Saturday 31 December 2016

One Year of Daily Painting!

I have committed to daily painting for a year!

Last Christmas I received the book called Daily Painting by Carol Marine. I hadn't heard of this term and it means to paint as often as possible usually small and in one sitting. 
I wanted to write about what I have learnt and my experiences of daily painting...

Daily painting is difficult!
I found it very hard to 'paint daily' it was usually 3-4 a week, but just having the mind set of small and often made me paint so much more than I did before. To give you an idea in the 2.5 years before last Christmas I managed 35 paintings. This year I have painted 151!

Painting often
Means I have improved massively, I have experimented with subjects, colours, techniques more than I have ever done in the past. I've painted subjects that I wouldn't have thought I'd enjoyed painting like shoes, food and jugs…I now see a painting subject in so many more things. I feel proud of the large and diverse collections of paintings in my studio.

Painting Small
Means I experiment more because the time invested is short so it doesn’t matter so much if it doesn’t work out. Experimenting leads to discovery, keeping it fresh and lively and always developing.

The Blog
Means I have interacted and had lovely comments from people plus had great numbers look in on my work (24,000 this year!). It is a blessing, although hard work to keep it going, but worth it :-)

The downside of ‘daily painting’
I did worry if I hadn't painted enough or couldn't post for some reason. At times it has felt a pressure to 'perform'. Also experimenting and having uncertainty on how a painting will come out and yet knowing I need to post something and show it publicly is very hard too! Plus prioritising whether to paint or be with friends and family.

Plein air
Up until this March I had a fear of plein air painting - painting outside. I didn't think I could do it and had a block around it. Facing this has been a blessing and now it's actually my favourite way of painting, which still surprises me! The second half of the year I moved away from still life painting as I enjoy landscape painting more. Although I learnt a lot from the still life observation in my studio - colour mixing and tonal work. 

Every plein air painting there is a little adventure and the unknown of how the weather will be, who I will meet, what I will actually paint, and how it will turn out...quite a mix of excitement and trepidation. 
But again having done a few plein air paintings my learning curve has been massive, with things like how to apply the paint, translucent, thin, thick, translating the complex landscape subject into a 2D painting in 2-3 hours….I know there’s still lots to learn and looking forward to it!

What’s next...
I have decided to take down the term daily painter from my blog which will take the pressure off. But still paint as often as I did this year. I will be concentrating on plein air as it’s what I love and have a passion for. 
I will be continuing the teaching once a month and also working on my own painting skills. 

I hope you will continue to follow me and I would love to hear your comments on what I do. (people think they have to be qualified somehow to comment, not at all! Just say something simple :-)

Wishing you all a Great New Year & happy painting....

Friday 30 December 2016

#151 1936 Daimler

A long break without posting, due to lots of family and friends descending over Christmas plus I've have had the lurgie again!

It's surprising how tricky it was to paint this! It was a commission, for a father of a bride this year (who you can see in the car) and given to her at Christmas as a surprise.

I enjoyed painting it, the first couple of sessions are simple, blocking in the main shapes from dark to light tone and then its gets harder as you add the details without making it tight and stale. For example the wheels took a whole day to paint!

The person who commission this painting is very pleased with the result, which makes me happy! 
Thought you'd like to see a progress of the painting stages....

Sunday 18 December 2016

Speed Work & RBA

I have my sister here from South Africa at the moment but managed to do some painting over the last few days.

But first I want to say thank you for the lovely comments & emails I've had for my new website thank you!! Really pleased.

It's funny how things I set for my students often help me in different ways. I have started planning for the next term of work for them - looking at simplifying, paint aplication, tonal shapes...without fussing with detail too quickly.

What you do is draw out 8 boxes 2.5-3" square and then do a mini painting in each no longer than 10 minutes! It's tough, because it's still a propper painting with all the same  elements involved.
For me it's helping to really hone my observation skills and translating it quickly onto a 2D surface. I want to speed up the time it takes to do a painting outside and this is an excellent way of practising for that. The idea I developed from Carol Marines Daily Painting book.
There is no time for procrastination of the hard areas, no time for day dreaming or being distracted! Just pure focus and a determined mark making, really helpful. I hope my students will find it useful too.

