30 December 2013

January painting challenge

You may remember my paintings from the September challenge. It was fun to do, although stressful at times making sure there was a new painting everyday.

In January, I will be taking part in another 30 paintings in 30 days challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta.

I have been thinking about a theme and several ideas have come to mind. One is to paint the same scene in different ways, another is to concentrate on abstracts and yet another is still lifes. I want to work smaller than my normal 18x24cm (7x10inch) and maybe give myself a time limit for each painting to encourage a free and loose style, concentrating on expressive brush or palette knife work.

Join me in January to see what I have decided.

Happy New Year to all, and I hope it is a good one. 

20 December 2013

Provence Poppies Galore, palette knife painting in oil

Provence Poppies Galore
Palette knife painting
Oils on box canvas
20x15cm (approx 8x6 inch)
Available in my Etsy Store

The red is bright in this - but not quite as bright as this shows. I altered it in Photoshop and got a pretty good approximation of the true colour, but it never seems to load up right - Oh well!

I did not use any true reds in the poppies, they are mainly a combination of Winsor and Newton scarlet (an orangey-red), yellow, permanent rose and alazarin crimson. In sunny areas I always use yellow underneath the red, as it always seems to make the reds 'pop'. Contrary to what logic tells you, I often find that red loses it's brightness if painting it on top of white.

Close-ups of the knife work

19 December 2013

Poppies in Provence No.1 mini knife painting

Poppies in Provence No.1
Oil on panel,
12x12cm (approx 4.5"x4.5")
Palette knife painting
Available for purchase 33€ (ca. US$45)

Last week my escape from winter was the sunflowers of Provence. This week it is the poppies. I have completed four paintings in the last couple of days - admittedly small ones but it meant I could squeeze in some painting time.
They are all of the sameish? (is that a word!) scene as my larger painting "Scarlet Poppies".

Close-ups of the knife work

I will post the other three paintings over the next few days.

12 December 2013

Provence Lavender palette knife oil painting

Provence Lavender
Palette knife painting
Oil on box canvas
23 x 30 cm (approx 9x12 inch)
Available in my Etsy Store

A different format and orientation for this small painting. I have lots of canvasses that have accumulated over the years waiting for inspiration to strike. I had already painted a ground on this in a mix of blue, pink and yellow horizontal blocks and then did not do anything with it. I noticed it again a few days ago and as the block in was horizontal, it suggested a portrait format, not the typical orientation for my landscapes. The light bulb went on and this is the result.
Here are some close-ups of the knife work

10 December 2013

The Smell of Lavender - Finished, palette knife painting in oils

The Smell of lavender
Palette knife painting
Oil on stretched linen canvas
46 x 55 cm (approx 18"x22")
For sale in my Etsy store

This painting is now finished. I changed the shape of the lavender fields from the first block in (see my previous post) a little, as compositionally they did not make sense. (Thank you Carol for pointing me in the right direction). I don't know what I was thinking, they joined smack bang in the centre of the canvas - I knew it was wrong but was persevering with it anyway. Carol made me stop and think - it's funny how sometimes it needs someone to say "Hold on a minute!".

Carol Hopper is another artist I connected with on the 30 days hath September challenge. See her blog here.

09 December 2013

Champs de Lavande et Tournesols Provence Landscape palette knife painting

Champs de Lavande et Tournesols -
Fields of Lavender and sunflowers
Provence landscape palette knife painting
Oil on box canvas
15 x 20 (6x8") x 1.5cm
Available in my Etsy store

Take time out to Play
At the beginning of the week I was running out of ideas of what to paint and I was questioning my use of oils. I wanted to do something less representational than my normal work and had a hankering to create abstracts. 

I spent two days playing around with mono-prints as well as ink and gouache resist. I had never done either and I didn't quite know the techniques, so I read up on them and off I went!
I didn't produce anything worthy, but I had a really good time. Since then I have been re-energised. I have finished several small paintings, have plenty of good ideas milling around and I have finished my larger painting I posted last week (keep tuned tomorrow to see it).

Play is good for you.

08 December 2013

07 December 2013

Sunny Sunflowers in Provence palette knife oil painting

Sunny Sunflowers in Provence
Palette knife oil painting
20x15cm (approx 6x8inch) on 1cm box canvas
This painting is now SOLD
Visit my Etsy store to see a selection of available paintings

This is a scene I return to when I want something nice and sunny to paint. It always makes me smile to imagine those sunflowers bobbing away. These sunflower fields are adjacent to the lavender fields and the contrast of the yellow to the lavender is truly a feast for the eyes

Here is a collage of my previous paintings of the same scene (available in my Etsy store)

05 December 2013

Looking through to the lavender

Looking through to the lavender
palette knife painting
Oil on stretched canvas
During the 30 days hath September challenge, I painted a study (see here) which I used for the concept of this painting. I searched through my lavender photos for suitable trees to use and cam up with these two groups. The dark green trees and the silvery green-grey trees are a feature of the landscape and I thought it would be good to combine the two to stop the foreground from looking too heavy.
As always, your comments are appreciated.

