Being a bit tied up with family issues I just had time to sketch out this portrait of a Cambodian Lady I spotted when I paused on a cycle ride by a river near Battambang – the second city of Cambodia. The light on her face accentuated her features as she squatted by some sugar cane that she had collected. I have a few pictures of different people of southeast Asia I took on my recent travels and was considering creating a small collection.
Spring slowly moves towards summer and my rhododendrons’ buds start to unfold into blousy blooms. I tried this before, last week, but over-emphasised the colours and deadened the image. This version looks a bit weak, but the freshness is retained and the lefthand bloom captures the attention to my satisfaction.
My daughter and her boyfriend came up the other day and we went for a walk along the coastal path north of Liverpool. This is another place where the path brushes the beach – at the end of Lifeboat Road in Formby. What little remains of the lifeboat station are some well washed bricks down there on the beach.
I am a sucker for the broken fences and the shadows that they cast – perhaps I could make a bit more of them here. And with the windy day came the churning waves eating away more of the sandy beach.
Another from my early morning outdoor starts. I had spotted this the day before and there was much more tonal contrast when I first saw it. I still like it and there might be scope to work this up into a more finished piece.
Some old cottages spotted across the fields. The power cables in the hedge were a good lead in and I was able to sit painting undisturbed whilst taking in the early morning birdsong and sipping my tea.
I am still persisting and struggling with floral paintings. At present one of my borders is covered in Oriental Poppies, so I thought it was an opportune time to have a go at them. I also wanted to include the barbed leaves which can be a real feature when the light is right. I must admit it got a bit messy at the end on the left hand side, but I did manage to keep the initial washes on the flowers and some of the leaves on the right and am pleased with the result there.
Before this I had a less successful battle with my forsythia which is a real harbinger of spring here. I wanted the contrast against the clear sky. The mass of tiny flowers and leaves was a difficult ask, and in hindsight I think I need to blow up the small flowers even larger for the thing to work and not resemble a blobby mass.
So one out of two is an improvement on my endeavours of late. There may be some repeats coming this way if I start to find ways to resolve some of my issues. Only time will tell.
Yesterday I decided to join a painting club on one of their summer site visits. I had just joined this club, mainly for the exhibition possibilities, and they sent me their summer schedule which contained some places I had not been before in the area. Marsh Farm was one, and as it was a nice day I thought I would get out and give it a go.
Apart from my old wooden stool falling apart from under me as I painted, it was a good day. Above is the group painting the farm, whilst I sat on a bank by the track – one of the few comfortable places left with the demise of my stool.
This morning I was roused from my slumbers at 5-30 and the sun was shining, so I went out to do some painting. It’s still cold here, but I took some tea to drink whilst the washes were drying and all was well with the world.
This was the second sketch of the day. I crossed the canal and ventured towards Clieves’ Hills – an area I paint a lot.
Here are some earlier sketches I did when we had a warm spell in April. They are up on the Cumbrian Coast in the Lake District. It took us an age to get there and on the way back the car started to do some very strange things. We limped home but it wasnt a happy day.
This is a view of the area as we climbed the hills behind Ravenglass.
This was a view over the River Esk as it comes to the sea at Ravenglass. The gorse was in full flower with bright burst of yellow all over the hillside – though from the sketch above you might think that they were daffodils.
The plan on this one altered as I progressed and the changes may have had a negative impact on the outcome. I wanted a blue/yellow theme going on, cooling and losing some of the petals as well as the foliage, with the distant flowerheads merging into a yellow/green background.
Halfway though I jumped ship, scraped some of the colour off the background flowers and made them brighter and more pronounced. I also brought more flowerheads into focus – having started with just three and hinting at the rest.
Now is a period of reflection – though I do like having something in my hand to ponder over rather than an image in my head. You may not have seen the last of this one.
Another of the street food series. I liked the oranges against the blues. I couldnt quite decipher what the stall was selling but the poses of the stall holder and customers was interesting. I’m still exploring the subject at the moment and even deciding what medium to use, though with pastel I seem to be getting a dynamic effect.
I decided to get a collection of flower paintings together for a future exhibition and also as a couple of painting groups have asked for flower demos later in the year. But things are going badly. This was one of lillies (above) will be destined for scrap paper – but at least it’s good practice.
I did manage to get my Camellias into better shape- after posting them earlier and having reservations about them – I had another go – I think this was the third attempt, below. I am happier with this one – but progress is slow.