Wednesday, 20 September 2017

#229 'The Plowing Match' 9x12"

Horse drawn plows & tractors all competing for the best and straightest plowing! Quite mesmerising to watch, and also a bit of a culture shock when we first arrived in the field, with over 40 tractors, horses and farmers doing there thing, so different to the world I know. It took me a while to find a subject and paint.
Also spending time getting the composition right so it wasn't too linear and on the horizon line.
I've not tackled painting a horse before they were going up and down the same lines so you could anticipate where they would be as they came back but still only seconds to capture them. I wanted them big enough in the painting so you know what they are but not too big that they are dominant and tricky to paint! The people in the foreground were chatting for a bit which allowed me to paint them. I enjoyed painting the sky too. 

Here are some of us who was painting that day with a very big shire horse!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

#228 'Somerset Canal' 10x10"

Just had a weekend in Somerset with the Friends of the ROI. (Royal Institute of Oil Painters) Really enjoyed paiting and talking art with others.

This was the first painting I did, it's next to where I was staying and also the hosts house - Ian Cryer the president of the ROI. 
I was the first to turn up so we painted together and his wife brought us cups of tea, a very lovely afternoons painting!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

#227 'Low Tide Bosham Harbour' 24x30cm

This is one that I didn't think was any good at the time but came out alright! Sometimes its the other way around, thinking its an ok painting and then looking at it again the next day and being disappointed!
It was just after sunrise, a beautiful sky and a slither of sea. 
I tinted the mud and distant green in the violet sky cloud mix which gives a harmonious feel to the colours. Careful not to overpaint or fuss the boats but leave them 'imperfect' looking. This helps make them sit in the panting and be connected with the surroundings.
Bosham has so many painting possibilities...

Off to Somerset tomorrow for a painting weekend :-)

Friday, 8 September 2017

#226 'Boats, Bosham Harbour' 8x10"

Last week I went to Bosham early morning and as I finished 'Bosham Harbour' #223 I turned 90 degrees and saw this scene, so I whipped out another board and got the composition down (before the boats moved) but ran out of steam to paint on site so I painted it today in my studio. 
The colours and reflections were so strong I painted it with thicker oils loading my brush and using less medium to thin it, which lent itself to the subject and fun to do!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

#225 'Albert Bridge, London' 18x24cm

I was up in London with The Wapping Group yesterday as their guest, a very enjoyable day. It's somewhere I wouldn't have usually painted but a great subject, at one point there was 5 of us lined up painting this bridge. (The Wapping Group are an acclaimed group of 25 artists who are known for painting the Thames.)

I was quite nervous before painting but settled myself down with the colour mixing, making sure I had a good colour range and tones, which allowed me to get stuck in! 
There was a lot of complex shapes on the bridge but I simplified them and stopped myself putting too much information in! 

Lucky with the weather no rain but chilly wind and some sun at the end was a bonus.
I'm pleased with the result, using thicker paint and harmonious colours.

Photographed in the sunshine you can see the brush strokes.

On a practical note.... Carrying gear can be a tricky part of the painting day. I had been trying different ways and brought a little luggage trolley a cheapie at £10 to see if it worked. It was rubbish! Any bump, curve or corner and the bag dropped off and scraped along the pavement. I ended up dragging and lifting it to my place of painting! The bungi cord wasnt  enough to hold the heavy bag & tripod in place and with a wet painting inside I can't sqaush it too much.
Another painter had a rucksack on wheels, anyone used one of these or any other help with carrying gear please?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

#224 'The Georgian Hotel, Haslemere' 18x24cm

Saturday I was out with Haslemere Art Society painting on the High Street promoting our exhibition starting next Saturday at the Haslemere Museum. 
This is not a usual subject for me, but I looked for light and shade which looked great on this hotel front. Luckily we had a sunny day. 
Enjoyable, speaking to lots of locals and arts people. Friendly shop owners too, bringing me cups of tea and chatting.

I have framed it up and its already in the display...

This painting and 11 others of mine will be in the show. It runs 9-16th September, Tues-Sat 10-5pm.

Monday, 4 September 2017

#223 'Bosham Harbour' 9x12"

I planned to go down to Bosham on advice from an artist saying it was gorgeous early morning. Somehow I picked the most stunning day, so happy. 
Got there just after sunrise and the cloud formation and reflections in the water....

I painted the clouds quickly, they were fun to do. Using Pale Naples Yellow ( I prefer the standard N. Yellow as you can always lighten it) I used it for warmth in the clouds then added it to Cerulean blue for the water.
The boats were swinging about on the tide quite a bit. The posts were a challenge put them in or not? I'm happy with the yellow and black one and good to have an upright in there as it's quite a horizontal composition. The two in the corner also help balance the composition without them there would be a big gap!

