Tuesday 29 November 2016

#147 Sunrise, Langstone Harbour 9.5x12"

Loved painting this! The sweeping shape of the mud flats and gorgeous light. I haven't painting the sun en plein air before. I had to be quick as it's dangerous to look straight at it, so once it peeked over the trees I tried to capture the glow, difficult with the intense colour and light tone. Also restraining how much yellow-orange I put in the rest of the painting to help the composition and give it more impact.
The mud I emphasised the red-violet colour and not the green seaweed. Putting in the big shapes first and the small details last like the mast and boats and birds. The sticky-up shape in the foreground I put in roughly to begin with and then went back to put in detail but when I looked up it was gone, the water comes in so quickly!

I painted this yesterday morning but photographing in the afternoon the result is so poor I had to wait to post it today, I'm missing the long summer days and more time to paint.

Sunday 27 November 2016

#146 The Barn, Woolfords Farm 9.5x12"

This is not a subject I would usually tackle. But I really enjoyed it. 
I have, with 8 other people started a group called The Surrey Hills Plein Air Painters and this farm was our first outing :-) I usually paint alone so it was really nice to paint with others. and I wouldn't have chosen to paint here but actually was really good.

When I first looked around the farm it was hard to find a subject to paint as it was so different to what I'm used to, it took a while to adjust to it. Luckily the weather was bright and sunny which produced strong lights and darks. 
I loved the cows in the barn and may go back another day to do a closer version I didnt feel confident enough to do it on Friday. They were moving about and eating their hay. 

It is quite a tonal painting I started with the darks (Raw Umber, Ultramarine, Red Iron Oxide), and worked up into degrees of light making it warm and cool, transparent and opaque. 
I adjusted the composition by painting in the apex of the barn even though in life it was further along, it seamed to finish it better.
It wasn't long until the shadow crept up the barn ond over the top leaving it with no direct light. I have got used to putting the darkest darks in - it can be scary doing it as it feels too strong but now I need the opposite for the lightest lights! Roger Dellar who is a good artist and in our group commented I needed the lights of the hay even popier. So I adjusted them and wham it came alive!

Thursday 24 November 2016

#145 Winter, Hayling Island Beach 9.5x12"

During the past week I have been working on a commission, I can't post it yet as it's a Christmas present. 

I have also been working along side a website designer for my new website, very excited, it's looking good and can't wait to launch it soon. I will continue as usual with this blog once the site is live.

Today I fancied being by the sea, it's a windy old day but enjoyed being out in it. The light is interesting and so different to summer. Warm apricot colours even in the midday sun. There's not much in the scene so I needed to get good variation of brush marks and tonal contrasts. 
I've just noticed I didn't put in two other channel markers in the distance, meant to do it when I got home - it was too windy for minute detail out there. Will do it tomorrow :-)
Happy to be out painting again....

Sunday 13 November 2016

#144 'Margate Harbour' 8x10"

This is the one I started last weekend in Margate with artist Michael. 
We trooped across mud and seaweed sinking and squelching. We were quite a distance from the slipway. Setting up our gear right next to the fishing boats and used them as tables. Standing painting my feet were sinking deeper and deeper into the mud, I had to give a good yank to get them out again! 
The tide suddenly was there and we had to make a dash for it, we'd only done about 30 minutes. 

I finished the painting today, not easy as I wanted to keep the essence of the light and loose feel but to put enough in to make it looked finished and pleasing.
I took a photo with my phone on the day but the strong low light didn't allow for any detail. Which is good in one way not to get bogged down with it but another was difficult to see what was going on. I tired not to 'explain' everything with my paintbrush but to suggest some areas too. 
I also ended moving the white boat on the left as in life it was squashed up against the boat in the middle. Usually I don't mess around with what is actually there but on this occasion the compsition looked awkward, now it's more balanced.
This painting is different to how I'd tackle it usually and I'm pleased with the result.

Saturday 12 November 2016

#143 'South Parade Pier, Southsea' 6x15.5"

I used to see this view every day as lived across the road and it's where I walked my dog and ran along the seafront. I lived in Southsea (Hampshire) for 11 years, so I am familiar with the pier. I have painted it a few times but never en plein air. 

Being a sunrise, time was short again so I didn't draw it out just blocked in the shapes and tones. It was nice not to painstakingly get each section of the pier drawn 'correctly' before I painted it, which I have done previously in my studio. It didn't take long to cover the board and on my first layer of the sky I didn't make the colours intense enough. It's difficult to get the balance between intense/saturated and light tone i.e. Not too wishy washy! I kept remixing to make sure it was bright but light enough. 
I also love the iridescent look that occasionally happens with the light on the sea. I wasn't sure how I would manage that.  But I did! Pale blue with the orange patches lightly over the top.
The man and dog did walk up the beach, plus the fishing boat puttering along the coastline, good to get some life into it as well.

