Friday, 31 October 2014

New Work... at last!!

I have been busy with workshops and commissions and haven't had a lot of time to do any of my own work and I also need to prepare for 2 all day workshops I am running.... one with the lovely Joanne Boon all day Brusho session and the other on the 30th November, a watercolour day.

So this week, being the first week I have had completely free for I don't know how long, has been a treat and I have managed to paint each day. I love the workshops but do need to prep for them and even though that is getting easier as I am slowly building a repertoire of subjects and topics, it still takes time to prepare and make sure I am able to deliver the subjects not only physically but in a way that it can be understood by the groups.

I have had an image stored for a while by Chrissy M from PMP (it is her image I took the xmas Robin from) and as I have been doing Autumn leaves at some of the workshops felt I wanted to do a more complete Autumn study.. still don't know if I will do some more Autumn leaf paintings and even though love the colours am tempted to do an entirely different palette next time.

Colours used in this

Raw Sienna
Burnt Sienna
Permanent Rose

Next I decided to work on a painting for the workshop I am running at the end of November...  I have tried several paintings of white poinsettias but I don't think they will be suitable for the workshop

Neither of these are finished but they have taken me too long to complete even to this stage and therefore will be difficult to deliver at the workshop. During my all day sessions I normally do some work beforehand with the group so they have a bit more idea as to how to go about things rather than going straight in to an image....painting in a loose way isn't easy as you will all know so I like to sort of prepare them a bit first!!

So today I have worked on this one... I have used the image (by Barbara Tester) before.... it isn't too complicated (not too many leaves) and can be simplified a bit further and allows me to demonstrate the principles of painting in a loose way quite well


Opera Rose
Permanent Rose
May Green
Cad Yellow

I am really pleased with this one the colour really stands out in the "real life" painting and I like the colour combination.

The final painting has been done to commemorate Remembrance day. I love painting poppies but it is always more poignant at this time of year... photo by Sharon Robinson

So this is what I've been working on this week... a good, productive week I think.. now need to get my Brusho out!!!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Another Doggy Portrait Step by Step

I met a lovely lady during one of my workshops and she asked me to do a bit of tuition with her, and even though she is a very good painter without my help,  she wants to learn watercolour and loosen up a bit.

I went to her house where I had the privilege of meeting Jenny, her lovely little dog..... a dog in waiting (to be painted that is!!) I asked Linda to send me some images and loved this one which has a quirky tilt to her head and shows her personality perfectly. 

So here is another step by step... seem to remember to do the doggy ones and another white dog too!

A loose drawing just to get the nose eyes and mouth in the right place and a little paint applied and bled out to the surrounding areas... colours used

Burnt Sienna
Permanent Rose
Raw Sienna

As many of you will know I don't always draw but with commissions I do generally do a sketch to get the features in the right place.....if I am painting for myself, and I don't get a good enough likeness, there is no-one to check it but obviously when the owner will see the painting of her pet, it has to look like her pet!!

While the face is drying I add some background, here you can see the colours used and mixed on the paper, this will be darkened as the portrait progresses but also helps me get some shape into the composition at this early stage. I can see on here that the nostrils aren't quite right but that can be lifted at a later stage.

A bit more detail added to the right eye and nose and under her chin. I am keeping as much of her white as possible at this stage and will add shaded areas as it progresses. I work on areas as they dry so I am often working on another painting at the same time. Too often a painting is spoiled because we don't wait for the paint to dry... a sure recipe for mud (see  my blog about mixing mud here)

More work on the eyes and nose, background darkened and collar added in. Also added a bit more of her body but washed most of that away as I don't want the eye to be led there.

Can see the edge of the background at the top is too defined so will look at that....

So softened the diagonal edge and started to add more tone to the face, adding areas of paint where I see tone on the photo, softening edges as I go. I have worked more around the eyes and added a few highlights with white gouache both in the eyes and for some fur around the nose and mouth. I have added a touch of detail to the left ear but washed away so it is just a hint. Can see an area, left of her chin which doesn't look right and when I check the image can see I need to bring the shape round a bit.. the wonders of technology, seeing on screen makes these things stand out so much more.

Also added a bit more around her collar... hope she likes!!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Am I up for it?

I wrote some time ago about commissions here and how they are a worry, a restriction, and an interpretive challenge and generally the difference between painting for ourselves or for someone else.

My blog has been so quiet recently and there are a number reasons for that...the odd commission, quite a few workshops and I have also been away for a few days to Copenhagen.  The workshops, though I love them need preparation and of course that stops me concentrating on my own work which is generally what I post about resulting in me not having much new to share.

So, I have been commissioned to paint some Christian Art to hang in the newly built entrance hall of a church and the first idea was to paint a cross and some roses.....practices here. The brief has now changed to one large painting, not of roses but of grapes and wheat... symbolic in the Christian church and one smaller painting of a rustic cross. I visited the church and checked the dimensions and we have decided that the final paintings will be prints of the originals and blown up onto canvas as they don't want frames and of course watercolour needs framing. The other issue is that I don't have big enough paper as the large painting will be 40x30 inches so almost a third as big again as full imperial.

This is the piece which is going for approval

This is 20x15 so half the original size and actually the colours are slightly more harmonious than it appears on here... the cross will be done in a similar palette so the paintings look like they belong together.

I had done a smaller painting of this, 15x11 and sent that for approval and to be quite honest am not sure what I would have done had that not been liked... the composition sort of evolved. I started with an all over wash adding the colours very approximately as I thought I would have them in the finished piece. As I was doing the practice piece I felt I wanted to keep the centre light and actually washed that area back to recapture some of the light I had lost in the washes...the areas of leaves also evolved and a lot of trial and error to see what worked around the perimeter of the piece.  I am still working on the cross but compositionally that is an easier piece so have been less anxious about that and am happy that will be approved to go forward too.

Thankfully my client loves the piece and will be putting it forward to the "committee" next week. Although an individual has commissioned the work, it still has to meet with the approval of the Church management committee and will be offered as a gift to the church from my client if they like......if not, am not sure what they will do!!

Commissions are tricky and though I have been given a brief the reliance on my "artistic" capabilities to transform from a brief into a finished painting is quite stressful especially when there is a deadline. If the committee don't approve this I won't be horribly disappointed as I have followed the brief and my client is happy with what I've done... as we all know art is in the eye of and it may not suit everyone who has to approve it.. who knows whether they will all like the concept and my style?So remains to be seen if I am up to it!!!!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Xmas cards 2014 FOR SALE!!

Had all my cards printed for this year and they're looking good!! So here they are......................

Taken from an image by Petra Moll on Paint my Photo

Image by Petra Moll

Image by Gary Jones

Image by Paul Sherman

From my own image

Photo by Lynton Bolton

These last two are the same image different colour choices... the one below was a commission after the customer received the one above!!

Reprint from last year, Steve Gibbs

Another reprint Chrissy M

I create a Christmassy feel around the images by choosing the colours and bgs all with limited palettes then splattering some masking fluid over the paper before I start and I like the way they create a series, all different but still maintaining a theme.

All cards are A5 size printed on 300gsm silk and am selling them for

£1.50 each or set of 4 (you choice of design) for £5.00 plus p&p... paypal accepted.

Please e-mail me or visit my fb page  and leave a message if you wish to purchase... thank you