Realising I need a few floral paintings to help support the upcoming demo I’m doing, when I spotted some images of cactus dahlias I had taken in the summer I thought that they might be a worthwhile challenge. Indeed they were. I used the same colours as for the Hellebores I did a few days ago. I do find shading yellow quite difficult, but it seems to have worked here. The colour of the dahlias is a lemon yellow which doesn’t pull it away from the foliage much and as I wanted to rise into a light source in the painting I started to lose tonal options in the top part though the subtle changes are growing on me.
Unexpectedly I was offered a couple of slots at a Liverpool exhibition so I thought it might be worth showing some paintings of the locality that I had done. I liked this one which was posted some time ago on the blog, but whilst framing it I decided it could do with another figure in the foreground so I added the man with the briefcase. The exhibition is at a location I have never been to before so it will be interesting just to investigate the place when I take them down on Friday.
Long standing readers of this blog may recognise this, but I assure you that it is a new version produced for another of my demos I will be giving at the end of the month. I will have another go at this as I think it could do with more variations of colour in the top flowers just to add more interest. Anyway it’s a start and allows me to get the timing right. It may get me back to doing a few more floral paintings ready for the summer.
I have a couple of watercolour demos to do at the end of the month. In fact they are on consecutive days which is a bit awkward – I need to get that secretary replaced. The first one wanted a canal scene so I have been looking through my images to find something suitable to do. I did this yesterday morning, so with a bit of preparation, like getting my paints ready and having everything to hand, I should be able to do in the allotted hour and a half.
This is a scene I have posted before, both as an on-site sketch and as a more finished painting. The painting never sold and I have made a few small changes in this version. I am thinking of getting down to the canal and starting to build up a series of canal paintings as they were popular and its always a nice place to sit and paint.
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.
When I was abroad I received a commission to paint a cottage in Cartmel which is in the English Lake District in Cumbria. It will be for a present. The cottage seems to be an old mill, set beside the village stream. On drawing it I realised that there was no symmetry in this building. The photo I received is rather flat and taken in winter, so I have added some colour and put the leaves back on the trees.
Being away on the run-up to Christmas has caused me to miss some of the exhibitions around here. I managed to get my framer, Glynn, to hold his window for me so at least I got some paintings out before Christmas ( but only just). I have restricted it to landscapes of the area around us and called it ‘ Behind the Dunes’ as we have a very sandy beach around here. I forgot my camera when I set it up but here is an image from last year – apologies for the quality and my bike getting into the frame.
Thanks to Glynn at Ges Bur Studios, Southport for the space.
Finally back to Cape Town for a few days before departure. In the sunshine on Camps Bay with the sea smoothed boulders which at some time must have come down from the hills above. It would make me a bit wary of living there. The beaches seemed a bit empty, possibly in the weekdays running up to the school holidays.
We had a day out at the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens in Cape Town. They are set beneath the dramatic drop of Table Mountain so you could just put a lawn there and it would look stunning. I found painting the amorphous masses of folliage and obtaining a sense of depth difficult as even the mountain slopes are covered in vegetation. Sitting in the pelargonium garden I was offered some colour to pull the foreground forward and as I worked I noticed the background slopes get bluer so that offered more of a differentiation for the background. As the day progressed the hills grew a mysterious darkness which really set off the gardens.