It's already been framed and into the Haslemere Art Society Exhibition...more on that in next post.

Friday, 1 September 2017

#222 'La Vila, Spain' 18x24cm

I was experimenting in my studio with techniques. Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) used this process by putting down swathes of colour and drawing with a brush over the top. He used black. I mixed a black with Ultramarine Blue and Red Dioxide - which lends itself to the iron works on the balconies.
The whole town was like this  (previous painting of #217 blue house in Villa Joyosa) This street looked like it was painted to harmonise together!
I started by painting the light blocks of colours in the middle, no drawing out, estimating where things should go. Mixing a tonal range of each colour, especially the green, yellow and pinky orange. 
I have put 9 progression stages of this painting on Instgram - my name is: clarebowenartist. Have a look :-)

Monday, 28 August 2017

#221 'Chalk Path, The Trundle' 8x10"

The light was diffused when I arrived but got stronger as I started which was easier. 
I have been using a homemade viewfinder recently which helps compose the composition (previously I've used my phone & taken pics) The viewfinder helps with what subject areas to include, which format - square, landscape or portrait. Plus horizon line level. The horizon was very hazy, no sea or the Isle of Wight showing. Just an orange strip.

I was at the top of quite a steep long path, and it was busy! Cylist, runners, dog walkers. Everyone saying hello and I had to stop myself giving the runners encouragement 'nearly there don't stop....' :-)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

#220 'Evening Sun, Bosham' 21x29cm

It's been gorgeous weather and I have made the most of it by doing an evening paint where the light gives me the subject.
Husband Nick and I went down to Bosham and this view grabbed me as the sun was dancing on the water and warm apricots in the sky. I knew it would be a hard one because it was changing so quickly. I painted some structure of the harbour side and building first and then whacked in the light. Keeping in mind less is more and not putting in too much detail letting the eye do the work.
In 40 minutes the water was this height and then see the pic below to what it drained to...

Spot Nick taking photo in the edge of the shot.
I finished at this point as it was very different to when I began, and refined it in the studio, tricky as you don't want to loose the fresh quality but it needs to be resolved as well.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

#219 'Palms, Villa Joyosa' 9x11"

This was a tough painting! I started in the shade of the palms but as the sun rose I was exposed! Very hot and bright even my phone over heated and temporarily wouldn't work!

The composition was tricky as there were a lot of palms all in lines, I moved my body to try and make it work. But it was still very dominated with trees. I liked the sparkle on the sea and strip of beach activity.
Back at the house I scrubbed out two palms with some trepidation not knowing if it would leave a ghost behind but thankfully it looks better and with no ghost! 

I spent most of the day on this painting, I am pleased with the end result, some paintings are out of your comfort and a learning piece this was!

Last paintnig of Spain, back to sunny Surrey....

Monday, 21 August 2017

#218 'Finestrat, Spain' 8x10"

I did the same thing as the previous painting and looked for light and shade. Finestrat is inland from the coast and quite mountainous. I climbed to the top of the village to get the morning light hitting the buildings. I liked the downhill curved of this little street, plus the mountains behind were a bonus.

Very quite only one person walked down this street and I was busy looking at his cute dog rather than painting him! So I got my husband to walk down it so I could paint and have a figure to add to the composition.
I'm pleased with this one :-)

I have posted the 5 painting stages of how I put this painting together on Instagram. You don't need an account to look, click the link.
One more painting to post of Spain after this...

Sunday, 20 August 2017

#217 'Villa Josoya' 8x10"

Wonderful coloured houses in this Spanish town. I was in a shady square with friendly locals.
When I was scouting the town for a painting, I looked for light and shade patterns, not so much about the subject. The light and shade fell nicely on this building and I liked the strong blue.
I had to be quick as by the time I got to paint the shade had nearly all gone. I painted the bottom half of the house first to make sure I got it!

Usually I like subjects depicting more space than this, but this painting is more about light and colour :-)

A Spanish chap came out of his house and over to me, he was very pleased I was painting his house! He took photos of me and the painting for the residents Face Book page.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

#216 'Bougainvillia, Spain' 18x21cm

This was in Finestrat it's the closest village to where we are staying with my Aunt. The doorway with this plant, was a real gem to find. Loved painting it, although I was unsure to begin with as the light wasn't on it, so it was quite flat. But as the sun rose higher it shone onto the scene and it got better, really pleasing when that happens!

