I suppose this is an essay on optimism and was taken from a trip we recently made and which I documented in an earlier blog. Someone had brought a kite along and we sat on a hill and in the breeze a few of the group had a go at flying the stunt kite.
I had left my sketchbook in the car so I took a few photos, and this is of Rob having a go. I actually liked the movement and arching in his body as he fought to keep the kite aloft – a triumph on this blustery day. I painted it in a blocky expressive way to convey the energy of the scene.
It reminded me of a statue on the canal close to where I live to commemorate the cutting of the first sods of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and shows a Navvy bursting out the ground into the sunlight as if he was coming up for air.
Despite obviously skipping their medication they are almost putting a sentence together, though the punctuation needs more work – perhaps when kindergarten resumes it will be a subject that will be covered.
As for the non-art: this is my Grande Jatte painting but without the monkeys. I loved the way the figures were lolling around by the side of the river, obviously taken by some action upstream. I added a fourth figure and have been fiddling around with the painting for a while and will probably continue to do so.
I was going to show something else I had done in pastels, but have been struggling with, probably because I am working too small. Anyway, here it is as I should show the problems as well as the other stuff.
Because of copyright I had to make alterations to the image and the painting hit the buffers. Maybe one to reprise in the future.
This image is from the same walk I alluded to in my previous post. The light catching surfaces and the figure were too good to miss. It was a pity that the woman was in the shade. I debated moving her to the other seat, but I liked the way she was sat with her shoes just catching the light. Might be worth another version.
I wanted to try a block approach for an upcoming demo and selected a subject of a couple sat in Green Park with Buckingham Palace and the crowds in the background. I set about transporting them over the hills and far away to somewhere more rustic. Call it a feel-good picture: a paean for the past summer. As I worked away at it it reminded me of those old railway posters they used to have. Maybe they could use it for HS2 if it ever restarts – I wouldnt charge them much…
I was in Green Park in London last Saturday. We had just come out of the Royal Academy after seeing the summer exhibition and were walking through the park to the Mall. Most people were sitting in the sun but this group had pulled their deck chairs into the shade and were in deep debate. I might have another go at the grass by the deck chair. As I look at it now, writing this, I feel it could do with a bit better finish, but I do like the overall feel to it.
I initially had a notion of this painting from a side view incorporating the steam from the soup against a dark background. Looking for suitable images to use I came across one of my dad, but a frontal view. Unfortunately he was wearing a hat and had no shirt which was a step too far for me, so I changed that, and added a book.
The real problem came in filling the 50x65cm sheet. I rescoped the head a couple of times, to try to ensure that sheet was filled, but despite all this I only managed 2/3 of the paper and with all the chopping and changing I lost the likeness – well, it’s a bit like him, but I’ve done better – perhaps a candidate for another attempt.
Compared to that the reworking of the Cambodian woman (an image I posted a couple of weeks ago as a smaller sketch) came out so much easier on this larger format – perhaps there was more to squeeze in so I was struggling to include rather than fill it out.
I might do a bit of tweaking to this yet, but in the main I am happy with it. Perhaps this larger format allows more detail and nuance giving it, for me, more authority.
Being a bit tied up with family issues I just had time to sketch out this portrait of a Cambodian Lady I spotted when I paused on a cycle ride by a river near Battambang – the second city of Cambodia. The light on her face accentuated her features as she squatted by some sugar cane that she had collected. I have a few pictures of different people of southeast Asia I took on my recent travels and was considering creating a small collection.
I did most of this by the banks of the river at Hue. Scooters and small motorbikes are a major form of transport here and there are lots of them. The group of people changed in this one, but the woman in the sunhat stayed. They were a family or group trying to sell tourists trips on dragon boats and boy did they try – though they left me alone – perhaps they thought I might sell them a picture.
The land in Vietnam from north to south is heavily utilised. There are paddy fields everywhere and quite a few water buffalo. Many people work on the land. It looks like hard graft – reminds me that there might be some gardening to do when I get home.
Yesterday was spent manning an art exhibition I have a few paintings in. The other person scheduled to sit in failed to show, so I was on my own. There were not many callers and I spent my time painting this – so not all was lost. It was from a photo I took last year which I altered considerably, but I loved the figures in the dappled light and the contrast between light and shade. I was quite pleased with the result.
The exhibition is in an unused shop in town we are able to use. I have had some good results in the past, though so far on this exhibition I have only sold one painting – but there are two weeks to go.
You can just see the painting in progress on the easel.