Friday 2 November 2018

Adapting to a new pace of life

The cold weather has arrived, the sun is shining and I am painting again.
I got off to a slow start in January, but my life has settled down at this new pace and I feel ready to start enjoying being creative once more.

Well being, has played a huge part in my progress. I know its a phrase that's banded about, but well being is really about giving yourself quality time.
I go walking with my little dog Maggie each day, often joining a friend who also has a schnauzer. The two dogs are the greatest of friends, with only 2 weeks between them, they are like siblings with one another. Walking in all weathers, being outdoors and able to appreciate life, is one of the things that has helped me through these past months.

Many of you have emailed me and spoken to me on the phone offering words of support, all of which I have very much appreciated. Many of you have said how Terry would have wanted me to paint again, and of course he would, however, I have to want to paint for myself and I am only just beginning to feel that now.

So, I won't go on about it, but the cloud is lifting.

So far, I have a collection of 10 new paintings ready to frame. They will be going to Clitheroe to the Longitude Gallery in time for January.
The frames have arrived and I have just photographed these paintings before they go into the frames.

I took some photos of a couple of the paintings during the painting progress. I have to decide at the start to do this, because I think the beginning is so important for you to be able to see the progression clearly.

This is possibly a little more detailed than I would have wanted, but I got carried away with all that lovely foliage! And yes, I know flowers can look a bit twee, but these were all there, and the dahlias in the foreground were gorgeous!

When I paint, I tend to build up a painting, starting with my tonal blocks.
I find this helps me to establish the correct lighting for the painting, rather than getting carried away with colour.


I never begin on a white canvas. I always start on a mid toned base. I pre-paint my canvas boards so I am ready to go as soon as I have the urge to paint. The base is usually a putty colour, an ochre grey colour, not too bright.

I dilute the paint and establish the darker sections of foliage. I'm not looking at any details, just blobs of tone. I then add the very dark sections (although sometimes I don't bother with this just yet) I do like to add a couple of posts and tree trunks as I find these are good to have in place so I can use them as a reference point when I cover things up later (which I always do!)
I have added the white or very light tone too. The white flowers in the foreground are really for your benefit, because I probably wouldn't have bothered with them at this point, but I think it shows the importance of tone, and how that base colour is darker than you might at first think.


Once that first stage is done, I suppose it really wouldn't matter where I then painted, but I like to get the back sections in. I do enjoy getting the backdrop to my subject in place, so I would recommend starting at the back and working your way forward.
My brush stroked are very bold and gestural. I don't mind if I paint over any edges, I tend to hold my brush at it's end, stand back from the easel and daub!
Sometimes I think I should just create a 'daub' painting and leave it at that!!


I did get a bit carried away with this one though. I began to add textures in the background foliage, so of course, once I'd done that, I then needed to add more to the mid sections, and from there on I had to keep adding those details!

I enjoyed it though.
I had a serialised play on the radio and I switched off to everything. I drank tea, talked to Maggie and submersed myself in the painting.
I came back to it over a few days as I like the light to be bright. I don't like painting in artificial light, no matter how bright it is, so I usually stop mid afternoon.
I also need to take Maggie out of course, we have a little walk around the village. She likes to greet all the visiting dogs, so I usually end up chatting with people from all over the place.

I hope my chattering to you about my painting has perhaps inspired you to get your paints out, so until next time, Im off to put the kettle on and think about my next subject.


Sue Bradley said...

So glad to see you painting, Fiona! X

SuBu in AK said...

Fiona ~ I always love your paintings and think of you so often. Every time I see your Amazing paintings they just stop me with how perfect your touch is. Maggie is so adorable and know how good the walking is for both of you, your friend and Maggie and her friend. I have two Schnauzer sisters and they just are so inspiring "Luv Bugs! Just follow Maggie.

Sending Hugs to you and Maggie,

Sue in Alaska