25 Aug 2013

What's in your pochade box

 A few weeks ago I showed you what was in my kit for painting outside – all stashed away in a little canvas bag. I thought we’d delve a bit deeper and take a look inside my Julian Thumb Box. The box takes a specific size of primed canvas board, which are unfortunately not widely available in the UK and are consequently a little pricey. So I adapted my box to take smaller 6 x 8 boards which are easier to come by. I stuck 2 strips of fuzzy tape inside the lid and then fix 4 hooky spots on the back of each canvas so it attaches to the strips  – simples!
My brushes are from Rosemary & Co – and they are fabulous. I buy the short handled synthetic Ivory ones so they fit nicely inside the box. I tried hog hair brushes from another manufacturer,but despite the satisfying swishy noise (as heard on Youtube demos!) I found them too greedy on the paint – resulting in a little too much canvas swishing & scrubbing!
I use a limited pallet of Winsor & Newton artists oil colours in Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Pale,  Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine. I may introduce more colours as I progress, but for now this limits my decisions, forces me to learn how to mix colours and keeps the pallet harmonious (plus I can only fit five 37ml  tubes on the box!).

I tried using a painting medium – but got in a horrible mess, so I prefer to keep the oils buttery, straight from the tube, with just a little bit of thinner for the initial sketch. The thinner I use is Gamsol, a low odour turpentine, in a dipper which clips to my pallet. The dipper is a bit too tall to fit in the box, so it goes in the bag. The only other item in my pochade box, of course, is my thumb!


18 Aug 2013

Gorseness gracious me!

We are surrounded by gorse which was covered in coconut scented blooms for weeks, but sadly now all gone.  The colour was incredible and emphasised the weird shaped bushes, sculptured by years of nibbling of sheep. I start to see animal forms in their shape, rather like you do in clouds! I’ve taken hundreds of photos, made sketches and had a moment of madness with my pastels, but not yet been able to capture their brilliance. Perhaps next year I will be able to with oils outside. Using photographs for reference in the "studio" I took a new approach with an initial under-painting using ink, after my exercises in pastel. It was fun - but not sure I liked the end result!

11 Aug 2013

Oh to be beside the seaside...

I love living by the sea –  the sound of the constant ebb and flow of the tide, a refreshing breeze and a fabulous smell of seaweed! It’s a very steep climb down to the harbour from our croft house – one that is now getting easier after many daily painting trips to the shore and back. I’ve not yet mastered painting the little fishing boats – but I shall keep trying (I’ve sold two of my seascapes this week, which delighted me!). Unlike my walking muscles, my cycling ones don’t seem to be getting fitter, so I’ll be taking my bike out a bit more, to find some different views to paint. On one of my cycling trips I was offered some crabs  – “oh lovely” I said, “I’ll take them home in my panniers”. I hadn’t really though that one through and was persuaded not to do that, but the idea caused some amusement!

4 Aug 2013

Art in miniature

100 small paintings is worth 1000 large ones, or so they say. Working small is feeling right just now – I’ve found it a good way to increase productivity and it creates instant gratification for one who needs a boost! In addition to my plein air challenge, I’ve introduced an indoor one – a small painting a day based on a monthly theme. August equals sheep! Apart from being surrounded by, and slightly obsessed with sheep, I’ve been asked to supply a local gift shop with a range of sheepy cards. This week I’ve produced 5 drawings using Indian ink on watercolour paper. My plan is to offer the originals for sale, reproduce the images on cards and create a set of miniature prints. I photographed this pedigree flock about a year ago – they were eager to be fed and beautifully clipped. I’ve enjoyed painting these girls and hope I’ve captured their individuality. I have some lovely photos from the Royal Highland Show which will inspire me next week, and then I’ll have to resort to the relative scragger-muffins on the crofts outside!