Tuesday 20 February 2018

#304 'Afternoon Light, Woolacombe Beach' 8x14"

The last painting of our Devon trip....

Nipped home for lunch and came straight back as we knew the light was going - rain due. I didn't know what I would paint which often happens, you just have to see when you get there what looks good and inspires.
This was it, actually the same view as I had done an hour or so previous!
This time the sun had come around to make it more contra jour, the clouds were building and the light and colours quite soft.
This is how I started getting the main shape of the cloud and the shape of the light.

Having the strong foreground rocks makes the rest looks light and soft. Keeping the palette limited and harmonious helps to make it look contra jour. Not putting in too much detail as its a big view. 
Hope to go back, an inspiring place :-)
Painting on the cliff top

Monday 19 February 2018

#303 'Woolacombe Beach' 8x14"

Quite often when I'm painting I would look around the in the other direction and there is another painting to be had! I saw this sky when was I painting the previous post - 'Morning Shadows, Barricane Beach'.

Some paintings are real struggle but this one did itself.
Making the spit of land (Baggy Point) a small scale helped to make the expanse look big. Also putting the little people in - spot the walking surfer!
The foreground rocks were in a straight line which didn't work for the composition - too many horizontals, so I broke the shape up but still showed they were there and making it the darkest tone.

Saturday 17 February 2018

#302 'Looking down on Barricane Beach' 10x12"

Had a great day today, 3 paintings and lovely weather! 
This was my first, a challenge to say the least. The rocks were hard, to get the tonal differences right and working with the rest of the painting. The sand shadow may still need work, it started off a bit dark so I lightened it and maybe a bit warm. 
It's hard to tell in one alla prima paint, looking the next day you often see things you didn't see the day before! Here it is before I reworked it:

First stages...Squinting my eyes to simplify and blocking in the shadow areas and linking the shapes together. You can also see how strong the shadow was in the photograph.

Perched on top of the cliff, tide going out, sea looking bluer than when I began. It was fun painting the little people too - gives it scale.

Thursday 15 February 2018

#301 'Light over Baggy Point' 8x10"

Within minutes of starting this painting my subject disappeared - the light! A huge raincloud came over, I carried on for a bit but then abandoned and started another one. 

The rain cloud was amazing so dramatic, I enjoyed painting it. The photo doesn't really show the subtleties here is a sneak preview... It's not quite finished.

Then back to this one after the rain front went.
I wanted to make strong brush strokes no fiddling. I was on a top of a very windy exposed cliff and I had to attack my painting so it had the same energy as the subject. The sea was so loud the crashing waves. Quite a spot!

#300 'Barracane Beach' 8x10"

I felt out of my comfort painting this, not used to rocky shorelines and big waves! But it's good to push the skills and enjoyed painting it. 
Quite a sheltered spot and by the time I finished full of children and dogs! I decided not to include them as I had already mapped in and to go over the top doesn't work as well as including them in the beginning and painting around them.
Although I did have a little episode with a dog, a women shrieked as a dog came running towards me, and I wasn't quick enough to stop him peeing on my art bag! The lady was mortified, 'he's an old dog' she said. I understood having an old dog ourselves but still my bag was now a target for other dogs (the smell)!!
It was a beautiful morning although you can see a cloud front had come in and started to rain as we left.
I put the darks of the rocks first and made sure the lights of the rock weren't too light. The sea was quickly receding in low tide so had to get it in before it went.
I would like to paint this again now that I am more familiar with this subject.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

#299 'Sunset, Woolacombe Beach' 8x14"

I painted this one straight after the first, as I was upset with that painting (it had been a struggle!) Also the sunset was amazing and I wanted to try and capture it in paint.

I only painted for about 40 minutes as it was over by then and nearly dark! (very cold too!)
I think it needs a bit more work will have a look at it when in the studio at home.
here is the beginning:

When its predominately a sky painting I start with the clouds if they are strong like these ones. Mapping in the main shapes in a warm and cool similar colour. Then to the sunlight, as it will change quickly, how it effects the clouds, what colour the light is - cool white or warmer yellow. 
There was also no need to draw before I started the painting as it was about colour and light less structure that needed to be drawn out.

#298 'High Tide, Woolacombe Beach' 8x10"

My husband and I are in North Devon for a week, to paint, photograph and rest. This was my first painting, it was tricky as I forgot my plastic palette insert for my pochade so mixed my paint on the back of a board (not ideal!) It's surprising how just one thing can throw you when plein air painting.  Also being contra jour the light on the water made looking at my painting difficult so I ended up turning the pochade away from the scene and looking over my shoulder at the subject!
It's mainly a tonal study keeping the colour palette limited and trying to observe the tonal comparisons eg is the sky the same tone as the sea?
After an hour or so I scraped off areas, painted over parts I was not happy with it, but got it home and it wasn't as bad as thought! So here it is, 
Here's the start:

Tuesday 13 February 2018

#297 'Albert Bridge' 12x16"

During a rainy day when plein air isn't so easy or appealing I painted this in my studio from a small plein air I did in September last year. 
I had started it (see pic below) and then it sat in my studio for a month. I was unsure as to whether it was going to work out and with a little encouragement from my husband I continued and finished it.

