Thursday, 29 July 2010

Latest Plein Air

Actually it isn't but the one I did today is far too light, the Church at Newton St Loe,  and I've already put it on the ever growing reject pile. I would probably have been pleased with it a year or three ago but no longer.

Pat's back garden 16" x 12" waterford Not

This was painted last Saturday on our second 2010 visit to Pat's house at a village on the outskirts of Bristol.  Weather was fine, a little cloudy but warm and I painted a scene looking through a gap between bushes. The main feature is the urn but following Charles Reid's dictum of not having a particular centre of interest decided to modify it and added several flowers. Actually they were  growing in a border behind and to the side of where I sat so it's my own composition. I think it works quite well. Colours used included , Permanent Rose (W & N),Carmine (W & N), Quinacridone Gold (Maimeri), Ultramarine Violet (Rowney), Hookers Green (Maimeri), combinations of various blues and yellows, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber. Oh yes and Raw Umber.

Latest Indian Portraits

I'm still beavering away and here are the latest:

Big Bear Cree Chief 1895
Waterford 16" x 12" Rough

Big Bear was involved in the Riel rebellion of 1895 in Canada. He actually tried to prevent his followers from taking part but to no avail. He was captured and imprisoned for two years, dying one year after release. The painting depicts him after capture, actually in chains in the original full length photograph.

Wanduta Lakota Sioux. Waterford 16" x 12" Rough

This was my second attempt at Wanduta and I think it much better than the previous one on the blog.

Apache Warrior 1880's 16" x 12" Waterford Rough

This is better than  the previous one shown on the blog but I am still not entirely satisfied - not that I ever reach 100% satisfaction far from it - and may try again.

I painted the features with my usual mix of Cadmium Red  Light and Cadmium Yellow Light but actually used a colour new to me, Windsor and Newton's Gold Ochre (PY42). This was used quite a lot instead of Cad Yellow and Raw Sienna. I rather like it. It is a rich golden yellow and was introduced in W and N's most recent changes to their colour range. Blues used were Cobalt, quite a lot of Ultramarine and a little Cerulean. I used the Ultramarine to get a darker face mix. Notice `Waterford Rough'. I normally use NOT papers but these Indian portraits do seem to suit it. On the Apache portrait I introduced Quinacridone Rust from Graham (PO48) in the clothing on the right hand side. It is rather brighter than Burnt Sienna - a lovely colour. Other colours used, other than in the features, include Ultramarine Violet (PV15 Rowney), Burnt Umber (Maimeri), Quinacridone Gold (PO49 Maimeri) and Permanent Alazarin (W and N). I forget to mention a touch of Hookers Green in the eye sockets and Black for the pupils.

As for brushes for the features I used two long handled Windsor and Newton Cirrus, Nos 2 and 4, Either Da Vinci or Rosemary Kolinsky No.6, and for the rest my Da Vinci Artissimo 44 No 2 Kolinsky Mop. This latter is a lovely brush roughly equivalent in size to a normal number 14. I also paint fairly upright.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Latest Indian Portrait

L Amatruda Amalfi Hand Made Paper 15" x 11"
Wanduta Lakota Sioux c. 1880's

This is the latest, done on Wednesday. I'm moderately pleased with it considering that the photograph was  very, very dark in large areas, virtually blanked out. Usual Cadmium Red LIght and Yellow Light for the flesh colour darkened with either Cerulean, Cobalt or Ultramarine Blue. Touch of Hookers Green round the eye sockets. Other colors Ultramarine and Burnt Umber together with Viridian plus Quinacridone Gold for the hair plus Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Violet and Viridian for the clothes with a little Permanent Carmine. It could be better but then that's par for the course. I'm still at an early stage in doing these subjects and portraits in general. I realise I still have a way to go.

The paper you will note is unusual. I mentioned it on an earlier post when I acquired several sheets at a shop in Amalfi, Italy. The paper is handmade and quite light, about 90 lbs I think but has a beautiful surface and is very nice to work with. As It's doubtful I'll go again I'll have to husband these sheets, although I do have an e-mail address so it's possible more could be obtained - at a price! Co-incidentally there should be 40 sheets of Moldau paper somewhere in transit from the Czech republic., A3 size 280gsm. I should have received them by now but the initial shipment sent to the UK agent was incorrect, 30 sheets of 200 gsm. However providing the correct lot arrive safely I may end up with those as well since 200gsm (90lbs) is perfectly okay with my (attempted) style of ` try first time for a finish'.  

NB: Several days later on reflection I have gone off this painting and label it a failure. It looks a little better in reality than the photo on here but is still not good enough. I am thinking of another try with a slightly different approach

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Painting at Beer

Beer is a beautiful small unspoilt fishing village situated on the South Devon Coast between Lyme Regis and Sidmouth. This last weekend we  booked a B and B right in the centre. I had never been  before, nor knew anything about the place, but one of my painting friends has had a permanent caravan  there for years and another recently visited for a short break. Listening to them talk enthusiastically about the area decided us to go at fairly short notice.

Beer is situated on the cliffs above a lovely cove and the beach, although of pebbles rather than sand, makes for a delightful view.  I noticed the place we stayed in had a number of framed prints from a local artist called Ben Bradshaw, rather too chocolate box for my taste,  but obviously popular and very prolific  judging by the amount of his work, in various forms, around the village. His originals sell for £300 - £500 apparently.