29 November 2013

WIP The Smell of Lavender - Evolution o f a Provence Landscape

I am working on a larger landscape painting of the lavender fields and I have come to a bit of a halt because it is not quite working. This is where I am at at the moment
The smell of Lavender work in progress
54x46x1.8cm oil on box canvas
The olive trees gave me some bother so I wiped them and repainted them a couple of time, I am still not sure if I am happy with them but I will leave them at the moment until I resolve some of my other issues.

Perspective change
Changing the olive trees changed the perspective - at first I thought the far house was too small, but then hubby said it was the 'cabine' that needed to be larger. I decided to import the photo into photoshop and play a little before putting more paint on the canvas. Sometimes taking a break from the painting and working things out away from it can provide a fresh perspective,

Using Photoshop
I cutout the cabanne and moved it closer and enlarged it
A little bit of improvement, but the foreground wasn't working for me. What about a tree in the foreground?

More Photoshop manipulation
I cut out a tree from one of my lavender field photos and tried that
Not bad - obviously the colour of the tree would have to change, but it interfered too much with the olives.

Next I cutout the red scrub on the foreground ridge and played with that

Mmmm - not sure about that, I will probably do something in between the two.

I am also wondering if now that I have moved the cabine the conifers appear very heavy and blocky. I may decide to scrub them out.

I'll post my update tomorrow, but would love to hear your ideas in the meanwhile.

28 November 2013

Winter Light - Oil on stretched canvas

Winter Light
Oil on stretched canvas
45x37 cm approx (18x15 inches)
Available to purchase HERE
325€ international shipping included

This was painted during a Johannes Vloothuis paint-a-long webinar earlier in the year. It was my first time painting snow and ice, brrrrr!

This painting is also available as a Christmas card on Greeting Card Universe

25 November 2013

Impasto Roses, two still life oil paintings

Old Fashioned
Roses still life palette knife painting
24x30cm (approx 10x12")
Oil on canvas panel
Available for purchase, 120€ 
international shipping included
Sweet Memories - Roses still life
palette knife paintings
24x30cm (approx 10x12inches)
Oil on canvas panel 
Available for purchase
120€ international shipping included. 
Please visit my floral blog for more detailed info on the process

19 November 2013

Ikebana paintings of Chrysanthemums Collage

Collage of Ikebana series
Oil palette knife paintings
Contact me about my paintings HERE

Here are three of the paintings in my Ikebana quartet. Pop over to my floral art blog to see the original posts.

I have reworked No.2 and will post that when the weather allows, we are have constant rain at the moment and more storms are forecast - but shouldn't moan as this does not happen very often.

I have also painted two rose still lifes in the same style and will post them later.

Back to landscapes
I enjoyed this break painting florals, but today I am back at the landscapes. I have someone interested in a larger painting of the lavender fields. Scarlet Poppies was my only large painting of Provence, and although I bought the canvasses about 6 months ago, I have not got around to using them.

18 November 2013

Scarlet Poppies Provence, palette knife landscape - Sold

Scarlet Poppies Provence Landscape
54x46x1.8cm oil on box canvas
Palette knife painting
I am delighted to say that this painting sold yesterday. After varnishing it will be on its way to Pittsburgh to brighten up someone's home.

If you would like to commission a similar painting, please contact me HERE

17 November 2013

Special Prices on selected paintings for Christmas

I am offering a selection of my paintings at special prices as a lead up to Christmas in my Etsy store. All are oils on canvas board or panel.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall was 115€ NOW 75€

Quite Backwater was 115€ NOW 75€

Poppy Jungle (18x24cm) was 75€ NOW 50€

A Perfect Cove (18x24cm) was 85€ NOW 65€

Stay tuned to my Etsy store as I will be adding additional paintings in the next few days. These specials will continue until 15th December.

Contact me about these or any other painting HERE

15 November 2013

Ikebana 1 - pink chrysanthemums

Ikebana 1 - Pink Chrysanthemums
22x27cm (approx  9"x11")
oil on canvas board
Palette knife painting

I've taken a break from painting landscapes for the last couple of dates to paint some floral still lifes.

