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:

Saturday, 1 July 2017

#197 'Flags & Fishing Buoys' 24x30cm

This was near our hotel and all of us artists past this scene and went ooooh! So brightly coloured and great shapes.

I drew it the night before so I could work out the shapes and composition.

It was still a challenge though! I haven't been mapping out before I paint on my board for a while but needed to with this one, complex shapes and fitting it together. Plus working out the parameters of the composition. I liked the top ends of the flags but it made the buoys too small, so I chopped the tops off.

I built up around the buoys first blocking in the background as it was the larger area. 
The hardest bit was getting the intensity of buoy colours but still keeping it light in tone - too light and it goes chalky.

It feels a risk this painting as its not what I'd usually do, but I enjoyed it and had two fellow artist paint the same subject with me.

#196 'Low Tide, Port en Bessin' 8x10"

For some reason the flies loved this painting. I was working with another artist near by and her painting wasn't attractive to them! Look at my palette pic to see how many were in there. First I tried to save them by the end they were being mixed and and applied to my painting! I must have had over 30 flies stuck to my painting but thankfully most of them have now fallen off :-)

I repainted the mud/water area back in the hotel as I hadn't taken command of the paint and it looked unsure. I did it again with a bigger brush and it looks better - it helps to really attack it.

Friday, 30 June 2017

#195 'Port en Bessin, France' 18x21cm

I simplified what was there and emphasised the bits I liked. Building up a patchwork of colour, shapes and tones. 
A tricky subject but enjoyed piecing it all together.
A young French couple watched me paint for a while and then using google translate asked if it was for sale!

#194 Morning Light, Port en Bessin 18x24cm

There was a window of lovely light which I wanted to capture. To be bold in the mark making, blocking in and simplifying the shapes and keeping the colours fresh to help show the light.

I am now back home from the French trip. It's been hard keeping up with blogging the paintings. I got up every morning to paint at 5-6am. And painting solidly everyday, cleaning my brushes and falling in to bed at midnight! I will post the paintings I've done on this trip over the next few days. It's been so inspiring and wonderful being immersed in a painting world with fellow artists for 9 days. I did 15 paintings & 6 sketches...

Thursday, 29 June 2017

#193 'Pholos, Ile de Re' 10x10"

I heard from the other painters about a lovely old boat on blocks out of the water. 
There were 6 people painting around the area. I joined them with uncertainty as it was a big subject to tackle. 
The drawing & structure is important to get the angles & perspective. I marked off a couple of points but didnt draw it all out as I as I wanted to keep it blocky ( and not linear) especially in such a heavy weighted round bottom boat!
So much of the boat was white but peeling & old. I used my brush stokes to describe the direction of the carvel wood planks. 
I didn't try and put too much details. I wanted the emphasis on the shape and character of the boat. Also the size of it hence why I filled the board to make it feel big. 
A Dutch couple came past and really liked my painting and want to buy it. Such a boost and pleasing when this happens. 

#192 'Morning Reflections, Ile de Re' 18x21cm

I wanted to get a quickie in before we left for our next location. An early start where I was rewarded with beautiful light, really calm water and perfect reflections. 

I worked on a small board and time limited seamed to help being decisive and strong with my mark making.
I really observed the tones of the subjects and then their reflections. Darker or lighter? Warmer or cooler?  

I am unsure as to whether to work on it anymore? But thought I'd post it for now as it was the order I did it in...

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

#191 'Mist Clearing, Ile de Re' 10x10"

I had completed a painting of this misty scene the previous day. It was a landscape board and smaller scale. I wasn't 100% happy with it. Luckily the mist came back so I was able to have another go...
When I started the tide was up and the mist thick. 
Mist simplifies a subject and brings the tones close together. 
I had to restrain the whites of the boat and not make them too poppy & contrasted. 
I didnt put too much detail in the background as the mist edges and shapes.
By the time I was finishing the tide was low and the mist cleared! 
I'm pleased with the water, blocking it in and not fussing back into it. 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

#190 'Saint Martin Harbour, Ile de Re' 8x8"


A typical view of st Martin, with shuttered windows, boats and reflections. I wanted to give the impression of strong light. Although Ile de Re is not as far down as the Mediterranean it still has wonderful light and feels bright like the south of France. 
Quite complex subject the windows are tricky as you want to imply them but not put in to much detail - getting the balance of just enough information. Also putting the paint on quiet thickly gives a looser feel. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

#189 'Hollyhocks, Ile de Re' 8x8"

We are in the main town called Saint Martin on this picturesque island in France. The hollyhocks grow in the streets and are in full bloom and look gorgeous against the white washed houses and terracotta roofs. 
I painted the shape of the shadows first, then putting the lights in I adjusted the tonal values and making them cool or warm.
Really enjoying painting here, it's like a painters haven!
I have posted the stages of this painting on Instagram if you wanted to have look.
Clare BownArtist  is my page name. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

#188 'Fishing Boat, Ile de Re' 8x10"

