Sunday 10 February 2013


This was the subject at the latest Avon Valley Artists session when once again I failed to take my camera, not deliberate I hasten to add. I was annoyed with myself at this latest lapse. 

There were fifteen members present and the subject lent itself  to a wide variety of interpretations. I can only show you mine but I'm sure you will see Yvonnes on her website.   Her painting, very accomplished as usual, is of dandelion heads with the seeds floating away as they do.

This is the painting below in monochrome. After getting a mild slap on the wrist over the lack of darks (value) in my original Iris painting  I thought it might be of interest to publish monochrome versions of the paintings. The biggest problem in assessing value in colour is that what you might think is dark isn't necessarily so, or probably better described as applying values to colours. I hope this will prove of interest.

`Gotcha'! 16" x 12" Fabriano Artistico Extra White 140lb (300 gsm) Not
I'm unable to show the original photograph for copyright reasons but will describe it. Essentially it was similar in composition to the finished painting but with a solid black background and a large number of water splashes at the bottom part, which show up well against the dark colour. I decided to ignore this and go for a colourful approach heavily influenced by the Dutch master Gerard Hendriks, who I am pleased to call a friend. 

I first made a  pencil drawing, paying particular attention to the head but with only a basic outline for the rest. The intention was to make an impressionistic and colourful image of the bird, having caught a small fish, rising from the river. There is an element of abstraction and could be described as my take on the `Realistic Abstract' theme of Keest van Aalst. 

With the glorious colours of the Kingfisher  my colourist tendencies were given full reign. I painted the head first of all and did this with the small Isabey retractables. The colours are as described later except the eye was Ivory Black (Maimeri). The orange is principally Transparent Orange (Schminke PO71), a glorious colour, and although it isn't obvious there are also touches of Transparent Brown (Schminke PBr41) in the darker areas. The blue is mostly Turquoise (Lukas PB16) with some Cerulean. This Lukas colour is another star. The background colours allowed to mix on the paper, include Transparent Orange, Transparent Brown, Cerulean, Cobalt Teal Blue (DS PG50), purples mixed from Quinacridone Rose (Graham PV19) and Ultramarine Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium (DS PY97). I think that's it! I also splashed the same colours directionally to give the impression of the bird rising from the water. Finally, although not very evident. I splashed Vallejo Acrylic Gouache, slightly diluted, over the bottom area near the bird. This is useful stuff but beware - very messy!

My brushes were restricted to the Escoda and Isabey  Kolinsky retractables sizes 4,6, 8 and 12.


Sharon Whitley said...

I like this very much Peter, it's gorgeous, loads of beautiful colour and movement and the monochrome version shows the great tonal values. I'm interested in the copyright thing - did you have to gain permission to paint from the photo that you all used or is that only needed if you plan to sell it - it's all a bit confusing to me

ann @ studiohyde said...

You have used some amazing colours in this Peter, it really is lovely and shows the action of the moment. I know what you mean about tones/lights and darks etc. even squinting doesn't always help. I actually wondered whether to try and get one of those red transparent filters used by Quilters (they use them to show up tonal values in their work). Do any of your Art Group use them?

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Sharon. This copyright thing on the internet is a grey area. Many people ignore `this image may be subject to copyright' notices. Sometimes I do! As for the photograph I only used it as a guide so I'm comfortable with that. IF you do a near exact copy then sell it that might be different but even then, unless it were to be heavily promoted I doubt if anything would result.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Ann. The new Jacksons catalogue,as well as many price increases (!!), also has some new products called ARTGIZMOS. This includes a thing called a `Selectatone', similar in appearance to the 3D type of glasses for the cinema with red filters. I'm interested in them. They are available online as are many other products now as they don't want the catalogue to keep growing in size like a telephone directory.

I'll use anything if it helps! I haven't noticed any of the AVA group using such things but some may.

Yvonne Harry said...

Lots of lovely colour Peter. As regards to copyright, I suspect that photos have the same restrictions as our paintings, so we must only use them for either exercises or as a starting point for a painting. I am sure we have all used photos we find in books and magazines for some of our work.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Yvonne. As far as copyright goes I've already given my view.

Oscar Solis said...

I like the way the bird's colors have been laid in. Your point about monchrome made me remember that in the days of silent film directors and camera men used to carry a blue glass. They would see the scene through the glass and, even though everything was blue, they were able to make judgements on the grayscale value (as films of that era were in black and white).

It might be a neat thing to try while painting, having a blue glass handy (or a pair of blue sunglasses).


Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Oscar. See the comments above about the new `Selectatone' from Jacksons. I'm sure there must be something similar in the USA with the vast range of art products on offer.

Unknown said...

This one really works very well. You have created a great sense of movement and have maximised the impact of the colours in the bird. Job done.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for those comments Mick.

Oscar Solis said...

Hi Peter, I saw the comments about the Selectatone. It reminded me of the blue glass story. To be honest, the Selectatone looks like it could be made using some cellophane and cardboard. In fact, barring me picking up some colored sunglasses at a dollar store here, I might make a pair:) .


Ray Maclachlan Art said...

The opposing colours create great movement in the painting Peter. Lovely job.
One of our Monday painting group told me he had visited one of your Avon group exhibitions whilst he was in England last year. Very impressed he was.

Peter Ward said...

Hi Oscar. Thanks for commenting. I'm not much of a D.I Y person but I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to make something that would fit the bill. I'm tempted to buy one though.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Ray. That's interesting about the visit. Was it an Avon Valley Artists exhibition? We only had two last year. One at the Newton St Loe May Day festival in the Church, and the other at the Saltford festival, in the Church Hall.

Peter Ward said...

This was sent to my e-mail by Rui who is unable to post to the blog at present.

"Since I cannot access my posting facilities here is a little comment about your latest artwork and post entitled `Action'.

It is an excellent painting where you have played more than successfully with complimentary colours in the range orange - blue, at the same time with enough contrast to make the painting full of action as you said.

Another option for the `Selectatone' that you mentioned is to use a red photographic filter like the ones normally used for black and white photography. I have one at home and look through it using one eye to evaluate the contrast (different greys) of a landscape, helping me with the judgement towards the final contrast of the painting,as these filters remove all the colours to just red and black. As people have moved to digital photography one can find these filters quite often in second hand shops cheaply, although they are not that cheap if buying them new.