Thursday, 21 May 2015

Befores and Afters!!

And no before you start thinking food (even though that is truly my other passion next to painting) this isn't about what I'm having for starter and dessert!!

Without wanting to bore the pants off everyone, you may know I am running a "Fur and "Feathers workshop in June and I have been doing a bit of prep over the last few weeks. A lot of my sessions are about giving people ideas and ways of painting things rather than doing step by step paintings (though I do those as well) but I wanted this workshop to be about how to paint fur, feathers, noses, eyes etc so that people will have the tools to go home and have a better idea than when they started.

I have acquired lots of images over the years and will be taking a wide selection for people to try and part of my preparation is to paint a good number of them so that I know what the difficulties are and how best to guide people through them. The next two pieces are paintings I have done before, the flamingo is an image by Gary Jones and the labradoodle is from an photo of Rolo, Gwen Card's dog.

This is my recent attempt at the flamingo... no predrawing (in fact non of the following paintings have been drawn first) a different composition to the other two and more texture in the feathers.

 My first attempt, done about 3 years ago and I'd like to think worse than the one above!!
 Much smoother version done not long after the first go... a bit boring and predictable!! Prefer the first version to this...
So I think this looks like improvement... what about you?

So Rolo next, this one is a WIP and I am sitting on it to see if I feel it needs further work, quite different to the first version I did. I do like how I have kept more white of the paper, think it may need a touch of red bottom left but will see...

I do remember being very pleased with the one below when I painted it and still have it framed. It was one of those painting which just "worked!!" This was also painted about 3 years ago when paintings didn't often just work for me then .......happens a bit more often now thank goodness, and I do know how to paint rough haired dogs like this now.

Looking at this on here I do still like it very much and not sure which I prefer. I think the recent one is more textured and more reliant on brush stroke rather then softer washes but I do like the colours and the reserved whites of the paper which gives it a different feel. I have always been looking to develop a style and think these two pieces clearly show a difference.

It is so interesting to look at previous efforts and to hopefully see an improvement but also nice to see work which I was thrilled with at the time that also stands up now. In the main, past work, even work I was satisfied with at the time, no longer pleases me as the goal posts have moved....I constantly strive to improve and what I once might have thought was ok, I now cringe at and as we have recently discussed on fb, if we no longer seek to improve as we are totally satisfied with our work there wouldn't seem to be much point... it is the constant desire to produce that touch of magic which certainly spurs me on... sometimes it is only a small section in a painting where I see it and other times the whole piece like this second painting of Rolo.

So I hope you have enjoyed this peek into my past efforts, I do keep virtually every piece of work and I can honestly say some of them are so bad I am mortified!! I never thought they were any good even when I did them btw!! I was always aware of where I was but always pleased to see progress...I would say it is good to keep past work (maybe not as much as I have) but it does help give you an idea of your improvement over the years and my efforts only serve to reinforce my mantra that painting is a skill and not a talent and can therefore be learned and I am unanimous in that!!!


  1. It's good to look back at old work. I keep almost all of my paintings too. I have so many folders full of paintings. :)

    1. Me too Robin, drawers,folders, boxes all full!! We built some racking in the garage for extra storage and that is also full!! Not all paintings but framed work, equipment, paper etc etc!!


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