Sunday, 24 June 2018

#347 'Box Hill Surrey' 12x16"

I was feeling confident from my previous large scale peonies painting so decided to go large on this one as well. I wouldn't usually on a new subject but was egged on by Sarah Manolescue who also went big.
We struggled a little with noise pollution - young people with there beat box & kids doing rolly pollies down the hillside and passers by wanting to know if we were at college!! 

Once I'd got into the painting it was ok, and quite enjoyed the scale. 
Not an easy view as there isn't much structure and its a big space, although I made the most of what was there, the sweeping down hill and the buildings. I put the horizon on the Golden Mean - or 1/3rd way down the board. Which is generally known as a pleasing point in composition. I also broke that line up with a big tree.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

#346 'Peonies & Stocks' 24x24"

This is a whopper for me - two foot by two foot!  I enjoyed it and surprised myself that I could do it and it turned out nicely :-)
I did start on a a 11x14" but it still felt crampt so I routelled around in my cupboard and found this canvas, I thought why not have some fun, and keep my expectations low. Which helped allowed me to be free and loose. I didn't have many big brushes - more ordered with Rosemary & Co!

When its so big you have to attack and not be scared. I painted a table line in and scrubbed over as it was too harsh for this style painting.

My Mum kindly gave me these flowers as she thought I'd like them, a very inspiring bunch so much so I started the painting at 6pm! 
Here is a pic to show scale with my biggest previous flower painting to date...

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

#345 'Chicken House' 10x10" & NEAC

Back in our friends garden, I didn't plan to paint this but thought is had a charm. I made a quick 'Notan' sketch before - which is a Japanese name for light and dark design:
This allowed me to see that most of the painting was mid and dark tones with a few pops of lights - the chickens. I used Tombow pens they do many greys, I used 3, a light mid & dark.
This pic is trying to capture the chickens while they were moving and having a bite to eat from their red bowl.
I used fresh marks and not too worked especially around the chickens. Their house was tricky as it was in a lot of shade, but still enough to show the light and dark sides. Simplified the background as it wasn't important.

Last week was the Private View of the New English Art Club exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London. So proud to have one in this show, really tough competition to get into as the standard is very high. 
The NEAC call themselves the Contemporary Impressionists, which really fits my work. My painting is hung in the main room of the gallery on the small painting wall - at the top 'Silver Birch in Snow' The show finishes on the 23rd June it's worth a look if you can get there.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

#344 'Daisies & Sweet Williams' 12x12" & Open Studio!

I am enjoying these still life paintings as you can experiment so much with colour & harmonies, composition, subject...
I tried with no hard line background this time, bigger in size and reflected vase on the table.

I can't write so much today as just preparing for opening the last weekend of our Open Studios, do come if your free, I'm just making homemade scones and I have plenty of paintings still to look at.

Here is the Invite just in case :-)

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

#343 'The River Wey, Tilford' 24x30cm

It was a toss up between Waggoners Wells and Tilford Green. I was painting with Sarah Manolescue when we got to Tilford there was bridge works happening and it wasn't obvious what to paint. We walked around thinking we should maybe try Waggoners, but often the grass is greener, so we looked from the bridge and this is the view. Quite lovely! The sun came out and the cows even wondered into our scene.
Not easy standing on the super old bridge (built 1128) as it has one narrow lane and we were so close to the traffic, so much so they even stopped to have a nose at our paintings!
Here we are:

Enjoyed painting this, a challenge with all those greens, but it helps to mix pools of tonal colour before painting and I applied a burnt sienna underpainting....

Sunday, 10 June 2018

#342 'Daisies' 9x10"

Painted yesterday during our Open Studios. A busy day with 21 people coming to visit, I've sold 12 paintings to date - got plenty more!! But exciting to have sales and lovely feed back!

This year there are many wild daisies, great blankets of them, they look lovely and I wanted to try and paint them. I experimented with the background colour, I thought it looked like sky and goes well with the white and yellow, also a darker tone than the white petals.

