Sunday, 3 February 2019

Strawberries


This picture is my first real attempt at painting with acrylics. When I started planning it around four weeks ago I didn't anticipate it taking so long to complete. I am used to digital illustration and going back to hand illustration was an interesting exercise. I can now appreciate why my father spent so long on his paintings. What with having to mix colours, create the right consistency, find brushes and think more carefully about composition there was far more non-painting time that I had imagined. Although the painting was a little rushed and full of paint strokes which I wasn't sure would work or not, I am pleased with the result. It feels quite balanced and pleasing to look at despite being a little rough in places.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Painting

I’ve spent much time over the Christmas holidays working on a character style and trying to focus in on something. It is so easy to do cartoony stuffy yet I feel I want do more mature illustration work. Folk/naive art has intrigued me. I like Dee Nickerson's work and many of the illustrations that Green Pebble publish on their cards. The illustrations I did for my booklet, The Apple Weaver, were a step in that direction. The iPad is a great help in that I can easily work on something whenever I want to. Painting digitally is easy, yet the images can look just a little artificial, smooth and lacking in the subtle randomness of texture that natural painting can bring. I have decided to get my acrylic paints out and have another attempt at getting started with that medium. Previous attempts at mastering acrylics have failed mainly through lack of persistence. I used to do a a lot of watercolour/ink work which is quite different to using actual paints. This time I've watched a few youtube videos and they have been a great help.

The picture below was a playful experiment using the paints I have.

The slight problem I faced in doing this was that I really needed a small desk easel. So, over the weekend I made one from some scrap wood. Unfortunately, the small room in which I work has a table facing the window. Ideally I needed the table positioned so that light would come from the left of me. Thus, I had to turn most of my furniture round through 90 degrees. This worked well and forced me to solve a few other niggling things to do with storage and wiring. I also fixed up my 6ft daylight strip lights to the ceiling which had been hidden in the shed since we moved around 6 years ago. I had to work out where the joists in the ceiling were so that I could screw the light fitting in securely and the lights just have a lead going to a wall socket so I can use them independently of the normal ceiling light.

With that job done I decided, again after 6 years, that I did want some of my old artwork to hang in the house so up went a few pictures - just in time to take them all down again when we begin decorating in the spring!

Now, I will begin to create the sort of painting I would actually like to paint. Just need to decide what to do....


Lazy Jacks, Tavistock

I worked on this during my lunch breaks over the past week. I combined elements from a few photos taken at New Year. I wasn't sure of it was going to work but I was glad I persevered.


Cotehele

This quick iPad sketch was made at Cotehele (National Trust) at the beginning of the new year. 


Monday, 7 January 2019

Woodland Shadows



A week or so ago I walked round the farmland surrounding Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. The weather was cold and overcast and a moderate effort was required to find the motivation to just get out and do something. Taking my camera with me I decided to play around with taking a few random pictures of anything I could find. The sun came out for a short while as I was passing through some woods and, as it was low in the sky even at midday, the shadows cast by the slender ash (?) trees were quite stunning. I then began a quest to find an interesting photo to take. The photo here has been adjusted a little to enhance the contrast and remove the colour. The sunlight was just in the right place coming from my left so my own shadow was not visible as I walked along the footpath between the tress. It took a few minutes to find a location where the lines of shadows and trees were not obviously disrupted by obviously diagonal wayward branches or fallen trees. There was also a field to my left which meant the there was only a narrow band of trunks casting strong shadows with little interference from a higher canopy to blur the lines.