There was a stray cat that kept climbing the bougainvillea trunk and making me laugh, swinging and balancing trying and get into the window.
The light was great to paint, a happy painting :-)

Friday, 18 August 2017

#215 'Altea, Spain' 8x10"

The first painting in Spain, it took me a few attempts to decide on the composition. As I was drawn to the light on the sea and the sky. But I got sucked in to a traditional a view putting the buildings in, I wiped it down and cut the building off. 
When painting outside you have to make quick decisions and take risks, you really don't know if the painting will work, there are so many elements to get right. It feels like painting by the seat of your pants! Which does make it exciting and also stressful at times :-)

3/4 through and someone asked if it was for sale! Which was a boost and helped my uncertainties.
The heat and light is so different and it's a bit of a shock painting in full sun, 30+ degrees! I'm not complaining though.
This is a family visit to see my Aunt Jo, so I will get some painting done but not as many as previous trips..... (I have two more after this to post so far).

Friday, 11 August 2017

#214 Setting Sail, Dell Quay 9x11"

What a great place to paint! So many options it was hard to choose until I saw this scene, when I couldn't take my eyes from it. It was a great sky day too, I wanted to do some cloud studies but this scene won! 

It was Sunday morning, and the sailing club was a hive of activity, lots of families and all different sail boats were casting off from this area. I pin pointed one boat I liked the shape of especially against the dark brick background. see pic no.3.

I painted at the end of a pontoon, a little hazadous because of the boarded gaps which my equipment could easily fall through.

This is my set up and the beginning stages.

I had to quickly get the yacht in before if moved, they had 5-10 mins of sorting themselves out before they set sail. 

Loved painting this, a great day, and a great subject!

I'm off to Spain with husband tomorrow for 9 days, and hope to paint and post on the blog out there...

Monday, 7 August 2017

#213 River Wey, Ripley 10x10"

I painted with the Surrey Hills Plein air painters on Friday, a nice spot, near the lock at Ripley. 
A tricky subject with lots of greens and the boat end obscured by the grasses. Sometimes paintings work from the beginning, others like this painting I was 3/4 through and I still wasn't sure whether it was going to work out. I'm not 100% sure about it, but pleased it's not a disaster! 
It does make a difference with the type of board it's painted on. This was the textured (like sandpaper) gessoed board which some subjects seam to really lend themselves to. 
I'm pleased I continued and didn't give up on it. Every painting is a learning and experience :-)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

#212 'The Trundle, West Sussex 15x40cm

Beautiful morning today, with a warm light and fluffy clouds.  I planned what I wanted to paint before I got there, as this is the third painting of this view recently. I felt I hadn't really got to grips with this swoop of this hill but I'm pleased with this one. 

Using a panoramic board I could really accentuate the space and distance. I mixed a variety of greens before I started. A new colour I'm using is Naples yellow, it isn't very strong but great for nudging a colour to warm and lightening the tonal value as well. 
The grass area at the top was quite light in tone and I like the lines going around the hilside they help guide the into the painting.       I enojyed painting this!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

#211 'Misty, Whitstable Harbour' 18x24cm

This was the first painting I started on the Wapping Group Wednesday (an esteemed group of London painters!)
I did a drawing in my sketch book to practise making the shapes as it was a tricky angle. I'd mixed all my colours and about to start painting when the skies opened. So I finished it at home in the dry of my studio. 
I actually found it harder inside as you can't see the nuances of tone and colours. But saying that I'm really pleased with the boldness and strength of this painting. The owner of the boat talked to me that day and said he wanted to see the painting if it turned out ok. Let hope he likes it!

Friday, 28 July 2017

#210 Sky Study, Whitstable 5x10"

This was the last painting I did on the day with the Wapping Group. I was very tired but couldn't resist the sky. It was ever changing and the light and cloud formation, yummy! 
I knew I had paint still mixed on my palette from the previous paintings so I could use the colours as a starting point for the sky.
Sansador medium helped to make the paint flow but still keeping it brushy marks, took about 20 minutes to do. It was changing second by second, everytime I looked down to mix paint and look up it was different, the clouds had moved into another formation but it was exciting to paint and I would like to do a series of cloud paintings one after the other. Great for observation and tuning your painting skills (fun too!)
Next to me doing the same thing a painting friend Neil Pitcher he was a Wapping guest too - we had a cloud paint off!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

#209 'Salva Mea, Whitstable' 18x21cm

The is was the second time for being a guest with the Wapping group (a prestigious group based in London the member are accomplished professional painters.)

