Thursday, 10 April 2014

A "dirty picture", plus a bleak one

A couple of watercolours today - Bleak Coast (and believe me, it was) and Dark Corner: the dark one, "dirty" because there's a lot of dark paint in it, Payne's Grey mixed with various blues and reds and spattered with salt, didn't turn out as I'd intended but I let it go because I was interested to see what it would do more or less left to its own devices - it has a je ne sais quoi; or at least I think it has.  Can't speak for anyone else, of course.........

There are those who like very precise paintings, lots of detail, everything drawn with the brush to resemble as closely as possible realistic forms.  I don't do a lot of that - there may be a fair amount of detail, sometimes too much: but it's more in the nature of random brush strokes than very careful drawing.  This is because the paper I use for watercolour is invariably either Rough or NOT (cold-pressed) - if you're after fine detail and limpid washes, the paper to use is Hot Pressed: a smooth paper, with little texture.  I admire paintings like that, but have no desire to paint them myself.

Anyway: these are both around 10 by 7 inches, on 140lb paper (The Langton NOT).


Bleak Coast


Dark Corner

Friday, 28 March 2014

At Knowles Farm

Departing from my usual practice of building up an oil painting on a coloured ground - or Imprimatura, if you'd like the arty word - I painted this one straight onto a white canvas board; alla prima, to use another couple of arty words, i.e. in one go rather than building it up in many layers.

Which isn't to say I finished it in one sitting, but it was done without any great deal of faffing about, over a week of working fairly intermittently.  I know it's not everyone's draught of poison, but I think I rather like it - it's not been fiddled with or fussed over.  It could probably do with rather greater aerial perspective, but that's for another day.

30 by 40 cm, framed.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Vectis Artisans - back at Quarr Abbey for Spring Show

Vectis Artisans, or at least many of us in the group - some can't make it this time round - are having their third exhibition, the second at Quarr Abbey, between Fishbourne and Binstead, Ryde Isle of Wight, on Thursday March 20th to Tuesday March 25th.

Paintings, sculptures, some cards, some photographs - should be something for anyone interested in collecting art, or just coming along to take a look.

Hours are 10am to 4pm - entrance is free.



Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Neighbour's House Destroyed

An "exciting" night, for all the wrong reasons.  Puckaster Lodge, a substantial house not far from here and clearly visible from Reeth, was burnt to a shell last night - the house was occupied, adjoining smaller properties were tenanted - the fire seems to have wiped out the lot; people are homeless, their possessions gone, but fortunately no one was hurt.

What with landslips thanks to the unprecedented rainfall, and the collapse of the road into Ventnor for much the same reason, this has not been a great year so far for Niton Undercliff.



Sunday, 23 February 2014

A month of NOTHING

Other than bits and pieces, I've painted nothing at all since the last posting; slumped into a period of masterly inactivity.  Why?  I don't know - (isn't that helpful?)

I get these periods though, and I think many of us do; there are some painters possessed of such joie de vivre that they can paint a new picture every other day.  I've never been a bit like that...  Every now and then, despite having sketchbooks a-plenty with ideas for paintings, I just can't think what to paint next; or whether I should even bother to paint at all.

This is highly unprofessional, of course - but if this is the way your mind works, I don't know what you're supposed to do about it.  I suppose I could churn out pot-boilers - the sort of painting that you can do in your sleep, requiring you to learn and do nothing new - but even if I were selling more often than I am at present, I wouldn't want to do that.

Just in case you have the same problem, I can only suggest you don't beat yourself over the head about it: you're not alone, and I don't think it's helpful to try to force yourself to paint - you'd be able to do it if people were banging on your door with commissions, but if they're not, it really doesn't matter if you fail to add another painting to your canon for a month or two.  The more pressure you put on yourself, the more you worry and fret and blame yourself for your laziness, the less you'll feel you want to get the paints out again.

You're allowed to have a rest sometimes.  So just stop, and do something else.

