Sunday, 29 April 2012

Retrospective 2 : Clingfilm

As promised a second quick look at some of the stuff I was doing a few years back. ( around 2002, I think). I am not sure where I got the idea for using cling film to create the backgrounds to some of my paintings. Maybe I read an article in a magazine, or saw some work by an artist using this technique, but I was clearly impressed as I produced  quite a bit of work in this way.

I did not use the cling film primarily to produce texture within the flowers, but to create interesting backgrounds onto which to paint the subjects, which were nearly all flowers, although I did try some still life work in the same way.

My method of working was to stretch my paper, probably 140lbs, onto a piece of MDF as this made rotating the work more easy, and quite a lot of water was involved. I had not come across blocks of paper in those days!
I completely or partially wet the paper and then applied the cling film which immediately clings to the wet surface. It was not pulled taut, but left with a degree of wrinkling, down which the paint woulf flow! I mixed up good strong washes of the colours I required for the background. These were dictated by the colour of the flowers I was using, and nearly always also included some greens.
Using a plastic pipette or a heavily laden brush, I gently peeled back bits of the clingfilm, and allowed the paint to run down the runnels created through the folds of the film. I turned the board in all 4 directions and added paint from all four sides. At this stage it was possible, with some practice, to manipulate the film to move the paint around a bit, but I had to be careful,as I did not want all the colours to totally merge. I needed there to be quite distinct lines in the ensuing pattern, with areas remaining white.
At this point, the painting had to be left to dry completely. Not something I was very good at, and on a number of occassions, spoilt the work by removing it too soon.
When the painting was dry, the film could be removed and if I was lucky, I was left with a subtle, and beautiful background of interesting lines and colours.
I would then draw on, and paint the chosen flowers, carefully placing them to make the most of any strong lines within the design. Where necessary, I finished by strengthening some of the colours in the middle background to give the painting some depth.
It was all great fun, and just describing the process gives me the apetite to have another go!!


                                                       ' Marguerites'



As a point of interest, the tulip painting is the only one presented without a border. This is because borders only get added when I use the image as a greetings card. I obviously never used this image! In those days, I was also much less computer savvy, and my equipment was very basic, so the reproductions saved on the disc are not of the same quality that I get today. They lack a bit of 'punch' which was probably present in the finished painting.Glad you managed to find it..... Hope you enjoy looking!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Art Group: Vegetables

The problem with having a well established art group with a compulsory indoor programme is that certain subjects have to be repeated on an annual basis. These include such subjects as spring flowers, autumn leaves, treeacotta pots etc. 'Vegetables' is one of those as well, and even though we try to change the time of year to give ourselves different selections, fruit and veg have become less seasonal, and the same choice is always available. The trick, therefore is to find an original way of either painting the subject, or making the composition.
Armed with a bit of a variety of vegetables, I decided that I would paint the group from above, hoping that the resultant work would seem a little different and maybe a bit more interesting. I spread a teatowel on the floor at the side of my chair and arranged the elements in what I hoped was an attractive way. I sat and painted them, with my board on my knees, spending the whole session looking down at the floor. (not reccommended if you have a bad back!)
 The finished painting was ok, but looked a lot more ordinary, composition wise, than I had hoped.

We always put our work up for all to look at, at the end of the session, so I propped mine up and then went back to clear away my equipment. Whilst my back was turned, there was apparently a debate as to whether the painting had been put the wrong way around! so a member or members decided to turn it the way that they assumed I had painted it. On my return, as I put it back the way it should be, there was quite some debate about which way was best. I still like the original way! This way up, the onion looks most oddly placed over the parsnip!

