Bad Planning and Good Planning

Peace

Good morning everyone. Today I wanted to show you this abstract design, which required quite a lot of planning. Obviously, it’s just a modest little watercolour abstract painting, but, first I had to think hard about the background. You see, I kept the colours soft so there is not too much eye catching contrast. At the same time, I introduced a subtle sense of movement with the white paint. Honestly, I really had to restrain myself from adding loads of busyness all over the place! Anyway, I achieved it and now I could choose a motif to put over the top. But, what to choose? Not wanting to experiment on the page, I used my I pad trick and scribbled a few ideas over the image on the screen. After a few tries, I settled on a mandala.

The I pad trick

So then I felt confident enough to paint my mandala in black paint (don’t laugh, it’s an abstract one!) Actually, I haven’t got the skill or the patience to paint a good one. However, I think it’s quite effective. And the main point of the exercise for me is to take some time and thought when planning an abstract.

Peace

Bad Planning

Sunny Morning

Next, here is a glorious example of bad planning, more like my usual style! Here’s the story, l wandered into my ‘studio’ after showering one morning. And there was the usual view over the roofs, all bathed in gentle sunshine. Well, I couldn’t resist grabbing a pad and a black marker for a quick sketch. Then I used my new oil pastel pencils for the colour which didn’t of course cover the lines. So, not the best laid plan, but a real delight to record my response then and there! To sum up, I suppose I think that there is a time for careful planning and also for spontaneous response. Maybe you missed another quick response I made to this view, in a spectacular winter sunrise last year here.

Drawing the Figure in Movement

Figure in Movement

Good morning everyone. This is another page in the art journaling course Sketchbook Revival by Karen Abend. And I really enjoyed this tutorial by Barbara Baumann all about the gestural method of sketching the figure. That is, concentrating on the figure in movement. Basically, you sketch out the direction of the limbs, the torso and the head. Most importantly you study the angles of the tilt of the head and torso. Also, the direction of the outstretched arms and legs. Obviously the photo reference for this sketch was ideal – the pose was quite extreme. Also, unbelievably high off the ground!

The Proportions of the Body

After that, the really hard part! To be honest, I already knew about planning out the shoulders, elbows and knees as circles. But in the lesson I learned about the shapes of the upper and lower torso. And that is new to me and extremely helpful. In addition, I appreciated the tips about creating a background of dynamic lines and splodges. In my opinion is does suggest the figure in movement, which is not easy.

Ballerina in Flight

As you may know if you follow my blog, I have attended life drawing classes for a few years now. And I’ll finish up with one of my favourite drawings, done from life when we were also thinking about Matisse. In fact, a lot of his later cut- out work is very gestural. So, here’s my tribute to that great French artist. Actually, you could see more of my paintings of the figure in People, a section of my gallery.

Model in Blue

Two Paintings from my Archive

The Road to the Mountains

Good morning everyone. As part of my grand tidy-up, I looked through this old sketchbook to check for any empty pages. And I found these two paintings from my archive. Admittedly, I am not very organised, I have several sketchbooks on the go at once, with no particular plan! But the time comes when I must fill them up and put them away. Actually, I found that I had filled up this book and, in the process, I discovered these two mixed media pieces.

Over the Bay

Although I love them both, I must confess that I can barely remember doing them! Except, I do recall that it was round about the time that I was busy experimenting with coloured pencils. Perhaps six or seven years ago, possibly. And, me being me, I also couldn’t refrain from using watercolour pencil, oil pastel and marker pen too! Anyway, I am certain that I drew them from postcards or magazine cut-outs, not plein air. However, when I examine them now, I can clearly see bits that remind me of places I love to draw from life. For example, Over the Bay is definitely influenced by the hours I have spent looking and sketching at the Bay at Scarbrough on the north east coast of Yorkshire.

As for the mountain one, I can see in it the vegetation that grows on the moorland around where I live. So, I do remember happy days when I look at these paintings from my archive after all! You could see some more evocative landscape paintings in my gallery here.

