Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Alphie & Figo and a Garden with a View

A Commission - Oil on Canvas 26 inches x 44 inches

I have recently completed this wonderfully challenging and complex commission and handed it in to very happy clients. They love their dogs (and let me tell you that they are such characters! I spent a good session outside playing with the two of them). The view is one they enjoy from their home and the garden is much loved. It is beautiful too and, for a painter, the roses added those much needed complimentaries for all those shades of green. I also enjoyed painting the shadows with hints of light illuminating a bench or hidden corner. I do want to thank Lucien Freud for giving me added inspiration during this painting process. I watched a documentary about him whilst painting this garden and it helped me to loosen up a bit. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A Hot Summers Day in Venice

Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico Cold Pressed Paper

This was another workshop day - Loose Watercolours. Great success all round so well done to all my students. I was really thrilled with what we managed to achieve. We started with very little drawing. The figure was the most starting point for me - all other elements can slot in behind and underneath the figure once he is placed. If one draws too much then a painting (especially a watercolour) can become too wooden. We built up this painting in layers (used a little salt for added texture) and then once the middle ground was resolved, we spent some time on the stripes on his shirt (a very important pattern not to be avoided). Once the shadows are added, then the painting really does come to life.  

Still Life with Pears

Acrylic on Canvas

I have just completed a series of workshops and this is what resulted from the Acrylic Day. It was such fun I must say. Everyone enjoyed it. One would think that pears would be straightforward but that is never the case. Painting round objects are more tricky than one thinks and the brushstroke direction is really important. Do not paint in circular movements, always stick to 'cross-hatch'. It is the clever use of light and shade that will make your subject appear round. We also enhanced our colours and tried not to neaten our edges - rather let one shape sit next to the other without a line in between. The use of acrylic did allow layers to dry so that we could 'fix' the odd highlight and so on. 


Irises in Oil and The Preliminary Sketch

As promised, here is the final painting and its preliminary study. Having had a break from the painting for over a week, I came back to it and noticed right away that it needed a few more splashes of light oranges and earthy pinks to link various negative spaces more successfully and balance the cooler blues. I added earthy pinks to the buds in the foreground, which has helped to enhance the diagonal line leading from the lower left part of the painting back up to the upper right hand corner. I am much happier with the third to two-third composition running along the canvas width.

As well as being therapeutic and enjoyable, the drawing helped me solve my composition. I had a number of photographs which I had to put together and I wanted the painting to be bold. It saves a lot of time working it all out in pencil first rather than repeated scrubbing out o the canvas. The drawing is smaller than A4 so it does not take too long but it is worth the effort.