Saturday 27 August 2016

#120 'Tide Receding' 8x10"

I wanted to get back into painting after our trip as soon as I could, as it would be easy to not get back into the swing of it. 

I was wondering along looking for subject matter and this boat was next to Slipper Mill Pond in Emsworth. I like the shape of the boat and the reflection and being next to a wall made the white hull leap out.
I started painting and the owner kindly removed a ladder which was propped up against it. He ended up cycling around to see the painting (there was water between us) and I learnt a bit about the boat too. She is called 'Ngauruhoe' a New Zealand name from an active Volcano. The boat was built in the UK in the 60's and going strong!
I could see the water rushing out for low tide but hadn't judged how quickly it would leave the area mud dry! I did start to get the water in but had to finish at home from a photo. The reflection I did with thicker paint and a short flat brush.
I enjoyed painting the boat, although quite a complicated subject and hard to simplify. I kept in mind what was important and not put too much detail in the top half just suggested walls and plants. Also not used to the heat! Which is so contrasted to Iceland where I was waring 6 layers to paint, for this I had to ware suncream, hat ....
I'm pleased with the outcome :-)

Thursday 25 August 2016

#119 'Icebergs, Jokulsarlon Iceland 4' 8x8"

We went further around the lagoon and these icebergs jumped out at me, also with the glacier behind.
It started spitting but being my final chance to paint in Iceland I grabbed it. Sadly within in 15 minutes it was pouring and I had to blow on my board to clear a patch of rain so the paint would stick and the same with my palette for mixing! I knew I was on a loosing battle so I packed up and continued painting from memory and a photo on my phone in our hostel room. 
I have been lucky that I finished all but one of the Iceland paintings outside.
The main colours I used for these icy paintings are: Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Teal (great for the turquoise) Raw umber, Blue-Black, Lemon Yellow & Crimson and of course white (Titanium).

Last night when we got home I laid out all my Iceland paintings I hadn't seen some of them in a while as I had put them together with matchsticks between to keep them safe - it worked well. 

I feel really pleased with the paintings I did in Iceland 14 in 12 days, worked hard and really loved it, an inspiring and amazing country. Husband Nick took 5500 photos! He loved it too! 
Thank you to the people who comment too, really helps to read your words of encouragement, keeps me going and especially when I'm out there doing it :-) 

Wednesday 24 August 2016

#118 'Icebergs, Jokulsarlon Iceland 3' 8x8"

Due to the tides and flow of water the icebergs shift a lot each day some of them end up out of the lagoon and into the sea, so when we returned the next morning (Monday) it looked completely different and I found it harder to find one I liked so I painted a collection. More challenging as I wanted to make them clearly an icebergs and not an abstract of blues. I worked especially on the tonal contrast making sure I had a good range. 
Choosing big bergs I thought I'd be safer in their movement but the front light ones shifted and a different shape was formed.
The cloud level was quite low and the peaks of the Glacier mountain were obscured again another challenge to depict this. Also the weather had come in and the wind was really wipping around me I had to hold my pochade so it wouldnt fly into the water and hold my arm staedy to paint the fiddly bits as it was being blown around so much!
This was our last full day in Iceland and the boards I could paint on were very limited, I only had square left, amazing I had got through so many! (I have the last painting to post tomorrow.)
To finish this painting I put some seagulls in, they were circling around he 2 large bergs in the centre. I used the pointy edge of a short flat brush to do it, can you spot the birds they are tiny! I wanted to show the huge scale of the place.

Monday 22 August 2016

#117 'Icebergs Jokulsarlon, Iceland 2' 9x12"

This was my second painting yesterday and my largest 'plein air' to date. Same Iceberg as the morning but different angle and lower down on the lagoon which allowed for a great reflection.
I started the same way with thin translucent paint and even let it run down the board a little, which adds to the watery feel.
I felt more confident in the subject although it did go through a long 'ugly duckling' stage and I nearly stopped half way. It not easy when you are constantly on view, people gathered around you and photographing! I also have to hold back with putting the light tone in, its better to get the dark foundations in and then put the lights, with the light colours it looks more finished.
It wasn't quite as bitterly cold as the morning and so the icebergs were slowly melting and 'carving' - pieces of them braking off, which can make thunderous sounds. It is such a magical place. I really enjoyed painting this one, and I'm pleased with the result.

