Sunday, 29 January 2017

Looking for directions

Seems I'm not the world's greatest blogger or productive artist but the more I worry about what I'm not doing, the more I procrastinate, so need to draw a line and move on.

I've been getting some quick sketches in and slowly progressing some 'end-grain constructions' as well as getting to grips with my web site which I'm not best pleased with the look and content yet but better that than nothing. And as it progresses I'm getting a better idea of what I do want.

At the moment the daylight hours are short and the workshop is freezing which doesn't help progress!

Some project directions which I'm thinking about are:

Doing more marine theme acrylics with palette knife to develop as a more complete body of work and become more confident through experience.

Try more sketching techniques. I love the look of architectural and urban sketchers. Particularly pen and wash. I never seem to have enough time to wait for layers to dry when sketching. So do I need to train for speed or just find more time?

Get back to more relief printmaking, lino and woodcuts. Again time and expense of materials hold me back. On a practical level I'd like to learn how to sharpen tools properly.

Work on my collection of end-grain constructions. I now have a fairly large collection of plank ends with painted colours and stencils etc. which can be collaged together to make interesting visual and textural constructions.

Back in last September I bought some cheap oil paints with the intention starting to getting back to using oils and learning how to control the colours. There a several pleinair artists out there whose work I admire that work in oils quickly and achieve wonderful results particularly the interplay of shadow and lit colours which I'd love to master. - The oils are still unopened!

Get back to experimenting with monoprints too. It's a process I used to use quite a lot, applying ink to glass and drawing/scraping directly in to it before printing a one off. Nice for landscape and may be urban - I'll have to give it a go.

Another painting idea I thought of before winter set in was 'gutter still lives'. When cycling around the lanes you can't help but notice the litter and detritus on the verges. Every object has a story and a life of it's own usually over looked but making interesting visual compositions in their decayed condition. A set of enlarged still life paintings would make an interesting gallery (I think).

I'd also like to return to creating digital art/illustration as I love the Illustrator/Photoshop techniques and it's a medium which has more scope for sales than one off paintings.

As ever, the way forward is to stop thinking and writing and just get on with it!!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Pintar Rapido 2016

Where does the time go! Third year running and I'm starting to feel like an old hand at this but it I never feel more confident. If anything, after selling the last 2 year's paintings, I was more apprehensive.

I arrived early - for the first time - and chatted to some other waiting artists (two from Holland) over coffee before the doors opened for registration.

The previous week I had driven over Albert Bridge in a van and noticed the view with the boats tied to the pontoons(?) and wondered if the view worked from the bridge path so I walked there with my kit and walked up and down looking for 'the view'.

The wind had very strong gusts so I ended up leaning the easel and canvas against the bridge for support - which mostly worked.

I tried a freer approach than normal. I wanted to broadly block in underlaying shapes and work in which for the most part I did. But there comes a point with the palette knife where there's almost too much paint underneath and the marks can become too fragmented.

I boldly carried on and there were a few moments where a fierce sun broke through and kept baking my palette dry but I fought through it and reached the point where to do anymore was going to be counter productive packed up my gear and headed back to the Chelsea Old Townhall HQ.



On Sunday I returned to see all the paintings hung in hall for the exhibition. What an exciting spectrum of images. It's truly amazing the variation of vision a group of artists can have. I stayed for the prize giving (nothing for me, although I was pleased that the I had shortlisted in my head the pictures that the judges had chosen - and couple they hadn't) and after another good browse headed off the see the BP Portrait awards and the National Portrait Gallery. And it was whilst there I got the call the say my picture had sold. Phew!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Windy Whitstable

This picture was painted after I visited Whitstable back in February 2016. It was a lovely sunny day and I packed the painting gear with the intention of painting plein-air but after doing a quick reccy found that although the sun was out it was far too windy to set up easel, there was a nasty wind chill too. I had a good walk around looking for view points and took a few photo refs non of which captured what I wanted so back in the 'studio' I created this from memory and refs using my usual outdoor kit of palette knifed acrylics.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

2015 Pintar Rapido

Here's a couple of pics of the picture I painted at the Pintar Rapido London 2015.
It sold at the exhibition the following day which was pleasing except the only record I have now are these photos.

