Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Snow in July!

I'm still dabbling with the watercolours.   I picked up a book - beginners guide,  from Hobbycraft.   I'm still waiting for my paints, they were dispatched on Monday...    was hoping they'd be here today.   I'm using a pan set at the moment, which isn't ideal for the landscapes etc.   I did quite a lot of sketching yesterday,  and became reaquainted with perspective,  light and shade,  how to draw figures.   It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon,  and none of the practice pieces were intimidating. 

Today I moved on to the painting excercises.   The first was this snowy tree.   I used the masking fluid to protect the snowy mound, and some of the branches.    I used four colours, grey, blue, brown and yellow ochre.   

I really have fallen in love with this medium.  I'm finding it easier to get results, and also to produce a painting I am happy with and one that looks like I want it to look!  

Not so hot physically,  my back is really giving me problems.   I had to pull out of the photo walk today.   At least that awful heat has gone,   it was lovely yesterday, a bit cloudy,  but the right temperature for me.  Harvey is also much happier,  he was really suffering with his fur coat.  Though he's being a bit of a pain about his food, liking something one day and then not the next, so I mixed in his treats with his food,  he had no choice then!   He's clever,   if I toss a treat to him he'll catch it in his paws,  he'd make a good goalie. 

More painting tomorrow,  fingers crossed the paints come! 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Too blooming hot!

I was melting all last week,  temp was up at 28C, way too hot for me and for Harvey.  I had to dig out the large fan,  Harvey parked himself in front of it!    I'm so glad it is cooled down,  today is much better,  no need for the fan, and I managed to work my way through the mountain of ironing that had accumulated. 

I also felt like a change,  so while I was in Hobbycraft yesterday I picked up a cheap starter set of watercolours.   I've never dared attempt to do any watercolouring, for some reason it has always scared me.   Anyway I thought I'd give them a go.   Looked on Youtube for some tutorials, found a nice chap - Matt Palmer had uploaded a few videos.   I followed one,  see the pic,  just too see if me and the watercolours could get along. 

This was the set I bought.   I wasn't sure how much paint to mix, and of course didn't have the colours he advocated.  So it was a bit hit and miss, I mixed the black with some white to get grey,  judging the water was also tricky.  But this was just a test piece,   not a work of art.   I found the brush work easy, in fact better than with acrylics or oils,  I was having more success with my brush work and shading.   I do love the delicacy of watercolours,  but always feared that it would be hard to control the paint, in fact I found it was much easier to get depth and shade.

So buoyed up by the mini success I followed another of Matt's tutorials, a bit more ambitious, probably too ambitious but it didn't matter as I wasn't after perfection,  just wanted more practice.

I kind of followed his tutorial, but also made it up as I went along.  I was astonished by the result I got,  that it looked as I intended it to look, that the shading was easier, as was the blending.  I enjoyed myself, and it was almost like an instant result!  The acrylics take time, or I need to take time with them,  I like using them, but think I will focus on watercolour for a while.  in fact I was so taken with it that I've ordered a better set of paints, but from Amazon, half the price of Hobbycraft.   Just can't believe I avoided this medium for so long.

This week hasn't been a good week because of the heat, I also was overcome by crippling sadness on Tuesday. I had gone for a beach combing walk with a friend,  after our coffee I just had to go home, luckily my friend was very understanding.   The heat hasn't helped,  once it gets beyong 22C I am no good,  the least effort sees me breaking out like a leaky shower.   Trying to get some sleep was a nightmare,  I was shattered, so much so that I didn't feel like talking at my counselling session.   Harvey didn't improve my bad mood by waking me up at some unGodly hour because he wanted to play!   It was also too hot to contemplate going to the follow on to the art therapy,  the room they use is like an oven and there was no way I was going to suffer for two hours.  I also gave up on seeing the Giants,  too hot and too many people.   I can't believe no-one thought to stream it live on the internet!  My back has also been too sore, I must have twisted awkwardly at some point as it has been really painful, I'm down to a slow hobble, and need to use the grabber for anything that is on the floor. 

My new paints should be with me on Wednesday, in the meantime I'll carry on using the beginners set to practise with.   I have a photo walk coming up this week,  next week it is a reading group,  last week of August I'll be making a sculpture to go on a bike.   And I need to find some watercolour classes. 

Have a lovely week, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Up, up and away

The last couple of weeks have been tough.  I had a really heavy counselling session which knocked me back for a week or so.   And the heat of the last few days has been too much for me,  wanted to get into an ice bath and stay there!

