Saturday, 30 August 2014

Saturday musings

Here's today's painting - she says making it sound like she blogs every day.  I have done other paintings this week but they were experiments, which er, didn't go to plan.  I was trying loose watercolour,  it sounds easy but is very difficult,  it means you need to simplify the picture - not sure I'm anywhere near that stage yet, so I'll put it on the back burner for a while. 

Back to the painting.  I had a dream last night that I'd paint Stonehenge.  Been thinking about it but hadn't found a nice enough photo. 

I knew how I wanted to paint it, with an extreme sky, tossed up whether to put a sun in the picture, and didn't,  but now I think I should.   I will revisit this again,  I was lucky enough to go to Stonehenge in 1976.   Back then it wasn't fenced off so you could just walk around,  it really was a magical place.   Sadly I had no camera,  it had been a spur of the moment visit, made more special because I was my then partner.  

So to Harvey, this is how he starts his day, with his newspaper workout!   I put two pages down,  and he goes nuts,  add a bit of string or ribbon and you have one happy cat.   He'd pretty much destroyed the paper by this stage.   He was celebrating having a full tummy,  it was his own fault, he turned his nose up at the tuna.   So at breakfast he had a sachet of beef,  Felix no less,   he wolfed the whole lot!   He had some fresh chicken later,  I was making a curry for my dinner,  so greedy guts Harvey was hanging round for any scraps. 

Got a ton of ironing to wade through tomorrow,  not my favourite thing.   Never mind, someone has suggested that I do the watecolour on a canvas...   mmm,  maybe,  got the urge to paint the Chalice Well.

All for now,  might be back tomorrow - have a good week.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Being orignal!

Yesterday when I posted the picture of The Windmill on a FB group, someone asked me when I was going to produce something original.  I wasn't sure what to make of the comment,  at the moment I am on a huge learnign curve and feel the need to follow tutorials, and complete various exercises, simply because I want to get to know all about watercolours.   I don't follow the tutorials slavishly,  often I don't have the colours they are using so have to mix my own,  or I just want to follow the composition.  

Anyway today I thought I would have a bash at something original.  I decided to use one of my Ireland photos, sadly the printer is out of ink!   So plan B,  use a photo from a magazine, kind of...!  Let's just say the top half of this painting follows the photo, the bottom half doesn't.  My field of corn went wrong, so I turned into a cliff and a beach scene,  then cos it needed something to add interest I painted in the standing stones.  The colours are bright, again that is deliberate,  in one tutorial the chap went for bright colours and I wanted to do the same.   The sea came out well, more successful than with the acrylics,  I was able to get the translucence as sea meets shore line.   Put the boats in so the beach wouldn't be empty.   All in all a  happy afternoon's painting, and great success for GB at European athletics, 3 golds!   Just shows what application can achieve, our footballers should take note.

All for me for now...   hope you all have a good week,  thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Practice makes perfect - I hope!

 I've had my nose at the easel all week.  I've been doing some of the exercises in the book, colour wheels, washes, stuff like that.   I also watched a few videos on watercolours.    But today I decided it was time to do a painting.  In last month's edition of Liesure Painter they printed a photo of a mill,  it was supposed to be a 30 minute study!   I decided against even trying to complete it in 30 minutes.  I chose one element of the photo - the windmill and had a go, all by myself.   This was also a 5 x 7 painting,  I chose that size as I had found a small frame going spare. 
Well I thought my effort was okay, but not quite 'there',   choosing such a small size limited me,  I also should have perhaps made the windmill smaller.  But nevertheless I'd had a go.  Then today I picked up the September issue of Liesure Painter, this time they had a tutorial on the photo, so I decided to follow it.
I prefer this to my first effort.  It has two features, the tree and the windmill.   My sketching is improving all the time,  and I'm chuffed about that.  I know I'd benefit from some classes,  it would be good to get some proper instruction.  

