As well as getting outside painting, of late, I’ve been trying to regularly attend life sessions. Here are some of the results:
The first one is a pastel. I have been jumping between pastel and acrylic as usual. So the second, third and fourth ones are acrylic.
I have been using a brush to define the outlines rather than charcoal drawing, adopting a more natural style rather than the blocked approach I used over the previous months and resisting the use of outlandish colours.
And finally the same pose by the same model, Eve, but from slightly different angles using pastel and then acrylic.
A short while ago I posted a painting of collected images of the reclaimed wetlands, close to where I live. I liked the colour palette and the individual motifs, but felt the overall painting lacked something in presentation. This past week or so I have been playing around, trying to get a better rhythm to the layout.
This is my third attempt and I feel some rhythm has been established. I will continue experimenting, perhaps adding some less defined passages and trying other colour palettes. With my interest in the landscape, I am anxious, now that the warmer weather is here, to get painting outside again – as I did in my last post – though, at the same time, explore different ways of presentation.
Some may recognise motifs used in this acrylic montage, depicting the reclaimed marsh area that spreads out behind the town where I live – known locally as The Moss. I want to re-explore this approach and here is a first step. The painting seemed to take on its own direction, though perhaps, in truth, I slipped into old ways as it progressed. On reflection, my problem was that I didnt have a solid game plan past selecting motifs and creating a loose colour background on which to work.
Anyway, I took it to completion so that I could consider my options. At least now, I have an image which I can copy, cut up, annotate and generally play around with. I would like to mix in a few abstract shapes and develop a secondary image from all these motifs instead of the patchwork that I arrived at here.
But, I’m not too disheartened – it is a step on a journey, as all my paintings are. I might even exhibit it in a pop up gallery that I will be involved with in the coming weeks. So maybe more is to come…
I still attend life sessions, though not as much now. This was done last Sunday.
It has a soft feel about it. The reason, I think, is that I mistakenly purchased a tube of light ultramarine blue with a misclick of the mouse and decided to use that, instead of my normal u/m blue for this session. Hence the softpastel feel. I might use it again. Some time ago I made a bigger mistake and got phthalo green blue shade instead of phthalo blue green shade. This was a pot, not a tube. But it makes an intense black with cadmium red. It proved a very useful mistake.
Some sessions I am forced to take pastel to a session as they seem to think that washing paint from brushes and palettes causes blocked sinks. I find the restriction irritating and the upshot is, I attend less often. This one, above, was done in pastel at a place that frowns on paint. I included a few of the model’s tattoos here, but trying to paint them can cause confusion – a bit of a problem, as models seem to be covered in more and more of them these days.
I like this model, Arthur. He is in his sixties but has a great physique with excellent muscle definition, and no tattoos – again this was done in pastels.
This is Arthur again, though I used acrylics on this one. I used a blocky style with square brushes. It isnt very apparent here, but on the first painting above, which was done only recently, that blockiness is much more pronounced and I like the painterly effect it produces.
When my Hyenna painting found a new home (as described in an earlier blog), I had a look for other interesting animals, I had seen whilst in Namibia, as potential subjects. Here, above, is one of a pair of warthogs I sketched by the waterhole at our lodge. They were a young pair and this one was probably a female. I was struck by their incongruous appearance with a big head and body on thin legs. Not only that, but she appeared to me, to be tottering on stilettos as she made her way around the edge of the water.
So I had to have a go – a bit of fun to paint – here for your amusement.
I worked up this larger sized painting from one of the sketches I presented a week or so ago. Acrylic ink was run into the divisions to add depth and interest and further texture was built up by dragging and smearing. The overall impression I wanted was one of hopeful mystery with the yellows and greens evoking lichens that grow in dark, dank environments – but then, that’s what comes at looking at an image for too long.
A week or so ago I showed some sketches for abstracts. Since then I have been working a couple up. I put this version on a 1.2 x 0.6 metre canvas. This may not be the completed piece, but it is getting close. On this version I focussed on brighter colours than I had in the sketch and have since then dulled a few down. That process may continue – I am a constant fiddler, particularly when I have the painting in front of me and paints to hand. There is another one on the go, but I also have a watercolour which I started before this and need to finish, so at least I’m keeping busy.
I need to force myself just to play around with art materials. Most times when I face an easel or board I have a purpose – an image I want to create. So I have changed pace in the last few days and just got some paper ( in the case above, and most of these below, an old discarded painting) and started putting paint down over it. This one I’ll call – Fallen.
Coming from a scientific background I do veer towards structure and the next two show a development of an old theme based on an imagined cityscape, done with mainly square brushes.
I was looking at form on a flat plane and the painting on the left, though I like texture, just felt too busy – even messy, so out came the brushes and paints again to turn it into the painting on the right. Comparing them, I dont think I have moved forward very much – but then this is just about playing.
So, after that cul de sac, I forced myself to into a more organic approach with emphasis on light and shade – a theme I explore in my more representational pieces.
Again, working over an old painting. I think that there is potential in this one. It has a forest feel – similar to some of the representational paintings I’ve done of late. There are some lovely soft edges contrasting with the hard lines I’ve created with acrylic ink.
Bouyed by this, I struck out in a similar direction with the final piece, below.
This is done in a much looser style – mainly using just my fingers. I added moulding medium that allowed some texture which I highlighted with the mix of yellows I still had on my fingers. This use of texture is certainly one I’d like to further incorporate into my painting.
So I might be putting some of these ideas on canvas in the near future – just a warning.
I painted this at the back end of 2017 and posted it shortly afterwards. I did it along with other animals I had seen in Namibia at that time. None of them sold and I never even exhibited this one, though I did like it and I put it on my website where it has resided for around five years. Then, last week a buyer popped out of the ether and purchased it.
It just goes to show that many paintings have only to find an admirer – the problem is finding this elusive creature. This is the second time within a few months that a buyer has suddenly popped up to claim an old, floundering painting of mine. The previous time the actual painting wasnt even on my website. I think the purchaser googled it from this blog. In fact the painting she saw was in a larger format – in an effort to try give it more legs for a sale, I cut it down to focus on the subject matter. Anyway, despite its new size, the lady still wanted it and away it went.
I suppose it’s like angling – you cast them out there and hope for a bite.
This painting started out in hope, but the layout got a bit confused as it developed. Despite this I saw it through to a conclusion and now regard it as preparatory work for the future. I have done a similar piece in the past, but wondered if this version might have possibilities.
So much in the city spins around around football, so this was the central theme, with aspects of the city spilling out of the bursting ball. The spillage just needs a bit of tidying up, one could say. I like the idea – this is the reason I’m posting it.
You may be seeing an updated version in the future with a few of the motifs shuffled about. In the meantime I’m back to watercolour, I’ll show this you next time.