Sunday, 26 May 2013

Fishing Boats

Brixham Fishing Boats
Watercolour on Paper
34cm x 24cm (13.5" x 9.5")

This group of fishing boats is alongside the New Pier in Brixham Harbour. I started the painting during the April meeting of the Shelford Group of Artists (see Water and Reflections) and I finished it yesterday.

The picture became a test bed on which to experiment with some of the techniques from  John Lovett’s Textures, Techniques and Special Effects for Watercolor. The book has a chapter about Boats and Water. I like a term John uses to describe his style – “controlled untidiness”. It is exactly what I am trying to achieve.

The first post on this blog included a painting of some trawlers in Brixham Harbour (see The Natural Way to Draw). The trawlers were moored the other side of the pier.

These pictures provide bookends to this part of the blog that documents my progress through the Natural Way to Draw.This evening I am going to start the last schedule. My original plan (from January 2011) was to finish next Saturday, but I’ve a busy week ahead. My current plan is to finish two days late on Monday 3rd of June.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Getting Ready for Summer

Watercolour on Paper
18cm x 13cm (7" x 5")

Elaine and I are planning our holidays in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We are going to have good weather and I am going to paint pictures of sunlight sparking on the sea.

In preparation, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to describe the intense white reflections created by bright sunlight glinting on rippled water.

The works of Kurt Jackson and Stewart Edmondson are a source of inspiration for these experiments. They both paint wonderfully atmospheric studies of the interaction between light and water.

The technique that has worked best so far has been to splash white gouache into a watercolour wash and then to add more splatters of gouache after it is dry.

I need to improve the accuracy of my splattering and splashing. The whole point is to create a random pattern, but it has to be in the right sort of place, form the right sort of shape and have the right density of spots.

There are as many approaches to splattering and splashing as there are people offering advice on the subject. The only solution seems to be experimentation and practice.

On the next sunny day, I am going to stick a lot of cheap paper together, mix up a big pot of cheap watercolour, gather all my brushes together and go into the garden for some target practice.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Exercises on Coloured Paper

Watching TV - Gesture Study
10 May 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
42cm x 29.5cm (16.5" x 11.5")

Section 25 of the Natural Way to Draw is called “An Approach to the Use of Color”. The central premise is that painting (the use of colour) and drawing are not separate disciplines.

Colour is introduced into the gesture and half-hour studies by drawing on paper that has been prepared with a layer of oil paint.

The instructions for the exercises are the same as for the Exercises in Black and White Oil Color except if you have time, you can use an additional colour.

Sitting for Thirty Minutes - Half-hour Study
9 May 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
42cm x 54.5cm (16.5" x 21.5")

I have developed a technique for preparing the paper that involves mixing a pile of paint with a palette knife and then smearing it over the paper with an old airline loyalty card. It is a satisfyingly gungy process.

Asleep - Gesture Study
27 April 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
42cm x 29.5cm (16.5" x 11.5")

Kimon Nicolaides suggests preparing a number of sheets in advance - I suspect he means well in advance, so they have time to dry.

I don’t have space to dry lots of paper covered in oil paint, so I prepare the paper a day in advance and apply the paint as thinly as possible, but it is still quite tacky when I use it for the exercises. The paint tends to tug at the brush as I am drawing and blends with the colours I am adding.

Thinking - Gesture Study
27 April 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
42cm x 29.5cm (16.5" x 11.5")

The end of the book is near and I am in a breaking up for the holidays frame of mind. Messing around with paint is just adding to this carefree attitude. For the next few weeks, I am going to use this as an opportunity to return to the simplicity of gesture drawing and to focus on what it feels like to be in the pose.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Beer and Hyacinths

Beer and Hyacinths
Watercolour on Paper
25cm x 35cm (10" x 13.75")

At last, I’ve made the finishing touches (for the time being) to the picture of hyacinths that I started back in March (see Not Still Life).

Painting time has been a precious commodity recently. Working and socialising have been getting in the way.

Elaine and I spent the last couple of days in London. We visited Tate Modern and Kew Gardens. On our way to the Tate we spotted an exhibition by Tony Heath at the Bankside Gallery (practically next door to Tate Modern).  The exhibition (called Body Language) caught my attention because it is a collection of gesture studies in charcoal and acrylics.