Sunday 30 December 2018

My Painting Year 2018

My favourite paintings of the year
I wanted to write a summary of this years happenings....I have completed a whopping 160 paintings (not including the duffers and wipe offs!) quite a few more than last year - mainly because of the Venice trip. And it's not all about quantity I have been aiming for more quality pieces and a bit bigger in size too. 

This is the Instagram top 9 where an app counts the most likes for each painting, and then puts them in the top 9 order.....

Instagram Top 9 2018
I entered The Artist Magazine competition which exhibits the finalists at the Patchings Art festival in July. I won the Royal Talens award and received £250 worth of linen canvases! Plus The Artist Collection award - exhibiting with the top 10 finalist.

'Gateway to Bramshott Common' 10x10"
Wining painting exhibited the Patchings

One of my highlights this year was being accepted into the New English Art Club (NEAC) A prestigious exhibition held at The London Mall Galleries. They call themselves the contemporary impressionists which is how I see my work as well! This was the painting accepted.
'Silver Birch in Snow'  8x10"
In October I was part of the Chelsea Art Society annual open exhibition which has had many famous artists who have exhibited here including: Turner in the mid 19th Century, followed by Whistler, Sickert, Augustus John and John Singer Sargent, it's wonderful to be included in!

The Artist Magazine I have been reading this on off since the 80's! and have always wanted to write an article for them. This year I did that! Plus I'm now writing another for next summers edition.

My Article in Januarys The Artist Magazine :-)
Venice in September I was lucky enough to spend 30 days in this dream painting place! I felt truly inspired and even though it was exhausting to keep painting intensively the whole time, it was worth it and couldn't really get enough of the place! I producing 45 paintings. Plus some bigger pieces since I've got home.
I have already booked to go back next September for 21 days!

My Venice painting haul!
'Venetian Cafe' 30x30cm
Completed back home in the studio 
This small plein air I thought could go bigger and have more content so I tried an enlarged  version in the studio and I'm pleased with the outcome!
40x50cm Oil on Canvas Studio piece                                              9x12" Plein Air Sketch

I have decided to continue to blog for another year. It's been quite a challenge to keep on top of the posts, especially when I am producing a lot like when I was in Venice doing up to 4 a day! But I think it's still a beneficial process for me and hopefully those of you who read it.

News for next year
I am very excited to be doing my first solo exhibition in Chelsea, London next May. 
The Title is: London, Venice Coast & Country
Date: 14th-18th May 2019
Place: "The Studio” 73 Glebe Place, London, SW3 5JB 
If you would like an invitation to the Private View on the 14th please contact me.
I will do a post about the show nearer the time.

Thank you for reading my blog posts and supporting me though this year. I hope to have you along for this coming year too!
With best wishes

Thursday 27 December 2018

#428 'Christmas Clemintines' 6x12" & 6x6"

Out Christmas shopping I spotted these in a garden centre. They don't usually have the greenery on in a supermarket. I haven't painted this sort of subject in a long time so I thought I'd have a go!
I remember having a clementine and walnut at the bottom of my stocking. We asked Mum to keep doing us a stocking into our 20's! :-)

I enjoyed it so much I painted another one straight after!

My studio set up

Monday 24 December 2018

#427 'First Snow' 30x40cm Happy Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and A Happy & Creative New Year!
 I painted this intending it to be my Christmas card this year but after proofing it twice at the printers to get the colours correct I ran out of time! 
It's from a photograph of last years snow near the Devils Punch Bowl in Surrey. On a coloured linen canvas. Painting from a photo I try to paint the same way as though I am outside. In other words trying not to fiddle or spend to long on it. 

Looking through all my pics of snow there were so little of snow in sunshine! I'm really hankering for painting this subject lets hope we get some! I've even brought some winter tires for my car so I can go further afield when it comes!

Sending good wishes over this festive time.
I will post a 2018 summary post on the 30th December.

Saturday 22 December 2018

#426 'Winter Skies, Bramshott Common' 8x10, 10x12"

A plein air sky not far from my house on land owned by MOD. I like seeing the distance and feeling the space. Winter sun means its sets over the distant hills - quite perfect!
I used a textured linen coloured board to give it more atmosphere. 

This second painting was done in my studio the next day using the above piece as a starting point. I wanted another go at the sky. As i would have done two outside but the sun disappeared within 40 minutes of setting up!

p.s I will be doing a seasonal post on Christmas Eve.....

