Monday, 29 July 2013

Beginners Workshops 2013

Have just finished the 2nd of my first all day workshops at the Boonric Gallery, Inglenook Farm.

I did quite a bit of preparation before, testing ideas on a patient but reluctant husband and my far more enthusiastic niece (she has just done  a teacher training course so gave me a few pointers too) and had a plan!!.

I decided to start them painting as soon as they arrived, asking them to copy a simple scene which I had sketched out before, then paint it with absolutely no help whatsoever!! I felt really mean about doing this to them but my main purpose was to get them to understand that painting is a skill not a talent and that with only a little bit of tuition they were all capable of producing something they might be pleased with.

So off they went some slightly more experienced, some who had never held a brush but all wanting to learn some of the basics. We spent just less than half an hour and I then went on to show them how to do flat, graduated and variegated washes with a bit if dry brush technique thrown in and then we got started on the main painting of the morning..... this is a random selection of the before and afters, as you can imagine I can't remember whose is whose amongst all 17, so apologies if yours isn't here!!

This was only a simple scene and not meant to be a painting for hanging but one to use the techniques we had practised previously and I think it is quite clear that they have really learned about the washes and colour mixing (on the paper of course!!). As I said before some of these are from compete beginners and the rest have been done by those in the very early stages of learning about watercolour so am absolutely thrilled with the efforts they all made!!

We then broke for lunch and set off on a few apple, pear, lemon and banana practice pieces when we resumed,  before I set up a still life for them to compete in the afternoon session.  think they were all gaining a little confidence by this stage which I think shows in the fab studies they did!!

Just looking back at all these am blown away by what they have done and can't wait to run a few more beginners sessions, just shows how a bit of help in the right direction can make all the difference.... I have asked for feedback and have had a few comments, will add some to the website in the next few days.

Finally I think it is worth mentioning that workshops are meant to be learning environments, where students may be inspired to go away and work on what they have done, not forums for producing masterpieces!! I am hoping that all the students have learned techniques and ways of applying the paint to paper and now have some tools to work with. I handed out some work sheets for them to take away as reminders of how we did things and maybe they will all have a go when they get home.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

More Boxing Hares

The previous Boxing Hare painting has recently sold and as I enjoyed painting it I thought I would try one or two more. That image was painted from a photo by Nicola B from PMP... an image of a statue of Boxing Hares so I was interested in trying a different image this time. The problem is, images of boxing hares are incredibly difficult to come by... as you can imagine just happening to stumble upon them with camera to hand is unlikely and of course a lot of the images are copyright and so I have actually contacted one or two photographers for permission to use their images.

In the meantime, I have found some copyright free images on the internet and it struck me that if I did some drawing practice of one or two I could mix and match them and make up my own compositions so that I am not actually using anyone's images, in fact the plan is, as I get to know them a bit better, I won't need to refer to images, but will be able to draw them from memory and in whatever pose I want, well that's the plan anyway!!!

These here are from the copyright free images but have mixed and matched them taking snippets from a few so that I am really doing my own compositions, this first has used the same palette as the original, Perm Aliz Crimson and Perylene Green

This second one is a bit disappointing. I like the composition but I have used some very old paper my Dad got me when he used to work at a printers... must be over 20 years ago. It is Saunders, has a very cream colour and looks and feels fine but as I add paint and water it apparently has very little size and the paint barely moves apart from soaking right into the paper and lots of little dots of dark water appear (disappear when it dries but I can't move the paint at all wet or dry, even when I tried with my magic sponge on a small section). I have used cob blue, cad yellow and cad red... different choices for me as I rarely use the cadmiums (bit too opaque for me) and unfortunately they haven't kept their identities on this paper as they sank in too much so no more old Saunders for me... has got me wondering if paper has a sell by date??? Anyone any ideas about it?

So this is the second painting

Think the right one's body could be a bit longer but can work on that and maybe do a bit with their faces but the main trouble is the paper and how the colours have mingled on it.... need to throw it out or might see if I can use it for Brusho... now there's an idea!!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

New Charcoal Sketch

Am now looking for some artwork to go in our new kitchen come sitting room... the red poppy is a favourite contender but we also like charcoal sketches so decided I would have a go at a large one (this  is on 25"x20" 200lb watercolour paper and has taken the charcoal quite well) . It's ages since I've done any charcoal sketching... the portraits I do tend to be more defined and tighter... people are looking for a distinct likeness so I can't be too sketchy with them but that didn't matter with this.

