Follow that painting, day last

I may have killed it. On the other hand, it may have more life in it than before I decided on a background to make it ‘pop’ then began fiddling around with the figurative elements. This was yesterday, a fairly ordinary portrait with not much to recommend it. And here’s today’s version which, to my surprise, looks better on-screen than out there on the easel. There’s more gouache (also some white watercolour because I ran out of white gouache), oil crayon, conte and charcoal, a calligraphy pen for scratching out top layers to reveal lower ones, some paper towel dabbing, … Continue reading Follow that painting, day last

Follow that painting – day something-or-other

I’ve been picking over the detail and adding/removing parts of the background and figure elements to bring out the main features. This is where we were at close of play last time and that wrist was bothering me, along a bit of a Herman Munster forehead. So here we are after the application of some ‘pop’ colour (the orange) and an adjustment of the background with more gesso, half-dried then scrubbed with a grout brush to make texture. I think the wrist is better but now I can see that all that vigorous scratching has dislodged a patch of colour … Continue reading Follow that painting – day something-or-other

Follow the painting – day 3 maybe 4

I’ve done a lot of prowling round this portrait; viewing it close up, sideways, from a distance, on screen, good light, poor light, glasses on, glasses off. Why? To get different impressions of the shapes, tones and shadows, movements and statics so I can get a view from outside my painter’s bubble. I’m happier about the face and glasses now but the wrists and the watch need more attention. In monochrome, that dark patch stands out and it shouldn’t – it looks as though it weighs an absolute ton too! Forehead could do with some lightening up after I pulled … Continue reading Follow the painting – day 3 maybe 4

Follow that painting: Day One

I don’t do portraits and I’ve only ever done one self portrait, handily fudged by the size of the phone in front of my face. But the OCA course is about to demand I take another crack at it so I thought I’d get a head (ha!) start. I mean, all that learning-by-osmosis from Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year has to have had some effect, right? Here we go then: Step one – pick a suitable selfie. Ok, that’s Step two; step one is getting something decent in the first place. Then, to get a feel for the larger … Continue reading Follow that painting: Day One

From fire screen to fantasy citadel with a massive guard frog

Journey of a still life assignment. I never made sketches prior to painting, and every drawing had to be perfect. Come the OCA course and it’s all change. The video above shows some of the stages in the making of the final piece that will go for assessment next week. There could be more; like writing (and why did I not make this connection?), every version is a draft, nothing is ever finished, but at some point you have to let it go. I’ve enjoyed doing this; drifting and shaping gesso on black cartridge, inking and scraping, scratching with oil … Continue reading From fire screen to fantasy citadel with a massive guard frog

From fire screen to fantasy citadel

I’ve unpinned this now but it might not be the end. It’s gone to sit on the studio wall while I let it stew and maybe give it some competition. The new piece will be bigger – four A3 sheets pasted to an A1 sheet instead of two on an A2. That’ll show it. As you can see, there’s some bleaching by the camera (an iPhone 8+) in the close ups when they’re on black so the bottom picture gives a better idea of the whole. The bricks are troubling though – too distractingly flat and prosaic – so they … Continue reading From fire screen to fantasy citadel

Iterations in the life of a piece of art

The brief is to produce a still life or interior of at least A3 size and demonstrating a number of capability criteria. I won’t go into those because, here at least, they’re not very interesting. More so might be the process, from spotting the target to getting to grips with the piece itself. It starts with a photo. I’ve had this fire screen for years but, unlike a lot of familiar household items, I still see it because it shines and burnishes itself in almost any light. There were sketches to get a feel for composition – did I want … Continue reading Iterations in the life of a piece of art

What’s happening on the art front?

This is sketchbook work towards a larger degree piece. I’ve been looking at Gustav Klimt and his mosaic style paintings (and discovering I’d never get that gold leaf look because he used actual gold leaf!). This is a fire screen in my house. It has candle holders fixed in rows to the back so the design is intended to flicker gentle light through to the observer, rather than to act as guard against a roaring fire. They’re both made on a layer of white gesso applied to black sugar paper; one with inks, the other watercolour pencils. Each has been … Continue reading What’s happening on the art front?

Work in progress or am I done here?

This is a piece of course work. An exercise concerning materials, although I’m not completely sure whether that refers to materials in view or in use. I’ve covered both bases – wood, fabric, glass in the frame; oil crayons, charcoal, inks, and a variety of implements to scrape and scratch at the layers for texture, a bit like sgraffito. The base is cartridge paper prepared with a layer of gesso which I’ve textured to reflect the materials in view, and the colours come from layering the various media, blending, scratching, and generally shoving the media about. So, am I done? … Continue reading Work in progress or am I done here?

How tall do you have to be to be an artist?

I’m asking because I’m currently up to the ears in A1 boards, flip charts, sketch paper, and a completely unwieldy portfolio. Art in 2018 seems to be considerably more physical than it was back in the day and I’m seriously compromised by dodgy shoulders, short arms, and inadequate legs. Not that I’m minute, I’m not. I’m of ‘average height for women’ – or I was but looking around I have a feeling that statistic may be out of date. Also, I’ve most likely reached the point where actual shrinkage is a thing. Vehicles have always been problematic with their layout … Continue reading How tall do you have to be to be an artist?