I had planned to look at developing a more forceful and abstract style to my life paintings. I wanted to experiment with the many sketches that I have and explore possibilities and new approaches away from the constraints and distractions a life session imposes, such as finding a viewpoint, contending with poor lighting or being herded into quick sketches – things that drive you into resorting to the same old approach in order to get something down in the time that’s left.
As you can see so far I havent had that time to make such leap and have drifted back into life groups after my holiday. Here are a couple of recent studies. Hopefully I will make some progress in the weeks ahead – well I have a plan anyway.
In Bangkok, as in every town and city, in south east Asia there are stalls offering fresh food and drink along the roadsides and in night markets. I thought I might explore some of the images I collected along the way. I like the spotlit figures surrounded by an almost abstract background. For me, there is a theatricality about them which adds to their draw.
This picture is developed from a number I took in Sathorn, a district in Bangkok, where we had just had a meal sat out on the pavement.
A day at the seaside up in Cumbria: I spotted these rock poolers on their summer holidays and took a few photos. The lad quickly wandered off but I caught a pose as he stood by another pool and in this painting drew him in a position that gave some narrative.
My camellias are in full bloom at the moment, being in a shady position, they are always a little late. I must admit to taking many photos of them as they have a lush, richness of colour them that is as alluring as it is difficult to reproduce. It took a lot of glazes to get to this position and it could be that I am not finished yet. I have been fiddling around for too long and felt I needed a break to fully appraise this effort. Even looking at the painting on the screen as I write I can see areas that might have been tackled differently. Yeah, you are never quite finished.
There isnt much across the moss – drained marshland behind the coastal dunes. Even less when the lowland is blanketed with mist and all you can see is a ghostly tree and a row of staggering poles. This was done with loose washes and then a bit of drybrush in the foreground.
Inklings of summer are seeping over the hedge and with it, the promise of yellow roses which sit at the back of the bed close to my decking. I wanted to increase my stock of floral paintings and decided to start with the roses, which I struggled with. Not as loose as I had imagined and wanted but in the end there are some reasons to be cheerful. There may be more flowers in the coming installments.
Another corner of a field and another repeat. In my last post it was a restrained approach to a similar subject. This was more about pouring and spraying and trying to make something of it after the deluge.
I certainly liked my last version of this, but it stayed on the shelf after many outings. So it was back to the easel and this time I have removed some of the darks and put in more foreground colour. I have emphasised the light through the trees and introduced a fence post to redress the compositional balance – anything for a sale.
Continuing the series of repeats. I have exhibited the first version of this many times but it never sold . I liked the tight range of hues which I hoped emphasised calm and quiet. This time I have increased the lights in the wooded area and darkened the field shadows. I have also ensured that the yarrow flower heads contrast against the shadow areas in the field. We’ll see how this goes.
The coastal path from Southport to Crosby takes you along sandy beaches, through Pinewoods and skirts an army rifle range before depositing you in front of Anthony Gormley’s Another Place. Here, in the painting, the path leaves Formby as the morning sun breaks the scrubby, wind sculpted trees and dances over the long grass.
This is another repeat of a painting I have posted before. I hope I have got the light in the grasses better and improved both the contrasts on the pathway and the textures in the bracken and brush.
Another one in the series of paintings I’m not happy with since I first did them. In this version I hope I adequately captured the chill mist you get in autumn on the low lying reclaimed marshlands. The switchback road, the tilting poles and the scrubby verge which falls away into a deep ditch, all contribute to a feeling of other worldliness where some bring the ghosts in their heads and give them free rein.