And I HAVE just started a new oil painting - in that I've laid on the Imprimatura in thin Scarlet Lake, and painted in the basic drawing with a turpsy wash of Burnt Umber - it's gone no further than this as I sit here pretending not to notice it, but it will.  And I feel much happier in consequence, because something is actually happening.

Joint exhibition with friends from the Vectis Artisans painting group in Quarr Abbey, near Ryde, from March 19th - will this one be ready in time?  I don't know, but I'm not going to pressure myself into finishing it, even though I've got all this time to do so: can't handle this sort of urgency any more....   Am I getting old?

Of course you are, you senile old fool.

I may post the preliminary drawing in a bit, so you can see the task I'm lumbered myself with.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Oil sketch, Reeth Bay

Did this little one, on a cigar box lid, as a study for a bigger painting - in the event, I like it a lot more than the bigger painting, in which I changed the colour and, as I sometimes do, tightened up a bit too much.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Bob Ross strikes back ....

Well, not Bob himself - sadly no longer with us - but one of his admirers, or at least someone who doesn't share my hostility to the Bob Ross method, has replied to a blog post of mine back in August 2012.  I had more comments on that post - a mix of views - than on any other I've put on here.  I imagine that's simply because people Google Bob's name, and this blog post crops up eventually.

Let's get it right, though.  Bob Ross did what Bob Ross did - and I don't have any trouble with that; I even liked one of his paintings; sadly it was just the one - he seemed less concerned with painting a 'scene' in the one I liked; a study of trees and shrubbery: it's the big landscapes, the repetitive nature of which I find dark, on the one hand, and unconvincing on the other, that put me off.

I've answered the comment, for anyone who'd like to trawl back to August 2010 to take a look, making the point that it's not the man but the school of painting that has flowed from his tv series back in the 80s that's the trouble.

There are Certified Bob Ross Instructors out there who seem oblivious to the actual world around them, and teach an unvarying method, which produces dingy, dark paintings of the sort you might see on the wall in gilt frames in the darker corners of rather old-fashioned hotels.  They're dingy because of the method of their construction - and there is a strictly limited range of subjects, consisting invariably of  mountains, lakes, forests, culled from the master's own works.  It's a sealed, closed world, of same-y subjects.

My commenter/correspondent says that painting is an enjoyable hobby, and by extension I take it he or she thinks that it need have no link to anything real; it can be just what you enjoy doing...  I can understand that, and this is why painting-by-numbers was popular once upon a time (still is, for all I know).  But make it your world, not someone else's, if that's what painting means to you.  The Bob Ross school teaches nothing but a method - 'anyone can paint', they say (not that they're alone in that).  And true, anyone can.  But a) I don't quite grasp why you'd want your paintings to look like someone else's, right down to the way the sea hits a beach, and b) I'm not a hobby painter - I don't do it because it's enjoyable, though probably wouldn't do it if it wasn't: I do it to learn more about painting.  And I'm not going to learn that from the Bob Ross school - unless there are tutors out there who are very much better than the majority and allow their students to do something original rather than copy a pattern.  

I shall take another long holiday from Bob Ross now, and get back to other matters - whenever the light is good enough for me to take a decent photograph of what I've been painting.

In the meantime, have a hedgehog, and a Happy New Year.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Greetings

Ellwood's Favourite Christmas Film is The Cat and the Canary.  The X-rated version.  Director's cut.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Uncle Stanley

Rest in Peace Uncle Stanley - Dr Stanley Crooks, 1925 to 2013.  Solider in the Burma campaign, businessman, academic, and author.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Trying to get into the Festive Spirit

That time of year when, too mean to buy cards, I design my own; and have for the last couple of years designed a friend's as well.  Most have been rat-themed - well what could be nicer or more apt? - but said friend discovered that Christmas cards bearing rats were introducing a slight chill into his relationship with friends, and wanted a reindeer - a "sad reindeer" - this year instead.

