I received some new soft pastels yesterday but they were honestly so crap that I couldn’t use them. I ended up going back to my Sennelier pastels and a new piece of Pastelmat. I used a light grey colour for this piece, which is about A3 in size. The image of it on Instagram has been cropped square, so this is the actual full sized version of it.
‘Morning has broken’ Soft pastels on pastelmat – about A3
I reworked the Sapphire Tree encaustic looking abstract that I did the other day, adding more fluid acrylics to it.,
‘Sapphire Tree – final version’ – mixed media on canvas panel.
I used an old fracture-pour painting that I’ve never liked.
I then smothered it in Galeria heavy structure gel, which I had tinted with some resin inks (gold and metallic yellow) – this gave it a very soft buttery colour, mimicking the colour of beeswax.
When it was dry, it looked like this:
I then built up more texture with another coat of the gel, after I’d applied a tissue paper stencil of a Celtic symbol.
I dripped tiny little specks of Golden fluid acrylic onto the surface and sprayed with water and some iso-alcohol. I moved it all around a lot, spraying where I wanted the paint to go into the fissures and folds of the dried gel. I used Phthalo Blue and White fluid acrylic. This stuff is fabulous paint. When it was dry, I sculpted the surface with a tiny tweezer (I couldn’t find anything sharp that was tiny – so used the mini-tweezers).
‘Sapphire Tree’ – gels, pastes and fluid acrylics on a canvas panel – 20 x 20cm
I really like how this has come out – I was aiming to mimic the look of an encaustic painting and I think it’s been successful.
I’m having a bit of a directional crisis at the moment and would appreciate some feedback. I recently approached a local gallery for representation and whilst they absolutely love my soft pastel work, they are reticent to take my work on – basically because they battle to actually sell soft pastel landscapes. Whilst the bulk of their comments were really inspirational, I was left wondering whether I’m going in completely the wrong direction.
I also know, from experience, that pastel works do not sell – no matter how much everyone raves about them, that applause doesn’t often translate into hard cash. So, should I stop working with this medium and concentrate on developing my style with acrylics or oils?
Anyone who knows me, understands that I do not enjoy working with oils but I decided to have a go with a scene from outside my window yesterday. This is the source image (quite heavily pixelated):
I toned the paper with an acrylic wash first – I used Arches for Oil paper, which is just about the best you can get and cracked on.
I use water-soluble oils – mainly Cobra. After waiting for it to dry up a bit overnight, I fiddled about with it some more today and this is where I am now:
I frigging hate it! It needs so much more ‘honey’ – it’s not glowing. I know that if I did this in soft pastels, it would definitely glow and have a bit of spark. The way it looks now (to me) seems dull and lifeless. I will probably fiddle about with it more, perhaps with a honey glaze, not sure yet.
I then decided to re-do a soft pastel work that I did last week – this one:
And for this attempt, I used acrylics. This is the result:
How I test myself with this is to try and take almost the same amount of time that I would have done when making the soft pastel painting. So I forced myself not to fiddle about too much (with the acrylic). I did not use the best quality acrylics, they are student grade. I toned the paper a burnt ochre but now when I remember, I actually used a green toned paper for the pastel one, so maybe that’s why the acrylic version isn’t sparking as much.
Here they are side by side:
Aargh! Come on, give it to me on the nose (I can take it) – should I pack it in with the soft pastels or what?
I am becoming obsessed with monotype processes! I have done a lot of work with gel press plates but last week I obtained a sheet of plexiglass (about A2 in size) and have been doing some experiments towards coursework (portraits mainly). I have also been using it to develop some layered landscapes. I am using acrylics at the moment, although my Caligo printing ink should be delivered today and I can start messing about with that. I am fascinated with the process of creating monotypes and how different each one can be. I had a kinda of plan for this one but the trees took over. It’s inspired by all the woodland I visit on my wanderings around these parts.