I wanted to get away from seascapes,  and after looking at some photos of hot air balloons decided to have a go.  The first attempt was dire!   Made a complete mess of the balloons,  so painted them out and started again.  Much happier with these,  just working on the greenery at the moment, and will put in some more mountains, but very, very pale.

Art course is going well, my painting is nearly finished, Andy took a look at it and suggested a few things so I'm working on those at the moment.

Back to my mood, of course things never stay the same, and I began to get back on track, met a friend and we spent the day at the Walker Art Gallery,  saw the Perry Grayson exhibition, had lunch and enjoyed the glorious weather (pre heatwave).    Next my cousin came for a visit and we went for lunch, always good to talk to her, she has been really supported me.   Finally a friend came to stay for a few days,   bad timing on my part as the golf was on TV (The Open), and I love golf!   The weather played a part in me being able to watch it as we were too bushed to do much else than stay indoors out of the heat.  We did enjoy a delicious meal last night,  two fabulous steaks,  they melted in your mouth and we got 25% off as I checked the pub's website and they had a voucher!   That's why we had the steaks.   It also cooled down last night,  so we were both able to sleep.  Harvey's not enjoyed the humid weather,  it upset his tummy,  and left him miserable.   Then horror of horrors, Tesco didn't have his favourite food!   He's fussy in that he likes five types of fish, cod, tuna, salmon, plaice and sardine,  Felix do a box with the cod, salmon, plaice and Tuna, but they had none left, meaning it is obvioulsy popular - so why don't they stock more of it!    I got some today from Sainsburys, bought two boxes,  can't run out again.

My time on the art therapy programme also came to an end :-(    Fortunately it wasn't just me leaving, two others were as well,  and the programme also breaks up for the summer (to accommodate holidays) so that made it more bearable, knowing that there wouldn't be a session this coming week and I wouldn't be there.  Got lots to occupy me, signed up to take part in a art sculpture project,  and some outings with the group, now I need to find a painting course so I can continue to improve.

Harvey's much happier today, it has cooled down,  he has his favourite food, so his tum is full, he's just done a happy cat dance down the hall.    And I've got two lunch dates this week, and have to arrange a coffee with a friend, big difference from last year.

All for now,  thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Brush strokes...

Well I've been at the paints.   Almost finished my art course piece, which is this one.  Yes the Iron man is looking a bit odd, but I've started to correct him,   and I've also added a boat,  there will be two more added.   I'm happy with some stuff, and not with other bits,  but I do feel that I am making progress.   Probably need to get away from seascapes!     Just the finishing touches, as in paint in the boats, sails,  and add a bit more 'rust' to the iron man. 

Second Iron man,  worked hard on the 'puddling',  it may need a little bit more.   But I am happy with this.  The sky wasn't easy,  need to be less impatient.   I put this to one side for a few days and then came back to it,  then I thought about how the sand looks when the tide has gone out, when you get that rippling effect?    I used the finest brush I had,  and kept it loose,  and made sure the paint was a nice creamy texture. 

I'm also reworking the first seascape,  wasn't happy with the shore line, it was a bit messy.   I watched a few more videos on YouTube, plus I downloaded an art book onto my kindle,   it's been a great help, and useful being on the kindle as I can just go straight to the page.   Back to the painting, it is almost finished,  just need to do a bit more work on the boat and it will be done.  Oddly enough I think the first is the best.     I do want to paint more scenes,  got a few photos that I can use,  if I can remember which CD they're on! 

A good/bad week mood wise,  this new counselling is tough,  but I like the counsellor, she makes a lot of sense.    The new cat, Harvey is now part of the furniture,  he's finally stopped following me around the flat,  and is settling nicely into a routine,  still got a few issues.  His former owners obviously didn't mind him jumping on the work surfaces or the table, well I do,   so I've been firm with him,  and he's starting to get the message.    I bought him a fleecy blanket to lie on,  spoilt, perhaps but also it saves my sofa from being covered in fur!  

Discovered my car had a flat tyre today!    Must have a slow puncture, but because it was on the passenger side I'd not noticed it.  Luckily I was at the supermarket, so drove to the garage bit and put some air in it.  I'll get it fixed tomorrow.   And believe it or not I left my crutch behind at the supermarket,  I always put it in the trolley,  when I came back to the car and saw the flat tyre I got distracted and forgot all about the crutch!    How did I manage when I got home, simples,  I have a spare crutch.  So that's my morning tomorrow,  get puncture fixed and go back for crutch...   It's also Harvey's birthday,  he'll be 6!  Well in human years,  a little bit older in cat terms.    Last night he got brave and ventured beyond the garden gate,  he and a neighbour's cat had a stand off,   I rescued Harvey in the end. 

Will try to blog before the of the week.