Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Meet Archie!!!

Well my blog has been quiet for the last few days and have almost kissed goodbye to the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, you see we have been kept rather busy with a new addition to the family!!

Here is Archie, Mark (my son) and Steph's new puppy, a field spaniel/show cocker cross!! We are standing in for his other day care at the moment and it is a sheer pleasure to have him!!

How cute is he!! I tagged along when they went to choose him and nearly came home with one myself as well!! So he arrived at their house, just 10 weeks old, last Friday and we have been puppy sitting during the day since Monday. He is so cuddly and smart... not that we're biased of course!!

He is almost house trained already and has been getting really confident and cheeky today!! He has been such a brave little boy, exploring all by himself taking a look around the house, and even trying out the wooden floor he has been reluctant to step on until now.  He knows his name and seems to already be displaying his innate tendencies to sniff and retrieve, taking all his toys back to his crate and playing with them there. He is very curious but so loving and affectionate and we are having a lot of fun with him at the moment!!

Suffice to say I have not done a scrap of painting as even when he sleeps he likes to be nursed and neither of us have the heart to say no!! He seems to be getting to know us especially hubbie who has spent the most time with him but goes mental when Steph arrives to pick him up.

His favourite position!!

So happy in his crate with his toys... seems to know it's his little house!!

Wondering what mischief to get up to next!!

Spends most of his time like this with his nose to the ground!!

So not sure just when I will get back to doing some painting, I don't normally paint at night but think that might have to start happening, need to get my daylight lamp out and change my habits as there is a sweet little puppy who needs attention in the day..... wonder if this is how it feels to have grandchildren???

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Day 19 Monochrome Paintings

I have been to my group today for the start of our new season... was lovely to see lots of familiar faces there and lots of new ones as well!!

We were looking at tone and monchrome paintings and I do think the penny dropped with them as we started to add some of the really dark, was amazing how it started to transform their paintings!!

Here are a few of the skethces I have done to prepare for the session

of our new season... was lovely to see lots of familiar faces there and lots of new ones as well!!

We were looking at tone and monchrome paintings and I do think the penny dropped with them as we started to add some of the really dark, was amazing how it started to transform their paintings!!

Painting a day

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Day 18

This is day 18.... I have a few dark coloured birds to paint and this is another 6x4 for Running with Brushes of a Blackbird, photo by Rob on PMP.

I think he looks a bit fat or maybe he's just a bit fluffed up!! I was running out of paper at the bottom so must have squeezed him in!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Day 17

My blog today adds day 17 to  Leslie's challenge... I have done one or two more 6x4's and a couple more monochrome paintings today so keeping up nicely now...

I painted this one a while ago inspired by another of Gary Jones' fab photos... the link will take you to a combined website of both his photos and Sharon Whitley's wonderful paintings. I loved the serenity of this and was really pleased with my full colour version which you will see here, where you will also see a painting of a Rhino done at the same time.

My group at Heaton, Bolton starts up again on Thursday and so I am beavering away getting the lesson prepared... we are doing monchrome paintings to look at tonal value. I find as I visit various groups people have a fear of using rich dark tones... well not in my group!!! We will be looking at how we don't need colour to create a painting, it isn't colour which makes a painting sing, it is shape and tone which defines things for us and colour when used well is the icing on the cake!! We will also be looking at counterchange and how to use tone to create a focal point or area of interest by creating an area of greatest tonal contrast, and anything else I think about along the way!!

So I have painted the swans in burnt umber... just a quick sketch but shows how colour is not as important as tone and looking at this here I can see it could stand some darker areas on the necks but will leave alone for now.

Monday, 16 September 2013

The Trials of Painting Commissions and day 16

This piece is a commission which I have struggled with and have actually done 4 times!!

This was the reference

The lady who commissioned this has bought paintings from me before, in fact is my best customer so I really wanted to make sure it was right for her. She wanted this for her friend in Canada who has just lost the cat but I know that she likes my more colourful work and try as I might I was stuck in the palette I used for this. The more I paint the more I "see" what colours I might choose for a painting particularly of an animal and this was no exception but I wasn't sure it was what she might want as well!!!

Anyway my plan was to do a couple of trial paintings for her to have a look at and test the water

Here was the first... no drawing just a very quick sketch

The colours were

Transparent orange
Burnt sienna
May green and a touch of Green Gold and Turq for the eyes

I decided I wanted a bit more drama and needed some more darks so I decided to use some Violet as well and I also zoomed in a bit to concentrate more on the eyes... so again more of a sketch but another practice to try out the colours

I thought I was getting nearer with this one and decided to have a go at a "proper" one so did another smaller version but this time paid a bit more attention and reined my wayward brush in a bit!!

Forgotten the whiskers on this one!!

So these were the three I sent to view and it was the larger version the client liked (she really liked the eyes) so I then set to work on the final piece. I so wanted to get this right for her but was very unsure as to whether I was going in the right direction... I know she likes something more whimsical than this but the photo literally told me the colours I needed to use and I couldn't get away from the idea... the image was quite "in your face" and he seems to have such a dominant personality with those piercing green eyes that in the end I couldn't paint it any other way.

