Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Leicester Bridge, finished

Finished my Leicester Bridge painting. The composition worked and it's got the mood that I wanted so I'm quite pleased with it.

Must do more of this sort of thing.

Leicester Bridge

Months ago I composed the reference for this project, probably about time I started painting it. This is a ruined timber bridge out on a farm called Leicester Creek, the owner expressed an interest in my painting a picture of the bridge some time ago so I've been meaning to have a crack at the subject for a while.

A departure for me as this is the first time I've attempted a large, architectural subject like this. Got off to a good start but still cna't be sure how this's going to turn out.

Charcoal sketch, 50 X 35 cm grey pastelmat:

Filled in the highlights with white pastel:

 Some detail and colour filled in, the colour is quite washed out so was not sure whether to make this a greyscale painting or to use some colour, descision now made:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inktense, Neocolour II and oil pastels

Still tinkering with watersoluble colours, Inktense pencils and Neocolour crayons. Struggling a bit with these mediums, I'm too used to the flexability of soft pastels, by comparison these are slow and limiting, you can't be as slapdash as you can with pastels as they don't layer, encroach on a highlight and it's terminal, no matter what you do you've lost that highlight. Still, nothing wrong with a bit of discipline for once.

I decided to have a serious bash at a portrait with these. A3 cartridge paper.

Quite pleased with how the eyes and skin worked, not at all happy with the hair (always difficult anyway I find) or the contrast. Being the impatient sort I then pretty much destroyed it with oil pastels (another medium I've done very little with).

An....interesting effect, can't say I'm convinced of it's application for portraits but interesting none the less. There's a very strong holographic effect from the areas of oil pastel that contrasts oddly with the areas done with inktense and neocolour. This could be useful in more abstract, loose applications. I'm not done with this stuff yet I reckon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tinkering with new mediums....

For a long time now I've been meaning to dig out my almost unused oil pastels and neocolour water-soluble crayons to have a play with. It's not that I'm wanting to get away from soft pastels, just want to try something a bit different.
Rummaging around in my supplies I also unearthed a treasure I'd forgotten about, a gift from my mother in law that I'd never got round to using, a brand new set of Derwent inktense watersoluble ink pencils. Bonus.

It's odd working with such mediums, very different to use than my soft pastels, very fast to use and very responsive when shaped with a wet brush...I still don't like not being able to layer light on dark though and it's simply impossible to get the intensity of colour of soft pastels, good fun though and a far more portable medium.

Here's a silvery grebe, A3 cartridge paper:

Last week I also finished my second large settlement commission.

Hill Cove, soft pastels, 50 X 70 cm grey pastelmat.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Barbed Wire, finished.

Worked all day on this and I think it's done...can't think of anything else to do to it anyway so that's time to stop. It's pretty much done what I wanted it to, from a distance it looks like a study of the long grass, close to all the barbs appear. From a distance it's conventional, close to it's abstract.

I'm quite pleased with it.

More barbs

Looking at what I've done so far on my Barbed wire painting with fresh eyes this morning I saw that the original idea was lost, this was becoming a simple one dimensional painting of some grass and wire, not what I'd intended at all.

So I've thrown in more barbed wire, not as a literal dipiction but using a trick I've messed around with in the past. A relatively simple shape like the twists of barbed wire can be indicated as an extra layer in the painting by using the direction of pastel strokes rather than colour and shade, the underlying colour is still of the background scene but with the extra element indicated by the texture of the painting. I've not really got this to work before. I'm determined that I will this time though, the effect is still quite subtle, not yet sure how far I'll push it.


Birds! the bloody birds.

My studio is full of birds! it's like a bloody Hitchcock movie. After completing my long overdue Goose in the grass painting I seemed to be in the zone for painting birds and rapidly bashed out another three.

Young hawk 2, this is based on another from the same set of photos that inspired my original young hawk painting. soft pastels and charcoal on 30 X 40 cm white pastelmat.

Rocky 2. The cocky, bumptuous rockhopper penguin, again this is an idea I always intended to do more with, original Rocky painting. Soft pastels on 24 x 30 cm brown pastelmat.

...and lastly a newcomer, a little bird that I've not painted before, a Long Tailed Meadowlark, a shy little bird that lives in mortal fear of cats and sparrowhawks. I wanted to catch the slightly frantic trepidation that these birds always seem to display. Soft pastels on 24 x 30 cm beige pastelmat.

Barbed wire

Just our walking my dogs and in a patch of long grass something catches my eye, on closer inspection it's a tangled piece of rusted barbed wire. Now this is most probably a bit of agricultural detritus but it immediately suggested an idea to me.

It's coming up to the 30th anniversary of the liberation of the Falklands from Argentine occupation in 1982, this short but bloody conflict left many scars, on the servicmen and women involved, on the families of those who died, on the Islanders who lived through the conflict and on the land itself. It was the latter that struck a chord in this instance, this innocuous bit of rusted metal, tangled and overgrown after many years seemed to take on significance as a metaphor of the effect the conflict has left, it's been a long time and time has healed much of the hurt but the legacy of those bloody days is still here. Question is can I translate that metaphor into a painting?

I'm sure going to try. This is a bit of a departure for me as I'm not working with a definate reference or goal in mind, I just want to see where the idea takes me, possibly even into the unexplored territory of abstraction. Painting by the seat of my pants so to speak.

Charcoal sketch on 50 X 70 cm grey pastelmat:

Progress so far: