Friday, 31 August 2007

next step

Then, I did a detailed drawing of the arrangement, and I love the strong lines. I haven't decided if the lines will become a part of the final painting or not.
Originally I has an idea of a calm scene, but now it feels very energetic.
I'm definitely under the influence of Van Gogh at the moment. I don't want to copy his style but I am happy to see which elements of his work seep into mine.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

still life

I've been reading The Yellow House, about Van Gogh & Gauguin. Although, as a novel it's poorly written, it's inspiring none the less.
I've also been looking into oil painting techniques, and I'm all buzzed with excitement and want to get my teeth into painting more and more.

As a result, today I've made a start on a still life of my kitchen table. I replaced my usual garish table cloth with a plainer one laid upside down so the pattern is only hinted at, and I photographed the scene to check the layout. Then I did a simple sketch to see how it sat on the paper. At this stage I've omitted detail, including the objects on the table.

Looking at the preliminary sketch, I love the arrangement of chairs round the table.

The background of my children's artwork is very busy, and I'll be simplifying this in the painting itself. I'm also fascinated by the table and chair legs and lino under the table, and although these aren't the focus of the painting, they'll add depth to it I hope. The books, cup and pen on the table are what I've been using this morning, so it's fallen together quite nicely.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Penshaw Monument

Sketching in fresh air is great. I should do it more.

I didn't get to spend long on each study, only about 10mins each, if that, as I had the kids & my cousin with me. But I found it very productive.

The first sketch is a basic study of the monument from the bottom right of the field & path. Nothing exciting here.

Then I walked to the far left of the field, changing the angle slightly, and started to look at the construction of the monument. While drawing this, I was thinking about creating a piece using collage of rubbings taken from the monument itself in different tones maybe.

This last piece I love. The monument is made of sandstone, and Penshaw and the surrounding area was full of coal mines until late in 20th century (don't get me started on Maggie Thatcher!) Anyway, the stone has been blackened by generations of coal mining & burning, and is starting now to weather away, leaving the bare sandstone beneath. I am glad that the council has so far decided not to clean the structure, as it's facade tells a story.

Anyway, the third view was drawn crouching below the corner of the monument looking up. I have always enjoyed the way that the monument seems to grow in proportions as you approach it, and the whole thing is over sized. You can't just step onto the base, you need a leg up, and the columns are massive. There's no roof to it, and I don't think there ever was. But a family tradition on seeing it any time is that my Dad always said "It'll be nice when they get the windows in!".

I deliberately drew it going off the edges of the paper, giving the impression that it's too big for me to fit it all in. I intend to make more studies, take some photos and rubbings, look at the colour of the soot and of the stone beneath, and paint a canvas similar in format to this last sketch.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Tidying Up

I've spent some time this morning in the studio having a bit of a clear out, stacking primed canvases, and having a look at the painting I'm working on of hotel in New Orleans. I started it in July, and I got stuck on the foliage. This morning I added some more shadows and some more foliage, and have set it aside as I wasn't happy with it. But viewing it on the blog I can see that I have achieved an amount of depth, and the foliage is starting to hang together. Now I want to work from far to near; to look again at the colours in the sky, then get to grips with the hotel facade and the house beside it and the pavement. Then block in the foliage in the background and the shadows on the road. And lastly, get some strength in the tree trunks and add the last of the foliage highlights, and touches of overhead wires.

I think my problem has been that I have only looked at the canvas close to, and have not spent any time viewing it as a whole, which is what the small image on the blog lets me do.

So here it is so far.

I have no idea what I'll be working on next, but I intend to keep my sketch book with me this week and see what pops up for me to draw.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Hello again

I'm back, and I was about to say I can't believe it's been a month, but in fact it seems like a lot longer.

I've been visiting family & other stuff and generally not spending any time in my studio. I have sketched a little, and I did two drawings tonight, both of which are awful, but I've broken back into it I hope and will continue to draw and paint again.

Why do I find it so hard sometimes? Why, when I've had a break from art, does it scare me stiff to start again. And yet, when I do, even if the outcome is less than good, it feels good to be looking again.

I have been creative in other ways these last four weeks - I've made friendship bracelets for loved ones, I helped my sister create a new fireplace which we're both very pleased with, and I've been singing too. But making art, for me, is making pictures.

I'm glad I have this blog to return to, to bully me along, and to use as a reference. Looking back through old entries I am surprised and amazed by what I've done in 2007 so far. It also scares me, looking at it all, as if it was made by accident, that it wasn't me actually, and I'll never be able to do anything like that again. Do other artist get that feeling. I'm not after compliments, I just wonder why I have this doubt. I want the excitement and drive back again.

If anyone had asked me in January 2007 where I thought I'd be by now, it wouldn't be here, I'm sure. It'd be way back down the road somewhere.

Anyway, back on the road after some time out. At the moment it feels like it was wasted time. I don't mean that I've not enjoyed being with my family, but I wonder why I wasn't making art while I was there with them?

I've included the image of Yellow House by Van Gogh. I'm not sure why but I like it. Goodnight for now.
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