30 Jun 2013

A regular date with Jullian

It’s 2 year’s since I was paid (a salary that is) and on my first day of freedom, I started a diary of little cartoons which I kept going for a year. I intended to start another dairy of some sort, but a year has flown by and Diary Phase 2 didn’t happen. So, instead of a diary I'm doing a daily oil sketch using my dinky Jullian pochade en plein air. That is a bit of a challenge by the way – every day, all weathers, outside? (All weathers might be pushing it a bit – perhaps I might resort to indoor subjects if I can’t find shelter from the rain). Consider it a proverbial red DM up the derriere and an opportunity to get to grips with oils, painting from life and colour. I’ll show you all my paintings (including the disasters) so please offer some advice or encouragement as I battle with my crazy challenge! (it’s too late to say “don’t give up the day job love ”). These are my “disasters” from this week as I experiment with different paints, and make sure I’m committed to such a loopy idea. I can only get better with these 6 x 8’s, and early signs suggest that it may even become addictive (or maybe it’s the vapours getting to me already). I struggled to maintain daily ACEO production, eventually finding the tiny format difficult to achieve both composition and detail, but I keep experimenting from time to time.

ps. MS Secret Art Show - live from 1st July.

24 Jun 2013

Sketching and biting

Bit of a busy week – went to the Royal Highland Show and enjoyed some fabulous weather. I wore my walking boots and lugged a rucksack of waterproofs around having taken notice of the weather forecast (silly me). So I invested in a lightweight pocket-sized raincoat and a sun hat for next time! I’m visiting a few Highland shows this year with a view to having a stand at one next year. After two nights sleeping in the van I was delighted to get back to my comfy bed and magical blackout curtains! But the next day I was up early to go out sketching with a group of local artists. The Scottish Highlands are notorious for the tiny biting midge, which love a still day and a damp environment, but here on the coast there is normally a breeze to keep them at bay. It was lovely and sunny (contrary to the forecast) so we spent the day outside, in a damp, sheltered forest, along with a few million midges (silly me). My sketching bag is now bulging, but well equipped with the aforementioned mini waterproof, suntan lotion (to avoid the red nose syndrome of a few weeks ago) and a bottle of Skin-so-Soft from Avon (an effective midge deterrent!).

16 Jun 2013

The Thief of Time

The funky foursome are finished and the design for the hotel sign is done, but there has been some procrastination (isn’t that something Pooh had trouble with? – well it appears to be a common artist’s trait as well). I’ve bought new materials, reorganised my pastel box, painted my toenails and done a lot of dreaming! But in all honesty, I have been very busy “thinking” whilst procrastinating over the next painting. It’s my desire to master a personal style, knowing that if I just paint without thinking about it I’ll play safe and get myself bogged down in detail. I’ve done a fair amount of analysis – collating paintings I admire, studying the colours and styles and appraising my own work. During this journey, I have come across hundreds of paintings and artists – but there are only 3 that I have obsessed about. By that I mean researched, bought the book and lost hours on the laptop: Mervyn Peake, Kyffin Williams and Eyvind Earle. Apart from the fact that they all have first names that are difficult to spell, they all used strong notan and produce drawings and paintings where colour is secondary to line and form. My series of chickens has probably stopped at 2, and whilst my hunt for the perfect Horny Hamish continues I shall try to convert my thoughts into some landscape paintings.

I couldn’t find the Pooh quote on procrastination, so I thought I’d leave you with this one….

" When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."  A. A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh.

10 Jun 2013

Sun, sea and sand

Too much choice to blog about this week. The weather has been wonderful, I’ve been out sketching, taken 500 photos, tracked down the horny beasts (at last) and even seen a golden eagle. I’ve been cycling for the first time in years (and don’t I know about it!) and been picnicking on our building plot with G & T in the flask. I have suntanned hands and a red nose after a few days out in the sun, aching limbs and head full of pictures to paint. So that’ll be all for words this week and I’ll leave you with some images of Scotland in the sun……..

2 Jun 2013

Fishermen and the opaque chick

It’s been a funny week – all to do with a lot of socialising and some disturbed sleep. As we approach midsummer the days are getting longer and longer, it only really gets dark for about 2 hours. This means I stay up longer thinking it is too early to go to bed, and get woken up by the light before I’ve had enough sleep – so I’m buying some blackout blinds to match the dark rings under my eyes! I'm a bit tired, and consequently, the funky chickens haven’t moved along a great deal this week. I joined a small local art group who get together to paint and chat on a Tuesday night. At 9.30pm we were still painting with warm sun still streaming in through the open door. When everyone was concentrating too hard to chat, we listened to a melodic blackbird doing his evening song. I did some quick chicken sketches whilst others laboured over delicate watercolours. I was very careful not to blow any dirty clouds of charcoal dust onto their translucent masterpieces. I'm not a fan of watercolour - I think it is the translucency that puts me off  – I’m more of an opaque chick! Whilst not clucking about with chickens I’ve been creating a watery scene for a hotel sign. This afternoon should see a paper pile of salmon and fishermen turn into a colourful digital graphic ready for my client to approve on Monday. However, the need to slump over my computer is less inviting than doing work on last week’s unfinished chicken picture – but the funky foursome will just have to wait for another day.