Order I painted this: Green stems, background blue, yellow centres - green and orange variations, mid tone white of the petals blocked shapes, glass, shadows on table. Thats it mainly blocked in and I went back and added light and darks on the petals, and cutting in a little with the blue background to define the petal shapes.

I like the bold shapes and intense colours, I will have to try another one! Our studios (my husband and I) again today, I wonder what the day will bring.... :-)

Saturday, 9 June 2018

#341 'Afternoon Light, Albert Bridge' 6x12"

The sun was from behind and directly lighting the bridge, not easy to paint as it's more about colour less tonal than I have been working, but a good challenge! This was the final painting of the day with my 1:1 student Christopher Mike. 

I wanted the bridge to stand out, so I made the sky a strong rich colour and the same for water with less white in the mix.
The boats I only suggested a series of marks, not much 'detail'  as they weren't the focus.
There was a refection in the water of the pink bridge, I put in a swath of pink below but then painted the deeper blue over the top just leaving a few areas of pink showing through to give an impression of reflection and rippling water.
The white struts on the bridge implied but not all drawn in. Its surprising how little the eye needs to know what is there.
Pleased with this little painting will do more sunny colourful pictures!
A happy student at the end of a good painting day!

Friday, 8 June 2018

#340 'Boats by Albert Bridge' 10x12"

A one to one plein air teaching day with Christopher Michael, choose Albert Bridge area and we were lucky with lots of sunshine!

I helped Christopher with the practicalities of working outside, equipment, layout of paint and using a viewfinder and then tonal values and not including everything you see in your painting! Less is more.

For myself I am always looking to improve my work and move forward so this day I worked on richer colours, strong and painterly brush strokes. I assessed the painting back in the studio and decided not to work on it any more, leave it as an impression rather than an anatomical painting of boats and the bridge.
I'm pleased with the outcome!

Our Open Studios continue today, Saturday and Sunday, if your free come see my previous post for invite come by and say hello :-)

Thursday, 7 June 2018

#339 'White Peonies' 11x14"

I saw these lovely white peonies in the supermarket, a sweet scent and blousie look. 
I managed to paint them while our Open Studio was on last weekend. Quite a challenge to get the tones and colours right. The tonal scale in the flower is so small e.g. Light to very light! They are good practise to really observe. Also the jug is tonal shapes put together! 

There are lots of lovely daisies growing wild near us, I hope to be able to paint them before they disappear... 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

#338 'Peonies' 12x12" & Open Studio Video

Painted with haste and gusto! The background a blue black to set of the light pink flowers peonies which are so fun to paint, quite addictive! (There will be more :-) I think they are a good subject because of the globe shape so you get great light and dark on them. I made use of the thick and thin qualities of oil paint, especially in the green foliage and the table.

Yesterday was our first day of The Surrey Open Studio always with trepidation I open the doors to the public not knowing who will come and what they will think, say or even buy.
But it went well we had some nice people visit, chatted, offered my homemade shortbread and sold 4 originals and some cards so a good start!

Here are a couple of pics and a short video as a taster of what's here.

Friday, 1 June 2018

#337 'Dune' 12x16" & Surrey Open Studios!

My first attempt at a portrait!! I haven't even tried to paint one in my studio, just felt quite scary and uncertain, so went on a ROI painting day at The Mall Galleries to make me do it! 

I decided to act as if.... pretend I felt confident even though I didn't and put the paint down in strong marks and leave them.
I had dipped into an excellent little book before I went called 'Starting to Paint Portraits' by Barnard Dunstan. Its really useful and written in a friendly old fashioned manor.

I premixed my colours before I started like I'd do a plein air landscape. Having a bigger board means the head isn't too small or fiddly, a large area to cover though!

I started with her hair the darkest area, Ultramarine & Burnt Sienna, warmer and cooler patches through it. Then the most intense area - her cheek. I worked outwards from there comparing areas to the intensity and tone of her cheek. 
I put the background next to her skin as soon as I could as its a large area and didn't want to leave it till the last!

