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.
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!
The twins playing in the park – oil on canvas.
It has warmed up here and it feels like the summer has truly arrived. We have been spending huge amounts of time outside after school. The parks near where I live are large open spaces with a few trees. We have been playing amongst these trees which reminded me of this portrait I did earlier this year. These girls are great and I love the gappy teeth look 😉
This picture is not for sale as it was a commission. If you are interested in a commission please do get in touch. Thanks.