I have an ex-pat South African friend who now lives in New Zealand. She is always so supportive and appreciative of the art I do and regularly comments on my social media pages whenever she sees something she really likes. She has no ‘art’ on the walls in her new house, so I decided to gift her something. I asked her what she would like – landscape, realist, abstract? She has always liked a ‘dotty’ abstract painting I did (which is very large about 5foot by 4foot).
After trying a few ideas out – that I didn’t like 🙂 – I decided to just play and create something happy and positive – kinda like her. Funny, I could hear her voice in my head as I was painting, i think that’s a good thing! Here it is:
I tore a section of paper to about A2 size from my giant piece of Atlantis paper, the painting itself is 55 x 37.5cm in size. I used Amsterdam, Winsor&Newton and Golden Open acrylics. The surface of the painting has been sealed with an acrylic binder.
About the paper
Atlantis Giant 400gsm – this is a very durable and high quality paper for artists needing a large surface format (It comes in a huge roll – and the paper sheet size was 60”x 48” / 1524 x 1219mm). It can be used for most main applications ranging from watercolours, gouache and drawing through to silkscreen and acrylic. Made from 70% highly refined woodfree pulp and 30% cotton fibre. Acid free. Buffered with calcium carbonate, pH 8.5 (hot extract). The paper is gelatine sized, un-watermarked. NOT surface. Two deckle edges. Available in White only. It can be purchased direct from Atlantis here: https://www.atlantisart.co.uk/atlantis-giant-watercolour-drawing-paper-400gsm/ (this is not an affiliate link!)
I will be rolling this painting into a large tube (adequately protected first) and shipped off to New Zealand as soon as I can. Hope she likes it.
I’m busy trying my very best to do art every day at the moment, it doesn’t always end up being anything I can display on here but I’m working, that’s the main thing. in any event, I am busy with these two pieces at the moment, they are both about 50cm x 40cm on repurposed stretched canvas (that was a process in and of itself let me tell you!).
I have used acrylics, pastels, inks, alcohol, red tissue paper collage. The tissue paper was used by OCA (Uni for Creative Arts) to package up my coursework manual. I knew i’d find a good use for it one day.
Did a painting over the Easter holidays, inspired by life at the barn where we were a year ago. I am also fascinated by hedgerow life and conservation. I used acrylics for this piece on stretched canvas. To make the marks, I didn’t use any brushes but potatos cut up to stamp the paint with, as well as cotton buds, cotton wool balls, sticks, pieces of wood and cardboard, even tin foil. I was pleased with the final result and it has received a lot of compliments on Facebook.
‘Hedgerow and Barn’
Acrylics on stretched canvas. Ready to hang – does not need a frame.
Something different (for me, at any rate). Got a bit tired of one of my larger canvasses last week, so decided to jazz it up somewhat. I don’t do this ‘pointilist’ type of work normally, so it was something strange to begin with but after a while I enjoyed the freedom.
‘What do you see?’
Acrylics on pre-textured stretched canvas.
120cm x 100cm x 4cm
I have been working with water-soluble oil pastels most of the rest of the time and hope to have something half-way decent to post up here soon!
Well, we have at last settled into our new house. My painting space is very limited but I’m managing to scrape a hole big enough for myself and the paints … the large one below [abstract seascape) was painted mostly outdoors, great fun that was in 32 degrees C, trying to keep the acrylics wet!
The others were kinda commissions – Bay scene (Devon) was requested by the lady of our house and is now enconced in our seascape themed downstairs bathroom. Photo is crap, ‘cos there’s not enough room to stand back and get it in the camera frame properly. Never mind. The poppies was requested by a friend of mine, hope she likes it.
‘Seascape with sand texture’
Acrylics, inks and texture paste (sand) on stretched canvas.
