Wednesday 27 September 2017

#233 'Dawn, Langstone' 8x10"

I decide not to settle for a mediocre composition. I went to a place I had liked previously painted and the tide was so far out there was a trickle of water and mainly mud! It didnt inspire me - and it needs too!
So I drove across Langstone Bridge onto Hayling Island but on the way over I thought yes and turned around.
With much walking around I came across this composition I stood under the bridge, - not possible when the tide is up!
With all that faffing the sun had nearly poked its head over the horizon. I quickly drew on a board the composition and made a note of the lovely colours, it was beautiful and iridescent.  I decided to try and painting it back in the studio. This can be hard to capture the freshness of plein air inside. 
So, I tackled the painting like I do when time is of the essence outside - not spend long on one area and no procrastinating in applying the paint!
The subject is about light and colour and also the quality of how the paint is applied so it gives a lovely oil sheen and not dull.
I'm pleased with the result.

Sunday 24 September 2017

#232 'View to Bosham' 15x40cm

I was itching to get out yesterday and was a lovely afternoon, I went to Chidham (West Sussex) and walked to the coast with a view across the water to Bosham. 
There was some gorgeous fluffy clouds when I arrived, I whipped out a board and drew with a brush the general form and movement of the clouds. They were scudding so quickly off to the left and no more were coming. 
The tide was high and my tripod was sitting in the sea water. I set the tone of the painting with the sky first making sure it was light enough. And then put the greenery and buidling strip with general shapes and looking for the light and shadows. 
When things happened in the water like a yacht going by or activiy on the shore I put that in too. Then the sea around the boats and adding light boats on the top of the sea colour. The light greens in the foreground weren't there when I started but I thought it would add to the composition.
This is where I got up to outside....
I aim to finish or complete as much as possible on the spot outside, but sometimes circumstances lead to finishing inside, this time it was because I wanted the reference of the sky to finish it. I have talked to other plein air artists about this and so many are the same as me, plan to finish outside in one go and it doesnt always happen! (So I'm not going  to beat myself up about it!)

We have our shared disabled dog Matte staying at the moment (he's blind & deaf.) He can't be left so I have worked in the studio this week on a painting but not a 100% So here it is warts and all!
I painted it on a different surface board - rougher like sandpaper and the paint sunk more and looks flatter. Board surfaces make such a difference to the finished quality of a painting. I wont use that Gesso again!

Saturday 23 September 2017

#230 '1964 Mechanical Horse' 8x8"

This cute little vehicle was in Ian Cryers collection in Somerset. He loves old stuff especially around the railways. He tell me this is quite a rare 'Scammell Townsman' and he has two them! They were used instead of horses for hawlage on the railways lines. 
I thought it had great character and that's what I tired to capture. 

Ian lives next to the M5 motoway which he loves because he can store all his old machines under the motorway. The light was strange under there hard to see where it was coming from and a lot of midtones.
To take the uncertainties out of painting this unsual vehicle I painted it as though it was as a boat! (which I'm more comfortble with) and broke it down into shapes of tones and colour- manily yellows! Using a violet (Ultramrine & Perminant Rose) to darken and dirty the yellow for the shadows.
It was my 3rd painting of the day and the light was fading so this is where I got up to ...

I finished it in the studio this week, tricky to decide how to paint the background. 
Its almost like a still life I tried just a plain thinly painted same colour all over. It didn't work, I wiped it off. So I took elements of what was really there and simplified them, so the emphasis is on the Mecanial Horse and hopefully doesn't compete with the background. It was a fun subject to paint.

Thursday 21 September 2017

#231 'Somerset Levels' 9x12"

Somerset levels are quite flat and low level so the skies are amazing, dramatic and endless. Could paint them all day! 
A group of us liked this subject because when we arrived the light was behind the trees - contra jour and the cattle were standing with a halo of light on their backs. It looked so English.
Here we are lined up!
From the left: Maria Rose, Tom Stevenson, Julia Hawkins, Me, Ian Cryer-ROI president.

Within minutes of starting, the weather changed and a bank of clouds came over and obstructed the light, so frustrating! I painted the bits that I could while waiting fo rth esun to come back. It did but not for long, so it's a manily overcast paitning, but still with an English feel!

The cows were not easy because the were so small scale in my painting, paint a blob of dark and if you try and put too much detail it looks contrived but too little and a black blob!

Wednesday 20 September 2017

#229 'The Plowing Match' 9x12"

Horse drawn plows & tractors all competing for the best and straightest plowing! Quite mesmerising to watch, and also a bit of a culture shock when we first arrived in the field, with over 40 tractors, horses and farmers doing there thing, so different to the world I know. It took me a while to find a subject and paint.
Also spending time getting the composition right so it wasn't too linear and on the horizon line.
I've not tackled painting a horse before they were going up and down the same lines so you could anticipate where they would be as they came back but still only seconds to capture them. I wanted them big enough in the painting so you know what they are but not too big that they are dominant and tricky to paint! The people in the foreground were chatting for a bit which allowed me to paint them. I enjoyed painting the sky too. 