The image is one I have painted a couple of times and which I got from one of the Brusho workshops with Joanne so I didn't have too much trouble with the drawing and wonder if I might have left this a couple of stages earlier to keep a bit more spontaneity... if nothing else it has confirmed in my head that I would like to do some more life drawing so need to find a class or group somewhere. 

I did the initial drawing pretty quickly but then spent quite a bit of time on the shading and blending and think I my have gone a bit too far with it... here are the stages

This first one has the spontaneity but needed some tweaking here and there

Worked on it a bit more blending, lightening, blending a bit more and finally

the final effort.

Will put a mount on it and see how I like it then. I don't think it will be going up in my kitchen but am happy enough with it to have another go. I just want a loose impression of my painting really so next time need to look at losing a few more edges here and there and maybe not interpreting the image so literally.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Paintings from Lopud Island

I have done these since we came home from holiday and my main brief for them was to capture the light as the days these photos were taken were bathed in that magnificent European (was going to say Mediterranean and then realised we weren't in the med!!) sunlight, some of which we are experiencing here in the UK at the moment!! You may remember from a previous blog the weather was a touch disappointing while we were there but certainly making up for it here now!!

The island was a beautiful place to be, quiet and tranquil and though not greatly inhabited had something like 13 churches, one of which is at the top of this painting. Am not sure if this couldn't do with a couple of people on it walking up towards the church... might try painting some on a piece of clear plastic and seeing how they look

The island has a sweeping bay...and as there are no motorised vehicles, bikes are a major form of transport for the islanders which is what the next painting is all about... lots of lovely doorways, beautiful stone properties (I don't know if I imagine it but the stonework in this area of the world seems to have a pinky cast to it and is quite magical)

I have quite few more photos I want to have a go at which is lovely as each time I try one it brings back lovely memories of a simply beautiful place... check out my previous blog for some more photos
Lopud Island

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

How Cool is This?

I have been searching for a Logo for a while and someone my son works with came up with the one you can now see on here. I didn't want my whole name as I don't sign my full name on paintings so wanted a logo which just contained my initials.

What is cool about this logo is that we can change the colours according to the painting so on "My new Business Cards" I have a painting on one side and on the other are all my details with colours on the logo to match the painting!!!

It also means if I do any postcards or flyers etc they can all have the logo to match the painting which will give everything I get printed a feel of individuality.

So my first business cards have two designs the new poppy painting and the Boxing Hares all with handbag..... I mean logo, to match... am such a girl!!! Was going to attach some to show you but the file isn't compatible here.. will see what I can do as I am really delighted with them and you can rest assured I will be leaving a trail of them wherever I go!!

A quick update, my kitchen is finished, being decorated today and hopefully the flooring will be here in a couple of weeks.... am delighted with it, it looks really smart and am dying to get it all finished now. I have taken some more paintings to a sort of cafe/residential venue for outdoor pursuits so decided to take some more of the animal paintings there, goldfinch, nuthatch, pelican, owl, cockerels and lamb... and I have taken two paintings for selection at an exhibition in Ormskirk, and applying for Minthorpe at the weekend. By the way this is going I will hardly have any paintings left here...I will have about 20 framed and 8 mounted out on display somewhere so better than having them stuck in a box!!

Need to get painting a few more but have been short of time recently, once the kitchen is finished things will settle..... oh and nearly forgot, am doing my second demo at Bolton Art Circle tonight.... am stepping in for someone who has had to cancel so am really looking forward to that!!

My two workshops are both almost full... just two places left on the second one!! I never expected that when we started off advertising them, I thought it would have been amazing to fill one, and then the first one filled up and I thought "hmmm maybe I should try and fill the second, I could run it with a smaller number... doesn't need to be full" so I started concentrating on filling it and now I have 8 people on that one too!! Am really excited about them, the first is next Monday so will let you know how it goes!!

Think that's all for now... seems like a lot is going on as I read this back....but all good and seems to be just happening around me with opportunities popping up from all directions, I never know what is going to happen next which can only be a good thing!!