Saturday, 25 January 2014

Winter :The Big Freeze

This weeks subject at AVA was 'Winter'
I have been enjoying playing with textures just recently and thought this might be a good subject to have another go,
I had no source material, so the painting is just an exercise in playing with various tools and a textured paper. Having said that, I do have a picture in my mind of a lovely village that I see from the motorway each time I go north to see my mother. It has a row of buildings, a river  and a great expanse of land in front which is frequently flooded in the winter!

I used a piece of Hahnemuhle 'Cornwall' paper. It is very white and has a distinctive texture to its surface.I prepared the paper with watercolour textured medium and some 'Fix and Grout' paste prior to putting on the wash, but this was a bit of a waste of time as the paper texture was more than good enough for what I needed and added nothing to the final result..

I started by doing a very simple drawing of the buildings in the distance. I then covered the whole sheet with a wash of pale indigo, and blotted out the cloud shapes at the top.
It was then just a case of adding the foliage and bank gradually as the wash dried to get both lost edges and more sharp grasses etc. If an area became too dry, I simply sprayed it with a little water.

I used black Indian Ink as well as watercolour and made liberal use of granulating fluid to increase the textural interest.I used a piece of twig to make most of the marks. It is much looser than using a brush.I used a brush when I needed to drop colour into a wet area of the painting. Being a snow scene, I inevitably used lots of white Acrylic Gouache!
The hardest bit was knowing when to stop.

I am quite pleased with the overall effect. It has the chill factor that I was after, and it was great fun to do

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Jugs And Vases

This weeks subject at AVA had me in a bit of a dilemma. I loved the idea of painting jugs and pots. I collect blue and white jug so have lots to choose from, but I also have a small but lovely set of copper pots and jugs. As its winter and I felt like using some really warm colours, I chose the latter. I selected a couple of jugs, added a lemon and a bunch of yellow daisy flowers, taken from my collection of photos, and completed the drawing prior to the club session.

As a start to the painting, I had to decide on background or subject first. I get asked lots of times, what makes me chose one or the other, and I have to admit to not being really sure. Maybe, today I was influenced by the yellow daisies which I hoped would merge into the background as secondary to the copper jugs. Anyhow, thats what I went with. I was using the second half of the sheet of Whatman paper, described in the previous post, so I had no need to stretch it. The usual set of colours for the background.... Indian Yellow, Quinachridone Rust and Indigo.
I used plenty of water, so I had to be patient whilst waiting for it to dry. As the subject was Jugs and Vases, I tackled these first, trying to get all the wonderful colours that exist in a copper jug. I kept everything a little wet, so that the colours merged, trying to get the well-used appearance of each piece.

The lemon and the flowers came next, trying to keep them dark on the LH side and very light on the RH side. I tried not to paint each petal individually, but just a mass of colour. This means that the pencil lines from the original drawing had to stay in place this time.

After adding the shadows, I thought it was finished, and although the camera has lit up the daisies and the LH jug, when I got home I thought the painting lacked umph and the flowers were really quite insignificant.

All I needed to do was darken the background behind the flowers and add a little more vibrant colout to the larger jug, and the result was quite a bit more powerful. I loved painting the copper pots but realise that this is much harder than it looks and I will need to have some mores goes at it before hopefully, getting it right.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Winter Hedgerow

Following on from the Chinese Lanterns, I was thinking about more paintings of dried grasses, seed heads and the like, which I keep in the studio for such times.I can buy flowers at this time of year, but they can be expensive, or I can paint from the vast amount of photos that I take each year. It is nice, however, sometimes to paint with the actual object in front of you.

The intention was, then, to paint some dried grasses, but it did not quite work out like that. I had spent a rainy afternoon after Christmas looking at the work of a few of my favourite artists, and had really liked a painting by Anne Blockley.
There was no deliberate intention to copy Anne's work, but as I was putting on the initial wash I must have sub-consciously had her work in mind, despite being nearly 3 weeks since the browsing episode.

