I have a couple of demonstrations to do next week and I like to have a practice to ensure I can do them in under the two hour time slot that they tend to give you, as when I do them originally I never watch the clock.
For the first one I was asked to do this family of swans that I saw when I was out painting along the canal bank one morning. The lady who engaged me had seen the first painting in an exhibition and like the way I had done the water. I posted the first painting on this blog a while back.
On this one the background ripples seemed a bit bent and the swans had an improbably large family so I had another try.
On this one I think I got the ripples right but I did like the tone of the near water on the first one and now the cygnets are barely discernable. Anyway, now I can see the problems and can draw out something that might work on the day and I now know I can complete in under the two hours. So on to the second demo…
This painting recalls summer days when I saw these horses beside the canal. I like drawing and painting horses, just for their shapes – rather like boats and the challenge they give when they are at different angles or huddled together.
I gathered up the images I had of the day and arranged the horses to get a selection of orientations and hopefully provide a pleasing arrangement.
Its good to get back painting with the first one of the year, though I am still moving materials back to the studio and at the same time doing a bit of sorting out and culling as I go – it all takes time.
I saw this dog by the roadside whilst walking in the Yorkshire Dales this summer. Normally I would tackle such a subject in pastel but what made me paint it was the notion of exploring what kind of textures I could get with watercolour. So it was more of an exercise in techniques than anything else.
I’m not sure why I did this one. I came across the image from my trip to Thailand. And then I’m also not sure why I chose watercolour when pastel might have been better. I then sketched them out and I had them arranged like opposing apostrophes on a line. That left a lot of space at the top.
By arranging them on the diagonal I could make the dogs bigger and fill the space – more dog less mud. I also put some grass in at the top for visual relief.
Another challenge was the dappled shade on which I may have failed. Something to ponder during the long nights of winter.
My last post was a pastel and after I completed it I started developing an abstract with them as I find pastel quick to get ideas down with. The abstract wasnt going too well, so I so, with the pastels, I started to play around with a study of some horses I saw on a walk in the Cotswolds we had last week. I liked the way they stood back to back allowing views from two different angles. The richness of the pastel really brought out the lustre of their coats.
I have been having more than the normal problems with painting recently particularly where I start a painting and abandon it or complete another version and come out with two paintings I am dissatisfied with. This one is a case in point. I had some images of a pack of Patagonian ponies squeezing through rocks and vegetation. I was taken by the forms of the horses as they tussled to progress and I started a pastel painting of it. To make some narrative of the image I obtained some pictures of horses in motion. However the group of equine forms soon transformed into a brown indulgent mass and I abandoned the enterprise. However the extra horses I had found had movement and strength about them and I decided to focus on these and here is the result. I still have a few reservations, but I do like the flow of the forms.
When out walking the other week I saw this sheep with her lambs waiting for us to pass before they made a bolt for the field in front of them . I arranged them into an overlapping group to accentuate the anticipation and tried to keep the colour range tight. I painted it in a single sitting as it seemed to come together fairly easily and am pretty pleased with the outcome.
With not having much time to paint of late and my studio reverting to its original use as a bedroom I don’t have much on offer, but here is a second one from my giraffe period that I managed to complete whilst the house was a slumber.
Well, I did warn you in the last blog… . Some of the animals I saw in my recent trip did seem to project a personality, that doesn’t require caricature to define. Here, a giraffe, with it’s turn of the head amused me.
On our last morning on the Etosha Salt Pan in Namibia we came across a leopard sat up in one of the many dead trees. It seemed to become part of the tree itself: it’s limbs just adding to the myriad of dead branches. This was a compilation of a number of photos as it settled itself into its perch. Unfortunately the wagon we were in wasnt allowed to leave the road and get us a better angle so all we got were versions of this rear view, but when it turned its head it was quite majestic.
I did a couple of paintings as presents for our guide and our cook and will send them to them when I get their addresses.
I must admit on this tour of Namibia, the game reserves were the last places I wanted to go. Years before I had seen wild animals in Kenya and Tanzania and really didnt want to see any more. However, the day I spent sat sketching beside a waterhole just yards from my hotel room was very special, watching the animals and birds slowly come and go in the heat of the day and noting their behaviour as they approached and as they drank certainly kept me enthralled.
I might even try a few animal portraits from some of the material I have collected: you have been warned. Anyway, before that, A Merry Christmas to all my readers.