Thursday, 30 August 2012

Celebrating the Old - Gindou Village

Watercolour (A2) - Fabriano Artistico

There was absolutely NO-ONE in sight the afternoon I decided to step outdoors. This little hamlet is on the outskirts of Gindou and is an absolute delight for the artist as it has so many old uninhabited buildings. All of them have bucket loads of character so it did not take me long to select this beautiful building. It was very hot so my paints was drying very quickly indeed. I started with an extremely loose pencil sketch and then went straight in with the golden yellows with my no30 cosmotop brush and continued through to the cooler colours. It helps to keep the colour palette simple when working outdoors. There is no point fiddling about with tiny brushes, either, when you only have a few minutes to set down a wash, so you have to take the plunge. It is so thoroughly enjoyable that the idea of failure does not even enter one's mind. A painting recorded from life is always special no matter the outcome.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The French Artisan

Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico - 40cm x 52cm

I keep my camera ready for just this sort of scene. We stumbled on and antiques fair in the Dordogne which was full of colour and interest. The scene of the Chairmaker with his two friends (one possibly a buyer) looking on was irresistible. I combined them with a section of the fair to include the rich, red carpets and copper pots on display. I enjoyed the pencil drawing and specifically wanted it to be visible so the lines are loose and hopefully descriptive. The watercolour layers were then applied (as few as possible) with a limited palette. I am very happy with this painting and hope to find more scenes like it.

Monday, 20 August 2012

The Mairie - Something New

Acrylic and Oil on Canvas - 60cm x 50cm

I am quite excited about this painting because it is the start of a new idea. I have a love for most mediums I work with and I am beginning to get too comfortable with certain approaches. With that comes a degree of predictability and 'safety' to one's work. I would like to develop a certain edge to my work which, having been given an opportunity to spend time in a studio, is something I would dearly love to achieve. I started this painting with a colourful acrylic background (chosen carefully to enhance the top layers) and then I proceeded to do a painted layer in line only aiming to capture the shapes, texture and idea of energy in the scene. More flat shapes were applied with a big brush in acrylics to build up a little depth and then I put a few of the lost lines back in. I then focused on the focal point of the painting. This is when I focused on the detail and chose oils to do it. (I chose the lady having her cigarette in the doorway - I just loved this as the town Mairie's are so seldom open - I really had to chuckle at what I caught on camera here).

I was caught up from beginning to end having done some 'line drawing', bold acrylic painting and detailed oil work. I am hoping to do a few more and create a series in this style.

Detailed Irises

Oil on Linen - 50cm x 50cm

I am curious to find a contemporary style over the next few years whilst painting in my studio. After a few failed attempts where I felt absolutely nothing for what I was doing, I decided to go back to what I feel most comfortable doing. I, therefore, cropped a section of one of my iris photographs and plunged straight in to a detailed oil painting (with the odd expressive stroke creeping in). I also thought it best to try the linen canvases available here in France. I bought myself a pebeo clear primed linen canvas and I have been very impressed so far. It was while I was painting the iris painting that some ideas started to form. Sometimes one has to relax the brain to allow other ideas to flow into it. Whoever said that being an artist was relaxing has obviously got no idea how agonising it can be. Saying all of that, it is still produces those rewards when you need them.