While spring is in the air and finally the trees are blossoming and the daffodils are everywhere, my main thoughts with styling are in autumn. It can be quite hard to think 6 months in advance but in styling that is what is needed. Just before Easter I was asked to style a house outside Hungerford for an autumn edition of the magazine. It was time to think of an autumnal table.
This year I decided to go with autumnal fruits. Crisp juicy apples was the line I was going with. I bought a bag of deliciously red juicy apples which I chose to place along the centre of the table along with some cape gooseberries and some cut olive branches in a relaxed fashion. These then looked great with red candles, red and orange roses and tea lights. This is a very cheap way to decorate a table for a dinner party just before the nights start really drawing in.
Bearsie 8×8 inches oil on linen on board
I have been really inspired these last couple of weeks by an artist called Jennifer Gennari from New York. She is an amazing painter and I particularly like the paintings she has done of animals. She paints cats, dogs, chickens beautifully and so these last couple of weeks I’ve tried to have a go myself. I really love the way she is so careful of brushstrokes which really add to the smoothness and texture of the different animals. She does have one advantage though as she paints from some extremely good, well taken photos which makes a difference.
Here is my first attempt at painting my cat Bearsie. I know it looks like he has a small nose but I promise that he does in real life – honest! I was quite pleased with him I think!
Winston 10xb inches – oil on canvas
A friend and neighbour has the most ridiculously characterful dog called Winston and so thought I would try and paint him too. She had taken a rather fun silly photo of him. I have a long way to go if I want to end up painting like Jennifer but its a start.
Commissions are welcome of any kind of pet – get in touch!
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.
It’s pretty cold out there, but there are definite signs of Spring which is really exciting. At last there is the light at the end of the tunnel of Winter and soon things will warm up. I’ve become so excited that I have been painting flowers non stop all week!
I find flowers very difficult to paint most of the time. Its so very hard as there is so much detail. The difficulty is to know where and when to simplify. It’s often best to squint your eyes to see what needs to be in detail and what not. Our eyes can find detail in so much of what we see yet most of us prefer paintings which aren’t always in focus throughout. It’s similar to when and where to lose edges and where and when to accentuate them.
‘Snowdrops’ – oil on board 10″x8″ – £65 from Alicesarthouse shop at Etsy
I tried an impressionist quick way with the snowdrops which has a blurry style which I probably like the most. For the other flowers I tried to concentrate on only parts of the flowers which I think works on the the large bunch of flowers rather than the smaller flowers. For the larger bunch of flowers I tried to use a larger brush throughout. It’s nice to try different things/styles/brushes etc.
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.
Boiled Egg and Soldiers – oil on canvas 25cm x 30cm available at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well this week I geared myself up to doing a 3 hour still life painting using my new set up in my new studio. I was rather inspired by a still life that I did a few weeks ago of a raw egg on a plate so I decided to do a set up of something similar. I took the challenge of painting an egg, butter and some toast.
As I started, life felt great. The music was playing and the set up looked good. Mr T was nestled sweetly on the bed. It couldn’t have been better. After half an hour or so I needed to get something from downstairs very quickly.
As I opened the drawer downstairs in the kitchen I heard the most almighty crash upstairs. I ran upstairs to the studio to see what the matter was. I found Mr T scarpering in a panic. It was quite obvious that he had attempted to steal the butter and in doing so pulled all the still life onto the floor!
Over the last couple of weeks I have had a couple of exhibitions which I have been rather worried about. It feels like a big step to go out there to sell your work when you are so unsure of it in the first place. It’s hard as an artist I think to really believe in your work. It’s hard to see the good things. Instead we see all the mistakes and where we could improve.
I have been totally shocked and astounded by the way my work has been received over the last couple of weeks. I have had so much positive feed back and people have been so kind. It’s been quite a learning curve. Somehow its still so hard to believe that people like your work and want to buy it. It’s an amazing boost and helps me to realise that despite all the mistakes I see, someone else likes and enjoys them. Some of these paintings have been around my house for quite a while – I’m so excited and pleased that they have been sold, but I will also miss them.
Thank you very much for your support.