I am happy with the result and its encouraged me to try more :-)

You are invited to our Open Studios based in Haslemere Surrey UK. 
If you follow me on here you will know I have a lot of new paintings! Over a 100 to show, so if you are local and have the time it would be great to see you!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

#336 'Purple Iris' 10x10" & Tonal Value Tip

Painting these flowers in a friends garden was a fine way to spend a bank holiday Monday! 
When I began this painting I had no idea whether it would work as I wasn't sure how to tackle it. 

This is how I started, by blocking the two main greens. The tricky part was the tonal values, purple is a naturally dark colour, so you lighten it but it takes away the colour saturation its a fine line to make it all work together.
Here is my tip:
If you are struggling with tonal values in your painting take a photo on your phone of your subject and your painting. Change from colour to black & white this way you can compare the tones to your subject and you painting and see if all the areas are working, and whether it needs to be adjusted, this is early stages:

The colours where ok but the tonal values of the colours too similar.

So I darkened the background and lightened the petals and Iris foliage area.
I also warmed the flower colour to pinky purple which goes better with the green.

Friday, 25 May 2018

#335 'The South Downs' 30x50cm

I went back to the same area as last weeks painting. I wanted to do it again and really study the tonal values and colours. I am pleased with how it turned out.

I will be using this painting for an article I am writing to go into The Artist Magazine. The title of the piece is 'Colour & Aerial Perspective', it will be in the January 2019 edition. I have subscribed to the Artist Magazine on and off since way back in the 80's & 90's so I I am very pleased to fulfil a wish of writing and being in the Magazine :-) 

Back to the subject:
I really like this area to paint, The Trundle, South Downs and have done quite a few now so I want to push myself and try a bigger painting. I brought a 120cmx50cm canvas, it arrived and its huge!! I was tempted to go outside and try it, but I am not set up for such a big support on my easel. So I will prepare as much as I can with drawings and plein air studies and have ago in the studio and let you know how it works out!

I was standing right next to a bush covered in white flowers, there were bugs galore - spot the bee flying past in the photo!

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

#334 'Pink Peonies' 10x12"

I have wanted to paint peonies for a while, last year they felt too scary to tackle! So I decided to go for it! I painted outside in natural light, there was no sunshine but it didn't matter. I placed a purple piece of paper under the flowers and decided the green grass was too contrasted in colour so made up the background - which was quite liberating! 
This is the painting blocked in, next to the steps of my studio
I worked on loose, lively brush strokes and keeping the colours fresh, clean and bold! How did I do this? Different brushes for each colour, organised palette - premix colours before painting. Background flat area - brush strokes in different directions and lengths, not smoothing or hiding the marks. I used 'Permanent Rose' for the pinks, mainly with Ultramarine and a little Michael Harding 'Kings Blue deep'.

Monday, 21 May 2018

#333 'Morning Meadow' 8x10"

We looked out the window and saw gorgeous morning light so dashed down to the end of the garden. My husband hopped over into the field and being a photographer lapped it up. But the camera wasn't enough for me so I grabbed my plein air gear out of the studio and started painting in my pink wellies and PJ's! Yes, a sight but I didn't want to waste any time getting changed.

I tried the option of not pre-staining the board with my usual Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine warm grey colour but using a Burnt Sienna underpainting instead as my base. It's surprising how different it feels and lot lighter in tone, so I will try more of these.

I also was focusing on limited brush strokes. What you put down counts. So its a quick and immediate response to light.
Burnt Sienna Underpainting
Our garden backing onto the field

Sunday, 20 May 2018

#332 'Trundle Path' 8x10"

Second painting of the day on the 1:1 plein air day last week. As you can see it was overcast but still pleasing to paint - the greens, shapes and path... It was a quick study getting the essence fo the place.
I'm using more earth colours - Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre as my underpainting base which especially works with the complimentary greens over the top.

