Saturday, 31 August 2019

Bright and Breezy

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

This one was a last second (literally!) submission for the ROI exhibition, painted much more loosely then most of my efforts. I've used a decorator's brush to depict tree foliage for years, but here I again used just a large, flat, Eclipse synthetic brush from Rosemary & Co., and the entire painting was painted with standard oils, rather than my usual fast-drying Alkyds - I'm enjoying the different technique involved, placing colour on top of wet paint.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Harvest fields near Morcott

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

I started this painting on site, in extreme heat, even at 10am, with the sun beating down on me from my left, but after 3/4 of an hour, it became unsustainable, not from the heat, but the thousands of small flies in clouds above my head and landing on the wet paint every few seconds, requiring lifting off with the corner of the palette knife. So, I got as far as I could then finished it off in the studio.

I again adopted a far looser approach than has been my modus operandi for a long time, using a big, Rosemaryandco Eclipse Short Flat brush for all the tree, hedgerow and field work. I'm liking the more 'painterly' feel, the less photographic look, so might even submit this to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and see if they like it...

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Sun Going Down, Harvest Bales

Oil on board 7 x 10.75 inches

Another very loose painting, for me. For small paintings like this, I have always used fast-drying Alkyds almost exclusively, but for this I used only standard, slow-drying oils. The technique is different - previously, I have always scrubbed in the dark shapes and by the time they have dried sufficiently, half-an-hour or so, I have worked into these with heavier paint, using a 1" decorator's brush. This can give a very realistic finish, which buyers do like. But this can be difficult to achieve in the time allotted to en plein air work. So, here, I painted in the dark shapes with reasonably heavy paint, and worked back into them with the paint obviously still very wet - quite enjoyed it actually. 

The foreground 'stripes' of stubble were going straight out of the picture, stage left, so I used some artistic licence and painted them turning inwards, directing the eye through to the descending sun. The temptation to depict the stubble in much more convincing detail was strong, but somehow I managed to curb the urge! My feelings are that artists will prefer this looser approach, but will the collectors who give me a living...?

Distant Fire, Rutland Water

Oil on board, 10 x 14 inches

I was out painting en plein air the other evening, starting at around 6.30pm. I was looking more or less straight into the sun, which was shining brightly, but, inevitably, as sunset was approaching, the sky changed beyond recognition...and I ended up chasing the light! Painting the way I do, it's never easy to get things down really quickly, so a changing scene is a real challenge. I took a photo just before I packed up, and opted to paint the sky as the sun was descending - painting to be completed in the studio. But, this got me thinking - perhaps I should adopt a very different approach outside, and paint very much more loosely. I love the work of painters who paint big paintings with ease, in a short amount of time, with broad brushstrokes, like the New Zealander, John Crump, so I attempted this one above in a similar fashion. When you love putting in detail, it's extremely difficult to loosen-up. Anyway, here's one - any comments as to what you think would be welcome, good or bad!

Update - I repainted the foreground and the sky a little, so have added the newer version at the top for comparison... 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Rising Sun and Tide at Thornham

Pastel on Pastelmat 13 x 19 inches

I was going to put this paintng into the RSMA exhibition, but didn't get it finished in time, so it will shortly be on view and for sale in my gallery, you lucky people!

It started life as a demonstration piece, but having assessed it in the studio, I have to confess I used a little artistic licence in putting in the rising sun, which I think improves the composition and overall impact of the painting. 

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Glistening Mud, Porthleven

Oil on Linen Canvas 18 x 26 inches
This painting involved probably the most intense periods of concentration of any painting I've done, with so many boats lined up, all with so much more boat to paint when their hulls are exposed at low tide. 
It was a really bright Summer's day, with strong, crisp shadows thrown across the mud, and those sunlit roofs etched across the skyline of the row of houses looking down on the harbour. I had to get the tones of all the relevant players right, in order for those sunlit roofs to really 'pop' - too bright a sky and they wouldn't pop at all. Then all those beautiful red buoys of varying tones and subtle hues, and when I'd finished them and all the boat shapes were more or less completed, I had to attack the mud flats and gorgeous little rivulets of blue water running through them, again paying careful attention to the relative tones of both. Here's where I used the faster drying qualities of Alkyd Oil, letting the paint underneath dry a little and become very stiff and tacky, so that I could use a brush and palette knife to drag more light, thick paint over the top to get the effect I wanted. It feels like my 'Bohemian Rhapsody'! 
The painting will be in the RSMA Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London in October.