It’s that Peony time of Year

This time of year peonies are in abundance.  They are one of my favourite flowers and the season for them is very short.  They are so fluffy, full and smell amazing.  Their usual colour is a lovely light creamy pink but this year I was given some wonderfully dark deep pink ones for my birthday which I couldn’t help but try and paint.

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Peonies are so very beautiful but also so very hard to paint.  Unlike most flowers that are quite obedient and don’t move much these can’t help but move all the time.  Once they start to open they move so quickly in front of your eyes.  If you start painting one when it is slightly open, by the time 4 hours is up they completely blown out and are a different shape and colour from when you started.  You have to work so very quickly.

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I found the dark pink peonies harder than the light pink peonies as the day I painted them was particularly hot which didn’t help matters.  It helps if you keep your painting style loose and fluffy like the flowers themselves.

I’m pleased to say that within a day of putting the light pink peonies on my Etsy page I sold them to someone in Las Vegas!  I’m really chuffed.  Keep checking out my Etsy page (AlicesArtHouse) for more additions each week!

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The Importance of Framing

 

Never underestimate the importance of what framing can do for a painting.  I made a big mistake by getting a painting framed in the wrong frame and was so very disappointed with the result.  This was partly my fault and the framers fault as we had both agreed to a frame but sadly the framer couldn’t get it and decided to put it in another frame.

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Mr Cockerel in the original frame done by the framer.

 He looks very small and insignificant in this frame – 30cm x 30cm oil on linen on board available at AlicesArtHouse on Etsy.com

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Second frame I chose. Framed this way he looks far bigger and more important.

Framing can be very expensive which is always a little worrying when buying a painting, but I’ve come to realise that it can be worth the price.  Framers can be great at picking various colours and styles for you to help you make the most of your paintings. Find a good framer and stick with them.  I won’t be going back to my original framer.

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Mrs Chicken – 30cm x 30cm oil on linen board – £100 available at AlicesArtHouse www.etsy.com

One Man and his Dog

Stewart portrait blog

I was asked to do a portrait of a good friend of mine, a portrait if him and his dog.  I was very flattered that his partner asked me on the sly to paint this picture of him for his birthday/Christmas.  Obviously as this was on the sly I painted it from a photograph.  I was a little worried by the photo as it was a quick snap that someone took on their phone and so the detail and focus wasn’t as good as I would have liked.  I had a go and kept with the same dulled down colour palette from the photo which I think worked.  I also tried to keep the background in a slight blur so that you would concentrate on the portrait which I think worked too.

It’s always a little nerve racking doing a portrait of a friend as it means so much more to you as an artist to get it right,  but at the same time at least you really know them so you can tell when you’ve got it right.

It was also the first time I’ve painted a dog, and again this dog means the world to my friend so again this has to be right – scary!

I tried hard. I hope they liked it!

Breakfast Disaster

boiled egg blog

Boiled Egg and Soldiers – oil on canvas 25cm x 30cm available at alicesarthouse@etsy.com

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.

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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!

Bad cat.

Pop up Exhibition

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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.

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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.

 

Clementines

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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

Ruby

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.

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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.