Here are some of us who was painting that day with a very big shire horse!

Tuesday 19 September 2017

#228 'Somerset Canal' 10x10"

Just had a weekend in Somerset with the Friends of the ROI. (Royal Institute of Oil Painters) Really enjoyed paiting and talking art with others.

This was the first painting I did, it's next to where I was staying and also the hosts house - Ian Cryer the president of the ROI. 
I was the first to turn up so we painted together and his wife brought us cups of tea, a very lovely afternoons painting!

Thursday 14 September 2017

#227 'Low Tide Bosham Harbour' 24x30cm

This is one that I didn't think was any good at the time but came out alright! Sometimes its the other way around, thinking its an ok painting and then looking at it again the next day and being disappointed!
It was just after sunrise, a beautiful sky and a slither of sea. 
I tinted the mud and distant green in the violet sky cloud mix which gives a harmonious feel to the colours. Careful not to overpaint or fuss the boats but leave them 'imperfect' looking. This helps make them sit in the panting and be connected with the surroundings.
Bosham has so many painting possibilities...

Off to Somerset tomorrow for a painting weekend :-)

Friday 8 September 2017

#226 'Boats, Bosham Harbour' 8x10"

Last week I went to Bosham early morning and as I finished 'Bosham Harbour' #223 I turned 90 degrees and saw this scene, so I whipped out another board and got the composition down (before the boats moved) but ran out of steam to paint on site so I painted it today in my studio. 
The colours and reflections were so strong I painted it with thicker oils loading my brush and using less medium to thin it, which lent itself to the subject and fun to do!

Thursday 7 September 2017

#225 'Albert Bridge, London' 18x24cm

I was up in London with The Wapping Group yesterday as their guest, a very enjoyable day. It's somewhere I wouldn't have usually painted but a great subject, at one point there was 5 of us lined up painting this bridge. (The Wapping Group are an acclaimed group of 25 artists who are known for painting the Thames.)

I was quite nervous before painting but settled myself down with the colour mixing, making sure I had a good colour range and tones, which allowed me to get stuck in! 
There was a lot of complex shapes on the bridge but I simplified them and stopped myself putting too much information in! 

Lucky with the weather no rain but chilly wind and some sun at the end was a bonus.
I'm pleased with the result, using thicker paint and harmonious colours.

Photographed in the sunshine you can see the brush strokes.

On a practical note.... Carrying gear can be a tricky part of the painting day. I had been trying different ways and brought a little luggage trolley a cheapie at £10 to see if it worked. It was rubbish! Any bump, curve or corner and the bag dropped off and scraped along the pavement. I ended up dragging and lifting it to my place of painting! The bungi cord wasnt  enough to hold the heavy bag & tripod in place and with a wet painting inside I can't sqaush it too much.
Another painter had a rucksack on wheels, anyone used one of these or any other help with carrying gear please?

Tuesday 5 September 2017

#224 'The Georgian Hotel, Haslemere' 18x24cm

Saturday I was out with Haslemere Art Society painting on the High Street promoting our exhibition starting next Saturday at the Haslemere Museum. 
This is not a usual subject for me, but I looked for light and shade which looked great on this hotel front. Luckily we had a sunny day. 
Enjoyable, speaking to lots of locals and arts people. Friendly shop owners too, bringing me cups of tea and chatting.

I have framed it up and its already in the display...

This painting and 11 others of mine will be in the show. It runs 9-16th September, Tues-Sat 10-5pm.

Monday 4 September 2017

#223 'Bosham Harbour' 9x12"

I planned to go down to Bosham on advice from an artist saying it was gorgeous early morning. Somehow I picked the most stunning day, so happy. 
Got there just after sunrise and the cloud formation and reflections in the water....

I painted the clouds quickly, they were fun to do. Using Pale Naples Yellow ( I prefer the standard N. Yellow as you can always lighten it) I used it for warmth in the clouds then added it to Cerulean blue for the water.
The boats were swinging about on the tide quite a bit. The posts were a challenge put them in or not? I'm happy with the yellow and black one and good to have an upright in there as it's quite a horizontal composition. The two in the corner also help balance the composition without them there would be a big gap!

It's already been framed and into the Haslemere Art Society Exhibition...more on that in next post.

Friday 1 September 2017

#222 'La Vila, Spain' 18x24cm

I was experimenting in my studio with techniques. Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) used this process by putting down swathes of colour and drawing with a brush over the top. He used black. I mixed a black with Ultramarine Blue and Red Dioxide - which lends itself to the iron works on the balconies.
The whole town was like this  (previous painting of #217 blue house in Villa Joyosa) This street looked like it was painted to harmonise together!
I started by painting the light blocks of colours in the middle, no drawing out, estimating where things should go. Mixing a tonal range of each colour, especially the green, yellow and pinky orange. 
I have put 9 progression stages of this painting on Instgram - my name is: clarebowenartist. Have a look :-)