There are two good gallerys in the main Fore street,  one called Steamers and the other the Marine Gallery. They appear to be owned by the same person or persons and I was particularly taken by some of the paintings in the Steamer Gallery. Some very good artists featured here.

On to painting. I took all my outdoor gear with me and, although conditions were slightly windy, decided to attempt a painting. My wife hired a deckchair and got on with her latest book from her reading group.

DAY 1.

The beach has numerous attractive boats and other miscellaneous gear lying about so there are plenty of possible subjects. The main problem was the wind and also the pebbly beach which is loose underfoot, so it brings problems in setting up to paint. I chose a spot in a corner just off the beach with a cement base and settled on a particular large boat, surrounded by numerous others of varying sizes. After drawing the main boat, which was interconnected with numerous others, I kept drawing adding more and more until I had a really busy drawing. This was a major mistake. Not long after I began to paint I realised I had a probable disaster on my hands, notwithstanding the various onlookers who made approving noises. There are a few who say nothing so make of that what you will. One thing I have learned is not to pursue failure so I soon gave up and the partially completed painting finished up in the nearest rubbish bin. Lesson from this. Take more care and simplify. Also take a little more time about deciding what to paint. I do that more and more these days but still suffer relapses, as on this occasion.


The unsatisfactory end of my painting session made me determined to have another go the following day, helped by a slight moderation of the wind factor. Otherwise the weather was excellent. The previous day I had taken lots of photos so had a clearer idea of what to concentrate on. On this occasion I braved the pebbly beach and parked myself well forward as you will see from the painting. Down went the groundsheet and this helped but easel, chair and  me were still slightly rocky. The wind remained a factor although not a major one, despite this the whole lot went flying on one occasion, water pot and all but fortunately no real damage.

This is the result completed in about 2 hours. This time I followed Charles Reid's advice when painting outdoors in that, rather than completing the drawing in one session, I drew some then painted and repeated this two or three times. This is to combat the way light changes over the course of a painting session.

Boats on the beach at Beer Waterford 16" x 12" Not 

I'm not delighted with the above. I feel I can do much better and have some excellent photographs to work with. Hopefully a much better painting will emerge which I can display on here. What else about Beer? We shall definately return. Excellent fish and chips from the Beer Fish and Chip shop/restaurant and another very good meal in a quality restaurant called Steamers. We also indulged in clotted cream teas (twice!). 

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Latest Amerindian

This is my latest effort.

Apache Warrior Circa 1800s Waterford 16" x 12" Not

I continue to struggle to produce a photograph fully representative of the painting, despite trying several settings. The original has slightly more contrast than the photo and the colours are darker.

Compared to the photo the likeness is only fair and I haven't quite been able to get the hostile expression of the original. I painted the face and features, using pan colours, with mixes of Cad Red, Cad Yellow Light, and various blues, Cerulean, Cobalt and Ultramarine. I also used a touch of Ultramarine Violet and Hookers Green around the eye sockets. Other colours (mainly tubes) used in the remainder include Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Viridian, Quinacridone Gold (PO49 - the orignal W and N formulation not the current three pigment mix) and Raw Sienna. Also touches of Avignon Orange (Maimeri). 

I am reasonably pleased with the above painting. It could be better, as can all my paintings, but I feel I am progressing and I have kept a number of my failures to prove it! It is tough producing paintings from these old black and white/sepia photographs.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Latest Plein Air

This is my latest effort, painted last thursday at Dundas Acqueduct, a few miles outside Bath on the A36 Warminster road.

Saunders Waterford 16" x 12" Not - Dundas Boats and Barges

Dundas acqueduct is a popular location, part of the Kennet and Avon Canal, a favourite of barge owners and canal holidays. The area where we paint is a spur of the canal which runs to a basin close to the main road. It has a shop where you can hire boats and bicycles, an excellent cafe/restaurant, and is usually quite busy or indeed very busy.

On this particular day the waterway  was packed with end to end barges plus a few other types,  used either as houseboats or parked up. On certain weekends you can take canal trips and some are also available for wedding parties and celebrations of all sorts. A very lively place although it was quiet when I started and only the odd person stopped and tried to engage me in conversation, something that Judi Whitton (and others) say you have to `nip in the bud'. It is difficult as one doesn't want to seem rude, but concentration can be affected if onlookers are too persistent.

I started painting at around 10am and finished at noon. This was my usual attempt at painting with a first time finish, using paint straight from the paintbox (a mix of full and half pans) without overmuch mixing or messing about. Obviously some overpainting takes place but I try to keep it to a minimum. My (attempted) methods are based on those used by Charles Reid and Judi Whitton. I used several different blues and yellows for the greens. The large tree in the background had leaves that are very grey/green and I used Primary Blue - Cyan (PB15-3 green shade- Maimeri) mixed with Cadmium Orange (PO20 Maimeri) to create this greyish effect. If you play around with these two colours you can create some wonderful greys but take care which Cad Orange you use. The Windsor and Newton version is a mixture of Cadmium red and yellow, while Rowney do use PO20, the correct pigment, but add a yellow to it. Unless you use pure Cadmium Orange you will get a different colour.

I looked at the painting the following day in my `studio' and made some small colour additions. Otherwise I am quite pleased with it. I have done several others at this location, not all from the same viewpoint.