Saturday 30 July 2016

#103 'Morning Light, Emsworth Harbour' 8x8"

The sun was sparkling on the water, directly behind this red boat. I quickly set up and by the time I sketched it out with my brush the sun had moved and it was no longer behind the boat! I carried on anyway and got the main shapes in especially the water. Not easy looking into the sun and dazzling sparkles! I had my cap and sunglasses on, does anyone reading this ware sunglasses to paint? Sometimes I have to as my eyes are sensitive and water to much.
After one hour a dog walker had returned and couldn’t believe how much I'd got in already. But the scene had changed so much I couldn’t continue. 
Back in my studio I didn’t like the painting it was rough looking (see below)
So I decided to start again on another board, which I’ve not done after a plein air paint before. I wished I'd had a rougher surface board to work on originally as it helps to show the sparkle as the paint catches in the dimples. In fact this board I used was super smooth.
I spend a session painting the picture, and by the time I finished it I realised the one I did outside was better!
So I went back to it today and worked on it again, remembering the light was what drew me to it so emphasised that with thick light paint. 
I’m happy with the final outcome :-)

Friday 29 July 2016

#102 'Crabbing at Langstone Harbour' 8x10"

This is my kind of subject! I love painting water, buildings, people and the evening light was fab too. 
I painted this view back in 2000 when I first starting painting properly and I haven't painted it since. It used to be something I'd see daily when coming off of Hayling Island bridge where I used to live.
When I got to the harbour, it was bustling with families crabbing, I walked around to find a good aspect and decided I liked the life it added with the people. Set up and at least 8 of them came over to just where I was panting, no good for getting them into my view! But the two boys stayed there long enough for me to paint them. I was surrounded by shrieks with the kids pulling up the crabs on there lines, and dropping them into their buckets.

The evening light didn’t last long and I was franticly painting in the sky and water as it takes up so much of the composition it needed to be right and well observed. The paint was thick for the sky and thin for the water which seamed to work well.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Summer Workshop no.2 at Frensham Little Pond

We had a lovely day yesteday at Frensham Little Pond. A good spot to draw although we were lucky it wasn't raining, the wind was wipping up from the water and quite chilly. 
My students worked really hard on drawing what they saw, ready to use the information in September for oil paintings. Some had never drawn outside so a new experience, which can be quite dawnting. 
We broke it down firstly small, quick thumbnails to work out the composition and subject matter.
And then a larger more careful line drawing with tones noted down on it, using a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lightest tone you'll see and 10 the darkest. This is helpful when painting it later.
Finally a tonal drawing not using any outlines, just blocking in the basic shapes.
It was great to be outside with my students and them getting stuck into it! They said it gave them confidence to be drawing outside as they were in a group and not so likely to be singled out! 

Monday 25 July 2016

#101 'Paddling at Tilford Bridge' 8x8"

This is a known spot for families, grest for splashing around in the River Wey. I got to the bridge early and had an hour painting before anyone else arrived. These two boys with their grandma turned up and they were straight in the river. I initially thought oh dear a distraction, but actually when I saw them in the water I thought they be great in my painting! I worked quickly to try and capture them, you can imagine they didn't stay still for long! When they got out I called them over and explained they were in my painting. They thanked me, with I thought was very polite! and then 'high fived' each other, which made me smile :-)
The painting itself I did 90% outside, but wasn't that happy with it when I got home so went over most of it, tweeking the tones and colours. I'm pleased with the result now. 

Here is the painting in progress by the river, the boys and had just got into the water.

Friday 22 July 2016

#100 'View from my Studio Window' 5x7"

Yippee! I have reached number 100 daily paintings. I had big plans for my 100th picture but it turns out to be this little oil sketch I did from my studio. But still with the same thoughts - carefully observed from life, small and in one day.

If you are thinking of doing the 'almost daily painting challenge' I urge you to do it, even if you just do it for a month. I have committed to doing it for this year 2016 year. It has improved my painting skills, and I'm really enjoying the 'journey'. You get so much out of it.
Here's to the next 100 paintings!

