About 20 years ago I bought many large tubes of oil paint on offer in a sale and as I can’t resist a bargain I greedily snapped them up. Sad to say they have lain cluttering up three drawers in my little studio. It’s not that I don’t like oils, just the damaging fumes and the mess, also I moved to acrylics and water based oil paint. Now I have discovered an odourless thinners, bought a large can (it really does have no fumes), as its summer and I can throw all the doors and windows open the time has come to use the languishing paints. I have started three works the last few days and this Harlequin jumping for joy is the latest.
Category: Studio practices
Sea Kale, in progress.
We live near the beach and Sea Kale grows in the pebbles every year and in the spring emerges with beautiful purple tinged foliage. Here the tight flower buds can be seen too. I began this painting two years ago but scraped most of it off leaving just flat colours and I’m determined not to be beaten this time.
Running riot in the garden
Having decided the moment was passed for a painting in acrylic I started over a year ago I primed over it reducing it to pristine whiteness. I carried it out into the garden along with easel and oil paint sticks and let myself loose on it covering the whole canvas in one session. I really enjoyed the freedom of working direct onto the canvas with the sticks and thinner. Just what I needed to kick start my flagging creativity. I will have to wait until its dry now before I can finish it off.
We spent two weeks in our old beach hut which looks over to Cowes on the isle of Wight. Most of the first week we had weather which I quite like as clouds are much more interesting to an artist than clear skies. My friend gave me a concertina sketchbook and I tried to do a view from our doorway each day.
Not long until Art Trail time
Its that time of year when everything needs doing – the lawn needs attention, the plants need feeding the garden needs tidying not to mention the house which is looking a bit dog eared after a really interesting winter weatherwise! In addition we have planted a new front garden and the plants need TLC. Add to this mix an impending Art Trail and things are about to get really hectic. Hey ho!
‘Alder Tree’ Why did I start this!
When I started a series of paintings called canopy for my Hotham Park residency I thought it was a good idea until I started this. Its only just begun but I’m already thinking of painting it out and starting again or using the nice canvas for something different. It looks a mess right now and I’m not sure I’m using the right medium for it. I’m working in acrylics and I think I might be better with inks. I’m not one to give up easily so will give it another go. Watch this space!
Getting into focus
After my grand rant in the last post I have girded up something or other and begun a new project in my studio as the only way to start is to start.
Last year I took a series of photos looking up into the trees in Hotham Park and my aim is to produce a series of fresh work based on these. As Artist in Residence for the Park I’m always looking for new ways to represent it. Here is the first stage of the first painting and it was good to get going again.
Art trail time again
I am yet again taking part in the annual Chichester Art Trail. I am right on the outer limits of what is a very large trail so tend to get fewer visitors than those venues clustered together in Chichester. I open my working studio to the public and unpack all my stored paintings to turn our house into a temporary gallery. Its a huge amount of work so I am glad to see visitors. This year my messy studio has the honour of featuring on the trail guide cover and the poster below. More details can be found on the trail website: http://www.chichesterarttrail.org
Recently I decided to use my Alkyd oil paints. I don’t usually bring them out in the winter as they do need good ventilation. They dry overnight but are workable for about six hours. If you want to work again in a hurry without the week wait with normal oils they are useful.
As its been a while since I used them the first job was getting the lids off; enter a bowl of hot water. With the lids successfully removed I found the openings blocked with hardened paint with the nice fluid stuff quite clearly evident below. My trusty steel meat skewer made a bit an opening but it was still like a strong man competition exercise to get more than a minute blob out as the hard stuff would block the hole again. When one is itching to get going this can be VERY frustrating so with several I resorted to cutting the bottom of the tube off and exiting the paint that way. I figured that I was going to have to use up the older paints quickly anyway.
I did finally get going but had to repeat the process every time I came across another blocked tube which does rather disrupt the creative flow. At least I can be grateful they were not acrylics which would have dried on my palette whilst I messed about with blocked tubes. Below is the in progress painting I was trying to work on.