#116 'Icelbergs Jokulsarlon, Iceland' 8x10"

Seeing all the icebergs and glaciers have a real wow factor with gorgeous blues and infinite shapes of bergs. Knowing I wanted to paint I felt a bit in awe of the place, where to start, how to paint it all? So I didn't paint the day we arrived, I needed to absorb it and get used to such an alien but beautiful landscape.
Saturday we arrived early before the crowds, there were sea lions playing quite close to the side of the lagoon, such cute faces.
An arrangement of icebergs stood out and I got to work immediately. I tackled it by not thinking of them as bergs but tones and shapes predominantly. Using the same method as the seascape rocks, thin dark transparent washes first and then building in stages of tones up to light - white and thicker paint. Trying also to keep it quite loose and brushy, as it seamed to suit the subject.
The dark area behind my bergs is the glacier, mountain and black sand - that's also what the stripes are. It adds lots of interest to them.
It was incredibly cold, the temperature drops around the lagoon and near the glacier, it was bitter standing painting, I had 3 layers on my legs and 6 on top! But worth the cold :-)
But saying that I enjoyed painting it more than I thought I would. I also had lots of lovely interactions with people, really friendly and interested.

Sunday 21 August 2016

#115 'Sunrise Vik, Iceland' 8x8"

I was back in front of the church looking down on the rocks at 5am for sunrise, which happened a lot faster than sunset the night before. I didn't have time to paint the rocks in first. Instead I quickly mapped in the shapes and got to work on the sky. The colours were so fleeting but it helped having painted this subject numerous times before I had 'learnt' it in my mind, so I was able to paint it quickly.
This was on Friday and my last painting in Vik. I was sad to say goodbye as it had been such an inspiring place. We then drove all day to our next stop along the coast to quite a different landscape...

Saturday 20 August 2016

#114 'Sunset Vik, Iceland' 8x8"

I stood in front of the church at 8pm, it was my last painting of the day. Being higher up it allowed me to see more of the sea which reflected the evening colours.
I put the rocks in first which gave me some structure to work around. - Dark and silhouetted. It felt a lottery to when I should paint the sky as I wanted the sunset to be at its peak.
A German lady asked while I was painting how do you paint this when it's changing to fast? And it was every time I mixed a colour and looked up the colours had changed or the clouds had moved! So once I started on the sky I committed to my mind what I saw the colours and shapes and then I painted like billio! I also took a photo in case I needed it later.
It was a challenge to get the colours light in tone but with enough colour and not to chalky. I'm pleased with how it turned out, with no time for overworking and it inspired me to do another one here  the next morning :-)

#113 'Vik Church, Iceland' 7x9.5"

I was standing a little way up a mountain to be eye level with this church. I thought it had an alpine feel and is actually very typical of Icelandic churches.
I simplified the scene and focused on the bits I liked - the contrast between the white building and the dark rocks. I used thicker paint then previous seascapes to emphasis the lush greens. The plain below the hill was so wide and expansive to the sea I had to reduce it a little for the composition and the board!
The distant cliff and land I made sure looked far away with very pale muted colours, not much darker in tone than the sky, to give a sense of space.
The sounds around me travelled and high up on the mountain were Oyster Catchers swooping and calling, they sounded like they were just above my head.

#112 'Dyrholaey, Iceland' 20x30cm

Thursday I completed 3 oil paintings in one day! That's my record so far:-) I will post them all today....
I decided to make the very long trek on the rock stacks beach to the other end to get a different view, see pic below.
It was early around 8am when I started painting. Just as I was about to begin a rainbow appeared nearly over my head. I could see the rain coming and battened down the hatches until it passed. - Had to show you this as it looks like the rainbow's coming out of my pochade!

