Sunday, 26 February 2017


This past two weeks, it is the first time at Avon Valley Artist's group that we have given over two weeks to the same subject. The thinking behind this was that members might like to tackle something more complex and work at it over the two sessions. The subject was 'Interiors'
I find this quite difficult as I need continuity with my painting. Once I am started I tend to work at least daily on the piece. That way I seem better able to keep in my mind the thinking behind what I am doing. That sounds a bit strange, but I work better that way. At AVA I am also used to doing the prep at home and more or less finishing the piece during the single session.
This was not a problem for the group, as we agreed that once a member had painted an interior, they could either chose to do a second one. or they could have a free choice of subject.
I chose to paint two separate images.

The first of these is the corner of my guest bedroom. I love the chest of drawers and wanted to see if I could render the wood interestingly. The still life objects on top were bits I collected around the house.
The second week I painted the still life with enough background.....the tablecloth and painting on the wall fulfil the 'Interiors' bit .
I am much more pleased with the second one. The weak areas of the Bedroom painting are numerous and I am not sure that compositionally, the painting is very interesting.
The still life pleases me more. The doiley works well, and was done by simply stencilling a doiley onto the background. The only problem was getting the shape correct where it went over the top of the table. Where the paint seeped under the paper doiley, I left it as it seemed to make it looser and less contrived.
Painting the flowers and fruit was much more within my comfort zone and I enjoyed the process.

The thing that really puzzles me, and sometimes frustrates me, is the way in which these sorts of subject lead me to paint in a much more realistic and less fluid way. I cannot work out why I cannot paint these subjects in the same loose way that I paint my flower paintings.

A recent example is these lovely foxgloves that I did in the studio recently.

Despite all these frustrations with certain subjects on the group calendar, I would not change the system, as the compulsory topics push us all to attempt subjects well outside all our comfort zones and the results are often unexpected and sometimes stunning. It is a real pleasure to paint with a group of enthusiastic and talented painters!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Wildflower Meadow

This week at Avon Valley Artists Group, the subject was 'Wild Aspects'
There were lots of wild animals depicted by members and a few attempts at wild weather.
From the title of this post, you can see that, true to my leanings, I chose to attempt to paint a wildflower meadow. It is not something that I have attempted often in the past but as I do try to be a bit experimental at AVA I thought I would give it a go.
It took quite a bit of preparation, which meant work on the evening before the group met, and I was sure it would not be finished by the end of the session.
This meant that when I got home with the half finished painting, I remembered to take a photo, so am able to share a bit of the process with you.

I started the painting by opting for a high skyline, above which I lightly pencilled in a few trees.
Using masking fluid and a drawing pen, and a rubber marker, I covered the whole of the lower area with lots of stem, grass and flower shapes. I did this the night before to give the fluid chance to dry properly. By using the drawing pen I could get lots of variety in the thickness of the lines and I used the rubber marker for the more rounded fatter shapes of the flowers.
The following morning, I started by putting a pale blue wash over the tree area and well into the meadow, and a wash of variegated greens in the lower half of the painting. When it was dry, I painted in the trees. When this was dry, I carefully removed the masking fluid
It was then just a case of gradually working across the picture from left to right, I was able to work continuously as I did little bits from top, middle and bottom, allowing small sections to dry as I worked elsewhere.

When all the flowers and stems and grasses where finished, I over-painted some darker stems etc especially in the base of the painting. I added a few daisies into these dark grasses

I tried to make the meadow recede by painting the flowers in a bit more detail and obviously bigger at the front with only a series od dots right at the back with a few tall straggly stems growing into the sky area.
It was quite a repetitive process, and did take some time to complete, but I had lots of fun, and am glad I gave it a go!