Tuesday 30 July 2019

#477 'Boats at Dell Quay' & Teaching

I taught 4 very friendly plein air painters last week. Typical that it was the hottest day of the year almost ever in our part of the world - over 38 degrees and humid. Tough conditions to paint and for me to teach. 

Crammed together in a small area of shade!

The morning session I helped them all get settled and gave them as much information as they could take, so I didn't really get a chance to paint myself. The afternoon was calmer after a big lunch of fish and chips and a pint of Guinness for Mick! I had time to do a little boat painting, using short flat 'Ultimate Bristle ' Rosemary and co brushes - my favs at the mo. and making each brush stroke count.

I think one of the main things people struggle with is tonal variations in colour. Pre mixing colours & tones (light and dark versions) before starting to paint, my students said it really helped. I do it for nearly all my paintings and helps me feel on top of it, use more paint to paint with, it colour harmonises as I mix my pre mixed colours together.

If you get a chance to comment on here I would appreciate knowing what you find hard in painting - especially plein air, to help me with future teaching and what to write on this blog!

Tide in spot my little boat!

Monday 29 July 2019

#476 'The North Downs'

Mainly cloudy 1:1 plein air teaching day. This was the view near his house. We enhanced what was there - I liked the wheat field so made it the feature. Also when the sun came out to put the foreground shadow in. I walked a little left to see the hills int he background so I could paint them in even though they weren't in my eye-line - adds compositional interest!

Saturday 27 July 2019

#475 Sunflowers

An apt flower with all this sunshine and heat! I seem to paint flowers better when they are in the garden instead of inside my studio with sunshine falling on them. 
Chunking together petal shapes not painting individuals.
Cadmium Yellow deep a useful colour & mixed with Cerulean - for the background.
The composition took so long to arrange and paint and repaint - over an hour of doing this. But it pays off, and I like how it fills the edges and suits the boldness of the flower. Also looking at the ellipse brown centres, drawing them correctly and not to even shapes across the canvas.
14x15" oil on canvas

Tuesday 23 July 2019

#474 View From Tilford Bridge

I painted this subject this time last year. I like going back to a place and painting it again as the knowledge and experience from the first time is there and helps inform the next go. (in theory!)
I liked the willow trees and their reflections in the water, the cows for life, and the water reeds to foreground interest. 

Now that the paint is nearly dried I cant decide whether to add a thicker layer to make the colour richer and the tones a little stronger... 

Oil on board 12x16"

Monday 22 July 2019

#473 West Wittering

A commission. I don't do many, as I tend not to advertise, but I'm willing to do them if people ask. This one was for a ladies 50th her siblings got together to buy it for her as a surprise.
Sadly they didn't give me much time so had to go when it wasn't sunny! This was actually my second attempt the first was blowing a hoolie and awful, at least this time it was atmospheric and the sun came out for 10 minutes!

They ended up buying another one I did from a photograph of sunny West Wittering! At least they were happy :-)

Friday 19 July 2019

#472 'The Four Sisters, Morston' 10x12"

Taken from a quick tonal sketch made on a morning in North Norfolk before these 4 boats were taken out. They are a seal watching company and while we were there the boats were packed full of expectant watchers. 

This painting was the only one in Norfolk I did where the sunlit my subject instead of side or contra jour, it creates quite a different look. I enjoy the rich colours and those reflections!

Wednesday 17 July 2019

#471 'Mortson Quay' 11x14"

I timed the paint to be in-between tides, but the water rushed in so quickly I painted the edges of the banks first so I had a pleasing shape before it disappeared. (see picture below for how the water looked when I finished)
Contra jour light, around 8am. I used a pre-stained board with Burnt Sienna, very light in tone but gives a warm base to work on. Especially the lights show up straight way - on a white board much harder.
I didn't put all the boats in as the size board couldn't take it, editing out to make the composition work.
Just my sort of subject!
Standing on a rickety jetty trying not to drop anything between the gaps!

Monday 15 July 2019

#470 'Sunday Sailing, Morston'

Quite tricky to find a composition that worked with lots of comings and goings of boats and people because it was a sunny Sunday morning. 
I was there with the ROI (Royal Institute of Oil painters) and the IEA (institute of East Anglian painters.) A painting day with lots of amazing artist, really inspiring to see how they worked and paint with them.

I liked this National Trust hut silhouetted with the contra jour sun. Everything was high key and bight. Lots of interesting activity as well, the boat sail was a bonus! 

I kept it loose and sketchy wanting it to feel fresh and lively, to suit the day.
I felt honoured that David Curtis wanted to paint the same subject as me so he ducked in behind and this started a line of other painters joining in with this subject! ....

 The tide quickly drained out of this area, plus the blue foreground boat was taken away!

Friday 12 July 2019

#469 'Wells Next to Sea, Norfolk' 11x14"

There are many ups and downs of being an artist and I was feeling a bit self doubting. 
We had arrived in North Norfolk the previous night and I was keen to explore this area which I've not visited before. It was raining and grey I could see there was lots of subject fodder but my mind was getting in the way. I did a painting in the morning which I haven't finished yet but then had an amazing opportunity to paint with David Curtis, he has been plein air painting for over 50 years!! 

We painted side by side for 2 1/2 hours and he was such a tonic and I felt a lot better by the end of it! You could say I got my mojo back and felt so inspired by the subject. 
It's good to paint with others who are more experienced. I wouldn't have chosen this subject on my own as it was extremely complex. But seeing him tackle it gave me the confidence to try and I'm really pleased with the result.

A grey day can put me off painting but this painting shows there can be a subject out there!

Thursday 11 July 2019

#468 Pink Peonies

I wanted to get the colours as vibrant a possible so kept mixing until they we’re bright enough - I used Magenta to help with the intensity. Peonies are such happy flowers!! 🌸

Oil on board 10x10"

Friday 5 July 2019

#467 Morning Light, Langstone

7am in the summer time and the sun is already quite high but there is some warm interesting light. 

Driving down to the coast I thought I'd check out Langstone first before I went further along the coast towards Bosham. But this scene grabbed me and I could envisage it on the upright format. I knew I didn't have long before the sun would be out of my picture and the tide was rapidly emptying! 
I started blocking in the main elements that are going to change. I put the horizon in first just above a 3rd up and then the boats. The clouds made a lovely pattern around the sun which I sketched in. Also the shape of the mud flats I like the little opening of water which leads the eye in. 

I spent an hour and 20 minutes painting on location but by then the tide was gone and the sun had moved it was a different painting. So I stopped and completed that afternoon in my studio while it was still fresh.

#466 Blue Canal Boat

Not a subject I would have gone out to paint but a friend asked me to help her with plein air painting. 
When I first started painting outside I would choose a single object like this boat as it was similar to a still life - light a dark on a single element. So she honed in and I did a little of the surrounding. 
Canal boats are so tricky with their perspective being long and narrow but this little fella was a short version and seemed to have a character! 
An enjoyable paint but got terribly sunburn on my neck, not used to the sun yet!

Monday 1 July 2019

#465 Daisies & Grasses

I wanted a light an airy feel, difficult with light flowers and a fairly light background. Contrasted dark grasses helps with the tonal composition.

#464 Cows

A quick sketch, I saw them all through the window of my studio while I was painting something else at the time but couldn't resist them. So I crept out not wanting to disturb as they are so curious and friendly.
Managed about 15 minutes before they all got up to come and see what I was doing.