Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Boxing Day drawing

I've been at this for a few months now, and feel like I'm only just being able to paint the kind of things that I want to paint, and that lift my soul.   Broad passages and blobs of colour don't seem to be working so well for me. I have to battle the acrylic paint.   It dries too fast to blend well, and I really don't like transparency in my paint.

Yay for acrylic gouache and Posca pens.  :)

I have tried oils, and while they're beautiful, I don't handle them very well.  I also lack space to be able to set out paint thinners and brush cleaner et al.  So it sorta has to be acrylic.  The Open Acrylics have the texture of sticky snot, and are still transparent. So they'll take some time to get used to.

But back to blending broad areas of colour, I can never seem to make the shapes I want and end up doodling without concentrating fully.  I find these staccato marks; dashes and small blobs, are more successful. They make the painting lively and give it movement, like pointillism, and the Van Gogh style of painting.  These marks, along with the staccato mini-scribbles I love to do, also depict the feel of light through leaves and plants quite well.

Drawing in acrylic paint and Posca pens.  I'm quite please with the feeling of light and shade in this.

I just love using paint markers, and have ordered some empty ones with some Golden High Flow acrylic to mix my own colours.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Sunset Foliage

"Sunset Foliage"

Acrylic wash, with acrylic gouache, negatively painted.

Still on the negative painting kick.  Loving it!

I'm enjoying the complementary colours, and have several ideas on where to take paintings like this.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Actually managing to finish some things.

The large "Rainbow Plants" painting is finaly done.  It has lots of layers, which I love, but I often end up making my paintings really labour intensive.  I guess that's what it takes when you love painting leaves, weeds, undergrowth, etc.

I love how it turned out though.  Really rich colours.
Mixed Media: Acrylic paint, collage, acrylic gouache, and coloured pencils.

And a slightly smaller drawing where I was just playing with my pastels and pastel pencils.  This has acrylic paint, pastel pencil, soft pastels and coloured pencils.

Also, here's a sort of start of something.  Abstract is so hard!  I basically just love to daub, and find it so hard to get anything looking like some kind of composition.  I think pattern is more my forte, but I keep on experimenting.

This is just a few layers of acrylic paint, and is a bit aimless at the moment.  Perhaps it will end up with a drawing over it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Painting negatively.

When negative painting, you sort of 'underlap' the layers.  That's the word one of my fave artists, Linda Kemp, uses.  It means you can build up a really complex and patterned piece of work.

Here's the progress on the "Jenny Wren" painting so far:

And the "Rainbow Plants" was a bit dull in the background. It lacked contrast, so I punched it up a bit by adding background light, again using negative painting.

Now I just need to add another drawing layer to these, and can call them finished.  Hopefully.  I have such a hard time deciding when a painting is finished.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Making progress on a few colour studies.

Adding layers to paintings is kinda fun.   I've been negative painting with the first two, which are the backgrounds posted in my previous post.  See if you can guess which they are.

Autumn leaves with wren. Acrylics on paper.

Acrylics on paper again.

And a painting of coloured leaves over a collaged background.

Acrylics and acrylic gouache.  This has been hanging around for a while.  It went through that horrible stage when I thought it wouldn't work, but I trusted my process a bit on this one, and it's beginning to come together.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

In love with colour.

Had fun this weekend with some messy 'starts'.  these will be the underpaintings for some playful drawing and negative painting.  I can't for the life of me stick to a limited palette.  I wish I could, but I just end up fishing out ALL THE COLOURS and throwing them at the canvas.

Golden open acrylics on gessoed paper.  Still getting used the Open acrylics. It's not dissimilar to painting with snot... 

Acrylics with alcohol dripped onto the wet surface, with some over-painting and lifting off of paint with more alcohol. On System 3 acrylic board.

Acrylics on gessoed acrylic paper.  Mark making fun.

Acrylics on gessoed acrylic paper.  Two layers here.  Water spotting and clingfilm appplied to create texture in the second darker layer.

Acrylics on cradled board.  More mark-making.  I find the colours really mouthwatering and exciting.  I have a problem keeping my colours clean, and usually end up with mud. I've been making a concerted effort to correct this of late.

This one is my absolute fave so far.

So much fun it should be illegal.  Self-made collage papers on canvas. Lots going on here.  I finger-daubed some thin glazes of acrylic paint over the surface.

Relatively sedate.  Pallet remnants applied as a loose wash over unprimed watercolour paper.  Note how clean and not-muddy the colours STILL are.

