Monday, October 17, 2016

Art muse contest

The fountain, Villa Torlonia
John Singer Sargent

Well here's one of John Singer Sargents masterpieces, now how about entering one of yours in a painting contest?
Art muse contest is easy to enter online, and has been created with different categories of skill level so that you can choose where your art might be a best fit - the master class,  emerging artists and budding/apprentice artist. These are clearly explained on the website. You can enter as many paintings as you wish and there are cash prizes as well as gallery exhibits and various surprise awards (one of which may be a certain DVD).
All the information you need and the winners of previous Art Muse Contest awards can be found here -
I'm the judge for October so I'm looking forward to having a good peruse of the entries at the end of the month - good luck!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hunters yard

Hunters yard
14" x 18"

One of my favourite paintings from this year, actually one of my very best yet I think! You probably know that I like to bite off a bit more than I can chew when choosing a subject, I think it's how to keep growing my painting skills. Always strive towards something that you think is a little beyond you, that's my advice.

A subject like this is fraught with difficulties. What are the focal points? How to deal with the background (exterior scene) without it coming forward? How best to describe the value relationships between the dark interior and sunlit goings on outside? How to simplify all the busy objects and shapes within the boat yard? How to capture some of the figures that pass through and even.... can I get the dog in? What about the shine on the floor? The electric strip lights? And all these decisions to make while answering questions from onlookers.

But I was truly gripped! As soon as I saw it I knew it was my subject. Wild horses wouldn't have dragged me away from Hunters yard that afternoon.

Detail from Hunters yard

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Donkeys on the beach

Donkey rides
10" x 14"

During the two hour 'quick draw' event in Great Yarmouth I found out there were donkeys a short walk away and just had to give them a go. It's such a nostalgic subject isn't it? But more so the shapes and the way they connect just fascinate me, away from the storytelling or human element.

The sun didn't come out at all during the two hours - it was there beforehand and then again as soon as we finished! I suppose it was for the best in my case, I had enough to be going on with as the main parts of the subject were constantly moving. At least I didn't have to worry about shadows as well!

It was a really interesting challenge and I loved it. I actually was really pleased with the resulting painting and I didn't expect it would work out so well. 

Probably the hardest thing was that the pier bounced as people went by me, so that was a little disconcerting! 

Painting from the pier

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hunters boatyard demo

Hunters boatyard
9" x 12"

On a busy Saturday at the boatyard I painted a demo for a lovely group of artists in the sunshine. A very nice chap positioned this boat for me as all the others were to be taken out that day, and a lovely lady called Joan stood for a few minutes so that I could have a figure in the painting. Her jacket tied around her waist made for a lovely bright colour accent. 
The main focal point for me was the sail against the dark interior of the boatyard.

In the afternoon, I went inside the boatyard and painted from the inside looking out.

For more information on Hunters heritage fleet of beautiful wooden sailing boats see here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ken's fruit and veg

Kens veg, Ludham
11" x 14"

I was on my way to a different painting spot with my friend Mo  when I saw this beautiful sight and came to a screeching halt. Coup de coeur! This kind of subject is just my cup of tea. So many interesting shapes to get stuck into, some terrific shadows, an interesting colour palette and even lettering - tralala! Not to mention the warm feel good factor of homegrown fruit and veg for sale in a humble shed in a village, everything rustic and home made and just right.

I didn't even go into the shed as I was so busy painting but I did sample some very nice produce as I worked with the sun on the back of my neck. Yes it was a great experience for me.

Ken came back in his van and seemed delighted that I was painting his fruit and veg shop. He wandered across the road a few times to check on progress, and I had chats with walkers who were passing by.

Started with marking out the major shapes

Quickly moved onto colour and value, trying to 'nail it' in the first hit

Fun with all the little signs!

Work in situ, beautiful day and great fun!

Apparently Ken would have liked to buy the painting when he saw it in the evening exhibition, but the price was rather out of his league. I asked my lovely friend Kate if she might be able to produce a print of a photo of the painting for him and look what she did - a lovely print and framed as well. He looks over the moon with it! Well done Kate x

Happy Ken with his colour print :-)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Water gardens

Dappled light at the water gardens
8" x 10"

I was in Norfolk last week painting with friends and taking part in the 'Brush with the Broads' painting festival. It's the third year of the festival and we had as glorious weather as we have enjoyed the previous years. Norfolk seems to be the place to be at the end of September! 

This little painting took place at Fairhaven water gardens. I didn't have very much time there but it was a magical place, a beautiful wooded glade with a network of little rivers and larger lakes. 
I would like to come back here and paint another time, I really like the challenge of the little glimpses of light here and there amongst all the dense foliage.

Painting in situ

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Royal Society of Marine Artists exhibition 2016

Top two works by Peter Wileman
Mine are underneath

I had a great day in London yesterday at the preview of the Royal Society of Marine Artists annual exhibition. It's always a show that I enjoy and this year is the society's 50th anniversary of royal status so the RSMA have taken all three gallery spaces at the Mall Galleries.

Although there is a wide variety of painting styles and mediums to be seen here all the works are unified by a marine theme. I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to exhibit work with the RSMA for the last four years and I love to come to the preview day and catch up with many painting friends. 

This year the Mall Galleries have chosen my painting of the fishermens shelter in Portscatho to produce as a greetings card which is now available from the Mall Galleries bookshop. It makes a very sweet little square card!

I also couldn't resist buying this oil painting of children crabbing at Walberswick by Raymond Leech. I'm really looking forward to being able to enjoy it every day at home.

If you can get to London before the exhibition closes on the 8th October I would urge you to go and see the show for yourself. There are various artists demonstrating in the galleries throughout the exhibition.

If you can't get to London you can see (and indeed purchase) many of the paintings in the exhibition here.

Fishermens shelter

Redwings at Looe

Front of card

Back of card

Crabbers at work, Walberswick
by Raymond Leech

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Leaning sheds and allotment hens

 Leaning sheds and allotment hens
Leaning sheds and allotment hens
Oils 8" x 12"

Do you see what the hens were doing when I painted this one? They were queuing up to take turns in that lovely dust bath, so funny.

I really loved the strong lean on these characterful sheds and yes, I may have over emphasised the extent to which they leant ever so slightly ;-)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sunny afternoon with the hens

Sunny afternoon with the hens

I had a gorgeous few days with these hens earlier in the summer. This is one of four or five paintings I did there - I can't be happier than sunshine+sheds+hens... except possibly for snow+sheds+hens! I'll try to get back here in autumn and winter as it's not a subject I ever tire of. 

Yes it is tricky because they're moving all the time but if you hang around a while you can usually spot another hen in a similar position which helps. I love being around hens, their presence is so calming. 

You can find out how this painting might be yours on my website here :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Staithes rooftops

Staithes rooftops

This was worth walking up a hill and missing breakfast for... although I did have second thoughts once I was set up and began to draw in the complicated arrangement of shapes. When I say 'draw' I do mean with the brush and paint. With an architectural type subject I start with a linear sketch-in with a smallish brush, but I am always keen to move onto large value shapes as soon as I can. With a subject like this it's too easy to get lost in detail at the expense of the mood or get so worried about accuracy that you run out of time and lose the light. Luckily I had a strict time deadline which got me reaching for the big brushes and I got what I was after here.

This painting is now available to purchase at Staithes art gallery.

There is a brush set with ten of the brushes that I most commonly use available from Rosemary & Co. Click here for details :-)

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