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.



#238 'Dusk, Grand Canal' 8x8"


I stood in the Vaperetto water bus stop to paint this. It was a great view looking down the grand canal and the georgous light after the sun had set.
It was very fleeting so I worked quickly and keeping it loose. I mixed the peachy pink colours with Naples yellow deep, Cadmium Red & Yellow & a smidge of Perminant Rose. The red post I put in first, there were actually two posts next to each other, I had painted both but realised the composition wasn't balanced so took one out. It's best to put in the structure of the poles first as its harder to paint over the top especialy on a light colour making it dark enough. It was also getting the red the right tonal value and brightness - it wasnt lit so quite dark. I put a couple of lights in as they were turning on at the end of painting.
Quite a challneging spot to paint as every 10 minutes the Vaperetto bus bashed into the floating platform I was standing on and sent me flying! A couple of times I had the brush on the board and did a big accidental swoosh!
See next post with a picture on location.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

#237 'Maria Della Salute' 8x10"


Monet painted this scene along with Ken Howard. You can see why with water, lovely shapes and light!
When I started it was still hazy with the mist. But an hour into it and the sun was shining and intense, it totally changed the scene. I was floundering trying to paint what I had first seen but struggling as it was so different. I was thinking of wiping it but with nothing to lose I decided to change it to what was there at that point, warm sunshine (and no mist!) And just kept saying ‘paint what you see’...which helped. 
The sky I had painted yellow but with the sun out it was blue so I painted over the top of the yellow.
The buildings were tricky to get enough detail to give the essence but not overdo the windows!  I'm pleased with the outcome :-)






#236 'Dawn, San Giorgio Maggiore' 8x10"


I couldn't post while in Venice, I tried but had difficulties with Nick (my husbands) laptop, and I was out painting so much time was limited. I did write notes for each painting so I wouldn't forget. I will post two a day for the next 5-6 days :-)

First painting in Venice! I chose a fairly simple subject putting the emphasis on the light. The colours were harmonious and a limited palette with pinks and purples.
The scene was very tonal so I didn't want to much detail to take away the tonal quality.
I was half way through painting when the fog horns began, The mist came in quickly and obscured my subject completely like looking at a white piece of paper!
The fog horns were still going and suddenly this massive cruise liner came out of the mist the bow towering above, it was quite eerie.
This was a good warm up painting.

NEWS UPDATE
I wanted to add a note on the end of this post to say I have heard from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) and I have a got a painting through to their exhibition, woohoooo!! So pleased, it will be my first time exhibting in the London Mall galleries.

This is the painting: 'The Trundle, West Sussex' 15x40cm




Saturday, 7 October 2017

News Update


There are certain land marks in an artist career and one of them for me is getting into the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) exhibition (& later be a member of their Society).

The ROI was founded in 1882 and is the only British Art Society that promotes work of the highest standard exclusively in oils.They hold an annual exhibition in the Mall Galleries in London.
I tried for the first time last year and had 2 paintings selected - which means through to the first round but didn't get hung in the show. 
Today I am going to the Mall Galleries because I've had 3 paintings selected, very excited! (see pic above) 
The first round is judged on line with digital images. The next stage is taking the framed paintings so they can judge to whether they are through into the exhibition! Oh my!
The last few days I have been painting the above frames and making them as good as I can, fingers crossed I hope to get one painting through!  I will let you know next week when I find out 😳

I have also been preparing for a Venice trip leaving Tuesday this week, for 6 nights. Really excited to be going to Venice and paint for the first time, I have been just once before in 2012 and wasn't doing outside painting then so just sketched. 
I have been making boards and more boards!! I don't want to run out. 
I hope to blog when I'm there, depending on if I get any time in between painting! Otherwise I will catch up at home.

Lastly back in the summer I won 2 prizes with the Artist Magazine one was with Royal Talens receiving £250 worth of art materials.  I choose Rembrandt which is artist quality paint, it arrived yesterday and the colours look amazing (I've not used them before), a bonus I can take some with me to Venice, yay!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

#235 'Tower Bridge, The Thames' 8x10"


This was the final painting I did on Monday. Started it about 10am there was cloud & sun, a lot less dramatic than #234. But still inspiring and interesting to paint. 

We were further away from the bridge so it's smaller in the composition. Putting the boats in the foreground and HMS Belfast on the right side helps with composition.

Aerial perspective, to give a sense of space I simplified the colours and made them tonally lighter as they receded. Keeping the strong contrast of colour and tone in the foreground.

