While it’s been cold and snowy outside here in London and elsewhere I have been working on a two week figure pose. It has been a while since I did figure in my weekly classes and I have been feeling a little rusty. Yet again I get bogged down in detail which seems to be what I regard as my biggest problem. I found it very hard to let go in this charcoal drawing. It was hard to decide what was important to say and what not. Sometimes it feels like a big jump into a black hole. To lose some of the work that you have put in, feels wrong and hard but once you try and move things about you realise that you have to have some kind of faith in yourself and your decisions about what you want to say. To progress my work, I need to make more decisions on what I want to say and have the conviction to lose what is not important.
I really need to apply this to my paintings. There is so much to learn.
My cats decided to send a quick message out to all of you this week. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone and thanks for all your support. We love you guys.
Clementines – linen on board 10″x6″ £60 unframed
It’s been a while since I posted a blog I realise. Life has been very busy with styling, people staying, my flatmate leaving and working towards an exhibition I have at the end of November. I’m still managing to paint most days which is good and here is an example of one of my paintings from the last week or so.
The studio has a very dark grey background. It’s painted that way so that you can easily see the intensity of colours and the warmth and coolness of what you are painting. After a while though it can get very boring to paint. For this subject matter it was perfect. The intense orange and warmth was very clear to see. The plate that they sat on was a little more complicated as it was a real mixture of warm and cold. Getting these right is really essential for creating the three dimensional feel of it. From this bowl you can see that the clementines were lit with a warm light from the left, but that there was a cool light (daylight) creeping in from the left. This is where the coolness of the grey background really helps you to distinguish this .
I’m very pleased to say that many of my pieces of work will be in Homes Garden (UK) January 2018 issue which will be out on the 30th November so please do keep an eye out for them leaning up in one the houses.
All my paintings are for sale. You can find them at AlicesArtHouse on Esty.com
This was another chance to do a charcoal portrait. I did this one at school where I had the opportunity to have a model sit for me for 3 hours. Sadly I didn’t have 3 hours as I was late! I gave myself the challenge of drawing from a donkey. This is a lower bench that you can sit on so that when drawing you can get very close up from underneath the model. This makes it quite a bit harder as the angle is very difficult. The usual way of mapping out a face completely changes here. The nose and eyes and mouth are much closer together and all the shapes change. Personally I really prefer portraits from this angle – there is something rather grand about the pose. It can be really hard to get this right. I wish I had another couple of hours on it. I love the mood of charcoal portraits.
This week we had a chance to go to another brilliant exhibition in London. This was at the Wellcome Collection in Euston. The exhibition was really lovely and something that Kea and myself thoroughly enjoyed. It was called ‘A Museum of Modern Nature’. The exhibition was all about modern nature and what it means in todays life and times. Londoners were asked to bring in things from nature that meant something to them. There were exhibits from all ages and all aspects of life. There were some really beautiful objects and some really bizarre things too.
One of the items that a graphic designer brought in was a load of hot wheel cars. He said how he always had this urge to collect them and put them into a pattern. He couldn’t quite understand why he was doing it and what it reminded him of. He then realised it reminded him of when he was young when he used to collect beetles and put them into beautiful colourful patterns.
Kea loved the idea of the patterns that could be made out of the cars and or beetles. He hadn’t really thought of the idea of putting his cars into patterns or even thinking of them in terms of colour. This inspired him to look at his cars differently. He came home and immediately started playing around with cars and patterns. This is what he created.
Cars are not just for racing and life is full of colour wherever you look.
Well its back to school now. I go to art school two mornings a week. It’s good to go to school so that someone can keep an eye on what you are doing ;). Everyone needs a little guidance now and then and someone to give you a good critique and get you back to basics if you are straying in the wrong direction.
This week my teacher wanted me to get back to basics again and make sure I knew what was dark and light, making sure I wasn’t being wowed by the colours and getting in a muddle about what was the darkest object and the lightest. I was only allowed to use charcoal and I brought in with me a pear, apple and a plum.
Charcoal pear, apple and plum. I was quite pleased with my charcoal handling which can often be a nightmare!
You can easily get in a muddle when you paint with colour because colours can be so vivid and saturated that you can often be tricked into thinking they are light. One of the ways to make sure you have the light and dark correct is by using your phone. Take a picture of the objects in black and white and you will soon realise that a lot of these colours that we see as bright colours we automatically think are light but actually they can be quite dark. A great example of this is to take a photo of a lemon and an orange.
The other lesson on Wednesday was to decide on edges. Which ones should be blurred and which should be sharp. Our eyes think we see everything very sharply but actually there is a lot our eyes make up. As I’ve said before this is something that Singer Sargent does really well. I love soft edges.
This week has been a little difficult as Kea has been really unwell with a stomach bug. He has been off school all week poor thing feeling rotten. Luckily in-between looking after him I have had a chance to carrying on painting while he has watched films or slept.
I’ve been concentrating on a portrait I said I would do for someone. She is called Ruby. I had to do this portrait from a photo as I don’t actually know Ruby. I was given a selection of photos to do it from and the one I chose was this one.
I double checked with her mother if there were any of the photos she didn’t like so much or one that she preferred and she assured me that she liked all of them. I chose this particular pose because I felt out of all the photos this was where she looked the most natural. I got on with the job.
I finished most of it and decided to send a photo of what I had done so far to Ruby’s mother and sadly I got a response asking if I could paint the arm out. Sadly it isn’t quite as easy as ‘paint the arm out’ as this would totally change the lighting and shadows etc and it would mean making up half of her face which is never easy to do. I can understand what she means as I know she would like a clean portrait of her daughter, but then on the other hand I rather like the arm, giving it a much more relaxed feel. It is more unusual to have a portrait like this but I think it gives it something different, a contemporary felt . What do you think about it?
I can’t paint out the arm and will give her the painting tonight. I hear that Ruby likes it with the arm, I just hope her mother won’t be too disappointed.