Unfold the sketch book, drawings and words of what seems to be so long. Listen to the same music and sounds and begin to paint. First captured in November 08, this is the first start for one of the, 'Wave' series captured at Sennen in Cornwall..
Added the finishing touches to a small 1ft square piece I had put to one side some time ago. I was probably still enthused by the light on the water at Angelsey last week . Anyhow, I finally managed to push this piece to a conclusion. I find it really does helps to turn them against the wall for however long it takes if it becomes a struggle to resolve the image.... that said, I think I should get it framed and get it behind glass before I change my mind again and start to fiddle.
Weekend away in Wales this week at Betws y Coed. A short drive away I did a walk to find possible sites for future landscape work.
Bottle green sea, flecked, spattered and glittered, with stabbing white broken light. Steel grey distant mountains ripped through the heavy belly of low scudding clouds. The wind pushed a buoy to a 10 o clock tilt, pointing the way to shore for the passing white horses.
Quick sketch of the view from my 3rd floor studio space in Liverpool. I haven't painted for a couple of weeks so these last 2 days doing these 1hr pieces are great for getting back into the swing of things without getting over fussy. It has been noted that the view is rather ordinary or mundane...but hey that's the challenge, and you know... I quiet enjoyed it.
Another piece for the show in Parkgate. I think these latest pieces are straddling the border between figuration and abstraction mainly because they are as much about how the landscape was seen as well as what was seen. Looking forward to my next trip out.
Just completed another of the larger pieces for the summer show in Parkgate on the Wirral, (61cm x61cm). This is part of the coast series which seems to be my ongoing project. I am currently looking to develop other areas for painting as much for the change of subject as well as the challenge, but the wilder places are where I think I will always return.
I finally managed to gain access to the disused Stanley Dock on the Liverpool waterfront to do some prelim work for a new project I've been mulling over for quite some time. I want to do a series of paintings of the forgotten or disappearing locations from around the city, postcards from the edge so to speak.
I spent a grey afternoon alone Immersed in this haunting location, and couldn't help but see these structures as ghosts from the past. The old cotton warehouses, the grain and rice stores and the Stanley swing bridge are the souls of things which have a heart that beats in a time past. They are in a state of limbo waiting to become something else or simply erased. They carry the history of the ordinary men and women who built and worked them, a history we are still touching with our fingertips. I just want to run with the idea over the next few weeks and see what develops as I normally find my inspiration in the wilder barely touched or changed landscape.
Nearly completed another piece for the summer show in Parkgate. Worked this 60x60cm piece from the sketches I made last week. Just as well I got that work under my belt because the weather has been poor ever since and I've not had the chance for another visit... yes I know that as a painter, 'there is no such thing as bad weather only the wrong clothes', but fingers crossed for this weekend.
Back out on the marsh at Parkgate today and just had time for a quick pen sketch before being eaten alive by the bug life. Only had cartridge paper with me so a wash of watercolour just about sat on the surface to make some sort of colour note. After today I think that some of the follow up pieces could be done in a 3:1 format, this might best suit this large expanse of horizon and sky, keeping the detail to a minimum. I really enjoy painting outdoors as the response is about more than the subject, it's also about being there at that particular time. I tend to work a lot looser on site probably due to the challenges of a changing light. This speedier execution can result in fresher work as opposed to the measured approach that can sometimes creep up on you in the studio resulting in an overworked surface. I think the key to avoiding a response that is too labouredl lies in achieving a balance where the subject matter is considered and spatial and tonal relationships are maintained but the response is free enough to avoid a painterly mess.
Took myself back to Cornwall for the last couple of days...well a sort of mental and spiritual visit. I get out my sketches and small paintings, play the music I played whilst I was making them on site and hey presto, I'm almost there. I find that music is a great key to open up the memory of a place. How many times have you heard someone say , 'oh,.... this record brings back memories'. I usually select some music on site, preferably no lyrics and play them on a headset this becomes the soundtrack to the working session. Once back at the studio I find this is a great key to unlock the thoughts and feelings that were present at the making of the sketches and small paintings. Stuff I've used in the past include Moby, Lisa Gerrard, Philip Glass or classical, anything without the distraction of lyrics, it really does have to be in the background and not distract. Give it a go, really it works.
Grabbed another couple of hours out on the estuary today thought this might be a nice complimentary piece for the the other one I did. Got to get out all I can in May to make some more work for the show in July.
Good day today out at Parkgate on the Wirral Peninsula, out of the city and into wide spaces and big skies over the estuary. I managed a half decent start, a free study in oils that attempts to give a feeling of the experience rather than a description of it. I am reminded of the Cornish painter John Wells,
'...but how can one paint the warmth of the sun, the sound of the sea, the journey of a beetle across a rock? One absorbs all these feelings and ideas and if one is lucky they undergo an alchemistic transformation into gold, that is creative work.'
I like the sound of that, think I'll go back tomorrow.
Been really busy the last couple of weeks now that the teaching hours have kicked in again, however I have managed to get to the studio and work on this latest piece. At about a metre wide it's a bit bigger than I normally work on but it's coming on. Trying to catch that moment of anticipation before a large belly of water crashes into the shore. This is part of a series of coastal paintings for the July show at Parkgate. At the moment I don't want to change too much so I think it's time to turn it to the wall for a week or two...stop me fiddling.
