Thursday, 31 August 2017

Drawing in colour! Students at work...

The endless variety of colours and unique shapes to play with make food the perfect subject to draw and paint. The rich dark of the aubergine below, offset against the mid toned background, looks almost like velvet. The brightness of the lemon adds extra zing! 

Felicity adding some background whie to set off the image.

 Here, students Felicity and Anne are getting to grips with chalk pastels, layering the colour bravely and building up tones in layers. For their first time using chalks, they did a brilliant job.

Anne getting busy tidying up using white chalk. 

 Chalk pastel and coloured pencil are both delicious ways to aid observation of colours. Their dry pigment allows you to go straight to the paper and begin noticing how colours interact when mixed together. Working on coloured paper gives for different colour relationships too.

Delicious coloured pencils and pastels. 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Trees, three oil paintings on canvas and board

I only ever used to work on one painting at a time. But some of my 'treescapes' of dappled light in the woods have become even more complex and a bit...sore. Or perhaps less sore and more akin to working out a complicated puzzle which frazzles my brain even more than usual. Not in a bad way, but intense all the same.

So I decided to try working on more than one at a time, and on different scales (from 'small' to 'less small'!). Well, 'decided' is perhaps over glorifying it. Of the paintings above, I started the top one a couple of years ago, painting a thin underpainting on canvas at the same time as an underpainting on the painting on the left. The left one is on board and has had three layers applied now, with gaps of many months while I worked on other things (including writing my book!). Of the three paintings, it is nearest completion - it is coming along but needs a few more days. I started the one on the right a month ago, and have spent a few days on it and igonored the other two. It is on canvas and is about a third of the way through. The one at the back received the darker layer on Monday - it had been consciously ignored because I didn't 'like' it. Now that I've given it another bit of colour  I like it better than previously, but I'm still not sure about it...  It's  early days and I won't quit.

Of all the subject matter that I paint, there is something about greens, trees and sparkles of light that really attracts me. I love painting people and skin, but the woods haunts me. It is much more challenging than painting people. I guess we all love a challenge.

Has working on several at once been an improvement? I'm not sure.  Is it better to be undecided and unsatisfied with three at once? It does take the pressure off each one individually, and perhaps gives a feeling of a more rounded approach from my side of the palette. It perhaps also encourages more freedom and variety in the working process itself.

In other words, I think that the outcomes will be different and more developed than if I had completed one at a time. So I think that must be a good thing...

Can you tell that I'm slightly procrastinating? I think it's time I went back to my easel...

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Bags packed, ready to go!

With a hall full of canvases, multipacks of wet wipes, kitchen rolls, sketch books, tape, scissors, liquin, linseed oil, OMS, tea towels, dust pan and brush... It can only mean one thing - masterclass time!

Canvases, a new lamp...
Students are decending upon Belfast to attend the Oils workshop with 'maestro' Michael  John Angel, who arrived from Florence this afternoon in a heavy shower of rain - hopefully a pleasant change from the heat wave in Italy. I am delighted that he has returned for a second year - we are honoured to welcome him.
Gloves, medium, paint... 
 It's amazing how much you can fit into a Golf - my student Mark did a wonderful job of squeezing 20 Ikea stools in as well as drawing boards, all the canvases and miscellaneous Others.

We spent the afternoon preparing the studio, and it's all set. For the next five days Mr Angel will guide students through the techniques of Bouguereaux - everyone is very excited and can't wait to get started!