Saturday 25 February 2017

#165 'The Gate, Devils Punch Bowl' 11x14"

I did a quick sketch (see below) when we had a dusting of snow a couple of weeks ago. I liked the limited colours and that you could see the Punch Bowl sweeping around in the distance - when the mist cleared a little!

I drew it out three times on two different sized boards. I wanted the composition to be similar to the drawing I had made - just off square and cutting the the tops of the trees.

The first stage of this painting was made with thined cool and warm darks see below. 

I quite liked it at this stage and the next day when I wanted to complete it, it was scary painting over it as I didn't want to loose the quality I had. I also reassured myself when putting the white snow in which was so contrasted in tone and colour but I knew I needed to be bold!
I kept some of the thined painting but modulated the edges of the path with opaque lighter tones. The sky I put a yellow tinge which there wasn't much of on the day but seams to work well with overcast snow days.

Really pleased with how this one came out :-)

Wednesday 22 February 2017

#164 'Sunset, Frensham Pond' 9.5x12"

I had made a dash for the Pond as I saw the sky had potential to be a wonderful sunset. But in my haste I forgot my Pochade (outside easel) very annoying but took my board, and sketch book and drew the scene several times to try and learn the subject and imprint it on my memory. I took photos to help with colour reference.
While I was painting it today I thought this would be a great one for my students to have a go at :-) As they haven't tackled a sunset sky and some water reflections to go with it! That will be in the April workshop.

I have learnt that if you paint dark areas to thickly and with opaque colours they tend to look heavy and dull, this is a translucent mix with no white. The little sailing club had very little light but I threw some onto it, to show it was there and give the land more interest.
The mirror reflections in the sky and water, was easier when I turned the board 90 degrees so I could mirror the patterns more easily. The sun felt a risk to put in as it was unsual but went for it and quite pleased with the end result!

Friday 17 February 2017

#163 Dawn, Langstone Harbour 9x12"

Before the sun showed itself and the warm glow of light. This is the 6th painting of the Langstone area and as I get to know it I see more subtleties and details which I try to include in my painting.
Difficult to manage all the dark tonal areas but I worked from the darkest grading back to the lightest adding paint at each grade. The main two colours are Red-Violet & Yellow-Green tertiary complementaries, which work well together. 
The boat in the foreground, I had to really hold back with the tone, as I wanted to paint it lighter, (as its a white boat) but there is no light source on it and facing away from the light direction. So it was very dark just a suggestion of a boat and I quite like that you don't see it immediately.
I want to paint a bigger one of this area but it feels quite a leap after small boards...I have an 18x24" in my studio I'll let you know how I get on!

Wednesday 15 February 2017

#162 Langstone Mill 9x12"

When I arrived it was about 10am and being winter the light was warm and soft, no wind and perfectly still waters. 
The tide was going out and the reflection soon disappeared but I blocked in the main shapes before it did! 
I painted the sky in a very light and delicate way to contrast with the heavy buidlings. Although I worked on making the buildings not too fussy or heavy.

A good note to remember is light tones are darker and darks are lighter in reflections, which helps when you trying to decipher it all.

The composition is more unusual to the iconic Mill paintings - usually across the water and quite small in scale, having bigger buildings makes it harder to paint!

I found this quite a challenging piece but pleased with the outcome.

For those interested Langstone Mill was built in 1730 and is one of the rare water and wind mills in the UK. Pictured below is a drawing of it in 1869 and you can see a little of whats left now.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

#161 'Langstone Harbour' 9x12"

I wanted to try my favourite subject of the moment in daylight. Previously I have painted the area at sunrise. Going back today the colour of the light was different, I could see more in the mud flats as they weren't as silhouetted and they had a green tinge instead of pink. I focused on the the tonal values, really observing the subtle changes.
I managed 3/4 outside and then a chap came up to me to talk about painting and by then the wind had frozen my face and my I couldn't form the words to talk to him! 

It's funny how just one thing out of kilter can throw me. When I arrived I unpacked and found my Sansador solvent had emptied out into my bag! So I couldn't ware my pink pinny and had very little solvent to thin the paint with but once I was into the painting these things were forgotten.... 

I noticed I have used a different make of board on each of the 4 paintings I've done of Langstone and they all give a different finish:

1. Belle Arti, Italian canvas panel - fine cotton but quite grippy, I gessoed and sanded before painting.
2. Gerstaeker German canvas board - less of a canvas feel and not so absorbent.
3. Seawhite of Brighton English wood painting panel - bare pine wood require 3-4 layers of gesso, with sanding on the final layer.
4. Gesso Ampersand - an American, high quality, very little texture, the paint doesn't sink, nice to work on. I put a layer of raw umber stained gesso to colour the white.

See post numbers 159, 147, 142 to compare the boards and Langstone paintings :-)

Saturday 4 February 2017

#160 'Newlands Corner' 8x20"

I started this last weekend. But when I got back to the studio I found I couldn't finish because I didn't have enough information, it was the fist time I had visited and it was misty with the sunrise. 

So I went back and did two drawings of the subject. I must haven chosen the coldest day of the year to do it! With wind chill -7 so bitter my teeth were chattering and I couldn't draw for shaking! But I was able to finsih it today, and I'm pleased with the outcome :-)

I met some friendly photographers when I was painting that day, one of whom, Sarah took some lovely photos while I was painting, here are a couple of them.

Friday 3 February 2017

#159 'Langstone Mud Flats' 12x12"

The past week or so my time has been dediatcated to the two oil classes I teach. We did a 3 boat seascape,very pleased with how the students managed a tricky subject!

Today I was itching to get out there again, and I managed a weather window before storm Doris blows in. 
Beautiful light, I love this place! It's the third painting of this area (numbers 152 & 147) 
The contrast of the dark rich flats and light from the sunrise, I can't get enough of!
Keeping the mud interesting and making the really dark areas a little translucent so they're not too heavy. The sky has light, bright thin paint which lift the darks.
Hope to go back in the next few days, I did two quick drawings as well to gather more information for a possible bigger painting later.