Finally got back into the studio for a couple of hours the last few days. Just completed a small 15cm x 15cm oil on board to add to my Lakes series. This was worked up from an old acrylic study done sometime last year out at Lake Windermere.
Been off line for a couple of weeks due to other commitments. Hope to put that right in the next day or so and upload some images of my progress in the studio. Special thanks to Jill Berry for nominating me as one of her 7 chosen artists for this blog award. As Jill explains it,
' I am choosing you for the "Passion for Painting" Blog Award! If you are not familiar with it - You can share 5-7 things you love, pass the award on to 5-7 others and link back to the one who passed it to you. I now get to pass it along by choosing my favourites which I will do on the next post
Just back from a short stay in North Wales so I haven't had much time to post new work. I have posted some drawings from the last visit. I hope to get started on some new pieces this week for the summer show in Parkgate on the Wirral.
Left the studio pieces to dry and give me time to assess their progress and make a few notes on how to move on. This left me time to have another taste of daily painting in the studio set up. Setting out to do a single session painting really does require all my concentration. This effort took me just over 2 hours. I sat on my rucksack seat and used the pochade box on a tripod...practice for the great outdoors in the comfort a warm studio is the best place to iron out any problems that can occur outside, but obviously not all. Just to finish off I added a little to the two apples picture I did previously...should have turned it to the wall or put it away this prevents further fussing and fiddling although I think this extra work didn't detract too much from the original. No painting tomorrow, delivering work for the London Art Fair which is next week
Came across a couple more oil sketches from Kynance Cove that I thought I had left in Cornwall so I decided to start these two new pieces. To be honest I got a lot further in this first session than I normally would have. Some days it just clicks and your in that zone where even the accidents add a little to the work. Anyway I decided to press the save button on these pieces and let them dry before I attack them again.
Been working mainly on studio pieces this week, hence the lack of an update. Both pieces are really close to being done so I think it's best to turn them against the wall for a week or so and have a fresh look then. This usually stops any fiddling and overworking on my behalf. Alternatively I turn to working on something completely different so tommorrow it's a studio still life or drag myself out with the pochade box and paint what comes my way.
Just started teaching the new terms 10 week painting courses, one in acrylic and one in watercolour. Although the classes draw me away from my own work I still enjoy teaching them as it gives me a chance to think about my own practice and how to articulate the processes involved. Ive attached a couple of examples that I painted for class demos. The paintings have to be completed in the two hour session so the students have to be quiet kean and disciplined....as for my own discipline could these count toward the painting a day?
Took time out today to try a small studio study to test some new Michael Harding paints. Set a time limit of 90mins to do a small study after coming across lots of traffic about the Daily Painters. Yeh I know they've been around for a while now but it was just my turn to discover them. Although I am used to the practice of finishing a painting in a single session I really admire the discipline involved in committing to such a schedule that demands it every day. Food for thought though as I paint most every day anyway...just don't always complete a single piece unless it is a plein air study. I usually find that in the studio I can be working on up to 4 or 5 works at a time so taking time out to commit to one finished piece could be difficult...quite fancy it though, there's a certain buzz about this type of working practice that is quite different to the stop start process of the studio based stuff. Watch this space.
Been busy in the studio this week trying to complete some work from the cornwall trip in November, this being the latest development in this 61cm x 61cm oil on canvas. This painting was worked up from a plein air study that was not much bigger than a postcard. When I was on site though I knew that the best way to capture the water rolling down the cliffs after crashing into the cliff face was to let the paint be as fluid as the sea. Thinning it with turps and allowing it to run through the crevices of the built up texture over and over again was the best way I know. This kind of painting takes time to develop the surface and would not be an option on site. Working like this away from the subject in the studio is not a better way just another way.
Just completed a painting to go with a couple of others for the Artroom Gallery over on the Wirral. I was delighted to be offered a slot in their summer exhibition as it means for once I wont be travelling the length or breadth of the country to deliver work for show. This time it is just a short trip over the Mersey. I have about 14 weeks to prepare the work so it should give me the opportunity to post on a regular basis to log my progress and share my working practice in the build up to a show.
PREVIEW NIGHT: 09th July 09 from 4 pm - 9 pm EXHIBITION: runs from 10th July 09 - 16th Aug 09
Artroom is located 20 minutes away from both Chester and Liverpool on the west side of the Wirral Peninsula. Easily accessible from the M6 via the M56 and M53 (which runs through the centre of the Wirral). On The Parade in the coastal village of Parkgate, overlooking the Marshes of the Dee Estuary, renowned for wildlife, just off the village square next door to the Marsh Cat Restaurant.
Just about completed a small series of paintings from studies done in the lakes toward the end of 08. Hoping to have these and others ready for the Affordable Art Fair in London this March...the official blurb reads...........
Affordable Art Fair 12/03/09 - 15/03/09 19/01/09The Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea Park with the Spring Collection from 12-15 March. The fair provides a relaxed, unintimidating atmosphere in which original contemporary art can be enjoyed by all. 120 galleries will exhibit thousands of paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints, priced between £50 and £3,000. All the artists on show will be different from the Autumn Collection. AAF is a great place to spot fresh, new talent – look out for the specially-curated section at the front including work by young emerging artists.