120cm x 100cm x 4cm
Acrylics and inks on stretched canvas 100cm x 39cm
‘Poppies and wheat’
Acrylics and inks, gel pastes, structure pastes on stretched canvas. 45cm x 35cm
There are many things influencing my outlook on life at the moment – some very positive (like moving to our own house very soon – yay, no more renting!) and others not quite as positive (like waiting to find out if we will be able to permanently care for my baby granddaughter – we will only know the answer to that one at end of July). My youngest son is also now seriously making plans to move over to the UK to be with us all – so that thought is very much at top of mind all the time and I was thinking about that a lot when I started painting this abstract. It was great to get back to canvas and something larger than the work I’ve been doing lately.
I used a lot of layers in this work, using inks mixed with structure gel and acrylics mixed with gloss gels and other medium. It was a cathartic experience, no matter what happens in life, family are the most important – at least they are to me. And sometimes family comprise people who are not your blood relatives. I hold them all close to my heart, they give me light …
Acrylics, inks, gels, structure gel on stretched canvas.
The brief I was given from my client was to paint her a picture of her field, which lies behind her offices and home in a rural area of South Norfolk. She wanted a representation of the field in winter and depending on how that went, would probably ask me to do another painting of the field in summer. The field or meadow doesn’t have any major features in it, other than a small coppice of trees and a separate area for her rescued chickens. I knew that she didn’t want me to include the chickens in the finished painting, so I couldn’t mess about with that idea, which was actually what I wanted to do! Chickens make excellent subjects for paintings!
I did have a few issues with the process of painting the required picture and had several different ideas of how to approach it. So, I decided to present her with three versions last Friday and let her decide which one or ones she wanted to keep.
The first one is a realism approach taken from a photograph. I wanted to capture the wintery light and bare branches, the grass was still quite luminous and deeply green. This is on stretched canvas – 19″ x 16″. Acrylics over inks.
The second painting was more like the kind of style I enjoy doing, especially when it comes to depictions of trees. Also on stretched canvas, same size (19″ x 16″) but portrait style. I used an acrylic ink underpainting, topping it off with oil pastels and oil paints.
The third painting was totally abstract and processed using gels, inks and acrylic paint on an artist canvas board. This is about twice the size of the stretched canvas paintings. I forgot to take a photo with my Canon before I took them to the client, and only have this mobile phone photo.
My client was so thrilled with all the paintings that she’s decided she wants all of them! She is going to get them professionaly framed and then I will return to her home and take photos of these paintings in frames. I am overjoyed that she really liked all the work, her husband especially liked the middle painting. She has also decided to feature the paintings in prominent areas of her home – originally she was only going to place the paintings against a wall in one of the corridors leading into her house.
I’ve titled this one, ‘On her way’ – it is inspired by the devastating mental health struggles my youngest daughter is currently experiencing after the birth of her baby almost three months ago. These last few months have been extremely traumatic for all of us but last night, when I went to visit her with her older sister, it was like she was back to her old self again. There is still a lot more work needs to be done but it was the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel I saw last night, as she walked away from us down the corridor to her room. She seemed to be surrounded by a golden glow and that’s what I wanted to get across in this painting.
“On her way”
Acrylics, inks, soft pastels on Daler Rowney system 3 acid free acrylic paper.
Yesht, so I have managed to eventually get myself sorted out with a bit of space to paint in. I tried it out today because the rest of the family have gone away for the weekend, so I could make as much mess as I liked and actually get to concentrate on something for a whole day. Wonderful. I made a little video of the process I use to make paintings on stretched canvas (that are considered abstract) … I don’t work like this all the time.
Anyway, hope you enjoy and I’d appreciate comments on my video if you have the time (or inclination) … be brutal, I can take it. [Yeah, right] This is the finished product:
I was moving things around over the weekend and ‘accidentally’ stacked my latest large painting the wrong way up. When I stood back and looked at it, I realised that it is far more dynamic this way up and has more sense of presence. There is something almost cathedral in the illusion of space. To me it feels like I am standing on a snow covered street looking up the road – either side at very tall buildings. What do others think?