Friday 15 February 2013

Working Hard

Came into the studio today with a whole uninterrupted day in front of me....and a need to finish off a couple of oil paintings in time for my exhibition with Rona in March.  So there was no excuse for not getting on with some oil painting!

I wanted to try and finish my painting of Bracken Field.  Always difficult to go back into a picture 'cold' so I wanted to 'warm up'.  The main thing about this particular picture is the colour.  Thought the best thing was therefore to do a quick pastel study as a warm up.
Bracken Field Pastel Study
There is a sumptuousness about oils which you don't get with acrylics.  Starting to mix the colours engenders a bit of excitement, anticipation. It's lovely to have the colours in front of you, ready for exploration.  With oils you can lose all sense of time....
I'm not sure that these pictures really show the progress I felt I made today....but here goes.  Started with this.
Bracken Field in progress
This photo looks not bad, but the actual picture was technically poor, I thought.  I wanted to improve on it but not lose the good points and the freshness.   I was focusing on the foreground, trying to portray the bracken fronds without being too realistic.  I next took stock at this point.
Bracken Field in progress
I carried on after this a little more, adding a little to the tree canopy, but the light was fading, so this pic is a bit blurry, I'm afraid.

Bracken Field - finished perhaps?
I do quite like this, and am pleased that I've managed to get some interesting foreground shapes.  But the big test will be how I think it looks when I go into the studio again on Monday.

Having got the oils out, I turned to two other pictures, of the Lochcarron view and my iconic hill. The first is a very small picture (about 6" sq).

Lochcarron Shore (small)
And I was also half way through a larger picture of the same view.  I was able in this bigger format to focus on the pattenrs of colour in the sea, and think about the sky and the far hills.  But again, there were little things I didn't want to lose.  Anyway, the other, larger pic ended up looking like this.
Lochcarron Shore (Mid size)

I was trying not to get too focused on the detail - was I right to stop at this point?  I'll be very interested to see how it looks on Monday......

Monday 11 February 2013

Only An Hour In The Studio

Had to go to the dentist today, so not much time for painting.  However, I still managed to get into the studio and do a little bit of experimenting.

I want to finish this oil painting that I started in December.
Bracken Field in progress.
Didn't have enough time to start in oils, and I don't feel clear about what I want to do to take this further. I just know it needs a bit more work.  So I figured I should do some playing about and practising, thinking about the mark-making and the colour before I go back into the picture.

Today with my hour in the studio, I managed to do this black and white study.
Bracken Field Study
I used graphite, white conte, rubbed out then added more graphite, PVA and acrylic.  Shall return to this exercise later in the week....Must get it finished in time for our exhibition!

Thursday 7 February 2013

Sketching between showers

Up in Lochcarron again, but the weather not so good.  Making the most of the spells when the rain and snow let up.  Indoors, I was reviewing a little watercolour I did on the last visit - put it into a small frame and it looks not too bad. Sometimes things surprise you.  I painted this from a pen and ink sketch I did in the Coulags in January.  Peter likes it!
A Little Group of Birches
But I was restless to go outdoors, and the weather was a little less grey yesterday. I felt that I needed to get out and gather some sketches while I'm here.  So when the sun came out I ventured over to the shore with my sketch pad.
Yellow Boat
This little yellow boat bobs about in the navy blue sea and rests at low tide in the umber colours of the seaweed.  But, looking at the sky, I wasn't confident that I would get time for a colour sketch.  So I started with charcoal.  Then it was back to my favourite subject - Slumbay. Using graphite this time.
Slumbay Sketch
I'm always striving for that perfect sketch of Slumbay - not sure if I'll ever get to that point.  I was also thinking about foregrounds and how to make the right marks to capture these in a more interesting way.  Then I remembered that I also wanted to try out a new sepia sketching pen, so I progressed on to ink, still thinking about foregrounds. The pen was good for drawing clumps of seaweed, I thought.
Seabank Cottage with Boat (and seaweed clumps)
However, this was as far as I got before the rain started again.  I thought this last one was a composition with some potential for a small picture so I may go back and sketch this again. I'm hoping to get a little more sketching before the end of the week...fingers crossed.