Trying New Approaches with Flowers

The Tulips on the Table

Good morning everyone. Lately I have been working my way through the excellent tutorials in the free Sketchbook Revival course with Karen Abend. Actually, it’s finished now, but I will certainly look out for it next year. In particular I have enjoyed the sections on painting flowers. And I have been trying the new approaches introduced by several of the tutors. For example, using a looser painting technique when observing flowers from life.

Bouquet with Roses

To be honest, this was quite difficult to do, as I have always observed each flower carefully before. And then attempted to paint all details on each bloom separately. But here I observed closely first. And then tried to paint the different elements and shapes into flowers that were pleasing in the overall design. Anyway, this was my first attempt and things can only get better! In fact, this exercise ‘Mixed Media Floral Study’ was led by Joy Ting.

Trying New Approaches in Design

Flower Design 1

This was another exercise that I enjoyed, a simple flower design by Viddhi Saschit. And the tutor broke it down into easy steps, so that I created this reasonably attractive design. Afterwards I felt that I could try to paint another little pattern by myself.

Finally, I just wanted to show you The Tulips on the Table, which I did quite spontaneously in watercolour and oil pastel. And, I like to think that I put into practice some of the new ideas that I learnt. You could see more of my flower pictures here.

Quick Sketch in Oil Pastel

Movement

Good morning everyone. Today this is a short post because I’m insanely busy this week! Incidentally, have you ever noticed how everything happens at once?. Not only is my show opening this week, but I’m helping to put up our group exhibition at the weekend. And, I did squeeze in an oil pastel workshop at the weekend, which was brilliant. What a difference good quality materials make. In fact, it was quite a revelation to use artists quality pastels and paper on Saturday. Not to mention learning from our excellent tutor how to blend colours and create textures. So, I promptly ordered some pastel and oil pencils online and can’t wait until they arrive. Actually, the work we produced at the class will be on display for a short while, so more of that later. And there’s a cute little bird in oil pastel here , from a while ago.

Anyway, this is an enthusiastic little oil pastel sketch I did when I got home, to practise some of the techniques. Finally, here’s a taster of the work in my new exhibition, more of that in my next post.

Jagged

Two More Nice Bright Abstracts

Sunshine and Rain

Good morning everyone. I did this one of my nice bright abstracts before Christmas and I’m quite pleased with the way if turned out. Again, I had no plan beforehand, except perhaps to incorporate lots of lovely, juicy colour! And, on this one I particularly enjoyed splashing the flashes of white across the gold and bronze.

Sunshine and Rain – a closeup

In fact, I noticed that I have been featuring a lot of round, globe shaped objects in my abstracts lately. Of course, if you paint them yellow your mind interprets them as the sun. And dark clouds creeping up in the background can then suggest imminent rain. So, that’s how I found the title! Anyway, I suppose this led me to thinking that it was time for a bit more development of my abstract work. However, more of that in later posts. Meanwhile, here is another of my nice, bright abstracts, completely intuitive and in a watercolour sketch book.

Afternoon in the Garden

Now, this was a lovely art therapy exercise – a quick watercolour sketch in a few spare moments. And then, some flourishes with oil pastel, ink and white gel pen. I wonder if you can see anything in it? I wonder if you see the same as me? There’s another intuitive abstract in this post here for you to puzzle out!

If you like my abstracts, I just updated my abstracts page in the gallery here. And, don’t forget, I shall be showing you some new style compositions soon.

Big Tree in my Garden

The Big Tree

Good morning everyone. Well, it’s finished at last! And, to be honest, I don’t really know why I didn’t complete the Big tree in my Garden earlier. Actually, I started this big painting back in the spring, after doing at least two other studies. In fact, you may remember these mixed media versions, because I think I did post them.

Study 1 for The Big Tree

As I remember, I painted the twisting shapes of the branches, still really visible in spring, before the leaves grew thicker. And I found these fascinating, at the same time realising that we had created them ourselves. Simply by hacking the growth back every year in a vain attempt to keep the tree small for our modestly sized town garden. Anyway, I sketched first in charcoal and then I worked in oil pastel.

