Monday 13 March 2017

Inspired by the SKY Portrait Artist TV show

I love the start of the programme, when everyone is nervous and preparing, there is the ritual of squeezing out the paints, looking at the competition through the corner of eyes and trying to calm the nerves, then, the sitters are introduced, positioned and we are off! 

Basically, each week there are 9 artists split into three groups each having a celebrity sitter who they have to paint. The three celebrities can be anyone from authors to sports personalities or actors, some I wouldn't recognise and some I haven't even heard of, but all are a challenge for the artists.
Out of the 9 portraits, three go into the final group of which that weeks winner is chosen.  Eventually at the end of the series, the weekly finalists then compete for the prize of 'SKY portrait artist of the year'
As with any competition it's all purely subjective, but each week we love to bet on who the three will be and who will win that weeks selection. 
As both of us are artists it's great entertainment and we look forward to it like two big kids each week!
I enjoy the different styles and approaches, some participants use an iPad and seem to look at that for the rest of the sitting whilst others just look at the sitter. I have to admit that I am always most impressed by those who paint direct without relying on a photo, and of course a portrait has to resemble the sitter otherwise it's just a painting of a person. 

I must have bored those of you who have never seen the programme and you have probably switched off by now, but I wanted to share with you what inspired me to paint my latest painting.
It's a good challenge to try new things, perhaps paint in a different scale or use a different media, shake things up a bit, which is what I did.

I decided to use a little wooden panel I have had lurking for a couple of years in the studio, it's only 5 x 5 inches. I applied the double gesso layers, then a layer of pale raw umber, just to get rid of the white, once dry, I was ready to paint, and this is the result.

I'm quite happy with it and it was a fun project. 

Thursday 2 February 2017

Being creative on these short Winter Days

This time of year can be difficult with low light and short days, however, its nice to realise that I am not closing the curtains at 4pm now but 5pm! Hooray! 

Since having my super duper new studio built last Summer with its lovely day-light lights, the lighting is now fantastic which extends my day, and on these grey days I supplement the daylight with artificial. It still means photographing art work is a bit dodgy, but its great for painting indoors.

If you have similar problems, day-light bulbs can be really useful however, a good tip for you is to put the light on during the day, don't switch it on as it begins to get dark in the afternoon, because the lighting is different and by working with it all day you won't be tempted to alter any of your colours once you switch the light on! Its a simple tip, but I learnt a valuable lesson a number of years ago, working into the evening on a painting which I was so enjoying but when I came to view it in the morning I was SO disappointed, it looked so much duller than I had expected.
A bit like looking at a view with Polaroid sunglasses on, all that fabulous aqua blue which seems to vanish if you lift your glasses off!

I have been working on a series of loose watercolour paintings, well, when I say loose, I mean, I let the watercolour do its own thing and encourage it to flow by tilting the paper, flicking in colours, and dropping in stuff. I still like to know where I am going with things and what I'm hoping to achieve. These techniques I will be offering in workshops later in the year.

If you are curious and want to have a look at some more, I have just added eight new watercolours flower paintings to my website gallery

Winter is a good time to set yourself tasks, so why not challenge yourself and paint a series of paintings. Its all too easy to let these days slip by so try the following-

  • Choose a subject to work from and select either one photo or alternatively buy one type of flower to concentrate on.
  • Begin by selecting just one flower, using a soluble coloured watercolour pencil (something like pale green or ochre) lightly position the flower shape onto your paper. This will dissolve if you keep it pale enough. Consider where you want the flower and how much space you want to leave around it.
  • Think about the colours you want to use and make a few colour mixes to check they work well together. Choose a limited number of colours - a maximum of 5
  • Think about the brushes you will use and the techniques you will try.
  • Your first painting should be totally experimental. Expect to discard it, and learn from it, avoid thinking it may be a winner, then go for it and have some fun.
  • Be prepared to paint that same subject at least 3 times and try something different each time.

Let me know how you get on!

Monday 23 January 2017

New Spring Workshops available

This year is proving to be incredibly busy once again, but I have three Saturdays I am dedicating to those of you who want to paint with me this Spring.
Due to the limited number of workshops available, I am offering three very different subjects and all with different techniques, once I get an idea of which are the most popular I will then begin to plan some Autumn days.
I have decided that I really must get better at keeping in touch with you.... an emailing list is now something I think I ought to do, not that I want to bombard you with emails, its just sometimes when I want to share something exciting with you, I can just ping an email off to you, so if you would like to go on that list, do email me and I will add you to it 
You can of course unsubscribe if you change your mind.

I am working on some exciting watercolours at present, really pushing boundaries and having lots of fun, its using techniques I would love to share with you in the future.

mid-way through my exciting workshop example 

keeping things simple
I have just noticed a circular blurred section in my figures photo, (near the boys face) when I took a closer look at my camera there is a spot of dirt on it...