Friday, 25 July 2014

Albert Bridge Beginnings

Weather forecast was good. I had a 4' x 2' canvas prepped. I had the time, so there was nothing to stop me going back to Father Thames and doing some more painting. As I got off the bus (yes it's a bit of a handful travelling with a shoulder bag, back pack, tripod and canvas) the first few spots of un-forecast rain fell from a seemingly raincloud free sky. As I walked down to the river I saw the culprit, a lone grey raincloud passing slowly over. so I took shelter in a bus stop and had some lunch while it passed. I looked for the viewpoint and found what I liked just in front of Battersea Bridge, looking back at Albert Bridge. A nice sweep to the river, some boats beneath the bridge and the varied skyline behind with a glimpse of Chelsea Bridge underneath.
By the time I'd set up the distant sky had a stormy blue tinge to it which looked great against the bridge and skyline. I rapidly mixed up some colour and started to cover the surface whilst studying the mood of the sky. Then blocking in the water. By now the weather was turning from being hot and sunny one moment to threatening to rain the next. As I started to mark buildings on the skyline and area under the bridge the wind started gusting. Initially not too strong - I had the two bags hanging on the tripod to steady it - but eventually I was having to mix colour, Hold the canvas with one hand whilst fighting to apply colour to a moving target! In the end the rain came back and it seemed as though it wasn't going to let-up so I blocked in the area on the right where the buildings are and started packing up.
Although I didn't get nearly as far as I had hoped, the experience of battling with the elements was a good one and looking back on it, the battle of the elements is expressed in the painting already in a way would it never would if I'd tried to paint in the studio. Plein-air painting really projects something of the scene through the artist to the viewer in a way that cannot be replicated any other way.
On the way back through the station I got a couple of un-prompted complements from station and shop staff even though I holding it low and out of the way. So that encourages me.
This is now another part of my learning curve to being an artist - do I continue the painting from memory and reference, if so, how far. Or, do I leave alone and go back another day to finish in situ.
I think a combination of both. I might just 'block in' a few areas to better establish the composition, then go back and and finish it back at the pitch.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Colouring Monoprints

After leaving them to dry for about a week, I have added some colour to my recent monoprints. It's a effect I quite like as in retains the strong black and white on the spot mark making but expresses the scene subtly creating some mood and depth.
And it's give me an idea I need to try and that's going out with four plates inked in different colours and trying to create one four colour print on-the-spot. The registration is never going to be precise but I think that may add to the effect.
Keep watching, I'll give it a go one day!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Battersea Bridge

After painting Chelsea Bridge on Saturday in the company of other artists at the Pintar Rapido London event and having such positive comments, I wanted see how it would be to paint alone in a similar situation. So I packed the same gear along with another, smaller canvas that's been sitting around. Only 30 x 40 cm it's a very different proportion as well as smaller scale.

Once on the Embankment I found a spot just to one side of the Albert Bridge looking towards Battersea Bridge with the sweep in the river and the line of the moored boats creating a nice composition even in this squarer format. As I had chosen to use only palette knives and the faithful tile filler the surface felt a little small but has come out with a nice dreamy, painterly feel which I now really like.

I missed having other artists around and most of the passing public, being a week day, were in a hurry jogging, riding or eating on the hoof so but for a couple of long looks I was left to my own devices.

Working larger felt more 'right' with the knife technique but it also depends what the subject matter is. It might be tempting to add a lot of detail with finer tools that I don't think would necessarily add to the final impression.

Painting by the Thames is a pleasure, it's just the rail travel that spoils the experience!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Pintar Rapido Afterglow

The day of the exhibition and I was off to Warner Brothers' Behind The Scenes of Harry Potter for a Grandson's birthday treat, wondering whether it would sell after all the complimentary comments received on the day. Hoping that it didn't end up being given away to charity (not that that would be such a bad thing) because I couldn't be there to collect it.

I shouldn't have worried, my Twitter feed was awash with a flurry of favourites, retweets and compliments which I have attempted to respond to.

So thank you again to every one to took the trouble to view and comment on my picture.

This certainly represents a turning point of some sort for me as I never envisaged painting as a serious option, not since being a teenager at college and eventually becoming a graphic designer. I've always done some printmaking but never really committed enough time to it, exhibited or sold anything.