The painting just somehow evolved, so I apologise to Anne, but no plagarism was intended. I like the painting so much, that it will stay on the wall of my studio, and hopefully, no harm has been done!
The process was fun to do, so I share the process with you, regardless!

 I have been trying to use up remnants of paper which is sitting in the cupboard, so I selected a sheet of Whatman 600g rough paper. This paper is heavy enough to need no stretching, and did not buckle when the initial wash, very wet, was put in place. Such thick paper does, however, need more time to dry between washes, if that is what is required
I wet the top of the paper with a spray bottle, and added Indian Yellow, Transluscent Orange, Quinachridone Rust and Indigo. I had in mind, to paint a tangle of winter seed heads, twigs and brambles, without any drawing. Just letting the paint do its own thing.I added a bit of cling film to the RH side to produce some texture, but I think the paper was already too dry for this to be effective.

Whilst the paper was still damp, I added darker areas, which produced soft edges to start with, and harder edges as the paper dried. I applied some of the paint with a stick, sharpened at the end and with a bamboo stem cut at an oblique angle.I really liked the way some of the twiggy bits have really fuzzy edges.

Finally, I used white Acrylic Gouache to paint in the 'flowery' bits at the top of the painting, and added a bit of splatter at the same time.
I do not want to play with the finished painting, as it is so easy to overwork this type of technique, and I want it to stay fresh, but I do wonder if the Quinachridone Rust on the LH side is a bit strong, or should have been repeated elsewhere in the painting.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Chinese Lanterns

I always like to have a good bunch of Chinese Lanterns in the studio as they are very painterly and they dry nicely. They do, however, eventually fall apart and so I was really pleased to acquire another couple of sprigs from my sisters garden on my last visit.

After all the hurley-burley of Christmas, it is nice to get back in the studio and put some paint on paper. Something simple as there are still unresolved family matters to deal with, my concentration not as it should be.

I worked in exactly the same manner as usual, familiar to lots of you. The drawing came first, as I have been having a bit of a problem with busy compositions and not always getting the levels of each element correct. The photo makes the lines look a bit heavy but the drawing was done with  light HB pencil marks and I think it is the flash which has made it look a bit dense.

Using mainly Translucent Orange and Quinachridone rust for the lanterns and a mixture of Indigo and Nickel Quinachridone or Transparent Orange Iron for the greens, I started by painting in the lanterns and a little of the stems and background.
As I worked I erased the pencil lines as much as possible, although they cannot easily be removed if paint has flowed over them.

When painting in parts of the background I always add a little of the subject colour as well as the greens to give the impression, I hope, of more of the subject matter in the distance.

At this stage, I lightly drew in some foliage, not worrying too much about the shapes of the leaves. This is not intended to be a botanical painting, when all is said and done!

I painted the leaves with the same mixtures of colours, adding a little Apatite Green Genuine, and some Translucent Orange, marking in the veins in the nearest lower leaves with a sharpened twig.

I finished the background, darkening the very centre, but trying still to keep it fresh, and finished with a little Rust and White splatter,

I will prop it up in the studio, and live with it for a couple of days. I would have liked it to have a bit more impact, but I will need to ponder on how I might achieve it.

As usual, Fabriano Artistico Extra White Not 300g paper and mainly Daniel Smith and Graham watercolour paints.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Coffee Time

With the New Year only just behind us and having only recently seen my visitors depart, I had no time to prepare for the 1st week of the New Year at Avon Valley Artists.

Lots of others must have thought the same as there were very few of us present. It was really cold in the hall and with no bodies to help warm up the place, we spent more time drinking coffee than painting.
I make no excuse for the lack of imagination in the subject, nor for the mediocre execution of the finished piece, but I am posting it in the hope that it will encourage me to produce something better for you in the next post.

A very Happy New Year to all of you who visit my blog, and I hope that any painting you do will be exciting and rewarding, regardless of the outcomes.

'Coffee Time'
Waterford paper, 300g Not