Sometimes I fall in love with initial layers, and can't bring myself to work over them.  We'll have to see how these go.


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Experimental drawing

I'm so drawn to messy leaves, plants and weeds.  I love hedgerows and tangled undergrowth. I have no idea why, but it gives me joy.  I'm also yearning to be able to paint in a semi-abstract way, more intuitively, so I embarked upon this layered drawing to try and develop something of my own.

Click on the images to see them larger.

Here's the first layer.  Water-soluble  pastels on plain white paper.  I use clear gesso between my layers.

Next, More water-soluble pastels. I love using these, the colours are so spontaneous and easy to apply.  I started out trying to keep a restricted palette.  Epic fail.  I always end up throwing ALL THE COLOURS at my work.  Le sigh.

I also realised that trying to divide up the image in a sort of loose grid was a mistake.  But hey, it's just an experimental drawing.

Here, I added more colour to the negative (background) image. Again with water-soluble pastels.

Lastly, Out came the new coloured pencils, and I laid in colour over the positive image, the leaves and stalks. I made another mistake here, and damaged to overwork the clear gesso in this layer.  So everything went slightly grubby and the colours are less intense in the photo than they look in real life.

Still, there are some lovely bits and pieces to be picked out.  Using a small image view - just a negative rectangle cut out of card - I found some nice ideas to work on and maybe enlarge as more abstract drawings.

Ima try again.  Watch this space.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Abstract drawings

I got over the fear of using my coloured pencil sets, and did a little sketchbook work.   Loving these abstracted landscapes.  If my attention span doesn't waver...  it always does, I have such a low boredom threshold... I'll try to develop these a bit more.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sketchbook work

Sketchbooks are fun to work in.  You're not making a finished piece, so the pressure is OFF.  I've just been messing around with drawings and small scale paintings lately.  I find the time it takes to work on a larger piece that I may end up listing for sale is kind of slow. It sucks up my spontaneity. Whilst it can be fun to work on a detailed many-layered painting, sometimes I need to go back to my sketchbooks to rediscover what excited me about getting back into art in the first place.

Here are a couple of bits and pieces.

More exercises from my book by Linda Kemp.  ( I, er, may also have bought her video. Heh.)

Study of ferns using Pilot Color Eno pencils. These are superb quality, and I love drawing detail with them.

Abstracted ferns.  I love abstract drawing.   Sitting down to draw a careful observational study is always good. Abstract artists know how to draw, despite what the layman might think.  However...  I find it deadly dull.  I can draw pretty well, and I can sit down to draw a pretty picture any time.  After I while, I find it a bit soul-sapping though.  And end up just 'playing' with my mark making tools and my colours, like a child.   This is what really gives me joy in art.

And some more leafy stuff. Abstracted.  I used my worn-down Prismacolor pencils for this.  I actually have some brand new tins of coloured pencils, among them the finest that money can buy.  I'm just too damn scared to use them, so the old Prismacolors keep coming out.

I need to do something about this state of terror....

Any one of these drawings could be developed into a painting.  I quite like them all.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Something I'm working on

Just a quick snap of a painting I'm currently working on.

It's at that stage where everything looks dreadful right now, but I'm happy with the way some of the colours are going. Let's see if I don't screw it up.

I've yet to produce an abstract that I'm willing to share.  It's so damned hard.  Anyone who says abstract is easy is a twit.  An abstract drawing or painting is so much harder to resolve successfully than any figurative painting.

I keep trying. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Simplifying Design & Colour for Artists: Linda Kemp

My break from art has been long. Perhaps about 15 years? But anyway, I'm trying to get back to it now, as it's always been such a deep part of me. I've felt lost and frustrated for years because I wasn't nurturing that part of my soul.

Even when I did paint and draw, right from art college, I never did feel that I'd discovered my “style”, not completely. I also have always had issues with composition. Yes, I know the theory, but it all flies out of the window when I start to paint an actual piece. Ditto colour. I throw the entire darned rainbow at the canvas and then have issues with harmony, and cohesiveness just because I don't plan.

Having recently bought two books by artists I adore, I think that is beginning to change this time round. I think its partly my age too, older and wiser, and really wanting to knuckle down and discover something for myself.. to "be authentic", to use that word which is so overused and tired these days, nut nonetheless is the best word for what I want to do.   I believe that being authentic, or original, is not saying something uniquely different,  it's more about saying something that you uniquely think.  Something you've arrived at yourself, no matter how many other people have arrived there first.