Our pochades & paintings
It's quite sketchy my painting so I may tart it a little, I will see if I can live with it first!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

#331 'Early Summer, The South Downs' 9x19"

I held a 1:1 plein air painting day with an artist called Rosie Copeland. Typical it was a windy grey day but actually was easier as it was stable light, so we weren't chasing shadows or squinting into the sun.

We covered a lot of ground from boards, gesso, equipment, my painting colours, colour mixing...viewfinder. Rosie really liked my viewfinder as I'd made a small hole so you can isolate colours and compare them to others in your scene. 

We painted next to each other and she did a cracker painting, mine not so good! - See below:
I got the painting home and wiped it back (below pic) straight away so it didn't dry. The colour was left but no form, I repainted it the next day while it was fresh in my mind, helped I'd already done the same scene last August.
There is too much foreground so I shifted it all down and increased the scale up a bit and reinstated the shapes over the top....

Friday, 11 May 2018

#330 'Sunrise, Bosham Hoe' 30x40cm

A quick sunrise painting of Bosham on a largish canvas. Getting the essence of the scene, brush marks still visible, did this in a hour. It was a beautiful morning, so still and glass like refections.
Tricky to paint as there was an ethereal quality to it, sort of thing I'd like to have another go at straight away!

Here are the beginnings, just blocking in shapes for the buildings, and then picking out lights and darks and roof line.
Painting the sky at the same time as the water, to get the mirror reflection effect.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

#329 'May Day, Richmond Bridge' 8x19"

The sun was shining and the masses were out! Absolutely heaving for bodies - I painted the people before it got to busy.
It's a bigger scene than I'd usually tackle so I'm pleased it worked out, 

I was about 15 minutes through when people started gathering near me, I realised they were in a queue for a boat ride, the line snaked right next to me, I couldn't even step back to see my painting! Quite unnerving having people watch the process from so close up! See pic below...

To start I put the bridge in roughly making sure I got the shapes of the arches right and then I put the greens next to it, I used a scrubby hog hair brush which lends itself to foliage. 
Water was bold brush strokes using a filbert hog hair and quite loaded with paint, getting similar blues to the sky but darker tone and dirtier colour.
The people I squinted my eyes and looked at the tonal shapes of them first and then added colour and any light on the top.
This pic shows my palette and how busy it got ...

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

#328 'Bosham Quay' 9x12"

I haven't painted in while because my lovely Mum in Law died last week, it wasn't expected and very sad.

I am now back to work and this weather has been glorious for plein air allbeit a little hot!
I timed it just right for this contra jour - sparkle on water - tonal painting.

The tide went lower and the reflections on the posts disappeared before I could put them in. Luckily I was there long enough for the tide to come back up and I could paint them!

Also the light moved really quickly off the water and wet mud, it was very light in tone just warmed a little with Naples Yellow.

Because the yacht is silhouetted in the strong morning sun it is quite dark in tone even though it's a white hulled boat! 

The people in the boat moved around a lot but stayed sitting for enough time to capture them. I didn't want them too pronounced so they come out of the shadows.
The jaunty lean to the boat helps with the composition.

A local chap asked to see my painting when it was 3/4 finished, he said he really liked it and ended up buying it almost off the easel - I wanted to finish it first and let it dry a little :-) 
A great start back to painting...

Thursday, 26 April 2018

#327 'Slipper Mill Pond' 8x10"

I drove past this scene and thought it looked good but still went to 3 other places first thinking I could find better! I had seen this subject in the winter and thought it had promise, but its even better now with the spring foliage. 

Getting a good composition meant I was standing on the side of the road right next to the water. The swans kept looking up at me thinking of was going to feed them especially when I was bending down to pick up a paint brush - not bread!

I like the little house in the distance gives it scale and looking through the negative space between the foreground tree and house.
Tricky weather, April showers - heavy ones, had me rushing for cover, wish I had brought my brolly. 
Will return to do a bigger painting here....