Saturday 28 May 2016

Preparing for The Surrey Open Studio 2016

My Husband Nick and I did the Surrey Open Studios for the first time last year. I opened my studio in the garden and his man-shed converts into a photographic studio gallery.  (see pic below)

We are doing it again this year and it starts a week today! June 4th at 11am.
I had forgotten how much input it takes to make it work wellI'm just having the framing done and getting my new work made into greeting cards.

I'm excited to show my new work in person to people and not just on the internet. I had 35 paintings last year which was a culmination of 3 years work, I was proud of that amount and the work. This year I just completed my 80th painting! I can't believe I have painted that many in only 5 months. They are of course smaller than my old ones but still pleasing.
I am framing some of them to give an idea of how they will look framed. My husband has built shelves in my studio so the paintings work well propped up and displayed - see pic.

This year we are open for 8 days out of the 16. I already have butterflies for it. I can't wait to have people come and look and chat to them. I like the fact you get to talk to so many lovely people about painting! 

I will be carrying on with my 'almost daily painting' while it's on. I'm not sure how much work I'll get done but it's good to keep it going for me and so I can show how how I do it :-)

All the paintings I have done this year will be on sale ranging from £35 - £120. If you have liked a painting you've seen but can't make it here, contact me and we can make a sale through paypal.

I know a lot of you don't live close enough to come and visit us over this time, but if you do you would be very welcome. If not I will be posting updates on how it's going.
Below is an invite we made for it....

Friday 27 May 2016

#80 'Clematis' 6x6"

Large pink and purple flower head open, sunlight from behind and green surrounding

A sunny morning, I was going to find somewhere away from the house to paint but as I was going through the back door this flower stopped me. Beautifully sunlight from behind, I wanted to capture the vibrant yet delicate petals. 
One thing I've learnt with flowers is when you go darker in tonal value the colour become stronger, more intense. Instead of the tones becoming more subdued in colour. 
Getting the sunlight look helped with putting the light pink around the edges of the petals. It also made it stand out more against the background.
The background was an experiment. One of my students said this week so you've got to be brave when painting, yes! Sometimes you put a tone or colour on and it scares you :-) being so bright or dark. That happened today with the dark blue but it works and I'm happy!

Wednesday 25 May 2016

#79 'Gorse Cottages' 8x8"

This house is a few doors away from us. I was drawn to the sun drenched blue pots bursting with flowers. I cropped the door to make it a more interesting composition - and to emphasis the bits I really like! 
I started painting the pots first they were fun to do and reminded me of the still lives I've been painting. The painting indoors has definitely helped my plein air painting.
I worked on matching the front door colour, I kept thinking I'm sure this is a Farrow and Ball tint! 
When I took the painting in I realised I hadn't gone dark enough with the shadows, and would need to go over some of them. If the shadows aren't dark enough there isn't the contrast you get on a bright sunny day. 

Monday 23 May 2016

#78 'Wisteria' 8x8"

Oil painting of Wisteria flowers in purple and pinks

I experimented with this painting. I used a different board called: Ampersand, it has a super smooth surface, unlike the medium textured board I usually use, which means the paint goes on easily but sometimes slips off and doesnt even make a mark! You have to get the thickness of paint right. I also used a medium called Sansodor, I usually use the oils neat but wanted to try a looser more impressionist feel. 
I painted in the beginning with squinted eyes, to take away the detail and just paint the shapes, it helped. It was hard to get the balance of impressionist and fluid but still convey the shapes of the flowers. I'm pleased with the outcome and will try more in this way. 
This wisteria is outside the front of our house, it great to finally paint it!

Sunday 22 May 2016

#77 'Citrus' 6x8"

I enjoyed painting these colours, fresh and clean. I liked the shadows - so much in them, also the harmony of colours and the challenge of a cut in half fruit, first one I've tackled! You have to really question what colour is that? And also tone, yellow is tricky as you tend to paint it too light. So I make sure the darks are dark enough without being dirty.
I also made sure my edges were varied with some soft and some crisp. I liked encorporating a bowl with the fruit, fun to paint. I hope my students will enjoy this too :-)
I put this painting up against one I did in January, no.7 quite a different!

No. 77 & No. 7

Thursday 19 May 2016

#76 'Peppers' 5x7"

I wanted this to be well observed but painterly. Rich complementary colours go well together. One for my students to try :-)
The title I did want to call it was: 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine', but it seamed a bit of a mouthful! When I was painting it that's what I thought of with the green pepper stalk resting on the red peppers back...

