I was experimenting with a series of abstracts inspired by the changing of seasons. One of the forms I was considering was colour and I saw the birch which overhangs my garden and played around with backgrounds and colour combinations which I might use on the abstracts but this time I employed them in a representational image.
We haven’t yet got snow but the white in the image seemed to lift the image. It could be snow or light coming through the leaves. I tried to blur the background to infer form but not describe it. I will work further on this.
I saw a photograph of a garden in low light in a copy of a National Trust magazine. Primarily I liked the lighting and all there was just a bench and tree in an empty garden. I thought it could do with some figures for narrative so I found a couple of figures in some old photos. Once they were in I felt the tree had to be moved for better balance. Despite these changes I’m happy that the image retained a great atmosphere. I used a lot of blue in the background shrubs, which was grey/green in the photo and that has given it the shadowy intrigue I was after.
I took a photo off the television of a deer running through some woodland. I liked the lighting in the image and got some photos of deer I took on Richmond Park a while back and combined them . I don’t think I got quite what I was looking for but I am happier with this than the one of the horses I recently posted.
I went into the life drawing session with my pastels and decided to try a blocking approach that I have been using with my acrylics. I started without any drawing just putting in warms and cools in approximate positions. This lack of planning meant I only got down to the tops of the legs before running out of paper. Once I got the patchwork in I then started the drawing.
Working on black paper seemed to give the work a lift and not rubbing or blending gave me a pleasing freshness -although there are some areas where I succumbed to old habits, but that was mainly due to me not sketching out first and then having to correct.
I will have another think about the way forward, but I am reasonable pleased with the result so far. I will have another go this week if we get a decent pose.
Early evening on Bexhill beach I spotted a group crossing the sands and took some photos. I rearranged the figures and added some seagulls for narrative. In hindsight I could have left out the parents and focussed on the two kids chasing the gulls. I might have a go at that version and see how it turns out. The sun coming from the right lights up the breaking waves, which was another aspect I liked.
A couple of watercolours I did recently which I had high hopes for, but they fell a bit flat by the time I had finished. Both were contra-jour. The horses in the evening sun seemed to come out rather flat. The actual horses in the photo were in coats so I took some images of horses from other photos and arranged them in the field but perhaps I had the tones a bit wrong – being wary of overdarkening the horses. I felt the finished painting lacked a bit of punch.
The view from the canal seemed to finish up with a mass of reedbeds and rather little else going on.
New Cut Lane is a road that leaves Southport, where I live, and goes inland across the moss, which is low lying arable land behind the sand dunes of the coast. It was a road I took to go to work in Kirkby, North Liverpool, each morning either in the car or on my bike. Starting the sixteen mile cycle on mornings like this with the sun low on the horizon was a pleasure. Coming back was harder, as you cycled into the prevailing wind across the exposed, flat land. There were other hazards, like facing oncoming cars overtaking at speed across the straight, but undulating road. On one occasion I was faced with two tons of oncoming BMW being driven by the Company doctor – a man purportedly looking after my health. Fortunately he missed.
Out and about in Liverpool one morning this summer I walked around St Georges Hall and came into St John’s Gardens which was once an old graveyard for the city. They got rid of the bodies and turned it into a park. The light was coming in from the top, behind St George’s Hall – the building on the right. I liked the array of blue/greys, blues and purples from the shadows and buildings which was added to by the lavender in the flower-beds. The light coming in through the low branches of the trees lit up the leaves giving a yellowish tinge, to complement the dominant colours. Not sure if I’ve got the full impact here, but I was wary of overdarkening the image and losing detail. I might have a go at glazing with a little more blue before consigning to the bin.
We were moving up and down the country recently and travelling down the east side we stopped off at St Ives near Cambridge where we lived many years ago. We took a walk along the River Ouse and I saw a number of scenes which individually had some charm and interest but I felt could be combined to give an archetypical image of England on a summer’s day.
At first I couldn’t work out how to combine the different aspects I wanted to include and then I realised I could do it with a long thin format turned on it’s side, giving a long depth of field. It was almost as if I’d cut a slice of the countryside and served it up as a painting.
I did a tonal pastel painting on a warm grey support paper of a model at the life painting group. I was pleased with how the simple approach came out. I think the warm colour of the paper added an additional hue and gave the painting a lift.