Saturday, May 23, 2015

Painting with friends

After four hours painting - unfinished 24" x 26"

I'm happy with my own company, but also I'm very sociable and love a chance to paint with friends. Yesterday I drove to London to meet with two of my favourite artist friends and two lovely young models to paint together by the canal. It was a perfect day!
I worked on a large white oil primed canvas, 24" x 26" which was a lot of ground to cover! After around four hours I got to this stage. I love the composition and I wanted to get the main colours on and the white covered. The swan kept coming back and forth so I really had to include it in the painting.

The light was challenging. We started with heavy cloud cover but by the end of the session it was full sun. I couldn't start to introduce strong shadows at that point. If we can arrange another day together I'd really love to finish the painting from life. Otherwise I will do my best with it in the studio.

With Michele del Campo and Adebanji Alade and a chocolate brownie thief

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Monterey wharf

Monterey Wharf

Writing has been keeping me busy lately, as well as a little teaching, travel planning and organising next year's calendar and some new greetings cards. Still, I'm getting to the easel as much as I can! We had a fantastic weekend workshop at Old Bank Studios in Harwich the week before last. Next year we are already planning a plein air weekend in May so I really wanted to give you advance notice for a change! Email Bev at the studios if you'd like to be in that group next spring :-)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bees in the orchard

Bees in the orchard
Oils 10" x 14"

We've had some fantastic weather this week in Lincolnshire, so I had to get out painting and where better than the gorgeous gardens at Gunby Hall? I headed for my favourite spot but the pond was brown and left me uninspired. This turned out to be a good thing as I wandered into this gorgeous orchard, and I've always hankered after painting bee hives! How exciting! The setting could not have been more lovely, and I'm very glad I came.

Can you see the bees? ;-)

Not a cloud in the sky

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sketches from PAC

Sometimes in the convention I was multi-tasking, sketching and listening and drinking coffee! Apart from the sketches, which help me to remember events, I've got pages and pages of notes to read through - I haven't had time to look at them yet! Maybe I should take my notebook up to bed with me tonight. 

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the event...

Carolyn Anderson "Once you take fruit from the kitchen and into the studio, it ceases to be fruit"

C.W Mundy "The power of the suggestive is much greater than the statement of reality"

C.W Mundy "I just want to see what I can get away with"

Quang Ho "When I do a painting there's an assignment, there's something I want to learn, there's something I go after"

Quang Ho "At the heart of painting is abstract design"

C.W Mundy "I'm willing to go out on a limb"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

California flowers

California flowers
Oils 14" x 10"

I've come back from the convention full of inspiration, refreshed and raring to go - which is exactly what I was hoping for! It was terrific to spend time with my friends and meet lots of new friends and put a face to existing Facebook friends! Especially Cory who's been following my blog since just about the time when I started it in 2011 :-)

 The coastline in this part of California is incredible and I know I will have to come back here to paint. The light seems crystal clear and of course for me the sunshine makes a subject of just about anything. Take the backlighting on these flowers for example.

It was a wrench every day - be out painting or be in the conference centre watching all the wonderful demos and talks. Did I tell you they laid on free coffee all day too? Yes that pleases me ;-)

Look - freebies!
Look at all the gifts! I love gifts - and stickers! There are stickers for my easels ;-)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Inspiration in California

Pacific Grove
12" x 16"

The plein air convention has been such a whirlwind, I didn't have time to blog until now! This is my last day here and I'm doing some painting and some eating and some relaxing, I may even have a nap!
I've been inspired in so many ways at the conference and I've had a little time out in the stunning landscape. The light here is nothing short of incredible!
This one is Pacific Grove, I was really trying to capture the misty softness and the reflected light in the shadows of the rocks.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How finished is finished?

Morning sunlight on the campo

Ah, the eternal question! When do you know a painting is finished... if indeed, a painting ever is finished? And does 'finished' mean 'finished off' as in, well... I think you know what I mean!

Here's an interesting case in point. I was working on this studio painting a couple of weeks back and then I had to put it on standby and get on with other work. In my head this painting was labelled 'needs further attention, needs a lot more work, must go back to it, it's quite a way off being finished (the dreaded word)'.

Now today it's caught my eye again and what's happened? Have the studio elves been working while I've been in France? It caught my eye and my mind said this 'that's an interesting piece, it evokes a mood, what more is there to say? By golly I think it's .... (insert dreaded word here)'

What do you think? How much information is enough? For me this is the eternal question. Firstly you should know what you are trying to say in your painting. Then, it's easier for you to recognise when you've said it. That's about all the help I can give today but I know it's a topic I'll come back to ;-)

And now I'm a teensy little bit excited because the suitcase is zipped shut, my passport is in my hand and I'm heading to Heathrow ready to fly tomorrow. See you in California!

Monday, April 6, 2015

On the road

I've been away with the family in France for Easter and tomorrow we'll be travelling all day to get back home. It's a shame really as the weather's just turned gorgeous in the last couple of days after a disappointing and chilly start.
Before I went I was busy framing up three pieces from winter that have been pre-selected for the New English Art Club exhibition. I need to get them to the courier on Wednesday so they can travel to London for final selection. It would be marvellous if any make it on to the walls but I won't get my hopes up too high! I've always felt the NEAC was a bit avant-garde to be very interested in my work, feeling much more at home with the ROI and RSMA. Still, it's good to try these things from time to time!
When back in England I have a hectic three days which will involve a lot of unpacking and packing again before flying to San Francisco for the plein air convention. How exciting!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rocks and waves

Rocks and waves at Mousehole
Framed size about 21" x 25"

Back in the southwest of Cornwall again with this one - and you can see the pretty village of Mousehole nestling in the background. Maisie loves to run around on these rocks and bark at the waves! For now I'm enjoying having it up on the wall in the studio, but if you'd like to purchase this painting you can contact me and we can discuss framing/delivery etc.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shadows at Bedruthan

Shadows at Bedruthan
Oils, framed size 16" x 19"

Here's another new studio painting of a different view at the Bedruthan steps. Oh my, I'd love to live with this painting. It takes me right back to the hypnotic motion of the waves swirling around over the rocks below, the feel of the sun on your face and the salty breeze. That turquoise water, those scudding soft clouds, and that brightly lit grass on the cliff top... just lush.

Alas, I won't be keeping the painting because it will have a nice home waiting for it somewhere. I am having it made into greetings cards though, so far this is one of four brand new card designs that I will be showing at the Patchings festival in June. There will be many more new ones, original paintings and 2016 calendars too!

But if this gorgeous painting belongs with you, feel free to contact Mark here. I don't think it will be on the gallery wall for long.

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