Wednesday 18 May 2016

#75 'Morning Shadows' 8x8"

Being inspired by the weekend workshop, this was an early morning painting in a allotment. I've not been to an allotment before and it was quite lovely, especially at this time of the year. It was huge with over 100 plots based in Compton, Surrey. Sadly it was locked when I got there, not realising this was the case but thankfully one person came and opened up. 
It was peaceful standing painting with the sunshine on my back and the birds tweeting! Being caught up in the moment I didn't realise the guy had left and locked me in, oops! But again I was lucky as I finished someone else came and I was free :-)
I'm happy with the painting, quite a complex setting, the shadow shapes on the shed attracted me and the bright sunshine lighting the pots. 

Tuesday 17 May 2016

#74 Tide Coming In' 7x9.5"

This painting I did on the second day of the weekend workshop I just did in Harwich. I was working on shapes and being looser with my mark making. 
The tide was coming in very quickly, I had to move all my gear up the beach several times as the water was lapping at my feet! 
As the tide came in the boat ungrounded itself and drifted around, not helpful but I had thankfully got most if it in by then. 
It was bitter cold with a north wind coming off the sea. See photo below :-) I completed the painting in an hour and forty minutes, a lot faster than usual, helpful when its cold!
I am pleased with the outcome being a zoomed in composition and strong shapes, I probably would have had all the boat in before, so it's great to have influence from another artist.

Monday 16 May 2016

#73 'Pink Rose' 5x7"

I am buzzing from an amazing painting weekend! It was at the Old Bank Studios in Harwich, a great set up for painting courses (lovely lunches too!)
Haidee-Jo Summers ran the workshop, she is a wonderful plein air painter, I feel very inspired and full of new ideas. 

This rose was in front of a cottage window, the sun hit the tops of the petals. It was quite tricky to get the richeness of colours but the density of tone as well. Even so I enjoyed it and looking forward to doing more :-)

Wednesday 11 May 2016

#72 'Teetering' 6x6"

It was a late finish for this painting today as I went to the framers to start framing some of my work ready for the Surrey Open Studios starting June 4th (not long!)

I am pleased with how this one turned out, I wanted to try painting glass and I saw the yellow and red tomatoes in the supermarket and thought they'd fit nicely in the glass dish. 

I worked on getting the richness of the colours but making them dark enough in the shadows areas. I hardly used any white for the tomatoes, which keeps the vibrancy.
The glass was interesting, deciding what colour it is and how it distorts the shapes and colours when looking through it. 

I am going on a Plein Air Painting Workshop this weekend by the sea, which I'm very excited for, not done one before. It's with an artist I admire Haidee-Jo Summers, lets hope the weather holds and it's an inspiring weekend.
I'm not sure if I will be posting while away but I will try.

Sunday 8 May 2016

#71 'Sunrise, Frensham Little Pond' 7x9.5"

I was up painting early at 5.15am for sunrise, it was still and peaceful at Frensham Little Pond. Hardly any movement on the water (until the dogs jump in and the ducks swim by :-)
I am pleased with the reflections, I painted it all in downward soft strokes. The sky I mixed with medium to make it thin and wispy looking. Getting up so early was worth it!

Saturday 7 May 2016

#70 'The Boathouse, Winkworth Arboretum ' 7x9.5"

I'm not complaining but gosh it was hot out there today! A great spot next to the lake with the geese were really going for it with their honking! 
To get the best view of the boathouse I was quite far away from it see pic below, I put the surrounding trees in to get a feel of Winkworth. I enjoyed the spring colours of the leaves.
The water was a challenge, I'm pleased with the sky reflecting ripples. This was my most complex and biggest outside painting to date, progress!

Wednesday 4 May 2016

#69 'Garlic Bulbs' 5x7"

I put a strong spot light to the side which gives a blue-violet shadow for half of the garlic, it also accentuates the bulbous shape. 
I painted in a really dark background mixing a blue-black and brown-black with the 3 primary colours. It felt quite scary putting such dark colours next to the light garlic but it works! And my students will be trying this as well next week :-)

Started on a coloured ground and put all the light tones in first.

Monday 2 May 2016

#68 'Little China Clog' 6x6"

I started out with three pieces in the composition, but changed it as I wanted the clog to be the star.
I'm pleased with the blue flower pattern, I left some orange of the ground colour showing it seamed to work better than just blue and white. 
The little clog is only a few inches long, but it was fun to paint, another gem from a charity shop.

I thought you may like to see inside my studio cupboard it's my still life collection from charity shops & eBay brought over the past few months - this isn't all of it either!!
It helps to have a good range as like today I had no clue as to what I was going to paint until I delved into the cupboard :-) (Spot where the little clog is.)