Early morning and gorgeous warm light. I started a painting before which was a little more square onto the boat, the composition wasn't so good. But it worked out well to scrap it and start again because by the time I was putting the light onto this painting the sun came above the horizon and lit up the front of the boat. Big yay! Really enjoyed painted it.
I am still practising the same method  with no marking out with the paint brush brush first just blocking in the big shapes...harder to do as you have to be sure of composition and drawing skills.
Happy with this result :-)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

#187 'Fort National, St Malo' 8x10"

First painting of the Wapping Group & friends French 9 day trip. 
37 degree melting heat. Had to find shelter so I wedged myself into a turret on the old ramparts wall. See pic below. Someone said it looked like I had my own little Studio! People have been so friendly and really interested, I wish I spoke French, I can get the gist of basic but it's not the same as chatting with someone. 
I squinted my eyes to do the tonal values, which really helps to compare and simplify. The rocks I made a dark tone then added a light and mid to describe the shapes. The little yachts briefly sailed into my view then turned around a they were gone. Quickly got them in with their rescue boat. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

#186 'Cherries in a Green Pot' 6x6"

I wanted to paint from life (not from a photo) while we were doing the Open Studios last weekend. My Mum kindly gave us some cherries to eat, they looked so good I painted them, and then ate them!
I enjoyed painting the cherries more than I thought I would, the rich shiny colours. I didn't know how it would turn out as it's different to painting a plein air landscape. Although I used some of the methods like blocking in and comparing one tone and colour next to another. 
Might try some more cherry paintings!

I am using an old iPad to blog this as I'm going on a painting trip to France on Sunday and was having a practise run to see if it works. It does! So I hope there is wifi in the hotel and then I can blog my painting adventures....

Sunday, 11 June 2017

#185 'Storm Over West Wittering' 21x30cm

Very testing conditions! It was last week when the wind and rain was battering the country I went to the coast thinking it would be dramatic down there. It was :-) 
I tucked up against a groin but it really made no difference. The wind was so strong I could hardly control my arm movements. You go to make a brush mark on the board and the pochard rattles and I make a big splodge instead of a brush stroke!
Anyway I enjoyed trying to capture this fleeting rain storm. I thought it was going to get me but it went around the horizon and into my painting so I painted quickly and with energy to replicate what was happening in front of me.
Although I was pleased with the energy of mark making I did out on location I have since been re working some of the painting and I'm now happy with the final piece.

I tried to do two paintings one after the other. I ran back to the car to place the wet board inside came back and the pochard had crashed into the groin, thankfully no damage done.

I took a short video of my painting and the view with commentary but it's so windy you just hear the howl! It is on Instagram if you wanted to see it. My page is:

Thursday, 8 June 2017

#184 'Fishing Boat, Emsworth Harbour' 18x24cm

Painted this yesterday morning, nice light, especially compared to the grey drizzle of today! 

At the moment I am enjoying painting boats and their individual characters! 
When I arrived the tide was mainly out, and as I was paintiing it was creeping in around the boat. At one point I thought it looks better now than when I started so I changed the green mud to some watery blue, I like the reflection of the boat in the water too. 
Careful not to overwork the boat, so it is in keeping and fits with the rest of the painting.

Monday, 5 June 2017

#183 'Turning Tide, Emsworth Harbour' 21x30cm

Painted this a few days ago. I was standing at the end of the jetty that I had previously painted #178. 
When I arrived the tide was almost at it's lowest, it's surpising how quickly it turned and changed. When it did the boats turned 180 degrees! And the mud flat near me disappeared! I had blocked everything in but finished during the Open Studios yesterday putting more light on the boats and water. 

We had a good start over the weekend with visitors to our Open Studios. We're open again on Friday. 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Surrey Artists Open Studios 2017

It starts today! I've been meaning to write this post for a few days but the preparations for the Open Studios always take longer than I think.
We are ready (just!) and excited to open the doors to the public today and for the next 3 weekends - see pic below for dates.

I have made 15 paintings since the Haslemere Museum Exhibition we did in April. I'm pleased with my new work so it will be good to show it. 

We also have our friend is showing her silver jewellery in a gazebo in the garden, she's not done it before so I hope it goes well for her.

At this stage I have little panics similar to when you prepare for a big party, hoping that people will turn up and like it! I will post again to give an update. Wish us luck....

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

#182 'Table Mountain, Cape Town' 24x30cm

I made this painting from the drawings I did in Cape Town on our recent visit (see below). I didn't have my paints with me so it was great to actually paint it! 

Sunrise, with beautiful soft light on the mountain and deep turquoise blues and apricots of the sea and beach, a wonderful combo :-)

It did the painting in two stages firstly blocked in an approximate colour and tone of each area. When dry did a second layer of thicker paint and more closely observed. 
I drew the mountain in pen and ink 4 or 5 times, so when I came to paint this the mountain shape came easily. It was one of those paintings I didn't have to wipe off or redo anything, this doesn't happen often! I'm pleased with the final image.