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.
Yesterday I went to a day life session with a local group. It was a small group -there were only three of us, which was disappointing for the organiser. If it had been me running it, I would have called it off. I remember, a few years ago, being barely able to get into the studio on a similar session – in fact, on that occasion I just came home, as being unable to move around in an all day session would just frustrate me. As for the session. it’s good getting back to more frequent life drawing, but I do notice I start in a rush and the basics get overlooked. This one in acrylics, below, required me to rework the whole head area as, on applying the paint, things didn’t actually conform with reality. Making corrections takes longer than taking a bit more time to get it right first time, and then with the time limit, other things get overlooked.
Still, that’s the nature of the game, making quick decisions in the timeframe allowed. It certainly sharpens you. Hopefully, making you better next time.
I wasnt prepared for Thursday dawning without a cloud in the sky and by lunchtime it was still cloudless so I decided to get out and do some painting. Unfortunately I hadnt made any plans, so I headed off on a well worn route, hoping to spot something new of interest. This, above, was a view across to farms on the moss with the remains of last year`s bramble and undergrowth in the foreground.
I continued up Clieves`s Hills – the only bump in the Lancahire Plain around here and close to the top, I took the opportunity to get off the bike and sit down to paint this house. I liked theinterchange of light and shade on the walls and the tree just coming into leaf, all set off against the recently tilled soil.
And finally another drainage ditch. Again I liked the light and shade and the way the banks zig-zagged like teeth of interlocking cogs. In hindsight, there is room to play more on the light and shade of banks and I think the water close to the bottom of the painting was wider then I have it which would add to the contrasts. But by then I had cycled twenty miles and was on my third painting – concentration was beginning to sag – but a great afternoon, nevertheless.
Back at the end of August I set out on my bike one morning to do some painting. The light was sublime and I settled in a field to paint this cottage. I love the way the tree hangs over the lane and the jumble of cable posts stand around like lonely drunks at the end of a party. I posted the sketch I did at the beginning of September and I’ve put it below.
When I came to move on in search of another subject I noticed the row of puddles in the broken road surface. I love puddles and their reflective quality as well as the textures of the broken road surface and the mud and stones stirred up by passing tractors. So I took a few photos.
Following an earlier woodland scene I had an urge to explore some simplifation of the subject and came up with this effort. It is a version of a painting I posted in November 2018 which I have put below.
I must admit to liking this earlier version – though nobody else did, well, not enough to buy it. I like the lightness and the air of complexity which gives it some intrigue – the same complexity I was trying to eradicate in the top version. Probably what it lacks is the contrast in tone and hue I achieved in the top painting that immediately ups the drama.
I then turned my attention to some birches caught in sunlight amongst the pinewoods – another subject I have posted before.
In these two new versions, the first one seems to pull in the drama with its contrast of tones and greater simplicity. The lower one gets a bit busy and the background could do with a bit more punch. In the upper painting I’m not sue about having a central pine, but it does give it a sense of menace.
I think I’ll get myself out of the woods for now, but I can see myself returning…
Arthur, a runner into his sixties, sat in the captain’s chair for last Saturday’s life session. I do like this neutral grey paper. It gives you tone but doesnt drive you in any direction as regards hue.
At least we had some half decent lighting to help create form. This time I worked on a blue biased pastel paper.
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.
In June I awoke to a glorious morning, gathered my paints and cycled to a spot where I knew at least a couple of good paintings lurked. When I got near, I dropped down onto the low lying marshland behind the coastal belt and suddenly could barely see in front of my nose because of the mist.
I stayed close to the coastal belt and painted the image below which I posted in June. I wouldnt have bothered normally. It was a fight from beginning to end as the paint took ages to dry because of the cold and humidity. As I packed up to go the sun at last broke through. The light on the grasses and nettles threw up interesting patterns and I took a few photos.
This one may be green but with all the activity it isnt calming. Now I’m thinking there may be too much green.
Over the past three days I have been on a life drawing course with Crawfurd Adamson, a painter I have admired for a while. He employed good lighting and uses colour in an exciting and almost abstract style.
There were two models he used in a dynamic and interesting way and we started off with quick sketches trying to find a pose we could use for the next three days.
I then started painting with pastels, working around the models for the next few days. I was about the only one who moved, so I found myself having to squeeze in the few places left.
This was the first painting I did (above) and employs some of the scratchy application I have used in the past. Crawfurd showed me how he works with pastel and the way he applies it and in the next painting I used some of his techniques.
It was also good to see how I could further develop this as Crawfurd does work in many similar ways to me. He also has a similar approach to lighting and colour, which, though people on the course thought were theatric, suits me down to the ground.