Monday morning arrived with a touch of frost and clear blue skies. Just the right weather to think about new beginnings. Spring is definitely in the air – within me and in the World. The above photograph shows the three new works I have started this morning plus the one I started on late yesterday (mentioned in yesterday’s blog). So let me tell you a bit more about each one and how I hope to develop them. I’ll take them from left to right.
The 30x60cm canvas is a continuation of developing the Forfar Loch project I started last week (see last week’s blog on Starting about that one). Since finishing the Tighnabruiach commission in December last year I have been itching to start another landscape in oils. I love working with oils. I love the smell of them, their fluidity and buttery feel under the brush or palette knife. I love the smell of the thinners too; I know, I ought to be using low odour thinners. And as for the linseed oil, well there is nothing like adding a bit of that to the oil paint to thin out for glazing etc but oh it does add to the drying time! I’ve given this canvas a wash of Burnt Sienna (Seawhite) and used a cloth to evenly apply this then dabbed out the areas to lighten for clouds and reflections. I then thickened up the paint and used a 3/4 inch flat brush to map out the darker areas. The burnt sienna will add a touch of warmth to the painting. The reference photograph was taken last week when I was out walking. Even although it was a cold blustery day there was plenty of sunshine and I felt warm inside and out. This view struck a chord with me, making me think of and compare two lovely places where I have lived (Suffolk) and where I now live (Angus). This painting is likely to take me about 2-3 months (or longer) to complete as I use traditional oils which will need time to dry between layers.
The 16×7 inch was originally going to be painted onto a panel however, when I removed the panel from a beautiful frame I have in the studio, I realised that the panel was only hard board with rather rough edges. I thought that a coat or two of gesso might be good enough but I was not happy with it so I cut out the exact size of the board in specialist acrylic paper (Seawhite 360gsm) and glued it to the board. I now have a suitable support for the painting. This rendition of Forfar Loch will be completed using acrylic paints and I think I will use either the Galeria (Daler Rowney) or the Seawhite acrylics. I have prepared the support with a two-tone acrylic wash (blue) and have set the horizon about one third down from the top. The light blue wash for the sky has been ‘dabbed out’ in places to show the lightness of clouds. The darker blue (ultramarine with a touch of burnt umber) has been applied in a watery wash, again dabbed out to show the highlights on the water then thickened and applied to the areas in shadow or darker tones. I’d like to get this one finished by the end of March; one of my completions as part of my goal for that month.
The 16×12 inch canvas will be another abstract. This one has been inspired by my waking thoughts at 6am this morning. Why I was thinking of skiing heaven only knows – I have never skied in my life before! There is, as with a lot of the abstracts that I have been doing, a spiritual element to this particular piece but I may talk about that another time. So at 6am this morning I wrote a few lines in my journal and made a quick doodle to remind myself of the shapes/composition I had thought of. First thing I did when I got into the studio this morning was to sketch out my idea in my sketchbook using coloured pencils to remind myself of the colours I felt would work. In the photograph you will see the initial sketch above the prepared canvas. Again I have used a thinnish acrylic wash (Galleria burnt sienna and crimson) to map out the composition. This too I hope will be one of my completions for March – but we’ll see how that goes as I have a habit of delaying the finishes and I also have an abstract WIP (70x70cm) that needs some attention and finishing too.
Finally, the 30x30cm canvas on the right is one that I started late yesterday after finishing the two abstracts (see yesterday’s blog). As I mentioned, I don’t like to waste anything and I had quite a bit of acrylic in blue (coeruleum and ultramarine), black and white left over from previous painting sessions so I set about blocking in and imaginary scene. This one technically is a ‘starter’ from last week rather than this week but one I hope to work on in-between the others. This one will get finished as and when according to how the Muse directs me.
A lengthy blog to start the week on and I am now way behind what I should be doing. So it is off to tackle some of the more boring tasks of being an artist – keeping the paperwork up to date and a little marketing. May you all have a happy week.