Looking back at it from now (Nov 2016) I'm quite pleased with it!


Friday, 10 October 2014

Talkin' 'Bout Giant 2 Colour Hand Prints



After ordering a roll of paper big enough to take prints from the Talkin' 'Bout Regeneration woodcut which I did for the Steam Engine printing - I cut a few sheets from the roll to 1m square.

Trying anything this size in my workshop is fraud with problems. Where to hang the prints? Can I make a surface big enough to print it? Will I be able to juggle printing two colours at once with only one good inking roller? Will the ink stay wet enough to print? Will I be able to apply enough pressure by hand over such a large area? etc. etc.

Part of the reason for doing the 'Yo' Welcom'' print was to see if the paper/ink combination would work okay - and it did. I'd previously done a two colour test area print which also worked well.

It took half the morning to prepare the workshop by creating a hanging ladder and bulldog clip arrangement for drying. I found a large sheet of toughened glass from an old lightbox to use for inking. Moved the plan-chest away from the wall and put two large sheets of paper together to rest the block on and mark the alignment of the paper - then I was ready!



Inking one colour with a comparatively small roller takes a lot of effort, constantly having to add more ink to the roller and trying to keep it wet and even. With the turquoise background inked I had to clean the roller and roll out the black on the slab before inking the black block. Same effort involved, then I had to pick up the wet block and position it in the jigsaw space of the turquoise one. Then there's the problem of handling a meter square piece of paper in a confined space and aligning it with the jigsaw block before letting it down on to the inked surface!



Now the workout begins! I first rubbed over the whole block with my hand to stick the paper to the block and find the edges. Then I used a thin, round cornered coloured pastels tin to burnish over the whole print. This allowed me to find the open areas and watching the sheen on the back of the paper, see where the design was 'coming through'. It may have been okay at this point but to be sure I then spent the same time again burnishing with a hard rubber roller (my usual technique).

Very pleasantly surprised how well they've come out generally. The first one was a bit light - before the ink built up - but still works well giving a more distressed look which suits the design well anyway.

I had thought I might struggle to get three or four done in a day, but in the end I managed a respectable edition of 6 before the cleaning up marathon!

All signed and ready to take to Pie Factory Margate tomorrow where I will be in the gallery...

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Yo' Welcom'



Back from holiday tour of West USA we encountered some great characters, non-more so than the lovely driver who, when you thanked him, always responded with a catch-phrase 'you're welcome' but in a really cool accent like spoken graffiti! A helping hand was always offered and I couldn't help adding the American universal gesture of discreet gratuity for the other.

I started off with a simple single colour but didn't like the speech bubble or bland type. The I had the idea of a more graffiti style speech on a coloured background, so cut a second lino for a separate colour.




I printed the Magenta backgrounds first, then by the time I'd trimmed the black block it was dry enough to print the black over.

Very pleased with the character 'look' and the course textures. Just right.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Nerves of Steel!



Today I decided it was time to bite the bullet and have a go at cutting the block into two areas as was the original intention.

Felt a bit like make or break. One false move or mechanical glitch and the whole thing could be ruined...

I roughly marked the contour I wanted to follow and loaded the jigsaw with a new, sharp, fine blade and did a quick test cut to check its corner turning ability. As I thought you still need to create a small open area where you want to change direction but luckily there was already a wide open area around most of the contour so it wasn't too much of a problem.




I was very careful about supporting the block as I cut around slowly. Shifting, clamping and cutting in small stretches. Eventually the two pieces separated including a very narrow piece between the heads that I had thought would need to be separate.

After adoring the two separate pieces I couldn't resist having a go at printing an area to see if it was going to work. For ease of speed and clearing up I used water-based inks and a spare piece of good smooth paper I only just found today.

Didn't expect it would come out so well as I hadn't 'run up' the ink. There was no bad areas at the joins and it looks very promising for full size prints when the paper arrives.