Sunday, 23 October 2011

My Paintings at Crantock

At this stage I'll bite the bullet and show you my paintings at Crantock. Actually I'm quite pleased overall and they are better as a group than those I did on previous CR courses, much better in some instances. I don't think anyone - well some may but not the majority of us - does their best painting on courses like this. The circumstances and pressures are against it and the true success or otherwise of the course will be evident over the next few months providing you work hard at the lessons learned.

Unknown Lifeboatman -Courtesy Crantock hotel

This is the photograph I chose to paint on the first day. There were no details of who he was or where but we can date it to around 1900. The only clue is the word `Whitby'. I assume this to be the well-known fishing village on the East Coast of North Yorkshire.

Lifeboatman Whitby. A3 Moldau 130gsm not.

I was pleased at the time and remain so after reflection. I learned a lot from the way Charles painted his figure, with the use of colour and the way the same colours were repeated in the rest of the painting. I just hope I can consolidate the lesson. At the critique Charles called the design excellent and commented on the placement of the darks. He made no critical comments or suggestions for change.

Simon. Fabriano Artistico Extra White 20" x 14" Not

 You can see a slightly different angle of Simon on my Day Two post. Although I'm pleased with it I realised the face was possibly slightly too full compared to the length of the head. In other words I should have made the head longer and the face narrower. At least I think so. Nevertheless I rarely get a chance to do a portrait from life, mainly photographs where I can use aids to get the dimensions right. On this occasion I used a pencil to measure proportions so it was a different experience. The left side of the face was in shadow but quite subtle and not pronounced so I didn't overemphasize. It isn't fully realistic but then this isn't the intention.  At the critique Charles was quite complimentary and even though I mentioned the proportion question he didn't think that significant. I should explain at critiques one is first asked how they feel about the painting. Simons wife, a fellow student, quite liked it. 

 Trelice - Fabriano Artistico Extra White 20" x 14" Not.

As I explained earlier on Day Three this was the least satisfactory day of the workshop as the weather conditions were very marginal. I did not paint at all in the morning just watched Charles, who was safely tucked under a large umbrella. I, like most others, didn't bring one to Cornwall. A mistake! After a break  at lunchtime conditions improved so I thought I must attempt something. It isn't overly serious and I only did a portion of the building. Although the light drizzle had more or less stopped the atmosphere was so damp that the watercolour paper seemed to absorb moisture leading to this soft effect.

Still Life - Fabriano Artistico Extra White 20' x 14' Not

Day Four was the eagerly awaited `Still Life' session. After Charles painted his demo several other still lifes were spread over the two rooms. During the week students each get a turn on the front  row and this day was my turn, and we were also given first choice to choose the still life to paint. I should add I took my binoculars and really found no problem in following what Charles did even when  further back. This shocks some when told about it but it works quite well. I chose to paint the same one as Charles. Overall I am pleased although I felt - and still do - that the flowers are better than the objects. In particular the duck is poor. The red pepper and green avocado could be better.. I intend to do some work on painting fruit and peppers. At the critique Charles was complimentary. He probably remembered some of my stuff from previous years!

Still Life (2) Fabriano Artistico Extra White 20' x 14' Not

This, excluding Trelice, was my least satisfactory painting, done on the last day. The flowers could be better and the objects are poor, particularly the red teapot and the yellow mug. As there was no critique the final evening I avoided what I am sure would have been some less complimentary remarks.

As far as critiques go Charles does not shirk from pointing out what he thinks is wrong or could be better but, like most other workshop teachers, goes easy on his students. If there are major problems I think he'll say so and did on one or two occasions but not in a manner that upsets or depresses those on the receiving end. Possibly he's more frank when speaking to individuals rather than in a full classroom scenario. I'm not averse to being criticized and always hope for a frank opinion. I think he gets the balance about right.


Rui said...

Hi Peter,

Thank you for all the work you have gone through with all the postings about Charles' workshop.

It was an excellent coverage for people like me who for some reason or other could not be there.

Kind regards,


Peter Ward said...

Thanks Rui. That was my aim and I hope I've achieved it, at least in part. Believe me it was an exhausting process!