So a big thank you to Pintar Rapido London for giving the opportunity to achieve all three in one weekend!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Pintar Rapido - London


Having seen a mention of Pintar Rapido last year somewhere on a Twitter feed I signed up for this year's event, not knowing if I'd really have the courage to go ahead and do it. I haven't done any painting since the one day portrait class and although I occasionally cycle out with my monotype kit and draw landscapes on the North Downs, I've never ventured out painting.

My painting kit was a lash up of what ever I had suitable hanging around this was a large 24 x 48 in canvas which I thought I'd never use and a bunch of Acrylics which I'd decided I hated using years ago. With no sketching easel I found a way using an old camera tripod with the addition of jump-lead clips (to support the bottom edge of the canvas) and cable-ties to lash the canvas stretchers. A cobweb-ridded old artist seat/backpack and I was good to go.

Feeling self-conscious on the train into London soon faded as you realise no-one's really bothered.

Met the first other artist on the 11 bus from Victoria to Old Chelsea Town Hall and it started to feel real. The registration area in the Hall was a-buzz with artists and positive vibes. I nipped up the King Road to Green and Stone art supplies and got some more White Acrylic. Didn't want to run out in situ.

Walked down to the Embankment and was delighted to see so many other participants already down there. But slightly worried I maybe should have started earlier as everyone else seemed to be well under way.

A quick walk up and down before I decided on my view-point and pitch. After a bit of adjustment the tripod and canvas were braced against to slight wind. It was warm-muggy and little overcast. The forecast was for heavy showers but in the end it stayed dry all day - just.

I first did a small sketch to decide the composition for the painting, then sketched it out on the canvas with charcoal. At this point it still feels like starting with a clean sheet and I wanted to block in some paint quickly to get the 'design' of it in place.

I laid in a light blue grey sky area using vertical strokes with a plastic tile filer and it was already getting some mood and texture started. Then I blocked in the water, defining the water-line behind the bridge arches and the silhouettes of the main buildings using soft tones not much darker than the sky. This was starting to give me the mood I was after. The fear now was spoiling the ground work with something too dark or detailed.

Painting was only a part of the pleasure of the event, a large part of it was seeing what other artists were creating, chatting with each other and also getting un-prompted reactions from the public too. Whilst just over half way through several different people made comments to the effect of 'I'd hang it on my wall just as it is', this was encouraging as I didn't want it to be over-worked.

When the nearest boats were added, I added a few touches of pale red for the cranes, bridge and on the boats. Then a touch of white to indicate the cable structure on the bridge. After this I didn't want to go any further, so started packing up ready for handing-in.

In all the buzz of form filling and framing at the handing-in, I forgot to sign it and as I knew I wouldn't be able to attend the exhibition on the Sunday, would just have to live with that...

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Watch the Yucca flower grow.

'Been too long since last put anything up, so here's a quick Inkling sketch I did this evening after watering the plants I couldn't resist sketching the amazing creamy white bell flower cluster on the Yucca. There's a couple of them and the sketch only shows a portion of what's there.

Watch the drawing grow from the Inkling Sketch Manager - unfortunately it always shows a grid background and doesn't output video so I used Snapz-Pro to 'grab' it.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Enter Bainbridge Open 2013 with 3 monoprints

I found out about the Bainbridge Open 2013 printmaking event through Ian Brown at Volcanic Editions and thought it might be too late to make an entry.

Looking back over a batch of some of my recent monoprints I decided to select three and give it a go so here they are.

These three seemed to work nicely together for their quirky abstract/graphic quality. I'd forgotten just how many monoprints I'd been doing and having been concentrating on other things lately it was refreshing to look back at them. There are several hand coloured ones too which work individually or as sets.

All my monoprints are created plein-air, on the spot, from observation. I carry a set of inked glass plates  in the panniers of my bike and ride out to find views. It's a messy process scaping and wiping off the ink and putting th eplates back into the carrying box I made then riding back and printing by hand burnishing on to damp paper. The direct response achieved this way always makes for exciting images that capture the feeling of standing out in the (often cold) country side in wind and drizzle scratching away.

I hope Bainbridge select them but even if they don't I've certainly got enough prints in various categories to stage an exhibition of monoprints. I ought to get them all scanned in and into an online gallery at least!