Tuesday, 21 November 2017

#261 'Sky & Sea Study, Dorset' 8x10"

It was a grey day but the sun came out for 30 minutes or so and I grabbed it! 
When a subject is changing so quickly I paint it in the order it's going change the most. 

1. Clouds - the shape & colour 
2. Light on the water the lightest part and the area surrounding it
3. The sun & area around it
4. Horizon line of the sky how it compares to the sea - how the yellow in the sky compares to the sunlight on the water.
5. Sea - the darker waves int eh foreground
6. Block in the rest of the sea and sky

Painting like this is fast and focused not stopping in one area long observing and getting it down as a moment in time.

#260 'Charmouth Beach' 8x10"

A grey morning so I put the emphasis onto the beach by making the horizon line on the top third of the board and using the seaweed lines and pebbles to help lead the eye in.
I painted this subject 4 times during last week, so helpful to learn the subject shapes to then focus on other aspects like the tonal values or colours.
I put the little people in to give some scale of the huge beach - no colour needed just dark silhouettes. 
The flat top cliff is called Golden Cap and is the highest point on the south coast of England being 191 meters. The top of the cliff is sandstone hence the name.

#259 'Golden Cap Looking West' 8x10"

I have just had a week in Dorset painting the local area of Bridport, Charmouth & Lyme Regis all on the Jurassic Coast.
I was lucky with the weather, it didn't rain once! and had some great sunsets and rises.
I have about 10 paintings to post from the trip and will do 2-3 a day.

On the first day I arrived to catch the sunset, and was really pleased to find this view at the end of the caravan park I was staying in - dramatic cliffs with great shapes. 
I started to paint late afternoon and had 3/4 of the painting down when the sunset lit the sky, it was beautiful. I tried putting in the colourful sky but it didn't fit the rest of the painting and I would have had to repaint the lot to match, I decided to keep it how it was. Sometimes you can't chase the light!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

#258 'Dusk, Beer Fishing Boats' 15x45cm

I had started this on Beer beach a couple of weeks ago, but it was the end of the day and I was pooped after painting since dawn, so I decided to leave it finish to the studio. I'm glad I did because it was a challenge! 

The boats were the easiest bits and fun to paint. The sea and sky ... Because it was dusk there wasn't much light shining on the boats so they were silhouetted against the sea and getting the tonal value right was hard. And the sky being a small strip needed to get the colour intensity and tone right - 4 attempts later!
I painted the boats with a short flat brush - Rosemary & Co 'Ultimate' range and then painted the sea in a bigger size of this brush it didn't look right too uniformed in the strokes, scarped it off and re did it with a large round brush. Better!
The foreground stones of the beach also tricky as I don't want to make it too blocky and strong as its not the feature of the painting, but it was dark because of the time of day.

A good learning painting which is harder to do when painting outdoors as the time is limited and you are just focusing to get the painting down.

Been preparing 40 board (see pic below) for a trip to Dorset - I wont be using all 40 boards! Having a week in a caravan in November & hoping it's not a mistake! But looking forward to painting the Dorset coast.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

#257 'View from Battersea' 5x10"

I was up in London yesterday with friend and artist Sarah Manolescue. We were hoping for winter sun but it was grey and cold! 
I had one of those days which didn't work well for painting. Why?  
I started 2 paintings which I have scraped off and this was the 3rd. The other two the composition wasn't working plus I had bitten off more than I could chew. 
Caroline Greene asked a question a couple of posts ago about whether I have awarenes and intention behind every stroke and mark I make. It's an interesting one to think about when you paint. Do you do the painting a bit like driving a car being on auto pilot - suddenly and the painting is finished and you don't remember the process! I try to have awareness as much as I can while doing it, but being tried makes a difference as you don't have the ump! and to make all the decisions required. I was tired yesterday.
This little oil sketch is ok, and I'm happy to have something for all my efforts! We were pleased to see the sun just before it set. But by then our fingers and toes were so frozen & numb we couldn't do it anymore, time to go home....

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

#256 'Pheonix, Emsworth Harbour' 24x30cm

This scene didn't look that inspiring when I started the painting but knew it would get better as the sun rose. I liked the jaunty angle of the boat and part reflection obscured by the mud. 

