I wasn't quite happy with the light in the background trees see Here. It was a dull day and then the sun suddenly broke through and I wanted to emphasise that. I lightened part of the background and put in a few other touches.
I'm not doing very well with the challenge. I seem to have run out of motivation and could not get really get into the mood for painting over the last few weeks. I started this painting sometime before Christmas as I had the urge to paint larger than my norm, and yesterday my motivation seemed to reappear. I added some finishing touches and I am now calling this one done. Perhaps now I might complete some more paintings for the challenge.
About this painting,
I left the foreground very loose and washy and resisted the temptation to add more to it. I like the contrast with the more texture on the rest of the painting.
This is the finished painting from day 6. I struggled with bringing all of this together and changed my mind several times. I started reading "Impressionist Painting Landscapes" by George Gallo part of the way through this and changed my colours slightly to use the complementary triad of purple, green and orange. One of George's mantras is that you should have a clear idea of the finished painting before your start. Well I broke that rule! I do find that many of my paintings are worked out as I go along. One of my goals this year is to become more disciplined and do my composition designs, tonal sketches and colour choices before I start.
How do you start your paintings? Are you organised before you start, or do you create as you go along?
These are two studies in oil on canvas sheet. The canvas sheet are available in blocks of different sizes and are great for studies. They are inexpensive and if something turns out good enough to call a finished piece they can then be mounted onto MDF board or framed using a mount. I am starting to feel more comfortable with massing the rocks.
The top painting is typical of the rock formations in the countryside around home, but perhaps a bit too dark.
The bottom painting is taken for a landscape photo on the internet of an outcrop by the sea. The coastline around Antibes is very rocky but they are very jagged.
On a recent landscape webinar that I take, it was suggested that these do not make good paintings as the viewer's eyes gets tired of looking at these, and although they may be jagged they should be squared off. What are your opinions on this? Should they be true to life or squared off? Maybe the solution is to square them off, with only one or two 'peaks' included. Comment below with your thoughts.
Thank you to everyone that commented yesterday on my WIP. I did a bit more work on it but wasn't happy on how it was going. I spent quite a bit of time on it without much progress. I will go into the studio this afternoon and use some oil on top of the acrylic
After yesterday I wanted something to do that didn't involve going into the studio and using oils. I opened my studio window to air it, and moved upstairs with my acrylics.
It has been so long since I last used acrylics that I had to re-acquaint myself with them. I also found many of my acrylics had dried up after being neglected for so long, leaving me with only a few usable acrylics. I had no alazarin crimson and only a very bright ultramarine, a yellow and sap green and white. My normal acrylics are Winsor and Newton which are quite thick, but apart from the green, the rest were from a mixture of brands much more liquid. My initial idea was to use my palette knifes, but the paint was far too fluid. It was also very transparent. I gradually built up the layers and I can see the painting starting to emerge. I remember the maxim "The good thing about acrylics is that they dry fast. The bad thing is that they dry fast!". I ran out of light so could not finish.
I am posting a work in progress which I started yesterday and didn't manage to finish. I opened a new tube of titanium white from a different manufacturer. The oil in the paint was linseed oil and it was very oily. The smell was overpowering and I started to feel nauseous and a little breathy. Along with many artists, I'm not keen on turpentine and even odorless spirits so don't use these, but it is the first time linseed oil has had this effect. Does anyone else have a problem with linseed oil? I've just received my supplies delivery and I have a new tube of Winsor and Newton titanium white my usual paint, so I will be able to finish it today.
Anyway, back to the painting. This is a stream I came across in Japan as I was walking back to our apartment in Tokyo. It wasn't in a formal garden and I liked the way it was less manicured than the traditional gardens. Still needs a lot of work, and I've given it a larger support to do it justice. It is quite a complicated scene and I can already see that I need to simplyfy more.
This is a slightly larger than the previous ones, (approx 7x10"). It didn't take me long to revert to type!
This is a stream/river (when does a stream become a river?) near home and it looks very peaceful here. In summer, its a great place to cool off and for the kids to play. After a storm, or when the snows melt off the mountains, it becomes a raging torrent and access is often prohibited.
I blocked in the masses and was conscious of trying to maintain the values. I treated the rocks as solid masses and not individual stones. I am still always tempted to delineate to much and if only you could hear the voices in my head arguing, you'd have a good laugh. Once again, it is over-saturated when I upload it onto blogger. So IRL it is not quie as bright, especially the foreground rocks. I see a few areas that need some extra touches but on the whole, not too unhappy with this one.
Not pleased with this one at all! I debated on whether or not to show it.
I told my husband I need to go somewhere exotic with sun and sea so I can study the waves! Here in the med, there are not many waves to study. Oh we get storms but who wants to go out in a storm? I am obviously a fair weather painter.
This is a river at Castellane a small town on the way to the Verdon Gorges. The river is fast flowing and icy cold, with bluey-green water.
The colours are over-saturated. Oh the joys of photography! Although I have manipulated the colours in Photoshop, the uploaded photo is another story. One thing that springs out is my lack of variation in the colours between the foreground and distance. These challenges are good for picking up on areas for improvement, and even though it is a small painting, the changes in tone still need to be there.
In October we spent a few days in Cadaques in the north of Catalonia. This was the view from the apartment window.
I'm feeling that the sizes I have chosen are too small for my theme and as a consequence, the paintings feel crowded. I shall have to try to become more suggestive about describing the subject or use larger supports.
2014 has flown by. It was a good year where I gained more confidence in my art and as a consequence matured. I want to wish all of you, my artists friends, collectors and followers a Very HappyNewYear. I am ready to face new challenges in 2015 and continue along the path of improvement. As a start, I am participating in another 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. With preparing for the holidays and being back in England for the celebrations I haven't painted for a while, so it will be good to get back into the swing of things.
30 in 30 Theme
Rumour has it, that it is good to pick a theme and size so the exhibit at the end of the month has a cohesive feel. I am not very good at sticking to themes as my mind tends to roam and I like to experiment! But I am trying to discipline myself, so will be going with the theme of rocks and/or water both of which I need to improve upon. It might be just rocks, just water (sea or lakes) or a combination of both. The format with be 6"x6", 5"x7" or 6"x8". We shall see how long this lasts before I go back to my usual 7"x10"