Whitstable in Kent is one of the further places they visit. I'd not been before but it had a lot to offer an artist, unfortunately the weather was against with rain and wind. This boat was my second painting attempt of the day - the first was abandoned due to a heavy rain. I stood for a while holding my umbrella - I couldn't attach it to the esael as it was too windy. I tried to paint but the rain was coming underneath! 
So this little red boat was perfect as I could stand in shelter under a oyster cabin. At one point there was 7 of us painting a similar view all huddled in the dry!
I had just started painting and a big fishing boat comes in with all his catch to unload and of course wants access to the door I'm standing in front of! I had a little window to look through see my view here it is: 
People often ask why plein air is harder than painting in the studio, so many reasons!! This is one of them, things change.

I loved the reflection of the boat, worked hard to get the tone and colours right. I did it as a patch work of paint strokes building it up to make a mosaic of colour. I'm pleased with the result. I kept the colours limited for harmony, the main ones being red & green - colour complimentaries. 
The name of the boat Salva Mea means: Save me. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

#208 'Paynes Boat Yard, Thorney Island' 24x30cm

My husband and I did a recce on Saturday for possible painting and photographic spots around Thorney Island (on the south coast of Hampshire). I loved this old boat yard so went back today. The owner was very friendly and even made me a cup of tea and biscuits while I was painting! 
This little harbour had a barrage weir so the water hardly moved up and down with the tide, soooo much easier than chasing the water in and out! The wooden boat is over 100 years old and named Teal.
The weather was changeable, wind, rain, sun... but not bad enough to stop.
I used a thin strip of wood to help me paint the straight lines of the mast. I know some other artists use a mahl stick or edge of a board. I thought I try it and it definitely helped make a much stronger line shape, I will use it again!
I'm pleased with this painting and will do more there :-)

Friday, 21 July 2017

#207 'Strood Farm' 18x24cm

Driving to my potter friend she lives in the South Downs and on the way there I always think I want to paint this view! So this time I did. (It's nr Petworth on the A272)

Quite hard to find a view whilst driving. I spotted this scene through a 6 bar gate a quick glimps of the farm house and then it was gone. So I turned around and parked. The field was on a slope so the bottom half of the view was cut off and the line was too harsh. I decided to risk it and climbed over the gate to get closer to it. Luckily no farm animals and the crop and had been harvested. 
But the farmer on his tractor spotted me and made a beeline.  Thankfully he was really friendly and happy for me to stand in the middle of his field and paint his farm. It was a stunning spot and I really enjoyed painting it. 

The painting stages:

Greens varying them from warm to cool, and quite translucent - not much white.
The sun came out whilst I was putting in the house the tones changed so much it looked better so I adjusted the 3 sides of the house to work. 
I'm trying to think tonally again as it really makes a difference to a painting. I ask myself questions:  'This part of the roof how does it compare with the trees next to it and then how does the trees compare to the sky......?
Everything should relate to each other.

My potter friends husband is emailing this painting to the farmer, lets hope he likes it :-)

Thursday, 20 July 2017

#206 'The Thames at Twickenham' 8x10"

Yesterday I had my first day painting with the Wapping Group. Is the longest established society of working artists in the UK, started in 1946 and limited to just 25 members. I went as a guest you can go 4 times in a season. 

I felt quite anxious but they made me feel very welcome. Painting with such esteemed artists it took me a while to settle and had lots of doubts about my abilities! But once I started painting the boats and water I got into it and took a breath!
I decide to use square short flat brushes to do confident brush marks, and blocked in shapes. The weather wasnt grea, spitting, grey th elight was quite flat I couldnt hardly detemin where the sun was shining onto! 
I enjoyed painting with other artists and in an area I've not painted in before, being on Twickenham high street you wouldn't have known this scene was there, a hidden gem. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

#205 'Yacht Harbour' 24x30cm

Not any easy subject! A mass of masts and mud! I was told it helps to paint the uprights - masts before you put the sky in. See pic below. I liked the light masts agaisnt the dark tree foliage and the hulls of the boats shining in the sun. 
I quickly put the father and little girl plus the lady looking down. The lady was there less than a minute, you never know how long they will stay for! 
Making the masts smaller and closer together gives the impression of space receding. One observation on masts.... They are generally lighter against the land background and when against the sky they are darker in tone. 

Back from The Patchings Art Festival, it was exciting to see my painting and it's awards :-) Also got to meet Ken Howard - a painting legend and watch David Curtis do a great seascape demo, all very inspiring! 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Award Winner!

I have just found out I have been given 2 awards at The Patchings Art Festival in The Artist Magazine Category. 
So thrilled I can't quite believe it 


It's the Royal Talens award and The Artist Exhibition award. 

