Snowdrop Vase

Snowdrops were early to flower this year. I decided to pick some from the garden and put them in my glass snowdrop vase, found in a charity shop. I set up a small still life in my studio. Below is a quick sketch in conte on a blue background. I decided to add additional pattern for interest under the vase.

I next did a tonal study in oil using 4 tones only. I mixed these tones before starting to paint the still life. This was a fun exercise. A nice way to show appreciation for such delicate flowers which cheer us at this time of year.

Man Reading

I made this pastel copy of “Man Reading” by John Singer Sargent. His painting was done in oil paint. I enjoy doing studies of master paintings you can always learn so much. His edge work is superb and it was a good lesson in observing lost and found edges. I loved working in all the lovely golden tones. His composition is particularly interesting. It was a fun exercise to do.

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.

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