Here is the finished piece

I feel I have captured the "essence" of him and am really quite pleased with this though was on pins before the final viewing!! Doing watercolour commissions is probably the most difficult area for me.... painting like I do is not easy if I am trying to capture a likeness, as each stroke can potentially take me further away from what I am trying to achieve. At the same time I have to stay true to the style I am developing (I actually don't know how to paint any other way!!), and so it is a balance between producing something which will be acceptable for someone whose beloved pet I am trying to capture and the way I seem to haphazardly apply the paint to the paper, am often amazed myself that I get there in the end when I start, sometimes I have to look at something over a few days to understand what, if anything else it needs and that is an area that I know I need to improve upon but I am thrilled that I am seeing more all the time!!

Doing commissions means an added dimension to our work.... I normally paint what I like to paint with very few restrictions... when I say that I might decide to do a series of paintings around a subject , so I may concentrate on animals or flowers etc but always a broad enough subject to give me plenty of choice before I start.... with a commission you obviously paint what you are given with the added pressure of not only having to please yourself but someone else too, while achieving a likeness which will also be acceptable.. so why do them? Well, I have really enjoyed this, it has been a challenge to say the least but I have risen to that, I have enjoyed thinking about it, how to go about it, so although I have constantly fretted about whether it will turn out or not, the bonus is I am rather pleased by the outcome.

So... did she like?  Well am delighted to report, she loved it, especially the eyes which to me is what the painting was all about. I do think that if you get the eyes looking good, in the right position compared to the shape of the head and nose area, with the right shape and highlights you are a very good part of the way there, in fact I think the eyes and nose define the whole painting, so although a lot of prep and hard work went into this one, it was all worth it to know that she is so pleased with this final piece. She will be taking it to Canada for her friend this xmas so the next nail biter will be does the owner of the cat like!!!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Painting a day 15

Well am actually ahead but need to work on a few larger pieces as well, I have done some smaller paintings which I will be sending to Vandy Massy's Running with Brushes charity... quite a few artists have got involved now so there is a lovely selection of work to view there on the site.....

Here is my next painting, I have painted this once before for my xmas cards last year and is one of Gary Jone's wonderful photos

I decided to keep it simple with this one just letting the colours mix and blend in the first washes then going in with some deep colour for the final stage so very economical with the brushstrokes on this.

Painting a day 15

Painting a day 14

Well have caught up a bit by doing some small postcard paintings over the weekend. have done one for our challenge in the loose group and am  hoping it has given me the way forward for a larger piece... there are lots of trees in it and trees and I are not the best of friends when it comes to painting!! Photo from John Robinson

 Painting a day blog

Friday, 13 September 2013

Day 10,11,12 and 13.... Phew!!!

Well am hoping these count as some are what I have started and have been finishing off!!

I've come to realise that a painting a day isn't always possible for me......although I am a fast painter, I do have my disasters and I also have quite a few on the go at the same time so I have had a one or two which  I have been finishing off today. I know lots of people say they need to be in "the Zone" for a particular painting but I find I can flit about from one to another, completely different subjects and the break away often helps me to see what needs doing next, but I also often leave them overnight or for a day or two if I'm not sure where to go with them, which is why I have a few to show today but nothing much earlier i the week.  Anyway here are a few I have been working on.
Here is a little Brusho painting which I did while waiting for another to dry, again with Brusho I often leave them to see what needs doing but am thinking I will leave this one alone and try a mount on it.

This is one I have had on the go for a while, I've added a few more touches today but am still not sure it is finished, I've tried a bit of creative cropping on it so I think I will live with a bit longer untilI decide if it is worth saving or only fit for the bin!!
Another little floral which was done to get my painting a day completed, might add a few more darks to this yet.
Finally something I have been working on for a while... this was one of my practice pieces for a commission........... playing with the colour and trying to get a feel for the cat so this isn't actually the finished piece (which I have completed today so although I can't show it here, I have done it honest!!!) but gives you a flavour of the sort of thing I have been aiming for.

Painting a day Challenge

Monday, 9 September 2013

Day 9

I have chosen landscapes for the September images in the Loose group and decided to do this one as a tonal study as that is what we will be doing in the first lesson back with my group next week.....

As many of you know I love colour in my work but I also recognise that without good tonal value the painting simply wouldn't work and as you saw in my last post, I often paint from B&W images so that I can work on colour and tone. I will be taking a selection of images for the group to work on and we will be doing a monochrome study so that I can hopefully get the idea across of not being afraid of using really dark colour in a painting and how small touches of darks can really bring a painting to life.

Have also done this 6x4 so that it can be sent to the Running with Brushes charity and of course it is day 9 for the  30 day Painting Challenge..... so many uses for such a little painting!!

