We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
"Little Gidding"
T S Eliot

Friday, 27 January 2017

A pinch of salt and the sublime Monet

At the moment I am into a 3 week art class project using textures. In the past I have tried many texture techniques, but with acrylic paint; I have not considered using textures with watercolour.

Our first exercise was to try several different textures, and this is the result.

If you click on the picture you can enlarge it. Starting at top left and moving down the columns -

Pieces of tissue paper with starch based glue (e.g. wallpaper paste).

Pieces of tissue paper with PVA glue (acts as a bit of a resist compared with starch based glue).

PVA glue dribbled in a pattern and left to dry before covering with paint.

Resin sand - a gel medium with sand.

Glass beads - a gel medium with glass beads; a strong resist.

Salt sprinkled into wet paint, and let dry before brushing the salt away (rice will also work).

Clingfilm - in two layers. Let the first layer dry before removing the cling film, then apply more paint and cover with film again.

Using watercolour paint mixed with wallpaper paste, which enables patterns to be drawn into it whilst it is wet (also known as glue painting).

So now we are working on a painting using texture and watercolour with other media, but there are 2 more weeks to go before I finish it.

This year I have a National Art Pass which allows free entry to many museums, galleries, stately homes and castles, or a reduced price entry to special exhibitions.

Used it for the first time this week, when we visited The Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House (on The Strand in London). The Gallery has a fabulous collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, as well as from the Renaissance.

These are some of my favourites:

Frank Auerbach
Carreras Factory, Mornington Crescent 1961

Loved the very thick textured oil paint and monotone.

Paul Cezanne
The Lac d'Annecy 1896

Limited colour palette and the lines drew me to this. Very atmospheric.

Claude Monet
Antibes, 1898

Still my most favourite Impressionist! His work is instantly recognizable and they way he paints light is breathtaking.

There were some very small sketches by Georges Seurat, known for his development of pointillism. I was very struck by how good they looked grouped together.

So I'm going to collect some small ornate frames for my own (yet to create!) paintings, which I can hang on my wall.  Probably a very long term project!

We just had to visit the shop (well it would be rude not to!) - lots of lovely stuff; could have spent a fortune but restrained myself, and bought this fabulous book ...

well, it was on special offer!

I want the unobtainable. Other artists paint a bridge, a house, a boat, and that's the end. They are finished. I want to paint the air which surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat, the beauty of the air in which these objects are located, and that is nothing short of impossible.
Claude Monet

Monday, 23 January 2017

Friends Forever!

It has been too long since the Fearless Four got together for a creative day - with lunch of course! But last week we managed it and we all did an MDF shape with stand.

Watercolour has taken over my life for a little while now, so it was good to dig out some bits and pieces and my acrylic paint and put together a dimensional piece.

I forgot to take a picture before applying gesso, but did get an after-gesso shot!

I used various flowers made from paper, fabric and metal, plus a few beads and charms. I also used some texture paste that contains glass beads - love that stuff!

I haven't used much blue in my watercolour projects, so it was time for a blue overload! But for the letters I did put an orange layer under some crackle glaze before the blue!

We all finished too -

Lin's fairyland - using some metallic glaze on top of the wood pieces.

Monica's vision in graduated pinks.

Linda's another blue girl!

So, a good painterly time with lunch and a natter - nothing better!

"We'll be friends forever, won't we Pooh?" asked Piglet
"Even longer" Pooh answered.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Introducing Tia ...

You may recall I visited a friend in the Highlands last October; she is owned by Tia - a cross between a German Shepherd and a Greyhound! I said I would have a go at painting her ...

This is something I've not done before - creating a painting that should be recognisable as Tia  - so no pressure then! After all, if I didn't like it I could always quietly bin it!

I decided to stick to my favourite mixed media components, and started with an outline drawing in pen. The background is created with acrylic inks dropped into wet; I used green for all Tia's walks in the glens, orange, because she has some orange tinges in her fur, and yellow, as unusually the sun shone when I visited!

I then used watercolour, coloured pencils and Neocolor II crayons for all the detail.

I sent the portrait up to the snowbound Highlands this week, and I'm so pleased my friend loves it!

My next challenge is Molly the cat  ...

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” 
Groucho Marx

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Not puss in boots ...

The Craft Barn have launched their year long challenge for 2017, which is based around a poem by Sara Coleridge - The Months.

I've decided to challenge myself too, as I much prefer to use as large a canvas as possible, and for past Craft Barn challenges I have always used a 10 x 8 inch format, which is the limit of smallness (for me!).

So, I considered doing ATCs - but no - a step too too far! I've compromised on the postcard format; time will tell if I struggle with it!

Anyway, the first couplet from the poem is -

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

There will always be an additional twist, and this one must include a bird in a wellington boot.

I've used all scraps from my paper box for this - one upside of the small format!

The background is acrylic roughly painted onto textured paper - this scrap is at least a couple of years old!

I've used acrylic sprayed scraps for the bird, stamping and die-cutting one of Tim Holtz's crazy ones. I then cut the legs off (ouch), but gave him a much better pair in boots which I hand cut from a really small scrap! Which just goes to show there is good reason to save even the tiniest piece of painted paper!

Also entering the current Craft Stamper Anything Goes challenge.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

I must have flowers, always, and always ...

... that's a quote from Claude Monet.

What do they say about best laid plans? I had quite a few paintings planned for the break in my art classes, then I went down with a pesky head cold, and even lost my voice for a few days, so the inspiration fairy was feeling a little pale and wan! I'm on the mend now, but still got a very fuzzy head and an irritating cough!

I did manage to finish off this painting, which I started about a month ago. Echinacea is one of my favourite flowers, as I'm drawn to the shapes they create.

I did the outline drawing first, using a dip pen and India ink, and then applied a little masking fluid to some areas. The background is acrylic inks dropped into a very wet surface, and then crinkled up clingfilm applied. Don't be tempted to remove the film until the paint has dried!

I then coloured the flowers with watercolour, Neocolor II crayons and coloured pencils.

Finally, I covered the whole piece with a very dilute yellow wash.

I hope that 2017 brings lots of arty inspriration to everyone!