Sunday, October 09, 2011

Life paintings

Wow September came and went so fast- I never posted anything. That doesn't mean I wasn't busy painting and drawing! I'm still going to my weekly life painting/drawing group at Whitespace. I'm now using acrylics to paint the long pose (about 1 hour 45mins). I'm painting on little boards only 9x12inches, to allow me get a degree of finish within the time frame. These boards (MDF from DIY store) provide a good painting surface, they need to be gessoed (3 coats) before use and I then paint neutral gray mixed with acrylic texture paste medium to provide a more interesting paint surface and to get rid of the white gesso- replaced with a midtone. Here's the one I did last week
Rebecca 9x12 inches Acrlyic on board And here is tonight's effort
Justin 9x12inches Acrlyic on board I'm using a new viewfinder that I got, It's really helping me think about the composition before I start and keeps me focussed on scale too. With many of my tutored life classes I'd done previously, there was always pressure to make sure you got the WHOLE figure in to the picture- which really hampers creative composition I feel. The viewfinder let me try out different cropped compositions to pick one that is interesting before I start. Also I'm working with a limited pallette (yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, Burnt umber and black and white) I'm finding this works great for me creating believable skin tones and creating a moore harmonious painting. Ryan

Monday, August 15, 2011

Forbidden fruit 2

Forbidden fruit 2
Mixed media on board
15x15 inches

He's the sequel to the 'Eve' painting I did. Has been on the spare easel for a wee bit while I did some oil painting studies. Finally decided to get this one done.

Here's some close-ups so you can see the textures and collage elements


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cast study

Cast study
pencil on paper

At last I can post pictures again thanks to a new digital camera! No life classes at the moment as the Whitespace studio is being used as one of the many venues in the Edinburgh festival. Been working on this to keep my drawing studies up


Friday, July 29, 2011

Modern art vs Classical art study

Thought I'd share this article I stumbled accross that I found fascinating. It's about the common argument between modern art and classical style art. A proper study was done looking at the behaviour, attention time of the public looking at artwork in the Tate Britain gallery:

As an artist who paints and loves classical styles but also is enjoying the freedom of a new contempory style emerging in my art, this was very interesting.

I definitely think that the findings of the study mirror my behaviour in a gallery. Most of the minimalist conceptual type stuff leaves me a little cold and don't have much interaction with. I find myself skim-reading it and moving on. I'm not saying its not good by the way, just that it doesn't excite me- others of course argue that I'm not giving it the time and thought to GET the concept though my deep thinking about it. As always with art its a very personal response that is unique to each individual.

One of the examples in the article is Damien Hirst's large paintings of coloured dots- to me its decorative and pretty but I get no story or message from it and as such my attention is not held. I find the same with Mark Rothko's work. Both of these artists sell for huge amounts of course! Whereas some Tracy Emin drawings (though often difficult to look at in regards to content and 'crude' technique) are thoroughly modern do have a message and have made me stop and contemplate.

For me I like looking at modern art and classical art- one informs the other. I prefer modern art that has a bit of craft to it and preferrably a message or bit of narrative.

I think one of the key things that cause a painting/drawing to hold the viewers interest is composition. In classical styles, laws of composition are carefully followed and exploited to keep the viewers eye movement controlled and moving around the canvas- clearly from the study it works well. A lot of the 'modern art' they discuss in the article lacks this or deliberately break these composition rules

-maybe the fleeting glances of the majority of the public is the cost they pay?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Colour studies

Well I'm using my scientist brain to improve my artist brain!

Up until now I guess I've been buying paint tubes based on their shiny-ness, because other artists metion they use them, or whether they're on offer(!).

Well no more!!

I'm using my natural scientific brain (at last the day job comes in useful for more than the bills!)

I'm studying Suzanne Brooker's 'Portrait painting atelier' a lovely book I got for Christmas. So far I've been drooling over the masterful painting examples biding my time until I had more time to devote to artistic study (as opposed to the scientific type!). Also I've got a new digital camera (since the last broke I've been limited to what I can post)

Essentially the first exercise involves exploring the pigments on the pallete and learning control over the mixing capability of each colour.