Today I added to my art stash, one brush, size 10, and one tube of paint, sepia, and the real treat was buying a cotton watercolour pad.  I found it made all the difference,  I could put in clouds as it wasn't drying as fast as the paper, and I was getting a more even finish.   The other pads will be good for quick studies and practice,  which I need to do!  

Good and bad week mood wise, very down at the start of the week.   It would have been my dad's birthday last Tuesday, he would have been 89.  So I was feeling very down,  I attended a reading workshop,  run by creative alternatives,  there was one man there, apparently he didn't often attend workshops but he had decided to give the reading group a go.  Well I got surprise when he spoke, he was Irish, and to hear that lovely lilt reminded me of my dad.  Later, after the workshop I popped to Smiths to see if my magazine was in,  as I came back to get the park and ride bus I passed a busker and he was playing: Danny Boy.  Thursday I had my last therapy session,  not sure yet if anything has changed,  the counsellor showed me my mood chart which was very up and down. 

Now for a Harvey report!  He was a bad boy this week,  he jumped up on the worktop and stole some chicken.  He got a good telling off.   He must have been allowed on worktops and tables at his first home,  I do not understand people allowing their animals to walk all over worktops.  His second 'sin' was to claw at the furniture.  

In the early hours of Thursday morning he tried to wake me up by being cute.  He was rolling over to have his tum tickled,  but he rolled a bit too far and fell off the bed!  The expression on his face was priceless. 

He is now fast asleep, getting ready for his night time stroll - though he'll only go if it isn't raining. 

I have another painting planned for tomorrow.   All for now, thanks for stopping by...

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Patience - a virtue I need to practice.

If you don't succeed at first, try, try and try again, then try one more time!    This was the case with this painting,  just couldn't get it right, either I made a mess of the sketch, or the sky or the shading.  It was driving me nuts, but I was determined to get it right.   And today was the day, suprising really as I had a frustrating morning.  First was discovering the road works on our main road, so there was chaos at the lights, not finding a parking space near the shop... brief respite from frustration as I put my natural satnav to good use and took a short cut to circumvent the horrendous queue,  then damn and blast supermarket didn't have Harvey's food!   So had to go to the pet shop,  so I also picked up another watercolour pad for a £5 - love sales!  

So after all that frustration, heavy and slow traffic I wasn't sure I had the patience to do this.  But it came from somewhere.  I realised were I was going wrong with the sketch,  and also the sky - I'd been trying to follow the artist's way of doing it,  when really I should have stuck with my way.  I still have to remind myself that I'm using watercolour and that the paper has to be wet.    Finally I was happy with my sketch,  mixed the paints and laid down my sky, the way I usually do it,  much happier.  Next the distant trees and bushes,  for these I used a sponge, just some light dabbing, then I added more paynes grey to create some definition.   I had remembered the masking fluid on the roof of the house,   I took my time with the shading around the house, using a very, very fine brush.  Next came the bit that had always gone wrong, the edging round the lake.  I got a nice mix of grey/blue,  and just built it up, this time I 'thought' about the direction the brush needed to go in and very gradually I added each layer, blending it as I went.    It took two hours, but the time flew by,  I was all ready to start another, unfortunately Harvey reminded me, very loudly, that he was hungry!   I also realised that I was.  He had tuna, and I had a salmon fishcake, which he asked to share - yes he got  a bit. 

Now he's snoozing, getting ready for his nightly prowl.   I didn't want him to be a night owl,  but it is quiet and I understand why he prefers to have a wander in the wee small hours of the morning.  He's taken a fancy to my fleecy dressing gown, I'd thrown it over the bed as it was a bit chilly last night,  he purred like mad, did  his kneading thing, rubbed his head - talk about seventh heaven! 

I've lined up quite a challenge for myself tomorrow, a stormy seascape, which I tried yesterday and failed miserably, but only because I got too cocky.   I'm grounded again now,  today taught me a lot,  so hopefuly I will be showing off the seascape tomorrow.