My light coloured board was attracting midges and once the paint was on their they were all sticking to it, not easy to paint around! 
Iceland has huge spaces, its a big country and this view was still a long way away, although it showed off the sky well, and after the rain the clouds were interesting and I enjoyed painting them. My board was a different type again and you can see the weave of texture it has created. The light house gives this one scale, so tiny!
Husband Nick took this of me doing the long walk down the deserted beach!

Thursday 18 August 2016

#111 'Evening Light Vik, Iceland' 5x10"

We drove around for a while trying to find a new view of the area. We went up the coast quite a few miles and found this deserted beach to paint on. It was nearly 7pm and I had a 20 minute weather window of sky and light, then the grey clouds came over. But doing a small painting I quickly got the sky in and the painting only took 50 minutes.
Painting on a beach that goes on for miles and miles with no one else on it has a good feeling to it.
Pat commented on one of my Vik paintings that it looks as though I'm enjoying doing these. I can't tell you how much! Absolutely sucking it up and making the most of our time here :-)

#110 'Vik Beach, Iceland' 8x10"

I did two more paintings yesterday from the Vik village side, where you see more of the rocks I thought they looked a bit like teeth!  I tried a more textured surface board and after a smooth board it felt strange and I didn't have enough paint on my brush a few times as it grips more. Not much sunlight and therefore little contrast between light and shade. Although the froth of the waves coming onto the black sandy beach was very strongly contrasted.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

#109 'Reynisdrangar Vik, Iceland' 7x9.5"

I completed this second painting in the afternoon. The light changed half way through with the sun coming out which enriched the colours and contrast.
I walked down the beach it was hard going in the soft back sand and my gear. I liked the stacks smaller and at a different angle so I could see three instead of two of them - in the first painting.
I wanted to try and convey the energy of the sea, it was massive and so loud, with continuous spray in my face. I used lots of loose brush marks in the sky and sea. And putting some tiny figures in gave a sense of scale.

#108 'Reynisdranger Sea Stacks', Iceland' 20x30cm

I did two paintings yesterday, this was the first on such a dramatic beach at Vik, with black sands and sea stacks jutting out of the water, the seas were huge with crashing waves. Such an inspiring place to paint :-)
Vik is on the south coast of Iceland exposed to the Atlantic weather although we were lucky it didn't rain and the sun actually came out!
I was fairly close to the stacks (rocks) along with many tourists interested in the Puffins and me, lol!
I wanted a contrast of thin translucent paint and thicker opaque and being careful not to cover all the thin first layer. With the black sands the colours all harmonised and so I used a limited palette which added to the drama.
If Monet were alive and here I'm sure he'd love to paint in Vik as I do! His Etretat paintings remind of this area in Iceland.

Sunday 14 August 2016

Painting in the rain! Iceland

I thought yesterday was bad, today was WET!
I started painting in the rain thinking I could muster through it. Husband left to photograph and I was left to battle. The rain was driving and my board and palette was wet within seconds. I kept wiping it down but each brush stroke was resisting my board and congealing in lumps! I thought I'm not going to let some rain beat me.....So I wiped and wiped and went through all the kitchen roll I had. My palette was actually flooding see pic below. I covered most of the board, but the strokes were a little laboured to try and make it stick, after an hour I was thankful to see Nick again. My waterproofs had worked for me but my painting kit was sopping, it's now drying on the hostel radiator.
My painting is ok, but not finished hence why I haven't posted it. I will look at again at home, when its dried out and see if its worth finishing.

Saturday 13 August 2016

#107 'Arnarstapi Cliffs, Iceland' 20x30cm

The elements were against us today, still on the Western Peninsular we found this spot and within 10 minutes of painting the rain and mist came in, felt a bit like Cornwall! It was tricky as my view partly disappeared! And the rain was blowing in my face and eyes. My palette and board had a wet film on it, I kept wiping for dryer patches but it felt hard core! Thankfully after 45 mins the rain and mist cleared :-)
I liked the arch and waves crashing around the rocks. I heightened the colours as it was very monotone.
I enjoyed the day, even with the hardships. We are going whale watching tomorrow let hope we see some!

