Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer & Winter

Just finished two paintings...two big paintings; both are soft pastels on 100 X 70 cm pastelmat (the largest size available), before these I’d only done one painting this size (The tryworks) which was such a trial I didn’t think I’d ever have the stones to try again. Anyway, there we go, enjoyed doing these as well

Unusually these are re-visiting concepts that I’ve already tried (The cold road and God’s own country). Both were large landscapes with roads leading in and where the feel of the season was the idea (bright, sunny and unsettled in the summer and freezing, ominous and dark in the winter).

Gods own country (summer)

Cold road (winter)

‘Back of the squall’ is as much of an epitome of the Falklands summer that I can realise. Based on a view in Fox Bay looking north over the quarantine station fence and the stud paddock;  broken cloud, glaring sunshine, a summer squall moving off to the north over the Home flock with the rays   of the afternoon sun converging through the haze.  In this composition the road is parallel to the skyline and old fence rather than leading in as in Gods own country.

‘Cold road 2’ is very close to the original ‘cold road’ concept, so close that it keeps the title. The road  leads in and around in Chartres horse paddock, the snow covered Hill Cove Mountains behind and a dark winter sky. 

These two paintings are meant to complement each other and side by side in the studio they work pretty well. I doubt though that they’ll ever end up in the same place again, Back of the squall is off to be auctioned at the Falklands Conservation fund raising ball in September.
Cold road 2 is staying here until I can find someone to buy it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Big studio, big painting

Well it's been an interesting time, I've been working in shearing sheds, doing building work, laying our fences, designing signposts, travelling, catering...

Anyway I'm back in my studio, or rather I'm now in my new, larger studio where my former business once existed. It;s a big room so deserved a big painting to break it in. A stormy summers day in the Falklands, bright sunlight broken by fast moving clouds and breaking through abig squall on the horizon.

...and it's big, 100 X 70 cm.


Blocking in:

 First blend:

Filling in detail:

Nearly finished:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back to the easel

Hell I've been doing a lot of drawings in the last two months. A tentative foray into graphite has resulted in a flood of drawings based on my Antarctic trip, both photos and memories. This has been cool, great fun and my drawing has improved beyond all recognition with all the practice.

Check this lot out:

Antarctic drawings

Lots more to come to, I have a folder of references and ideas that, no matter how many drawings I do, seems to still be growing. Enjoyable as all this pencil dust has been I have been missing my painting. Today I got back into my studio and started a full colour pastel painting...such a relief to be free of the constraints of graphite!

Here's progress to far, it's the bow of a wreck here in the Falklands; the Protector at New Island. I like the conflicting lines of the image, the planks of the hull/the remains of the copper sheathing/the streaks of rust from the hawsehole. This is 0n 50 X 70cm light grey pastel mat.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Drawing with brushes

I just can't leave graphite alone now, the genie's out of the bottle...or the jar, in this case a jar of Cretacolor graphite powder. If there's an element that irritates me about graphite it's the slow process of filling in large areas of shading, sure a blending stump and a putty rubber helps but it's still a slow old game laying down the area of shade with a pencil or stick. I recently ordered some bits and pieces to upgrade my drawing kit, foremost being a 2mm propelling pencil to replace the dozen or so steadler HB's I need to keep on sharpening (I like to always have a sharp pencil to hand), this natty tool and it's neat drum sharpener is as great as I remember them being way back when I used to do technical drawing, a gimlet point, easy in the hand and dead quick and clean to sharpen. Anyway, I digress, along with the usual consumables (stumps, erasers and so on) I had a punt on a jar of graphite powder, something I've never used before.

It's very different, dead quick to apply with a brush and very movable, one can keep on shifting it around with a brush or stump for ever and it lifts off incredibly easily with a putty rubber. It'll take a bit of practice to get the hang of but I suspect that this is the end of shading tedium. It's odd drawing with a brush mind.

Friday, November 9, 2012

'X' marks the spot

Well... not really, much as this might look like a prop from Treasure Island it is actually my first attempt at an ilustrated map of a part of the Falklands. I've just come back from two days on Sealion Island; My wife and I were gathering images for our second Barnaby Bear book, and I thought I'd have a crack at using some to produce this:

This is ink and graphite and features some of the iconic wildlife of the island. This was an interesting experiment, a few things didn't work as well as I'd have liked but it went quite well. I'll probably be revisiting this subject.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interesting times.

Looking back at the last couple of months I see . . . well . . . not much; here on my blog. I do, however, have an excuse. I've reached a crossroads; at long last I've made the decision that at some level I know I've needed to make for a while, to bin my printing and embroidery business (my primary source of employment and income). It's not a sensible choice but an inevitable one, under my managment the business was doomed to failure, once you find it impossible to motivate yourself to do more than 'just enough', and sometimes not even that, then it's time to roll the dice, to get out while the goings good, so that is what I'm doing. In the next few months I'll be busy with assisting the transition of the ongoing business to the new owner/operator but after that . . . well, there should be a bit more activity to be seen on the art front. The relief I feel at this is surprising, I'll be poor but able to take up opportunities that with a regular job would be impossible, interesting times indeed.

Anyway, in spite of that I have been doing more art than just farting around with sketching and my new pens, here's a couple of painting commissions I've completed in the last month or so:

Duke, soft pastels on 30 X 40cm yellow pastelmat.

Ruby, soft pastels on 35 X 50cm grey pastelmat.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pens and pencils

Last week I got some new toys, a set of Copic multiliners. Drawing with pens is something I've been meaning to tackle for a while now, now I can have a crack at it with some decent pens rather than any old biro which has been the limit of my ink drawing equipment up till now.

Here's a few birds drawn with these, I'm rather enjoying drawing in ink, an interesting discipline.

In the last few days I've also made a start on doing some work based on my Antarctic trip, I'm planning quite a body of work on this subject so these graphite drawings are going to be the first of many.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Same subject, different media.

This is something I've been been meaning to do for a while, take one subject and paint/draw it in different media. The subject is a single Pale Maiden (that's the flower by the way, not an actual maiden). One version in graphite (as in my last post), one in inktense pencils and graphite and one in soft pastels.

'Twas interesting doing this, the pencil and inktense drawings were satisfying but I still find the constraint of pencil media frustrating to work with, power to the pastels!

Graphite on cartridge paper:

Inktense & graphite on cartridge paper:

Soft pastels on white pastelmat: