Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Fun with Pastels

This is becoming a great week.  We are organizing a group show for the Monday Painters, I have created a website for them and I have still managed to paint three days in a row.  Yahoo!

Today was the Burlington Fine Art Association sketch group and we had a wonderful model.  He sat perfectly still and came back to the exact pose after every break.  He is the son of one of the artists and I assume that he has probably done a fair bit of sitting for his mother.  I finished this first sketch in about an hour.

This second sketch was done in about forty five minutes.  I would have refined it more but I was getting tired and losing my focus.  I really should eat breakfast before I go painting.  I am happy with both and am finding that my drawing skills are coming back.

It is amazing how problems with a sketch jump out at me the minute that I post them.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Snow Squall Today Really

What is it with this crazy winter. It was -1 C and breezy but okay to paint until the snow came.  The end of March and we had to stop painting because it was snowing so hard we could hardly see.

Last week we painted at Fenwood Farm in Carluke.  I bought one of their chickens and a chicken pie.  Both were so very good that I was told to buy more today.  Alas they were all out of pies but I did get some chickens.  I will be driving back out there on Thursday to get fresh chicken pies.  Made using their organic chickens and Hewitt Dairy cream don't you know.

I am really happy with this painting.  I could not figure out how to paint the dried grass and snow on the distant hills but Catherine Gibbon our instructor made some suggestions and I think that it worked. I have the sky too blue and too dark but it works okay.  When we started the fields were golden with patches of snow but when we left they were all white again.

Okay spring, I am ready for you.

From Sam Lawrence

There is lots going on in my art world right now.  I somehow managed to volunteer myself to organize a show of work by the group of painters that I go out with on Mondays.  To top it off the hanging day for that show (June 14th) is the same day that Debbie and I are hosting the "Wetcanvas" watercolour artists (about 35 people) at our house. Whatever was I thinking?  I am excited about both activities and with help it will work.

I had a not so good day painting.  We were in Sam Lawrence park which overlooks the city of Hamilton.  It was -3 C with a wind chill of -10 and a sun that only occasionally poked out between thick clouds.  I am getting a better handle on mixing colours however my brushwork on this one is terrible.  In all fairness to me it is a busy subject and I was cold, rushed and distracted.

Still my cold is almost gone and it was great to be outside.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Thinking of Ian

Not too long ago I went to a concert where Ian Thomas played and sang even though he was quite ill with a cold.  I have been thinking of that a lot the last few days as I attempt to be creative with a very stuffed up head.  I find it very hard to focus on a painting and whimper at the same time.

I painted outside in a class yesterday which probably wasn't a great idea considering my cold.  It was about -3 and windy but the sun was warm.  The snow on this hill glowed yellow in the sun and the bright blue of the sky was almost turquoise along the horizon.  I found it difficult to have enough patience to mix colours properly the first time so this ended up very overworked.

This morning was a session with a model and I fared much better.  I am having so much fun drawing with the pastel pencils that I can just relax and put down the image.  If only I could relax like that with a paintbrush in my hand.

 I am very happy with this portrait.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Hidden Valley on a perfect day

Wow!  It was 10 C and the sun was bright and warm.  I painted in just a light jacket and no gloves and kept having to unzip my coat.  I was on the edge of a creek and the airborne cattail seeds were continuously drifting by me.

This is my painting.  It needs more colour and a few fixes to the composition but I am starting to feel that I have gotten control of the intense pigments.  It was one of those early spring days were it is really good to be outside.  At least until I discovered that my hiking boots are no longer waterproof.

Tomorrow morning the Burlington Fine Art Association sketch group is doing a still life so I may or may not go.  I want to see our "Small Works" show that is currently hanging at the Burlington Art Centre so I may go.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The CMY Colour Wheel

I have been having a love-hate relationship with the cyan-magenta-yellow colour wheel since I started using it.  I could not seem to tame the intense colours, especially the phthalo blue.  Today I learned how.  I was at a workshop put on by Keith Thirgood as and OPAS activity.  He has a well thought out palette on which he has those three primaries but he also includes their almost perfect compliments which makes it easy to make them less saturated.  Just add the compliment.  Mixing two compliments makes an almost perfect black.  It is also almost impossible to get anything close to mud with this transparent palette.

This is the painting that I did in the class.  I was more focused on mixing colours than on brushstrokes so it is a bit fussy and overworked but the cyan has been tamed so I am excited.  I can't wait to get outside with it.

So how do I mix brown?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Life Drawing

The Burlington Fine Art Association works like an artist co-op.  Anywhere from half a dozen of us to sometimes as many as thirty gather every Wednesday morning in the fine art studio and we all chip in for model fees, coffee etc.  Today was life drawing.  We all set up in a circle and the model is in the centre.  We decide on the length of time and she decides how she will pose each time.

We did a few four minute sketches and then two twenty minute ones and finally two forty-five minute poses.  My quick sketches are really terrible and my twenty minute ones are pretty bad too.  This is the first of my longer sketches.  Her head and face are too small but the hands may be my best ever.  I have always avoided them in the past.

Painting landscapes is less work because if a branch fastens to the tree in the wrong place who is to know but an arm must attach at the shoulder etc.

This is my second and last forty-five minute sketch. This would not have been a pose that I would have chosen to do but it was the most interesting.  It is a wonderful study in foreshortening.  Her lower arm is too thin and her hand too narrow but considering the tough angle I am very happy with this.

 I love doing landscapes and "life" drawing was always only slightly more interesting than doing "still" life work in my mind.  Today I decided to rethink that.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fun with Portraits

I can't believe that I haven't painted since last week. I am having fun doing portraits with pastel pencils.  This push-pull style feels almost like working with clay in that I am moulding the face.  I realize that is what I should be doing while painting too but it is much easier with the pencils.

This was drawn last Wednesday and I am very happy with it.  I had fun and I have somewhat of a likeness.  This paper is a bit dark to be a midtone but it is what I had on hand.  I went out today and bought some paper that I think is going to be much better.

Tomorrow is "Life Drawing" and I have decided that I am going to use the pastel pencils there too.

I know that drawing more is going to help my painting.