Friday 14 December 2018

#425 'Venetian Cafe' 30x30cm

This week I have been looking after the family Shih Tzu dog, while my Mum is away. He is 12 and has lost his hearing from old age, plus he has gone blind from bad breeding, poor sausage, so it makes painting a little tricky! But I did manage this one in the studio with snatches of 10 minutes of time in between checking on him in the house!
This scene I couldn't resist with the yellow wall so bright and glowing in the sunshine, it was my last day in Venice so I snapped a pic and did a quick drawing and here is the result! The Square is Campo Santo Stefano and its the 'Art Blu Cafe'.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

#424 'Early Winter Light, Camber Docks, Portsmouth' 30x40cm

First layer of burnt sienna and the all over thin layer of colour/tonal shapes was done on location and the next day I did a fat layer of lush paint! So fun to do. 
The big blue/black boat difficult shape as it was strong blocky, so I used thick and thin paint and a greener reflection.
I suggested the silhouetted shapes of the buildings not too much detail.
Made sure the yellow struts of the fishing boat stood out against the darker background.
The water in the foreground gradually got darker. Little pinkie flecks of colour from the sky I put in before the green blue water and blended the edges a little.

Thursday 6 December 2018

#423 'First Light, Langstone Harbour' 30x40cm

A wintery day, and lucky to have a break in the weather as it didn't look hopeful when I arrived - solid cloud and raining! I'm pleased I didn't drive home, waited in the car and some beautiful light and cloud formations appeared, just my sort of subject!

Decided to include the cars on Hayling Island bridge to help the composition and I used quite thin paint in place to let the linen coloured canvas show through.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

#422 'Christmas Lights, Irving St, London' 30x30cm

On Saturday I took part in The Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) Paint Live day. 60 artists met up in the Mall Galleries to have a paint off in London - 1/2 mile radius of the galleries in central London. 
It was raining and grey but I decided to embrace this! I took 2 umbrellas incase it was gusty and one broke one!
Not easy as it was a Saturday and run up to Christmas shopping, so busy could barely see my subject! Loved the reflections and lights, it makes up for the grey day! 
It was my first time taking part and I found it quite nerve wracking as the paintings were judged at the end of that day in the Mall Galleries. I am pleased I did a painting I'm happy with and didn't mind showing to others!
I will do it again next year :-)

Monday 3 December 2018

#421 'Summer Hay Bales' 30x40cm

Painted from a sketch I made in July, spotted from the car as we drove into Patchings Art Centre, near Nottingham. Hay bales, tree lined and shadows/light what a fab combo! I didn't have my painting gear with me so thought I get the warmth of summer back in the studio after all this rain!

I can recommend Patchings Art Festival if your a keep painter in the UK, with loads of art equipment to buy, and demos and workshops....

Thursday 29 November 2018

#420 'Early Winter Light, Meon Valley' 30x40cm

A sky painting on a textured linen board. I was driving around looking for a subject and a saw a truck in a field and this view, so I turned around and hoped the farmer would be friendly. He was and allowed me to park and paint in his field. 
I made a low horizon and made it about the sky, light and clouds, the receding hills also were great!

#419 'South Parade Pier, Sand Reflections' 20x50cm

When I arrived I was initially disappointed as there wasn't much to the scene, the tide was still in and the sun wasn't up so no colour, quite dull. But the tide soon went out and the colours appeared in the wet sand. Beautiful! 

Monday 26 November 2018

#418 'Sunset Campo Barnaba, Venice' 40x50cm

A studio painting of a small plein air study from my recent Venice trip.

This is the plein air painting and the starting point for the bigger painting above...

1.Drawing made on location, helps to really see the subject.
2. Studio shot to give an idea of scale and palette.
3. My sky colours! and part of the water.

I enjoyed painting bigger, wanting to keep it still fresh and lively but more finished and 'special' looking. 
I saw this view every day as it was right next to our house, I would look at it and think I want to paint that, so pleased I have!

Monday 19 November 2018

#417 'Autumn Colours, Waggoners Wells,' & Reflections Tips

An area close to me with 3 pools of water. It's quite a challenge as there a lot of trees and a little bit late for Autumn but still wonderful rusts and lemon yellow on the Silver Birch.
I wanted water to reflect the colours which is why I went there.

Tips for painting reflections: 

  • Turn the board/canvas 90 degrees so you can mirror the shapes of the subject into the water as sometimes doing upside down is a challenge! 
  • Vertical brush strokes first and then some horizontal cutting across for water movement.
  • Stronger colours and shapes closer to the subject. Softer tones, colours and shapes as it moves away - see my painting bottom line is quite 'wooly' compare dot the reflection close to the trees.
  • Observe whats there don't paint what you think it looks like but what is there!