Well how the Hell do you draw a sad reindeer?  It's not exactly appropriate - and I've had no end of trouble coming up with anything.  Maybe I've got a design now, but one of those he took a look at and thought "perhaps not" is offered below....   I can see why he thought it just a little unlikely as a Christmas card - but it does reflect my mood rather nicely when asked to draw bloody reindeer....

I did another as well - which was neither particularly sad nor particularly funny - but I took a shine to a photograph on Google, to whom I offer appropriate acknowledgement even though I've changed it a good deal; I don't know - maybe I'll use this one on my own cards; those that are fit to be seen by elderly relatives, anyway....   In my defence, I've never drawn a reindeer before, nor yet any other kind of deer; but it was quite fun.....

I really needed more information than I had in order to draw the critter properly - preferably, a real live reindeer: but there are so few of those in Niton Undercliff.....

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Skype, You're As Slow As Death ...

A friend of mine keeps in touch with me, or tries to, via Skype since it took over from Instant Messenger.  It would be quicker if he sent smoke signals or used carrier pigeons.   I've seen faster state funerals.  Maybe, Skype, if you really can't do it, just give up?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Catch-up time...

There won't be a blog post for November if I don't pull my finger out soon, so - er, Hallo!  I've had a bit of time off while my pain-killers (killers! Ha...!) were adjusted; and I see that my poor blogspot is free of advertising - suggesting that no one is reading it - and that I still have only 16 followers, one of whom has, sadly, passed away.

It's not encouraging, is it?

Still - I know that people DO visit, because they tend to comment elsewhere - eg, on Facebook.  So I shall persist, in spite of indifference: I don't care if you don't care, so yah, boo......  Except I do, of course.

Anyway - while I've not been entirely inactive, it's been hard to take photos of recent paintings because they were on watercolour paper: too dark in the Batcave to get a decent shot, impossible to take a pic outside because the wind would have blown them away or the perishing rain would have destroyed them.  I'll post a couple - BAD photographs, I fear, but then at least no one will be tempted to steal them, as they sometimes do (not you, gentle reader: just the odd rat-fink from China).

Now, how about buying an e-book on Oil Painting Basics for Christmas?  Present it to your budding artists - you've heard this Spiel before, but it's always worth a punt.  Oil Paint Basics, by Robert Phillip Jones, Amazon Kindle Store.  Go on, you know you want to.  You do.  No, you do.  Do.



I did SAY they were bad photos: I'll tickle 'em up a bit in a day or three.  Both watercolours, on Bockingford.  If you're interested in purchase and want a better scan, just email me or comment.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Downs at Niton, Isle of Wight

This is a 10" by 7" watercolour on The Langton NOT  Grand Fin.   Available unmounted and unframed at £40.00 plus post and packing.

And while we're being nakedly commercial, don't forget my E-book on Oil Painting Basics, available for a laughably modest price on Amazon's Kindle Store: Christmas present for the family's budding oil painter, perhaps?


Monday, 28 October 2013

I have been working, honest

Trouble is, it's a bit dark here in the Batcave, and I need to take paintings outside to photograph them; just a bit difficult, that, in this weather.

A small crop is offered below, anyway.

A skew-whiff acrylic on watercolour paper.  Seasonal, I thought. 



Quarter Imperial  watercolour, on Bockingford Rough, of one of our upsy-down hills - the dark shapes beneath the trees might be cows; or bullocks.


Through the Gap - Watercolour of the Niton Landslip: this was once part of the lawn at Reeth Lodge.

Watercolour on Fabriano Rough, around 8" by 6", based on a drawing in my sketchbook, location - I've forgotten!

Watercolour on Fabriano Rough, 8" by 6" approx., Through the Branches to the Sea.  This was painted just before the storms hit, but I anticipated them by bringing a tree down.  

More will follow, when I can actually take a photograph of the bigger ones.