Sunday, 8 December 2013
I find it amazing that some plants can survive all winter looking green and happy. I know we haven't had any arctic weather recently but its still damn chilly outside. Of course this survivor has to be a weed - no pretty flower or tasty veg would have lasted this long. It makes me feel guilty pulling it out the ground...well, almost...
Saturday, 7 December 2013
It was Art on the Street today (if you didn't guess by the title!) and as usual it was an absolutely amazing day.
We started the day by lugging heras fencing and gazebos down the High Street at 7am, then moved onto the exquisite choreography of gazebo erecting and pitch placement. Finally after 6 hours of hard selling our paintings we took everything down and stored it away carefully (ready for the next market in another 5 months). It's always an extremely tiring day but it's worth every minute.
This painting was started rather late in the day, with only an hour to spare before packing up time was due to commence. So as the the sun was going down, and the market was being dismantled around me I conceded and for the first time since starting this project, I had to finish the painting from a photograph. Rather than the normal situation of sitting in a studio and patiently painting away, I was hustled along to the pub with all the other hardcore market helpers for celebratory drinks. So this painting is breaking tradition in two ways; firstly painting from a photo, secondly painting at The Bear pub (with a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of prosecco in the other)! Not a bad way to end a 17 hour day!
Friday, 6 December 2013
The other day I found this really cute, tiny little padlock and key attached to my old, battered rucksack. It's so little that it could almost be pulled open by hand, and the lock is so simple it could be picked with a twig. So all in all it's completely useless but it's just too mini and adorable to be thrown away. So here he is in career plan B, striking a pose as an artists life model. I think you could say he's a natural!
Thursday, 5 December 2013
In this case a progressive radish is one which is progressively getting smaller and smaller. I would like to think though, that somewhere out there is feminist, pro-gay marriage radish who is lobbying for the rights of radishes everywhere. A nice thought.
In terms of the actual painting, the deep pink of the skin was really hard to catch. In the end I had to use a hodgepodge of three related colours - cadmium red, alizarin crimson and permanent rose.
I'm learning so much in this 100 paintings project about depicting specific objects, that I should really be writing it all down. Wouldn't that be great? An art manual with an index which reads - page 7: How to paint a progressive radish, page 21: How to paint a trolls bottom. What an awesome book that would be!
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
These beautiful, glowing egg-like 'things' are in fact just a handful of cod liver oil capsules! Its bizarre how something so mundane (and truly horrible tasting) can look so beautiful under a spotlight. When I was at university I used to take these the night before a big exam in the vain hope it would boost my brain power. All it actually did was give me fishy burps for a couple of hours...
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Today's piece is another shot at painting my friend Charlotte. I said the first time round that she is really tough to catch a likeness of...that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it! Thankfully she is very patient and willing to sit again so hopefully I will eventually be able to produce something I will be proud of.
If anyone else wants to help me on my quest of becoming a great and glorious portrait painter (by letting me borrow your face for couple of hours) then please, please, please get in contact with me. It's really easy. It involves sitting down and keeping still and errr...basically just sitting down and keeping still. Simples!
Monday, 2 December 2013
Tonight at my life drawing session I was all ready to start painting Jenny (who was unknowingly standing in the perfect spot), when I was suddenly and completely distracted by Josies gorgeous red scarf. I just couldn't resist that scrummy, zingy colour - it was lured me in and caught me hook, line and sinker.
So sorry Josie - you have been caught on my canvas twice now. That will teach you for having a good dress sense!
I really need to come up with a line like 'you've been framed' for all my victims who get caught in my 100 paintings madness. The only one I can think of - 'you've been oiled' doesn't quite have the same ring, and to be honest sounds distinctly dodgy. Probably best I stick to painting and leave catchphrases to the experts...
Sunday, 1 December 2013
These little guys are really going for it, marching across the panel, spurred on by that bossy one at the front. Or perhaps that one is mum, cajoling the kids along to get to bed. They were good fun to paint but unexpectedly difficult. Painting at this size (10 x 20cm) is always a careful tightrope walk between keeping the brush marks simple and producing an accurate picture. These tomatoes were so detailed in the seedy bits (no euphemisms intended!) that it was difficult to resist using a one-hair brush to put in every single little detail!
To pull the whole painting together I experimented with including the three basic primary colours - red of the tomatoes, blue in the top right background and yellow in the bottom left. I'm pretty happy with the result and I bet you will be seeing a few more like this!
Saturday, 30 November 2013
This is another piece of random vegetation which I picked up on my walk. I have no idea what it is but I just couldn't keep my eyes off it when I saw it. Look at those clashing colours! If sweets grew on trees I bet this is exactly what they would look like!
Friday, 29 November 2013
I picked up this cute little smidgen of inspiration on a walk around Maidenhead Thicket. In fact I filled my pockets to the brim with all sorts of interesting bits of twigs, leaves and berries to paint another day.
Knowing me though, I will forget they are there and end up pulling out a load of mashed up vegetation out my pockets at the pub...
This thistle caught my eye because it desperately hanging on to its last little bits of colour. The flower has just a hint of purple and even the leaves are more grey than green. For this alone, it deserves its own little painting.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
May I introduce to you my gorgeous friend Charlotte who fabulously agreed to sit for a portrait.
I have no idea why, but some people are really quite tough to paint and others are easy peasy. In fact when you find someone easy, the portrait seems to almost paint itself! Charlotte however falls into the first category of being really difficult to capture. I reworked it so many times that for most of the session the painting resembled a sort of scrambled pink blob - like a cross between old chewing gum and lumpy Angel Delight.