The first book is “Simplifying Design & Color for Artists: Positive Results Using Negative Painting Techniques.” by Linda Kemp. Long title! Linda is a Canadian artist, whose work I'm only just beginning to discover, but I instantly loved her art and her approach.

I'm currently working through the exercises given in her book, and as well as the pleasant side-effect of the age-old “I have no idea what to draw” conundrum being banished for a while, my sketchbook is beginning to be the joy to me that it should be. My pages are beginning to be colourful and fun, and I'm rediscovering a sense of play. (Although I have artist Jane Davies to thank for that, also. Her YouTube videos are both generous and inspiring.)

It has actually taught me to enjoy studying composition for it's own sake, and I already have ideas on what to do with my numerous photographs as source material.

So here are two spreads from my sketchbook. I've just been playing with coloured pens and markers, much like I did with my felt-tips as a kid. And it's great.

Art is making me happy again. I never thought I'd see the day. With some work, and some luck, I'm optimistic that I'll soon be able to strengthen my compositions, restrict my palette to achieve greater harmony, and eventually; really begin to hone in on what my personal style might be.

Anyone else have any of these problems? Or solutions?


Saturday, October 13, 2018

New artworks for sale in my Etsy shop

Up for consideration are two framed pieces.

Both can be found in my Etsy shop. Links provided.  You can also find these on my "For Sale" page, in the tabs at the top of this blog.

Mixed media, "Leafy Things"
Full details in my Etsy shop:  £80.00 GBP

I just love hedgerows, woodlands, and forest floors.  This is a mixed media piece in autumnal colours.

Acrylics and inks: "Moorland"
Full details in my Etsy shop:  £70.00 GBP

Having grown up in Devon, I find the moors entrancing.  This is in acrylics and inks.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Study of Ellowyne Wilde doll

I can't sew at the moment. I'm kinda frozen up, so I've been drawing instead.

Here's the development of the Ellowyne Wilde sketch I did last week. (Click on the miages or open them in a new tab to see larger images.)

First the drawing. Simple graphite on budget watercolour paper.  I love to draw on this:

Next I scanned it onto my computer, played with the contrast, and used a filter to turn the graphite lines and shading blue.   Then I printed it out onto quality watercolour paper, and stretched it on a drawing board.

Then I scribbled over it in Prismacolor pencils and applied some stamps. (I like scribbly drippy backgrounds):

So next, I thought I'd do a dribbly drippy watercolour background.  The thing is, I didn't use watercolour paint, I used my Dr PH Martin's Radiant Inks.  And they don't fade like watercolours, as they dry!  DEspite my using the inks very diluted, this turned out a bit terrifying. I almost completely lost the drawing underneath:

Bravely, I picked out some of the almost lost lines in graphite,  then applied acrylic paints for the fleshtones.  It was a relief to see I could still work on this.

Picking out more of the colour areas. The eyes went a bit googly becasue I was clumsy with the whites of the eyes:

But then I hacked into it with Prismacolor pencils.  These are yummy to use, nice and loaded with pigment. They're great to build up and blend:

So it's beginning to come together.  I don't usually like posting process pictures before the artwork is complete.  That way, I can hide my disasters from the world - and believe me about 80% of my pieces are total fails!

So we'll see how this goes.  Part of me wants to leave it this way. I like unfinished looking art, but the other half wants to at least add another layer of acrylic paint, and use some of my gorgeous gouache colours.  The hair is staying pink though.  I love it this way.

We'll see.


Drive-by art

Quick sketch.

Acrylics, graphite and gouache on A4 watercolour paper.


Friday, October 5, 2018

"Event Horizon"

I did the Sketchbook challenge back in 2012. This is just the stages of one of the small paintings I put into the book.  I love abstract, but all my attempts seem to turn into something recognisable, which I'm not entirely sure I'm happy about.  But I like this one.

Taking photos of each layer is huge fun for me, and a part of my process.  It's not only useful reference for me to look back on, but I feel it enhances the final image, to see what lies beneath!

Click images to see larger versions.

First layer: Acrylics over a dull grey ground.  I have no idea why I picked grey, perhaps I thought it was neutral.

Second layer: More acrylics. Applied good and thick to try and brighten the colours.  I was also practising my blending.

Third layer:  Oils.  I started laying down details on the horizon.  I'm not sure if I should have left the image at this point and called it done. The energy of the lines is probably more spontaneous than the final layer.

Final layer:  Oils.  I wanted to give the impression of distant city lights, roads, buildings, etc.  I'm not sure if I lost some of the energy at this point, but hey, it was just a sketch.  "Event horizon" is a title I'd like to develop as a small series.