Study 2 for The Big Tree

Now, this is the second version that I sketched in charcoal and then added watercolour and pen for finishing touches. By the way, I sketched both of these through the living room window. And, as you can see,the season is moving on!

The Big Tree

But, to get back to the bigger painting, I decided to paint the tree quite simply and make sure that it dominates the space. But I also wanted to give emphasis to the rather fine building on the other side of my garden wall. At present it is used as offices, but, using my artistic licence, I show it as the grand family home that it once was.

And, I daydream about the people who live there, do they watch my house from their windows? And, what is there over the hill that the house sits on top of? So, as you have realised, I have created an imaginary scene from the reality I live in. Because, there’s always more than meets the eye, in my imagination anyway!

The Big Tree – a closeup

Finally, this acrylic painting on paper is 16 by 20 inches and the price is £80 plus postage, free in UK. Just email me on my Contact Me page here. And, if you want to see more of my trees, see here.

Drawing Small Animals from Life

The Billy Goat

Good morning everyone. Last week I went with my art group to Silkstone, a picturesque village nearby. We wanted to spend some time drawing small animals. And one of the attractions for us was the opportunity to observe farm animals and birds up close. I used all my powers of persuasion on my artbuddies to encourage them to draw living creatures. As you probably know, it’s quite a difficult task, because they won’t keep still! Actually, the sheep did doze off quite nicely in the shade, convenient for us sketchers.

Anyway, I sketched hens, sheep, goats and a peacock. For the most part, these were quick sketches, trying to capture the shape of the body. Also attempting to show the posture and perhaps some of the attitude.

Drawing Small Animals

Sheep and Goats

Then I spent a bit of time observing this mature male goat, pacing around his own field. Speaking of attitude, he was clearly in charge of all his family, even though they were the other side of the fence. And most impressive of all was his beard, long and luxuriant, sweeping down to the ground.

The Billy Goat

Finally, I’d like to show you a mixed media painting I did en plein air at Wigfield Farm. This was a couple of years ago when our sketch group visited this teaching farm, with some beautifully cared for animals. Luckily for me, this rabbit stayed still every minute or so. Sometimes it wandered around, investigating all the corners, and snacking. As I recall, I was using pen and oil pastel – these are rather unforgiving media, so expect a few mistakes I couldn’t correct. Even when I tried watercolour on top! Anyway, it was great fun and I’m sure we will go again. After all, practice makes perfect ( so they say!)

And if you want to see some paintings of dogs, you’ll find them here.

The Black Rabbit

Christmas Robin in Oil Pastel

Christmas Robin

Well, folks, it’s nearly here, so I thought I’d show you my Christmas Robin. In fact, this is the second version and I did enter them both into the Birdmas challenge. It was hosted by the Triwing Art Challenge blog on Mewe. Honestly, the artwork presented for this fun project was first class – Draw Twelve Birds for Christmas. And, I’m pleased to report that I did complete it in twelve days, running from December 1st till Dec 12th!

Robin in a Thorn Tree

So, here’s version one- a quick watercolour sketch in my art journal. And the super photo I used for inspiration was taken in my daughter in law’s garden. You see, she loves feeding the birds who visit and some of them become quite tame, like this lovely little Christmas robin.

The Abstracted Version of my Christmas Robin.

A Christmas robin,  drawn in oil pastel,  perching on a little branch in a thorn tree.
The Christmas Robin

After I had drawn a couple of straight up, realistic birds, I suddenly felt that I wanted to branch out a bit and use my imagination a bit more. So I drew this alternative version, and really enjoyed myself! Because I chose oil pastels from the very first sketch , I knew the lines would be a bit unpredictable. But, that’s ok – I really did want to create a loose drawing. So, this is my Christmas card to you – have a good one, in the circumstances, that is .

The Crazy Bird

A quick sketch in acrylic  marker.  Drawn from my imagination,  a bird in green and red feathers with a crest on its head, to keep my Christmas Robin company.
The Crazy Bird

Finally, here is my ten minute, acrylic marker crazy bird, created purely to cheer us all up! If you want to see more of the birds I painted for the challenge, see here and here.

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