and I may decide to do more if anyone wants me!! I cannot believe that after having retired exactly 1 year ago tomorrow I am doing this as a job, painting, exhibiting and running demos and workshops....I am working on a commission at the moment, and have just finished another two and although there were no sales at the exhibition on Saturday as footfall was poor and there was a big Spring Fayre at a hotel complex nearby, I got another booking for my workshops and did a bit of a demo for the other artists at the exhibition.

I am exceedingly fortunate to be able to do this and never stop pinching myself to see if it is real!! I always knew it was the best thing to be able to turn a hobby into a  job but never believed it would happen to me and one reason was that I never found out what I really wanted to do, well not until I started painting. I do wish I had come to this sooner but maybe I wasn't ready to do it then but I sure am now!! By the way, am not asking for wishes of luck for Wednesday I am finding if I am properly prepared, luck doesn't come in to it....

"Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail" is my mantra and strangely enough not with anything else in my life (generally wing most things) but most definitely where my art is concerned. I don't ever want to not give my best at these sessions, firstly it is nice to be invited back but second, I really want to "spread the word" about watercolour and painting in general and I can only do that if I can give a good session and motivate and encourage people to give it a go!!

Will give an update later in the week when I have plunged into the deep water to let you know how I got on.....

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Dreaded Landscape!! With Joanne Boon Bolton Art Circle

Now a lesser more paranoid woman (think the time when I can still refer to myself as a girl has gone!!) may think Joanne chose a landscape on purpose knowing (as she pointed out to me) that landscapes are way out of my comfort zone, but no..... I prefer to think she was being extremely generous, thoughtful and considerate and wanted to help me develop those skills which have somewhat eluded me!!

Joanne had been invited to an afternoon workshop at Bolton Art Circle..... she hasn't been to us before and  the members were all looking forward to the session.

Here is Joanne's finished painting

The painting was taken from a photo Joanne took very near her home, really nice composition but lacking light which is where she could let her imagination take over. I like the fact that Joanne usually does a practice before she attends any workshop... it is what I do and I find it really helpful especially if the demo doesn't quite happen as I might hope!!! Joanne doesn't have that problem I might add!!

The idea was to use a limited palette, cad red, cad yellow, UB and burnt sienna ..... Jo rarely uses more colours than that in any painting as she feels the colours marry and harmonise better with the more limited palette. I have noticed these are colours Joanne has used before and for those of you wondering about using 2 opaque colours and mixing mud, I defy you to find any mud on any Joannes' paintings!!!

I appreciate these workshops as it gives you an idea of how someone else might approach something and while there are no rights or wrongs it is so helpful to see another way of doing things which you may either not have thought of or may have forgotten about.

Joanne did a very quick sketch first then started with the sky paying attention to the light direction as she worked (in fact she placed an arrow at the top of the piece as a reminder). Always sharing tips hints and most importantly her thought process as she worked, Jo worked thought the piece breaking off at strategic moments for us to have our go... and here are my pieces... the first I lost it with the negative painting around the bg trees so decided to have another go.. I am a speedy painter so managed another attempt where I paid more attention to that bit. Here is the first one.

Need to either dul down the yellow on the right or add a bit more to the left
 and behind the tree then the scary bit of the shadows across the foreground!!

More strengthening of values on this and maybe a bit of softening of the trees in the bg as they look a bit dark, a bit of splattering in the foreground then again a few shadows.

I think this workshop has given me a few tools to have a go at some landscapes for myself, that's what we should use workshops for, to pick up tips and hints from other artists, to pick their brains, some are more generous than others and Joanne is one of the best in that respect.!!!  As my own painting progresses I am finding it more difficult to paint along and do a copy of what I see in front of me which is a  really good thing but there is so much Jo has to share I would always grab the chance of attending one of her sessions!!

I also think Joanne was pleased with the efforts of the group... there were some lovely paintings done... not surprising as there are some very good painters there!!