When my husband saw this one he said fantastic! That's high praise as he's not one to gush :-)

Thursday 10 November 2016

Charity 'Pop Up' Exhibition

Today I did a one day exhibition of my paintings for a friend and student of mine Kim. She held it in her home with a coffee morning in aid of the local cancer hospice (Phyllis Tuckwell.) 
I took all of Kim's paintings down and put up mine! They suited her lovely house.

She raised over £500 and I was able to contribute to that as I sold a good few of my paintings :-) Always exciting to see them going to new homes! A good day but exhausting.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

#142 'Margate Beach' 10x12"

I had a really great day painting with Artist Michael Richardson over in Kent. It was bitterly cold with a north wind blasting us. But we managed two paintings this was the second. The first is half done because we were chased off the mud flat as the tide flew in!

This painting was a bit different because I tried one of his boards which was prepared with Gerstacker primer mixed with Raw Umber, the primer has a bit of tooth but paint still glided over it. You can see some ground colour left in the sky.

No drawing with a paintbrush before hand just blocking in the main shapes of general colour and really looking at the tone.
Michael noted that the view wasn't that amazing so I tried to 'improve it' with lively brush marks, putting them on and leaving them. Pleased with the result.

This is Michael wrapped up against the cold! (You couldn't see me for layers!)

Saturday 5 November 2016

#141 'Boats on The Beck, Staithes' 8x8"

I have painted a similar view on the last trip to Staithes in July (#87) I wanted to try again on our recent visit...
...When I got back to the cottage I was happy with it. The format was wrong for the composition and the paint application wasn't what I wanted. 
I left it until today when I looked at it again thinking can I improve this painting? The answer was no! It was fundamentally wrong eg composition. I have attached it below. So I decided to use the paintings from this area and do another one! Pictured above. 

Painting it again meant I had familiarised myself with the subject and so could draw it out more easily and concisely. I was drawn to the boats in the scene so that's what I honed into, cropped off one to improve the composition.
One of the troubles I had outside was the sunlight had come around quickly and was shining directly onto the boats so neither side had shadow. Which was so different to when I started it. 
I used a different method of starting today's painting. Mixing some greys, greens and browns and painting in the mids and darks even over the boat hulls and painting over the top wet into wet, bringing up the colour, intensity and tonal contrast. Which then gives a harmonious and connected feel to the whole. 
It also makes a big difference to the finish with what board you work on. The first landscape format was textured and grippy. The second square was a wood panel with 3 layers of acrylic primer, and slightly sanded as well. I like the way the paint behaves on the this finish more than the brought prepared panels. Very happy with the finish of today's painting, glad I tried it again :-)

Thursday 3 November 2016

Oil Painting Workshop Results

The first set of paintings were done on Tuesday by my Farnham class, we worked on tonal values using just two colours of Raw Umber and White. 
We made a strip of 7 graduated tones from light to dark trying to keep each step as even as possible. Squinting eyes to see the tone more easily and to check the strip for any big jumps, then adjusting when needed. 
Next stage was using the mixed 7 mixed tones for the still life, we also looked at composition eg placement on the board, scale, cropping, and paint application how much paint to use!
The second set is the class I taught today, in Haslemere same subject. I am so pleased with both classes results and how much they've improved :-)

Wednesday 2 November 2016

#140 Autumn Reflections, Blea Tarn 12x12"

When we arrived at this small lake it was still and so perfect looking it seamed almost to good to paint! I hesitated for a bit unsure as to whether I could do it justice. But then what the heck....and had a go. 
I wanted to try a bigger square format my previous size had been 8x8" so quite a jump but it was fun having a change and the subject lent it self to it.
The scene didn't have direct sunlight as the mountains behind me were obscuring the sunrise until later, but this soft light worked well.
I got the far mountain in first as it was changing so quickly and seamed the backbone of the painting. The red hill is usually green but with the bracken changing colours its a very rich red going into mustard yellow, fab to paint! And that iconic tree on the waters edge. The last time we were in The Lakes I drew it as I wasn't painting outside then so it's great to have done it now :-)
The reflections were hard because if you don't paint them at the same time as the top half you have to remix and paint it for the second time below! Also getting the direction right to make sure its a mirror image - not easy! I used thinner paint and scrubby brush strokes plus slightly paler in tone to describe the reflections.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

#139 'Mist on Lake Windermere' 6x15.5"

A beautiful and still morning on Lake Windermere. It was frosty, zero degrees and very cold hands and feet, but I didn't really notice until I finished as I really enjoyed painting this scene of soft light and pastel colours. 
Initially I was waiting for the mist to clear to paint what was behind it and then I decided to embrace it! 
The yacht was moving 360 degrees about every 20 minutes so I caught it at this point thinking it was a less obvious view than to side on. The boats on the left were tourist pleasure cruises, and they were warming up ready to leave so it felt a little pressured not knowing when they would go! 
I included the jetty to help with composition as the diagonal line of it leads you into the painting and breaks up the horizontal bands - same with the mast of the boat.
This is when a panoramic format works well and I'm really happy with the final painting :-)
I would love to hear your comments on what you think of it....