Avebury is a local ancient stone circle , it has a number of burial mounds and clumps of trees scattered all around it, four beach trees stand in one place, and people leave ribbons and things. I have stopped with my sketch book many times enjoying the shelter of these trees, so I thought I would have a go at painting them. Trees are not as simple as you think to paint , I have a new respect for artist that have mastered the tree.
After spending so much time last year drawing, this year I am hoping to paint more, with plenty of opportunities in the current situation I have started some basic paintings.
I hope to improve my approach and use of colour, I am using canvas sheets from a pad and water based oils.
Stay safe and paint more.
When I started out trying to paint, I was convinced someone could instruct me, I spent lots of time trawling through the internet and looking at books.
This term at my art class I was set a project to paint a self portrait from a set of instructions, with materials all mapped out, a step by step guide, just what i had been looking for.
Not sure it was that successful just confirming what I now know, painting by numbers is a good way to learn but you need to find your own way.
I like to try new things, here I am using a canvas sheet, it comes in a pad, there are plenty of different makers and sizes, the one I have used is from Loxley and is 18″ x 14 ” in size.
The surface is a little smoother than regular canvas but still nice to paint on., with drying time much the same.
Well worth a go if you fancy trying a new surface.
The picture is titled Siamese it s part of my circus project and a nod to a circus act known as the Siamese twins.
My last painting of my art class friend, was just a lead in to this painting.
I planned to make two pictures and to have a go at a large (large for me) canvas. This picture is 18 x 24.
I wanted to make this about the subject, so I have used Heathers paintings for the background and included her painting shirt and some of her own hand crafted jewellery
After not liking the acrylic ground used on my last picture I had already added it to this canvas so had to go with it, I used charcoal instead of the acrylic pen for my sketch.
I am living with it for a while as I think it is finished but I might just work the shadow side of the face some more, does it need to be darker? I cannot decide.
Took myself down to London to see the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery and the Summer exhibition at the Royal Academy, more of that in another post.
I always find this exhibition an inspiration and a illustration of just how much there is to learn. I don’t think I will ever get there but you need to look at the work of others to improve, I took time to study hair and the boundaries between subjects and background. I am not sure I am any wiser.
Some tremendous hyperrealism paintings, you have to wonder at the skillset to produce this work, I always wonder if I am blown away by the technique or the subject.
I think everyone has their own winner and the picture that engaged me the most by its presence in the room and the clever use of a highlight on her ring constantly pulling your eye from her face was Gaela Erwins Portrait of Neema Tambo.
My own short list below-
Took me a while to ask my friend from my art class if she would be my subject, I was pleased I did as she was more than helpful, I shared my ideas with her and we took some pictures for me to work from.
My approach is to start with some sketches and then moved on to painting, this works better than diving straight on in with the paint and gives you time to understand the subject.
I found using acrylic to ground your canvas is quick but I found the oil paint went on better when the oil under painting had been done, I probably won’t start with acrylic next time. also tried a black acrylic paint pen for my drawing, it was good that it didn’t vanish but it took some painting out.
I struggled to paint her hair, it’s one thing I really don’t have a good approach to, this time after a couple of goes I tried under painting the shapes and tones, when this was dry I used a rigger brush to add detail, this seams to have worked out ok, something to explore more.
Tried reusing one of my old canvas boards, by painting on a couple of layers of gesso, it covered the original ok and seemed to give a ok surface, but painting on it was like painting on gritty sandpaper, so not the way to go for future recycling.
Thanks to Iain McKell for his reference picture of modern Gypsies.