Tuesday 31 October 2017

#250 'Fishing Boats, Beer' 8x10"

An enjoyable afternoon painting with some local artists from friends and instagram buddies from the Devon area. 
The light wasn't great flat and dull but choosing a colourful and interesting shapes to paint helps when there is no light to feature.
Spent quite a bit of time getting the composition right, decided to chop the last one in half. I also put in the pontoon on wheels but it was too long and made the composition unbalanced so took it out. I added an upright instead - the person which helped. 
Kept the brushwork quite loose and free not wanting to be too exact. Also matching the style of the loose sky to the boats.

Happy to say this painting is my 100th of this year :-) 

#249 'Dawn Fishing Trip' 15x40cm

I really like the shapes of the boats and the morning activity when the fisherman are loading up ready for day on the water.
It needed fast painting as there was little time between the sun coming up and the boats disappearing over the edge of shingle. They are pushed by the tractor down the 5 meter drop into the sea, and when they ome back they are winched the steep slope back onto the brow of the beach. 
I had barely got the main shape of the left red one and it had gone and then the navy blue one the other side! It's good to do quick studies as you dont have time for procrastinating just totally focused and laying paint down.

Sunday 29 October 2017

#248 'Sunrise, Beer Beach' 8x10"

We were up each morning for sunrise, this was the first. With fast painting to get the colours and shapes of the clouds down before they changed. And a bonus to have a little fishing boat puttering into my scene, I put it in without too much detail just general shape.
I pre mix my colours before the sun has come up and the display starts. Quite tricky as its dark when I'm doing it- I need a light! But helps to be able to dive into the paint once the colours start....I can also tweek the pre mixed to get the colours to match what I'm seeing but its a good starting point, see my piles of mixed paint below.

#247 'Fishing Boat, Beer' 8x10"

We have just spent 3 nights in Beer, Devon. I was recommended by painter friends that it was a good place, and it was! Really enjoyed the interesting beach with the fishing boats and very steep drop to the sea, great cliffs each side too.
I eased myself in when we arrived with this painting of a typical fishing boat in Beer. The light was unsual, still yellow sky and milky green water. I enjoyed painting the silhuetted shape against the light background. Tried to keep the brush work fresh and not overwork it. 

Sunday 22 October 2017

Back in the Studio

Venice was such an amazing place to paint. Much harder than I expected with so many battles but I'm really pleased with the outcome.

Some Venice painting Stats:
I painted 15 in 6 days and 11 paintings turned out ok enough to show you! 
I walked on average 8,000 steps a day with all my painting gear. (That was nothing compared to my husband taking photographs, he did 20,000 steps a day!!)
My most used colour was Naples Yellow Deep.
I mainly used 8x10" boards, and stacked them with stuck on matches sticks to get the wet paintings home see below.

I feel I learnt a lot and still a have so much to learn....I'm already planning a trip to return to Venice for a longer paint next year :-)
Painting in Monet's spot!

#246 'Sunrise, San Giorgio Maggiore' 8x10"

This was the second painting I did of this sunrise and the final 'en plein air' painting in Venice.
I mapped out the building shape and high horizon line before the sun came up. The portrait format helps to showcase the lovely light on the water. 

I built up the brush strokes like a mosaic of colour putting lots of patches in until it was covered, working quickly as it changed so fast.
Spacing out the yellow chunks of light on the water so they were further apart at the bottom of the board gives a feeling of space. 

It was one of those paintings that painted itself being in tune with the subject, it just seamed to happen! I'm really pleased with the result.

Saturday 21 October 2017

#245 'Sunrise, San Giorgio' 8x10"

I got there before the sunrise so I could mix some initial colours and draw out the basic shapes. I knew it would be quick and I wanted to capture the light and colours of the moment. At the same time I drew out a second board which I will post tomorrow.

When the sun peeped up above the horizon I was so pleased on the position as I didn't know where it would be - having had misty starts for the past 5 days!

The colours I used are just hinting at the warm peachy glows and set off with the two blues. A few comings and goings of boats, and the silhouetted skyline. I could paint this scene over and over! 

While I was painting that morning a lovely American chap came running past and really liked both paintings and wants to buy one, really pleased! It's so good when people want to buy what I love to paint :-)

#244 'Gondolas, Grand Canal' 8x10"

I painted with Sally Balick another artist, who helped firstly because it was such a busy spot and to be with another person helps, also to get ideas on how others tackle a tough subject.
You don't realise how much the boats move until you try and paint them. Up and down and side to side they bob. I realised I needed to fix a position they move into then Wait until there in that positon again and do another mark. 
I used mainly 8x10" boards on this trip but it would have helped have a squarer format, Sally used a 10x12" which fitted the scene better. See below pic, also shows how busy it was around us!

