I have just realised that it will soon be February, when I have two painting demonstrations to do. One request is for a canal scene, and this is what I intend to demonstrate. It is a painting I did in 2008 and at the moment I am working out how to best complete the painting in an hour and half. For me, it is a question of getting the order right, so the audience isnt sitting around whilst you mix colours, and there is quite a bit of mixing here to get the water effects. I also need to ensure to emphasise the points I want to raise.
The second demonstration was picked for me by the art club that engaged me. It is of a field of poppies I did more recently.
It isnt a painting I would select if I had a choice. There is a lot of texture in the foreground field that I did in a very haphazard manner, at the time – feeling my way through. I used masking fluid in the painting. Again I want to avoid delays, so I may need to get the hair dryer out to avoid waiting for the masking fluid to dry. Other techniques are a little faster – I did some scraping back and and finally resorted to gouache when all my options were used up. Again, I am working through this to find the best order needed to present it in a coherent way.
After all this I’ll need a holiday and yesterday I ordered some Egyptian pounds for a two week cruise down the Nile at the end of February. Hopefully we will get to go this time – this is the second attempt.
I was in the pop up gallery yesterday, manning our final day. It was a bit busier than my previous stints, but I managed to paint this between selling and wrapping up paintings.
When we got an unexpected extra month for our exhibition in the shop, I was very enthusiastic, but my sales seem to have dropped off a cliff edge in the run up to Christmas. Up until November they had been trickling out quite well and I thought the final month, with three exhibitions, might even yield an increase in sales; how wrong I was.
So the year ends on a low. Still, I love the act of painting and without having the above painting to occupy my time yesterday, standing alone in the gallery would have been a real chore. Even though I didnt sell any of my paintings, I did sell some paintings of others and the fact that I came home with this, made the day worthwhile.
I have painted poppies before, and some might say too often, but spotting the setting sun on the oriental poppies in my garden drove me to having another go. It was only towards the end of the painting that I realised that the stars of the show aren’t the gaudy flowers but the tousled mass of spikey leaves that snatch the attention away from the flowerheads.
In the past I have been taken by the sculptural forms of leaves in strong light but have felt that they wouln’t make a good painting – clearly I must take another look.
I am still persisting and struggling with floral paintings. At present one of my borders is covered in Oriental Poppies, so I thought it was an opportune time to have a go at them. I also wanted to include the barbed leaves which can be a real feature when the light is right. I must admit it got a bit messy at the end on the left hand side, but I did manage to keep the initial washes on the flowers and some of the leaves on the right and am pleased with the result there.
Before this I had a less successful battle with my forsythia which is a real harbinger of spring here. I wanted the contrast against the clear sky. The mass of tiny flowers and leaves was a difficult ask, and in hindsight I think I need to blow up the small flowers even larger for the thing to work and not resemble a blobby mass.
So one out of two is an improvement on my endeavours of late. There may be some repeats coming this way if I start to find ways to resolve some of my issues. Only time will tell.
I saw one of my floral paintings when I visited someone yesterday. I had forgotten about the painting and looking at it afresh was very pleasing. It was a floral like this one. I am a sucker for light on flowers and when I saw this in my garden I had to paint it, even though this must be the fourth time I have painted poppies. I may even have a go at redoing the painting on the client’s wall, but this time a little looser.