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.
Well, I couldnt resist taking a few pictures of this couple down at our local lake, feeding the birds. More so, because it was into the sun and the birds sang out like jewels – helped by the dark shadow cast by one of the stores in the nearby retail park. Then there was the plastic bag held by the woman, the biggest diamond, catching the sunlight.
Not one I’d like to do plein air neither for its complexity nor because of the chill wind down there that day, but it was a nice little exercise in the warmth of my studio, arranging and adjusting the players and building up the tones.
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.
Our pop-up exhibition in the Wayfarer’s Arcade in Southport has started and I have manned it on two occasions. Visitor numbers on Sunday were lowish though we managed to sell four paintings, but on Friday we only had 4 visitors all day – the worst I have ever known in the eleven years we’ve been doing this – happily, we did manage to sell one painting.
So you have a lot of time to kill waiting for the crowds. I did the painting above on Friday. A rather flippant comment on climate change, though perhaps apt to feature an animal that is listed as vulnerable.
I did the second one, above, on Sunday – a view of our local pier at Southport at sunset. A view I’ve done before, but this time from a slightly different angle in order to flatten out the subject to be able to present in a squarer format.
Sometimes a painting eludes your initial vision and this one certainly has, so Finishing Line may be inappropriate as a title – there could be future versions. I wanted a triptych but thought that I could intertwine the images more, instead of just three rectilinear boxes that the subject finally dictated. I also found the greens started to dominate as the piece progressed.
Like all projects that cause consternation, this has taken longer, as the enthusiasm dwindles.
So I am pausing and taking stock.
So why show this? Well, my blog is a diary, and this is what has occupied me over the last few days, brought to some sort of conclusion. And there are a few bits I do like.
In my previous post I described sitting in the morning sun painting the trees last Tuesday. Well, as I worked, I noticed movement in the field and a large hare came towards me. Unfortunately as I fumbled for my camera it seemed to get wind of me and moved away across the fields. In the end I managed to get a few shots which I turned into a pastel painting.
… Memories of my daughter, in her high chair, awaiting the next spoonful.
We get a number of blackbirds nesting close to the house. This year they nested in a rosebush by the front window. They were shielded, from movement in the house, by a curtain . Pulling the curtain back you were then very close to the nest and we could monitor progress.
The adult birds always approached the nest warily and there must have been a call from them, as suddenly, the chicks` heads would shoot up and beaks would open. Then, the adult would appear by the nest and worms and insects were thrust down open throats.
This pair had two broods: as soon as the first two chicks had flown, the female was back on the nest and we went through the same thing again.
I may have spooked them a few times as I poked a camera past the curtain, but not enough to prevent them having two families. Now we have blackbirds fighting over the garden and no doubt there`ll be a few corpses in the flower beds this winter as the weaker ones succumb.
I thought I’d have a bit of fun painting a gaggle of geese I saw the other week. They all appeared to be heading in different directions – though if trouble did get too close there was no argument and they were off back into the water – together.
A quick birthday card for a relative who owns these male cats. We were up visiting her last week and I did a few sketches thinking it might make a birthday card she’d appreciate. The black one is 19 years old.
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…