Continuing my exploration into natural pigments and the theme of liminality – in my case I am exploring the threshold between raw earth pigments and commercially produced art materials. For this piece, I used: Earth pigments: Trevellas Green, Peppercombe Red Natural pigment pastels by Florence Paintmakers Sennelier Soft Pastels Montana Gold Professional spray paint – Bronze W&N acrylic paint and inks Resin pigment inks Charcoal Fabriano Unica 50% cotton 250gsm white paper (torn to size)
I have started a collection of pieces that I am doing now mainly utilising earth pigments. These are small works – some on canvas panels and others on Atlantis 400gsm paper. I have also used encaustic waxes on one of the pieces. It is fascinating using these earth pigments, especially when I am able to grind and process them myself. The experience is visceral and there is a primordial connection when I touch the pigment with my fingers.
Initially, I used finely processed earth pigments from Cornwall and Devon such as Peppercombe Red (280 million years old), Fremington Yellow (40,000 years old) and Fremington Grey (350 million years old)
I then obtained some raw pigments to get a feel for processing them myself:
Below is a tiny test panel where I ground some of the raw pigment myself and used various binders. From top down: Leswidden white, Trevallas green, Gunwalloe gold, Meeth white, Perranuthanoe ochre, Leswidden white, Bideford black
These are some of the pieces that I have created so far:
‘Come with me … to the sea’
‘Take me to the River’
‘Last walk around Mirror Lake’
If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these items, or would like a commission, please contact me.
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?
This is a piece I did recently on a recycled canvas, which had been previously treated to considerable abuse (i.e. covered in concrete and God knows what else). I used soft pastels, inks, pens and then decided to use black acrylic enamel for two of the tree trunks, as I wanted a really black, black for the trunks. I was told that this appears to be a bit on the sinister side, that wasn’t my intention when I did it but I can see that now. Anyway, it’s larger than most of the stuff I’ve done lately.
I’m also using this post to test out whether it connects and posts to my FB/ Instagram feed. Who knows hey?!
Hey, I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas have a joyous one, filled with everything you need – like happiness, love, family and good friends.
Christmas is not about the gifts, or the tree or the baubles and garish lights festooning so many houses at this time of year but you wouldn’t think otherwise if you visited this planet from somewhere else. As an extra-terrestrial, I wonder if you’d find it all a bit strange when you look around, peer into the crack and see all those many lost people? The people who don’t have anyone to spend the holidays with, the people who are lonely or just alone in a crowd, the people who don’t have any food or place to live and there are many homeless people in this country and all over the world – what a sin that is! In this so-called age of enlightenment, that there are still so many people who have nowhere to live, no prospects, no food, relying on hand outs and hand-me-downs just to keep body and soul together. I wonder if your extra-terrestrial self would stop and think about that while you imbibe the ‘Christmas cheer’ and tuck into the turkey.
I’m not preaching, I’m as guilty as the next when it comes to over-indulging – both in the food and drink and the gift buying. I just hope that the people in my family who have had a right crap year, manage to glean happiness and warmth over this holiday season – we’ll be seeing one of them on Boxing Day.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
I hope 2019 is a great year for you all.
A4. Water-soluble oil pastels on Bockingford watercolour paper.
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!
I got me some Caran D’Ache ws oil pastels the other day and some really wonderful Bockingford Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper – A3 size – I took 20 sheets. What a difference good ground paper makes! It is really sturdy and quite stiff but takes a lot of manhandling with liquid and paint. I have been wanting to get stuck into water soluble oil pastels for a while now and decided on the Swiss made ones as they do seem to be at the top of everyone’s recommendation lists. And they are fantastic! Deeply pigmented, wonderful to work with both off the paper (i.e. mixing as on a palette) and on the paper. I have tried some layering in this picture, which was basically to test the vibrancy of the colours. I intend to do a series of paintings using this Bockingford paper of impressions of the Scottish HIghlands … so who knows hey? Anyhow, this is the result of today’s faffing about …
Water-soluble Oil Pastels (Caran D’Ache) on A3 Bockingford Hot pressed 300gms watercolour paper.
Quite some time ago I started working on a series of paintings relating to the South African landscape, for some reason I didn’t finish that work. I decided to go back to one of them over the weekend and this is the result, might still do a bit more tweaking (as always!). This area holds a very special place in my heart (and psyche). It is one of the most beautiful parts of the world, glorious in any weather. This is a view of the ampitheatre from the river below. (My own reference photos)
For this one I used acrylic inks, soft pastels, then oil pastels on mixed media paper. Paper size is 16.5″ x 11.5″ (A3), painting takes up all surface of the paper.
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.
I am using this post to test out connection to my existing blog community on WordPress. I am not certain that my website is visible to you all and I’d appreciate comment if you can or can’t see the website via this post.
Footnote: I got hold of this with the Galeria gloss medium – the idea was to see if this medium would be compatible and protect the pastels better than a fixative spray. What seems to have happened is the tones have darkened – the painting is still interesting, I think and perhaps more atmospheric. I have matted and mounted it behind cellophane – photo just to show difference in tonality.
Underpainting of alcohol inks, added area of gold metal effect medium, then overpainted with oils (not artist quality) on canvas board.
I didn’t have any linseed oil or other mediums, as well as cleaning solvents, so was hesitant to try out these oils but then discovered that I could use Baby oil to dilute the paint and to clean the brushes, also much better on the skin! So far the baby oil doesn’t appear to have created any dull patches – the paint is still wet, I expect it will only be dry and fully cured in a month’s time. The oils and canvas board came with the set I describe below.
Soft pastel studies – my first attempts using this medium:
‘Dartmoor landscape’ from reference photo in a book.
Approx. 11″ x 7″
Soft pastels (not artist quality) on cheap scrapbooking type project paper (blue).
Approx. 5½” x 7″
Soft pastels (not artist quality) on cheap scrapbooking type project paper (blue).
I was given a compact artist’s kit comprising oils, acrylics and watercolour materials, plus palette and sample canvas boards, sketching pads, brushes, painting knives etc. etc. for a Christmas present. These sample paintings are the results of playing about with the stuff in the kit.
I have never used soft pastels (chalk pastels) before and am finding them really fun to work with. I enjoy the way I can layer over the colours and blend to get quite interesting effects. This has inspired me to try and purchase better quality soft pastels as soon as I can, as well as some good quality paper – I’d like to turn out more impressive work in the future – so watch this space!
I hope everyone who visits this page had a lovely Christmas and everything of the very best fo 2017 – let’s hope it’s a positive year for all of us!
I’m very pleased to write here that I’m going to be exhibiting five works in a local show, which is to be held towards the end of October. I understand up to a hundred artists take part in this exhibition, so this is a brilliant chance for me to meet and mingle with fellow painterly types and make some connections (I hope). I’ve had very positive comment from the curator of the show on my work. I’m going to be showing the following pieces:
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?