Carnoustie Art Club Demonstration

Recently I demonstrated the above pastel painting for the Carnoustie Art Club. I set up a still life inside a box which had a hole cut out at the side. I had brought along a lamp so I could directly illuminate the set up through the opening. This created an almost theatrical and dramatic affect to the still life. I enjoyed the process and sharing how I was approaching this painting.

Inspiration from books

“Two Calla Lilies On Pink”

Sometimes as an artist you can get stuck for inspiration. During those times I find it helpful to do some reading. I so often find that reading more about an artist who’s work you admire can unlock the creative block. It doesn’t always mean you need to buy the book libraries are a great source of research material. However if I find it difficult to return then maybe that could be a good reason to have one for the studio. Currently I am reading this book about Georgia O’Keeffe, a total inspiration. Her compositions are so balanced. On the cover is a picture of Calla Lilies, which I have flowering in my garden at the moment and I am enjoying sketching these exotic flowers.

Studies after Matisse

I have been reading lately about Henri Matisse. I love his use of colour and design. I decided to get out my acrylics and do these two paintings after Matisse. I really enjoyed the process of making these studies. Matisse was very fond of having a theme in his work and I just love the ones he did looking through a window. His compositions were amazing. I am sure these paintings will inspire a future painting.

“Expression, for me, does not reside in passions glowing in a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive: the place occupied by the figures, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything has its share.” Henri Matisse

“The window” after Matisse

“Flowers in front of a window” after Matisse

Colour Studies

Before I get started on large paintings I like to do some warm up exercises. I find just like an athlete needs to do stretches and practice so does the artist. To start to do a large painting without preperation can be daunting. A warm-up for an artist could be a series of sketches or tonal studies. In addition colour studies offer a great opportunity to experiment with different colour choices. I find this time spent in resolving problems is very worthwhile and gives me the momentum to proceed with the larger work. I was tidying my studio this week and found these two studies that progressed to larger paintings.

“Waves At Sunset” small study 7cm wide

Final painting “Waves At Sunset” is very large, approx. 1m wide.

“Waves At Lendalfoot” Study Acrylic ink and pastel 15cm wide

“Waves At Lendalfoot” Larger final painting Acrylic and Pastel

January Outdoor Sketching

Last week I set off to do some outdoor painting in Elie. The weather was very cold but the light was amazing and colours glorious. The sketch below was looking towards the harbour in Elie. The box of pastels in the photo are Unison landscape collection, a favourite of mine. I even brought home some sea grass unintentionally. The art pad has pastel neutral coloured paper ideal for outdoor studies.

This second sketch is looking straight out to sea. The water looked so inviting even on a crisp January day. As it was so cold it forced me to edit the scene before me so as I could capture the essence as quick as possible.