Sunday, November 20, 2011

East of Kayenta

A month in England mid-summer and a new Condo to fix-up and move into in late August has keep me away from the easel for more than 5 months. There is a never ending supply of jobs to do around the house, but a couple of weeks ago, I went downstairs, and started to sort out the basement. All mundane stuff: set-up the art tables, unpack the reference books into a new book shelf, lay out all the materials I use on a daily basis, store the others in desk the previous owners left behind (thank you!), and install new overhead lamps and power outlets. There was only one power outlet in the entire basement. ...and finally, last but not least, start painting again.

I had promised Jill, that I would paint a picture of the Anemone Roses that grow against the back wall of my house in Surrey. We were just sitting there one afternoon when Boom! The image of the green stems and white flowers against the red brick wall coalesced into a composition that demanded to be painted. I got out my digital camera and took a dozen or so shots of the area I wanted to paint and another dozen or so reference shots of the flower heads and stems. True to my word, I started on this on a full sheet of 200# CP, but it's going to take a while as I have to mask off all the mortar joints, the flower heads, and all the stems and leaves before I can start with the first wash.

I've progressed a fair way towards the first wash but I wanted to get back into painting that I decided to make several starts. While reading the 'Southwest and Western Art November Challenge' I decided to have a go at:

and here is my interpretation: 'East of Kayenta' 22x15 on 200# CP Saunders-Waterford

Sunday, November 6, 2011

50 sheets of watercolour paper

When I could finally see that the condo was starting to approach a finished state, one that you could comfortably live in, I ordered 50 sheets of watercolour paper from Cheap Joe's. I thought it was a bargain and they would ship it for free. As it turned out, the condo wasn't as finished as I had hoped, and before I got a chance to use even one sheet of this beautiful hoard of paper, CJ's offered the same paper at a 10% discount and free shipping! I know the old saw: “an hour late or a dollar short”, but sure as 'grass grows green and the sky is blue...', if I has postponed my purchase, I would have finished all the jobs on the condo and sat around waiting for a small more expensive paper order to be delivered.

Anyway, the 50 sheets represents my commitment to painting for the 2011-2012 winter. Starting on the first of November, I cleared a space in the basement of said condo, set up my Ikea art table, moved the left behind desk over, installed the salvaged book shelves from the dumpster at the apartment we use to rent and started to unpack my art books, supplies, and the necessities to start painting. So far I haven't had any time to paint as the jobs in the condo continue to multiply but I did get to an artsy project. Jill wanted my “Cherry Hill” painting hanging.

I had temporarily re-framed it by reusing a one of the three frames and mats from the “Winter Weeds” series, but the burgundy mat clashed with outdoor “Cherry Hill” image so a couple of days before Jill asked me to hang it, I restored the trio of weeds to their frames. OK. Old frame + new mat will work and yes, I have some mat material that if not exactly compliments “Cherry Hill”, at least doesn't clash with it. Where's the mat cutter??? Two hours later, having twice moved everything in my large collection of art supplies I finally found my mostly black mat cutter in the bottom of a black drawer, under a pile of black electronic accessory cords. I only have myself to blame. That aside, I cut a new mat, re-framed “Cherry Hill” with the new mat, and hung it in the entrance hall. The first painting in our new (to us) condo. Not much to show for three hours effort, but at least I have a better idea where everything is, art material wise, after the move. Maybe next week will bring some time to paint. Gosh! I surely hope so.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice)

New York, New York, New York, New York, New York, so good I painted it 5 times!

Actually this is about the third or forth time I've painted a New York skyline, but this time I've painted the lower Manhattan skyline as a series of 5 watercolours, a pentaptych. All the paintings are 22x15 inches on 200# Saunders-Waterford rough paper. The left most one was painted first and I have to admit, it shows. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do when I started. By the time I started the third panel, the centre one, I was well into the grove and by the time I finished the last panel, I needed a break for this subject. The last panel, the far right one is my favourite. Jill, my personal mentor, life partner, likes the this one best also.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Corfe II at sunset

Corfe Castle is such a special place. The first time I saw it, we traveled down from Bristol where I was living at the time, across part of Salisbury Plain, through Blandford Forum, “a delightful Georgian town”, to Lulworth Cove and then on to Durdle Door, a natural sea arch. We the drove across the army ranges to Corfe Castle. I would have liked to have seen it before the Roundheads destroyed it during the English Civil War.

About a week after I finished 'Corfe at Sunset' I decided to have a second go at this subject again. I almost managed to get the sunset I wanted. I may try again sometime.

Watercolour 22x15 inches on Saunders Waterford 200# rough paper

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Corfe at Sunset

Corfe Castle, Dorset, England. The sky just kind of ran away from me. Someone commented that it looks a bit confused to which I replied, Corfe Castle, or the remains of, is a pile of Purbeck stone, piled on top of a pile of Purbeck stone. Never taken by force of arms...

My first painting for 2011. Watercolour 15x22 inches on Saunders Waterford 200# rough paper.

my good friend Rob commented:"... but was taken by treachery.

I'd step back and ask yourself wee you painting the sunset, or were you painting the castle, or the combination of both. The 50/50 split of the painting implies both, in which case I think the grey hills create the complication in a painting which is otherwise saying, look at the similarities between all that hard Purbeck stone and the sky.If you changed the perspective so that the grey hills created a much thinner line then it would work much better, allowing the castle to jutt into the sky ~ as a result the other painting works out better.

which I think is fair comment.

Monday, June 13, 2011

West Tanfield, Yorkshire, England

This photo was posted on as a monthly challenge.
I cropped it down to this.
and here is my watercolour painting of this lovely village.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tuscan Sunset

This is one of my earliest half sheet paintings. My old tutor Les, keep encouraging me to paint large. 'It's liberating' and I agree with him. It is very liberating. Until I took his advice, the largest painting I had completed was 12x18. A slightly oversize quarter sheet. I had just purchased some 26x40 260# Saunders-Waterford thinking I was getting a heavy weight paper. When you consider the weight and run the numbers, it turns out to be equivalent of 156# 22x30 Imperial. Slightly heavier that the standard 140# Imperial size sheets, but no where near 200# rough that I currently use.

This is also one of my earliest cityscape-urban landscape paintings. Urban landscapes is starting to become a genre that I enjoy painting.

17x22 Saunders-Waterford rough

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blue and Gold Manhattan

I painted this Manhattan skyline from my imagination back in January. Only the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, both in the background, actually exist. The Blue and Gold comes from the Ultramarine Blue and Raw Sienna, the only two pigments I used in it. Perhaps I flatter myself in thinking I tried to give the New York skyline a turneresque rendition. This is somewhat like I imagine that the great JMW might have painted if he were here and had visited New York.

My fan club tell me this is a love it or hate it painting. Neither Rob, another JMW fan, nor Susan, a native New Yorker like this one though Jill thinks it one of my better paintings.

half sheet 15x22 Saunders-Waterford 200# rough

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just for Jill

A while back, Jill was visiting 'R' in the hospital and she saw a similar painting and snap a pick on her cell phone. It's not a copy, but it's definitely an 'after...', but I don't know who created the original, so I don't know who to credit.

Watercolour 21x21 inches on Saunders Waterford 140# rough

Cherry Hill Village

Jill and I moved into an apartment in Cherry Hill Village about 18 months ago. Once the weather improved, I got on my bike, literally, and started to move around and started to paint 'en plein air'. Here is an unofficial village sign that amused me and yes, it looks like it might fall down.

15x11 on Saunders-Waterford 200# rough