It wasn't long before the tide rolled in and the boat was upright and floating. I made sure I didn't start painting it like this as its whole different painting on top of it! (see above pic)
There are three main colours two of them being complementary Red-Orange & Green-Blue, they do seam to go together well and the other a warm and cool grey.

Two areas I found difficult in the painting were the strip of houses on the horizon and the cabin of the boat. The houses I repainted until I finally cracked it, painting a block of similar tone and then over painting and picking out some roof shapes, it didn't need much. The Boat cabin was getting the drawing right and the tonal values within it. The mud line also got to fussy and overworked so wiped it off and had another go. (See pic below for the 3 areas.) 
I sometimes re paint san area as many times as it takes, it often adds to the painting to have ghost of marks underneath, so I don't think of it as a negative thing - although it can be frustrating sometimes!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

#255 'Morning Light, Emsworth Harbour' 5x10"

I did this one straight after the previous painting posted. Just moved around the harbour a bit.    I am a sucker for sparkle on the water! 
The boats were really silhuetted and strong shapes. I moved my body so the compostion of them worked - and then I didn't have to move them on my painting. I did edit a few out as it was too complex for the size board.
Again painted quickly as after 40 minutes the sparkle was gone. Limited tones 4 main ones. The colours mainly yellow and blue - Ultramarine & Naples Yellow.
Looking for little highlights on the boats as well especially the tops where the sun hits them.

When I get back to my studio I always get the paintings out and line them up on my shelf to decide if they work or not. I'm pleased with these two as a pair - it's not often they work together.

#254 'Fishing Boat, Emsworth Harbour' 8x10"

A quick painting of a still morning. Passers by were commenting on what a lovely morning to be painting, yes, so lucky I said. 
Not easy though, as this scene shanged within 30 minutes of starting it. I posted the photo (see below) on Instagram to show how different it looked - the wind had picked up so no reflections and the the boat had turned 180 degrees, oh my!
Kept the colour palette limited as it was contra jour the colours are mire subdued and silhutted. I ratio of tonal values: most of it is light eg the sea and sky being the same and a small area of very dark tonal value which makes the composition interesting.
Little highlights of almost white dotted around for the sun sparkles.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

#253 'Morning Light Albert Bridge' 8x10"

On Monday I went to London to see the Chelsea Open Exhibition which I was very pleased to have two paintings showing in it. One of them was Albert Bridge so I was inspired to have another go at it. 
I have noticed the light is changing now the sun is lower in the sky and it was a gorgeous morning.

I started a couple of times and wiped off, I liked the reflection of the bridge posts and moved the composition up to get them in. 
With this faffing I then started without drawing as I wanted to capture the light as it was so I just got the colour down. 
See the stages below. So much harder to work out all the shapes and proportions as you go but it seams to work well as a method - one that Richard Pikesley artist, has suggested to me in the past.
I also experimented with getting the wall and lamp post in on the left side, but being a relatively small board the two strong uprights (the bridge & post) competed with each other and didn't work so I took the lamp post out.

Painting the bridge without drawing first

The two paintings which got into the prestigious Chelsea Exhibition last weekend.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

#252 'Morning Light, Beer Beach' 5x10"

I thought the sunrise was going to be a bit of a damp squib. So I had started another painting of the fishing boats but without the light it wasn't working so when the flash of orange appeared I picked up my easel and almost ran to the edge of the beach! Then painted a quick oil sketch to get it down, sunrise seams to change more quickly than sunsets. I started with the bit that would change the quickest and the most important -  the orange in the sky and water reflection and then painted everything else around it including the land.
This was the last painting of Beer....back to Surrey.

I stepped back to look at the painting and thought how nice the scene looked, it's the red boat I painted when I first arrived in Beer.

#251 'Beer Head' 8x10"

I looked around after I finished the previous boat painting I posted and saw the light on the water and sky and thought I've got to paint that! So I turned my easel around and started straight away. The light only lasted about 30 minutes so it was a scramble to get it down. 