The underpainting in Burnt Sienna & a little Ultramarine

Thursday 15 November 2018

#416 'Autumn on Bramshott Common' 12x12"

This scene is about a 15-20 minute walk from our house. Autumn colours really improve this subject and I couldn't wait to paint it! 
I liked the track leading in to the orangey oak tree. The sky was a bonus with fluffies. I put them in straight away as I knew it would change. By mixing a neutral colour from the 3 primaries - red yellow blue and made sure it was light enough in tone.

Quite often I will take a photo during the painting and change it into black and white on my phone to check the tonal values, make sure they read and work as a whole and compare them to the subject. 

My palette, subject & painting nearly finished

Sunday 11 November 2018

#415 'Venice Reflections 2' 20x50cm

The second in this series. I started en plein air but mainly painted in the studio. 

I liked the rich blues and oranges complementaries really pop! Strong brush marks and thick paint again, seems to lend itself to this subject.

An artist friend I painted with in Venice she calls this type a sky hole painting. You can see why! Not easy to get the composition right, helped to study it while I was on location.
This is how I started....
Getting the big surface areas in first.

#414 'Venice Reflections' 20x50cm

I drew this one out in Burnt Sienna plus another while in Venice but decided to paint them both in my studio so I could take more time do it in layers. 

Was aiming for vibrant colours, thick paint, strong shapes and unusual composition.
I did do a plein air painting in full no #391 while in Venice which I used as reference for this one.
The initial blocking in of colour:

Once I had covered most of the board I put it to one side and work on the next one - see following post. Being similar in colours I could learn from one as I moved to the next and back again.

The next day I put on a thick layer of paint. At this point I wasn't particularly happy with it which allowed me to attack it and not be worried about ruining it. It does help a painting to taking risks and push to se how far you can take it.

It's not a usual composition you see for a Venice canal. It was the view we saw every time we left or house, I am happy Ive managed to capture it!

Tuesday 6 November 2018

#413 'Sheep on the South Downs' 30x40cm

Looking out for subjects driving is always a little hazardous!
Saw these sheep and a bonus place to pull in and park near by. They were sleepy and laying down until at least an hour into painting them. I worked quietly trying not to scare them. In the end they were very close and I could hear them pulling at the grass! Such a soothing place to paint. 

I thought the road was a bonus as it sweeps through to add an extra element of composition. I used a medium grain linen canvas which definitely has a different look I think I like it!
I painted the sheep as they were grazing and took some out when I got home to make a better composition.
By the end the sheep had all moved down hill

Saturday 3 November 2018

#412 'Albert Bridge, Reflections' 12x12"

I used a home made linen board....
METHOD for making one: I roughly cut out some preprimed canvas stuck it to a MDF board so it overhung on the sides. I used Neutral PH PVA glue (so it wont rot in the future.) Once dry I cut it butt up to the board with a scalpel knife = linen covered board ready to use!

And this was the first painting I tried on it. I have had this canvas for years and I'm not sure whether it's too course. The subject may have called for a finer weave but it made me apply the paint loosely yet put in details like the boat. Its always a fine balance of enough information to it being overworked.

Here are the stages of my painting

Wednesday 31 October 2018

#411 'Autumn Light, Albert Bridge' 24x30cm

Arriving in London I had a plan to paint the same scene as I did this time last year:

Including a bit more of the river bank and boats on a bigger board.

The tide was very low, which helped the composition anchoring it on the side. Also the space between the pink part of the bridge and water was huge which allowed there to be more room for boats and water.

The light was beautiful and it got better and better! (as we were leaving!) I goal I was aiming for painterly but well observed...

I was in London collecting work from the Chelsea Art Society Open exhibition I was really pleased to have a painting hung and it sold :-)

Tuesday 30 October 2018

#410 'Rain Cloud, The South Downs' 9x12"

This is about a 25 minute drive form me and during the whole car journey is rained hard! I thought I'll have to sit int he car when I get there and wait.

But upon arrival this is what I saw! A huge beautiful cloud covering a lot of the view I wanted to paint. The cloud shape was quite stable and it didn't move off for at least 30 minutes so was able to study and paint it plus the rain falling in the distance.

The light on the water on the horizon line I emphasised with thicker paint and strong marks. I made sure the tonal values got stronger coming into the foreground.

#409 'First Light, Langstone' 12x12"

I used a textured linen coloured board by Loxley. Not tried this type before, its quite rough and I think the subject work well with this style. 
Thinned the paint with Distilled Turps  - experimenting to see if it's any better than Winsor & Newton Sansodour which I usually use. Strong smell but I think I prefer the consistency. I added thick paint especially around the skyline of the trees - the important bit! Paying close attention tot he silhouetted shape of the boats not needing much details just get the shapes of them right.
3/4 of the way through, tide coming in, sun just up!