There was also comments to the effect that on the surface, 'vegetables' seems such a boring subject, but the reality is that once you get started, they are so infiniterly variable, and often brightly coloured, and  can make really good paintings.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bluebell Wood Again

In light of the comment by Ann............the bluebells and the water are the best got me thinking that maybe the painting would be much better with only the best bits. I messed around with a pair of cardboard angles to see if a smaller portrait format would do the trick, by cropping off the tops of the trees. Unfortunately, this took away quite a bit of the flower work on both sides. Next, I tried cropping off the tops of the trees but making it a landscape format, as this kept all of the flowers. The result was too little tree trunks and they looked a bit silly sat in the top of the painting. Leaving it a while to decide the best course of action, I remembered that I had a square pine frame for which I have never had any use, so I dug it out, measured the aperture, and used the cardboard angles to see what I got with the appropriate amount of cropping. This was much better. I now had a reasonable amount of tree trunk, without the distracting 'arch' effect from the two outer trees, and the muddy foliage has disappeared, but I have retained all the splatter effects and the water. So thank you so much Ann for making your comments. They were really helpul in making me see the wood for the trees........sorry!
Its a useful lesson to remember for the future, when I find myself liking some passages and being disappointed with others. Tha original painting can be seen in the previous post.

It's now called 'Bluebell Bank' and now all that remains is to sand down and paint the frame antique white!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bluebell Wood

This weeks club topic was 'Landscape' The specific request, the week previously, was for members to ensure that the landscape was predominant, and other elements such as buildings, people, animals should be secondary to the setting. There were so few members present last week, that this request got a bit 'lost' in the ensuing paintings and we had lovely buildings and beautiful sheep as well as traditional landscapes.
I chose to have another go at a bluebell wood.Inspired by an amazing painting by Ann Blockley (page 124 of her new book Experimental Flowers in Watercolour) the intention was to keep the whole thing loose and exciting!

I did an initial drawing from imagination, and masked out the trees as I wanted them to be silver birch ish in my mind at the beginning. This was a mistake as I painted on the masking fluid the evening prior to the session, to ensure it was really dry, and when the time came to remove it, it took the surface of the paper with it in places. I do not think it would have happened with Fabriano,s Artistico paper, but I was using some of the Centenaire that I had bought with which to experiment .
I then built up the background with washes, letting each one dry before applying the next. I added distant trees into the wet upper half, however, in order to give them distance. In the foreground I painted swathes of lavender and green, trying to keep each as separate as possible so that the colours stayed fresh.

In order to get to try to get the looseness I was after, I painted in the bluebells and grass solely using splatter.

I then removed the masking fluid from the trees with very disappointing results, and I had to paint them much darker than intended, which resulted in a much tighter effect than I was after. I finally dealt with the bottom section of the painting which was originally to be a very loose rock face, but eventually became a stream!!
Not sure how that happened.

Overall, I am disappointed with the result. Despite the attemps at loose  flower depiction, the whole painting is still very tight and I am very disappointed with the trees. I had not realised that the two outer trees are a mirror image of each other and they give an odd arch shape to the centre of the painting. I have tried to camaflage this by adding extra branches, but this has simply added to the  tightness of the finished painting, and hasn't really achieved much. Not a painting to be framed or put up for sale except maybe in the bargain browser, but I enjoyed the session, nonetheless, and will maybe have another go later. I think it is time to go back to the specimen flowers. I have a rhododendron on the board at the moment, so maybe that will feature in a post in a couple of weeks time!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Something Sweet

I am not sure that I should be posting this week's Art Group result. It falls into the category of ....lots of fun but a bit of a waste of materials......maybe!
The topic was 'Sweets, Cakes, Biscuits'
On arrival, it was clear that the school holidays were having an effect on the membership and we were only a dozen present. It was also clear that cup cakes and Bassets Allsorts were playing a big part in the mornings proceedings (not together of course).
I had already done a drawing of a small cascade of sweets, so was not in a position to change my mind, not that I really wanted to, anyway. I put plenty of wash on the background as usual and then painted in the sweets. This was as far as I got in the 2 hours that wqere we together.
Once home I realised that I could not leave it as it was. All the sweets were floating in a coloured background without anything to anchor them down.
A bit of thought and I decided to black line a grid on the paper, loosely linked to the edges of the sweets, and then using indian ink, I tried to create a semi-abstract board game effect. The finished result seems quite good fun, and if I was clever, I would be able to think up some appropriate witty title to go with it. Sorry, not my forte! So its simply 'All Sorts of Fun' Hope it makes you smile.

                                             Painted on my usual size of Fabriano Artistico
                                                                     Extra White