Monday, 23 January 2012

As promised, a look at what I have been doing since browsing the second of my Christmas books. I have always admired the work of Mike Bernard and so asked my family to buy me 'Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting'.  Mike is very much a landscape painter, but I felt this was an advantage as I could respond to his ideas without falling into the trap of copying his work. I had hoped to develop some of his methods, but keeping generally to florals and still life.
The book is lovely to look at, the paintings are stunning, and I would love to be better at this collage business.
Not to be daunted, I have given it a go!
The first painting came about through my Art group. The subject was 'Clocks and Watches' Immediate thoughts were dandelion clocks, but I felt that this would not be totally in the spirit of the subject, so something mechanical had to be included! I am still a flower painter so to combine the two! When I had finished the painting, I brought it home and added a number of cogs etc to the corners of the painting where I felt it lacked interest, so I had my first recent ( I say that as I have done some collage in the past) mixed media, including collage, painting and printing.

                                           'Clocks' Mixed Media on Fabriano Extra White
                                             (45cm x 35cm approx)

I then had a go at something a bit more radical! This time it was to be a painting of very free Marguerites and the background would be made up in part of some photos of Marguerites taken in the garden last summer.Then using acrylic ink, gouache and watercolour. I would paint in the flowers. Not as easy as it sounds. It was difficult to decide where to place the picture bits and how many to use, and in some ways was quite difficult to visualise how it was going to end. However, nothing tried, nothing gained, so I pressed ahead and at least managed to finish the painting.
Interesting to note that subsequent efforts have all ended up in the bin.....but I will keep trying from time to time between more traditional stuff which is within my comfort zone!

                                                    'Marguerites..Experiment' Mixed Media
                                                   Fabriano Extra White (35cm x 45cm)

What I need to resolve is the hard edge of the collage pieces. To get a really good reproduction, I have used a photographic mat paper and it is obviously much thicker than tissue or newspaper and therefore does not blend readily with the background support. The result is a series of hard edges which I would like to get rid of so they are less prominent in the finished work and blend more into the background. Any ideas anyone?
Hope you enjoy looking and may be you will be tempted to give it a go!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Realistic Abstracts

I was fortunate enough to receive a couple of art books for Christmas, and have enjoyed dipping into them both from time to time. The first is Realistic Abstracts by Kees Van Aalst, and the second one is Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting by Mike Bernard. From my perspective, they are, neither of them books for beginners, but are for artists who have mastered the basics and are ready to develop their paintings in a less than figurative way.
I am quite excited by the concepts in each of the books and have been ready for some time to try some new things. Kees Van Aalst's was the first one that I have really studied as I have been trying for some time to loosen up my paintings and to introduce a bit more freedom into the finished work.
I do not find it easy!! Even with the help of the text and the lovely examples given in the book, my finished results were still more realistic than abstract, but it is a start and I will persist!

                                                        Cherry Blossom


In both paintings, I painted the background first, using a limited palette, leaving white where I thought it needed to be. It was easier to work from one of my photos at this stage as these highlights are easier to see on a photo. I then spent some time looking at the resultant sheet of colour, decided where the flowers were to go and did a very limited drawing to keep me on track.
Whilst painting the flowers and leaves, I tried to keep in mind that all I wanted was just a suggestion of flowers, leaving the imagination to fill in the rest.
Sad to say, that each painting is still too realistic for my intended goal, especially the cherry blossom, but maybe I am getting there. I do quite like the delphiniums! And it was really good fun!

I have had a go at a bit of collage from Mike Bernard's book, and this weeks subject at art club was 'Clocks and Watches'. Quite a challenge for a flower painter!! So I used some of the tips that I had picked up for the painting,and did a bit of collage in combination with the watercolour, but I will save that for the next blog.