The scene looked different when I was finishing the painting (see pic below), the sun properly came out and I made the mistake of putting the blue iron works on the bridge in a blue colour, because that's what I could see! 
Back home I could see it was too blue for the rest of the painting, so I dulled it to fit! 
I was painting with Caroline Greene & Rod Major. Caroline I met on a painting workshop and kindly reads my blog. Rod I met through posting on instgram!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

#234 'Morning Light, Tower Bridge' 8x10"


Yesterday I was in London painting with two artists one I them Rod Major I'd met through Instagram!
I set off from my house at 4.30am hoping to catch the sunrise. I was there in time but sadly  the clouds obscured the sun and my composition didn't work - I was too close to the bridge on too small a board! But it was a good warm up. 
At 8.30am Rod and I painted this scene. The light was unbelievable, looked like a Monet painting. Contra jour with the light directly over the bridge, a warm glow and sparkly water. It was such plein air bliss! 
I painted quickly to capture the moment. Not too much detail more about the feel and atmosphere.
I am pleased with the result! 
Will post the final painting from London tomorrow.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

#233 'Dawn, Langstone' 8x10"


I decide not to settle for a mediocre composition. I went to a place I had liked previously painted and the tide was so far out there was a trickle of water and mainly mud! It didnt inspire me - and it needs too!
So I drove across Langstone Bridge onto Hayling Island but on the way over I thought yes and turned around.
With much walking around I came across this composition I stood under the bridge, - not possible when the tide is up!
With all that faffing the sun had nearly poked its head over the horizon. I quickly drew on a board the composition and made a note of the lovely colours, it was beautiful and iridescent.  I decided to try and painting it back in the studio. This can be hard to capture the freshness of plein air inside. 
So, I tackled the painting like I do when time is of the essence outside - not spend long on one area and no procrastinating in applying the paint!
The subject is about light and colour and also the quality of how the paint is applied so it gives a lovely oil sheen and not dull.
I'm pleased with the result.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

#232 'View to Bosham' 15x40cm


I was itching to get out yesterday and was a lovely afternoon, I went to Chidham (West Sussex) and walked to the coast with a view across the water to Bosham. 
There was some gorgeous fluffy clouds when I arrived, I whipped out a board and drew with a brush the general form and movement of the clouds. They were scudding so quickly off to the left and no more were coming. 
The tide was high and my tripod was sitting in the sea water. I set the tone of the painting with the sky first making sure it was light enough. And then put the greenery and buidling strip with general shapes and looking for the light and shadows. 
When things happened in the water like a yacht going by or activiy on the shore I put that in too. Then the sea around the boats and adding light boats on the top of the sea colour. The light greens in the foreground weren't there when I started but I thought it would add to the composition.
This is where I got up to outside....
I aim to finish or complete as much as possible on the spot outside, but sometimes circumstances lead to finishing inside, this time it was because I wanted the reference of the sky to finish it. I have talked to other plein air artists about this and so many are the same as me, plan to finish outside in one go and it doesnt always happen! (So I'm not going  to beat myself up about it!)

We have our shared disabled dog Matte staying at the moment (he's blind & deaf.) He can't be left so I have worked in the studio this week on a painting but not a 100% So here it is warts and all!
I painted it on a different surface board - rougher like sandpaper and the paint sunk more and looks flatter. Board surfaces make such a difference to the finished quality of a painting. I wont use that Gesso again!




Saturday, 23 September 2017

#230 '1964 Mechanical Horse' 8x8"


This cute little vehicle was in Ian Cryers collection in Somerset. He loves old stuff especially around the railways. He tell me this is quite a rare 'Scammell Townsman' and he has two them! They were used instead of horses for hawlage on the railways lines. 
I thought it had great character and that's what I tired to capture. 

Ian lives next to the M5 motoway which he loves because he can store all his old machines under the motorway. The light was strange under there hard to see where it was coming from and a lot of midtones.
To take the uncertainties out of painting this unsual vehicle I painted it as though it was as a boat! (which I'm more comfortble with) and broke it down into shapes of tones and colour- manily yellows! Using a violet (Ultramrine & Perminant Rose) to darken and dirty the yellow for the shadows.
It was my 3rd painting of the day and the light was fading so this is where I got up to ...



I finished it in the studio this week, tricky to decide how to paint the background. 
Its almost like a still life I tried just a plain thinly painted same colour all over. It didn't work, I wiped it off. So I took elements of what was really there and simplified them, so the emphasis is on the Mecanial Horse and hopefully doesn't compete with the background. It was a fun subject to paint.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

#231 'Somerset Levels' 9x12"


Somerset levels are quite flat and low level so the skies are amazing, dramatic and endless. Could paint them all day! 
A group of us liked this subject because when we arrived the light was behind the trees - contra jour and the cattle were standing with a halo of light on their backs. It looked so English.
Here we are lined up!
From the left: Maria Rose, Tom Stevenson, Julia Hawkins, Me, Ian Cryer-ROI president.

Within minutes of starting, the weather changed and a bank of clouds came over and obstructed the light, so frustrating! I painted the bits that I could while waiting fo rth esun to come back. It did but not for long, so it's a manily overcast paitning, but still with an English feel!

The cows were not easy because the were so small scale in my painting, paint a blob of dark and if you try and put too much detail it looks contrived but too little and a black blob!


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!