Thursday, 27 October 2011

Teasels in Frost

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

I do like painting frost, probably more so than the rich greens of summer.  The colours are so subtle, much as I love the buzzing life by the river in warmer months. The trickiest part of this painting was doing the backlit Teasels, their dark seed-heads lifting the foreground vegetation from the receding bank.  Each head has a lit halo around it, but lit a little more on the right than the left - awkward little devils, but worth the labour I think.  Without them, the darkest tones in the painting, it wouldn't 'sing' as much, don't you think?
This is my last possible offering for the ROI show to be taken to London at 6.30 Friday morning. I've now got to decide which ones of my recent paintings to submit.  I'll have a meeting with myself and make a decision.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

ROI Paintings

I'm working on some paintings to submit to the prestigious annual ROI (Royal Institute of Oil Painters) Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. Here are three possible candidates for submission to the selection committee next week:

Dazzling Water, Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

This was a typically breezy September afternoon, looking directly into the sun.  One second the water was calm with reflections of the trees, the next it was ruffled by the breeze which had the effect of reflecting the brilliant sunlight way above the tree-line.  As I've said before, Titanium White Oil paint is hopelessly inadequate to portray the brilliance of pure sunlight, but with a few tricks, you can assimilate the effect. When you squint at such dazzling light, and you have too, of course, you will see a kind of diffuse, yellowy-orange halo around the edge of the reflected light, and, as I always say to my onlookers when I give demos, paint what you see, as I have here.  If you paint pure white against the grey-blue of the water, it doesn't quite convince and fails to get the effect seen.
You will also see that the sky tones are darker than the light on the water (stand on your head to see what I mean); again, this is as it appears in life, unless the sun is very low in the sky, but here, the sun is way above the top of the painting, but its pure light appears on the water because the angle of the ripples reflect it. 

There I go again, giving away secrets, trashing my own career....... 

Sunlit shallows, Oil on board, 10 x 14 inches

The inspiration for this one was the sunlit water, giving it that gorgeous ochrey colour, and the lovely diffused dark blue shadows from the trees above.  Without the brightly lit weed and shadow on the water, it would be a more boring painting - put your fingers across to obscure to see what I mean - but to me, these made the painting.  I'm a man of simple pleasures...

Glint of sunlight, Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches

I must admit, I really enjoyed doing this little painting.  I love painting frost anyway; it provides a close-toned, almost monochromatic landscape and is great fun to capture in paint. I only used three colours in this, as I do predominantly in all my paintings: Cad Yellow Light, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue, plus White of course. These colours in various mixes provide all the subtle greys required and using my 1" household brush, the crunchy reeds are a joy to paint. 
Here again, I angled my viewpoint so that a few twinkles of sunlight glinted on the water - see that orangey edge?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Swan Family

Oil on Linen Canvas, 195/8 x 275/8 inches

You're probably wondering what I've been doing since posting my Pastel last week.  Well, I've been getting things framed and spent a lot of time dipping in and out of this painting, finally completed tonight. 
Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I often paint Swans and I happened to be in the right place at the right time when this splendid family came upstream and settled in front of me, happily feeding.  I like to think they know and trust me now, as I'm a frequent visitor to their home and have observed them for several years. They have successfully raised seven kids this year, despite both Otters and Mink inhabiting the same stretch of river.  That's what you call great parenting because predators like that will readily snap up young bobbing Cygnets. 
Anyway, the family grouping  provided a gorgeous focal point for an otherwise very decent composition, so I felt it warranted a generous size on one of my Classico canvases from GreatArt. All the lush foliage and bankside vegetation was painted with my big 1" household brush and the water with my fabulous Mongoose Flats from Rosemary Brushes (click to read my recommendation for them at The Swans and Cygnets were damned fiddly on this scale and they were painted entirely with the same Mongoose Long Flats size 3.
Well, I can't spend any more time talking to you all, giving away my secrets - I've got to go and cook my dinner...................

Wednesday 12th Alert !!!!!

Hi folks!  Don't forget - I shall be taking part in an Exclusive Charity Fundraiser called Chic Boutique this Wednesday.  I shall have some originals and some new Limited Edition Prints, 2012 Calendars and Postcards for sale at:

The Pinfold, Ridlington road, Preston, 
Nr Oakham, Rutland LE15 9NN
Wednesday 12th October
Come along anytime between 10am to 7pm

Entry £1, including tea or coffee

The event is in aid of Cancer Research UK and Air Ambulance, so please come along and support these two good causes - it would be great to see you!

7 other traders will also be taking part: Jewellery & Accessories, Arbonne Beauty & Skincare, Phoenix Cards & Stationery, Jamie at Home, Banjocrafts, Lady Captain French Fashion and Waterloo Cottage Farm Foods.