Friday 12 August 2016

#106 'Skardsvik Beach, Iceland' 8x10"

First Full day in Iceland, we are on the Western Peninsular. The Weather forecast was cloud all day but the sun came out on this beautiful beach called 'Skardsvik'. The colours were like the Caribbean, I absolutely loved panting it!
The cliff and rocks are unusual because they are all made of lava from an ancient eruption. They were very dark in colour and almost black in the shadow areas. I used Raw Umber and Ultramarine Blue to make this colour (no white). I had to be brave in making it dark enough to contrast with the gorgeous sea greens. The sand (there is some speckled on the painting!) is also different because most of the beaches in Iceland are black, the shells on this beach make it the traditional yellow.
There were lots of tourists some paddling in the very cold North Atlantic Ocean and others watching me paint! Husband Nick enjoyed photographing waterfalls and lava fields. I'm chuffed to have completed my first oil painting abroad :-)

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Flying with oil paints!

I have been busy gathering equipment for flying to Iceland tomorrow, we are there 12 days and will travel to three areas in a hire car.  Nick, my husband who is a semi pro photographer, its his dream place to go to, so I’m taking my paints as well, I’m sure its going to be rugged and stunning. We paid a good price for an extra case so I'm filing it nicely with all my gear! 
I haven't travelled abroad with oil paints before and have done lots of research for what’s allowed on the plane and how to pack it. You have to have a Safety Data sheet to tell people the paint is non flammable and safe. I have 5 sheets so far for all the different paint manufactures. I’m also trying ‘Zest it’ as its non-flamible, lets hope it all works!
The photo is of some of the equipment I’m taking! There are also bags, tripod and my main pochade easel...
I was sticking match sticks onto my boards last night can you see them on the backs? This is to transport the wet paintings. You put two boards with masking tape together and the matchstick gap allows the painting inside to be safe. (A great idea by the painter Ken Howard.) 
I have 7 sizes of boards! As I am unsure what I'll want to work on there, I have lots of choice! I’ve manage to get all the boards into my carry on the rest is in the spare case. 
I brought a mini pochade (see pic) by Guerrilla, it fits 5x7” boards, incase we do some hiking and I want to do a quick oil sketch.
I will be aiming to blog the paintings I do during the trip although I don't know how Icelandic internet will be and using Nicks laptop! 

Friday 5 August 2016

#105 'Beach Huts, Hayling Island 2' 9x12"

These huts look simple but are deceptively tricky to paint, it was a struggle painting with lots of wiping off and angst! It’s the biggest board I’ve worked on to date. I wanted a long thin one, but my order for them hasn’t arrived yet. I like the line of huts but that meant a lot of sky it was hazy and not much to it, which is so much harder if you have to invent things instead of looking at nature. 
I wanted to the sea behind the huts which is 'contra jour' - looking into the sun and therefore most of the huts are in shadow. 
It's about a 40min drive to Hayling Huts from my house and yesterday the weather was so different down there, blowing a hooley, so much so I had to hold onto my pochade or else it would blow over! Even with my weighted bag hanging from it. See pics below.
While I was painting I noticed a guy photographing me, he came over and asked if I didn’t mind and he said it looked a good shot! So I asked for copies of them the 2 below are his - Trevor Carpenter, thank you!

Considering how much of a struggle and thinking nearly up until the end that this feels like flogging a dead horse! It's actually turned out ok. It shows you shouldn’t give up on a painting as it may come through in the end :-)

Tuesday 2 August 2016

#104 'Hayling Island' 8x10"

I was so lucky with the weather and light. The colours were gorgeous, and I loved the contrasted sandy spit with the deep turquoise blue sea behind. 

I used fast thinly painted strokes to cover the board quickly, then go in with thicker paint over the top. 
It's right at the south tip of Hayling but looking north - towards the South Down hills, really like this area and will go back.