Here's the first two using core earth red pigments and then contempory red pigments. For each I painted the the hue (colour out the tube) then experimented with tines, tints, shades, warm, cool and neutral mixes of each colour.

Doing this not only allows me to improve my colour mixing control and skill, but also allows me to directly compare different paint hues and variations between manufacturers.

I found these difficult as I have a red/green colour blind deficiency so mixing the neutrals caused me a bit of consternation (as I had to mix green into my reds to neutralise the colour)

Next up is the oranges and remaining earth colours!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

A virus

Here's my latest one. It's a bit of an exploration in mixed media- trying out a few new things. Some of the lovely new range of Daler Rownet artist acrylics and Caran D'ache Neo pastels. Different paper types used in the collage too include washi, handmade indian paper, cardboard and printed images.

Having real bother with my digital camera- think its on the waay out. Very difficult to get an accurate image. Quite frustrating and I think I'll need a new one after pay day.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Edinburgh College of Art Degree show

Went to see the ECA Degree show tonight- lots to see. It finishes on Sunday so if you're around and about Edinburgh its well worth a visit:
There were a couple of painters that caught my eye, they were using allegory (one Christian symbolism and the other Greek mythology) and painting large canvases in oil.

one was Aisha Al-Sadie, unfortunately I didn't get the other's name but will post if I find out.

In my more recent work 'Forbidden fruit' and the unpublished work that currently on my easel utilise suggestions of symbolism in the use of the apple.

There was a lot of pure abstract paintings on show that had some nice mark-making and subdued colours. I thought some of it was nice but a little derivative- its not really my bag but can appreciate that many will like this. I prefer art with more skilled craft and narrative. Was a good opportunity to get in ECA and have a look around though. The building is amazing with beautiful light airy studios looking onto Edinburgh castle- woth seeing by itself!

There was a lot of classical sculpture casts around as well, I can see me going to try to draw them. I did some life classes with artist Graham Flack who teaches there who told me the public can go in and draw there whenever they like so I'll try to do that.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reserved for you- Linocut limited edition print

Reserved for you
Linocut reduction print
6x6 inches
Edition of 3

Wow first post in ages! Here's a new linocut print I did of my painting 'Reserved for you'.

This was a bit of an experiment for me using the reduction printing method. Basically the whole image is printed from one single block one colour at a time. White areas are carved out first, then the lightest colour (skin in this case) printed. The printing is done by hand using a barren (or in my case a wooden spoon!)where pressure is applied over the surface to imprint the paper against the inked block. Next the areas that are to remain skin coloured are carved out of the block and the next lightest colour printed (sky in this case). This is repeated for each layer.

There's a fair amount of planning to do this as well, working out the correct sequence of layers and number required. The carving of the block is tricky also when you're trying to keep an overall picture of how it should work out! With this technique you can't make any corrections!

Its the first time I'd tried this method as my previous two attempts were just black and white. The trickiest part is the registration- getting the positioning spot on for the different layers. Out of the ten images I started out with, only 3 were worthy of being in the edition. With five layers of colour, its not surprising that there are some positioning errors- especially when all done by hand.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 Self Portrait

I've decided to set myself the challenge of doing at least one self portrait a year. For one as a model, I'm free to hire and can't complain about the sitter not sitting still!

Rembrandt was famous for his self portraits- probably more-so than any other artist. What he left was a series of work that not only charts his progress as an artist, but also his progress through life as you gradually see him ageing and in various moods as life throws things at him.

check it out

Any way here's my effort! A rather quick one at about 2hrs

Self portrait 2011
Pastel on Sennelier card
8x10 inches

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Forbidden fruit

Forbidden Fruit
16x16 inches
Mixed media on board

The next in my new style that is developing at the moment. Am really enjoying being able to get a bit of a narrative going in the paintings. The aim is to engage the viewer to think about what is going on.

The ability to add lots of layering allows for me to include elements at the collage stage that add to the story of the painting. I like how the simple composition and colours can initially attract the eye. As you get closer you notice the variety of texturing throughout giving another layer of interest. When you get right up to it you can begin to see through the transparent layers to the collage element.

Off to start the next one!