I blocked in the main shape of the cliff first and then the water and sky. I had painted the same cliff the day before from a higher aspect but haven't posted it as Im not convinced the painting works! It's not easy because the cliff is white chalk but there was no light on it, it was behind therefore in silhouette. Underpainting in one colour and then picking up areas over the top seams to unify.  Also keeping the paint for the water thinner in some places and thicker where the light hits.
There were some figures, so small you can hardly see them, but there there :-)
The scene reminds me of something Monet would paint!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

#250 'Fishing Boats, Beer' 8x10"

An enjoyable afternoon painting with some local artists from friends and instagram buddies from the Devon area. 
The light wasn't great flat and dull but choosing a colourful and interesting shapes to paint helps when there is no light to feature.
Spent quite a bit of time getting the composition right, decided to chop the last one in half. I also put in the pontoon on wheels but it was too long and made the composition unbalanced so took it out. I added an upright instead - the person which helped. 
Kept the brushwork quite loose and free not wanting to be too exact. Also matching the style of the loose sky to the boats.

Happy to say this painting is my 100th of this year :-) 

#249 'Dawn Fishing Trip' 15x40cm

I really like the shapes of the boats and the morning activity when the fisherman are loading up ready for day on the water.
It needed fast painting as there was little time between the sun coming up and the boats disappearing over the edge of shingle. They are pushed by the tractor down the 5 meter drop into the sea, and when they ome back they are winched the steep slope back onto the brow of the beach. 
I had barely got the main shape of the left red one and it had gone and then the navy blue one the other side! It's good to do quick studies as you dont have time for procrastinating just totally focused and laying paint down.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

#248 'Sunrise, Beer Beach' 8x10"

We were up each morning for sunrise, this was the first. With fast painting to get the colours and shapes of the clouds down before they changed. And a bonus to have a little fishing boat puttering into my scene, I put it in without too much detail just general shape.
I pre mix my colours before the sun has come up and the display starts. Quite tricky as its dark when I'm doing it- I need a light! But helps to be able to dive into the paint once the colours start....I can also tweek the pre mixed to get the colours to match what I'm seeing but its a good starting point, see my piles of mixed paint below.

#247 'Fishing Boat, Beer' 8x10"

We have just spent 3 nights in Beer, Devon. I was recommended by painter friends that it was a good place, and it was! Really enjoyed the interesting beach with the fishing boats and very steep drop to the sea, great cliffs each side too.
I eased myself in when we arrived with this painting of a typical fishing boat in Beer. The light was unsual, still yellow sky and milky green water. I enjoyed painting the silhuetted shape against the light background. Tried to keep the brush work fresh and not overwork it. 

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Back in the Studio

Venice was such an amazing place to paint. Much harder than I expected with so many battles but I'm really pleased with the outcome.

Some Venice painting Stats:
I painted 15 in 6 days and 11 paintings turned out ok enough to show you! 
I walked on average 8,000 steps a day with all my painting gear. (That was nothing compared to my husband taking photographs, he did 20,000 steps a day!!)
My most used colour was Naples Yellow Deep.
I mainly used 8x10" boards, and stacked them with stuck on matches sticks to get the wet paintings home see below.

I feel I learnt a lot and still a have so much to learn....I'm already planning a trip to return to Venice for a longer paint next year :-)
Painting in Monet's spot!

#246 'Sunrise, San Giorgio Maggiore' 8x10"

This was the second painting I did of this sunrise and the final 'en plein air' painting in Venice.
I mapped out the building shape and high horizon line before the sun came up. The portrait format helps to showcase the lovely light on the water. 

I built up the brush strokes like a mosaic of colour putting lots of patches in until it was covered, working quickly as it changed so fast.
Spacing out the yellow chunks of light on the water so they were further apart at the bottom of the board gives a feeling of space. 

It was one of those paintings that painted itself being in tune with the subject, it just seamed to happen! I'm really pleased with the result.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

#245 'Sunrise, San Giorgio' 8x10"

I got there before the sunrise so I could mix some initial colours and draw out the basic shapes. I knew it would be quick and I wanted to capture the light and colours of the moment. At the same time I drew out a second board which I will post tomorrow.

When the sun peeped up above the horizon I was so pleased on the position as I didn't know where it would be - having had misty starts for the past 5 days!

