Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Teasels by the Welland

 Oil on Board, 9 x 13 inches
I'm rattling through all these demo paintings I've had stacked in the studio for months, and here's another one finished off. There's a common theme in nearly all these recent efforts - contre-jour, ie, facing into the sun. This tends to create strong highlights and shadows, so that there is plenty of contrast in the painting, giving it interest and often more impact. I love a Wintry subject for this light effect too - pale blue-greys for the distant trees, getting ever darker and warmer towards the foreground

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Winter Grazers near Gretton

Pastel 13x 19 inches
Yes, another demo painting I did last year, at Peterborough Art society I think. I finished back in the studio today. I reserved the pure Titanium White Schmincke Pastel stick, the softest, most buttery stick, to knock-in those gleaming jewels of sunlight. I say knock-in, because it is exactly the noise it makes, banging in those spotlights with the edge of the stick, rather like an impasto blob of Oil paint, after brushing off a tiny bit of underlying pigment with a Hog brush. Hmm, a bit more info divulged...I'll have to kill you all.

Rising Sun at Wakerley

 Pastel 13 x 19 inches
From the bridge on the Wakerley Road between Barrowden and Wakerley, I've painted this view a few times, and with a little artistic licence, I moved the dawn orb a little to the right of centre. Who can resist painting such a subject? Not me!

To Pastures New

 Pastel 13 x 19 inches
Yet another demo I painted last year from a 14 x 20 Oil painting, shown here. I changed a couple of the postures and plumage of the cattle, but otherwise, painted it pretty much as was - interesting to compare the two mediums. It would be even more interesting to compare a Watercolour to the Oil, but I've not had the courage to paint a Watercolour for a goodly this space!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Banks of Frost

Pastel 13 x 19 inches
I'm ploughing through a few demo paintings I did last year, just refining them to exhibition standard, beyond the two hours of the demo.
Almost a monochrome painting, with a lot of close tones, it was an exercise in capturing various subtle greys to achieve the desired result. I find using the Pastel medium tougher than Oils for this kind of subject, because you need so many close colours, and finding them on my extensive palette is no easy task, especially being an untidy painter - I get so into the painting that I put a stick down, grab another one and before I know it, the colours are all mixed up, which is fatal, and it stops the flow. 
I love the 'softer' look and feel of Pastels, but Oils will always be my preferred medium for most subjects, although using Pastels also makes the desire to grab the brushes again even stronger!

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Winter Reedmace

Pastel 13 x 19 inches
Yes, I am still alive, and this is the first painting for 51 days - I've been doing work on the new PBFA gallery in Uppingham which has kept me from the easel, but it's good to be back in the saddle again!

This was the final demo I did last year, duly polished off in the studio. Winter can be a somewhat monochrome season, but when it snows, then there's sunshine, the beautiful, subtle, complimentary colours are a dream to paint - lots of greys, browns, oranges and blues - scrummy! 

Describing the background trees set against the distant backdrop is the most challenging, and in this case, it's firstly choosing the right colour, then applying the stick using its point for the trunk and on its side with the most gentle pressure for the feathery tracery.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Passing Car

Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
I do love the sparkle on water when the sun is straight ahead of you. This painting was all about tone - that progression of darks to lights, judging that very pale backdrop of distant woods. As I always say in my demos, you must keep the painting going at an even pace - if you dwell too long on one passage, adding detail, and don't place adjacent tones down first, you may find the tone you thought was right first, is actually too dark in all likelihood. Every tone and colour you place down will change as soon as that adjacent one is placed next to it. If you then plough on without getting the lightest tone right, everything else will be correspondingly darker, and the finished painting will lack the depth and impact you desired.

The delightful finishing flourish to a panting like this, is to place those tiny dabs of pure white to simulate the twinkling jewels of refected sunlight on the water.

Frosted Track

Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
I love painting Silver Birches - they're such beautiful trees, rather like the Aspens over the pond. Frost, too, is a delight to capture in paint - that lovely silvery green as if the grass is dusted with icing sugar!

Oaks at Morcott

Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
This is a view I pass every time I drive to the gallery - have I ever mentioned that I have a gallery, Peter Barker Fine Art? Glancing across the Welland Valley presents this lovely view and never better than contre jour, looking straight into the light as it is in the morning. Painting on this scale really concentrates the eye, still using a 1" decorator's brush to describe the three Oak trees.

Lyndon Avenue

  Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches
I've painted this wonderful avenue of Oaks many times, and never is it more majestic than in late Autumn when the colours are simply awesome and the foliage produces dancing, dappled spots of light on the road and verges.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Sunset /sky over Rutland Water

 Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches

'Sunset Sky over Rutland Water', oil 3.625 x 5 inches
I felt it was time to paint half-a-dozen Christmas-present-sized paintings, so here's the first one out of the blocks. I've deliberately reduced the size of the file - at high res, because that comes out much bigger than the actual painting on the screen, it looks awful and shows up every flaw, so here it is, more or less actual size on a screen so it doesn't look too bad!

Hay Bales near Preston

 Oil on Board, 3.625 x 5 inches

'Hay Bales near Preston', Oil 3.625 x 5 inches
I've been meaning to paint some bales for a while - just love the light effects on these roly-poly rolls - they have the most subtle tone and colour shifts. I aranged the bales into a pleasing composition - a reminder of late Summer as we head into the cold Winter months!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Beech Fall

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

I painted this a couple of years ago and have revisited it, adding some Fallow Deer for interest, repainted the background and reframed it. Sometimes there's no reason why a painting doesn't sell, and other times it's obvious. Not sure which sector this fits into, but you as an artist have to put yourself into the shoes, or eyes, of a buyer and ask "would I buy this...does this have what it takes for me to fork out my hard-earned money?" A painting has to have a hook, be it bravura brushwork, a familiar place, a romantic vista, an atmospheric quality, a light effect...some sort of impact on the viewer. I think this one is better now, but we'll see by the reaction in the gallery!

St. James's Park

Oil, 9 x 12 inches

Here's my two-hour effort from the magnificent British Plein Air Painters' paint-out at St.James's Park back in October, where the entire park was monopolised by artists, causing lots of passers by to have a chat and wonder what was going on! I couldn't resist the contrast of the overhanging foliage set against the backdrop of blue trees on the distant shreline. The chap leaning against the fence was there for about a minute allowing me to dash him in. I tickled it up in the studio with the help of a couple of photos as aide memoires, and hopefully it captures the beautiful warm hazy light we were blessed with all day.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Autumn Larch by Buttermere

Oil on board 10 x 14 inches

A yellow/orange tree set against a mauve/grey backdrop of mountains - what's not to paint! By the steep shores of Buttermere in the Lake District, a beautiful part of our country and an artist's paradise.

The sky, backdrop and water were all painted with hogs and softer flats, then my 1 inch decorator's brush came into its own, with lots of texture pushed in with that gorgeous colour of the foreground tree...yummy! And those dark tussocks of grass were also pushed in wwith the same brush, as was the rest of the grassy bank.