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Play Boards and loosening up.



The first assignments on the course were to creat an inspiration board and a desire board.

It will be no surprise that my inspiration board included the landscape of Provence, trees, flowers, spring and wildlife. These are well represented in my current art.

My desires - well this was harder. What was it I really wanted - make better art obviously but on top of that I want a larger studio, I want to feel confident enough to enter shows including juried shows, loosen up on my landscapes but without loosing the feel of them. The idea behind this is that if we don't say these things they will never happen, but somehow saying them makes them more likely to happen.

Our first painting assignments was to create two boards (12x12inch) by just putting paint down and not overthinking everything or even thinking about it. We were to call them play boards. In effect this is a loosening up exercise and fun to do. I often overthink my paintings before I start, and changing those ideas as the painting progress is hard.

These are my Play Boards


The two boards have a different feeling to them and are designed to show that it doesn't matter how you start as they will be worked on later and covered over with paint.

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I must admit, because I use a lot of colour, the values can sometimes go awry and I have to always be very conscious of that. So getting more of a grip on this, is my goal for this aspect of the course.

The second assignment of the Art2Life course, was to create two boards using only black and white. I based one on one of my failed paintings to see where I could make improvements and the other was purely abstract.


This one still exists as shown, I have yet to put colour on it
The first one, received some limited palette colour:
I have not taken this one forward and I shall have to find it again in my pile of unfinished boards. I can see it is too busy (so obvious now) and it needs to be unified.

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My visitors have all gone home and I am enjoy the peace and quiet lost in painting again.

As usual, I am working on several paintings at once but they all look a little flat so I am injecting some texture into them.

The best way to do this is at the beginning of a painting is using gesso or modeling paste. You can also use these on an in-progress painting but, as they are opaque, you will lose any colour already down.

One method I enjoy using, because it brings up a lot of unexpected surprise, is laying down two, three or even four layers of acrylics on top of one another and then scraping through the acrylic.

Use thick paint for the best results and wait for the paint to touch dry before adding another layer. I like to wait until the top layer is just touch dry before dragging the scaper through the paint. The effects are different according to how dry the paint is. Practice this to see the different effects. The wet paint also lifts off some of the dried paint underneath, giving in…

Phases of a painting, are you in the middle middle or the beginning of the end?

Work in Progress Diptych. Where am I in the process?

Recently I listened to a trailer for an interview by Nicholas Wilton talking to Mark Eanes.

Mark Eanes suggested that a good way of looking at the painting process is as a three step process, the beginning, the middle and the end. Each of these have three parts - a beginning a middle and an end, so nine phases in all.

I love this way of thinking about the process and it really gels with me and helps me assess where I am at. I has helped me to visualise what I have done in a meaningful way and how much more there is to do. For example, recently I felt that I wasn't getting past the beginning, but when I stood back and assessed the work I had done and what else I wanted to do, I felt I was further along the process and maybe more to the middle of the middle. Not foolproof of course, but a help.

For example in the work in progress above. I am at the beginning of the end. Realising that, cheered me up no end. 😊


Tell me how you as…