I decided I wanted to mess it up before I started to apply paint. So I took some fine sand paper to it.... See pic below.
This helped take away the harsh edges and allowed me to add paint freely over the top. I have kept some of the sanding showing especially on the right hand trees.
The board is lot bigger than the plein air study and so there's more subject that will fit into it.
I used a glaze medium to thin the paint called Robersons Matt Glaze instead of Sansodor I normally use. A lot stickier, shiny and thicker consistency unsure as to whether its' better than Sansodor!  
Considering I wasn't even going to finish the painting it's turned out well and it is now for sale on The Mall Galleries website for the Buy Art Buy Now section. So exciting to be represented by the Mall Galleries online!!
see link...

Friday 9 February 2018

#296 'Storm Approaching, East Head' 8x12"

We knew a storm was coming and only had an hour or so to paint, I was with artist Sarah Manolescue.
Finding a spot that wasn't in the direct line of the gale was tricky. I liked the dunes being lit by the sun and the building clouds as a backdrop.
The people gives it some scale and with a very limited palette:
I used the green mix for the violet and yellow mixes. Sometimes that works to mix one colour with all your other mixes - helps to harmonise. Yellow & Violet are complimentaries and I pushed the sky to a more violet colour which helps the colours zing!
I warmed the yellow with Burnt Sienna on the right side and also put burnt sienna in the violet sky mix to link the two. 

Thursday 8 February 2018

#295 'Late Afternoon Reflections' 10x10"

I had a plan to paint the sunset at Emsworth (Hampshire), I had seen it recently and went back to paint a certain view. But on the day you have to choose what's good and yesterday it was these beautiful still waters, reflections and strong colours...
A lovely subject to paint, it makes a difference with how colour saturated a subject is by where the sun is. This time the sun was opposite the view, recently I have been looking more into the sun, which takes out the colour and makes it more tonal.

I enjoyed painting the colours of boats, although quite complex with mixing each colour and then separate but connected colours for the reflections!
The boats were arranged in this composition although they moved about quite a bit on the incoming tide. I took out a couple of boats to make it more pleasing.

A family next to me were feeding the birds they were going mad for the bread, the swans didn't get a look in.

I have managed to finish and upload a speeded up video demonstration of the previous painting, have a look at number #295 for the 40 second video....

Tuesday 6 February 2018

#294 'Low Tide, Langstone Harbour' 8x10" & Video

I went back to Langstone (in Hampshire near Portsmouth) yesterday it's been a while since I painted their. It is an inspiring place even with just a trickle of water! 

Video News
I've been wanting to video my painting process and share it for a while. My recent delves into watching people paint on You Tube has inspired me to try. 

Its not easy knowing there's a camera on you the whole time and I decided to keep it simple and not do commentary but I kept having to shut my mouth as I wanted to explain what I was doing and justify some actions! It does feel like your going to be judged.

But annoyingly my battery ran out so I only got 3/4 of the painting - about 40 mins worth. But it was a good first attempt. I'm not sure if I will post the long version as I put the camera on the right side and my mixing arm rather gets in the way of the painting, I will try again and put the camera the other side! 

The painting has a limited palette and emphasising the light on the water - keeping everything else tonally darker. 
Happy I was able to produce while under pressure!
Here is the video a speeded up version of about 40 seconds. What do you think?

Sunday 4 February 2018

#293 'Winter Sun, Emsworth Harbour' 8x14"

Some plein air painting days don't turn out as you expect...I went to Bosham first but with high tide, a biting wind, no reflections, and no boats it wasn't inspiring so I went to my other favourite painting spot (Bosham Channel) but again with high tide it wasn't working. 
Last location was Emsworth, the wind was so strong and big gusts I didn't think I could manage it, and of course the scene I want to paint was exposed on the harbour wall. Just about everyone commented to me a hard day to be painting! Yes I thought ;-)
I started by thinking just get a few strokes down and then I can finish in the studio... (Sometimes when it feels daunting or hard to start this thought can help.) No need to worry as I finished on the spot and quite enjoyed it! As I wasn't so careful and just did it quickly and intuitively. 

Another thing was I had my sunglasses on I can't remember the last time I painted with them on, but being so bright it takes out any definition so with them on I could see more and it protects my eyes. I will use them again for contra jour.

Packing up I had to let go of my pochade, and of course a big gust of wind and it took off you can see how close I am to the water, I caught it with one tripod leg. Gave me and the swans a fright!