Wednesday, 27 July 2016

High Summer, Burnham Overy Staithe

Pastel on Pastelmat, 19 x 27 inches

I know some of you readers like to see stages of a painting, and I took about 10 photos along the way in the making of this beast, but, inexplicably, they aren't on the camera!  So, I have just one stage photo, below, taken a little while before the finish.

Quite a complicated painting this, with an awful lot going on throughout the piece. I like to keep the whole painting moving along at the same speed, because, as I always say in my demos, if you concentrate on one passage, without putting down the adjacent tones and colours, whatever you have painted will look very different when the colours next to it are placed - every colour and tone is relative to the next one, and cannot be guessed until they are all placed.

You can clearly see in this stage, that the pinkish tones in the water in the bottom left third are way too light, but until I scribbled in the tones below I wasn't sure. Had I completed that passage, I would have found the tones too light and would have to change them after spending time getting them what I thought was 'right'. And, the foreground boat, although a white boat, appears much darker than that because we are looking directly into the sunlight.  Again, I had to place the approximate tones of the hull down first, then the surrounding tone of the water placed immediately in order to ascertain the correct relative tones to each other, mostly by trial and error.  The trick of getting a scene to look 'real', is to recognise the errors, and correct them. Many amateur paintings fall down because the tones aren't right, so that there is no punch or impact.

The final bit of the painting was to whack in the sparkly spots of reflected sunlight with my lovely soft Schminke Titanium White - see how these spots bring the painting to life. 

This is the last painting that is going to the RSMA show, and is being collected tomorrow morning at 5.30. I'm writing this as I'm waiting for the wax to dry on its frame, so I had better set to and fit it in its frame... 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Sheds and Sunlight, Brancaster Staithe

Pastel on Pastelmat, 13 x 19 inches

This is the second Pastel painting that I'm entering for the RSMA exhibition, with one more big one to go...

The gloriously tatty sheds and huts at Brancaster Staithe are gifts for us artists, and, combined with the boats in the staithe, and the sharp, morning light, made this an irrisistible subject for a painting. The only thing I did was to move the foreground boat a little to the left for the sake of balance.

I could equally have tackled this painting in Oils, but I did love painting those dazzling spots of bouncing sunlight on the tops of the boat cabins, which are particularly suitable for the Pastel medium. That lovely, wet mud below the row of wooden posts was alittle more tricky with the dry medium, with myriads of little stabs of blue, mauve, grey, yellow, green-brown and white, whereas with the Oil medium, I would have painted much of this passage with the palette knife dragged over the blue-grey reflected sky colour.  Ah, the joy of painting!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Leaving Port, Mevagissey, 5am

Pastel on Pastelmat, 19 x 24.25 inches

I painted this one from a high viewpoint, looking down on the harbour wall at Mevagissey, with a lone fisherman on his way out to make his catch. The light breaking through the clouds was spectacular, and I did my best to capture that fleeting light effect of the light on the sea, this time with the soft Pastel medium.

Pastel lends itself to making lots of little marks as the subject might require, as it did here in the bottom half of the picture. The gentle swell of the sea provided gorgeous stripes of grey and pink as the light reflected off the water.  Placing myself so that the lighthouse punctuated the lightest part of the sea, directly below the break of yellow light in the cloud offered the best composition I felt, and I think it's worked out alright.

Now onto more Pastels...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Harbour Lights, Mevagissey

Oil on Board, 11 x 16 inches

Another Oil for the RSMA exhibition, but why, oh why, did I elect to do this subject on such a small panel?  What was I thinking of? It is one of the most complicated paintings I've done, with an AWFUL lot of fiddly detail and a seemingly infinite number of colour changes and subtle shifts of tone. 

It was the beautiful half-light one encounters when the sun goes down, and when the shop and restaurant lights appear so much brighter, that drew me to the subject and to tackle it in paint. Those lovely yellow and orange reflections in the water were irresistible and I had to make sure that all the relative tones were dark enough, to give those light reflections the right impact. The red buoys also take on a glow in the evening, so there is a LOT of local colour in the painting.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Frosty Shoreline at Eyebrook

Oil on Board, 14 x 20 inches

This is a commissioned painting of Eye Brook and the Eyebrook Reservoir in Rutland, in its Winter garb. Actually, painting frost is one of my favourite subjects, especially this one, with lots of tufty grass tussocks, and really lends itself to the Oil medium using my decorator's brush - muted colours, using my usual three yellow, red and blue culprits, with the addition of a little Viridian here and there, and plenty of Titanium White of course.  The Swan and the few ducks lend a little life to the serene scene

Friday, 1 July 2016

Surf and Turf

Oil on Board, 9 x 16 inches

Lovely jagged cliff shape here at Mawgan Porth, set against the late afternoon sky with gorgeous reflections in the wet sand was the inspiration for this one. I opted for a panoramic shape for the composition so as to concentrate the eye on the cliff and piercing yellow sky in the lower portion of it.

All done with four colours, there was a surprising amount of colour - I loved the Viridian in the crashing breakers and the resulting white surf - just perfect!