I Thought It Was Supposed To Be Summer?

I think this painting wins the longest title competition, in my current body of work at least. The image is intended to represent the currently underwhelming June weather we are experiencing here in London.

Painted on an A4 sheet of watercolour paper using Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine Blue paint in varying strengths, and with varying amounts of water on the paper. I used an empty biro tube for the blown effects.

I will leave this piece of art (unframed) in Wallington as part of my ongoing art drop experiment.

The Art of Parties

I was recently invited to a friend’s party, and decided to paint an abstract piece of art for the host. I got in touch to find out her favourite colours, and after receiving the response, ‘purple and orange,’ I got to work. I decided to paint onto a 16 inch x 12 inch canvas, that’s a large surface as far as I’m concerned. Here’s phase one of the painting.

Phase One

Next I added some orange. Ouch! What an awful clash.

Phase Two

I stared to get a bit lost after this. First I applied a layer of translucent white to the main body of the canvas, to tone down the background. That didn’t work so I then applied a thick layer of purple over the orange and scraped off the excess to reveal hints of the colour beneath. I like the effect but the overall composition still isn’t working. It was the night of the party and I had to leave an incomplete painting to one side – there was no way I was giving this to anyone in it’s current form!

Phase Three

The party was good fun. I returned to my work and things deteriorated.

I was lost, and in a mess. I was just about ready to give up, then I decided to take the solid block of colour back to basics. Out came the titanium white.

Phase Six

The intensity disappeared – and then Keira offered a suggestion, ‘how about blue?’ How about it indeed. I loosely mixed up some blue and some translucent white, which I then dragged the mixture over the titanium white in short, blocky strokes.

Phase Seven Phase Seven Close Up

Finally! Several hours after I started – and with some valuable assistance, I got the painting somewhere I feel happy with. The recipient has seen a photograph and has approved, so it’s now signed and in the process of being delivered.

What have I learned? I tried too hard to work the two favourite colours into one piece – they weren’t getting along. I also learned that when using acrylic paint – you can salvage a disaster. Had I been making this in water colour – I expect I would have abandoned ship and settled on something else as a present long ago.

A Flash of Blue

On a recent walk with Carole, our route took us along a stretch of riverbank by the River Wandle, near Carshalton. In years past, this stretch of the river was pretty grotty, with lots of litter and rubbish floating around, along with the archetypal abandoned shopping trolley or two. More attention is paid to the river now, and thankfully it now looks and feels in better shape. We noticed this as we strolled along – and then something special caught my eye. Something which really signalled to me that the river is now healthier.

An unmistakeable flash of electric blue fizzed past us parallel to the bank, a kingfisher! This beautiful bird darted downstream almost too fast to see, but when you are as striking as that, you’re almost impossible to miss. I didn’t have a camera on me and even if I had – there would have been no time to photograph this wonderful kingfisher in flight, but the flash stayed in my mind, and when we got home, I tried to recall it on paper as best I could.

A Flash of Blue

Santa had given me some new tools for Christmas, in the form of these silicone tipped paint appliers. I used them to push some acrylic paint around, over a pale blue water colour base which I had first allowed to dry. It felt unusual using a tool that doesn’t absorb the paint, you have to work the material quite differently. I think I’ve managed to capture the flow and movement of the bird quite well. Update July 2015 – this picture has been sold.

New Tools