I kept it loose and brushy to give the feeling of movement so it wasn't tight and polished. Leaving some of the ground orange colour also gives this feeling.
There was a high contrast of tonal values between the ends of the boats and sea. Thankfully none of the gondolas were taken away while we were painting them that's always there in the back of your mind they could go at any point!

This is a much photographed and painted scene but it's my take on it and it was fun and a challenge to do, so why not!
Only in Venice! a bride was being photograpahed so close to us, it was a worry with our wet oil paint and her white dress!

Friday 20 October 2017

#243 'St Mark's Basilica' 8x10"

A really tricky subject. We got there early morning to paint in the fog, but it was so dense to start with we couldn't see it to paint and then it quickly cleared and no mist left just building!

I kept it a sketchy and loose not getting caught up with detail, the sort of subject you need to learn in an initial painting and then do another.
I enjoyed painting with a couple of other artists that day, gondolas painting to follow tomorrow.

#242 'Sunset, Santissimo Redentore Church' 8x10"

There are such great silhouette shapes for sky lines in Venice. Added to which beautiful light and colour = I could keep painting this amazing city!

The historic wooden posts in the water helps break up the strong horizon line and make the composition more interesting.
I made a grey with Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue then added the orangie sky mix to it to make it hazy and give a sense of space and colour harmony.
I used quick thick paint (hardly any medium to thin it) which gives a silvery glossy finish that adds to the subject.

Thursday 19 October 2017

#241 'Gondolas at Night' 8x8"

This is my first nocturnal painting, there are not many places I've been that would inspire me to go and paint at night! This is one of them, with the dancing light on the water and tonal shapes were great.

My painter buddy (Neil Pitcher) had a great light its one used by a musian in an orchestra pit. A two pronged light one to light your painting the other your palette. I needed one as I couldn't see the oclours very well and when I got home that night I was horrified by a strong green I had put down instead of a wamer colour. I wiped it and painted this bit again. 
But on the whole I'm pleased with this one as it gives a flavour of night. 

#240 'Mist, St Marks Square, Venice' 8x10"

I wasn't sure how I would tackle the mist but once I had found this great spot and mixed my colours, I really enjoyed it. 

Someone said to me to put colour notes down early on in a painting. Which I have been doing recently, especially in such a tonal painting like this one. I put a patch of the sky in next to the building to give me an idea whether I've pitched both of them right.

I've also been working on reducing the amount of tones I have in the painting down to around 4! Which seams very little compared to what is out there. But it helps with composition and making the painting work as a whole. Can you spot the approximate 4 tonal values in this painting?
The mist was quite thick to begin with and the moist atmosphere made my paints sticky and the pavement was wet as though it had been raining, which allowed for great reflections!

A couple of location shots

Wednesday 18 October 2017

#239 'Sunset, the Grand Canal' 8x10"

I was going to get on the water bus and go to a St Marks Square for the sunset. But seeing the sparkle on the water and the colours I had to stop and paint.

A lot of places I paint on location I am on show, this one was odd as people were in a waiting room and I was painting in front of them! Plus when the boat turned up all the passengers and drivers were peering in having look at my painting. Which is alright once its nearly done and (hopefully) come together. But in the early stages I want to show out its not finished yet :-)

The colour of the sparkle? It's very hard to see it as it's so bright and dazzles your eyes. I look to see if its warm or cool. Generally later in the day or early morning its warmer and say middday it would be whiter paint.

#238 'Dusk, Grand Canal' 8x8"

I stood in the Vaperetto water bus stop to paint this. It was a great view looking down the grand canal and the georgous light after the sun had set.
It was very fleeting so I worked quickly and keeping it loose. I mixed the peachy pink colours with Naples yellow deep, Cadmium Red & Yellow & a smidge of Perminant Rose. The red post I put in first, there were actually two posts next to each other, I had painted both but realised the composition wasn't balanced so took one out. It's best to put in the structure of the poles first as its harder to paint over the top especialy on a light colour making it dark enough. It was also getting the red the right tonal value and brightness - it wasnt lit so quite dark. I put a couple of lights in as they were turning on at the end of painting.
Quite a challneging spot to paint as every 10 minutes the Vaperetto bus bashed into the floating platform I was standing on and sent me flying! A couple of times I had the brush on the board and did a big accidental swoosh!
See next post with a picture on location.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

#237 'Maria Della Salute' 8x10"

