Sunday, 25 April 2010

Exhibition in Aid of Macmillian Nurses

Hi everyone
Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Some weeks ago my friend ask me if I would submit some work into her exhibition, which she is to host her home. We had done this some years ago in Aid of the British Lung Foundation and went very well.
My friend suggested that it would be nice to have some small pieces of work that people could buy at a fraction of the price of the larger pieces.

She suggested 8" x 8" block canvas, so I agreed to do 8 of them, I had forgotten how small 8 x8 is but decided to try koi on 4 of the and poppies on the others.
Most of my students will remember me more for telling them to work bigger and here I am doing smaller, small is something I struggle with I generally draw very big and so the paintings are the same.
A bit of challenge laid ahead just trying to get the fish drawn on the canvas in the first place, I always render the backgrounds completely first and let them dry before putting a drawing on the top.
You have no idea how many times I rubbed the watercolour crayon off before getting them the right size for the block!!
When eventually finished I was quite pleased with the results, I finished them off with some gold leaf.

I was really looking forward to see all the art up and displayed, some of the artists work larger than myself  some smaller. It's great to see so may difference pieces of art in one place. When I got there yesterday some of my work had already been sold - guess which ones????
Koi again always the koi! I should have done more of them.

So I'd  like to thank my friend, her husband and her family for their continued support in my art and giving me the opportunity to make the art do something special for someone by raising funds for worth while causes.
Now today I have to I have to get all the things I'll need for tomorrows first class, tomorrow is the first of my private classes. I thought as this will be the first  should stick to doing something along the lines of a still life just to get people drawing and that way I will have idea where everyone is at.

Next challenge -what should I take as a still life and what should a still life contain??
So I have been trawling the Internet for examples of still life, this one I found is by George Flegel. I don't think you could get more in if you tried. However the painting is so well painted and covers a multitude of textures although mainly in the food department, which seems to appear in many if not 90% of still lives.

This is by Pamela Michelle Johnson it's a large canvas in oil a whooping 72" high, and the realism is phenomenal. Again on the subject of food visit her at and see the rest of her work well worth a visit.
I never had much time for still life although I did loads in the early days. I spent many hours working drawings on still life that consisted of rubbish and junk knowing that I would improve my observation and drawing skills no end. That didn't make me like them anymore for that.
Now I think perhaps I should spend some time doing some that interest me and that is probably true of everybody if you don't like the subject you wont give it your best.
So what do I think my student's will like - some like flowers some like animals and some like landscapes, how am I going to incorporate all that? After a rummage around the house I come up with a collection of objects that include a wooden horse head, an orchid plant, some old books, a large conch shell and an old glass ink well with an owl feather in it. The only thing that I can see being a problem is not having strong enough lighting to make interesting.
Why try one your self!
bye for now

Saturday, 17 April 2010

new art classes

Hi there! Hope you all enjoying the lovely weather we've had today.
I'll will be starting a new art class on the 26th April 2010, this will run for 6 weeks at a time. They will cover a multitude on techniques over a range of media, allowing everyone to work on their own projects at their own pace regardless of ability. For further information send email via this blog.

During this wonderful weather it's at great time to get out doors and do some painting. I cant stress enough the importance of working from life at least part of the time. Photo's although handy as references are no real substitute for the real thing. You will learn far more by practicing life observations than slavishly copying from photographs. You have to remember that camera lens don't work like eyes and are limited to 2 dimensions, where eyes can decipher much more information second by second than a camera. You notice that parts of your photos will out of focus this is because the camera cant cope with all the information that is necessary. Where your can take in everything around you process it and understand it in a shorter time than it takes to take the picture.

So if you thought the camera never lies think again! it's limited to flattening out 3 dimension objects and not portraying true colour and tone. That's why you look fatter in photos!!!!

The watercolours above are from a trip to cornwall, I made sketches first then made quick small watercolours as the weather was not up to much, but it does give the me a better idea or should i say memory of the colours as you can match them more closely.
Have a go - and I'll upload some more soon.
Happy painting

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Hi everyone!
Today I wanted to take look at process - the process that many professional Artists go through to accomplish a commission. It sounds relatively simple but it's one that has you loving and hating your own ability.
To begin with the idea that taking on commissions will provide you with an exciting prospect of doing what you love is only a half truth. Nobody can prepare you for the frustration that will ensue.
Imagine if you will you want to create a career painting/drawing/anything else creative, so you start by doing your stuff, things you like, things that excite you.
Soon someone calls you and asks you create something for them, this maybe a friend, family or client. Just as you think your going to get more of your work out there, your client says I would like you to do this, this and this and it must have this oh and can you do this? this is where the frustration starts.

It's pretty much what you'd expect from your family because you know they have no idea what their looking at, they just like it, but your client will!!! and they will want total control over what your doing, and as they are paying for the privilege so you must let them.

As fabulous as it is to have loads of clients wanting you, you will find that during the process of dealing with them you will lose a lot of sleep over the projects and wonder why your doing this.
This is mainly due to the fact that your client came with a prefixed idea in their head and they can see the finished result before you've done it.

So for a start make sure you meet your client face to face, write down all the keywords they use and make sure that you are understanding how they interpret those words, you'll be surprised at how much work it will save you in the long run if you just get them to doodle a sketch of what they mean. Although we communicate in words I have found them to be the biggest cause of mis-interpretation and the biggest cause of having to re-do work. In short what you call a spade might be some Else's shovel.

Once you have a brief please, please make sure you do sketches and don't proceed with anything until they are happy with the sketch. The other thing to watch out for is format not all clients understand our Art formats so you need to show them the exact support your going to be working on.
Next comes the tonal pic, work out if this is actually going to work once it's rendered, another thing to be crucially aware of is your composition - as said before you need to stick to what your client wants but if this does not lend it's self to a good composition, you will have to consult your client and possible start from scratch again. A bad composition and focal point will totally destroy your work and remember it's going to have your name on it!

You may find as I have, the only way to get things right so everyone is happy is keep starting again and re drawing and producing a small colour version. Keep your client working with you by involving all the way and that includes the colour scheme, as i said at the beginning they already had a prefixed idea and will still be wondering why they cant have exactly what they asked for!
You know as an artist that certain things just don't work in reality when it comes to painting so for instance keeping everything sharp and focused- in painting a real no no, but not to your client.
There are so many things that are going to get your goat, but as your go through the process more and more you'll learn to be much more methodical about how you arrive at your clients preconceived idea.
You will I guarantee you, there will be times when the customers is definitely wrong and want to give up, because you know that if they just left you to do your interpretation they'd be so much happier!! and process would be relatively painless
I'll touch on this subject again in the future, I hope do a video of a commission from the beginning going through the whole process to the finished result.
Don't let any of this put you off you have so much to learn about yourself from this.
That's all for today - thanks for taking the time to drop by.