This is inspired by a book on Ikebana given to me by a neighbour, the monthly floral forum challenge on wetcanvas.com to paint chrysanthemums and my imagination. I wanted to achieve an ethereal 'look' in this painting.

I have completed four paintings for the challenge and will post more tomorrow.

13 November 2013

Isolated in Provence - Mini Landscape tips part 2

Isolated in Provence
Oil, palette knife painting
15x20cm (6x8inch) box canvas

65€ International shipping included
This is the finished painting from yesterday. Let's see if I covered all the points discussed:
  • All four corners should be different.
    - The leaves solve the problem of the sky corners
  • Things should not line up
    - I changed the shape of the mountain and added another layer to increase the sense of distance
    - The bottom of the fence posts do not line up
    - The foliage is no longer in straight lines
  • Verticals should be an interesting shape
    - The tree has a few indentations and perhaps could be more 'gnarled', but I think the light on the trunk compensates for this. As this is a small painting, this should be sufficient.
  • Ensure items of a group are different sizes
    - The fence posts are all different sizes and the cross braces are on longer in a straight line. Now I have uploaded the photo, I see the cross braces are parallel, but I think I shall leave this.
Contact me about this or any other painting HERE

12 November 2013

Mini Landscape Tips Part 1

Untitled, stage 1
15x20x1cm (6x8inch) oil on box canvas
Palette knife painting
There are so many things to think about when starting a painting, not least of which is which size to paint it. Each size presents its own problems in terms of composition and how much detail to put in.

Yesterday's Painting Landscape Tips
I started this painting yesterday and it seemed perfect to use it as a mini demonstration for some landscape tips. Although this is only a small painting the thought process is the same as in larger paintings. For this blog post I will concentrate on my four main pointers:

  • No two corners should be alike.
    A. - I have made a mental note to ensure that the two sky corners differ. In this case I will add some leaves to the tree.
  • Avoid items lining up in straight lines:
    Here I have several 'lines' going on
    B1 - The tops of the hills are straight, I need to make them into a more pleasing shape
    B2 - The bottom of fence posts are almost lining up straight, I shall have to disguise the bottom of a couple of them
    B3 - some of the vegetation is lining up, I shall have to form less rigid 'clumps'
  • Ensure verticals are interesting shapes and not completely straight.
    C - I shall see if I can make this tree trunk more interesting
  • Ensure items of a group are different sizes
    The fence posts are all similar in width, I need to make each one different.
Of course, there are many more things to think about, but that would be too much for one blog post. Let me know if you find this interesting and stay tuned to find out how the painting turned out tomorrow.

11 November 2013

Distant View oil palette knife painting

Distant View Autumn Evening
Palette knife painting
18x24cm (7x10" approx) Oil on canvas panel
Available for purchase, 85€ International shipping included.

I am gradually working through my 30 days hath September challenge paintings. Certain ones stand on their own but others need something extra. This was my painting for day 4 and I was using the Zorn Palette (here is the original post ). For regular readers of this blog, you will know that the Zorn palette and me do not mix (no pun intended!). I like the view, and have painted it a few times, so I decided to use what I had already done as an underpainting and make it more 'my style'. I still wanted to retain that 'autumn look' but give it more impact. I hope I have succeeded,
Comparison with earlier painting

Some close-ups
Contact me about this or any other painting HERE

09 November 2013

Coastal Pines palette knife oil painting

Coastal pines
Palette knife painting
18x24cm (approx 7x10inch)
80€ international included
A slight rework and finishing touches have been added to this painting. It was one of my 30 paintings in the September challenge. The rework was mainly on the left hand tree which i felt was quite working. I pushed the foliage back by using more of a blue green, and I removed one of the branches which I felt cluttered up the tree structure. I am much happier about this one now. See the original post HERE

Gift Vouchers
 If you would like to give a painting as a gift, but are unsure of which one, I am now offering Gift Vouchers in different denominations - see HERE

06 November 2013

Pumpkin and Avocados still life, oil palette knife painting

Pumpkin and Avocados still life
Oil on canvas panel, 24x18cm (approx 7x10inch)
Palette knife painting
80€ International shipping included

A friend of mine saw me looking at the pumpkins and squash at the local market. The next day she made me a present of a couple of pumpkins.
Unfortunately, we had already eaten one of them before I got around to painting doing the painting, so I used some avocados I had in my fruit bowl as a stand-in. But, as usually happens, when I paint fruit and veg still lifes, part of it disappeared before I finished the paintings. I had to do the final touches from memory.

Some close up crops of the knife work