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.
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.
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.
The Pittenweem Arts Festival 2019 starts on Saturday 3rd August and runs until Sunday 11th August. My web site has a page showing some of the paintings I will be exhibiting. See my Pittenweem Arts Festival 2019 page.
I am not long back from a trip to Mull. The weather was wonderful and enabled me to get outdoors for sketching. This sketch however is from the Argyll Hotel on Iona. What a view form the sunroom! Once I finished my lunch I could not resist to take my watercolours out and sketch the view.
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
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
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.