Monday, 28 February 2011

Oil painting, creamy cakes from The Wooden Spoon, Killaloe..

I posted a painting of a creamy bun a while ago which was painted in oils on canvas, so I thought I'd show you another one I did in the autumn, but on board. The canvas was a lot quicker, as it seems to take colour more thickly, first time around, and colours blend in almost by themselves, whereas board has no absorbing quality so the paint smears and slides for the first layer and needs a second (or third...) to show a richness of colour. I think... Just to see what happened, I painted it onto a coloured base, rather electric...This painting is 8in x 10in, just a little bigger than the previous cream cake. 

And why am I showing you these now..? Because I spent Saturday doing a workshop and the venue was the Demonstration Kitchen above the Wooden Spoon Bakery in Killaloe - such torture as the ever-changing aromas wafted up the stairs all day... And huge plate fulls of meringue for eye-feasting - I can sense a meringue painting coming on... 

 Here's a pic of a lovely pastel drawing in progress, by one student on Saturday. 

Next up: Weekly classes resume this week in Belfast and two days of Big Drawing on Sat 5th & Sun 6th March in Belfast.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Oil Painting Portrait

This is the first head I have painted in oils. I started the Learning-to-use-Oils project in July 2009, by trial and error, of purely still life, mostly of fruit on white cloth. Each one was 6inx6in, and while I had no idea what I was doing, it was addictive and frustrating and fast I used canvas for the first year till a friend, who had also tried his hand at oil, badgered me into trying to paint on board. How I snobbily resisted. Eventually, to please him, I did. And what a difference.. For me, its slower, but I like the smooth finish. I'm still learning, still feel excited when I feel how oily one colour is against how dry and reluctant another may be. Still reeling at the cost of some tubes.. But I buy them anyway! (artist quality only folks, otherwise, trust me, you may as well not bother).
My favourite subjects are people and animals, so I finally took the plunge and had a go at painting Rodney, my local Dry Cleaner, as he has a great head. I found the painting difficult (SKIN TONES????!!), as I do every time, but I took a break from it for a few days and was glad to get back to it, and it only took about 4 days. I gave him a little more hair after this shot, and recoated the back ground.. Not the clearest photo, very hard to photograph, but you get the idea..  Hope you like it. And yes, Rodney says he likes it very much, Aw.

Next up, Big Drawing Workshop Saturday 26th Feb, Killaloe, Co Clare Ireland
Water Colour Workshop Sunday 27th Feb, Dublin Ireland
Call or email to book.
Phone - from UK 07730 560 517 from Ireland 087 1330040

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Oily Cheeses and colour Pencil Peppers...

Here is my most recently completed oil painting, another in the series for local shops. This was a challenge, as usual, because I primed it differently. This is painted on MDF board, so must be primed with a few layers of gesso before painting. Up to this one, I used a wide brush to prime, and sanded it down, but often the stripey lines of the primer show through. This time I used a roller so there'd be no streaks. Big no-no. The surface wasn't smooth at all, but had the the same qualities of the roller itself - spongy, and it absorbed the paint differently. And not in a Good Way Different... However, I'd spent so long drawing this out that I decided to plod on, and eventually and frustratingly got it done. It is gently fuzzy in reality and doesn't show any of the pain it took to produce... But sure, no pain, no gain.. And the cheese was the easy bit. The challenge was the lid. 

This week I was in Killaloe, Co Clare doing my Monthly Monday class, and the drawing below is by one of the students, Orla Flanagan, using Colour Pencil. A fabulous piece of work!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Big Drawing, and Colour Magic (colour isolating)

Had a lovely Big Drawing Day in Dublin yesterday, with a very well behaved bunch of students, hardly any huffing, and all smiles at the end. They did the best colour pencil cherries ever. Sadly, my in-house photographer (son) wasn't in the mood so I have no shots of the cherries. Well, he took one from far away, so it was mostly a close-up of a kitchen roll, with some serious-looking students in the distance, and my back side in between. Which I'll spare you. But here they are doing some mushrooms in charcoal.

                                                   Meantime, here's my new favourite toy....

Fabulous isn't it...? AND, I made it myself - you'd never know! It's to isolate colour, a fabulous little device for when you're struggling to get it right. In this example, of white objects, its a handy way to see the colours that are really there, rather than what we Think are there. All the colour spots you can see are of part of the white object... but they're pink! Or is it orange...? Yummy. 

But this (below) is the best way to hold it - so that you are blocking out your view of everything except the colour - this way your eye is not distracted and your brain isn't going into But-It's-White overdrive. Dare you to make one, it'll take 3 seconds. Take a piece of grey paper, A4 (bigger than this example) and make two holes with a paper punch. Voila. You'll never see colour the same way again. 

Next up, Oil painting workshop, Belfast.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Completing the tonal study...

As I said in my previous post,  I went back to my tonal study, and painted a strong background, to see how it altered the tonal balance of the painting. Using very neat Sepia, I took the plunge - and once again found it to be more trnsparent that I wanted and streaky (see below). The solution of course, was to paint a couple of layers, waiting for the previous layer to be dry first. The effect was as I expected - the tulips and leaves looked too pale, so I darkened the darker areas to redress the balance. BALANCE - a new favourite word. Balancing-act, don't lose-your balance.
This painting is around 5inches x 7.5 inches.

Next up - Big Drawing Day, Dublin, Ireland.
Water Colour Workshop, Dublin
Oil Painting Day, Belfast, UK.