It has been such beautiful weather here in the UK for the last week or two. My mother really kindly invited me for a couple of days away in Suffolk where we could get on with some painting. I haven’t really been able to use my new art box much yet as its been a busy summer with cousins. With my son away we had plenty of time to paint. It was the first time I had ever painted plein air so the whole experience was pretty scary to begin with. There was a lovely graveyard nearby which we painted first. The light was lovely on the gravestones creating lovely shadows.
The second day was spent painting a typical view of the fields in Suffolk with wonderful grass in the foreground, stubble fields with bales and lovely trees and hedges. I decided to use really small canvasses as I really like small paintings at the moment. They are easy to place on bookshelves and great to put together as a montage on a wall. I had never painted this small before and wanted to give it a go. I was quite pleased with the result in the end. I’m feeling thoroughly inspired now by the countryside and every time I get in the car I’m finding great locations. If only I had more time. The art box was a brilliant buy too. I’m thrilled with it.
I have been sharing a room with my son for many years. There just didn’t seem to be much space. Thanks to a great bunk bed I have managed to move him out and so now have my own room – hooray! Time to re-decorate….
Kea wouldn’t let me get rid of his megaladon (shark) which he painting above the radiator so I had to find something that would work with it. I really liked the idea of wallpaper for something a little different. Once I had researched it all I was amazed at how expensive it was. I really wanted a fresh new look to my room which was also calming. I really liked the idea of mountains or a woodland scene and came to realise that I could easily paint one on my wall which would cost me next to nothing. People can be so scared of painting murals on walls but actually they are fun and can be easy to do as well as effective. I just used left over paint that I used in other rooms ages ago and either added some more white or some more black. I think the effect really works and I am chuffed with my new room which feels so calm. I have a way to go with the rest of it now but it feels like I am breathing in much fresher air.
My Backyard – oil on canvas board – 10’x12′ – £80
This week I have mainly been at home as poor Kea has been ill with tonsillitis. He has been feeling dreadful but is now on the mend. This has meant that I haven’t been out of the house.
I love the view from the back of my house from up in the loft and so I decided to have a go at painting it. Its the first time I’ve tried painting houses but I rather like the result. Its a little naive but I think it has some charm. I love the backs of the houses in London and all the different fun gardens you can look into. Luckily unlike most other houses in London my neighbours are quite far away. I love the colour of the bricks and the way the houses are higgledy piggledy. Its very easy to imagine Mary Poppins flying in for a cup of tea.
For the last couple of weeks I have been painting a portrait of this women in blue. I thought that it might be a fun thing to show how the process works. It’s often fun to take photos along the way so you can see the all the mistakes you have made and the progression – hopefully!
It’s important to put a wash on your canvas/board first to knock the white away as it can be distracting. Then take your time to draw your portrait in a dark colour making sure you double check your proportions. Then find the shadow shapes and draw them and fill them in thinly. To get the likeness of someone concentrate on the 5 essential darks which are under the eyebrows, eyes, under the nose, top lip and under the bottom lip. Now add skin tone. Start painting in the colour that features the most which would be the middle tone. At this point avoid the shadow shapes as you have already blocked those in. As you go along its alway good to tweak the lines and shapes making sure that all the way along the process you are getting proportions right. Start to add in the highlights and make sure you leave all the details to the last sitting.
Mr T curled up and asleep in his favourite spot – oil on canvas
I thought it might be a good idea to introduce you to one of my cats this week. Mr T is a big part of this family and hasn’t really been himself. He went to get some teeth out not long after a nasty cut down his tongue. Life feels good and normal when he is sitting on the sofa in his place, biting my bottom to wake me up in the morning, but this week he hasn’t been there which was worrying. After an operation earlier this week he has been very wobbly and has been hallucinating. Goodness knows what he has been seeing but there have definitely been times when I thought he was laughing his head off!
I’m pleased to say though that things are now back to normal and he is now back again sitting in his favourite spot and he bit my bottom to get me up this morning. Phew!