Sunday, 21 June 2009

Painting No 5 - Cottages, Buckmoorend

Now this one I like. I did it last week on a 12" x 16" canvas on board. Not perfect but not bad for my fifth attempt. It is still fairly tight but it works for me, largely I think due to the overall composition and mix of colours. It is from a photo I took whilst out running last year. The house just above the white cottage is the gatehouse for Chequers, the country residence of the Prime Minister.
I am starting to loosen up a bit. Click on the image and take a look at the bales in the foreground. These aren't as tight as I'd have done them a few months ago.
Progress of a sort.

Painting No 4 - Tring Summit, Grand Union Canal

I'm least happy with this from my attempts to date. Again I was trying to be too ambitious as I was trying to capture a hazy sunlight filtering through the trees and, as you see, failing miserably.

The two figures here are my first attempt at people and whilst they aren't brilliant they're not a failure either. I even got the black blob to look like our dog as well. Result.

I think I need to be a bit more bold and try a larger canvas (this one's a 8" x 10") but maybe try a simpler lighting effect.

Painting No 3 - Phoebe (Unfinished)

This is our dog Phoebe. The picture is unfinished as, still being a slave to the detail, I'm waiting to get hold of a large copy of the photo from which I copied this.

For this picture I tried following a technique from several Helen Van Wyck videos I borrowed from my mother. This involved sketching out the basic shapes and high and low lights using balck and white acrylic paint (as it dries very quickly) then refining the details and colours on top of that.

My starting sketch, which I did deliberately very loose, was hilarious.

The next stage was a bit better.

I eventually achieved something that actually looks like our dog and not just 'a' dog (althought the eyes are bit goggley)so maybe there's something in the approach.

Painting No 2 - Cottage, Aldbury Nowers

This is on a 10" x 12" canvas on board. I used a photograph that I'd taken whilst out on a dog walk.

Again, fairly pleased with this one. I managed to keep the pallette a bit more restricted, especially with the greens. It is still a bit tight but how do you paint a drainpipe without being tight? I waited until the grass was dry enough before using masking tape to help produce the straight lines for the fence. I like the effect of the lights and shadows on the grass on the drive in the foreground.

Overall, I'd like to be able to paint with more paint on my brush but I struggle to get sufficient on the brush without making it too lumpy. Maybe need to use a medium or solvent. More study required.

Painting No 1 - Grindsbrook 2008

I chose this for a couple of reasons, apart from liking the scene of course. This is where we scattered the ashes of my brother Tony, a brilliant but unrecognised wildlife artist. Also my mother, a tenacious amateur artist, has had a go at this scene in watercolours so I wanted to compare myself against her attempt.
I need to say at this point that unless stated all my paintings are done from photographs. I'd love to do plein aire but don't yet have the confidence.
For my first outing in oils (or any other medium in the last twenty years) I'm fairly pleased with it. I like the step at the bottom of the stream and the overall effect of the bottom left of the painting. I was probably too ambitious with this as a first attempt. I found the grass and bracken on the right hand side too difficult.

My biggest problem is going to be letting go of the detail. Any drawings I do are full of detail so it's hard for me to stand away from it.

My pallette had far too many greens in it and I got lost in these resulting in the patchwork you see above. I also need to get used to working wet on wet (largely due to lack of patience). I didn't realise how long these paints take to dry.