The colours I used are just hinting at the warm peachy glows and set off with the two blues. A few comings and goings of boats, and the silhouetted skyline. I could paint this scene over and over! 

While I was painting that morning a lovely American chap came running past and really liked both paintings and wants to buy one, really pleased! It's so good when people want to buy what I love to paint :-)

#244 'Gondolas, Grand Canal' 8x10"

I painted with Sally Balick another artist, who helped firstly because it was such a busy spot and to be with another person helps, also to get ideas on how others tackle a tough subject.
You don't realise how much the boats move until you try and paint them. Up and down and side to side they bob. I realised I needed to fix a position they move into then Wait until there in that positon again and do another mark. 
I used mainly 8x10" boards on this trip but it would have helped have a squarer format, Sally used a 10x12" which fitted the scene better. See below pic, also shows how busy it was around us!

I kept it loose and brushy to give the feeling of movement so it wasn't tight and polished. Leaving some of the ground orange colour also gives this feeling.
There was a high contrast of tonal values between the ends of the boats and sea. Thankfully none of the gondolas were taken away while we were painting them that's always there in the back of your mind they could go at any point!

This is a much photographed and painted scene but it's my take on it and it was fun and a challenge to do, so why not!
Only in Venice! a bride was being photograpahed so close to us, it was a worry with our wet oil paint and her white dress!

Friday, 20 October 2017

#243 'St Mark's Basilica' 8x10"

A really tricky subject. We got there early morning to paint in the fog, but it was so dense to start with we couldn't see it to paint and then it quickly cleared and no mist left just building!

I kept it a sketchy and loose not getting caught up with detail, the sort of subject you need to learn in an initial painting and then do another.
I enjoyed painting with a couple of other artists that day, gondolas painting to follow tomorrow.

#242 'Sunset, Santissimo Redentore Church' 8x10"

There are such great silhouette shapes for sky lines in Venice. Added to which beautiful light and colour = I could keep painting this amazing city!

The historic wooden posts in the water helps break up the strong horizon line and make the composition more interesting.
I made a grey with Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue then added the orangie sky mix to it to make it hazy and give a sense of space and colour harmony.
I used quick thick paint (hardly any medium to thin it) which gives a silvery glossy finish that adds to the subject.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

#241 'Gondolas at Night' 8x8"

This is my first nocturnal painting, there are not many places I've been that would inspire me to go and paint at night! This is one of them, with the dancing light on the water and tonal shapes were great.

My painter buddy (Neil Pitcher) had a great light its one used by a musian in an orchestra pit. A two pronged light one to light your painting the other your palette. I needed one as I couldn't see the oclours very well and when I got home that night I was horrified by a strong green I had put down instead of a wamer colour. I wiped it and painted this bit again. 
But on the whole I'm pleased with this one as it gives a flavour of night. 

#240 'Mist, St Marks Square, Venice' 8x10"

I wasn't sure how I would tackle the mist but once I had found this great spot and mixed my colours, I really enjoyed it. 

Someone said to me to put colour notes down early on in a painting. Which I have been doing recently, especially in such a tonal painting like this one. I put a patch of the sky in next to the building to give me an idea whether I've pitched both of them right.

I've also been working on reducing the amount of tones I have in the painting down to around 4! Which seams very little compared to what is out there. But it helps with composition and making the painting work as a whole. Can you spot the approximate 4 tonal values in this painting?
The mist was quite thick to begin with and the moist atmosphere made my paints sticky and the pavement was wet as though it had been raining, which allowed for great reflections!

A couple of location shots

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

#239 'Sunset, the Grand Canal' 8x10"

I was going to get on the water bus and go to a St Marks Square for the sunset. But seeing the sparkle on the water and the colours I had to stop and paint.

A lot of places I paint on location I am on show, this one was odd as people were in a waiting room and I was painting in front of them! Plus when the boat turned up all the passengers and drivers were peering in having look at my painting. Which is alright once its nearly done and (hopefully) come together. But in the early stages I want to show out its not finished yet :-)

The colour of the sparkle? It's very hard to see it as it's so bright and dazzles your eyes. I look to see if its warm or cool. Generally later in the day or early morning its warmer and say middday it would be whiter paint.