27 Jul 2014

Dog in hand

Back to commissions at last after a few weeks of diversionary activity! On the easel at the moment is lovely golden dog having a crafty tickle. The tickle is from his master's hand, which is also appearing in the painting – so an unusual (daunting) composition with a hand, checked shirt and chair leg as well as the handsome dog! Below is also Max – the surprise anniversary present I was working on a while back, which I believe is unwrapped today. That’s it from me – must get back to the easel, as waiting patiently in the queue are  2 gangs of sheep, another 3 dogs and a lamb with a blue door!

Initial drawing and my selected pastels
Max - another commissioned portrait

22 Jul 2014

Red dot duty

I have been rushing around with pictures for various shows  - it’s holiday season and everything happens at the same time. Thankfully, now that I have a network of like-minded friends in the area it’s possible to share the job of handing in work and collections which saves a great deal of travelling around, but requires considerable forward planning. Louise Worthy kindly made the deliveries for 3 of us. Last night was the preview night of both The Society of Caithness Artists in Thurso and the East Sutherland Art Society in Golspie. I could only be in one place at once of course, and opted to do red-dot duty in Thurso with Nic McLean. A busy night, well attended and plenty of red dots to distribute. I was extremely hot in my jumper after having rushed out of a cold house without due consideration of the summer's day outside. Both shows are open until 1 August when it’s my turn to do the collections, plus a car boot and another local show on the same day. So it has been decided that Titus will staff the car boot, I’ll do the art stall and Henry will collect any unsold paintings!

Nic and I discuss insect bites during a brief interlude

There we are again, discussing impasto and intaglio this time

After the throng subsided and the wine was all gone.......

Photos courtesy of Ian Pearson

13 Jul 2014

Drypoint Etching

Yesterday I learnt something new and exciting – drypoint etching. I’ve always loved etchings but have been put off by the acids and materials used, but with drypoint there are no chemicals – just oil based inks and an acrylic plate. I must admit to being exhausted on Saturday morning after a busy week away, and a coffee or two was required to get me going. I picked up a fellow artist and set off on a 60 mile trek south to spend the day in a lovely converted church. The workshop was run by talented artist Louise Worthy who gave us a step by step demonstration, delicious lemon drizzle cake and lots of encouragement. We composed a little picture in pencil first then transferred it to our acylic plate with a 6 inch nail and sandpaper. Whilst the printing paper soaked in water, we squidged ink onto the plate, rubbed it in and then rubbed it off until it was ready for the final stage in the printing press. Each time the printing blankets rolled back and the prints were pulled from the acrylic plates there was an audible “ooh” , “arrh” , and squeal of excitement/surprise as another delightful little masterpiece emerged! I took inspiration from one of Louise’s photography magazines and did two plates – a farmhouse and a boat. It was quite hard work scratching into the acylic and controlling the 6 inch nail. Unlike linoprinting, which is like working in negative, the etched marks hold the ink and print a dark line. I soon worked out that to get a successful print required a balanced composition and good notan, with areas of dark and light. Achieving this however is another matter – it is very easy to over scratch or leave on too much ink, or over-rub and take off too much! Great fun and I could easily get hooked (if I could afford a printing press!)

ooh, arrh!

lots of little masterpieces
Little boat - 1 of 4
Little house - 1 of 4

6 Jul 2014

58 Degrees North

The weird and wonderful clouds are as much a feature as the stunning landscape here, at 58 degrees north. You can experience all four seasons in one day, the light is constantly changing and with it the colour of the landscape and the sky. At 4pm one afternoon this week I had to inform Titus that the afternoon walk was going to be called off as we watched the heavy black clouds and listened to the rain lashing against the windows. At 4.15pm Titus reversed the decision and informed me that it was definitely still on whatever the weather. I got dressed up in waterproofs and headed for the beach. He was right, by the time we reached the shore it was a glorious summer’s evening of blue sky and white fluffy clouds and I was ridiculously overdressed!

summer's evening on the beach
weird and wonderful clouds
ever changing light
ever changing skies
the need for walkies never changes!