Taken from an image by John Robinson

Day 8 "On the Lookout"

Taken from a photo by Janepi on PMP I converted this into a black and white image... I often paint from black and white... 2 reasons, I can obviously see the tonal variation better from black and white but the main reason is I want to use my imagination for the colour. I started using black and white a few years ago when our tutor would bring images for us to paint. I didn't want to simply "copy" what he brought especially if they were images of paintings so if he had any black and white that was what I would choose so that at least I could inject a little bit of individuality into what I did. I was trying to study colour and I learned a lot about how to put a successful colour palette together. It was more challenging for me instead of using the palette worked out by someone else.

For anyone who is interested I wrote a blog sometime ago about copying from other artists work here

Anyway here is day 8 of the challenge... a quick sketch

Link to 30 day blog

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Day 7 of 30 day challenge

Didn't get chance to paint but had one in reserve... another mas card.  I had two squirrels I wanted to paint this second one is from a photo by John Robinson and is my second attempt. As you can see there is a pattern to these paintings as I want them to gel together as a collection. I choose a palette I like which I think will not only compliment the subject but at the same time be an attractive colour combination and portray a festive feeling.... I think this may be a bit busy looking as I have gone overboard with the snow!! But once I have a few I will choose the best and get them printed... he also looks rather well fed!!

30 day challenge

Friday, 6 September 2013

Day 6 The Camel!!

Now I'm not sure if I like this one... it was a bit of an experiment as I thought camels... three kings etc might be rather xmassy!!!  I think I could have used a bit more quin gold to give it more of a feeling of glitz and gold to help with the Christmas feel and I also think I could have done a star top right which again would give it the right will think about it and see if I get inspired!! Could still put the star in with some gouache or acrylic. I did want it to look quite comical which I am hoping I did achieve!!

In the meantime this is day 6 for the challenge and I have actually finished a couple more today as I am in for a busy weekend... phew!!

Photo by Gary Jones

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Xmas Cards and day 5 of the 30 day challenge

Have started planning my 2014 cards and finished this little number yesterday... have got several more on the go so hope they all turn out. This will be also be day 5 of the challenge!!

Taken from a photo on PMP by Paul Sherman.

I have probably 7 unfinished paintings at the moment so sure hope I get some finished tomorrow as I have a busy weekend ahead and may not get chance to do much painting until Monday... fingers crossed!!

30 Day Challenge

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Day 4.......30 Paintings in 30 days

This is a painting  have done at various workshops and is easy to convey in a loose way. I normally work 11x15 for this but thought this might be suitable for the Running with Brushes charity so decided to paint it  6x4. I really enjoy doing these small paintings as I can do them with little or no reference, little or no drawing and means I can just paint... heaven!!

Taken from a photo on PMP by Max Hemingway

Link to the 30 day blog

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Day 2/3 of the 30 day Challenge

As may of you will know I run a group on PMP and this month our image is a landscape.. I have chosen 4 images taken by my brother in law John Robinson who takes some really terrific photos and some spectacular landscapes amongst them.

I really don't know how to go about landscapes but thought I ought to try and get a bit of practice with them as I normally shy away from this type of image. I need to carefully check out the work of Roy Simmons who paints a mean landscape, fast and loose!!

So here is my first attempt of the 4 I have posted, 15x11

I wanted to capture the light and while I am reasonably pleased, this is not how I would like to paint a woodland scene but as always I have learned a lot from doing this. I do need more practice and next on my list is a mountain scene of Glen Coe.......  have had one utter failure and not sure I have learned anything to help me with that yet!!!

The second painting is one I have done before but this time I have done a postcard size for Running with Brushes, taken from a photo by Eileen on PMP

So have caught up with my days and have done a couple more this afternoon in case I fall behind... have checked and that's ok!!

30 day Challenge

Monday, 2 September 2013

1st Painting of the 30 Day Challenge

I have already done a large version of this painting but decided this would be the first of my smaller ones for the charity Running with Brushes

The larger version has two shoes but decided this was better with just the one as I was struggling to fit both in, so here is my painting. Need to make sure I do a couple tomorrow to "catch up!"  Have two on the go which just need finishing so should be ok.  Must say it is a help doing the smaller ones as they don't take as long and I can get them done as I am waiting for others to dry

Here is the link to the challenge Blog

Sunday, 1 September 2013

30 Paintings in 30 days

Have signed up for this!!! So 30 paintings in 30 days...hmmm so how did I get on today? Well nearly finished one I started yesterday and also did 2 small ones yesterday as I knew I may not get as much chance today. The rules are that we paint 30 paintings in the month so doesn't have to be one a day, as long as we aim for 30 in the month.

Am hoping that by doing this challenge I will be able to send one or two more for the Running with Brushes Charity

Running with Brushes...... website

the paintings are only 6x4 so I can manage to do them quicker than the normal size I do so am thinking I will do a mix of small and larger ones over the month..  I have some ideas for xmas cards which I need to get going and have quite a few workshops coming up which I need to do some practice for so no shortage of topics.

Will start to post in the next few days and hopefully I will complete the challenge and might even have a few to spare!!

Here is the link to the challenge

30 day September painting challenge