Thursday 21 July 2016

#99 'Beach Huts, Hayling Island' 4x15.5"

A hot day standing directly looking into the sun but worth it! Really enjoyed painting these beach huts, and on the panormic format. A lot of the beach huts were in shadow so I had to hold back with using saturated colours but still managed to get some turquoise and pinks in :-)
The board is not one I have used before it's a two inches deep wooden panel by Gerstaeker, I have only seen them on the Great Art website. I have just ordered more as it was fun to work on, and no need to frame.
The position I choose to paint was in a car park, useful as I didn't have to walk with my gear but as you can see from the pic below I had trouble with cars parking in my view! I must have asked at least 8 cars to move to another spot most people were very happy to oblige.
I was brought up on Hayling Island (in Hampshire) and only left when I was 30, so lots of memories driving around and painting it!

Wednesday 20 July 2016

#98 '1948 Alvis' 5x7"

I painted this for my father in law he is 90 today! He has had this car for 30 years, and still drives it once a week. I presented the painting to him today as a surprise present, he said it was splendid, I'm very pleased he is happy :-)
I worked hard on getting it as 'right' as possible but still having a painterly feel to it. I am pleased with the result and so is he!

Tuesday 19 July 2016

#97 'River Wey, Farncombe Boat House' 8x8"

Some paintings flow and are easy others don't, this was a stop start struggle and pain! I am still unsure about it, but thought I'd share it anyway. 
You can tell the bits I enjoyed which were the boats. I wondered around for a while trying to find a composition I liked. I was drawn to the light hitting the boats and the contrast under the bridge. This has turned out a bit blocky but it was a good exercise to do and it's an interesting place lots of boats stored waiting to be hired or sold and also a lock on the canal, I'll have to go back and have another go.
I have used my husbands laptop to write today's blog, so I haven't edited the photo. My computer is being fixed at the moment, I miss it! Good practice using this laptop as we are going away in the summer and I will be painting :-)

Saturday 16 July 2016

#96 'The Barns, Tilford Green' 8x8"

I felt inspired to go back to the area we had our summer workshop this week. Some of my students were drawing this view and I thought that's what I'd paint if I was here. I really liked the dark barn and the light roofs silhouetted against the range of green foliage behind. 

On the middle of Tilford Green I was getting stuck into this painting when the cricket people appeared, I didn't know they played a match on a Saturdays! I had 50 minutes to get most of it blocked in. I worked like a demon it was a good exercise as there was no time for fussing. I was amazed at what I could do in such a short time. I had 90% completed and I finished it in my studio. I worked up until they were ready but then I couldn't clear up quick enough and I had 2 crickets escort me with all my gear to the edge of the grounds, they were friendly though!
The photo below shows the end stage. The photos weren't that helpful as the darks were just a mass of darks you couldn't see any tonal detail unlike when you're out there and looking. 
I'm pleased with my painting and a change from London buildings!

Thursday 14 July 2016

Summer Workshop on Tilford Green

I did this drawing at the weekend in preperation for the workshop I was running today for my students. Set on an English green with old buildings, a pub and barns and a great sunny day, so lucky with the weather. The workshop aim was to produce drawings that will be used as an aid for oil paintings in September.

We did small thumb nail drawings to explore our subjects and work out composition. Then a larger well observed line drawing and then tone, not much then :-) 
A picnic together in the sunshine at lunch was so lovely, a successful day! 
This photo shows them working hard!

It's a great area for paintings I will go back there and do some plein air painting of the drawings, like the one below of an old bridge.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

#95 'Westminster Bridge, London' 8x10"

9,000 steps I took carrying all my plein air kit around London yesterday! You've got to be fit to do this outdoor painting lark :-) This is a different view of the same subject I have previously painted, also different light and weather. It was cold, the wind was blowing down the Thames and it was spitting on and off. 
I was just setting up and a big gust came and blew the whole pochade and palette I caught it but sent my swinging cup of turps everywhere, very smelly!
I was drawn to the bridge and the lovely pale green arches and contrasted shapes. The sun came out once while I was painting, so fleeting, I took a photo and put in where the shadows and light was. The composition took me a while, I painted it 3 times to get it right, fitting in Big Ben but emphasising the bridge, the area I liked. 
It was a complex subject and choosing what to put in and what to leave out, the details - too much fiddling and it becomes contrived not enough and it's wishy washy. I hope I have the right balance!
There were lots of tourists, and I was a target again! This time not only being in their photos but taking there selfie shots, I must have done at least 5.

