Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Images from Recent Workshops

I have just received an e-mail from Westhoughton Art Group where they have very kindly "adopted" me as an honorary member!! You may remember, they were one of the first groups I ever visited

Am now a Wag!!

and my workshop was very well received and the group seemed to thoroughly enjoy the session, so much so that they have invited me back several times since. They always make me feel so welcome... feel like I'm a member of their family!!!

Here is the link to the blog where Dave Hendry, who runs the group, has written about my last visit.... who needs testimonials when you have this sort of support!!!

Westhoughton Art Group Blog

I have done this workshop now at a few groups and the results (even though self praise is no praise at all!!)  have been just fantastic and there is often no difference between my painting and the ones the group has done.  One of the main themes is that not one of them would have contemplated the scene on their own but by breaking it down step by step everyone, without exception, has been able to do a very credible version, so you can imagine my delight when I received this e-mail from Dave with his version of events.

Just to show this wasn't a one off wonder, I have some more photos to show you that were done at a group called Paint Pots near St Helen's... this was my first go with this image and both I and the members were delighted with how they turned out!!

As you can see these are all super paintings, apologies to Paint Pots for not featuring them sooner but I did want to deliver the workshop to everyone before I showed any of the paintings to keep the element of surprise and stop anyone being too influenced by what they might have seen.

I think you can see the workshops are going well, I am trying to do a variety of things so sometimes a painting sometimes concentrating on techniques but always trying to inject something exciting where people actually learn things, get light bulb moments and when we do a painting get to produce something they are actually happy with ( and believe me that isn't always easy with some of these members who are so self critical and demanding of themselves!!) However the main thing is that people enjoy and may be inspired to pick up their brushes and get painting!!!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

From little acorns, do Oak trees grow? I HOPE SO!!

I have been to yet another delightful group this afternoon in Garstang, held at the Garstang Arts Centre and am thrilled to say everyone seemed to enjoy and got something out of the session.  I never know just what the standard will be and whether the group will engage with the way I paint and have to say this group seemed full of enthusiasm and happy to embrace what I was trying to show them.

These are the sort of studies I do at the loosening up workshop which is what I did at Garstang today, not easy when you have never applied the paint like this but the whole groups managed really well!!

Anyway the reason for writing this particuar blog is that I have some news to share which has made me just a teeny bit excited!!! Yes again!!

As the session was closing and I was packing away all my stuff, a lady who had not attended approached me and introduced herself as having just taken over the running of the centre and would I be interested in putting some paintings into an exhibition for a month at the end of the year? Would I be interested????? Hell yes!!! Anyway this would also be a "solo" exhibition, a first for me and held in the Arts Centre which is a centre dedicated to running classes and holding exhibitions.

I am really delighted about this....serendipity.... I just seemed to be in the right place at the right time, they had a slot which they wanted to fill and I just happened to turn up today, and thankfully one of the art group organisers recommended me having thought I did a fabulous session (her words, not mine!!) and also having seen some of my work which I took along. As I did the big exhibition last year I do have a lot of paintings ready and waiting to go, though I will most certainly be adding a few more to the collection before next November. There is room for between 30 and 40 paintings so will be a really good show of my work, I will be selling cards and there will also be some mounted only pieces there.

As for the title of this blog... since I retired, last May, I have been invited to run workshops in the area and have been invited back everywhere, people are seeing and hopefully enjoying my work and getting a taste for how I go about things.... I will have run 10 sessions in January and although things are quieter for the rest of the year, things are growing and happening with little advertising on my part.

However,  I woud just like to mention how very grateful I am to one or two people (they know who they are) for offering me encouragement and feedback with my work, for recommending me to other groups, for giving me opportunities to run all day workshops (more details to be announced soon) and for generally supporting my efforts in these early stages of trying to make something of my love of art. So from a very modest start when my own group asked would I do a session for them just over 12 months ago, I am now travelling to groups all over, I am selling a few pieces and being invited to exhibit too....... happy days..... if this is what retirement is all about, having planted the acorns, bring on the tree!!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

For Watercolour Lovers Everywhere

I thought this might be an interesting painting to post... it is a painting I did quite a while ago and while looking through some art work this morning it struck me how watercolour can be vibrant, dramatic and as rich in colour and tone as any other medium

This actually is a direct copy from an oil painting which one of my tutors thought I would like as he knew I enjoyed colour and while it is not something I would exhibit or try to sell I just thought it would really show just what an amazing medium watercolour is and for anyone who thinks they cannot get deep rich colour... think again!!! Someone also asked me how I managed to keep the blues and yellow separate even thought they were next to one another and that is partly due to the fact I used raw sienna which has an amaing property of repelling other colours... try it out, add raw sienna to a blue mix and you will see the raw sienna will "take over" and push the blue away... magic!!

Monday, 7 January 2013

New Year, New Subjects, New Workshops

Long time no see!!!

I have actually been painting lots, trying to step out of the comfort zone and venturing into buildings and sea scapes.... I have so many of my own photos which I am told it is best to use and thought it was time I started having a go at them.... so anything to show for my efforts? Well not much at the moment, am in the process of working things out and have also been practising the paintings I will be using for the next few workshops.

I've been to my first workshop of the New Year today, to a lovely group called "Paint Pots." We did a Winter scene and I have to say it went down well with one member saying he would never have attempted the scene we did and yet breaking it down bit by bit made it all quite possible!!! As I am finding in most of the groups I visit, no-one there painted in the way I do.... that is mixing the paint on the paper not in the palette, and I am delighted to say even the members who normally liked to paint lots of detail loosened up and could "see the light!!!"

I was absolutely thrilled with how their paintings turned out and did photograph them, however I will not show them here until I have delivered all the workshops on that subject......I don't want other groups to see or be influenced by them, plus I want an element of surprise with the subject matter for the other groups.

What I can show however are the commissions I did before xmas as all have been delivered and thankfully well received!!!

This is Sam, a commission for the owners of the dog from their daughter..... his mouth was all turned up at the side and when I asked her did she want me to draw him like that she said yes it looked like he was smiling!!!

This I was very pleased with - I can't remember the last pencil portrait I did..... I think it was about 17 years ago so was a bit out of practice to say the least. I "discovered" charcoal and my leaning towards it about 10 years ago and have used it for every portrait since but felt that this dog was too smooth and certainly with my style would not have worked in charcoal.  So, layers and layers of building up, blending, more layers, more blending, this is how it turned out and mounted and framed I have to say it looked fab and I was delighted with it (and so were the owners... phew!!!)..... I will be doing more graphite from now on!!! They do take longer than charcoal (wasn't sure I had the patience for it) but for certain animals and "looks" I think it  works better and I am pleased I gave it a go!!

The final one I did was an interesting one, 3 Yorkshire terriers and a parrot!! The parrot was an African Grey with a red tail and the client wanted that added. The dogs were so cute and even though were all the same breed and I think a couple were related, all looked so different. I took the portrait to the gym and while we were there a lady who worked at the vets had a look at it and recognised all the dogs... small world!!!! The portrait was an xmas present for her husband and was destined for Gp's surgery... haven't seen her since so hope he liked!!

So there you have my commissions for xmas plus the horse one I posted earlier, nice to get back to painting and another workshop tomorrow... new group but am excited to meet them all, have been recommended by one of the groups I have visited  few times now... Westhoughton Art Group so hope I live up to expectations!!!