It finally came together in the last half an hour, but I still haven't captured that spark which makes Charlotte who she is. It sort of seems the wrong way round but I love painting people who are difficult to catch. It's a challenge and a good reason to persuade Charlotte to sit again....and who wants a painting which paints itself anyway?!
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Today is a wonderful, glorious day because it's my dads birthday (if you are reading this, Happy Birthday Papa!).
I wanted to paint a little gift to mark the occasion, but as I don't have a perfectly wrapped little cube I had to think outside the box (oooh what a terrible pun!).
My strange, rambling thought process went something like this...ok, I don't have a pretty little gift, so what else could symbolise a present?, as I looked at my cat sat patiently waiting to be fed.
Aha! I thought, cats bring in presents of small dead furry things. But I don't have a small, dead creature, I had to remind myself, ...and do I really want to paint a picture of a half chewed mouse to celebrate my dads birthday?.
Now this is when my brain starts to really get going, I will paint a toy mouse to represent the gross little gifts that my darling cats so thoughtfully bring me every week and therefore symbolise a birthday present. Voila! The obvious connection between toy mouse and birthday present was born.
It also saves me the effort of having to catch and chew on a mouse.
So dear Dad, enjoy the picture and have a wonderful birthday!
NOTE: No mice were harmed in the production of this artwork.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
This is the first proper portrait I have painted in absolutely ages. I used to be really disciplined and paint one every single week but since starting the 100 paintings project it got relegated down to the bottom of my to-do list (along with everything else in my life except eating and sleeping!).
The lovely lady in the painting is Maxine who always surprises me by having different coloured hair every time I see her. This week we were arguing whether it was blue or purple. I reckoned purple, she reckoned blue. Most of my argument was based on the fact that I had already made it purple in my painting but shhhh...we won't tell her that!
Monday, 25 November 2013
The victim I pounced upon to paint this week was Dominic (who actually still doesn't know that I painted him. If you are reading this Dom, I'm sorry!). The painting was going pretty well until the last pose when I was highly distracted by another inspiring model... The caretaker of the hall (where the life drawing session are held) owns a gorgeous little scotty dog who came and sat with us for the last 40 minutes. Well that was that - I was immediately smitten. This painting was forgotten and I spent the rest of the evening furiously trying to capture the small, furry moving target. Moral of the story? Don't invite scotty dogs to painting session? I don't think that's a moral...which is a good thing as I don't think I could stick to it anyway.
Sunday, 24 November 2013
I love these little blue plastic pillows (also known as liquitabs!). They always look like they are just about to burst. They were really tricky to paint though as they had so many reflections, see-through bits, shadows and folds. I reckon these ones look like a trio of little blue, chubby acrobats trying to do a pyramid. Aww bless! Looks like it might take a while...
Saturday, 23 November 2013
It's not just me who sometimes endures hardships for my art. Poor long-suffering Jon (my partner) will find out later this week that I have opened three packets of pasta to make this painting. For now though my secret is safe as they are sellotaped up good and tight to make them look like new (unless of course Jon reads this blog entry in which case...sorry Jon!). I thought the pasta may turn out to be rather boring as the colour is all a bit samey samey but it was actually really fun. Interesting shapes, a fun composition and I had a good play with the background by introducing a few more colours than usual (a little yellow at the top and more blue at the bottom). So maybe with all that in mind, this is less of a march and more of a carnival parade!
Friday, 22 November 2013
If you hadn't guessed by the title of this painting I luuuurve Underberg (or maybe I should say that I uber-love Underberg?!). For those who haven't yet been introduced to this little joy in brown paper, it's a herby, alcoholic digestif from Germany. Think Jagermeister, but stronger, herbier and nicer. Great for those moments when you ate one too many Yorkshire puds or went a wee bit over the top with the roast tatties. Also great for starring in small still lifes painted by over-eating alcoholic artists.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
The star of the show today, the big hairy guy with the hat on, was very kindly lent to me by my friend (thanks Kathy!). He's being upstaged though by that pesky little troll. What an attention seeker!
I couldn't resist painting that blue-haired critter again, this time from behind. Just look at that cute little bum. I have a feeling he (and his lovely bottom) will be making a reappearance in another painting at some point...
The big guy was great fun to paint with all that scraggly fur flying in all directions. Apparently he doesn't have a name yet though...tsk tsk Kathy! ;) . The best I could come up with was the Big Friendly Giant (unashamedly stolen from Roald Dahl's book, and which doesn't make a lot of sense unless he is sat next to something really tiny). I'm sure the right name is out there for him. Any suggestions?!
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
I've been meaning to do a painting like this for a while but I had forgotten all about it until I was eating an apple this morning, and I was hit by fruity inspiration. Luckily I had another uneaten granny smith that I could use to paint (which I also had to eat, as the first core had gone completely yellow by then). Two apples a day, keeps the artist in play!
I thought that painting a green apple would be really easy but I was completely wrong. It may have been down to the intense green or maybe it was the fact that I was feeling overconfident so I didn't concentrate as hard. Whatever it was, by the end of the painting, I was concentrating my heart out - wiping down the same painting a few times seems to have that magical effect.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
I'm half way through my 100 paintings project!! Hooray! I had been planning to do a champagne cork or something just as decadent (and possibly alcohol related) to celebrate the occasion but I completely forgot when I found this little fella - Mr Platypus. I realised in a stroke of genius (enjoy it - doesn't happen too often) that he is the same colour as the background in his friends painting (of Mr Whale), and that if I painted him with a blueish background they would make a perfect pair of paintings. I was so excited that I just had to paint it today!
If you don't understand my long and rambling explanation here they are in all their glory...
Now how unbelievably cute is that?! Two friends looking across at each other through the confines of their own paintings. Now that's good friends!