I did try and reduce my kit, knowing I'd be lugging it around London, so I left my tubes of paint behind and filled my 'Painting Garage' see the photo before I left. It worked a treat, it's a very nifty tool for outdoor work, I would recommend it.

Friday 8 July 2016

#94 'The Bridge Tavern, Camber Docks' 8x8"

I was visiting my Mum in Portsmouth so I did a painting while I was there. Camber Docks is an interesting area with old buildings and lots of fishing boats and reflections.  I have painted one there before in April.
It was quite hard to decide how much to include in the composition, I used my viewfinder and camera and decided to crop the boat. I had painted 3/4 of the picture before anyone sat outside, I was lucky with the weather! I had just sketched the people in with my paintbrush and the guy got up and sat next to his wife! Tricky to do but having them in adds some life to the painting. There's a lot of detail which again is hard to put in without it looking tight and controlled. I tried not to tidy up lines and edges and just leave them (something I say to my students a lot!)
I worked on getting the light shining on the building and boat, putting in the shadows so it showed the light.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

#93 'Tower Bridge, London' 8x10"

I wanted to make the most of being in London especially overnight. I persuaded my husband to get up at 5am (after the concert the night before!) and we heaved our equipment through London to the Tower Bridge view. It was a gorgeous morning, calm with great light shining onto the bridge.

I used a different board to the day before, with a lot more texture so the paint doesn't slide so easily on it, the finished result suits the subject matter.
I put in all the dark tones first behind the bridge, without those it wouldnt show the light tones of the bridge. I kept the colours quite limited to blue, brown & ochre which gives a harmony and quiet feel.
I'm happy with this painting worth getting up for and traipsing through London!

Tuesday 5 July 2016

#92 'Big Ben & Houses of Parliament' 8x10"

My sister kindly brought us Lionel Richie concert tickets in London (he was amazing!), so we made the most of our overnight stay and I did 2 paintings.

This one I painted Sunday afternoon standing on Hungerford bridge. I have never painted in such a busy thoroughfare, oh my! I had to keep my elbows in for people streaming past me. And once the painting was taking shape I then I felt like a celeb with the amount of photos and videos tourists were taking of me, quite different to the normal quiet painting I have been doing! But once I got used to it I enjoyed it and added to the London painting experience.
I concentrated on the skyline as it's the bit I liked, all the different shapes. The sun was shining in my face (contre-jour) so most of the buildings were in shadow so they were silhouetted.
I wanted to make the shadow areas colourful and interesting. With lively brush strokes and not too laboured buildings. I'm really pleased with the outcome :-) My first London painting...

Saturday 2 July 2016

#91 'Early Morning Staithes Harbour' 8x10"

An early start on the final morning I completed half of this before I drove home. I liked the dark tones and a touches of bright sunlight coming through.
I finished the painting in my studio the next day. It was a challenge to keep the plein air freshness of working outside - when there isn't time to fiddle and overwork and be too careful. Which happend when I painted the sky, it was too careful and laboured looking, so I wiped it off and did this one in minutes with thined paint and quick brush strokes. Also getting the side of the boat in the shadow dark enough to show the bright red on the light side was tricky.

The pen and ink below I did on the first morning to get myself accustomed to the surroundings. I did a painting of it later but I'm not happy with it, so I thought I'd tackle it in my studio and see if it can be improved :-) and if so I will post it!

Friday 1 July 2016

#90 'Three Boats, Staithes' 8x10"

These boats are so typical of Staithes North Yorkshire area. I like the colours and the flash of pink flowers. 
I initially got caught up in the view and up the cliff/bank on the other side of the water are lovely red rooved house and sky. I drew it in but scrubbed it out realising it was too big a view and wasnt strong enough.
I have included the first stages picture below to show how I blocked in the dark and mid tones, and then adding the more intense and lighter colours over the top.
This was the first time I used a bigger board 8x10 it took me longer but it is a complex subject, nice to have a bit more space to work with though.
Making the initial brush strokes broad and loose with medium and no white paint, it was then fairly translucent. This helps to make it look like water - see through, and adding more opaque paint over the top to some of the areas (the lower half) to show light.

I also was testing out a new piece of equipment i got from America called a 'Palette Garage' you can see it on the pochade (where all my squirts of paint sit.) You can stick it back in a plastic tube, it comes in which keeps the paint wet overnight ready for the next plein air painting :-)