Thursday 26 April 2018

#327 'Slipper Mill Pond' 8x10"

I drove past this scene and thought it looked good but still went to 3 other places first thinking I could find better! I had seen this subject in the winter and thought it had promise, but its even better now with the spring foliage. 

Getting a good composition meant I was standing on the side of the road right next to the water. The swans kept looking up at me thinking of was going to feed them especially when I was bending down to pick up a paint brush - not bread!

I like the little house in the distance gives it scale and looking through the negative space between the foreground tree and house.
Tricky weather, April showers - heavy ones, had me rushing for cover, wish I had brought my brolly. 
Will return to do a bigger painting here....

Sunday 22 April 2018

#326 'Footbridge to Eel Pie Island' 9x12"

An early start up to Twickenham on Friday morning. I wanting to make the most of this glorious weather, although standing in full sun was quite hard work! 

I painted at Twickenham last July with the Wapping Group it was my first time with them as I was nervous I chose a simple subject:
In comparison this painting is quite complex! You can spot the foot bridge in both. 

I have been painting for 2 years en plein air now and I do feel more confident and so able to choose 'harder' more complex subjects. Also being able to complete it on site in a time that works for the changing light. This one took 2 hours. 

I was on a busy through fare with so many distractions its hard to keep focused for example there were very noisy geese fighting over bread tit bits & delivery drivers reversing inches away from me - I must have been painting on the spot! 
Also when you are out there you are game for the publics point of view. Usually people are so kind, friendly and considerate but occasionally you get a plonker who thinks they know better and has to give their opinion, I had one that day and it did rattle me a little. 
The light had moved around, so the bridge wasn't lit by the end of the painting.
I loved the light on the water, the sweepy blue bridge and boats in the shadows. A restful scene that I will revisit.

Saturday 21 April 2018

#325 'Daffodils & Narcissi' 8x14"

On Thursday this week I was part of a demo evening with Haslemere Art Society. There were 3 artists including me showing how we work, our process from start to finish.

I decided to paint something from life as I find it more inspiring than a photo. I was a bit worried the daffodils would be over but my husband had thankfully planted 500 bulbs so there was a range in our garden to choose from. (I had also spotted a lovely orange centred narcissi in the neighbours garden, I hope he didn't miss the one I nabbed - all in the name of art of course!)

Before everyone turned up I played around with the background colour, I wanted blue as it looked like the sky, I opted for this deeper blue so it made the light flowers stand out. I also lit the flowers from the side as the same height. 

I was quite nervous before it began unsure as to whether I could 'perform' in front of a crowd. I also wanted to be able to talk while I was painting, which I managed to do and even did a bit of teaching too! People were really kind and interested, I enjoyed it and was relieved my painting came out nicely. To have had a flop in front of others would have been tough!
I premixed the main colours as I do in plein air and built up the painting with a series of patchwork brush strokes, not spending too long in one area. 

One of my previous students Dawn kindly took some pics of me here are a couple:

Thursday 19 April 2018

#324 'Spring at Richmond Bridge' 9x12"

I have been visiting my sister in South Africa a hard decision not to take my paints but lovely to have family time and a break. So I'm fresh and ready to go and what a day to start back...

Painted this yesterday in glorious spring weather.  So warm it felt like summer, I'd forgotten what it's like painting in the heat! Not complaining though.

Quite a complex subject so kept it loose without succumbing to too much detail. Its a great area to paint, so much fodder! 
The bridge was tricky as it was medium light tone but it was contra jour so it was silhouetted and darker than you think. I kept telling myself paint what you see not what you think it looks like!
I was painting with artist buddy Sarah Manolescue she did the same scene but so different, - portrait format ...always fun to see how others interpret the same subject.
It was buzzing around the Thames, with buskers and boaters and people in enjoying the weather, so lovely to have a job outside when it's like this :-)

Spot my easel and Sarah painting near the busker! Plus it felt like we had an audience - so busy!

Wednesday 11 April 2018

New English Art Club 2018

'Silver Birch in Snow'  8x10"
I have just found out that this painting has been selected for the New English Art Club annual exhibition. I am so pleased as it's a really competitive show to get into and this is the first time I have done it!! 

The exhibition runs: 15-23rd June at The Mall Galleries, London

Some stats: 1500 paintings were entered online & 104 have got in, that's less than 10% 
I had 4 selected which got through the first round:
It's hard to know why the 'Silver Birch in Snow' painting got through and the others didn't get chosen. 
I also went to the best framers I could, they are called 'The Artistic Framing Co' in Hampshire UK. Hand painted frames with silver or gold gilding, not cheap but decided I wanted to give the paintings my best chance!

I have just looked back at the timings of this painting back in mid December. It was one where I walked around a lot trying to find that 'perfect view' but came back to the first view I'd seen! Therefore had very little time before the sun went behind the tree line. The painting only took me 40 minutes!! Funny how your perceptions of making a 'great painting' takes time but especially in plein air sometimes it's quite the opposite.

Friday 6 April 2018

#323 'Sunrise over Albert Bridge' 11x14"

I saw this scene last week on the Thames, it was quite magical!  But I couldn't paint in plein air as the sun was too bright off the water - I couldn't see the subject!
I did start a painting see below but when I went to work on it in the studio realised I was trying to get too big a picture in so I honed into the bit I really liked, not worrying that I cut off some of the bridge, just making sure the composition worked. 

Also using  a bigger board size than normal, which I enjoyed and worked well for the subject. I used larger brushes for as long as I could mapping in the darks. I graduated the tones from very dark of the boats, making it light as I went to the bridge, trees, background buildings... this gives a sense of space. Also as I lightened mixing the orange sky colour with the dark colour gives a feeling of light saturation - see the tall tower next to the dark bridge strutts.
The 'wires' on the bridge I put a main thicker one in first before the sky and other others after. Being bold with the strokes but a light touch as well - I use a Rosemary & Co Rigger. Where the sun was shining you couldn't see the wires so I didn't paint them in.
The boats needed surprisingly little painting, I put the main shapes to start in a thinned dark and then picked up the light on the top using a mid grey and nearer the sun a warm colour.
I'm really pleased with how this one has turned out.

Monday 2 April 2018

#322 'Mixed Daffs' 8x8"

I wanted another bash at these flowers with a lighter background and in a glass vase. I choose this green as I thought it looked a bit like grass colour! 

Wishing you all a Happy Easter and heres to more spring like weather :-)