Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Getting Through Paint

In the studio today continuing with yesterday's painting, I got through a lot of paint.

This was because I was discarding  a lot of colour in the process of mixing and re-mixing until I got it exactly right.

I'm pleased with the painting, which I finished today. The next step is to get it framed ready for the Art @ Plush show next month.

Studio Work

Yesterday I made a start on a painting intended for the forthcoming Art @ Plush exhibition in late November - raising money for breast cancer charities.

Here you see local seasonal dahlias and roses from the village - escapees our first frost which arrived this morning.

I'll be going back to the studio later today to continue with this painting.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Problem With Light

I went back to the studio today to finish my latest flower painting.

The battle I had today was with the very strong directional sunlight, streaming through the windows - and onto the canvas, palette and the still-life setup.

This was very different from yesterday, when what little sun there was arrived filtered through thick layers of cloud, and appeared much flatter and more even.

The top photograph above shows some of the sharp shadows cast among my brushes, and white spirit container.

Such conditions can make it tricky to compare colours as the sunlight was in my eyes.

Today's task was to concentrate on the pinks of the roses, and the middle photograph shows my palette as I prepared to work on this.

The last photograph shows the painting as I finished it.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Less Is More

While winter arrived outside my studio this morning, I was inside - quiet and cosy in my new legwarmers.

Instead of painting a large arrangement of flowers, with lots of structure, volume and complexity - I decided to work on something simpler and calmer.

It is good to get back to essentials sometimes, and really concentrate my attention on a smaller arrangement. This particular one is reminiscent of those we sometimes used in the Slade - which were sometimes single flowers in a small vase. It was at that time that I produced a number of paintings of, for example, garlic, onions or eggs.

I will resume work on this unfinished painting tomorrow.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Blooming Marvellous

I had a very intense day in the studio today - working without a break from 10.00am until 6.30pm, keeping myself going with green tea and a big bag of monkey nuts.

The day ended with a finished painting, with which I'm very pleased.

I've kept the colours strong, and the lines I set out when I started it still flow.

The pictures above show the progression from morning until evening.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Autumn Roses

For the last few weeks I've concentrated on drawing in my sketchbook.

But today I decided to set up a still-life in the studio.

It was a real treat choosing, picking and arranging a collection of autumn roses.

Before anyone accuses me of chocolate-box tendencies let's look at some of the complexities and challenges that such a subject presents.

The first of these challenges is capturing the astonishingly rich and deep colours of the blooms - in this case reds, pinks and oranges.

Despite the fact that I invest in very good quality paints, even these will not match the luminosity and resonance of nature's petals without some effort on the palette.

And when I arrive at a colour with which I am happy, I still have to make some bold and difficult decisions about how the colours work in relation to each other. Just imitating the colour is never enough - you have to go further.

Here it is important to remember that I'm painting real, living flowers - under real, shifting, daylight... not working from a static, frozen, unchanging photograph.

By no means are these roses still. Throughout the day they change, slowly, subtly, but certainly. Blooms open, stems droop, the sun moves across the room. And when I return to the studio tomorrow to continue the painting, they will have changed yet more.

My main challenge tomorrow is to retain the freshness and immediacy of the paint I've already applied. This can be difficult when you begin to really labour on particular parts of the painting. And then I've got to know when to stop!

The photographs above show the painting more-or-less as I started it, along with the progress I had made by the end of the day.