I do find the setting of the models at the life sessions I go to very uninspiring – mainly people sitting rigidly in a chair or stretched out on a bed, hoping to get paid for a good doze. Most of the problem is down to the organiser not having thought about what to set until faced with a group and model. In a similar situation someone turned to me in desperation to set a pose for a group on Thursday. They got the above – maybe more than they had bargained for (too many sharp angles and hands on display).
A number of years ago we had a model in Liverpool who had worked for both Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Now, he could get himself into some amazing contortions and hold them as well. Bring back Phil. I think he relocated to York.
This pose is more the type we get, though I did get her to look down – otherwise she would have sat even more rigidly looking outwards. I try to refrain from interfering when the pose is being set, as there is nothing worse than people calling out their preferences and you get a pose set by a committee which can be a disaster.
I am back to using acrylics after a spell with pastels. For the top two I started to use black to mix darks instead of a blue. The bottom one used blue as you can see. I prefer the rawness of the top two. I have been taken by the work of Crawfurd Adamson, whose work I have seen over the years and this has influenced my approach on the top 2 sketches. I have booked to go on a 3 day course with him in my old hometown of Hastings in December. I do particularly like the directness he applies his pastel and the interesting poses he sets. I am looking forward to it.
I am just completing my local series. I wanted some long format paintings and selected this view which I have painted before. It is the road out of Birkdale, across the low lying moss away from the sandduned coast. In the early morning the light is low and casts long shadows and concocts mysterious shapes in the distance.
Returning home from the French Riviera, I was trying to find some source material to continue my series of local paintings but they seemed to be hiding from me. Instead of turning the place upside down I found an image I liked from my trip and proceeded to paint to calm my nerves. Menton, and many of the towns on the riviera, have shady passageways which suddenly spill out onto sunny courtyards and squares and you get this great interplay of light and shade. This was one such scene as I descended into the old town on Saturday.
Yesterday a walk around Castellar a 15th century village perched up in the mountains above the coast. We couldnt get to the Italian border ( which is very close) as there are now armed troops preventing migrants moving into France from Italy and they dont take too kindly to tourists with cameras – so much for Schengen.
The previous day we had a holiday from the holiday. So we had a wander around town and visited the museums. This view is from the cemetery looking east from Menton over to Italy – painted whilst we waited for the museums to open.
The day before the holiday from the holiday we visited another hill-top town called Eze. Here is the view as I waited outside the church for the others to arrive. It was unfortunate that wave after wave of tourists arrived from a cruise ship at the same time. Tourism on an industrial scale.
Well, decamped to the South of France for a few days walking. It is walking in a group so I dont get much time for painting, but this is what I managed to do, by sprinting ahead and carving out some extra time. The sketch above is of Sospel bridge in the mountains above Monte Carlo. The building on the bridge is an office for the tax man who charged medieval passers-by who mainly who came by with salt for sale in the mountains.
We walked along the coast on the first day. Whilst the rest of the group munched their sandwiches I painted the view through the trees to the sea below.
Well, I did post a version of this before which was very similar. This is another for my exhibition of local views. I put the first one in an earlier exhibition and it sold – hence the revisit. I am particularly interested in getting this view in, as the exhibition will be held at my framer’s shop, which is opposite the far end of the church – so local interest.
As compensation for a repeated image, it is birthday season in these parts, so here are a couple of cards I have painted for the celebrations.
Yep, another of the local series. Perhaps it was the pollarded tree, spearing its overgrown branches heavenward, emphasising the outpouring of spring growth, that caught my eye as I walked to the newsagents this early May day. It foretold days of promise with summer yet to come.
Fresh greens and yellows against purpled shadows – it was pleading to be painted – I couldnt refuse.
Back to my build up of local paintings for the Christmas exhibition. This is just around the corner from the location of some of the previous ones I have posted recently. In fact, I posted a version of this particular view on one of my first blogs in November 2013. It sold and later I found out is was my next-door neighbour who bought it. That was a bigger painting in acrylic.
Since then things have changed and the grasping claw of big business has pushed itself amongst the rows of independent traders that make up the commercial community. A Sainsburys opened a convenience supermarket on the other side of the road. The newsagent – next to where the two figures are standing – diversified and became a very popular real ale/cider/coffee shop ( you can see the segregated, outside seating area) when Sainsburys proposed the selling and delivery of newspapers. The cafe/bar still sells newspapers and runs delivery rounds, but now you can get a coffee, or something stronger, if you, like me, pick up your paper. It was a very shrewd move by the owner.
The session organiser gave the model a Rubik’s cube to focus on for last Saturday’s session. He declined the challenge to solve it.
Here is the same model sparsely painted in acrylics a couple of weeks ago. It was done on a yellow base I used it just to give me a tonal background to work off. The model was taken with the colour as a possibility for his living room. I sent him the details later.
Following my watercolour sketch – Walk in the Woods – I presented a week or so ago, I thought that I would develop it a little. I liked the bands of light and shade created by the beeches in this wood on The Southdowns Way, close to the Cuckmere Valley. I mentioned in the blog that I took some pictures of passing walkers and I put in a couple with their sticks. I also kept the colours muted and resisted my urge to bang in some scarlet amongst the greens. Not sure whether it has the impact of my Dog Walkers where I succumbed to the scarlet urge – but maybe I got some of the calm I experienced on the day. Hope it calms you, also.