Monet painted this scene along with Ken Howard. You can see why with water, lovely shapes and light!
When I started it was still hazy with the mist. But an hour into it and the sun was shining and intense, it totally changed the scene. I was floundering trying to paint what I had first seen but struggling as it was so different. I was thinking of wiping it but with nothing to lose I decided to change it to what was there at that point, warm sunshine (and no mist!) And just kept saying ‘paint what you see’...which helped. 
The sky I had painted yellow but with the sun out it was blue so I painted over the top of the yellow.
The buildings were tricky to get enough detail to give the essence but not overdo the windows!  I'm pleased with the outcome :-)

#236 'Dawn, San Giorgio Maggiore' 8x10"

I couldn't post while in Venice, I tried but had difficulties with Nick (my husbands) laptop, and I was out painting so much time was limited. I did write notes for each painting so I wouldn't forget. I will post two a day for the next 5-6 days :-)

First painting in Venice! I chose a fairly simple subject putting the emphasis on the light. The colours were harmonious and a limited palette with pinks and purples.
The scene was very tonal so I didn't want to much detail to take away the tonal quality.
I was half way through painting when the fog horns began, The mist came in quickly and obscured my subject completely like looking at a white piece of paper!
The fog horns were still going and suddenly this massive cruise liner came out of the mist the bow towering above, it was quite eerie.
This was a good warm up painting.

I wanted to add a note on the end of this post to say I have heard from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) and I have a got a painting through to their exhibition, woohoooo!! So pleased, it will be my first time exhibting in the London Mall galleries.

This is the painting: 'The Trundle, West Sussex' 15x40cm

Saturday 7 October 2017

News Update

There are certain land marks in an artist career and one of them for me is getting into the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) exhibition (& later be a member of their Society).

The ROI was founded in 1882 and is the only British Art Society that promotes work of the highest standard exclusively in oils.They hold an annual exhibition in the Mall Galleries in London.
I tried for the first time last year and had 2 paintings selected - which means through to the first round but didn't get hung in the show. 
Today I am going to the Mall Galleries because I've had 3 paintings selected, very excited! (see pic above) 
The first round is judged on line with digital images. The next stage is taking the framed paintings so they can judge to whether they are through into the exhibition! Oh my!
The last few days I have been painting the above frames and making them as good as I can, fingers crossed I hope to get one painting through!  I will let you know next week when I find out 😳

I have also been preparing for a Venice trip leaving Tuesday this week, for 6 nights. Really excited to be going to Venice and paint for the first time, I have been just once before in 2012 and wasn't doing outside painting then so just sketched. 
I have been making boards and more boards!! I don't want to run out. 
I hope to blog when I'm there, depending on if I get any time in between painting! Otherwise I will catch up at home.

Lastly back in the summer I won 2 prizes with the Artist Magazine one was with Royal Talens receiving £250 worth of art materials.  I choose Rembrandt which is artist quality paint, it arrived yesterday and the colours look amazing (I've not used them before), a bonus I can take some with me to Venice, yay!

Wednesday 4 October 2017

#235 'Tower Bridge, The Thames' 8x10"

This was the final painting I did on Monday. Started it about 10am there was cloud & sun, a lot less dramatic than #234. But still inspiring and interesting to paint. 

We were further away from the bridge so it's smaller in the composition. Putting the boats in the foreground and HMS Belfast on the right side helps with composition.

Aerial perspective, to give a sense of space I simplified the colours and made them tonally lighter as they receded. Keeping the strong contrast of colour and tone in the foreground.

The scene looked different when I was finishing the painting (see pic below), the sun properly came out and I made the mistake of putting the blue iron works on the bridge in a blue colour, because that's what I could see! 
Back home I could see it was too blue for the rest of the painting, so I dulled it to fit! 
I was painting with Caroline Greene & Rod Major. Caroline I met on a painting workshop and kindly reads my blog. Rod I met through posting on instgram!

Tuesday 3 October 2017

#234 'Morning Light, Tower Bridge' 8x10"

Yesterday I was in London painting with two artists one I them Rod Major I'd met through Instagram!
I set off from my house at 4.30am hoping to catch the sunrise. I was there in time but sadly  the clouds obscured the sun and my composition didn't work - I was too close to the bridge on too small a board! But it was a good warm up. 
At 8.30am Rod and I painted this scene. The light was unbelievable, looked like a Monet painting. Contra jour with the light directly over the bridge, a warm glow and sparkly water. It was such plein air bliss! 
I painted quickly to capture the moment. Not too much detail more about the feel and atmosphere.
I am pleased with the result! 
Will post the final painting from London tomorrow.