I did the apples first experimenting with moving it around, and as it's small there's no loss in messing up a big investment of a painting to try things out. I worked on paint application thick and thin, especially numbers 6 & 7. You can see how much I improved from the beginning to the end. Painting the apple once and then doing it again it's surprising how much you remember and do it more quickly, like learning the subject by doing a sketch before you start painting. If I changed the set up a little like turning the apple around, it slowed me down again.
I then tried a cermic pot, which was harder, I liked the apple shape better but the colour of the pot was nice! Also did it a bit bigger 3" square and 12 minutes long.

Other news....
I entered the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) Open Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London and have been selected for the first round! I have to take the painting below in January and they will decide if it makes it into the exhibtion. All things crossed :-)

Wednesday 14 December 2016

New website launched today!

So excited to get this new website out there! Been working on it for about a month with an excellent web designer called Danny Fontaine (Fontaine Web Design) I highly recommend him. 

I wanted a site that would really show case my paintings. Simple, clean & contemporary. Having the blog shows daily work well but not so good for seeing my work as a group - like all my seascapes together.

I have a shop too, with a select few items in there as I will be selling in exhibitions as well.

My blog will be the same blogspot addess but will also link to my website.
   Click on the link above to take you to my site.

I would welcome comments below on it, let me know what you think :-)

Tuesday 13 December 2016

#150 'The Barns, Surrey Hills' 8x12"

This is the same area as the previous Surrey Hills painting I did (it's near Compton.) Although this one I traipsed down a steep hill to get this view. 
I made the mistake of arriving too early I got there at 7am it was still pitch black! If it's overcast then I should remember to go later! 
The light, when it did come up was very flat and minimal. I pushed the horizon line up high to take out the sky as it wasn't the focus. The original sized board was 9.5x12" I painted on this size and realised the foreground was too big and out of proportion for the subject. So I will be cutting it off, where I cropped it to post this.
Lots of comings and goings on the farm but I wasn't close enough to get the detail in. One thing I could do was paint the smoke, which looked good against the hill behind.

Monday 12 December 2016

#149 'View From Lambeth Bridge' 9.5x12"

I went to see the Royal Institute of Oil Painters exhibiting at the Mall Galleries and combined it with an early morning paint on the Thames.

A very grey day with a fine drizzle but still enjoyed it. So much hub-bub being on a busy bridge, very different to painting on the Surrey Hills! 
Met some nice people passing by, 3 police officers stopped for a chat one told me about The Houses of Parliament, the closest and biggest tower in the painting is called St Stevens and Big Ben is known as the Clock Tower, I didn't know this! 
It always encouraging when people are positive about my painting when I'm half way through it's a good boost and keeps me going!

I kept the paint quite thin and loose, it seamed to suit the day and weather. 
The exhibition at The Mall Galleries was excellent and inspiring :-) - It's finished now.

Monday 5 December 2016

#148 'Frosty Morning, Surrey Hills' 8x19.5"

I painted most of this last Tuesday outside in a very cold field and then I was struck with a nasty bout of lurgie :-( feeling much better now and raring to paint again!

A bigger board which allowed for a bigger scale and freer brush marks. The colours were mainly different tones of orange and blue (complementaries.) I mirrored some of the cool blue sky colour in the frosty ground below.

I arrived 40 minutes before the sun came up but I could do with having longer as when the sun comes over the horizon it changes the colours and tones massively. The photo below shows where I got up to before I had to abandon.

Finishing in the studio is always a little tricky as you want to continue with the essence of what you captured outside but to make it feel finished and complete. I was careful not to overwork the dark tree line keep it fresh and loose. The suns head popping up helps with the composition.
I will go back to this spot again :-)