Tuesday, 25 August 2015

My Cautious Process

Just thought I'd share the process I go through at the moment to paint a still life. If I don't make a careful drawing to start with I often find things go awry, so I first look at my set up through the small framed acetate sheet shown below (measuring 4 x 3 inches), to work out the composition. Then I draw a grid in my sketchbook to the same size as my board (8 x 6 inches) and draw in a grid to the same proportions as my acetate frame (2 inch squares). Then I look at the set up through the acetate grid, holding it as still as possible, observing important edges and measurements through the grid and marking them down on the sketchbook grid. Then I continue with the sketchbook drawing until I feel the drawing is correct. (The drawing for this painting is shown below.) Then I draw the grid on my board (bear with, bear with...!!) and use the sketchbook drawing to make an accurate drawing on the board in chalk pastel. Such is my cautious process at this time, hopefully one day I'll be able to throw caution to the wind!!!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

The importance of drawing

I decided to do a proper drawing of this set up before painting it as previous attempts at painting this bowl without planning first have resulted in failure! I use a small grid drawn on acetate in the same proportions as my painting and look through it at the set up marking edges on a grid drawn on paper to the same size as the painting, then spend time observing and making a proper drawing on the paper, subsequently transferring it to my painting board. If this sounds confusing I'm sorry, I will try to clarify in future posts with photographs of how I go about it! Oil on canvas board 8 x 6 inches.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Lemon on Pink

I'm not keen on this painting - I think the lemon is painted quite lazily, ha ha! But I quite like the pink scarf which I used as the backdrop.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Cup, Twig and Shell

I thought I'd do something with an even more limited palette this time. I used ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and white (although I did cheat and use a bit of cadmium yellow as well so that defeated the object really!) Also I wanted to paint 3 objects with different 'home values' ie, a light object, a mid-tone object and a dark object. I got this idea from reading a book by an artist called Charles Sovek.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Limited Palette

Taking advice from the book I mentioned previously, Daily Painting by Carol Marine, I've started using a limited palette. I use cadmium red, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue and white, and colder versions of these three primaries, alizarin crimson, pthalo blue and cadmium yellow pale or lemon yellow. This seems to work very well for me, it's possible to mix virtually any colour from these and it's also very useful mixing practice. Also, colour harmony in a painting is easier to achieve and muddy colours less likely. I'm quite pleased with this painting because the plate came out quite well and I'm not the best at drawing ellipses! Oil on board 8 x 6 inches.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Why did I start painting daily?

Well, mainly because I love painting! But I was painting a lot before - I was doing portraits of animals from photos but getting increasingly frustrated with my lack of technique. Also, it's very easy to paint from photos on a computer screen - if you're unsure of a colour you can sample it and isolate it in Photoshop - it's too easy really and also it encourages the dreadful 'detailitis' (well for me it does anyway). I felt as if I wanted to be more bold and brave with my painting. For several years I've been aware of the 'daily painting movement' on the internet and have taken an interest in some of the work posted. One such daily painter is Carol Marine who has written a book called (funnily enough) Daily Painting which I bought and found very encouraging and helpful. Looking at some of the artists on the internet I could see that the habit of making small daily works was helping their painting immensely. Michael Naples is a very good example. I hope that even if it takes several years of practice, I can improve my painting to that extent. Today's painting is of some items I found on the beach in Cornwall when I was there recently. Oil on board 6 x 6 inches

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


I'm finding it hugely helpful doing these little still lives. I find I'm learning so much more than working from photos. I don't think I have a particular style yet and I'm working towards that. It may take months, it may take years, but I'm enjoying the process. This painting is on gessoed board 6 x 6 inches.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Cox's Apple

Oil on board 6 x 6 inches.