This was another response to to the forest walks we went on, described in previous blogs. In fact I completed this one before the last blog I posted. I tried some sketches first in pastel and in the end decided to combine them all for the final piece.
Any resemblence to Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie is coincidental and I did get increasingly aware of it as I built up the painting, with its lines and small blocks of colour particularly as he did some very inspiring trees as well – well worth a look at.
I wanted to do a townscape with a little more edge. This is based on Hope Street in Liverpool with a lot of paring away and more reliance on colour. I did the same scene in 2014 in a more conventional way when I started to do a set of Liverpool nightscenes. I exhibited a few but didnt get much response, though this one sold.
I feel the new version still lacks presence and I need to let go looser when building up the backdrop – so back to the drawing board, or in this case, canvas.
I went to a couple of life groups this week where we had just over an hour on each session, so I took my acrylics. The first two were done on Wednesday evening.
I think the first one was the stronger – maybe I was getting tired as the evening wore on. Also the lighting wasnt as good on the second pose.
On Thutsday morning, the next day, I turned up at a different group and set up. In came the same model from the previous night. I had a bit longer on this last sketch, about and hour and a half, as they have a need to do quick sketches first.
Taking a break from my series of watercolours, I thought that I would do something with acrylics. I have to give an acrylic painting demonstration in Blackpool next week and decided to feature this piece which I posted on my blog some years ago. It is done with square brushes to block in colour and, hopefully, encourages looseness and produces a more painterly piece, which some people prefer. I like to have a run through of a demonstration to ensure that I can complete it in the allotted time and this one is a bit bigger than the normal size I demonstrate.
I do find the setting of the models at the life sessions I go to very uninspiring – mainly people sitting rigidly in a chair or stretched out on a bed, hoping to get paid for a good doze. Most of the problem is down to the organiser not having thought about what to set until faced with a group and model. In a similar situation someone turned to me in desperation to set a pose for a group on Thursday. They got the above – maybe more than they had bargained for (too many sharp angles and hands on display).
A number of years ago we had a model in Liverpool who had worked for both Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Now, he could get himself into some amazing contortions and hold them as well. Bring back Phil. I think he relocated to York.
This pose is more the type we get, though I did get her to look down – otherwise she would have sat even more rigidly looking outwards. I try to refrain from interfering when the pose is being set, as there is nothing worse than people calling out their preferences and you get a pose set by a committee which can be a disaster.
I am back to using acrylics after a spell with pastels. For the top two I started to use black to mix darks instead of a blue. The bottom one used blue as you can see. I prefer the rawness of the top two. I have been taken by the work of Crawfurd Adamson, whose work I have seen over the years and this has influenced my approach on the top 2 sketches. I have booked to go on a 3 day course with him in my old hometown of Hastings in December. I do particularly like the directness he applies his pastel and the interesting poses he sets. I am looking forward to it.
The session organiser gave the model a Rubik’s cube to focus on for last Saturday’s session. He declined the challenge to solve it.
Here is the same model sparsely painted in acrylics a couple of weeks ago. It was done on a yellow base I used it just to give me a tonal background to work off. The model was taken with the colour as a possibility for his living room. I sent him the details later.
Following my watercolour sketch – Walk in the Woods – I presented a week or so ago, I thought that I would develop it a little. I liked the bands of light and shade created by the beeches in this wood on The Southdowns Way, close to the Cuckmere Valley. I mentioned in the blog that I took some pictures of passing walkers and I put in a couple with their sticks. I also kept the colours muted and resisted my urge to bang in some scarlet amongst the greens. Not sure whether it has the impact of my Dog Walkers where I succumbed to the scarlet urge – but maybe I got some of the calm I experienced on the day. Hope it calms you, also.