Sunday, 15 March 2015

Pink Garlic: A Class Exercise.


I have been so inspired by the BBC programme "The Great Painting Challenge". Watching each contestant sweat through the process has been more informative than the end result. I just wish they had all stayed and worked on a point system, as it would have been interesting to see the development throughout. I have been dying to try some of their projects! It has made me realise how much I would love to tackle more difficult subjects in more challenging environments.

I have decided to incorporate more class exercises in my blog as they might be helpful for some of you ... possibly give you ideas. Garlic is a wonderful subject to paint with its textures and curves. Trickier than we give it credit for. 

The cool interpretation began with a light wash of winsor violet and cerulean blue and the warm version was created using a light quinacridone gold and cadmium red wash. Clingfilm was then pressed into the wet paint, and, once dry, peeled away to reveal a beautiful pattern. I prefer to paint without drawing but I encouraged my students to plot a few oval contour shapes in pencil to give them a confident start. Painting any sort of pattern can lead to problems if they are too regular (or dry and opaque) so one of the lessons was to suggest the dry skin without overstating. Allowing the patterns to merge creates a comfortable flow around the whole garlic. One can also soften patterns with light glazes as well as add discord colours i.e. cobalt green over large areas of pink.

I am trying to encourage my students to interpret a familiar object/subject in unusual ways and not be restricted by what they feel it should look like. I am a stickler for technique and using mediums to their full potential, so I never lose sight of that, but there is a big difference between a good painting and a great painting. Pushing the boundaries and thinking out of the box, even in small ways, is exciting Progress can be made in leaps and bounds even if one feels vulnerable.

Sunday, 8 March 2015


A Commission in Oils

Grant, I really want to thank you for giving me such a wonderful open brief. I was sent a selection of photographs and was told that I could choose whichever one I liked and do whatever I wanted with it. Music to my ears. As I know my model so well, it became a celebration of colour and I just allowed my instincts to take over. I used large strokes of colour layering subtle tones over each other and using palette knives where applicable. The colours are unusual but so exciting. It truly was a case of a giving myself permission to experiment and lose myself in my creative moment.

"Never, Never, Never Give Up" -

A Commission in Oils

This commission was a sheer joy to paint. It captures a special moment in my wonderful, talented friend's life, where she is taking great strides across the beach in Australia. The Gold Coast holds sentimental memories for her and she is enjoying her favourite activity. Evie has the strongest resolve and determination I have ever known and the appropriate mantra "never, never, never give up" describes her completely. I enjoyed the challenge of capturing the subtle colours and tonal changes in the sea and the sand and depicting Evie's stride as accurately as possible. I had a few curious onlookers as I drew the message in the sand - accuracy is key and I wanted the message to be subtle and believable. Thanks for the commission Grant.