Today I returned to this painting started plein aire in my garden about a week ago. Went at it with paint sticks in the first session but used a more careful approach this time. I didn’t want to lose the freedom though so tried to to keep it loose whilst giving some structure to the plants.. I worked all day until the wet paint prevented my from continuing. I used alkyd oil paints which dry overnight so it should be ready to work on again tomorrow.
At last I have managed to get down to work in my studio again. This is stage two of this one. I have used lovely Prussian blue for the background and as I’m using alkyd paints it shouldn’t be too long before I can add the gold stars with my new paint stick. There are other things to add on the figure too.
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.
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.
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.
This morning the sun was out but there was a frost, is it really May?. After yesterday’s continuous rain its a great day to get on with all those small but necessary tasks like making sure all pictures have D rings on the back for hanging, then there is painting the sides of new canvases not to metion finishing off tasks in the garden.Tomorrow I tackle my studio?
I must tackle my messy studio!!
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!
In one of the Swallows and Amazons books I read as a child an uncle entitles his book of memoirs ‘Mixed Moss by a Rolling Stone’ alluding to the saying ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’. This has always tickled my fancy so I thought over the next few posts I would like to share some of my visual mixed moss.
The first is little painting which is slightly smaller than A4, by New Zealand artist Nathan Rose which was acquired when we in stayed in an artists village in the Napier area in 2004/5.
I like this work because Nathan has captured in his strange hybrid little figure a sense of excruciating shyness and embarrassment which draws out a sympathetic response from me bordering on fondness. I can’t view this painting without thinking of Nathan and wondering what he is doing now as all the lovely memories of my time as an artist resident in the Waiohiki Arts Village come flooding back.
The next item is two mounted swatches of Henry Moore fabric which we framed in light oak. Moore is better known for his sculpture but he produced a number of textile designs which the Ascher company printed for him. My swatches are from two rolls reprinted from Ascher’s original blocks and used to refurbish Henry Moore’s House. With the left over fabric 50 mounted squares of each were sold by Pallent House Gallery where an exhibition of Moore’s textiles and sketch books was held. I couldn’t resist as they were reasonably priced and now I have two little bits of Henry to remind my of my student days when he was all the go.
The third Item is a painting entitled Blue by artist Pat Bell and bought as a birthday gift for my husband. I first met Pat on Flickr and friended her when I joined facebook. Pat has done a series of sheep paintings which have proved popular and blue is one of them, She also has a stream of wonderful abstacts based on stones and tangled landscapes.
Pats website address is: – www.pat-bell.com
Fourth is a large Zambian pot used for brewing the local Chibuku beer in villages. Real village pots have different shapes depending of their function. A beer pot always has two handles. Different members of the family had their particular shapes. This is a coil pot made without a wheel and I particularly like the charred patch where it was in the fire pit. The incised decoration has some of the ash from the fire rubbed into it. We didn’t bring much in the way of artifacts back with us from Zambia but this was well worth the effort.
The 5th item is also from Zambia and was sent to us out of the blue from someone who bought some of my paintings over 45 years ago whilst we lived there. She had searched for me on the internet and renewed contact and as she was downsizing thought we would like this little naive painting of St Anne’s church in Mazabuka where we lived. It was done by a local man on a piece of ply using house paints.
Number 6 is my indulgence and is a painting called ‘In All Directions’ by Fran Donovan, part of a series with same title. I went to a preview of Fran’s exhibition in the Russel Gallery in Bournmouth with my daughter and fell in love with this colourful painting. Fran works in oils using raw pigments applied over a soft ground and the result has a wonderful glowing quality. This painting has elements of a wide landscape but only hinted at and the suggestion of an upward path seems to lead one over a distanf hill top horizon. In the foreground hedgerow plants and a fence are just suggested. To me its very positive work and I love the bright orange.
Egged on by my daughter I took the plunge and bought the 90x90cm painting and today it cheers me every day in my kitchen diner.
Number 7 is a painting by Sussex artist Sue England entitled ‘Can you hear them, can you hear them coming through the vines?’ which is inspired by Sue’s visit to friend’s vineyard.
My husband and I bought this as a Christmas gift to ourselves last year as it reminded us of a walk amoung the vines in Cyprus many years ago but also because we like Sue’s work and fell in love with it.
Link to Sue’s website: http://www.sueengland.co.uk
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.
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.