Monday 28 January 2013

Keeping it up

Keeping up the momentum - back in the studio again today.  Got to keep working with the exhibition coming up.  I thought about doing some oil painting, but I was a bit distracted and in the end it was just acrylics.

I started with some graphite and conte as a warm-up exercise - based on sketches from Drumbuie.
Drumbuie Shore Drawing
This was done by laying down marks with graphite stick, then making marks in white conte, then rubbing out, and then doing this a few times.  I may carry on with this another day.
I carried on with a picture I started on Friday.  It was looking like this when I arrived today.
Skye from Kishorn (emerging)
There was a lot I liked about this picture - for instance, the marks lying under the white acrylic wash seemed to work - it gave a nice watery feel to the shore area.  But I was not happy about the technical quality of the painting, and thought the trees in the middle distance were not working terribly well.  I had only used white acrylic and inks up to this point.  Radical action called for.  I went back in with white acrylic on a roller and added a little acrylic paint colour to the shore and the middle distance.
Skye from Kishorn (emerging)
It looks quite good in the photo, but I didn't think it worked well in reality.  The sea in particular didnt look right.  So I added some more watery acrylic - blue/green.  And it ended up looking like this.
Skye from Kishorn (finished?)
I think this works better as a whole picture and so I stopped at this point.  I went back to the other Kishorn picture - the one featured in my previous blog.  I left it like this on Friday
Applecross from Achintraid (emerging)

And added some additional green, grey, orange and blue. It finished like this
Applecross and Achintraid (finished?)
Is this better or worse?  On Friday I had achieved a sort of stained glass effect which I quite liked, but I thought it looked a bit scrappy when I looked at it today.  To be honest, the paper I had used was not such good quality and the texture of the paper was over-dominant.  Although it was in acrylic, it had a watercolour look to it.  So it looked better in the photo than in reality.  Now, I've added denser colour and focused on that spot where the ridge leads through to the corrie (on the left) and it looks a better finish.  But on reflection I feel the picture has lost something.  It's that old story, as Matt used to tell us - it's important to engage your brain before taking up the paintbrush - I should perhaps have been a little more thoughtful about what I was trying to achieve.  Ah well...back to the drawing board....

Monday 21 January 2013

New Paint Colours

Back in the studio today after lots of distractions in the last few weeks.  Spent a bit of time with Rona organising our forthcoming joint exhibition, but then got down to work.  I was a bit concerned as I hadn't been in the studio for so long, and have lost a little momentum.  But I had bought two new paint colours and wanted to try them out.  Prussian Blue Pthalo and Olive Green - both acrylic.

I started out splashing around the blue in different dilutions - is is a lovely colour - and I added some Ultramarine.  It led me towards doing a seascape - was looking at the sketch I did near Ardaneaskan.

I carried on, adding in more colour - umber and burnt orange - but I soaked the paper a bit too much.  It ended up looking like this.

This pic is a out of focus and it's a bit of a mess.  The light was a bit dim and I didn't want to switch on electric lights.  So I stopped at this point.  For review (or discarding) the next time.

I didn't want to waste the day, and doing this painting had made me think of the Applecross hills, so I looked out another sketch from a while ago and made a start to another study.

This was a promising start.  I was back to my usual palette of Ultramarine and Carmine with some Burnt Orange added.  So I carried on adding colour but trying not to lose the relaxed watery-ness and looseness of the marks.
The may have some potential, but the light had failed totally now, so I packed up.

Next time I'm in the studio - Friday - I am determined to have another go at the pictures I started in Lochcarron - the oils.  It would be good to finish these if I can.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

New Year Painting Session

My first new year resolution - to get back into painting in oils.  I brought some oils to Lochcarron with me with this purpose in mind. Thought I'd attempt one of the views at Drumbuie.  It started off looking like this a couple of days ago.
Drumbuie Shore - Oil - Stage 1
Actually, I quite like the treatment in this, now that I look at it again.  I think it's because this is quite a loose treatment (I used oil crayon and diluted the oil colour with turps).  But it was just a start, and I wanted to darken down the shore.
Drumbuie Shore - Oil - Stage 2
Again, I quite like this, looking at it again.  I added some graphite marks and was still using a lot of turps.
Drumbuie Shore - Oil - Stage 3
I thought this was still looking quite interesting - I was still using a lot of turps and ragging it back.  I would have preferred to use some varnish, but I hadn't brought any along. 
Sadly, I lost my nerve today and have gone in a bit heavy handedly with the colour.  The light was failing (had to work in electric light) and I was enjoying using the brush - it seems more natural to use brushstrokes than dabbing on colour then ragging it back. Anyway, the picture currently looks like this.
Drumbuie Shore - Oil - Stage 4
I've lost the shimmery effect I was getting with using the turps and ragging it back.  I suppose I got a bit impatient. I think I need to decide how I want to present the image.  I don't feel that this works as a final picture.  If truth be told, I don't feel any of them are quite right - they don't convey what I want.  But it is a long time since I worked in oil, so I'm not surprised that I don't find this satisfactory.

I'm not going to give up, but  I need to reflect on this for a bit, and decide how to finish it.  Think I'll go back to acrylic in the meantime....