If you get a chance could you vote for me for the PEOPLES CHOICE (it looks like the pic above) 

Here's the link, Thank you!…/TA…/gallery_view.php…

We're going to have a look at the Patchings Art Centre this weekend, for the first time, and to see my painting! 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

#204 'View over Southsea Common' 21x30cm

This is a view from my Mums flat in Southsea - Portsmouth. I painted on the balcony, 7 floors up. The common grass area is already dry and burnt from the sun we've been having.  
The building is Southsea Castle (built in 1544) and the light house was built in the 1820's!  The building in the sea is called Spitbank Fort and the land on the horizon is the Isle of Wight.

Here is a pic of the painting on the balcony:

Sunday, 9 July 2017

#203 'Morning Light, The Trundle' 24x30cm

Painting this morning back at the Trundle I was here a few days ago but in the evening. I decided to take a risk and try a different technique to what I have been practising recently.

To cover the whole board in paint and then paint over the top to adjust the colours and tones. See below for the first stage of covering and then 15 mins later the following stage. The painting took 2 hours. 

Deciding what to adjust and what to leave as the first base paint. It helped to get it covered so you can compare the tones and colours to each other without the board tone interfering. It also allowed nme to get the trees and shadows in quickly in the foreground as they were changing fast in the morning sun. 
I'm really pleased with this one as I think it's more of the finish I am looking for - painterly and impressionist. 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

#202 West Witterings Beach 18x24cm

Yesterday we were out in West Witterings in Hampshire. It was sunny and the sea breeze was blowing. I burnt the backs of my knees (missed the sun cream here!) It really felt like summer and it was teaming with people.
I started one composition and it wasn't working so I looked around for another. I turned on the spot and found this one. Not the sort of thing I have tackled before and it was a challenge! 
So many shapes and colours and they're moving around. Simplify, I thought, I don't have to put everything in, just the bits I like and are important to the composition. The little Life Guard hut broke up the sky line and the windbreaker was a strong element in the foreground, and being so big needed to be right! 
The people I did very quickly just getting the essence of them, not too much detail. 
My paint and board was covered in sand - gritty mixing! 
I want to go back and do studies of this area and get used to this kind of subject, it was fun though :-)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

#201 'Evening Light, The Trundle' 9x12"

I painted this last night, a hot hazy evening, with beautiful light.
I had forgotten how wonderful this view is. It is a huge expanse, looking left is Chichester and right is Portsmouth and in the distance the Isle of Wight (all Hampshire.)

I didnt have long before the light fell behind the bank of hillside, you can see it touching the tops of the trees. The distance and sky got better as the evening went on turning a gorgeous apricot colour. I painted this in 90 mins quick for me, sunset is easier than sunrise as you do have a bit longer with the light changes. (but it still changes fast!)
I want to get there earlier to paint the long evening shadows...

See my instagram for the painting stages and a short video:

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

#200 'View from the Old Dairy' 18x24cm

Yesterday I was on a great workshop with artist Richard Pikesley, there were 9 of us on it and we focused on tonal key and greens! 

Having had a day with Richard 6 weeks ago it was really helpful to check in and see if I'm on the right track. He said I am painting like a martian!! Which is a compliment not labeling the subject just seeing them as shapes, colours tones...

This is the 3rd painting I did in the day, the first two were ok, but happiest with this one.

200th painting since I've been recording them from January 2016. Here's to the next 200!

I have just started a new facebook page if your more into FB then blogging...

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

#199 'Sunflowers' 8x8"

I went to RHS Wisley with a painter friend. She is a botanical artist and has not painted outdoors before.
These variety of sunflowers are called 'Baby Face' and when people walked past them they made them smile. 
Yellows are always tricky to get the tonal variation right. I mixed a light violet colour the complimentary to the yellow which helps with the shadow areas.
I repainted the lower flower 3 times! The shape wasn't right, I ended up drawing out the basic shape before I painted it, which I'm now pleased with.

I wouldn't have chosen to go to Wisley but enjoyed painting these happy flowers.

A pic of the little sunflowers

Monday, 3 July 2017

#198 'Setting Sun, Sky Study' & Sketches

This was the fourth painting of the day, so I was warmed up and flowing! Although when I did it at 10pm it was dusk and could hardly see what I was painting :-) There isn't much tonal contrast just colour contrast. I enjoyed getting the paint down quickly.
I painted one more before we left the next morning but not sure about it. So this is the last of the French paintings for now. 
I also have some drawings which I'm going to work up into are a few of the sketches to give you an idea: