Monday, January 30, 2017

Painting an 'afterthought'

Blue Room Afterthought, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm,

Although I intended to take down the blue room today, I just had to get one last long look at it before  I did.  In front of the table I had made (out of piled up boxes, a board and some fabric) is a chair.  On the chair is some more fabric, draped, and I sat on the chair at the start of last week to be photographed.  The artist becomes her still life. The chair, the cloth and the memory of the photography session hanging around the room between the subject and my easel.  What if I took a few steps back?  What if I shamelessly let everyone see that it was something I had set up in my studio, not something I happened upon?

Today after drawing group I intended to do a quick painting on a small canvas.  I have said over and over that I want to paint more and one way I thought that might happen was if I did more quick studies, alla prima painting in my colourist way. The 'blue room' beckoned.  I think, because I'd explored it in detail, over time, I was happy to use shorthand and the shapes and a way of decribing their textures guided me in this afterthought..

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I think it's just about finished - Blue Poppies on Table

Blue Poppy on Table 
Fully realising that the paint is wet, I'm about to take down my studio set up and move on to something new to think about in paint. So this is the final day, for now, on this painting. I have loved working in blue. I have loved walking into my studio and seeing blue in its many shades. A cliche, but it really is so difficult to know when to stop. Inventing the blue flowers adds a level of uncertainty that is different from painting entirely from life... Five minutes ago I nearly wiped out the card on the right - a vintage  Christmas card sent home by a soldier named John. That's what I'll think about as I clean the house and walk the fields. Should it stay or should it go?

Below are the earlier versions.  I wouldn't say the reproduction colour is perfect in any of them.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A new blog to document a fused plastic experiment

Bananas, gloves, tortillas and lemons - fused plastic collage 23cm x 23cm

The other day my friend the artist Caroline Fish asked me to exhibit some fused plastic collages alongside her gorgeous ceramics, Jezz Meredith's prints and Jacqueline Dawson's jewellery at Craft Co in Southwold, in May. This invite came as I was thinking about which direction to go next with my fused plastic. I had an idea and this is the first piece that I've made with it in mind.  

I thought it would be interesting to document the idea, so I have created a new blog about the process.You can follow the blog here to keep up to date on how the experiment is progressing!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Blue Poppies, day two

Blue Poppies - day two, oil on canvas,  40 x 54 cm.
Today before I got back to work I looked and consulted some of my favourite painters: Bonnard, Manet, Matisse and then I looked at Philip Sutton.  Day two is always a tough day for me.  On day two, I have committed an idea and it's either going to get better or go flat. Perhaps it is 'day twos' that make me reach for my pastels or make a monotype instead. Sustaining a way of painting with sleeps in between is plain hard. I think some people are different but I never know what's going to happen.  The brushes, the colours, the ideas seem to exist in a parallel universe and I am certainly not their master. 

Now I need to scrape down the piece of glass.  I will probably paint some paper and then I'll wash my brushes for day three, or not.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Another angle another medium

It's a mistake to use a horizontal piece of paper when your image is vertical.  When I shifted to a larger format, I did not think about the orientation.  It just goes to show how away from things I have been… so, my second drawing, which was intended to be further away from my subject just got wider.  I mostly used the same pieces of pastel, so the first and second drawings are similar (look at the previous post).  I wanted to darken the space behind the opaline vase, so did get a few other blues out.

Christmas Rose in January II, pastel on paper, 26 x 18 cm
Today I got my oils out, chose a vertical canvas and stepped back. My idea was all about the foliage, to begin with but I inadvertently had some lavender shapes in the top third and I wondered about a few blue mecanopsis.  This is only the first day of painting, so I expect it will evolve further. I had shenanigans with my R & F paint sticks getting stuck but otherwise, it felt good to paint.
Blue Poppy and Christmas Rose, oil on canvas, 40 x 54 cm

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ripples of Inspiration

I'm reading Matisse Diebenkorn, published by the Baltimore Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  There is an exhibition looking at the influence of Matisse on Diebenkorn and this is the book from that exhibition. I wish I could see the paintings in life, but as second best, I bought it for myself for my birthday.  

A few days ago I picked a bouquet of leaves to put in my new Opaline vase that I bought months ago at the Boule-In (Bildeston), and put in the 'Christmas closet'.  (Vases are one of my weaknesses, I can't say no to a beautiful vase…) The bouquet dried out in the kitchen but as it sat there I thought about what you do with just green, Today when everyone went out to Bury, I took the vase, picked some new leaves chose three different pieces of patterned blue fabric, and placed, removed, and moved objects that I found in the studio around on my set up: two boxes stacked on a chair with a board on top. I decided I needed a hellibore for height, for colour and for shape to finish off the composition. I looked at John Mcallister and thought about Matisse and Diebenkorn and waited to see what would happen on my 16 x 16 cm piece of paper that I had painted with some pale blue pastel ground I mixed.

I saw this a a preliminary drawing for something a bit bigger.  The next drawing is going to be rectangular and I will include more of the space, as that is what my three mentors would do.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Processing and experimenting

A visit to the botanics Glasgow 23 x 23 cm
gouache, watercolour and methyl cellulose on paper with fused plastic frame

Over the holdiays I had absolutely no time to work. I did look, mess around on my new iPad and explore mount cutting with my new tool. I also made more re-fused plastic badges. On one of the early mounts, I ripped the paper on the good side of the mount and that led to me to thinking about flipping the approach to framing that I had been exploring with my fused plastic.  In recent fused plastic the inside image was stitched fused plastic while the frame was painted.  I wondered whether the reverse would be equally interesting. 

One of the highlights of our trip to Glasgow was a visit to the Botanic Garden. 

As you might imagine, I am a big fan of the work of John McAllister  His colour, the way he uses frames and his use of pattern delight me! 

So all of that together was how I began to get back to work again, a little over the weekend and more today. I can't decide if it works or not.